The Illuminato

4 Jan

Bleio the Oldest Friend

I was two years old when he was born and the first time that I saw the neighbors’ baby I realized that it had an extraordinary nature. The olive white body of the little infant had a aura of glory about it. Could I be the only person who recognized what it was that now existed among us? I dared not speak of what I knew to my parents or anyone else. But I resolved to stay close to him and become his first and most faithful friend and companion as we both grew up.

It was surprising how rapidly Vladan grew and developed.

I was soon conscious of the truth that he had made up for the two year difference in our ages and had become my precocious equal in thought and activity. His mastery of the language we spoke was phenomenal. The social skills and the popularity of Vladan far outdid my own. I soon became the junior member of our duo and he the senior in charge. His wide network of friendships soon eclipsed any that I was able to construct. His character was one that attracted the trust and interest of everyone around us. He was the central star in our neighborhood playground.

When school began for him, I was already two grades ahead of Vladan. Yet I was soon acting as his sidekick and guard, while he dazzled everyone with his qualities and brightness. No, I could never compete with or equal him, but only bow to his clearly superior nature.

High School Speech Teacher

In all my years as an instructor and coach in forensic public speaking, I have never come across any young human being with the inborn talent and potential of Vladan. Teaching him was a unique, fulfilling experience. He became the best debater whom I ever experienced in person. As an individual orator, he was able to win every competition he was ever entered in. There was no one anywhere in the same elevated league where he came to operate. I predicted great achievements for him in later life, regardless of what field or profession he should decide to go into. His presentation of himself occurred with a degree of charismatic attraction that only occurred that once in all my own lifetime. I marveled at what he was able to do with his voice and body. Whatever he might choose to enter, he had the capability to become a star at.

But after he graduated from high school, I failed to hear from this promising champion again. Whatever became of the one whom I nicknamed the Illuminato?

Film Director

The moment that I saw the screen test of Vladan I knew that he was made for great things. The young man possessed natural photogenic quality. I realized that the cinematic camera loved this handsome potential leading man. But he had to gain some amount of dramatic experience before he could be assigned any major film roles, so I sent him down to a community theater in the middle of the Dry Desert for some interaction with professional actors. Who could have guessed the unusual outcome? Vladan returned to me with a wife expecting her first child with this actor whom I had under contract! The poor young father needed funds for his growing expenses, so I farmed him out to a colleague who was directing a low-budget teenager-oriented flic. It was my new boy who stole the show and the spotlight in this cheap-grade throwaway. It made him, overnight, into a continental idol. Vladan was immediately a glamorous celebrity, a figure written about in magazines and an exciting personality in and by himself.

I had to give him a staring role, the masculine lead in a standard period piece set in the early days of expansion into the desert. Vladan had no trouble fitting the simple role of a desperate gold-miner out to find his fortune. Meanwhile, he became father of a baby boy, but broke up with the clinging mother of the child who resented all his new female fans and admirers. She kept the son and the movie star was given his marital freedom. Every studio in the metropolis was after Vladan to play a part in some drama or other.

His publicity staff insisted that he change his strange name to one easier for the public to remember, so that on-screen the shining personality appeared as the newly named Vlan.

Political Manager

It has long been my custom to keep my eyes open for persons with untapped potential for running for public office. At times success has fallen to me from my lucky discoveries of future winners. That is what happened in the case of the candidate I backed with the famous name of Vlan, the cinema star. I realized from the start that he was destined for high office in our governmental system.

How was I going to recruit him into party politics? My initial overtures to the busy film actor came to naught, for he claimed that he was engaged in a full career of making movies and had no time or energy for anything beyond it. But I persisted and never let up on pointing out the abilities he had that would guarantee his victory over anyone competing against him. I informed Vlan that if I could offer him for office, floods of big contributions would come in because of how invincible his running appeared to be. Everyone with money would be eager to support and be on his winning side.

Through persistent, untiring effort, I convinced him that he had nothing to lose through offering himself to the voters of our land.

Vlan caught the election virus and decided that he was not going to start at the bottom and run for small, minor, or local office. Not at all, he himself decided that he wanted to become the General Gubernator of our entire provincial region. His ambition was a lofty, breathtaking one. What could I do but become his complete, dedicated supporter and campaign manager?

