Issue #09/90, May 11 - 25, 2000  smlogo.gif

By Vijay Maheshwari

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Virulent viruses are vivisecting the post-industrial world’s vernacular with a voracious velocity. These viruses may take many effervescent forms, the most common being that of the deadly microorganism: AIDS, the disease that causes HIV; new strands of tuberculosis that have no cure; West Nile encephalitis; E. Coli, to name a few.

But in the salacious cyber-age, the word "virus" has taken on a meaning flabbergastingly vertiginous. Preying upon the many laptop-glued singles who despondently place their last hopes on receiving an anonymous email declaring eternal love (or an invitation to totally safe, non-viral cyber-sex), hacker-vandals have wreaked havoc on the world’s Information Superhighway with the unleashing of the "ILOVEYOU" virus, which spread around the world last week like an airborne STD. It’s as if the movie The Matrix were actually happening in the here and now, a world in which the virtual and the real collide, melding the Newtonian with the quantum to produce a clash of paradigms, crashed computers, and harried hearts.

Luckily for me, I don’t need to rely on the cyber world in order to simulate real-life sex. That is because I move among a higher plane of devilishly decadent lycra-clad dyevushki, whom I spot the minute they arrive with their foreign cars glistening under the orange Moscow streetlamps in front of clubs with names like Tsirk, Garazh, Club XIII, and Galereya. If anything, I am battling with a Maheshwari-made virus of over-satiation. Just in the past two weeks, I have slept with two model-level girls, made out with some sluttier but very, very cute young high school girls in the back of Propaganda, and I’ve had to turn away several more girls, including a super-model babe from Omsk named Masha, who I met when I was on assignment there for a story for Maxim magazine. I spent four insane days marked by the fricative of friction with Masha, but when it was over, I knew our romance had to end. For I am an Epidermian hedonist, a loyal follower of the ancient Roman philosopher Epidermus, who opined that the path to happiness leads through the aqueducts of sins of the flesh, while the Kuma Satra had an indelible impression upon me while I twirled through the innocent adventures of youth.

Lately, I’ve been working hard on my novel-in-progress, The Brahmin of Tallinn, which combines the same sort of post-modern wordplay that I’ve become known for (one of the editors for The New Yorker and the deputy editor of Granta have both told me that I’m very talented), notwithstanding a sort of identity/emigre/Lazarus thing that I think is really big right now with publishers. The narrator is sort of like me, relating his adventures with various beautiful model-like girls in the Baltics, moving between cultures, back and forth in time, through language, space and back to the flesh.

If Club Virus is a novel-in-progress, then it is still searching for its modus vivendi. I remember its opening night when all of the cool Moscow raver youth packed inside, always desperate to go to where the next big thing is. But the owners decided that they didn’t want the molodyozh and the eye-expanding vitamins that they’re so well known for. Instead, they tried to go for the Galereya crowd, which was a mistake. Since I am part of Moscow’s beau monde, I know this to be a fact. I hang out with them and participate in their deliciously decadent desiderata.

One nice thing was the VIP room, where I was one of only three people allowed in. Out on the plebian dance floor, blues wash over whites, while stomach-twirling lights glean and glisten above, and projectors create a Dadaist atmosphere by projecting onto the blank walls. Girls in their late 20s danced alone while looking in the mirrors as they gyrated their hips. One of them was clearly trying to catch my attention, so I sidled up behind her and, clutching tightly to her hips, made a move. She wouldn’t make out with me, but I think that’s because she was a lesbian.

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