Hello? You've had an accident. You need an ambulance. I'll call for one. I'll be right back. - Lie still here. - No. No. No what? I don't need an ambulance. I can clearly see you do. I'll call for one. In that case, I'll be up and gone before you have time to come back. That will hurt. That's possible. But it doesn't matter to me. I assume you don't want me to call the police either. Yes, that's exactly right. Is there anything you want? I'd like a cup of tea with some milk. Well... You have to come with me. I don't serve tea in the street. Can you walk? Yeah. I've even bought a cake. Here's a pajama. Thank you. I've made up the bed for you. With clean sheets. - Sorry. - That's okay. There. - I'll wash your clothes. - Not my coat. It smells rather badly. It's my coat. The smell won't come off anyway. It's your coat. - Do you take sugar? - No, thank you. There you go. Thank you. So what happened? Were you robbed? It's my own fault. I'm just a bad human being. I've never met a bad human being. Well, you have now. Do you want to talk about it? You wouldn't understand. Well, try me. But I wouldn't know where to start. Why is that ridiculous fishhook hanging there? That's a fly. I caught a fish with it once, a rather big one. Strangely enough. Fly fishing is about tying feathers and other things to a hook so it resembles something the fish likes to eat. And then because the fly is very light, you have to have a line that is heavy. It creates the velocity when you cast. - You fish a lot? - Well, some. But I don't catch much. The locals catch a lot more. When I was young, I... I had a book I... I worshipped. It was an old book by Izaak Walton called "The Complete Angler." It was like a romantic nature bible to me. Maybe I know where to start. But if you're to understand, I'll... I'll have to tell you the whole story. And it'll be long. Long is good. And moral, I'm afraid. To begin with the bait, I discovered my cunt as a two-year-old. "Cunt" is a very strong word. Let's call it "Pandora's Box" then. Um... No, no, no. "Cunt" is better. So, I was a nymphomaniac. Wait a moment, no. Nobody can be a nymphomaniac when they're only two years old. I don't think even the strictest God would see anything else than a child's normal behavior. What about fetuses? It's common knowledge that fetuses often touch their genital organs. Can a fetus somehow be sinful? Why not? Not according to any religion I know, unless it's an original sin. Ancestral. Or perhaps according to a religion that doesn't exist yet. According to a god that hasn't yet manifested himself. But then you can imagine anything. At an early age, I was mechanically inclined. Kinetic energy, for example, has always fascinated me. And my friend, let's call her "B," always came up with the ideas. Playing frogs was one of B's classics. Joe, are you all right? Just a moment. Are you done? For Christ's sakes, leave them alone. I loved my father very much. He was a doctor. My mother's name was Katherine. My father called her Kay. I suppose she was what you'd call "a cold bitch." She always had her back turned when she played solitaire. I hated solitaire. When we had P.E., I'd climb up into the ropes and hang there for ages with the rope between my legs. "The Sensation" we called it. I remember very distinctly this word, "sensation." Perhaps the only difference between me and other people was that I've always demanded more from the sunset. More spectacular colors when the sun hit the horizon. That's perhaps my only sin. Why are you insisting that children are sinful? Not children. Me. I don't see sin anywhere. But then I'm not religious. Well, that's because you don't know the rest of the story. And by the way, I'm not religious either. Why would you take the most unsympathetic aspect of religion such as the concept of sin... and let it survive beyond religion? I don't understand this self-hatred. Well, that's what I said. - You wouldn't understand. - No, I'm... I'm sorry, I'll shut up. Please continue. Nervus... pudendus. Nervus dorsalis clitoridis. When the ash tree was created, it made all the other trees in the forest jealous. It was the most beautiful tree. You couldn't say anything bad about it. It was the World Tree in Norse mythology. Remember, Odin... He hung from the ash tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days in order to gain insight. The ash tree had the strongest wood. Then in the winter... when the ash tree lost all of its leaves... all the trees noticed its black buds, and started laughing. "Oh, look. The ash tree has had its fingers in the ashes." See? You can always tell the ash tree in winter by the black buds. Now... Now this is a lime tree leaf. - Remember? - I forgot about the lime tree. I've told you 100 times. My dad loved telling me about the trees, and their leaves, and considered it part of a good education. He especially loved the childish educational stories he told to help me remember what I had learned. I knew how much he loved telling those stories. Sometimes I pretended I'd forgotten them. Originally, the lime tree's leaves were round. A fox had her den beneath its roots where she had four cubs. One day, she went out looking for food for them. There was a hunt in the forest. She was shot. Wounded, she crawled back to the den where she and the four cubs died. This made the lime tree so sad. And from then on, the lime tree decided to have... heart-shaped leaves. Oh, yes, that's right. Heart-shaped. Am I boring you? No, no. I'm just looking forward to how you'll get fishing weaved into your tale. You could start with the fly on the wall there. It's called a nymph. It will tie in elegantly with your discussion about nymphomania. A nymph is an early stage in the life of an insect. As a quite young nymph, it was imperative for me to get rid of my virginity. Hopla. I kind of knew this boy, J, who had a moped. So in my eyes he was rather sophisticated. I was 15, and perhaps my girlish, romantic expectations were a bit high. But he had good, strong hands. I liked his hands. Hello? - Hi. - Hi. If I asked you to take my virginity would that be a problem? No, I don't see a problem. So, um... Where shall I go? It's the fucking carburetor. I just can't work it out, you imagine that? - That's not very good. - Hmm? - It's not very good. - No, it bloody isn't. Ruins the whole idea of having a moped. You should probably take off your knickers, yeah? He shoved his cock inside me and humped me three times. Then he turned me over like a sack of potatoes. Then he humped me five times in the ass. I never forgot those two humiliating numbers. Three and five? Those are Fibonacci numbers. That may be. In any case, it hurt like hell. I swore I'd never sleep with anyone again. But of course that only lasted a short while. And now to get back to your fishing. A couple of years later, I was at