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I stared at the screen. I stared at my laptop screen and yawned the afternoon away. I was like totally tired, totally comatose. Plus I still couldn’t like actually believe I’d made it into work this morning after staying up all night with Precious. (We made chicken with couscous. We spent the night drinking two or three bottles of Merlot and wishing upon a healthy boy.) Because I mean it was just so incredible, so deliciously magical, to think that for the first time in who knows how many hangovers, I’d like actually won the Battle of the Comfy Covers! And not only that, but somehow, after tossing and turning and reeling my thrashing mind up off my waterbed, somehow I’d like still had enough willpower left to wiggle my really long legs into my black dress, my black tights, and then scissor-skip through the Williamsburg drizzle with like just enough time to catch the next L train into misty Manhattan! Oh boy, oh my, the whole thing had been like seriously breathtaking . . . I yawned. I yawned and nibbled on my cheesy six o’clock lunch, my fancy mouse eyes skimming over the newest post in my favorite ‘How to Make It Big in the Film Industry’ blog. (Today’s post featuring the ‘Top Ten Must Knows’ for every aspiring director, every aspiring twentysomething.) I read and ate. Ate and read. All by myself in this totally barren gallery space . . .
Someone knock-a-knocked on the glass.
Chewing, reading, chewing I looked up from my one-dollar pizza slice and spied, for like the second or third annoying time today, an elderly Indian couple jumping up and down on the wet sidewalk. Jumping up and down and pounding their boutique shopping bags up against the window glass, their leathery faces contorted into soundless screams and copper death masks. I brushed back my really cute bangs, the skeleton couple now dancing in circles and flapping their camelhair trenchcoats at me. I frowned and rapped my candy corn nails on the reception desk, then slowly pointed to the sign on the door—THE COMFORT STATION IS CLOSED FOR INSTALLATION. Because I mean couldn’t these geriatric exhibitionists like see that nothing was going on in here? Couldn’t they like see that except for a few cardboard geysers spewing Styrofoam peanuts all over the floor, the gallery was like totally empty. Totally boring and off-white. So why couldn’t grandpa and grandma just fuck on off! Ugh! . . . Eventually though, after a few more silent horror screams, the howling shopaholics spun away and doggy paddled deeper into the Lower East Side. On their way to Little Italy maybe. Or Chinatown. Or who knows . . . I yawned. I sipped on my extra-large energy drink and got back to my reading—like seriously regretting that I hadn’t borrowed more than one of Precious’s pixie dust pills this morning. Because even that one tasty Adderall tablet had definitely been, along with four yummy-yummy espresso shots, like the only thing keeping me relatively functional through the twelve hours of Gulag-style hard labor which, among other horribly horrible things, had included unloading a semi truck, lifting and moving a pair of sixty-pound shipping crates, digging through bubble wrap booby traps, splicing high-voltage wires, drilling into concrete, arc welding, and like pretty much doing everything I definitely had NOT expected to be doing two or three years out of NYU with an honor’s degree in continental philosophy. Ugh, definitely not. I took a really small bite out of the crunchy crust. I sighed. Oh well. At least I had Giacomo now. At least I had my homeless ticket out of this colorless dump . . .
I finished my lunch, my dinner, and finished the really helpful ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ article. Then, while my trying my very best to lick the mildewy paste off my yellowwhite teeth, I rewatched the two- or three-minute trailer to the sci-fi blockbuster which I was like seriously dying to see. Opening in two or three months at a theater near me, it had something to do with massive spaceships—with Omaha, Nebraska. But it was like really hard to tell what exactly it was all about and I totally liked that about it. Oh yes, I totally did. I rewatched the trailer again. And again. And again . . .
At six-thirty or so I started to pack up.
I kicked off my stiletto heels, gently eased my ten blistered toes into my blue and yellow vintage sneakers, and then started to make my way to the basement so that I could tell bitchy blonde Lola, the other gallery assistant, the other gallery geisha, that I was heading out now so she’d have to close on up by herself tonight. For a change. But then I smiled. I smiled because that stuck-up blonde bitch could like definitely figure it on her own. Besides she was probably sleeping her hangover off down there anyway. As usual . . . So without saying goodbye I grabbed my tote bag, grabbed my bone-white headphones, scrolled through my smartphone until I scrolled on Amy Winehouse, and then resurfaced out onto a windy, a wizened, a totally flaccid Orchard Street. Ugh, gross. Seriously disgusting. I held my breath and treaded through droopy dog shit. I held my breath and treaded through putrid time . . .
