Six months ago I bought an $800 car- a dusty red Charade manufactured back when Paul Keating was Prime Minister. I dubiously christened her “Cherry Bomb”.
She was bought from a fellow in Darlington. From there, Cherry travelled nine kilometres before having a hot flush and overheating on a busy road, ultimately forcing me to tow her like a menopausal beached whale to my mechanic. After some tinkering from him, my $800 bomb became my $1100 baby. We shared a few volatile months that were punctuated by agitated dashboard slaps, emergency radiator refills, and cries of “Just move you old whore!” Shortly after returning from an impulsive and ill-advised road trip to Melbourne, Cherry Bomb died, and I abandoned her on the side of the road like a Bangladeshi baby girl.
Then I bought another car. A shiny blue Citroen: round as a bubble, pretty as a daffodil, and reliable as a mule. I called my darlin’: Clementine.
Clementine deserved a new stereo. Speakers, too. Other stuff. I’m not sure what- I’m not fluent in tech…but something heroic that could handle Meshuggah being played at a volume best described as “unwise”.
I turned to Google. Found Fleurgen. Fleurgen has a 100% 5-star Google review rating. RodBallz2164 claimed that Fleurgen is a “wizard” that does “seriouse jobs n wiked shit”. DriftMaker called him the patron saint of car stereos before adding: “Don’t let the size of the shop fool you! lols! Hes an awesome dude too.”
Sounded good. I emailed Fleurgen. He instructed me to visit him Friday.
On Thursday night I had a few quiet beers with my best friend, The Reader. Because we’re horrible influences on each other, our three craft beers quickly devolved into being the last two inebriated idiots badgering staff at The Absinthe Salon, followed soon after by a dodgy kebab that may, or may not, have contained some minced dachshund.
So on Friday morning we’re both in a fragile state. Through a green groan, I tell The Reader about Fleurgen.
“The dude who’s installing my car stereo. He’s Swedish. I’m sure his workspace is filled with misbehaving chickens and that he says, ‘fleurdy der, der fleurdy der…bork bork bork!’ as he works.”
“We’ll go,” I continue, “Meet him super quickly, then have wanky inner-west coffee somewhere.”
I grin. “Pork pork pork!”
The first thing you notice about Fleurgen are his teeth, because they aren’t really his teeth at all. They’re Gollum’s. Despite this, Fleurg smiles warmly, talks quickly, and repetitively answers his mobile phone during the consultation.
My knowledge of car stereo systems is just behind that of Toad from Wind in the Willows, and, in my hungover state, I’m about as green as my foppish, amphibian counterpart. I try to explain my audio needs to Fleurg, “I listen to music loud. And I listen to a lot of metal,” I swallow, willing myself not to fleurg recycled absinthe all over Fleurg’s floor. “I don’t want anything too extreme, no doofwoofer thingies,” I croak, “Just something that can frighten the soccer mums in traffic.”
Instead of answering, Fleurg leads us to his ute and folds himself in, leaving a pale, hairy leg protruding horizontally from the door. The Reader and I eye each other. Fleurg emerges and encourages me to get in. I do. He flips a switch and Swedish gangsta rap straight outta Stockholm assaults my ears.
“Sure,” I say, once he’s mercifully turned it off. “Sounds good.”
He grins wolfishly. “Well, that’s expensive.”
“Too good,” I quickly clarify. “I’m not worthy of such a sound.”
Fleurg then enquires about my budget. I evade the question, knowing that an answer will betray both my lack of knowledge and my deep pockets. He studies my car, muttering words like “amplifier”, “head unit” and “tweeders”, which sound like the unfortunately named sidekicks of a meth dealer to me. Fleurg suggests that I “soundproof” my ride, something that involves ripping my doors apart and stuffing them with what appears to be Ikea bubble wrap.
“It’s to create a speaker box,” he explains. “I can skip this but it really won’t sound any different after an upgrade and you’ll be wasting money.”
It’s all got the vague aroma of bullshit, but absinthe numbs my olfactory receptors and I was out of my depth the minute his jargon morphed from dB’s to THD’s, so I agree and ask for the quote. $1300. A quarter of the price I paid for the fucking car. It’s more than what I’d expected, but Fleurg is the best. And the best costs money. And it’s what Opeth and Katatonia would want to be played through, so…
As he’s taking a small deposit, Fleurg asks where I work.
“I’m a nurse.”
“Oh, so you know about signalling molecules?”
My stare is blank. “I’m a mental health nurse. Not, you know, a real one.”
“Oh, mental health,” he clasps his hands together. “No. Even more relevant. Yes. Wait, please.”
He leaves, returning a minute later with a small photo album.
And then it got weird.
Because for the next ten, cotton-brained, dry-mouthed, we-are-both-way-too-old-for-this-shit, and-maybe-that-shot-of-mescal-was-a-bad-idea minutes, Fleurg shows us pictures of mouth cancer, ulcerated flesh, STD-ravaged genitalia, and limbs smeared with autoimmune skin disease, all juxtaposed with images of slightly less grotesque versions of the aforementioned. The Reader retches, swallows, and absently touches the cigarette packet in his pocket. Fleurg doesn’t notice. He’s enthusiastically flicking through the album like it’s a twisted Playboy– illness porn. He claims that the sole credit for healing goes to ASEA.
Make that ‘science porn’.
According to Fleurg, ASEA is a scientifically sound revolution of molecules and atoms that are created in scientifically advanced ways and used in the fantastically scientific science of curing disease scientifically.
ASEA is the fountain of youth. The next big thing. It can fix anything. Anything. Did he mention that? Cerebral Palsy. Tuberculosis. Acne-scarred skin.