The crowds coming to see and hear him grew enormous. All the newspapers and mass media became fascinated with his words and personality. Everything he thought or said was fascinating to all ranks of the population. On Election Day, Vlan won the highest office in our part of the country. His joy knew no limits, but only for a short while.

In a few hours after this outstanding victory, the press and the electrical media began to publish revelations about the steps that I had taken completely on my own to insure the defeat of the opposition and their candidate. Everyone was able to read the details of how I purchased favorable news stories for us and sharp attacks upon the other side. Large sums of money had to be spent to magnify our vote and minimize that of Vlan’s opponent. The underside of our campaign was a quite ugly area for the readers to learn about. The effect of the stories was to make the famous screen star sorry that he had put his name forward for public scrutiny in this way.

This mountain of dirty political linen had unforeseeable effects.

Vlan decided to fire me as a person guilty of horrendous immoralities of a political nature. But then he went on to turn down the office of Regional Gubernator that he had won. He promised that he would never again run for any governmental office and stayed to that self-denying pledge all the rest of his days.

The Illuminato himself

After my ignominious defeat in my venture into political contention, I at once decided that what I needed the most was the distraction of total immersion in the work of making a major film drama. An important script went to a famous director in our industry, and he picked me to occupy the main male role in this important creative enterprise. I accepted my part with all my heart and enthusiasm, seeing this as a turning point into serious artistic work in my film career.

The actress chosen to play opposite me was a well-known star with many years of experience before the camera, the beloved Milata. She was, in terms of years, older than me. But her lovely looks were preserved in all their initial freshness, I found out at our first rehearsal run.

Milata was open and gracious toward me from the very start of our collaboration together. She was always positive and encouraging in her mood. I did not at first realize that the woman was taking possession of all my emotions. It must now be confessed on my part that I fell under her magical spell without being fully conscious of what was happening to me. Milata stole my heart with her naturalness and authenticity. This was something that I had never gone through before. How was I to know any of this in a fully rational way?

I repeatedly asked her to coach my acting of my part. She finally agreed to have private, secret sessions with me in her apartment. We talked and talked for hours. I became knowledgeable about her personal history and how she felt about things in general.

Her beauty had an extremely subtle quality to it, but was able to take complete control of my thought and imagination. My mind was unable to take notice of the gradual change that Milata made within me. At last, though, I came to realize that she had the qualities of a supreme, conquering Illuminata, able to win total psychological victory over any personal qualities that I may have previously had within me.

There came the day when the filming of our movie together was set to begin. My nerves had tightened into a critical mass of neurons. I collapsed and found myself unable to proceed with our shooting schedule. The situation confounded and embarrassed me. How was I going to break out of this painful situation that now entrapped me? I went in secret to see Milata and plead with her for resolution and relief.

She confessed to me truthfully. There was no reciprocal feeling similar to my own within her heart or mind. My attraction to her was a totally one-sided emotional attraction. It was not at all shared or mutual. There was nothing that either one of us could do about it, Milata told me nearly in tears.

What could I do at this stage? My hopes were devastated. I at once withdrew from the film we had planned to make. A long trip up-and-down the continent now took up my time for several months. I went away as far as I could get. When I returned, I discovered that I was no longer an important figure on the film screen. In fact, my acting career had come to an unexpected, abrupt end due to my withdrawal from the drama about to be filmed with Milata. I was viewed and treated now as box-office poison.

My former charisma was gone, evaporated into nothing overnight.

No one referred to me as the Illuminato ever again. My public career was all but over, I quickly discovered.

Unfortunately, I had not saved anything during my successful years. I had to reduce my style and standard of living to a drastic degree. My finances sank below water and in two years time I had to declare myself in bankruptcy.

Ever since I lost all hope of a future with Milata, my life has been a series of ever greater losses and defeats. Stardom vanished and I have become unwelcome everywhere. I left the great metropolis and now wander from one small town to the next one.

No one anywhere ever refers to me by my old moniker, or call me the ex-Illuminato. I no longer have any shine or illumination to me at all.

All I left are vague memories of the young man I used to be.

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