Part 10 of My Soap Opera, “Decadence”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9. To recap: Sebastien Van Der Miles has been fired from his presidential campaign for using racist language on live television. This comes after the death of his brother, Miles, his mother, Helga, and his lover, Manuel. Sebastien is having a bad month. Meanwhile, Detective Bryan Mantis nearly retired but was convinced to come back for one last case by his turtle, Rupert. Also, the mischevious Vanderbilt Von Puter has been stalking Sebastien’s fiancée, Kendra, and is the odds-on favorite for the identity of the serial killer.

The King of Europe was standing outside the house of Vanderbilt Von Puter, ready to kick in the door, when he saw a familiar face.

“Detective Bryan Mantis!” screeched the King of Europe.

“I could never leave my partner behind,” whispered Bryan as the two hugged platonically, “Now let’s bring in this cereal killer.”

“Serial, Bryan.”


Bryan and the King kicked in the door and sprinted in to the atrium of the penthouse apartment and pointed their guns at Vanderbilt Von Puter who appeared to be trying to peel a watermelon with a potato peeler.

“That’s not going to work,” screamed Bryan, pointing to the watermelon.

“How can I help you, gentleman?” asked Vanderbilt lackadaisically.

“Shut up, Von Puter. We know you’re Kendra’s husband and we know you’ve been picking off the Van Der Miles’ one by one!” whispered the King.

“Kill the Van Der Miles?!” Vanderbilt laughed hysterically, “I’m doing no such thing.”

“But your wife left you for Sebastien!”

“As if. Kendra loves me.”

“What? No. What? No.” yawped Bryan, “You’ve been stalking Kendra!”

Vanderbilt laughed once more, “Stalking, her? Why would I stalk my wife? I’ve been stalking Sebastien.”

“What? Why! What! Why?”

Vanderbilt pulled a business card out of his pocket. It read: VANDERBILT VON PUTER, RNC CHAIRMAN.

“Wait, you’ve been working for Boehner this entire time?” asked the King, very befuddled.

“That’s right. Kendra and I have been spying on the Van Der Miles for years now, trying to find ammunition to use in the election.”

“You two are spies!” screamed Bryan.

“That’s what I just said. Unfortunately, we never found anything we could use. The Van Der Miles’ are all too clean.”

“Are you serious?” screeched Bryan, “These people are nightmares. Manuel was the adopted non-blood brother of Sebastien and Miles. Manuel and Sebastien were having an affair. Manuel and Miles were having an affair. Powell and Manuel were having an affair and, don’t forget, Powell was Manuel’s adopted father. Jesus Christ man, did you even know that Sebastien is not a natural born citizen and is therefore ineligible to be president?”

Vanderbilt looked shocked and muttered, “Well I never said I was good spy.”

“Well,” sighed the King, “Bryan and I are going to talk to Kendra to see if your story checks out. Don’t leave the jurisdiction in case we have any more questions.”

“Sure thing chicken wing.”


Dylan McDermott walked in the closet and sighed. The Democratic Party always pays its debts, he thought sardonically, except this time we didn’t get a chance to.

He looked at the rocking horse he had bought Manuel. A single tear rolled down McDermott’s cheek. He imagined the countless hours Manuel would have spent playing on this thing, had he survived. Manuel would have loved it.

McDermott walked over to the antique roadshow he had bought Helga. It was covered in dust. And the Season 2 of Dirty Sexy Money he had bought Miles.

All this death. All this violence. For no reason.

McDermott collapsed in the middle of the floor and buried his face in his hands and, for the second time in his life, he wept.


Fuego and Xiomata Solaveva read and re-read the letter over and over again. Tears rolled down their cheeks. They’d been so proud of their son, Manuel, moving off to America to start a new life. They’d been ecstatic when he became promoted to head Butler and found love, even if it wasn’t the heteronormative relationship they’d always seen Manuel having when he was a child. They loved their child and they loved him for who he was. When Manuel first came out to them they’d reacted in fear and anger, but that was just the values of their parents speaking through them. They hated themselves for how they’d acted. Manuel was planning to come visit next month, to talk, and they were planning, them, to tell Manuel that they would always love and accept him, unconditionally and without regret.