After almost pulling the emergency brake on my way up the Island Kingdom (I seriously thought I was going to miss my stop!), I scrambled up out of the reptilian subway grotto and glided like Princess Odette up the filthy gray steps. Blooming out into a velvet-veined sky of lavender and luxury. Yay! Yay yay! Ballerina-twirling and breathing in the fall fragrances—the cinnamon whiffs, the pumpkin pie sniffs. With hints of anxiety-purging nutmeg. Of apricot money! Raising my really thin arms to the Upper East Side chateaus. Waving to the gorgeous gentlemen, to the sophisticated mademoiselles inching their Pinocchio beaks out from behind diamond-embroidered curtains to sniff and snort and smirk down at me from the unreality of their apartment summits. But I like definitely didn’t care. Definitely not. Because it was like a really small price to pay for these rainless clouds, these porcelain sidewalks which clapped and cheered as I twirled in my gallery geisha outfit along East 77th Street. Twirling and bowing for my future fans, my jet set patrons-to-be. And because I was like definitely worth it, I made a pit stop and splurged at a French delicatessen on Madison Avenue—Les Fleurs du Ritz—where I treated myself to a delicious café mocha, and a happiness-powdered almond croissant. I stuffed my really cute face with whipped cream. With warm dough.
Feeling almost like a human again, headphones back on (Stravinsky, the Firebird), I coasted along the ivy-garnished landmark streets, navigated the bistro avenues, and sailed my really long legs into Central Park a tree or so below the Metropolitan Museum of Art—the park recently refurbished in gold, in flame. Happy as a spider monkey I swung from ornamental vine to copper shrub, from North American elm to Norway maple, from straw-yellow willow oak to ruby-fruited dogwood. I swung and swung and soared way above the amber leaves and honeysuckle bonfires. But either I stumbled or I slipped. Or I dived and died. All Iknow is that I suddenly came a-crashing down through the brutal branches and before I could like even reach for a handhold or a stabilizing prop my innocent glasses had smacked, whacked, and dragged themselves blind across the gravel footpath and up a really small bridge . . .
Ouch! Double ouch! I dusted my dizziness off and blinked, blinked twice at the field of silhouetted skyscrapers winking across the marmalade at me—the lake flickering with blood orange jam, with sunset splinters which zigzagged and flared above my left eye like a Harry Potter-esque lightening bolt . . . More than a little woozy, more than a little annoyed, I slowly rubbed my gerbil eyes and—NO! Fuck shit fuck! My glasses were like totally scratched! Fuck shit fuck! Ugh! Great. Just great. Like actually about to cry and call 911, I gripped the handrails as hard as I possibly could, then slowly, slowly inched my vintage blue and yellow sneakers across the shakier than shaky bridge. I held my breath. I squeezed my mind shut and tried my very best to stomp away all the vindictive little gremlins springing up with each painful plank squeak. Because this was like the same exact shiny spot where, two or three weeks ago, I had wobble-wobbled out of my breakup blackout. The same exact shiny stop where, after two or three drunk dials, I had wobble-wobbled then screamed then flailed then faceplanted into the citylit water. Like actually almost sinking and drowning because no one’s ever ever taught me or my really long legs how to swim or float or like nothing really nice like that! . . . Luckily I was only two or three feet deep . . . Wheezing, sighing, wheezing I took off my glasses and rubbed away two or three wasted years, then hocked a yellowred loogie into the lake and watched it disappear under the heartbroken surface without a goodluck ripple or a see you around tidal wave or a nothing nothing nothing!
I put away my backstabbing headphones. I slung my tote bag around my slender neck, climbed back up the nearest tree trunk, and with the loud night now falling across my really cute face, hurried over the rest of the lava-red leaves, trying my very best to watch my really long legs this time—holding firm to my slippery thoughts this time—and definitely making sure not to tumble back down to doublecrossing earth till I was like totally clear of the suffocating park and totally breathing normally along West 77th Street . . .
I pulled on the heavy doors and tippy-toed inside. I tippy-toed and skipped over the yucky puddles, the beer-thick shadows. I skipped over to where a gargoyle in a ketchup-spotted wifebeater was perched on a stool, in the dark, with a smartphone glowing on his chiseled lap. I coughed. The gargoyle coughed. I coughed. The gargoyle coughed. I coughed, the gargoyle coughed. I coughed and this time a pair of stone-cold eyes slowly, slowly, slowly raised themselves up from the hypnotic blue glow. And coughed. But like all I could do was smile my very best suburban smile as the bodybuilder bouncer checked and scanned my New York State-issued ID.
“I re-re-re-mem-ber, you,” the gargoyle trying to move his jaw. “You’re the-the-the one, who, got in a-a-a fight with that du-du-dude. The-the-the one with the bow, the bow, the bowtie.”
I squeezed my extra-small fists. I hissed through my precious little teeth. “Yea well that’s like all in the past. Just let me in. I definitely won’t make a scene. But just so you know, right now you’re like literally standing in the way of ‘The Next Big Thing’ in Hollywood.”
The steroid-inflated bouncer hesitated, thought hard about calling for backup, for a spotter or something. But then he just shrugged and stuttered, “O-o-o-kay,” waving me inside the bar with an unclipped thumb. “But-but-but I don’t wa-wa-want any trouble. I’ll be-be-be watching—you.”
Nodding my really cute bangs I swerved away from the gargoyle’s rock-hard biceps and pivoted deeper into the Drunken Clinamen, the Irish pub where I was meeting up with my favorite professor—my favorite ex-professor that is. Because we were scheduled to go over the next scene in what was obviously going to be my ridiculously successful rom-com!