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Gangway #2Rudi Krausmann
The House


"The house I saw yesterday was extraordinary and its position perfect," said S. "It was built on a rock, I believe sandstone, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in total isolation and yet the city could be reached by car within an hour. In the evening one could see the citylights and hear the sound of the sea at the same time. In its design it looked as if it was part of the landscape like a tree and made of the same material it stood on. Indeed, it was built out of sandstone and wood taken from the forest it was surrounded by. Can you imagine the harmony it breathed? But let the natural material it was made from not expect a simple interior. In the contrary. The house was equipped with the most sophisticated technical devices like the houses, I imagine, of some film stars in Beverly Hills but in much better taste. The kitchen alone was a poem. Tiled with pale blue marble from top to bottom the three meter high stove stood out like an altar. The chef, an Italian from the island of Capri, whom I was fortunate to meet, was only half its size. To cook is for him not work, but a celebration, he told me. No wonder he expects not to be addressed as chef but as maestro. What the artists are no longer capable of doing I do, that is to celebrate the material I am using, he had whispered in my ear in French. All the other languages he had considered as vulgar.

Do you want me first to describe the dining room or the library? They were both exquisite. Of the same size, although dining must be taken more seriously than reading in this house, the library contained every important publication in cookery books bound in light brown pig's skin. One of them was by Salvador Dali, a limited edition worth ten thousand Dollars. The decision which purchases to make is made by a council which meets twice a year consisting of the most eminent literary critics of the country. They eat Steak à la Châteaubriand and finish off with a Cognac Camus, so the chef told me. The books in this house are dusted daily.

The dining room is like a precious pearl positioned in the middle of the house. It has a long glass table, seating twenty four people. The chairs, made of stainless steel and designed by a sculptor from Germany have seats which were woven in a famous tapestry in France telling the colonial history of the country. Which country? I shall come to that later.

It would take too long to describe in detail this dining room. Let's just mention the ceiling which is nothing less than a copy of the last supper by Leonardo da Vinci done on commission by a world famous fake painter.

When you enter the living room one becomes immediately aware that the owner of the house is as much at home in international galleries as in antique shops. While you sit in a Louis Quatorze chair you can look at an American abstract expressionist painting. Or lying on an executive black leather couch you can contemplate pottery of the Ming Dynasty. And you are not out of place by smoking a Havana cigar (perhaps even given to you by Fidel Castro) and leaning against a sculpture by Jean Arp.

It was a pity that it was not allowed to enter or sleep in one of the six bedrooms, all situated upstairs and capturing the erotic atmospheres of of the following countries: Italy, Egypt, Israel, India, Japan and Australia. Only if you belong to the inner circle of friends or business associates of the owner of the house you are allowed to stay with a lady representing the very countries I have just mentioned. At least I got as far as the bathroom adjoining the Australian bedroom. It was carpeted in lamb's wool and the bathtub in ochre colouring was big enough to make a double stroke. The toilet seat was decorated with kangaroo fur. A small plastic table beside the toilet was littered with the country's fashionable magazines: Pol, Cosmopolitan, Ideas, Woman's Weekly, etc.

How was I invited to this house, you may as well ask. It happened because I am one of Sydney's most corrupt accountants. Once a year, when I deliver the annual financial report, this unique opportunity arises. On this occasion I wear a purple dinner suit and a pink metal rose in my buttonhole. Also, accountants have their romantic moments. This year, even by cheating on every possible level, I could no longer produce some credit for my client. It was the year I would have entered his inner circle and my imagination had already been inflamed. Tant pis. There is nothing I can do. My last advice to my client was to sell his 'prostitutes' tax free, as live sculptures. But he would not listen. Instead he is barricading himself with his harem, finding solace with them and the remaining bottles of whisky. At our last dinner, under the da Vinci, he saw a worldwide conspiracy against him in the world of crooks he was doing business with. We suddenly had to leave the house. This morning, my dear friend, I read in the Sydney Morning Herald:



© Rudi Krausmann and Gerald Ganglbauer 1996 Copyright Disclaimer