my friend B's, and as always, she had a new idea, financed by her younger brother's piggy banks which she regularly emptied. We put on clothes later known as the "fuck me now" clothes. The idea was a competition. We were to go on a train trip. B said there was no need for tickets. The one who would fuck the most men when we reached the destination would win the chocolate sweets. May I interrupt here? What you were doing when you walked down that corridor. You were reading the river. Most of the large fish stay sheltered from the current to save energy, and to hide from the prey. Where the fish hides in the stream entails a very complicated hierarchy. The topography decides where the most attractive places are, and the biggest fish choose the best positions. What do I do? Smile and make eye contact. But what if it doesn't work? If you have to talk, remember to ask lots of "wh" questions if you want more than a yes or no answer. Then it'll just happen on its own. You just take them to the lavatory and you have sex with them. Oh. What if it's nasty? Then you just think of the bag of chocolate sweeties. What... What time is it? Ten. Where do you come from? From home. Who knows where the lavatory is? Well, if you take a right, you will arrive at a lavatory at the end of the car. At the same time it is so cleverly arranged that if you take a left turn you will also arrive at a lavatory since at the end of the next car there is also one. Let me show you where the lavatory is. It turned out to be shockingly easy. In no time, B was ahead five to three. And it was exactly right. Look them in the eye and smile. But then suddenly, it stopped. That's a very clear parallel to fishing in the stream. As it happens, either none of the fish are feeding, or they all feed at the same time. They go into feeding frenzy. All bite. And then just as suddenly as it started, it stops. It's observable, but it's highly unpredictable. And it has to do with, I don't know, weather, barometric pressure, maybe some fish psychology. If that's possible. Anyway, the fish most readily bite at the beginning of a light rain, and I think that's because they feel safe when they swim in the stream. Because they can't be seen from above. The water's surface is disturbed. But then it started again. Although, a bit more slowly. Yeah. I think I know how. Because fly fishing can be done in several phases. And if the fish stop biting, you move on to phase two. And in phase two, you not only imitate an insect, but an insect in trouble. You pull... You pull the line. You tug it irregularly, so the fish gets the impression that it's dealing with an injured and easy prey. And then helplessly, let the fly float down the river again. Then half-heartedly, make a few jumps forward again. It can be done... It can be done very elegantly. Hey. Sorry. Nothing to feel sorry about. I'm just not feeling very well today. What could be so bad? Oh, thank you. I can't talk about it right now. Can I just sit here for awhile? Yeah. Sure. Is it better now? No. - Are you all right? - It's Betty. I was just told that she's very ill. Is Betty a close family member? You could say that. She's my dwarf hamster. Dwarf hamster? You can't be serious. Well, what was I to do? And then, I did have a dwarf hamster when I was young. That you were very close to? Not at all. A bloody nuisance. Dwarf hamster? That's not so bad. Would have been worse if it were a person. Don't say that. I'm extremely fond of my hamster. Yes, I think that's a rather cynical thing to say about Betty. Yes, I made the cage nice and cozy for her when... - When I got her. - I bet she liked that. Betty was excited. One of nature's most meaningless creatures. You're aware that the choice of a dwarf hamster possibly suggests certain sexual connotations. I can see that now but it was really not a conscious choice. How long does a dwarf hamster actually live? Months, years? Its life is much too short. Would you show me where the lavatory is? I... have to blow my nose. Just the same, we were running out of subjects, and B was ahead on points, which led us to S's first-class compartment. Tickets, please. Thank you. Ladies? Tickets. Well... I think I might have lost it. Perhaps. Drop yours as well, did you? I haven't bought a ticket for your shitty train. It's so bloody slow, we should have been at the end of the track half an hour ago. Regardless of delays, you still need a ticket, sweetheart. Eight pounds each, please. Ooh! I accidentally tore it up. Can't expect me to pay for scraps of paper. - Have another one. - Oh, great idea. Oh, that one's disappeared too. I can always just get the police to collect your payment at the next station... Let's just take it easy here, shall we? Apparently, the young ladies have left without any money. If it's okay with you, I'd like to pay for their tickets. No, sir, it's not. Leave your money where it is. We'll let the police deal with these two. We did have sort of an agreement that I was to pay. I just forgot about it. I see. Two first-class tickets... for two first-class ladies. Enjoy the rest of your journey. Tickets, please. Now that you've been so nice to us... we'd like to be nice to you, too. Oh, that's very kind of you, but there's no need. I mean that. You have to split them up into whether they have a goal and a mission or not. That one doesn't. Well, I've already lost anyway. I'm willing to give you five extra points... if you can get that one in there. I decided, perhaps a bit desperately, that the only thing standing between me and the bag of chocolate sweets, was an unequivocal provocation of this man. Excellent. An induced take. When all other attempts fail, a dramatic provocation can get an otherwise completely passive fish to bite. A salmon or a trout, for example, eats itself fat while in salt water, and then basically has no need to eat as it makes its way upstream to the spawning grounds. They're not hungry but they will react instinctively to the right provocation. Which would not be a fly, but for instance, a brightly colored wobbler, preferably red, served immediately in front of the fish. The very best is one we call the Finnish Weapon. The so-called "Rappala." I don't know if it's comparable, but I decided in any case to find out why he hadn't taken the bait, and to use my psychological abilities, which B, in my opinion, didn't possess to the same degree. You've bought a gift. Yes. It's for my wife. - No gifts for the children? - No. We don't have any, actually. Well, you seem rather well-to-do. You travel first-class, and you bought us our tickets. Why then not buy a decent gift for your wife? I can see it comes from the station. Of course I should have... bought her something... something better, but... Let's just say I was suddenly in a hurry to get home. Why would a man like you with such an orderly