“The Red Danube” by Bernie Mojzes

By the time the river fruits, it is far, far too late.

* * *

Before the river fruits, the clean, white sand of Štrand swarms with bathers: young women in skimpy bikinis, old men in Speedos, families, the laughter of children playing in the gentle, blue waters of the Danube River. Lovers holding hands in the sun. Music from a hundred competing radios.

The porn star slathers sunblock on her skin. She rubs it onto her face, especially liberal with her nose and ears, the tops of her feet, the back of her ankles. She lifts long, black hair to rub lotion on her neck, pulls up the legs of her thin, cotton pants to coat her calves and thighs. Spreads it on her belly and chest under her T-shirt. She does her arms last, not forgetting the backs of her hands. Her cousin gets her back and shoulders.

Still, she knows even with the sunblock and the T-shirt over her bikini, with her skin, she’s going to burn. But it feels so fucking good to be out from under the spotlight and standing in real sunlight, with real sand burning her feet. Just one anonymous person in a sea of anonymous people at the beach on a beautiful early summer day. Some things feel so good that it doesn’t matter what kind of hell you’ll have to pay later.

Three boys have been watching her, whispering to each other, passing around a smartphone. Is it bad that she can no longer tell if people are old enough to watch her films? For all she knows, these kids are older than she was the first time she spread her legs for a camera. They approach, nudging one of their number ahead.

“Hullo,” he says, in English. “I am sorry to disturb, please. But my friends, me. We.” He gestures at his friends. One of them waves nervously. “We are big fans.”

The porn star has a love/hate relationship with the internet. Right now it’s tipping toward hate.

From the corner of her eye, she sees her bodyguard lean forward on his beach chair. But he won’t intervene unless it’s necessary.

She looks at her cousin. “What is he saying?” she asks in Croatian. The press knows her father is Serbian, but not that her mother is Croatian, or that she is native-fluent in three languages and can get by in four others. Some things are private.

Her cousin answers in Serbian. “He says he is a fan.” She shrugs. Rolls her eyes and taps her temple.

Still in Croatian, the porn star tells the boy that if he wants to meet girls, he should come up with a better line.

She shoulders past the boys and goes to the river’s edge. She hears their muttered debate behind her. Eventually, they go back to their towels. Who says porn stars can’t act?

The river is cool. The sand is soft under her feet, and the water eddies around her ankles.

A child runs by, squealing, splashing water up her leg. His older sister runs after him, screaming just as loudly.

Across the river is Fruška Gora, which sounds to the porn star more like a soda for Gwar fans than a mountain. At the foot of the mountain, where it meets the Danube, is the town of Kamenica, and Kamenički Park: a dark forest, bisected by the bridge from Novi Sad. Her father used to vacation in Kamenica, taking the train with his friends, practicing their American accents. Kay-ma-nence.

Coming to Štrand was a stupid idea.

Fuck it. She pulls off her T-shirt, steps out of her pants, and swims far out into the Danube, past the buoy markers, until the sounds of humanity fade, and the current threatens to wash her away.

* * *

This is the porn star in her dressing room: standing in front of the mirror, robe open and dropped to her elbows, draping the small of her back. Her breasts are white triangles on a red background, bull’s-eyed and crosshaired in pink and silver. She stands stiffly, like it hurts to move. It does.

This is the makeup artist: frowning, and muttering merde under her breath as she dabs pale makeup on the hot, red flesh. It’s a fucking nightmare. They’re shooting in half an hour. Tomorrow, maybe the day after, the sunburned skin will start peeling off in sheets, but right now she’s just trying not to break the blisters.

This is the first director: throwing open the door with enough force that the doorstop splinters the wood, raising his hands in disbelief. Gripping the porn star by her chin and turning her face toward his.

