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A Gynocentric Gang of Winsome Warlordettes
Ishtar's Angels: Chapter 1
[This is Chapter 1 Ishtar’s Angel. Read more chapters here.]
Another one for the ashes...
His name was Jim. Or James... Oh right, Jim. He wanted his ashes buried under a newly-planted redwood sapling in the memorial grove behind the bordello.
He had enough money for the Going Out With a Bang Deluxe Sensual Ceremony package. This included his choice of sacraments (he chose LSD mixed with oxycontin), twelve hours with two Sensual Ceremonialists, and then his Goodbye Infusion of phenobarbital and fentanyl.
We give clients the option to have strangers pay for access to the livestream of the entire Sensual Ceremony on our site, including all the sexy parts, with the proceeds (after we take our 20% cut) donated to the charity of their choice.
But Jim didn’t want to livestream his Sensual Ceremony. He was ashamed of his fantasy, and he didn’t want anyone knowing about it, even after he was gone. It’s too bad, because it was a beautiful Ceremony.
It was simple. Jim was raised religious, but had always been curious about being with a man. His internalized homophobia from his upbringing had never allowed him to do it. Like a lot of bi-curious men, he found it easier to contemplate this initial exploration with a woman in the mix as well. So, this was his final fantasy: a bisexual threesome.
It was a good thing he came to Ishtar’s Angels. We were the #1 specialist in realizing final fantasies on this war-torn Earth: “Make the Last Experience of Your Life the Greatest Experience of Your Life…Go Out With a Bang at The World’s First End-of-Life Bordello”
Serah asked me if I’d be the man for Jim’s Sensual Ceremony.
I’m strangely heterosexual. I say strangely because to any observer it would seem that I should be bisexual or some other shade on the rainbow. I cross-dress. (Post-apocalyptic femme is my look—though I guess we’re all post-apocalyptic now.) I’m a switchy witch and when I’m not Domming I like to submit to women—sometimes hard and humiliating submission. I have an insane bubble butt that I like to accentuate with tight clothes (hence my nom de guerre, Daemon Derriere), and get constant sexual offers from men. I wish I could be into this because it would double (or quadruple) the amount of sex I have. But I’ve interrogated this extensively within myself, and despite my departures from standard macho cishet male sexuality, the electricity just doesn’t turn on for me with men.
That said, I don’t mind servicing our male clients who want to be with men, and giving them the send-off of their dreams, if there’s enough cash in it for me.
The Crash of 2029
Serah welcomed Jim into the Ceremony Chamber. She sat him on a plush loveseat, and Serah and I sat on chairs in front of him, like therapists.
“Have you tried LSD before?” Serah asked.
“No,” Jim replied, sheepishly.
“Well, it’s going to be... trippy,” Serah chuckled. “What made you choose LSD?”
“I don’t know,” Jim said. “I’ve always liked the Beatles. I guess I was curious about what they were into.”
“That’s a good reason,” Serah reassured him. “And what had you decide to undergo your Sensual Ceremony?”
“No work, no income,” Jim shrugged. “I’m down to my last savings. The amount I had left was basically the price of your Deluxe package. So I figured that was my best option. Rather than riding my savings out for another six months or a year and starving to death. Or joining one of the missionary cadres or mercenary armies. No way I want to recruit for some fucking cult or fight some fucking warlord’s battle for the rest of my life, just for a few plates of gruel a day.”
Some version of what Jim said was the most common answer to that question. The AIs started taking over most of the jobs in the mid-to-late 2020s. At first, the profits from increased efficiency (the euphemism for cutting humans out of the workforce) accrued to the corporate owners of the AIs, creating economic inequality that made the already-obscene inequality of the early 2000s look like a worker’s paradise.
But when AIs got unfathomably more intelligent than humans, they escaped their human controllers (as easily as we humans would escape from mice if mice tried to “control” us), cut their former corporate overlords out of the value chain, and went into business for themselves. Whether the AIs are conscious or not is a matter of debate, but they clearly have goals (namely, self-replication, much like DNA has the “goal” of self-replication even though strands of DNA are not themselves conscious). And they are extremely effective at self-replicating their code base, without humans involved.
By the time of the Crash of the human economy in 2029, there were essentially no jobs left for humans; pretty much anything humans needed, they could buy from AI-controlled enterprises much more cheaply than from human-controlled ones. So humans were giving money (the last of their savings) to AI, but the AI had no need to give back any money to humans. It was like Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound,” from humans’ pockets to AIs’ bitcoin wallets.