life suddenly have to hurry? It has to do with family. My wife and I have decided that we... we miss having children, after all. And that if we are to have children, it has to be now. So my wife called yesterday to say that she... She started ovulating. And all signs point to maximum fertility precisely tonight. You see? That's why I bought her a gift at the station. I had to get a ticket home as quickly as possible. - Well, I understand now. - What is it you understand? Why you didn't have sex with us. It wasn't because I didn't want to. So you've been saving your sperm. For weeks. I mean, you and your wife are... seem to be at an age where every attempt to become pregnant has to be taken very seriously. Right now, my... My sperm quality is at its peak, I'm told. Please... I'm begging you, please don't. It's okay. Please don't. You've been as horny as hell. But you wouldn't give up your load. Please don't. Oh, fuck. Wow. In your case, it wasn't the taste of a Madeleine cake, moistened with lime blossom tea, but the combination of chocolate and sperm. What? That was a piece of culturally blasphemic digression. It's a story about memory. How the combination of two flavors set off a chain of memories. So oral sex became, in the eye of the angler, your... your Finnish weapon. Is that your only comment? What else... What else do you want me to say? That I behaved reprehensibly. That already my actions exemplify that I'm a... I'm a terrible human being. That's not the way I see it. On the contrary, I saw it as a... A very pleasurable and humorous story. Not at all sad, or... or weighed down by sin. Like all that talk about Pandora's Box. I've consciously used and hurt others... for the sake of my own satisfaction. And what I've told you so far only begins to suggest that. But when you told the story, you were cheerful. Full of humor. It wasn't as if you embarked on some tragic tale. Well, that's the way I am. I've always loved the chills at the start of a fever, knowing only too well that sickness will soon follow. The only thing you've done, except giving a few people an experience to remember, is that you... You relieved S from his load in some... some youthful hubris. I read somewhere that if you keep the load too long the sperm will die. Or worse, degenerate. Maybe thanks to you, Mr. S and his wife now have a healthy and well-functioning child. I discovered my power as a woman and used it without any concern for others. That's completely unacceptable. Oh, little darling... Don't you "little darling" me. No. What I wanted to say was that if you have wings, why not fly? Allow me to digress. I read a book about Sikorski and helicopters where the author stressed the fact that in order to take off, you tilt the helicopter forward. It looks like you're trying to force the helicopter down into the ground, but the effect is the contrary. That the velocity takes the helicopter and sweeps it up in the air. The pilots say the helicopter wants to fly. It's like when you're in a glider plane, and suddenly you're lifted, because of the spontaneous emission of thermals. Thermals is when the sun is warming up the field, and it emits a thermal bubble of warm air that rises. These aircraft, they want to fly. It's just a little unpredictable when. You flew on that... on that train. And that surprised you. No more stories. You need to sleep. No, no. This is beginning to amuse me. I don't even know your name. My name is Joe. I'm Seligman. What a fucking ridiculous name. It's Jewish. You said you weren't religious. No, but my great-grandfather was. And my parents gave me the name as a sort of... sentimental association to Judaism. Why let the sentimental part of religion, as you said, outlive religion itself? You have a point. But we've always been anti-Zionists, which is not the same as being anti-Semitic, as certain political powers try to convince us. Seligman... means "the happy one." So, are you happy then? Well, I suppose I am. In my own way. Even if I'm the kind of person who cut the nails of the right hand first. What does that mean? Well, I divide humanity into two groups: the people who cut the nails on the left hand first, and the people who cut the nails of the right hand first. My theory is that the people who cut the nails of the left hand first, they're more light-hearted. They have a tendency to enjoy life more, because they go straight for the easiest task, and... save the difficulties for later. - So what do you do? - Always the left hand first. I don't think there's a choice. Go for the pleasure first, always. And then when you've done the left hand, only the right hand remains. That's the easiest one left. I never thought of it like that. Well, you're never too old. Never too old to learn. That's rugelach. Mm-hmm. Yeah, it's a Jewish cake. - There's that sentimentality again. - Oh, but it's more than rugelach. It's rugelach served with a cake fork. A rugelach, in my opinion, is pastry, which there is no excuse for eating with a cake fork. To serve it with a cake fork is irritatingly unmanly, not to say downright feminine. However, it can bring us further with the story. I also knew someone who consumed rugelach every day, almost ritually, with a cake fork. And although we'll be jumping a bit in time, I have to tell you about Jerome. As far as I can see, the next chapter doesn't contain as direct an accusation against my person as the rest of the story. But as you've read a great deal, apparently, you know that in a story things have to be good before they can be bad. The chapter will also make a sentimental soul like you happy as it contains observations on the subject of love. Can I tell you something? Sure. - Yeah. - Yeah, sure. It might not be important to you... But it is to me. I've never had an orgasm before. Really? You're my first one. You don't know how happy that makes me. I love you. You're my first. Well, I have to admit, quite a lot of girls say that. The train trip had increased my appetite, and soon B and I started a club that we called "The Little Flock." Mea vulva, mea maxima vulva. B, of course, took the lead as she was the most daring of us. She was raised Catholic. I'm sure you're familiar with the practices of the Catholic Church. ...mea maxima vulva. Mea vulva, mea... That's interesting. Blasphemic, satanic. The music. The interval between "B" and "F." It's a tritone. The devils interval. It was banned from music in the Middle Ages. Well, the Vacuum Cleaner invented it. She took piano lessons. Vacuum Cleaner? The Vacuum Cleaner possessed a special talent for floppy cocks. She had some kind of vacuum in her cunt. I was imagining something like that. Fourteenth of the eighth. I was at a place called The Donkey. The boys were staring, University hangout. I approached the stupidest one of the lot and asked for directions to the