They’d never have a chance. Manuel was dead.

Fuego and Xiomata Solaveva read and re-read the letter over and over again, hoping it would change. It didn’t. Dead is four letters and just a word until it happens to you, or, god forbid, your only son.

Fuego Solaveva stood despairingly and kissed his wife on the forehead. Xiomata grabbed his hand and held it to her cheek, a vacant comfort.

Fuego choked on his words and, through the tightening knot in his throat, whispered, in Spanish, “He’s gone, on another one of his little adventures.”

Fuego’s grip on the table tightened further so you could see the whites of his knuckles, “One day, we will see our son again.”

Xiomata half-smiled and looked at her husband through her teary, puffy red eyes. She grabbed his arm with one hand and held the cross around her neck with the other. One day.

Fuego sat and put his arm around his wife and grabbed the letter once more. Fuego and Xiomata Solaveva read and re-read the letter over and over again, praying it would change.


Sebastien Van Der Miles sighed. He was bored, he’d already eaten all of the chalk in the house and he had nothing else to do. He thought he’d be busy being President right now, but mean Mr. McDermott had fired him for, like, no reason. It was total BS.

Sebastien sighed and brushed some dirt off his shoulder and decided to invite over his good friend, Vanderbilt Von Puter.


“Vanderbilt said what?” laughed Kendra quite hysterically, “And you believed him!?”

“Well he had a business card,” muttered the King of Europe.

“The Chairman of the RNC is Rance Preibus you goddamn moron,” chortled Kendra incredulously, “Why didn’t you just google it?”

“He said you too were married!” murmured Bryan, trying to change the subject.

“Briefly. We walked down the aisle and got married, but it was annulled almost instantly.”


“Yeah, try and keep up,” Kendra was getting exasperated, but continued speaking, “Genetic testing revealed that Vanderbilt was one eighth octaroon, and so daddy went to the Supreme Court and got the marriage annulled.”

At this Kendra took a giant swig of scotch and finished, “It’s important to keep the bloodline pure.”

But Sebastien is clearly Japanese, thought Bryan, unsure of whether Kendra knew or not.

“Well, that’s all well and fine,” screamed The King of Europe, “But can you think of any motive Vanderbilt might have for killing most of the Van Der Miles family?”

“You guys are terrible detectives,” mocked Kendra as she pulled some court documents out of her pocket, “Who do you think were the ones that brought my divorce to the Supreme Court? The ones that took me from him? The ones that ruined his life?”

Kendra laughed once more and pointed to the attorney of record.

Bryan and The King of Europe gasped in unison.



Dylan McDermott sighed deeply and splashed water on his face and tried to stop crying. It wasn’t easy. The thing about life is that it never stops moving. An eternal oscillation from the cradle to the grave and as much as you may want to grab on to something, anything, for warmth and permanence, you can’t. Everything that is now won’t be later. Just ash, like Alexander.

Dylan McDermott thought of this and tried to straighten his tie.


Bryan gently grabbed Kendra’s arm and screamed, “Where’s Vanderbilt now?!”

“How would I know? You talked to him last,” yelled Kendra back.

“Isn’t that Vanderbilt?” asked The King of Europe, point out of Kendra’s window into the atrium of the Van Der Miles estate. Vanderbilt and Sebastien appeared to be playing patty cake.

“After him!” whispered Bryan


Some hours later, Bryan and the King of Europe ran into the atrium. They were too late. All that was left were some streamers and a piece of cardboard.

“Good god man!” screamed Bryan.

“What is it Bryan?” asked the King.

“Sebastien Van Der Miles has-“

“Has what?”



One thought on “Part 10 of My Soap Opera, “Decadence”

  1. This one has a lot of depth. I was very moved by Manuels’ parents’ grief and Dylan’s observations on how life keeps moving.


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