“Fuck.” His breath smells like stale slivovics and cheap tobacco. He holds up a photo of her, autographed in silver ink. “This! This is you—pure, unblemished, alabaster. Porcelain. Perfect, like a fucking angel. Not red and peeling and full of pus. Nobody buys your films to see the devil.” He wipes his hand on the makeup artist’s shirt. “We can’t film today. We can’t film for a week. Fuck!”

As he storms out of the dressing room, he adds, “And shave, for Christ’s sake. You look like a damned monkey.” He doesn’t close the door behind him.

The porn star hears the first director cursing and shouting, hears the other two directors, muttering. She goes to the door, hands on the doorframe, robe still hanging open.

“What the fuck is so angelic about ‘white and hairless’?” she screams.

His response is as vivid as it is long, and doesn’t answer her question.

* * *

This is the film that will never be: one part Buñuel, one part Fellini. Equal parts Tinto and Tarantino, to taste. A dash of Ang Lee and a pinch of Jarmusch, and a handful of other influences the porn star doesn’t recognize stirred in—Balkan and Muslim filmmakers, most likely. And a fair amount of fucking. It’s a kaleidoscope, a collision of styles, just as the three directors are: the Serbian pornographer, the Bosnian Muslim feminist documentarian, and the Croatian war correspondent. Like the Balkans themselves: fractured and reassembled like a dozen Humpty Dumptys dropped and shoved back on the supermarket shelf.

It’s a dangerous film, one sure to inspire death threats, and perhaps worse, against the directors and cast. They were all forewarned. The porn star signed on without hesitation, even though she had just announced her retirement.

The film would span three wars—World War II, the Balkan Wars of the ’90s, and a future war of terrorists and counterterrorists—the scenes cut and pasted against each other in a ruthless antinarrative that spared no one. She would be Josip Broz Tito, heroic leader of the Partisan rebels fighting Nazis and unifying the country. She would be a Bosnian Muslim girl, raped by Serbian soldiers, tortured by Croatian intelligence agents, and murdered by her own family. She would be an American interrogation specialist faced with impossible choices.

The cast was impressive. Real actors, for the most part, not just the same revolving set of Industry cunts and cocks. Many had seen the peak of their careers come and go, but the porn star would not have kicked them off the set for eating cookies, as they say. One of them alone would have been enough to get her to sign on. Best Pirate EVAH! she had posted online, once upon a time when she was still just a girl, so long ago that it hurts to remember.

In the film that would never be, he is an SS officer, and she his prisoner. In the midst of an interrogation, she would escape and turn the tables, taking him from behind with a strap-on. And the rumors that the explicit shots were done with a body double? Totally false.

It’s embarrassing to admit what a total fangirl she was—still is—but on the other hand, it’s good to know she’s not completely jaded.

All this is public record, posted to the porn star’s blog, after the quarantine.

* * *

For three days during a brutally cold January, back in 1942, Hungarian occupying forces massacred over twelve hundred people in Novi Sad, mostly Jews and Serbs, and other undesirables. In what would become one of the most notorious single acts in the Balkans in World War II, the Hungarian army marched 550 Jewish and 292 Serbian civilians, entire families, onto the frozen Danube. And then broke the ice with mortar rounds.

Seventy-odd years later, after the river fruits near the site of this atrocity, after the public health advisories and the quarantine, after it is already far, far too late, there are rumors of conspiracy: it was the Jews, the jihadists, the neo-Nazis, the Chinese. The Iraqis or the Iranians. God. A hundred others.

The rumors are false.

* * *

When the porn star’s body is once again pure, pristine, alabaster, a fucking angel, they shoot the first sex scene, in a thirteenth-century monastery on the southeast side of the mountain.

She is an interrogator, doing what she knows is right and necessary, and utterly reprehensible. She has become a monster, shunning the other soldiers, the other interrogators, everyone who supports what she’s doing. The sight of people sickens her; she has smashed all the mirrors in her small apartment. Her time is spent with her prisoners, and herself.