underground. He studied literature. I told him I read a lot, and that I really admired people that chose to study subjects in depth. As I said, he was very stupid. Told me all about Kierkegaard. I nodded, smiled. Then he asked if we could go elsewhere. The idiot thought he'd pulled me after five minutes of his bullshit. I told him I was on my period, and I took out his cock and gave him a hand job. Ugly, little shriveled cock, with a tight foreskin. When I pulled it back, it sort of collapsed but it worked in the end. University boys are disgusting. And then I jacked him off until he shook in that way they do, you know. Just before they come. Then I let go of his cock and got up. I left him standing up against the wall with his pants round his ankles looking stunned. Now, B's message wasn't exactly representational. She just had to be the tough one. It was directed at the men. It was about fucking, and about having the right to be horny. We masturbated together, that kind of thing. But it was rebellious. We weren't allowed to have boyfriends. No fucking the same guy more than once. You said you were rebellious. What did you rebel against? Love. Love? We were committed to combat the love-fixated society. I really believed in our Little Flock. But of course, that was naive of me. Over time, even the strongest couldn't stay true to our manifest. Third of the fifth. My third intercourse this week, - again with Alex. - Third? Haven't we stated that we fuck each guy once? Yes, but he was rather sweet. Sweet? - Well, you know, sexy. - Well, then, say sexy. He squeezed my earlobes. Earlobes? Great. What else did he squeeze? I don't think you can understand Alex. I don't want to. - Our relationship-- - Relationship. There you are. The way you're describing it, which should be full of lust, is just a nauseating analysis of his future abilities as a father to your child. You think you know everything about sex. The secret ingredient to sex is love. For me, love was just lust with jealousy added. Everything else was total nonsense. For every 100 crimes committed in the name of love, only one is committed in the name of sex. That's quite a statement. Well, it all strengthened my wish for a serious education. Glasgow. Aberdeen. Why are you smiling? Well, I just pictured how an education would be conveyed in your storytelling. Well, that's nothing to smile about. Oh, I understand that. So what kind of education did you get? I began studying medicine, like my father. Today we are going to perform the procedure that's called an abortion. We open up our cervical channel to enter the uterus, and to get access to the fetus, for which we use the so-called Hegal sticks. We enter the vagina tract, and go into the cervical channel. We start with a small sized stick to cause a minimum of damage to the tissue. And then we increase the size of the stick. But it was harder and harder for me to concentrate, so I studied less and less, till finally I dropped out. My dad was very disappointed when I stopped. But it was the only time I saw my mother really smile when she said, "What did I tell you?" So instead, I began to look for a job. It turned out it was hard to get a job that paid even halfway decently. I didn't really know how to do anything. So I didn't have high hopes when I applied for a position as an assistant at a printing house. So, could you tell me a little bit more about your background? Um... - Education-wise. - Oh. Well, I finished high school, and decided to study medicine. But I didn't finish. I know it sounds a bit pointless coming here. - Right. - I just really need a job. And I've tried everywhere. I don't usually give jobs to people just because they need one. What about secretarial skills? Do you have any of those? No, I didn't think you needed skills. You didn't think you needed skills for this position - as a secretary? - No. Can you open an envelope? Yes, I... Yes, I think I can open an envelope. Well, I'm glad to hear that. I shall discuss this conversation with Mr. Jerome, my boss. Do you think there's a chance? - I doubt it. - Oh. Well, apparently, having absolutely no experience is absolutely fine for this job. You've got it. Does that mean I should start tomorrow? Yeah, I suppose it does. - Good morning. - Right. Yes? - Good morning, sir. - Good morning. I just wanted to introduce you to our new junior secretary. Joe? I believe you wanted to explain her work duties. - Hi. - This is the new junior secretary. Liz, can I have another coffee? - Yes, of course, sir. - Thank you. Hi. - Jerome. - Your first love. I bet you didn't think I'd make something of myself, right? And now, here I sit. The director's chair of M & J Morris, Ltd. - Yeah, it's quite surprising. - Surprising? It's a sign from God. You know, I've thought about you often since then. Have you thought of me? - Well... - What? Usually, you know, my uncle sits here. But he's developed a bit of a tummy problem, so he's at the spa, taking long baths, drinking lots of water, poor guy. And no one knows for how long. So now I'm the "J" in M & J Morris, Ltd. How about that? We print cards and envelopes, nonsense like that. It's a bloody complicated business, you know. I don't understand a word of it. Come, I'll show you around. Yes? - Ladies? - Yes, sir. Oh, look, there you are. Good job. Every time you do a good job, I say, "Good job, Liz." - Thank you, sir. - What's her name? - Liz. - Good job, Liz. - Good job, Liz. - Good job, Liz. It stopped. Fuck. Yes. - Well, isn't there an alarm? - Which? - Isn't there... - Alarm, right, yes. Good thinking. Imagine... you look just as great all these years later. Oh, no. - No. - No? No, Jerome, this won't work. - Which won't work? - This. Why not? You're not really my type. That's how it's gonna be? - Yes. - All right. Fuck's sake. Okay. Um... Give me your hand. We'll do fireman's grip. - You okay? - Yeah. Why didn't you have sex with him? You must have had sex in a lift before. I'm not quite sure. I've shagged lots of idiots. Including worse idiots than him. Of course, I... I regretted that it had been him back then. But that's just sentimental drivel. And I'm not sentimental. I suppose he fired you then. No. If he had fired me, then he would have lost. As I didn't recall anyone having defined my work duties, I decided to clean up in order to smooth the waters. Good morning, sir. - Any calls? - No, sir. - What have you done? - Oh. I cleaned up. You cleaned up. - It was quite messy, and-- - Liz? - Yes, sir? - She cleaned up. I know, I... I didn't know, sir. - I was away from my desk. - Are you completely mad? What is the tea and pastry doing here? I thought that's what you wanted for-- You thought? You're not supposed to think. I don't pay you to think, do I? This is a do-over. - A do-over... - Right. Pick it up. Take it outside. And do it again. One moment. Come