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Chapter 3- The Bells
Tara certainly wasn't the great love that I had enshrined in my imagination. Although there were aspects of her that astounded, sometimes even inspired me, she wasted her self on sex, drugs and travel. With no other, more productive, outlets her frustration was a time bomb, each moment a potential trigger to further irrationality. She deteriorated rapidly.

Tara and I had absolutely nothing in common. Her version of the "good life" quickly bored me. Stripped of its glittering skin, it was nothing more than a sordid, predictable soap opera- an unimaginative script acted out by an incompetent cast.

As I tediously played the role of the artist in search of LOVE the classes at Kinky Kollege got stranger and stranger. For the idle rich, life in San Francisco during the golden years prior to Aids was a moral black hole. Once past the event horizon there was no escape from a decent into a darkness festered like the husk of a corrupted fruit.

"What are you doing King?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe I'll try to write something."

"Mabye I'll try to write something" she mimiced. "Well, I want to take some acid and go dancing. There's going to be a bondage and discipline demonstration at the Iron Maiden after the clubs close. By then everybody should be really fucked up. Who knows, mabye a good spanking would do me good."

"That's nice."

"
I want you to come with me."

"Oh."

"Oh? That's it? Well shove your fucking typewriter where it fits ass hole!"

Tara understood fashion statement. Art was beyond her. Fueled by her desperate boredom we traveled incessantly. Whenever I could I would invent some reason to escape from her. Then I would wander alone, brooding, lost in fantasy. When I tired of that I was a cafe poser. I vomited words like the blooming James Joyce I imagined myself to be. Tara's demands grew more strident and outlandish as her insecurity and self abuse escalated. Her intake of drugs and alcohol struggled against all odds to provide the fuel for the engine of destruction that powered her madness.

"Hay! Tell that jerk to stop staring at me!"

"That's a parking meter Tara."

"Oh. Well, give me another drink then." She slurred. "Man, what a dumb cunt I am!"

Her capacity for "better living through chemistry" was both pathetic and amazing. She treated parties like war zones where she battled valiantly to top her own score in the game of madness. Her competition, the other beautiful losers, never stood a chance.

"They are all so sweet, such lovely boys. Their skin is like silk. Look at that one in the leather panties. You'd look cute in those, King."

"Yah yah, right Tara. Except I don't like boys, especially boys in panties."

Two years passed and then, although not as she had predicted, we came to an abrupt, but inevitable parting of the ways. We were in Barcelona. I was sick with tourista, drugged out on opium suppositories. Except to struggle to the bathroom I had slept through most of the 4 days we were there. I woke one afternoon, my face cauled in sweat. I struggled to my feet. I stumbled on a drawer. It was empty. My clothes were shredded on the bed. The closet was empty. Tara was gone. On the mirror, scrawled in one of Taras trashy lipstick colors, was a crude bull's eye. In its center, taped on with a Band-Aid was a note. Next to it, an American Express card glowed a sickly green.

"Dear Fuck Head, I'm out of here! Please don't attempt to find me or to come back to the San Francisco house. You are no longer welcome. I have fallen in love with a bull fighter, a real man I met at the Cantina Bar the other night while you slept. We leave today on an around the world adventure that should take up most of the coming year. Then we will return to San Francisco where Jose wants to study opera. I couldn't deal with your self absorption any longer. I need a mans full attention and you weren't capable of that. The American Express card has a $10,000.00 dollar limit and then it cancels. That should get you a new start somewhere. I have instructed the staff at the house to get rid of your crap so don't try to go back to claim any of it. I think you've gotten enough out of this ride."

The last stab was typical Tara.

"I guess this is my pay back to you for abandoning me emotionally."

I wandered, sick, through the streets of Barcelona, another of the lost, drugged out, foreign zombies that washed up everywhere that the living was cheap, like specters wearing lepers' bells. Although I thought I was only a spectator in her drama, or, at most, the vehicle of her chastisement, My time with Tara had transmuted me. With her as my guide I followed the path of the idols of my youth, the artist-criminals like Rimbaud, Beaudilaire, Picasso and Jean Genet who saw in the exploration of the decadent depths the path to knowledge. She left me abandoned deep within the abyss.

My money nearly depleted, I flew back to California. It was the only refuge I could think of. I knew something would happen, I just didn't know what, or how. Until the next step revealed itself I needed some place familiar to wait. I rented a coffin-like room on the third floor of a cheap hotel that overlooked Columbus Avenue, in North Beach. In the confines of my tiny cell I struggled with my demons. The sonorous toll of church bells resonated in my head like the heart beat of God.

That unique moment in the warp and wolf of a generation , the San Francisco "Summer of Love", eddied around my solitary vigil like a malignant fog about a manger. Within me the beast come to term, awaited its moment of birth.

Dominique was it's mid wife.

Chapter 3- The Bells