Training for her other scenes, the porn star has learned exactly how to hurt people. This is so she can do the scene without actually hurting them. She finds she likes taking it far enough that her costars aren’t sure she’ll stop in time. She tells herself she’s doing it for the art. To help the other actors get into character, into the scene. Enhancing verisimilitude. She writes that in her diary to add the weight of ink to the words, as if that could make them true.

When the prisoner’s priest comes to beg news for the prisoner’s family, the interrogator studies the man.

“Would you like to see him?” she asks.


“What would you give?”

“Whatever you like, that I can give. Anything.”

She’s been alone a long time. Years, for the character; since she retired, for the porn star. The prisoners don’t count, any more than her bodyguard counts; they aren’t really people, which makes them both better and worse than everyone she knows. The interrogator’s lips curl into a cruel smile; she reaches out to trace the curve of his mouth with fingers that have drawn screams from others.

The priest’s eyes widen. He swallows; a shiver runs through his body. You can see it, even though these parts of the film, the future war, are captured on cell phone cameras, handheld video recorders, disposable point-and-shoots. You can see it, even though the film is grainy, jumpy—the scenes as much collage as montage. You can see it, even in the still shots.

Her partner is not an actor. He is one of the monks from the monastery. The decision to go through with this, to forsake his vows for what promises to be the most important film of his generation, is as difficult for him as it is for the character he plays. When he kneels between her legs on the ancient stone floor, he isn’t acting—the anguish and desire in his eyes are real.

It’s the hottest scene she’s ever done, in a lifetime of scenes, and she comes hard, fingers knotted in his thick, curly hair.

She wants more, wants to push him onto his back and climb on top of him. She wants to take him against his protests, take what virtue he has left, even though it’s not in the script. Even though it isn’t what he agreed to.

Instead, she pushes him away, and shudders with self-loathing. She isn’t acting, either.

“Cut,” the first director says, “and wrap.”

The third director, the journalist, grips the cameraman’s shoulder. “Keep filming,” he says, softly.

The monk wipes his mouth as he turns his face away. The porn star bursts into tears.

* * *

They are still in the monastery on the mountain when bubbles of red and brown the size of marbles and golf balls rise from the river bottom to burst on the surface. The slimy patches of color drift like bloody water lilies with the river’s current; the spores go where the wind takes them.

The beach at Štrand is closed.

It doesn’t matter; these bubbles have been rising for weeks, though before they were only the size of amoebas, of the period at the end of this sentence, of fucking angels dancing on the head of a pin, and went unnoticed.

Though the first and third directors are happy with the way the scene is going, the second director is unsatisfied. The porn star doesn’t look scared enough, and she keeps forgetting, moaning like it’s a porno. The men don’t look cruel enough. They are too gentle. Too respectful. The rape scene is entirely too erotic. Filmed direct to videotape on vintage equipment, it needs only a bad soundtrack to be a complete mockery.

This is not fiction for the second director: it happened to her, during the war, the real war. Not in an ornate chapel filled with icons of saints in vibrant colors and gold leaf but in her mosque in the poorest part of Mostar, and there was nothing fucking erotic about it.

She kicks the other directors off the set. “This is my rape,” she tells them. “You don’t get to have a say.”

She takes the porn star aside, and they speak for a long time. Exactly what is said is not recorded, not blogged, but whatever it is, when everyone is dressed and they start again, the porn star fights back.

When she is grabbed, a heavy hand on her shoulder, she slashes at the man with car keys, raising three bloody welts under his eye. He pins her wrist. She bites his arm. His blood fills her mouth.

Momentarily free, she turns to run.

Another man stands in her way.

She kicks him hard, in the balls, and when he doubles over, she smashes his face into her knee. Blood sprays from his broken nose.

The first man grabs her hair. “Fucking psycho cunt!” He slams her face into the stone wall. Her lip blossoms; one of her teeth chips. She staggers back. His fist is huge; it blackens her eye and sends her sprawling.