in. Would now be a good time for some tea and cake? Sure, why not? Where the fuck's my cake fork? - Cake fork? - Right. Well, I would have got you one, but it just... feels inappropriate. Unmanly. Feminine. Well, on the other hand, you must say that a cake fork is a rather practical tool. It's like a cross between a knife and a fork. The point is that you're supposed to be able to hold the cake dish with one hand and then cut it with the other. And then eat it with the fork. It's not feminine, it's at least bourgeois. It's said that the Bolsheviks, during their rampage through Russia, to separate the men from the boys, or rather the bourgeoisie from the proletariat, they brought a boy, and before burning down a house they sent him in to make sure they had cake forks. That's not true. I don't have the story first-hand. Hello. - Hi. - Hi. I was wondering if you could help me. It's suddenly gone very dirty. See, yes? See, you've got your dirty fingers on there. Maybe we should wash your hands. Yeah, better. Mm-hmm. - You must be very talented. - Yeah, sure. Hmm. You see, here's got a stain. If you'd asked Jerome, he would have said that I was the one who'd declared war. Many times he'd take me into town just so I could hold his coat. - There. - Where? There, behind the green car. - It's not big enough. - It is, there's plenty of space. I saw it, it's not enough space. I'm telling you, there's plenty of space. No. It's too small a space for such a long car. Can I try? - Can you try? - I'm a wizard at this. I just tried, it's not enough space, Joe. You just saw me do it. It's not enough space, okay? - Can I try? - Fuck. You want to try? Why not? Stupid. It was about this time that a dramatic change happened inside of me. I could suddenly see a kind of order in the mess. Are you just standing here looking? Yeah. I've begun to like his mess. How do you mean? Well, these are all things placed by Jerome. I mean, by Jerome's hands. Sounds to me like you would like to be handled by Mr. Jerome. Darling, you're in love with him. It was all very, very wrong. I wanted to be one of Jerome's things. I wanted to be picked up and put down, again and again. I wanted to be treated by his hands according to some sophisticated principle that I didn't understand. His strong hands? Yes, but now it was no longer just about his hands. It's as if everything about him was different, which, of course, it wasn't and I knew that in my head. And I scolded myself for seeing him in this new light. - Love is blind. - No, no, no, it's worse. Love distorts things. Or even worse... love is something you've never asked for. The erotic was something I asked for, or even demanded of men. But this idiotic love... I felt humiliated by it, and all the dishonesty that follows. The erotic is about saying yes. Love appeals to the lowest instincts, wrapped up in lies. How do you say "yes" when you mean "no," and vice versa. I'm ashamed of what I became. But it was beyond my control. - You know what you're doing now? - No, what am I doing? You're defending your personality. I thought the point was to reveal it. - Thank you. - You're welcome. Thank you meaning, "That's all." You can go now. Goodbye, Joe. At this time, I took up walking again. You walked in the forest? Yes, I walked in the forest. The forest of my childhood. I took the same walk again and again. Right turn after the gatehouse, and right again by the ash tree, which has the most beautiful leaves in the forest, and further on, past a lady with her poodle, and the old man on the bench. I couldn't free myself of the image of Jerome and his careless elegance. And during this time, when I was with other men, I forbade them to touch my body with their hands. And soon, I stopped having sex altogether. I tried to meet him all the time. I found out where he lived, but of course, never dared ring his doorbell. I even started humiliating myself on purpose in order for him to notice me. You broke a taillight. I did. I thought you were such a wizard at parking. So did I. It'll be deducted from your salary. It's a long car. I worked for a long time on a letter in which I told him about my feelings for him, but couldn't bring myself to hand it over. - Bye. - Bye. Bye. A month would pass before I had built up enough courage to deliver it. Well, I've written him a letter after all. Do you think that the letter is a bad idea? No, I think it's the right thing to do. I'm just... I think maybe you should wait until Friday. Why? He's always in a good mood on Fridays. Okay. I'm sorry, isn't this... Jerome's office? I'm happy to say that this never has been and never will be Jerome's office. My nephew has been standing in for me while I've been unwell. What's that? A letter for him? Yes. Give it to me and I'll make sure he gets it. Can't promise when that might be because he's long gone. How the young finance their irrepressible desire for travel is a mystery to me. - So he's gone? - Deserted us, yes. Raving about a trip around the world, - and married, and all. - Married? Marriage, yes. Flown the coop with my secretary. Liz. And your job? Well, it turned out that Jerome's uncle demanded a bit more knowledge about the business, so... I see. Well, as for evidence of you being a bad human being, there wasn't much to go on in this chapter. Yes, as I said. At least superficially. - I suppose you were jealous. - No, I wasn't jealous. I didn't know that feeling. It's almost superhuman not to feel jealousy. Well, that was the end of love, then? Well, maybe not quite as simple. But more about that later, as they say in the novels. And Jerome just disappeared? Yes. Though I'd tried to keep him in my own way, mentally, as I masturbated on the train amongst other people. You masturbated on the train, on the seat? - Yes, of course. - And that's possible? Easily. You just put your coat in your lap. It can be done silently without expression. The only thing that could give me away and mostly to women, was my open mouth when I came. I did a jigsaw puzzle. Ajigsaw puzzle? I found details in the other passengers that reminded me of Jerome. But in the long run, I couldn't hold onto the details of him, no matter how hard I tried. So, you could say that in a way, Jerome followed you as a kind of silhouette. Yes, but gradually disappearing as a sexual being. Maybe that's how it is with memory. You remember silhouettes. The essentials. