It was a quarter past three, and James had started in on his 4 o'clock scotch. His guest, on the other side of the desk, sipped a glass of water. Outside was the sweltering heat of summer, the bustle of men and women and cars, even the occasional clop of a mounted policeman, for they were not too far from the park; inside, down the narrow steps to the offices beneath the level of the street, it was quiet, cool, and intimate.
"Ms. Futhark. What is this entertainment you propose?"
"An extraordinary endeavor, Mr. James." she said "But a daring one, as well. One to flog the jade out of the tired masses, who have grown so bored with common obscenity."
James nodded, and with one hand topped off his glass.
"So go on. Give me your pitch."
They will awake in an unknown room. A classical nuclear family - father, mother; daughter, son. The room is empty for them, except for a slot in one wall. And of course, one of the walls is transparent, so that the audience may see them, and they can see the audience.
Imagine if you would, their sudden terror on awakening, the drama, the confusion. To see themselves trapped in a zoo, mere objects for the amusement of others. I for one could watch the begging and pleading, the slow torture of days and weeks as they rant and rave, living like animals, shitting and pissing in the corner, going slowly mad as they starve...what madness might overcome them, you think, as they grew close to death? Cannibalism, perhaps. Murder, almost certainly, if only to spare the children suffering. But few have such patience for such fair; Oscar-bait, they'd call it.
So they will discover the collars. A short, electric shock. Enough to light up their spines, to elicit a scream, to get their attention and the audience on the edge of their seats.
Then the first order will come through the slot.
The idea is a descent into debauchery. To make the players perform. Sexual license, at first. Have them strip. A small thing, to see the family naked, but it's an important surrender. Then, the next request will come in. Has she ever had a fist up her ass? Would she get down on all fours before her children, and scream as he pushed it in past the first knuckle? She would eventually, of course. The collars will see to that. To save the children, if nothing else. Bloody and sobbing, what do you think her response will be when the same order comes through for her husband?
Ah, I see that you begin to see it. Betrayal. Unending sacrifices might be made for love, but you can find snuff films and child porn on the internet. What we want to see are a series of betrayals, the family violating each other, the arguments coming, one after another. It could go on for quite some time, before you reach a point where they say no - perhaps the father won't fuck his daughter, perhaps the mother won't suck her son. Perhaps the father simply refuses to take it up the ass.
Then the next order will come through. Except it isn't an order, but a series of photographs. Perhaps the father, molesting a little boy. Or the children, having sex with one another. The mother, coming out of an abortion clinic with her daughter. Numbing evidence. Tinder for the fire. Because we knew...we always knew...that it would end with violence.
Now the next order will come - with a knife and bandaids. Small sacrifices are demanded: the littlest finger on the left hand. Will the mother heed her husband's cries, when she's just seen a polaroid of him splitting a 12-year-old Thai boy on his cock? Or will the father care what his daughter says, after he seen the evidence of her sucking off the family dog? Whose shit has the wife got in her mouth, in that one photo, blown up and cast against the wall?
The finger is only the beginning of course. There will be blood, and crying. Then the next order will come, with tools. More complicated instructions, for the entire family to pierce their nipples. They will have to take turns holding each other down, the parents getting to work on the children first, who by now have probably retreated to a corner. The shared suffering will go on...it could go on forever. But by degrees the cosmetic agony must give way to a bloody finale; the torture must grow to true mutilation. To pierce his cock. To cut off her labia in bloody strips. To sacrifice one of the children's eyes. To dangle out the hope, that one of the children will be let go, if the other is raped. The tools become ever cruder: a lighter, firecrackers, a trio of gerbils, crude dildos spike to rip and tear at raw, ragged holes...
And the room will grow hot and heavy with their sweat and exertions, and their blood and piss and shit will pool on the floor, so that they are kneeling in it, rolling in it, wading in it, the tiny bodies writhing under the grunting, screaming adults; the mother screaming and sobbing, angry as a lioness protecting her cubs, or else cold-eyed and dead inside as she holds them down so that her husband can fulfill the next order from that devilish slot...
The street had gone quiet, or as quiet as it dared to get, and James sat at the desk, glass long empty, one hand still grasping the bottle. Chill sweat dripped and ran down his ribs, and beneath the desk a painful erection press against his pants. He swallowed.
"That's a hell of an act. What do you call it?"
Finally, Futhark smiled.
"The Aristocrats: A Prologue."