The second man, recovering, kicks her in the gut, in the ribs.

They fall on the porn star, then, tearing at her clothes. And they are not gentle. And they are not respectful. And there is nothing fucking erotic about it.

She deserves this, she thinks, as her face slides in rhythm with the thrusts across the blood-slick stone. She deserves this for what she did to the monk. And what she wanted to do to him.

An eternity later, when the scene is done, one of men crawls off to puke against the wall. The second director sits, curled, fetal, rocking, in the corner, and everyone who can find an excuse to leave has. The other directors are let back into the chapel. The first director runs to the porn star as she towels off the come and blood. She winces away as he reaches for her bruised face.

“What have they done to you?” he cries. “My sweet angel. Now how can we film?”

The porn star runs her tongue across her cracked tooth. Grimaces. Spits blood on the first director’s shoes and shrugs. “We do the Nazi interrogation scene next. It’ll save a fortune on makeup.”

On the other side of the chapel, the third director glances at the footage. “Brilliant,” he says, as he captures the aftermath on his smartphone. “Fucking brilliant.”

* * *

The porn star is a rainbow. Red and black, dark blue and purple. Green and yellow as gravity drags the bruises down her body. Her face and breasts and ribs, knees and elbows, the fingers of her right hand, all bruised and blackened. The shadow of fingers circle her throat. She has never hurt this much.

The World War II scenes are filmed in black and white, on a 1937 Bolex H-16. It keeps the bruises from looking too garish. She loves the sound of the shutter, of the film rolling. Real film, not tape, not pixels encoded in flash memory.

The scene with the man who had played her favorite pirate is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. A physical and moral victory. The good gal wins. And so what if the real Tito was never captured and tortured by Nazis, never escaped to sodomize his torturer? He also wasn’t a girl with alabaster skin and pierced nipples. There are more truths to be found in history than mere facts can hold.

If the monk scene was damnation and the rape scene absolution, this scene is a palate cleanser, a wafer on the tongue with a mouthful of bad wine to wash away her sins.

She blogs about it that evening. It’s the first post she’s made since she retired, and it is full of mysterious and titillating hints. There’s a sense of innocent elation in that post that never fails to bring tears to my eyes, and she doesn’t mention the earlier scenes at all.

That comes later, after it becomes clear that this film will never be completed.

* * *

The second director leaves the suicide note on the porn star’s dressing room table, apologizing for what she has put the porn star through, and for taking the coward’s way out.

The thirteenth-century monastery is a small enough building, and there are no locks on the doors. The porn star runs from room to room, searching, praying she’s not too late. Stopping to tell the others would just slow her down.

The porn star finds the second director in the bath. A cracked safety razor case lies in the sink, and the bath water is pink. There are three deep gashes up the second director’s arm, none of them deadly. Her hand shakes so, and her arthritic thumb refuses to cooperate. The treacherous vein keeps slipping away under loose skin.

“Go away,” she says.

But the porn star does not. Instead, she takes the razor blade from trembling fingers and sets it next to the tub. She fetches a first aid kit, then removes her clothes and lowers herself into the blood-pink water. She inspects and washes the wounds, and binds them to stanch the bleeding.

She has never seen the second director naked. Never seen her less than fully clothed, long-sleeved shirts and scarves. Scars crisscross her arms and legs, some ancient, some fresh. Deeper, uglier scars pucker her belly, slice her breasts, bisect one of her nipples.

This is the second director’s story, inscribed in bloody hieroglyphs upon her body. As painful as it is to watch that fragment of the film that will not be, we see in this flickering moment that the porn star’s rendition is less than a pale shadow of the reality.

“Don’t be sorry,” the porn star says. “I knew what I was signing on for. I chose this.”

“There is so much pain,” the second director says. “So much ugliness in the world. How can anyone stand to live?”

