A Billion Dead Stars

A Billion Dead Stars

We were envied by everyone and we knew it. Together we’d managed to build an empire, thanks to a few shady businesses in Iraq during the war. It was like heroin in the eighties: everyone was doing it. And because why not. When neither of us believed in progress or change, it seemed futile not to chomp on a piece of the pie. Where we came from, a lot of people sat back and led second class citizen lives for the sake of morality. That was never an option for us. And most importantly, we needed to fulfill our zeal for chaos. Inevitably, things did get out of hand, sometimes. Archeological relics vanished mysteriously. Nightclubs that were always empty never went bankrupt. Mansions were bought in several countries. Basquiats and Harings adorned their walls. Bank accounts bloomed in Switzerland. Arms smuggled freely into Central Africa. Loquacious employees disappeared. Associates went to prison. Death threats were slid underneath locked doors. Signatures were forged. Hands were shaken and backs were stabbed.

Of course, however, everything was glossy on the surface. We hosted some of the most coveted parties and dinners of the country. We were at the top of the social ladder and no one seemed to be bothered by how we’d gotten there. What mattered was that we had made it. And people willingly shut their eyes on our immoral ways. Because the rich always bask in admiration and envy. And moral lessons are reserved to the poor. Sometimes, we would show up late to our own receptions. Hours late. She would make her grand entrance in straggly clothes that made her look like a giant ball. Messy hair all over the place. Holding cake in one hand and cream smeared all over her face. And I’d casually stand next to her and beam. Proud. Slick and perfect. Always in a suit. Other times, we wouldn’t show up at all. Le tout-Beirut wanted to be our friend but we didn’t care. Not about any of them. No matter who they were or where they came from. It was borderline ridiculous: the more we disrespected them the more they were fascinated. To us, it was all a grandiose game to keep us entertained, as we swaggered through an absurd, meaningless life. It was she and I laughing at the world. Everything else was collateral damage. We had made it a point to constantly push the limits, which gradually seemed inexistent, until we hit a wall a few days ago.

It was a Thursday night party at our beach house, a few kilometers north of the capital. I was on the balcony overlooking the sea, champagne flute in hand, discussing fashion with a couple of designer friends. The sky was clear and the moon floated unusually low, almost seemed like one of us. Or maybe I was just drunk. One of my close men grabbed my arm and yanked me to the side. His face was so grim he didn’t need to speak. He handed me a note informing me that our cellphones had been wiretapped for weeks now. That my main associate had just been arrested. That they were coming for me. I went through the paper a few times and sobered up instantly. My first reflex was to find her. Two of our trusted guys joined the conversation and we came up with a swift plan. Arrangements would be made. Until then, I had to disappear. I told her I loved her. And disappeared.

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5 thoughts on “A Billion Dead Stars”

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed the read Anne, a new story is out in Contributor Magazone, check it out on this website – I hope you like it!

      R x

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