“…Prince Charming is dead. He’s been slaughtered by scores of rabid, hungry fans…they’ve torn him to shreds with hot pink talons, all those shrieking harpies who want to look, see, touch and taste the fantasy…only to be bitterly disappointed with the wide eyed, politically correct gentility they find when they unwrap their toy surprise…”
Thus began my interview with one Jasper Baelian Black who, it seems, does not mince words when it comes to his opinions on…well…anything.
“Look at where entertainment has gone…young girls who sat up at night waiting for their Prince to come rescue them are now leaving their bedroom windows open so that psychopathic stalkers and vampiric sociopaths can watch them sleep! They want the serial killer, they want the anti-anti-hero. They want someone to slap them in the face, call them bitch and tell them to open their mouths wide…trust me on this.”
However crudely he may put it, there does seem to be some merit in his words. In this day and age, with the rise of trends and ‘pop-culture fads’ like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey sending many a tween and bored housewife into a frenzy, the wider population seems hellbent on embracing the dark side at all costs.
What better a psychological playground, then, for one of the city’s most notorious and anti-social public figures to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting masses?
But who is the man behind the Underground – the self proclaimed King (and we’re certainly not arguing with him) of the Adult Playground? We all know the stories, the rumors, the speculation…but when it gets right down to it, just who and what is Jasper Black?
Your humble journalist, Ms May Bea Sunshine, had the pleasure (honor? misfortune?) of being granted 3 hours of the ‘billionaire playboy’s’ time the evening before last to find out the answer to that question…
…was I surprised by what I learned? Perhaps. Or perhaps he told me what I already knew, deep down.
Either way – it made for interesting conversation.
MBS (May Bea Sunshine): Let’s clear something up from the outset, why now? Why after all this time do you feel the need to bare all, so to speak?
JB (Jasper Black): Simply because you asked me. I’ve always been here – I just find that it takes people quite some time before they drum up the balls to actually talk to me. I don’t blame them…I have a habit of telling the truth to a fault, and the truth hurts. Most people would rather not expose themselves to that.
MBS: Well you can be quite…abrasive.
JB: I’m just not interested in babying people and mollycoddling their egos. If I think they’re a fuckwit I’ll tell them – it doesn’t mean I’m right, I could be wrong, but it ain’t gonna stop me saying it.
MBS: And people don’t like this…
JB: Would you? I mean if I turned around and said I thought you were a bitter old hag who hides behind her blog attacking those who are her betters simply because they have more dignity than to make a career out of speculating about and vilifying others, would you want to hear it?
MBS: *flustered pause* Is that what you think of me?
JB: To be honest I haven’t made up my mind.
MBS: I suppose I should be thankful for that.
JB: It is what it is. Take it or leave it.
MBS: *long silence* Let’s talk about your Family. You’re the head of the Black household, are you not?
JB: By default I guess I am. I’m the middle child of three, but our elder sister passed away when I was only young so I got bumped up the ranks, so to speak.
MBS: Your elder sister…*shuffle of papers* Belladonna Elizabeth Black. She…she was, um…
JB: Also my mother. Yes.
MBS: Is there anything you want to say about that?
JB: …I don’t recommend it as a lifestyle choice. It gets you picked on at school when the other kids find out.
MBS: I can imagine.
JB: You want to know how it came about I suppose? The truth is I don’t know. To hear my father tell it she was a manipulative Jezebel that seduced him and then accused him of rape when she found out she was knocked up.
MBS: Do you believe that?
JB: I didn’t, until recently.
MBS: Something happened to change your mind…
JB: Let’s just say I’m starting to suspect that it may be a hereditary trait with the females of the Black Family. But I knew my Father…and I knew what kind of man he was and he was not above lying about something like that. Do I think that he was capable of raping and impregnating his own daughter? Absolutely. Would he lie about it? Most definitely. But…I’m not idiot enough to presume I know everything about people…no matter how much I want to believe my own version of the truth.
MBS: So he may have been innocent?
JB: *low laugh* There ain’t nothing about that man that is innocent, I assure you.
MBS: Do recall much about your mother?
JB: I only knew her for two years – at least I think it was two. I remember she was there and then she was gone, and I’d only had two birthdays. She was crying all the time, very sad and very sickly…barely 13 herself. But still she was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life, save one other…
MBS: And that other is..?
MBS: Ah yes, of course. Does she remind you of your mother?