The porn star touches a red-tinged finger to the second director’s lips, and then, tentatively, replaces it with her own lips. “How can we stand not to?” she asks, as her hands explore the older woman’s body, “when there’s still so much good to experience?”

Later, after their immediate needs are met, and the water cools, the second director studies the porn star’s body.

“What is this?” she asks.

“A bruise,” the porn star says. “No shortage of those.” She tries to laugh.

“No, I don’t think so.” The second director looks closer. There is a redness under the porn star’s left breast. “It looks like a rash.”

The third director steps from the shadows behind the linen closet. He is holding his handheld camcorder—we can see him reflected in the mirror—and he moves in to get a clearer shot.

The second director screams—terror, not surprise or outrage. She flinches away and wraps her arms around her nakedness. The porn star steps from the bath, holding the razor blade.

“You were here the whole time,” she says, accusing. “What the fuck kind of monster—”

The porn star’s fingers are bloody on the blade. They slash out toward the camera. The third director cries out in pain. The view swings wildly, there is a splash of red across the lens, and the scene ends.

The rash is gone the next day.

* * *

They have the monastery for two weeks, and they finish the last scene on schedule, just barely, shooting at dawn—the scene where the prisoner is smuggled out of prison and delivered to the priest, who is the monk, who cannot bring himself to look the porn star, who is the interrogator, in the eyes.

The next two weeks would have been hectic: five days shooting at Petrovaradin Fortress, across the river from Novi Sad, then a week in Novi Sad proper. Two battles are scheduled, and a scene where the porn star/interrogator runs into the prisoner in a café. A scene where Tito gives a speech to an adoring public, after the war, and then personally executes a collaborator.

Scenes they will never film, from the film that will never be.

The porn star is in the third car in the caravan, an old Ford microvan that wheezes its way up the mountain. The first and second directors are with her. The third director is in the second car, after the first director shuts the microvan’s door in his face.

“I’m a pornographer,” he says, idly fondling the makeup artist’s breast. “I treat the girls who work for me like objects. But I treat objects with more respect than he treats people.”

The second director purses her lips. “He does not see people, or objects. He sees only ideas.”

The porn star watches the first director’s hand, teasing the makeup artist’s nipple under her blouse. “Some ideas are better than others,” she says.

“Not to him. Ideas are only more or less useful.”

The microvan stops at the foot of the mountain.

“Why have we stopped?” the first director asks.

The porn star sees the driver’s head shake in the rearview mirror. “I don’t know,” he says. “There is a blockade. The army is here.”

A man in a uniform gestures for them to turn around. The driver of the first car tries to get more information.

“The road is closed. Go back where you came from.” A mantra.

The third director is filming out the window of his car. When the army man sees this, he grabs the camera, throws it on the macadam, and smashes it with the butt of his rifle.

“The road is closed,” he says, again. “Go back where you came from.”

They try two other roads, but both times they meet roadblocks.

“The road is closed. Go back where you came from.”

One of the men recognizes the porn star. He approaches shyly and asks for an autograph. She finds a promotional photo for him, and then pauses, pen hovering.

“We’re trying to get across the bridge, into Novi Sad,” she says. “Can you tell me how to get there?”

He shakes his head. “The bridge is closed.”

“We have reservations,” she says, and she names their hotel. “We’re filming in Petrovaradinska tvrdjava. I could get you onto the set. . . .”

He looks back at the other men. They’re too far off to hear. “The bridges are closed. The hotels are closed. Novi Sad is closed.” He raises his hands helplessly. “Everything is closed.”

The porn star thanks him, leans out the window and kisses him on the cheek.

They turn the cars around and head back to the monastery.

* * *

The porn star is a geek girl at heart. Before she had a career, she read cyberpunk novels and mucked around in other people’s computers. And while her skills are years out of date, she still manages to get word out, however briefly, about the blockade, and the quarantine, and the news blackout, and the data filtering.