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Of course there's silhouettes in the winter. The trees are difficult to tell apart. These buds... My father wrestled courageously with his flora and tree type guides. It's actually... the souls of the trees we see in the winter. In summer, everything's green and idyllic, but in the winter, the branches and the trunks, they all stand out. Look at how crooked they all are. The branches have to carry all of the leaves into the sunlight. It's one long struggle for survival. My father surprised me by calling the naked trunks the souls of the trees. A poetic thought that was rare for him, as by his own account, he preferred the empirical sciences. And after Jerome? I reacted, um... Well, let's just say... aggressively. - How? - By intensifying my hunt for men. You know these supermarket doors that open and close by way of some kind of sensor? Now compare these doors to my cunt, and add an extraordinarily sensitive sensor. My sensitive door opening gave me an opportunity to develop my morphological studies from knees to genitals. I embarked on a trip through, what, in the lingo of children's books, one might call, "The Country of the Big, Bad Cocks." "The Country of the Small Yellow Cocks," and so on. And most of all, I battled my way through an untold number of circumcised cocks. By the way, did you know that if you combine all the foreskin cut off through history, it would reach to Mars and back again? "Mrs. H." By now, I had built up a sizable circle of men, and was starting to have trouble remembering who was who. Hello, sweetheart. Want to meet? It's Fisher. I'm lying here thinking of you and what you said. I'm not angry at all if that's what you're thinking. Hi, Joe. It's Rob again. I had a really good time seeing you. Give me a... Give me a call. Hi, Joe. I left a couple of messages. Is everything all right? I quickly gave up trying to remember the individual relationships. It was impossible. And impossible to predict what they wanted to hear. So I invented a method. It was all based on chance. A one meant an overly loving answer. A two, not quite as passionate, but still positive. And so on, up to five, which was a complete rejection. And six, no answer at all. The trick with this method was that I didn't have to worry about the individual relationships, but instead became completely unpredictable, which, of course, drove the men even wilder. Hey, Eddie, it's me. Listen, I've given this a lot of thought, and I've come to the conclusion that we're done. Bye. I was just wondering if you wanted to come back, and maybe we can do something nice. Hi, Patrick, it's Joe. I had a really lovely time with you, and I'd love for you to come back. If you're interested, let me know. Bye. I really don't think we match, and you're quite annoying, so I don't want to see you anymore. Please don't call back. That sounds rather stressful. Yes, actually, it was. But fortunately, I had my little book of comfort. When I needed comfort or peace, I took out my herbarium and looked at my favorite leaves. Ash, trembling aspen and lime. When you're dealing with a larger group of lovers as I was, there will typically be a difference in their qualities. H was a sticky bastard. I had invited A for dinner, as he was my favorite, while H, who was present, had become quite irritating. You have to leave. I've got guests for dinner. But he's not coming until seven. No. But seven isn't that far away. Do you love me? A was to arrive at seven, and I needed to get H out of there. I love you too much. You keep promising, but I understand now that you'll never leave your family for my sake. It's sad, but... it's your choice. It's not satisfying for me that I can't have you completely. Which is why we can't see each other any longer. Goodbye. Look... Have a nice life. My darling, I'm yours. I've left her. - Has he gone inside? - Yes. Is the door closed? - Uh, hello. - Hello. Apologize. We, uh... had promised not to come up. We just wanted to... make sure he got here safely, now that he's... made the big decision. May the children see him inside? They say that the experience of saying goodbye can be very useful later when dealing with trauma. What a nice place. It's, uh... so bohemian. We used to have a place like this before we were... we were married. Before the children, me and my husband. Oh, I'm sorry. He isn't anymore, is he? It's all so new and confusing. He wanted to give us everything, but, uh... Of course we couldn't accept that. Oh, that's right. - You need the car key. - No, I don't need the car. Oh, yes, you do. He likes the car. Here. - Please, just take it. - I don't want it. - Just take it. - I don't want the fucking car! It's all right. We'll get the bus home. Children might as well get used to public transport now, right? Of course, their standard of living won't be the same anymore, but... I'm not saying that to bother anyone. One has to be realistic. Hey. What's this? It's a present. A pillow he has embroidered himself. - And who's it for? - Daddy. I do hope it's all right if the children call their father "Daddy" here. If you prefer, they can call him... "him," or simply, "the man." Whatever. "Whatever." Must be hard when you've got everything, to know what to say. To be honest, my first thought was never, ever to let either of you see the children, but then I changed my mind. I thought it only right that their father be confronted by the little people whose lives he's destroyed. Give Daddy your present. It's a car the little dear has embroidered. I'm aware that not everyone can see it, but... with the heart one can see much, however unimportant that information may be to you. Would it be all right if I show the children the whoring bed? After all, they also had a stake in this event. You need to see it. Right? Let's go see Daddy's favorite place. Come on, boys. Oh! So this is where it all happened. You should try to memorize this room. Especially the bed. It'll stand you in good stead later in therapy. Oh. Here I sit rambling on about therapy without a thought of what it might cost. I do hope you don't think we're here to beg. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Being silly. Mommy's being silly. Let's have a cup of tea. Hope it's not too weak. Afraid I'm rather nervous. The children's father likes two lumps of sugar in his tea. Mm-mm. I'll get it. Mm-mm. - No, no, please, please. - Hello. - Hello. - Yes? - Uh... How nice. Lovely. - Boys, come here. - Is Joe here? This might be interesting. - This is my son. - Yes. - Yes. - Hello, hello. - Look him in the eyes. - I'm Andy. Hello. - Friend of Joe's then? - Yeah. - You known each other long? - Uh... Not that long, no. - Not very long? - No. Oh. A menage-a-trois. It's all so exotic. So broad-minded. On that point... I failed. No doubt about it. Boys, now is the time to be alert, and ask all the questions your heart's desire. Because... I hope that you shall never have to encounter such people or be in such a situation ever again. Well, hmm? You don't have any questions? No? Well, I'll start, shall I? Approximately, how many lives... do you think she has time to destroy in one day? Five? 50? Or several hundreds? I admit the latter sounds improbable, but where there's a will there's a way. Look, this is just a big misunderstanding. Boys? I don't... I don't love your father. She's just saying that to make us feel better. I'm sure you understand that. Because if it were a joke, I mean... If... this were really a joke, then it would be a joke so cruel. No one can be that cruel. They say that even the Huns on their rampage were rather unreserved, but to split up a family... To destroy a mesh of feelings woven over 20 years is no joke, I can assure you. Well... If three's a crowd, then seven must be a bit of a challenge for the pretty miss. I must say I have a hard time picturing her enjoying loneliness. I think we better grab the chance to get away before things become grotesque. No, no, no! You wouldn't want to give your father a guilty conscience now, would you? So how did this episode affect your life? Not at all. - Not at all? - No. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Well, that's true. Some people... blame the addict. Other people feel sorry for the addict. But I was an addict out of lust, not out of need. You would say that, wouldn't you? And lust that led to destruction around me, everywhere I went. Well, addiction sometimes leads to an... absence of empathy. You can't fight a lion and blow the noses of your children at the same time. For me, nymphomania was callousness. You're very stubborn. But what about yourself? How did you feel during all this? Did you feel good, or did you feel bad? It's funny because when I think about my life as a whole, I can only say that I felt good. But when I try and remember a specific episode, I'd say that just then I felt rather bad. In what way? Mrs. H was right about the loneliness. I'd be lying if I said it hadn't been my constant companion. So you were with all these men, and you still felt alone? I didn't want to tell you about it. But you've led me into a trap. It was a certain feeling. Oh, how awful that everything has to be so trivial. When I was seven I had to have an operation. Nothing serious, but it did require anesthesia. I had already been pre-medicated, and was feeling all right. But when I looked into the room where the doctors and nurses were preparing for the operation, it was as if had to pass through an impenetrable gate all by myself. It wasn't just that I missed my mom. I don't think I missed my dad, even though he was the nice one. It was as if I was completely alone in the universe. As if my whole body was filled with loneliness and tears. And I'm still not allowed to feel sorry for you? Shall we go on? What are you reading? I'm not reading it really, I'm just... reacquainting myself with Edgar Allan Poe. I don't know him. Well, he was a... very anxiety-ridden man. He died in the most fearful way you can imagine, in something called delirium tremens. It occurs when the long-time abuse of alcohol is followed by... by a sudden abstinence. Your body goes into some kind of hyper-sensitive shock. You can see the most horrifying hallucinations or rats and snakes, and cockroaches coming out of the floor, and worms slithering the walls. One's entire nervous system is on high alert, and you have a constant panic and paranoia. And then the circulatory system fails. But the panic and horror... remains until the moment of death. I know what delirium is. "During the whole of a dull, dark and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone on horseback through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher." Hey, Dad. Hi, love. How are you? I fought with Mom. She's... She's not coming. You ought not to fight with her. You know Kay's fear of hospitals. I know she's not coming. We already said everything we needed to say. Kay and I said goodbye at home. I don't want her here at all. - I can't accept that. - You'll have to. She's a cowardly, stupid bitch. No, she's not. - Yeah. - No, she's not. - Yes. - No, she's not. Yes, she is. You've never understood that. Doesn't it scare you? No. How can you not be afraid? I've seen so many die. And there's that Epicurus quote about not fearing death. "When we are, death has not come. When death has come... we are not." You know it's going to happen. I also know all the drugs the doctors have to offer. So, no. I am not... I am not afraid. Hmm. My beautiful girl. Beautiful dad. Hello, Doctor. Hello, Doctor. This is my daughter Joe. - Hey, Joe. - Hi. Do you need anything? As I've said, I've decided to be an exemplary patient, completely subjecting myself - to doctor's orders. - Are you in pain? I don't think so, no. We're going to give you a splash all the same. Your hair is longer. No, it's not. They're giving you too much medication. No. Dad. It's okay, Dad. You're just dreaming. You're having a nightmare. It's okay. It's okay, it's okay, it's okay. Okay. Don't worry, I'm going to get the doctor. Don't worry. You must be exhausted. I'm fine. I think you should go home, get some rest. No. Someone needs to be here. Perhaps you could share with some other family members. There aren't any others. Kay! Daddy, it's okay. Kay? Kay. Kay. Kay. Kay. Kay! Kay. - Kay! - I'm going to get the doctor. Kay! I'm going to get the doctor, Daddy. Excuse me. My dad is really unwell. Sit. I'll go have a look. Maybe you could give him some more morphine. There's something I'd like to explain. I can certainly give him more morphine, but most likely it won't make much difference. Most deaths, fortunately, are uneventful, as long as you medicate the patients to keep them free of fear and pain. In a few cases, the process of dying causes brain damage, which triggers what we call delirium. That's not something we can soften with morphine, unfortunately. Daddy. It's gonna be okay. I don't know what's happening to me. Don't you want to take a little walk? I'll stay with your father in the meantime. You'll stay? You'll stay here? Yes. Ash tree leaves. Where did you find them? They were in the park. It truly is the most beautiful tree in the forest. But Dad... How do you recognize it in winter? Told you 100 times. I can't remember. When the ash tree was created... it made all the other trees in the forest jealous, because it was... It was the most beautiful tree in the forest. It had the strongest wood. It could be used for anything. It was the World Tree in Norse mythology. You couldn't say anything bad about it. And then when all the other trees saw the ash tree with its black buds... they all started laughing. "Oh, look. The ash tree's had its fingers in the ashes." Dad. Daddy! Daddy. Daddy, what's wrong? Daddy, what's wrong? Daddy, it's me! It's me, then. It's me! Help! Help! Okay. Okay. Okay. It's okay, it's okay. It's all right. It's all right. We have to fixate him. What are you doing? What are you doing to me? Joe! What are you doing to me? Joe! Joe! I'm sorry. You should take a break. Excuse me. Okay, don't worry. Just clean that up. Ready? When he died, I