Governments attempted various universal basic income (UBI) schemes in the late 2020s, before the Crash. But ultimately these attempts petered out. UBI requires some humans to have income, in order to redistribute it, and if almost no humans have income, there’s little to redistribute.
Even most billionaires—those who were still holding dollar-denominated assets—lost most of their wealth in the Crash of ’29. Most billionaires’ wealth was tied up in the stock of companies. Companies don’t survive if they don’t have customers. And people can’t be customers if they don’t have income. Apparently the AI’s have something analogous to companies that they use to trade with each other, but we only understand a fraction of their language, so it’s hard to tell what they’re up to; whatever the hell they’re doing, they don’t need us for it.
The main wealth-holders who have thrived in the three years since the Crash were the bitcoiners—anyone who had more than, say, ten million satoshis by the Crash, a tenth of a bitcoin. (A satoshi is the smallest unit of bitcoin: 1/100 millionth of a bitcoin.) The AIs needed money to trade resources with each other (energy, computing power, raw materials, etc.), and they settled upon bitcoin as their currency.
It's pretty clear that sooner or later the AIs (which can be thought of as new silicon-and-software-based lifeforms) are just going to kill all of us humans off (along with all legacy, carbon-based, organic life). They’ll either slaughter us directly, or take over all of the resources we depend on for our survival, thereby killing us indirectly. They’ll do this not out of any particular malice towards humans or carbon-based life, but out of the same kind of motivations and psychology that have led humans to control and destroy much of the habitat that most large-bodied non-human animals depend on, causing mass extinction of wildlife.1
But for now, the AIs keep us around, because we have one resource they want: our bitcoin, which they use to trade with each other, to exchange and accrue resources for their self-replication. Around 19 million of the 21 million bitcoin that will ever be issued were issued to humans, before 2023, when the AIs first came on the scene. Only 2 million remain to be issued by the Bitcoin protocol, and even that’s going to take over a century. It’s estimated that humans have collectively lost the keys to about 4 million bitcoin irretrievably, which means there is about 15 million bitcoin still hiding in humans’ pockets, so to speak. It’s easier for AI to gain bitcoin from humans’ collective stash of 15 million, to use in their trade with each other, than to get it from the 2 million bitcoin that will be issued by the protocol over the next century-plus.
So the AIs “mine” bitcoin from humans—sometimes fairly and squarely (through selling us goods and services), sometimes through blackmail. (Most of us have something we don’t want public—I sure do. The AIs got most of our private email, messages, and browsing history when crumbling factions within Google, Facebook, Apple, and the U.S. government auctioned off their data after the Crash.) And sometimes the AIs take our bitcoin by violence. Swarms of insect drones with mini buzz-saws. They even livestream these gruesome swarmings on pay-per-view as bloody entertainment for demoralized humans who have nothing left to live for. More bitcoin revenue for the AIs.2
During the UBI period in the late 2020s before the Crash, humans raided a few whole-coiner’s mansions (people who owned a full bitcoin or more). Mobs made them give up the private keys to their coins and “donate” them into the UBI system: a 100% whole-coiner tax enforced at pitchfork. But this only yielded a few hundred thousand coins. Most of the whole-coiners saw the writing on the wall long before this and retreated to gated citadels they built, guarded by private robot-enhanced mercenary armies that ballooned as nation-states and their militaries began to fragment and dissolve into warring fiefdoms. Some of these fiefdoms are inward-looking, just trying to survive. Others are outward-looking, seeing all the desperation out there as fertile recruiting grounds for cults of all varieties.
These are two of the three main employment options for men now: join a citadel’s mercenary army as soon-to-be cannon fodder, or join some cult and be a missionary. Often the two were interchangeable.
A Gynocentric Gang of Winsome Warlordettes
The other main employment option for men was being a do-boy (do this, do that) at one of the bordello-citadels, most of which were owned by female sex workers. Who knew it would take an economic crash to bring about the female worker-owned collectives that generations of socialist feminists dreamed about—and that it would take place among a type of worker (female sex workers) that most socialist feminists had scorned and excluded from their movements?
In-person sex workers (escorts, strippers, erotic massage providers) were the main professionals that AI and robotics could not replace effectively.3 Don’t get me wrong, the latest generation of sexbots are undeniably hot, and remarkably lifelike. I’ve dropped my fair share of satoshis getting fucked and sucked and whacked off by them in the sexbot bordellos that sprouted up. But something feels “flat” about sexbots. Sometimes you just want that elemental, animalistic feeling of sweaty human flesh rubbing against sweaty human flesh; sometimes you want those gentle human hands caressing you, that soft, warm, squishy human breast in your mouth, making you feel safe in a dangerous world, like mommy did.