And that’s enough, really, to reestablish her street cred and get her all the help she needs.

The cover-up is not Serbian, and it is not European. It’s global. But so are the resources that offer themselves to her.

And so she tells what they know: there are roadblocks; there are helicopters. A few monks who manage to return to the monastery tell of a quarantine extending farther down the Danube River, and of people being taken away by men in hazmat suits.

The posts disappear in a few hours, but that’s more than enough time. By then, they have been replicated all over the net. And soon enough it no longer matters whether anyone tries to suppress the news or not.

* * *

The bruising heals over time, but you wouldn’t know it. The porn star is still a rainbow. But now the color isn’t in her skin itself, but under it. Her skin is still alabaster, porcelain, pale and luminous, like a fucking angel. So translucent you can see the veins. And now, there’s red and yellow and blue-green too, the tendrils tracing the paths of her nerves—a bioluminescent filigree.

The day the second director first notices this, the thin lines spreading from under her left breast where the rash first appeared, down her ribs, and up to her armpit, the porn star starts posting about the film. She puts the entire script online, plus annotations and directors’ notes. She uploads raw footage, the scenes we’ve all seen in so many different forms. The first footage to go up is the scene with the monk, in all its myriad parts.

The chapel has become a set once again.

The porn star walks onto the set. She dances for the camera, for us. She strips. When they cut the lights, she continues to dance, a sensuous human jellyfish, glowing from within. When the dance is done, they upload the footage to the porn star’s website.

They do this every night, and every night, the infection spreads.

The porn star is not the only one infected; everyone suffers from it: the cast, the crew, the directors.

Though perhaps suffer isn’t the best term. The fungus colonizes the myelin sheath; it doesn’t hurt, though it modifies the signal in nondeterministic ways—sometimes fuzzier, sometimes sharper, more intense. Pain might hurt more, or less, or differently. Pleasure, likewise. The extent of the colonization is less of a mystery than what it does. The luminous filigree lets everyone know, in no uncertain terms, where the nerves cluster most densely.

One tweet: Who knows, this might be a good thing. We’ll see.

Another: Boys, my clit is a laser pointer. Now you have no excuse.

* * *

There is very little reliable information about the epidemic on the internet. The only data the porn star trusts is her own account. When the army begins distributing food, they refuse to give any information. But she finds fans there as well, and soon discovers the army has also been given as little information as possible. They have a job, and they do it.

The only thing the soldiers know for sure is the air filters they have been given haven’t been effective. They’re all in this together.

It is not hard to convince some of them to smuggle the film reels out.

And she’s right: the Nazi interrogation scene is a crowd pleaser.

* * *

The Balkans have always been a microcosm of the world, a dollhouse, a crucible in which everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and will go wrong again, and everything that could go right has gone right and will go right again, and in which every mix of good and evil and love and hate and avarice and generosity has been endlessly played out over the ages.

We take what she, what they have given us—this script, these notes, these pieces of footage—and we find in them all those things.

Of the film that will never be, there is nothing but these fragments, these spores. We write essays and books, slash and media tie-ins. We add soundtracks and new scenes, and film the scenes that were never filmed in endless variations. We draw comics and paint cathedrals. Cut, edit, add, cut again. We mix and manipulate obsessively, until the film that will never be is transformed: the film that could have been, that will be, that is always becoming more.

More than anyone could ever watch.

We can trade notes, share our favorite scenes, our favorite versions. We can debate about more or less faithful renditions, and whether that even has any meaning.

But in the end, even in this infinite proliferation of versions and truths and meanings and interpretations, we still have that one scene, the last one, untouched and absolute. The one we all come back to, time and again. The one that strips away the words and leaves no room for any truth but itself.

The camera is already rolling as the porn star walks into the chapel. She’s already nude. Her face is unreadable.

She gestures to bring the camera closer. “Leave the lights up. We don’t need the dark anymore.”