JB: *laughs* Only when she’s angry. No…Bella ain’t nothing like my mother.
MBS: So you grew up with your younger brother Jett…were you close?
JB: We looked out for each other. His mother, Olivia, wasn’t really overly fond of me…I mean, who can blame her? There’s this kid who’s a constant reminder of the time your husband got it on with your daughter in your household that you’re moralistically ‘obliged’ to look after…she’d have sent me to an orphanage if she could.
MBS: Why didn’t she?
JB: My father decided I was useful to him.
MBS: I see.
JB: And I decided that I was going to make myself as useful as I needed to be in order to make sure Jett never got into any trouble.
MBS: And how did that go for you?
JB: Jett…is a fucking brat. There were times you wanted to drown him in the bath, what with all the whingeing and whining and tantrums and you really questioned why you bothered. But he’s a good kid. More or less.
MBS: Would you consider yourself close to your brother now?
JB: We do all right for ourselves. We have an understanding – he looks out for me, I look out for him…we try to have a conversation every once in a while and fail. But there’s no hard feelings, we are what we are. Besides, it’s not my job to keep him happy, that honor belongs to the Stepford Wife.
MBS: Meaning Betty?
JB: *chuckles* That would be her.
MBS: And how do you get along with her?
JB: She’s all right. She’s teaching me how to bake muffins. I suck at it – I get too distracted too easily.
MBS: Distracted? By what?
JB: Probably by her ass in those little floral dresses that she wears when she’s baking. I’ve never met a woman who has more baking outfits than Betty…I doubt I’ve seen the same ‘cooking ensemble’ on her twice…but I guess you gotta do something when you’re a billionaire’s wife to keep you entertained. It’s not like Jett’s there to amuse her…she gets her kicks where she can.
MBS: You sound a little bitter when you talk about your brother’s marriage…
JB: Do I? *laughs* I suppose I wasn’t expecting it to become MY marriage.
JB: Meaning when you are Family you all gotta kick in and take care of each other…that’s the way it goes. If one person drops their side of the casket, so to speak, someone else had damn well better dig their heels in and hold on or the whole thing will fall over…
MBS: And you help hold her up?
JB: When I have to. As they do with me.
MBS: Betty is on medication.
JB: For her nerves.
MBS: What would she have to be nervous about?
JB: Oh I dunno – what do any of us have to be nervous about these days? Life is fucked at the best of times. Everyone’s depressed, suicidal, manic, anxious…we’re a generation of pharmaceutical guinea pigs. Betty is no different.
MBS: What about your niece?
JB: Bethy’s ok…she’s going through a rough patch right now, she’s hit puberty and her hormones are making her a bit crazy…she’ll be fine.
MBS: You know, there are some who believe that Bethany is not Jett’s daughter.
JB: You want to know if she’s actually my daughter, is that it?
MBS: Well, there has been some speculation.
JB: Look, if I said she wasn’t my daughter you’d probably just presume I was lying. So sure…whatever makes you happy Ms. Sunshine…would you like to know the ACTUAL truth?
MBS: Tell me.
JB: The truth is that it doesn’t matter. As I said, we’re a family and we all look after each other. Bethy’s grown up with both Jett and I taking care of her, and he’s her father and I’m her Uncle J…and that makes her happy. What some piece of paper says about who knocked up whom is hardly going to change anything.
MBS: But technically speaking..?
JB: Technically…I don’t know. I never saw the paternity test.
MBS: Fair enough. It seems there is another imminent arrival in your family…your ‘submissive,’ Red, is said to be carrying your child.
JB: If she says so then I imagine it’s true. We don’t lie to each other.
MBS: You’re fond of her.
MBS: So…why not marry her and start a family of your own?
JB: *laughs* I like her too much to do that to her. We spend enough on booze and valium for Betty…and I’m not the marrying kind, let’s be honest. I’ve been engaged a few times. But I seriously doubt I’m ever making it to the end of the aisle.
MBS: You’re currently engaged to your barwench, Gem Scarlet, who quite publicly supports your ‘liasons’…but you’ve been engaged quite a few times haven’t you?
JB: Four or five, yes.
MBS: Who else has tried to tie the knot with you?
JB: Well…there was Raoul in Berlin. But we were drunk at the time.
MBS: Ah yes, he recently showed up at the Underground didn’t he?
JB: He did indeed. It was a spectacularly sparkly reunion.