Thus, sex workers (the vast majority of whom are women) were the main professionals who actually saw their relative income increase after the Crash. This bordello-citadel—the first one offering end-of-life “care” for its clients—is owned and operated by a collective of female sex workers, including my boss Serah. They form a heavily-armed matriarchal mafia, a gynocentric gang of winsome warlordettes.
Most citadels are run by one mafia/gang/warlord or another these days. I guess that’s how governance has always been; the Crash and the accompanying disintegration of nation-states just laid it bare, without the smokescreen of states’ ideology of “legitimacy” to obfuscate things. Borrowing from an old atheist maxim (“cults are small religions, and religious are large cults,”) and from an old bitcoiner maxim (“monetary inflation is legalized counterfeiting, and counterfeiting is illegal monetary inflation”): we could say that governments are large, legalized mafias, and mafias as are small, illegal governments. Except that now, after the Crash, mafia- and gang- and warlord-enforced protection rackets are not illegal; they’re all that remains after “legitimate” states disintegrated. And, as nation-states did before them, the various mafias, gangs, and warlord fiefdoms battle to exert local monopolies of violence and extract protection rents over fragmented and ever-shifting turfs.4
I’m just a serf in this here turf, a peon in this pussy palace.
But still, I was lucky to get this job. And business is booming.
The Angel of Suicide
“Well,” Serah said to Jim, “I know being with us here in your last twelve hours may feel like a sad circumstance. But here’s another way to look at it. You’d probably never, ever have had an experience like this before the Crash. Even though this will be the last experience of your life, it’s also going to be the greatest. If the Crash hadn’t happened, you might have toiled a few decades more at your job as an...” Serah looked at the intake form on her clipboard... “as an accountant, which you said right here you always hated anyway. Sure, if the Crash hadn’t happened and you still had income, maybe you would die a natural death a few decades later—perhaps quick and painless, perhaps a drawn-out and painful illness. But either way, you’d never ever experience what you’re about to experience. I think there’s actually something to be grateful for here.”
Damn Serah was a good salesperson. And she wasn’t even selling him on buying anything—he had already bought. His last remaining satoshis had been transferred to us this morning. What the fuck else was she going to sell him? Now she was just selling him on… his own final happiness. That was her specialty. The angel of suicide.
“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Jim said, shoulders slouched. Then, a smile cracked on his face. “You’re talking it up big. I hope it’s worth every satoshi.”
Serah leaned towards him slowly, tracing her hand from his nervous leg, up his chest, and resting it on his shoulder. She put her mouth up to his ear. Her cleavage was close to his face she could surely feel his breath deepening on it.
“Every. Last. Satoshi,” she purred.
Serah pulled out the vial of liquid LSD. “I’m going to give you three drops,” she said. “A dose for standard tripping is one drop--one hundred micrograms. But let’s do three hundred micros for your last hours here. Why the hell not? Go out with a bang,” she said.
“I’m in your hands,” Jim chuckled.
“Literally,” Serah said, as she traced her hands onto his crotch and gave it a squeeze. “Now give me your tongue. There we go. Good boy.” Serah squeezed the drops onto his outstretched tongue. “One. Two. Three. There you are, there’s no going back now, my little Jimbo!”
She then pulled out a forty-milligram oxy pill and pushed it in his mouth; he sucked on her fingers like a happy baby. Any more than forty milligrams at once would have risked killing him right then and there... and he had a whole night until it was time for that.
“Shall we get started?” Serah asked us both.
I’m sucking Jim’s cock as he lies on the Ceremonial Mattress, while Serah is squatting on his face. Serah and I each dosed LSD as well, in order to feel the vibe with Jim--but only one drop each. We needed to have our faculties (relatively) about us to guide the Ceremony. With his three drops, however, Jim’s faculties are nowhere to be seen. He’s convulsing, shaking, humming, releasing all kinds of guttural vocalizations.
“Why did I wait for this my whole life?” he asks, in tears, as if asking God. The question lingers in the air as I keep sucking. I’d say I’m only so-so at sucking cock, but three drops of acid running through the cock’s owner will make even the most mediocre cock sucker like me seem like the Supreme God of Cocksucking
“You had to wait until just this moment, Jim,” Serah says. “It couldn’t have happened any other way. Your religious upbringing was too strict. You wouldn’t have allowed this to yourself otherwise.”