It’s true. She’s glowing like a fucking angel about to ascend.

“Touch me,” she says.

Everyone is there. The cast, the crew, even the monks. They gather, but no one touches her. Her eyes settle on the makeup artist, and hesitantly, she reaches out. The porn star places the makeup artist’s hand on her belly and holds it there, a minute, five, ten. Her eyes close and she lifts her face toward the vaulted ceiling. She smiles as if she’s come home.

When the makeup artist pulls away, the imprint of her hand shines brightly through the porn star’s skin for a few moments, before fading.

There’s no shortage of volunteers after that. Hands press her flesh, and the light follows. The cameraman films it all, and he has the camera trained on the porn star’s face when she says, “I can taste you.”

Her eyes open wide; she gasps and shudders.

She fruits.

Soft and rubbery, the caps push through her flesh, and as the others shrink away, she falls to her knees.

The cameraman shoots close-ups as the growths split her skin, glistening nubs ranging from the size of a nipple to a fingertip.

“What do I do?” the porn star asks, bleeding from a hundred wounds. “Please. Someone tell me what to do.”

Everyone looks away.

But then one figure moves close, takes her face in his hands.

The camera moves in for the close-up. The porn star stares at the monk as tears run down her face.

“This is it,” she says. “This is where it ends.”

“No,” he says. “I think this is where it begins.”

He kisses her, and groans. His hands move down her body, and the nubs respond, rising against his palms.

When he strips, there are fruiting nubs covering his pale flesh. And when she pulls him into her, the nubs twist and writhe around each other. They furrow into each other’s flesh.

The first to join them is the second director. She strips in front of the camera and then lies beside the two. And it is not long before the porn star cries out, grips her lovers with fingers that dig deep into flesh, arches her back, and opens.

Her body encompasses her lovers and spills out across the floor.

There are screams, of course, but they are background. In the foreground, the porn star, the monk, and the second director spread across the floor, their bodies melting, disassembling. Merging. The distinction between inside and outside becomes meaningless.

The screams fade, and the only sound comes from the pool of flesh on the stone floor.

The first director and the makeup artist look at each other. There is fear in that look, yes, and desire. And something more, something unreadable. Something I can’t comprehend. Not yet—but soon. Without words, they remove their clothing. They kiss, and then, holding hands, they step into the porn star’s body, and are subsumed.

One of the actors follows, then two others, until they have all joined the glowing, angelic mass, and only the cameraman and the third director remain.

And then the cameraman sets the camera on a tripod and joins the others.

The third director checks the connection between the camera and the computer, and between the computer and the internet, makes sure the data feed is uninterrupted. He stands at the edge of the porn star’s rippling body, which laps at his toes.

“I’m sorry,” he mutters as he turns away. “I should have helped.” He sits against the wall and wraps his arms around his knees.

The angel on the floor turns a dozen eyes to face him, and then a single arm, an arm with three long and still-livid scars, reaches out, offering a welcoming hand.

And then it is just the porn star, or the pool of flesh and fungus that had been the porn star, and the directors, the cast and crew, the monks. A kaleidoscope of bodies, of minds, ideas, cultures that can’t possibly coexist.

But there they are, hour after hour, day after day, streamed across the internet, until the power fails, and the film that will never be ends.

крај / kraj

Bernie Mojzes resides in a drab suburban neighborhood outside of Philadelphia with an improbable menagerie of creatures, some of which are neither human nor glass. He’s responsible for a number of stories in such venues as Daily Science Fiction, Dead Souls, Crossed Genres, and Whispers in Darkness, and has a short, illustrated book entitled The Evil Gazebo. In his copious free time, he publishes and coedits Unlikely Story (www.unlikely-story.com). In the truly stupendous amounts of free time remaining, he reads, studies swordfighting, and tries to occasionally fit in a bit of sleep. To learn more (and/or register a complaint) visit http://www.kappamaki.com.

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