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It’s nearing the First Act Break in an 80s new wave thriller, and you sit in a café overlooking a cathredral square, somewhere in Paris, Berlin, or Trieste. The gray skies above match your mood as you stir your espresso, wind your day-glo neon watch, wait for something to happen…

A beautiful woman in a red vinyl trenchcoat walks out of the cathedral. You catch her halfway across the square, her face impenetrable behind huge opaque shades. She grips a black leather valise in long, thin gloved fingers. "What’s in the bag?" you ask yourself, and in that second of question she has arrived, staring straight into your soul through the café window.

Naturally you rise immediately and leave without paying your bill. You’ve walked a long way with her before anyone speaks. You break the silence with something offhand, or jokey, or too polite and immediately feel as though you’ve broken a spell. Her voice in reply is terse, sultry, full of ash and honey and gravel.

She finds a cab and you ride facing one another in the back. She lights a cigarette and smokes without rolling down the window. When the driver lets you out, you have no idea where you are. An industrial area. Defunct factories puffing mothballs of smoke, scattered toxic pools like semen stains, small swards of grass littered with broken glass, rusty toys, and fast food wrappers.

She leads you up a flight of hard metal stairs to a fourth floor loft. Concrete floors and powder coated furniture in bright primary hues of red, black and blue. She unbuttons her coat, naked underneath, save for a knee-length black boots and a baroque negligee rife with hooks and ties and garters that frame her thick black bush.

She pours two glasses of Nero D’Avola from a corked bottle on the kitchen counter. Beside the bottle a small mirror, on which she cuts two lines of coke with a glossy business card on which there is printed only a single phone number.

Slowly she opens her valise. Inside, a set of black leather handcuffs, a cat of nine tails, a pair of airplane tickets and a single rose.

She buckles the cuffs around your wrists and leads you to the far end of the room. She fastens you to massive galvanized chains hung from the metal rafters in the ceiling. She unbuttons your shirt, caressing your chest as she pulls apart the cloth panels, then rips it in the back from the tail up to the collar.

The mysterious dominatrix parts a long black canvas directly in front of you, uncovering a long, high window that looks out and down over a wide portion of the city, offering you a view of its greatest monument: the Colosseum, Sacre-Coeur, or the Brandenburg Gate.

As she kisses with great tenderness the chakra point at the base of your skull, you begin to cry silent tears. Outside, the setting sun has finally pierced the daylong gray, painting the whole of the realm in storybook colors. You feel the first slash of the discipline sear the flesh at your back, the velvet strains of punishment and plea and mercy.

On the other side of the window it has begun to rain. A spitting rain tumbling innocent aslant the ravenous sunset like bloody tears. A jet rumbles across the horizon, rising, heaving its wings like a lustrous duck.

Destination: Singapore.

THE STRANGLERS FELINE, 1982, Epic Records