Monday, August 13, 2007

Sampler

The next night, Becky dragged her off the bed. “We’re going out. Stop moping.”

A. stood next to her as they crowded for mirror space, Becky shaking her butt to a thumping rhythm of an explicit rap song.

They straightened their hair, hung dangly earrings, lacquered their lips with plumping serums. A. barely spoke, but followed Becky’s motions, sliding bracelets over her wrists and stilettos on her feet and took shots of Patrone as Becky danced around the apartment, scuffing the wide pine boards with her pointy shoes. Becky’s crew of girls came over for pre-gaming, and they passed around bottles of white wine (as Becky explained, red would only make their teeth gray) and drank from the necks. A. fake-smiled, and kept finding her mouth around a bottle. They were nearly falling over when the rest arrived.

Trip came over with a gang of boys and a bag of laced weed. A. learned quickly that Trip was actually not the ‘man’ in Becky’s life, the one that wanted to whisk her away to Monaco (that guy’s name was actually William, and was noticeably absent from their parties and club nights), but that he was merely Becky’s “f-buddy” for her to use as she saw fit. Clearly, Trip didn’t mind.

The rest of the boys all had last names for first names: Smith, Mayer, Ewing, Hollings, Stackhouse. And they were all cut from the same lacrosse stick, a sampling of the sought-after young graduates of Ivy league schools like Blackwell, trained first at prestigious prep schools dating back to pre-school. The castaways of the group (Trip and Becky herself) had almost made it to the top tier, but brushed off stellar state schools like Penn and instead went to the two places notorious for high tuition to cover the underlying obvious fact: when the parents were rich enough, the merits of their children were merely superfluous (namely Affinity and Wellington, both sub-par, but at least the student body only came as west as Westport).

This was the thing about the inner sanctum, there were many levels and those who saw A. as a rich snot who sailed through life on a weekender yacht would never know that her world was a white onion and she was a sad four layers deep. There was the periphery where new money was the first separator (this was, as Kyle mentioned once while drunk, an age in which anyone could make millions, it was easier than ever and more and more people who, let’s be honest, did not deserve it in the slightest could gain admittance), then political stance (rich liberals were more glamorous and popular, some of them were movie stars and innovators, but they always ranked below the conservative elite), then religion (Protestants ranked higher than Catholics), then lineage (what industry did the wealth originate—fishing empires weren’t nearly as high as oil, oil wasn’t nearly as high as generations of bankers), and finally, standing in the famed Social Register, the book that launched a thousand socialites, and which edition (New York always trumped other cities as it was the oldest), when the induction of the surname occurred (the first half of the 20th century trumped the second, existence in the charter copy trumped all). For a man who consistently referred to Kofi Annan as “that douchebag”, Kyle was actually chockfull of such useful information.

And it seemed the higher the level of social acceptability, the worse the kids acted in private—they knew their fish forks and salt cellars, would never under-tip or glean anything less than the most grounded stance at a dinner party with their parents and here they were, destroying, smashing and fornicating with everything in their paths. Trip humped a couch--to the delight of Stackhouse--while checking stocks on his Blackberry.

Bits of conversations ran over each other like an Altman film.

“Great Barrier Reef? More like Good Barrier Reef. Overrated.”

“You are such a liar! Don’t even act like all you read is FT. I so saw you with a Money magazine, you white trash.”

“So the kid was from Pittsburgh and he was talking about this nice dinner he went to and Stack goes, ‘Where’d you go? Red Lobster?’ I almost pissed my pants it was so hilarious!”

The boys trashed Becky’s apartment and disrespected at every turn, grinding cigarette butts into what must have been a real Persian rug, urinating with the bathroom door open, ordering hardcore pornography on the plasma, cupping their hands beneath their chinos on their genitals as they sat with their legs splayed on the couch and scratched.


They used hundreds to roll tubes up their noses, they passed pills, they had joints that were dipped in formaldehyde that they lit and blew on each other and even as A. defaulted to drinking and smoking mere cigarettes, though she herself had done these things, but not in the company of a group she did not know, she couldn’t help but cough on the fumes and squint from the buzz.


Throughout all their ill-manners they showed cracks into a vacuum of good breeding. They passed politely. They inquired “pardon?” when they didn’t understand a question. They had a game of quoting famed poets and politicians at inopportune times. Mayer declared his love for Becky when she opened a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. She slapped her hands to her dainty waist and threw him a look.

“You don’t even know what love is.”

“ ‘Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.’” Mayer looked around the room.

“Wilde?” Trip guessed.

“Frost.” A. said to the approving, collective nod of the room. Becky drew her arm around her and kissed her on the forehead before calling her a bitch.

When they went out, they piled into several cabs and cursed at the drivers when they went too slow and smoked out the window and groped each other. A. felt the hand of both Mayer and Stackhouse simultaneously creeping up separate legs in an effort to get under her dress.

She rolled her eyes and slapped them softly and tried not to pass out.

At the sushi restaurant’s most private room, Mayer snorted a large green glob of freshly grated wasabi to the horror of the business clientele beyond the low screens and kimono-clad servers.

At the west side bar they were whisked to the back, and had what would come to be the usual bottle service, inappropriate dancing, screaming evening. She looked at the boys and the girls tripping on them, and felt an unmistakable rush of sadness.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice writing. A little darker than usual. Do you have a book deal yet?

k said...

Thanks.

Er. No. Gimme gimme! I promise I'll start being (writing) good if you do.

debo said...

Trip is such a card!

C-47 said...

Man do I know these people, so very well (thanks mom for putting me in school way above our tax bracket)... its such a "one of these things is not like the other". and i know all their references and in some cases am better read, but they just... man they make me sick, its like a weird wasp thing to better the person next to you. to show mind dominance as if that elevates aaargh... anyways, they make me mad (at time apoplectic), and then i get mad that they made me mad.
in conclusion i leave tomorrow for a week in the hamptons. f you. they have nice houses (read amazing houses with foam hot tub parties) and their wine/drugs is more delicious then my natural ice. and shit if those ladies don't smell good.

love,

me

p.s. K i dig this latest entry. you are getting way stronger at separating out from A like just enough to allow your reader the ability to abstract their own thoughts about her. Becky's name bothers me, I cant stop picturing her with a top pony tall in a lime green scrunchy like the not hot chick on charles in charge.

k said...

Ha,

Thanks, particularly for the observation on Becky's name (how about Becks! Like Posh and Becks!). I feel like I need to change everyone's names anyway. People loathe my previous main character's name and I was so surprised (forever after to only be referred to as "A."). We all seem to have a weird, unnatural attachment to certain names and aversion to others...I have the same problem when I read a character with a name that I know of someone else and it's like--no, that's not how the person would be. As if I have any idea.

Hmm.

PS. Trip is a trip! Hey-o!

k said...

No seriously,

I really need help with my names!

Any suggestions?

debo said...

I left my Preppy Handbook in the States, but you can plagiarize your names directly from it.

C-47 said...

Brett, Julia, Caroline, Dominique, Lily, Antonia, Isabella, Diane, Nell, Samantha, Georgina, Devon, Beth. After I get back from the hamptons I'll remember more.

CM said...

I like Becky as a name. I picture her with thin blonde hair and a Jcrew belt with little sailboats on it, or something like that. A vision right out of the "ice-tea party" sketch.