The Stinking Smell of Money

It was all a joke to me, the candle-lit orgies in the mauve bedrooms, the sloppy Jacuzzi sex, cocaine on the veranda, blow-jobs by the fireplace. The parties in mansions as intimate as sports arenas, Child-like grown-ups on make believe play-dates, rolling on porno-perfect satin sheets, laughing into mink-lined pillows, squirting aromatherapy massages oils, buzzing with the latest whatz-it’s from Sharper Image. On the side tables, plates of raw oysters, cold salmon and capers, grapes strewn around wilting flower garnishes.

Let me tell you, a shrimp is a shrimp, on a paper plate or silver tray. In fact, things taste bad after lying in a silver tray for more than ten minutes. The brie, stilton, fish slabs absorb a metallic bleachy flavoring. The wilted lettuce leaves and parsley clumps die slowly, leaving a damp, moldiness. The food reeks of a catering kitchen. The people, dressed in diamonds, smell of pewter. The stench of sweet cologne, douche and hair gel. They smell like street beggars who’ve rolled in dandelions because they’re nervous. Nervous sweat is potent with fight or flight secretions, zingy, pungent.

When we reached the pantry, she pressed herself against me. She started to go down on her knees. “Let me make you feel good” she moaned.

“Thanks, I’m fine, really.” I said as I pulled her up by her scarf. “I’m having Karl’s baby” She whispered, her black eyes piercing through me. “And Karl loves me. I am so, so happy.” Later, when the guests had gone, she gave Karl a blow-job by the fireplace as he leaned against the mantel smoking a cigar. The owner of the mansion, a skinny art dealer, watched through a cognac haze as if studying a great work of art. “Isn’t that beautiful?” he said. “I mean, really… isn’t that a beautiful sight?”

I went to hide in the library. Later, when the art dealer had passed out on one of his velveteen couches, I went to the pantry and took a case of Dom Perignon and put it in the trunk of my car, then went back in for two large plastic containers of shrimp and a block of cheese.

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