MBS: So no hard feelings there..?
JB: …define hard feelings…
MBS: *pause and flustered laugh* Let’s talk about Bella Jade.
JB: We were never engaged. She wouldn’t lower herself.
MBS: When she was 18 she legally changed her name from Betsy to Bella Jade Black. Was that your idea or hers?
JB: Mine. I told her Betsy was a baby name and she needed to change it now that she was an adult. Plus it was about time she became a Black.
MBS: And then you made her heir to your fortune.
JB: I did indeed.
MBS: May I ask why?
JB: Insurance. I’ve some debts to settle which may or may not see me out of action in the coming year and I wanted to make sure that my ‘assets’ were in good hands. And if you’re gonna put your bits in anyone’s hands, then why not Bella’s?
MBS: Do you trust her to act in the best interests of your family?
JB: More than I’d trust myself to do it.
MBS: Even though she’s not really a Black?
JB: She is now. I got the adoption papers and legal documents that say so.
MBS: On that note…you brought her into your family when she was…8 years old? The story goes that you purchased her from one…****** ******….a registered sex worker who was employed by a brothel nearby the Underground.
JB: I did indeed. The going rate for an 8 year old was $50K back then.
MBS: That’s quite a lot of money…and I am surprised the authorities allowed you to go through with it.
JB: Look, her mother was a fucking crack addict…she tried to palm this little kid’s virginity off to me. I remember Betsy looking up at me with these cold blue eyes, almost daring me to take advantage…she kicked me in the shins when I asked her her name and told me that her name was extra…
JB: …I was just a kid myself really but I wasn’t blind and neither were the cops…the little bit had cigarette burns…her mother most likely was injecting her as well. And I figured…whatever life I could give her surely had to be better than what she was gonna get with a woman who’d sell her out for a measly few bucks. So I made a choice. And then filled out all the necessary paperwork. Our lawyers would be happy to corroborate my words if you like?
MBS: No need. Bella’s certainly profited for it tenfold I imagine…
JB: Oh she’s put up with a lot, living with me, make no mistake of that…
JB: Fuck her? No. Never. Children were my father’s thing, not mine…and I raised her to be a lady enough that by the time she’d come of age she certainly wasn’t going to even think about jumping in the sack with me. I’m beneath her and her Highness knows it.
MBS: Did her Highn…er…Bella ever see her mother again?
JB: Not to my knowledge. I kept tabs on her for a while…but then decided it was better to let sleeping dogs lie – no pun intended. Though I hear she’s still alive and in the country. If Bella ever wanted to find her she’d only have to ask me.
MBS: And she never has?
JB: Not yet.
MBS: Are you in love with her?
JB: Bella or her Mother?
JB: That’s a personal question isn’t it?
MBS: I suppose it is…are you going to answer?
MBS: Yes you are in love with her or yes you’re going to answer?
JB: I’m not sure. Next question?
MBS: So what’s next on the cards for Jasper Black?
JB: Hehe…well I’d say ask Dunstan…but there was an unfortunate fire…who knows really? On this downward spiral of life who can say where we’re going? I mean – clearly there’s some greater purpose to my being here. You don’t try and fail to kill yourself 13 times and not finally take the hint that there’s work yet to be done.
MBS: 13 times? Oh my…
JB: There are very few things I suck at…suicide is apparently one of them. Though I maintain that people bringing you back to life is not a failed attempt so much as it is people foisting their need for you to live above your own desires.
MBS: And do you still want to die now?
JB: Some days. Mostly not.
MBS: *long pause* Well…I am sure there are those who are grateful for your longevity.
JB: Indeed. Just think of all the papers you never would have sold had I croaked that first time…
MBS: *nervous laugh* Anything more you want to add, for the fans?
JB: Yes. Stop worshipping me and get a life…I am not what you think I am.
JB: *chuckles* Oh come on now…I can’t tell you everything all at once May…where would be the scope for a follow up interview then? And you didn’t even ask me about the electro-shock therapy…
MBS: I’m sorry…the what?
*click of phone being hung up*
MBS: Goodnight to you too…Mr Black.
Footnote: This conversation was followed up by an email from one Bella Jade Black demanding that we ‘surrender’ all documents and recordings pertaining to the phone conversation just concluded with one Jasper Black. As of this moment Ms Black and her lawyers may consider this expose our polite refusal to acquiesce to their demands.
All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013. Natalie Ristovski.