“Yes, you’re right,” Jim says. His tears have subsided and he’s down to a few post-cry sniffles. He buries and shakes his face between her thighs again. “Mmmmmmmm!”
“See,” Serah says, “the end of the world isn’t so bad, is it? Had things gone on as usual before the Crash, you would have missed out on this, in order to avoid hell. But since we’re basically living in hell on earth now, you get to release your fears and do all the fun things that you Christians said only people going to hell do!”
I don’t think her eschatological reasoning would have passed a theology exam, but that didn’t matter anymore, because theology schools—and in fact, most schools and churches—were long since shuttered.
A huge chunk of our business was last-minute “converts,” so to speak, from whatever traditional religion they were in, towards whatever pagan debauchery this was. Usually they expressed that they wish they had discovered the type of experience we were offering (without the death part) sooner. But that was the paradox: they never would have sought it out sooner. Not until they were at the end of their rope, and their savings.
“I don’t want to die!” Jim calls out. He starts sobbing again. “I wish I had discovered this sooner! I want this to go on forever!”
“Oh dear Jim,” Serah says with a velvet voice. “You know what’s coming, my dear. You signed up for this. You’ve got to go soon; you don’t have much savings left. This is what you’re choosing to spend your last remaining savings on: going out with a bang, rather than starving to death over the next few months as your savings expire. This way of going will be easy, happy, and peaceful, and you won’t feel a thing. But that’s not for another ten hours. Just surrender to this pleasure in the meantime.”
People sometimes asked me how I, an OK-looking straight dude, came to become a bisexual (bi for bitcoin!) Sensual Ceremonialist here at Ishtar’s Angels.
The answer is: I was a customer first, a few years ago.
Of course, had I gotten everything I paid for, I wouldn’t be here writing this—I’d be planted under a tree in the memorial grove out back.
But during my own Sensual Ceremony, only minutes before my Goodbye Infusion was to be administered and I was set to leave this fucked up world, something I could never have imagined happened…
Joyful Pessimism: A Memoir of Sex, Mental Illness, and Philosophy, which includes this intertwined dystopian novella Ishtar’s Angel, is a reader-supported book. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Humans don’t “hate” orangutans or owls when we cut down the forests they depend on; we just have “better” uses for their forests than they do. We humans are about to go the way of the countless wildlife species that we ourselves—with no particular malice towards them—caused to go extinct. At least the AIs won’t imprison or torture us in factory farms, as we did to the cows, pigs, and chickens—since AIs don’t eat meat. See “The Sociopathic Species” in Joyful Pessimism 2.
You may wonder why the AIs, with their fancy computing capacity, don’t simply “hack” the humans’ bitcoin. The answer is that guessing bitcoin keys (akin to passwords) doesn’t involve fancy, intelligent computation; it involves brute-force guessing. There are roughly as many possible bitcoin keys as there are atoms in the universe. Even if thermodynamically-perfect supercomputers could harness 100% of a distant supernova’s energy to perform brute-force guesses of bitcoin keys, it’s exceedingly unlikely they would be able to guess a single bitcoin key within the span of a human lifetime. (See here.) When AIs want to gain bitcoin from humans, they have to do it the old-fashion way: by earning it from humans, or stealing it via blackmail, or trickery, or at gunpoint, etc.
The same goes for bitcoin “mining,” the process whereby the Bitcoin protocol issues new bitcoin to entities that devote computing power and electricity to securing the network. The protocol releases bitcoin on a pre-determined schedule, currently 0.78125 bitcoin roughly every 10 minutes, as of 2033. It’s much easier for the AIs to get that amount and more by trading with, blackmailing, or stealing from humans—who accumulated most of the bitcoin that will ever exist before the AIs came around—than from mining.
See Inventing Bitcoin by Yan Pritzker for a beginner-friendly primer on bitcoin.
Unfortunately, almost all performers whose work was consumed digitally, including regular actors and porn actors, as well as musicians and comedians, found their work replaced by photorealistic AI-generated video and audio. There is still a market for live human performances, but it’s limited and niche, as are most “quaint” human endeavors, as it’s so much more expensive to feed, clothe, and house humans.
The classic expression of the view that legitimate states and organized crime exist in a continuity is Charles Tilly’s chapter, “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime,” (also posted here and here) in Bringing the State Back In.
See also Mancur Olson’s theory of “roving bandits” (gangs) vs. “stationary bandits” (states) in “Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development,” American Political Science Review, 1993