Chapter I – continued
Christina was dark, as well, with long, luxurious tresses that fell over her strong shoulders, almost to her full hips. Her sense of style was less conservative than her husband’s, favoring bright colors and prints, but it was no less expensive. Her gaze was as shrewd as his, and she made no attempt to mask her wits. She ran her own chic “primitive art” gallery and made a handsome living from inflating prices to tap her wealthy clientèle. She passed along little, if any, of the profits to “her” artists.
Together, the couple earned a lot, and their status reflected it. They were well-established amongst the “haves,” and untroubled by the existence and experiences of the “have-nots.” Their social circle consisted of some of the wealthiest and most powerful citizenry, whose favor earned them entrance to all the right parties, all the best clubs.
Their home was in a high-rise in the center of a teeming metropolis, towering above urban squalor that stretched out for miles in all directions. By day, the gray city streets seethed with life that became progressively poorer, the farther they led from the city center, till they terminated in the abject human misery of cardboard-box slums crowded up around steaming, smoking garbage dumps. By night, the brilliant glow of peacock-proud neon bathed the streets in a surreal, electrified mix of optimism, oblivion, and desperation.
With one of the most exclusive addresses in the city, nestled in the safety of privilege’s embrace, their condominium was filled with only the finest furnishings, appliances, and artwork. With its deep pile carpet, immaculate white divan, matching side chairs and Ottoman, and glistening glass-and-metal bookcases and tables holding all their finest collectibles, they were surrounded with spotless, serene luxury high above the throbbing city below. At night, the wide windows of their living room showed no filth in the streets, no beggars or cripples or whores… only miles of light stretching out in every direction far below, masking pain and misery with light and action, thrilling them with the promise of easy conquest.