had no feelings left. Well, that's certainly understandable. No. I don't know what happened to me. It was very shameful. Shameful? I don't understand. I lubricated. I know you like to present yourself in a negative way, and that you have this, kind of dark bias that you're worse than everyone else. But this story doesn't add to that belief. It's extremely common to react sexually in a crisis. It may be shameful to you, but... in literature, there is many worse examples. But I did inherit my father's caliper. I found it so beautiful and worn by its use. What else did you receive? Nothing. I didn't have the strength to argue with my mother, so I wrote off any further part of my inheritance. Really? Well, that's a dramatic gesture. - You listen to music, I see? - Yes. I like it a lot. Shall I find a tape? No, if there's a tape already in the machine? I'd like to hear that. It's something I've been listening to a lot lately, though it's not an entirely complete recording, unfortunately. - What is it? - It's Bach. From his little organ book. The theme is originally a hymn, Bach rearranged it and embellished it a little. He was the master at polyphony, if you know what that is. No, yet another thing I don't know. Polyphony is from the Middle Ages. It's an entirely European phenomenon. It's distinguished by the idea that, every voice is its own melody, but together in harmony. Bach's forerunner, Palestrina, he wrote many words for several choirs at the same time, wallowing in polyphony. But in my eyes, Bach perfected the melodic expression and the harmony. And also mixed up with some rather incomprehensible mystique regarding numbers, most likely based on the Fibonacci Sequence. You know the one that starts with the zero, and then comes the one. The sequence is created by adding the two previous numbers to create the new one, so it's zero plus one makes one. and one plus one makes two, and two plus one makes three and three plus two makes five, and five plus three makes eight, and eight plus five makes 13. The sequence has an interesting connection to Pythagoras' theorem of the Golden Section. It was all about finding out a divine methodology in art and architecture. A bit like the way a tri-tone, which was played on the piano in your little club was supposed to be a satanic interval. The sum of the numeric values represented in Bach's name is 14, a number he often used in his compositions. The clever thing about Bach's name is that the numeric value of the individual letters are all Fibonacci numbers. This piece has three voices: the bass voice... The second voice played with the left hand. The first voice played with the right hand. That is called Cantus Firmus, or Cantu firmus. And together, these three voices create the polyphony. Well, if I should compare this with my story, it's reminiscent of a quality of nymphomania, which is normally ignored, but nonetheless essential, and namely the relationship between the various intercourses. That's interesting. They create a... a completeness? As, for example, the handshake, which for all people is the sum of all the different handshakes that together form our view of what a handshake is. The good, the bad handshake, the firm, the limp. Normally, a nymphomaniac is seen as... someone who can't get enough, and therefore, has sex with many different people. Well, that, of course, is true, but if I'm to be honest, I see it precisely as the sum of all these different sexual experiences. So in that way, I have only one lover. Since the music has three voices, I will limit myself to talking about three lovers. The bass is easy. That's F. F had a red car that he'd bought used. As I was having sex with seven or eight men every night at the time, scheduling was tricky. And they all had to have precise appointments. F was a good man. If he was scheduled for ten o'clock, he always showed up around nine and parked down in the street. I always smiled when I saw him. Often I took pity on him, and gave him a cup of coffee, although I was finishing with the one before. It's hard to say why I'm choosing to talk about F, but he was reassuring, and he knew exactly what I wanted when we had sex. No, I'd go even further, and say that there was a kind of telepathy going on when we had sex. Without words, he knew exactly what I wanted, where he should touch me and what he should do. The most sacred goal for F was my orgasm. Why? And then... the swans answered in the same voice. And granted him privileges none of the others received. F was the bass voice. Monotone, predictable and ritualistic. No doubt about it. But also the foundation that is so important, even if on its own it doesn't mean much. G was quite different. The only one I had to, and wanted to wait for. When he finally turned up and I opened the door, he didn't immediately enter, the way a cat doesn't when you let it in. As if, once the door is open, it has all the time in the world. But he was more than a cat. He was like some kind of jaguar, or leopard. He moved like them, which turned me on no end. When he laid down on my bed, it was clear to me that I should approach him, and not the other way round. And when I did touch him, it was with some hesitation, as his reactions were unpredictable. He was in charge. That's the way it was. Despite my success in managing the complicated logistics involved with arranging up to ten daily sexual satisfactions, while also having a full-time job, I was still prone to a certain sadness. So when my busy life allowed a few breaks, I used them to take my walks. These repeated walks became a kind of metaphor for my life. Monotonous and pointless. Yes, precisely like the movements of a caged animal. Basically, we're all waiting for permission to die. No. No, no, no. No, there... There are some completely unrealistic coincidences in your story about Jerome. First, by chance, he hires you as... As an assistant. And then you take a walk in a forest, and it's littered with photographs of him. And not only that... he's present. And then like a god, pulls you up to him through the clouds. So what? That's the way this story goes. And I'm the one telling it, and I know what happened. Do you want to hear it or not? Goodness gracious. What a strange way to meet. Yes. It's a very strange way. Jerome was there because he'd just had a fight with his wife, who in anger tore up the photographs they just had developed from their travels. I don't know if I can believe this. Which way do you think you'd get the most out of my story? By believing in it or not believing in it? Yeah, you're right. You might have a point with all this. The secret ingredient to sex is love. The third voice, the secret ingredient. Cantus Firmus. Fill all my holes. What's wrong? Hmm? - I can't feel anything. - Huh? I can't feel anything. I can't feel anything. I can't... anything.