They call it Slave Island. Where the Dutch kept the slaves, surrounded by crocodiles. Now it’s just ocean, surrounded by miles upon miles, of undersea cable, of infrared, of club nights when girls, should be home in bed. Instead they find themselves waiting in parked cars in Slave Island, imbibing burgers as nutrition for the night.
There’s checkpoints everywhere, but Randy knows all the stops. They’ll stop you anyways, but Gihan knows all the cops. These are the same people who complain about rule of law, or how the country’s going to the dogs, but – dogs of the night – they will keenly slip a five or a thou to a cop and feel quite good about it in polite company.
This company, this scene. It begins, the downward spiral, with certain upstanding families who – no longer finding police chiefs or ministers in their green family tree – either left the island to visit or remained on the island, to visit. Some perpetual tourists become tourists in both mind and space, either pickled in arrack or tickled by ecstasy.
Some money trickles in from the estate and sets objects into spin about the vortex – homes, marriages, kids; broken homes, broken marriages, kids from broken homes and broken marriages. Somewhere, sometime, somebody is tapping rubber. Somebody in Colombo is pouring a drink. There’s rape, incest, drunkenry and neglect everywhere, but it’s strange seeing it here, after the slaves have been freed, after minds have been freed, after things are supposedly better.
The Prince of this Perpetual Ceylon lumbers about, debonair in one instance, debauched in another, ever intelligent but on so much cocaine that it numbs other peoples brains just trying to keep up. He’s OK, but into his vortex spill pretty girls from ugly backgrounds, without anything to fall back on except their bodies, which they inevitably do. Men are capable of culture, but more often than not it’s bacteria.
There, among the detritus and the destroyers, the keen and the keenly led, is the black belly of Colombo. Not in the slums or the shanties where illusion is thinner, where it barely covers the bones of human sufferings. This is in the homes and places with electric light, where, later into the night, the fat flesh of human suffering is exposed, through pupils dilated, as something as lonely and horrifying as the lean.