"Mr. Kushner will see you now" said the secretary on top of the top floor of 666 5th Avenue. I noticed that my crotch was already damp with anticipation: the air conditioner duct above me had been leaking and pooling water into my seat.
"Sorry about that. Jared is very cost conscious. He bought the ducts when they scrapped the Deutsche Bank building and…the pieces don't really fit together!
I felt something sticky and familiar.
"Hon, a piece of duct tape fell on your head, let me get that for you."
The secretary snatched the grey gluey thing, ripping some hair from my head in the process. Sheepishly, she repeated,
"Mr. Kushner will see you now."
He sat at his desk. His blank intense eyes stared at me in a manner that reminded me of the summer I worked with special children.
"So. What is the purpose of, I've forgotten, what is this meeting about?"
"Um, I'm a Journalism major at the State University of the State of New York."
He clasped his hands at his chin. He nodded, as if in total command of the situation.
"I don't follow. What does this have to do with Kushner Properties?"
"The interview?" I said, slightly embarrassed. "I'm doing an interview for my school newspaper."
He became animated, excited really, for I had inadvertently brought the topic of conversation back to himself. "You do know, I already own a newspaper? It's called "The New York Observer." But real New Yorkers simply call it "The Observer." I bought it with my own money from my very own bank account. Well, my own creditors. It's very exclusive. It was an investment in respectability. First of all, notice the color. It's pink. Very distinctive. Most newspapers are…newspaper colored. MY newspaper is pink. Classy.
When I bought the paper, I fired most of the staff. It was full of cynical smarty pants who think they're funny because they write little sentences that most people don't understand, or that thing––when you say something, but you actually mean the opposite?"
"Irony?" I guessed.
"Yeah. The ironical thing. They'd say things like "Kushner's office is elegant" when they really meant, "this place is a leaky dump." I hate negative people. I like positive people. And positive cash flow. Anyway, I remade the Observer to reflect the concerns of hip, young New Yorkers today. Observe the Observer today: Brimming with articles about real estate porn, pictures of luxury apartments for rent, and articles about the challenges young professionals face in obtaining Percocet. This is what is happening. This is now. Look at our editorial page now. Headlines like ‘Rent Control is the Real Racism,' and ‘Sharpton is the Real Racist!' It's that smart talk in reverse, it's a, a…"
"Paradox?" I volunteered.
Yeah, it's paradoxical, using shit people say and putting it back in their ass. Who are you?
"I'm a Journalism student. My name is Anastasia."
"Hmmm, sounds like something I must have learned about at Harvard?" Jared said, utterly confused.
“Anastasia was the Grand Duchess who was killed by the Russian Bolsheviks."
"I certainly do NOT know any Russians, and I'll sue anyone who says otherwise!"
Sensing discomfort, I changed the subject. "How much is the tuition at Harvard these days?"
"All in all, we spent about 102 million dollars, spread about many universities. You see, I'm so smart I don't have the time to learn about details. My time is an option with a very expensive premium."
My panties are now completely soaked. Air conditioning broth pools dark and deadly in my groin.
"Mr. Kushner, I know the ducts were a great buy but, aren't you worried about Legionaries Disease?"
He laughed. "None of my family has ever served in the military! And please, call me Jared. No, really, you must call me Jared. "Kushner" is the copyrighted brand name. You wouldn't want to be in violation of trademark and copyright laws, would you, Anastasia?
"No Jared." I said, bashfully.
"That reminds me, we must go to the legal office. You must sign the non-disclosure forms." Jared stood quickly from his chair, and I could hear his pants splitting loudly. His suit and clothes seemed so tight, they looked as if they had been spray-painted on.
"You see, my clothes are bespoke. Tailor made to every contour of my body. Bespoke. Your clothes are, off the rack. Frumpy. Everyone should spend at least six figures on their wardrobe, don't you agree?"
"I'll get right on it. I'll max out my Discover card."
Jared led me into a dark room. He flipped a switch, and I could see it was his red room of physical and legal pain. Arranged on the wall were a variety of whips, riding crops, leather restraints, butt plugs––bespoke butt plugs! On a table lay tickle feathers, nipple clamps, cat-o-nine tails, metal rings, chains, and writs. So many writs! Microscopic legal contracts. Deceptive riders. Tortured torts. Legal argot. Restrictive clauses. Hidden surcharges everywhere.
"Are you a sadist?" I asked.
"I am a…Real Estate developer. I learned this orientation from my father. My net worth is swelling."
A delinquent renter from Cleveland is wheeled out in restraints, her ass presented to Jared, who flogs her with a leather contract of late fees and penalties.
"The company has made sizable investments in distressed properties in the Midwest. You see, poor people are like a non-callable, perpetual high yield bond. The old model was to collect rent. If they didn't pay, you'd evict them, and that was the end of the revenue stream. Our model now relies on teaser rates to lure them in, then lock them in to long-term obligations, surcharges and snowballing debt instruments that continue for decades regardless of whether they've left the properties."
I pursued the contract. "What is a ‘back door channel'?" I asked, puzzled.
"Allow me to demonstrate," Jared said as he moved his lips close to the woman's anus. "Ambassador Kislyak, can you hear me?"
"Jared, are you talking in cave?" Said the asshole.
" Ambassador Kislyak, we need to re-finance 666 5th Ave. We need at least a billion!"
"So we invade Ukraine perhaps, yes?"
"IM LOSING YOU. KISLYAK, COME IN!"
My panties were completely soaked–because the plumbing inside the walls had exploded. Everything was elegant on the outside, and decaying on the inside. Jared was desperately screaming for money, pleading with an asshole.
50 SHADES OF JARED • Mark Linzee Rudolph