It began, as dealings with Lusipurr always do, with a command. I was to vacate my home during Lusipurr’s upcoming visit to my city (what force drove him HERE, of all places?), and provide him with a temporary housing arrangement devoid of the pestilence of mere ‘staff’. I was offered the possibility of remaining on the premises, however, with lodgings in the tent of my choosing on the back lawn, but only in exchange for my vigilance in attending to Lusipurr’s every need, and whim. After much dread and panicked preparation, the day finally came; and as I walked tentatively toward his gleaming motorcar I was filled with dread. This was not unwarranted, it turned out, for I was accosted by the man himself the moment he emerged from the vehicle.
“GO AROUND AND GET MY BAG,” he barked, spit flying at my face.
This was going to be a long week.
And so the night wore on. After situating Lusipurr within the room that had once been my own, I took his dinner order and began my week of servitude in earnest. This was no simple task, complicated as it was by the fact that I was forced to reside outside in my tent (though I dared to enter the house on more than one occasion – driven away each time with much loud bellowing). My days were long, with what little time I had to myself spent with an ear to the house. I had to keep listening intently, at all times, as Lusipurr’s only indication of his need of my presence would be to ring a small brass bell – and he would never ring it twice. The first time I failed to respond, having foolishly attempted sleep sometime after dark, I had been awakened with a sharp kick to the small of my back. I was threatened with far more harm on the next occasion of my failure, and warned about my habit of sleeping during the night. I was to remain vigilant or pay a great price for my indolence, he said. Thus I existed, listening for the faint tinkle of a tiny bell, for days.
Providing proper nourishment was one of the most important aspects of my duties as indentured servant, and while nothing I prepared seemed to please him, that I lived through the ordeal indicates that Lusipurr was more satisfied than he let on. That first night my dinner had been rejected (the plate shattered against the wall near my head, as a matter of fact) and sustenance had to be obtained from a local restaurant in its stead. This was only the beginning, as I discovered the next morning. Each day began the same way, as I had been given clear instructions as to the proper time to wake Lusipurr (which I did at great personal risk) and of suitable breakfast items. The day’s first meal began with the cleaning and cutting of fresh fruit, toasting of marbled rye bread, and application of obscene amounts of fresh sweet cream butter. My efforts on this first day were (quite literally) cast aside in favor of Lusipurr’s own breakfast preparations, which I was required to watch as a ‘learning experience’, though his actions seemed to mirror my own. (I never did learn what I was doing improperly.)
I did receive a rare break from the kitchen (sausages do not cook themselves) when I was permitted to chauffeur Lusipurr about town, and around a local university campus where he had deigned to attend a series of lectures (which I can only assume concerned human torture). I was not permitted to know the subject matter, but these lectures were apparently quite trying for Lusipurr, and he took out his frustrations upon me when I dutifully arrived (always early, out of fear) to pick him up. No one could match his knowledge, he said, and he spent most of his available energy heckling the presenters as they ‘awkwardly fumbled through their material’. That first afternoon Lusipurr felt much better after striking me several times on my head, and when I regained consciousness we set out to whatever destination pleased Lusipurr in the moment, sometimes driving in circles for hours while he made up his mind. Subsequent days were much the same, though I did take to wearing a hard hat to protect myself, and this served me well for the remainder of the week. It became second nature to take Lusipurr wherever he desired to go by car (which I was required to keep clean and polished at all times, lest Lusipurr be ‘mistaken for a peasant’), and then make him comfortable within my home before returning to my tent for the evening.
Back at what had once been my home, I was never at ease. Time and again the bell would ring (a faint tinkle that I began to suspect was done at such low volume intentionally), usually due to a need for more tea, and always more cakes. Honestly, the sheer volume of cakes was something I had never anticipated, and I spent more time baking (and subsequently much money buying, after my efforts were deemed unsatisfactory) various cakes and pies during Lusipurr’s stay. He had a particular affinity for coconut macaroons, as I recall, and on one occasion I had prepared some for Lusipurr – though what I had hoped would be a pleasant surprise was thrown back in my face with much force, with clear orders to go out and purchase a ‘proper macaroon’ immediately. I did as instructed, as by this time I had learned the consequences of failing Lusipurr, and these had become increasingly violent throughout his stay. Over the course of the week many hours were spent driving to remote locations for sweet goods; all the while my phone lighting up with text messages that simply read, “THE BELL RINGS”. It was tedious, but at least the drive would give me a reprieve from the punishment that would undoubtedly commence upon my return.
Many of the actual details about the next few days have become indistinct in my mind, due possibly to multiple concussions sustained for various failings. But one fact is clear in my mind: Lusipurr’s visit drove me to the brink of insanity, turning me into a ghost of my former self. I have never slept so little, or worked so hard (and for absolutely no financial gain). It seemed as if it would go on forever, and then one day, without warning, he was gone. Lusipurr, his effects, the shiny motorcar – all gone. I began to question whether any of it had happened. Even now it seems surreal. I still have nightmares to this day, in fact, and I no longer sleep through the night. And I still hear that infernal bell.