“Acne-scarred skin?” The Reader asks dubiously.
Fleurg nods. Anything. In fact, Fleurg’s been drinking ASEA for years.
The Reader raises an eyebrow, “Drinking it?”
Yes. ASEA is water. Salt water, actually. Filled with miracle molecules.
I gaze at Fleurg, wanting to ask if he has any magic beans to sell us, as well. Before I can, he gets to the point: ASEA is, to be blunt, a pyramid scheme.
That I can buy into.
For the low, low cost of $259 per month.
Then, I can then sell ASEA to my patients at work, making a tidy profit in the process.
Simply by encouraging the mentally ill to exchange their antipsychotics for magic saline.
I’m not sure how that fits into that pesky ‘duty of care’ thing we nurses have.
Fleurg isn’t either. “Hmm, maybe you just refer your patients to me- keep things simple for you.”
I agree to it. I’ll agree to anything just to get the fuck out of there. “Yep, I’ll take a look at it…No, it sounds very interesting…Yes…No, of course I will. Just, ah, email it to me, and I’ll, um, look.”
By offering to buy the Kool-aid that he drinks as opposed to the stereos that he is meant to be fucking selling, I have pleased Fleurg immensely. “Goodbye, Happy CC!” he cries. “I send you information tonight!”
The Reader and I barely make it into the car before we begin cackling like jackals.
“What a fucking lunatic!” he exclaims as I speed out of there. “I just knew he’d be nuts. Fucking Scandinavians.”
Two hours later, over a cup of the inner west’s finest coffee: An overpriced, single origin blend infused with Guatemalan hayfever and Colombian orphan tears, we dissect ASEA.
I look up from my phone. “It is salt water. Literally. The bottle lists the ingredients as ‘salt’ and ‘water’. And, on a side note, the company director looks like a member of NAMBLA.”
The Reader leans in to look, smoking and smirking. “I think we should sell everything we own and buy into this. We’ll be rich as Nazis!”
I switch to Google stalking Fleurg. “According to his LinkdIn profile, Fleurg is a health and wellbeing enthusiast who believes that the apocalypse is coming.”
“Fruit loop. I might start selling my pubes as organic dental floss.”
“If they’re paleo you might be able to get Pete Evans to spruik them.”
“Think he’s on the wank-water bandwagon, too?”
My coffee cup clatters to the table in mock indignation. “It’s ‘ionised molecular saline’. Not wank-water. It cures cancer. Get it right.”
Later that evening, I receive a voicemail from an ASEA associate, a woman named Gaia who tries to build a rapport- or possibly credibility- by opening with, “I’m a nurse, too”. She then…speaks with…odd…pauses during part…s…of the conversation, almost…as if she was reading it…from…a script that had a large…cancerous…tumor on it.
Apparently ASEA have found a way to clone William Shatner into a female’s body, as well.
Fifteen minutes later Gaia calls again.
Then once more after four days.
Next, Fleurg emails me: ‘Hello Happy CC, Do you have steering wheel control for the radio in your car? Do you still want to be able to use this?’
‘Yes. And definitely,’ I type, finishing the sentence tersely in my head: I’m not sure what else I’m about to pay you over a thousand fucking dollars for.
His reply comes the next day. He’s ordered the part. But he can’t guarantee that it will work. Apparently, Happy CC’s car is “a borderline”.
Oh, no, I think. Clementine is a PD. I guess that explains the scratch marks around the doors. Maybe some ASEA in the fuel tank will cure her.
But that wasn’t the end of the email:
With regards to the Redox Signalling molecules i spoke to yo about.
Here are a couple of links to short info videos:
Watch ” The Redox Breakthrough” (9 min)
” ASEA The Genesis” (21 min)
I like ” Doctors and Science” (5 min)
If you have further interest i suggest that you attend ASEA Discovery Event in Ryde this Saturday morning starting at 10, for about two hour.
This will be part of mainstream health care not to long from now.
You will hear real testimonials face to face.
Come along and have some fun a great bunch of people!
It was an event such as this that it convinced me it is something i need to be part of. This is an exceptional opportunity not only to seriously help people …but also to get paid for it!
Ver-fucking-batim. I think Fleurg’s positive Google reviews were left by fellow bricks on the ASEA pyramid.
“Don’t fucking go to that!” The Reader shrieks when I tell him. “It’s probably in a fucking dungeon where they make you drink their atomised rape-water and molest you to Swedish gangsta rap!”
“Think they want to ‘pork pork pork’ me?”
“Or maybe ASEA is just the bottled tears of their investors. It’s all just too fucking strange. Cultish. And how do people fall for this shit!?”
So, in conclusion, it wasn’t the redox that signalled to me on a molecular level that I was making a mistake in getting Fleurg to install the stereo in my car. It was an intuitive twang, something as thin and fine as gold filigree that plinks in my gut every now and then. I used to ignore them, often finding myself in horrific situations- like, you know, the time I was fucking robbed in fucking Panama– but I try to listen now.
Or, more succinctly: I tell Fleurg to fuck off.
I find a well-known car stereo franchise that afternoon. I speak to an earnest young man who quotes me $500 less than Fleurg. So far so good.
“And can I still use the steering wheel controls already in place?”
“That’s going to cost a little bit more.”
I hold my breath.
Keys click on the computer. “That part costs $15.”
My breath exhales in a rush. “And it’ll work?”
He eyes me strangely. “Well, yeah.”
I glance at his pasty, unfortunately pock-marked skin. Acne-scarring. Obviously not an ASEA enthusiast.
I grin. “How much deposit do you need?”