American Psycho

Page 5

"I have to talk to you," Evelyn says.

"What about?" I come up to her.

"No," she says and then pointing at Tim, "to Price."

Tim still glares at her fiercely. I say nothing and stare at Tim's drink.

"Be a hon," she tells me, "and place the sushi on the table. Tempura is in the microwave and the sake is just about done boiling..." Her voice trails off as she leads Price out of the kitchen.

I am wondering where Evelyn got the sushi - the tuna, yellowtail, mackerel, shrimp, eel, even bonito, all seem so fresh and there are piles of wasabi and clumps of ginger placed strategically around the Wilton platter - but I also like the idea that Idon't know, will never know, will never ask where it came from and that the sushi will sit there in the middle of the glass table from Zona that Evelyn's father bought her like some mysterious apparition from the Orient and as I set the platter down I catch a glimpse of my reflection on the surface of the table. My skin seems darker because of the candlelight and I notice how good the haircut I got at Gio's last Wednesday looks. I make myself another drink. I worry about the sodium level in the soy sauce.

Four of us sit around the table waiting for Evelyn and Timothy to return from getting Price a lint brush. I sit at the head taking large swallows of J&B. Vanden sits at the other end reading disinterestedly from some East Village rag called Deception, its glaring headline THE DEATH OF DOWNTOWN. Stash has pushed a chopstick into a lone piece of yellowtail that lies on the middle of his plate like some shiny impaled insect and the chopstick stands straight up. Stash occasionally moves the piece of sushi around the plate with the chopstick but never looks up toward either myself or Vanden or Courtney, who sits next to me sipping plum wine from a champagne glass.

Evelyn and Timothy come back perhaps twenty minutes after we've seated ourselves and Evelyn looks only slightly flushed. Tim glares at me as he takes the seat next to mine, a fresh drink in hand, and he leans over toward me, about to say, to admit something, when suddenly Evelyn interrupts, "Not there, Timothy," then, barely a whisper, "Boy girl, boy girl." She gestures toward the empty chair next to Vanden. Timothy shifts his glare to Evelyn and hesitantly takes the seat next to Vanden, who yawns and turns a page of her magazine.

"Well, everybody," Evelyn says, smiling, pleased with the meal she has presented, "dig in," and then after noticing the piece of sushi that Stash has pinned - he's now bent low over the plate, whispering at it - her composure falters but she smiles bravely and chirps, "Plum wine anyone?"

No one says anything until Courtney, who is staring at Stash's plate, lifts her glass uncertainly and says, trying to smile, "It's... delicious, Evelyn."

Stash doesn't speak. Even though he is probably uncomfortable at the table with us since he looks nothing like the other men in the room - his hair isn't slicked back, no suspenders, no horn-rimmed glasses, the clothes black and ill-fitting, no urge to light and suck on a cigar, probably unable to secure a table at Camols, his net worth a pittance - still, his behavior lacks warrant and he sits there as if hypnotized by the glistening piece of sushi and just as the table is about to finally ignore him, to look away and start eating, he sits up and loudly says, pointing an accusing finger at his plate, "It moved!"

Timothy glares at him with a contempt so total that I can't fully equal it but I muster enough energy to come close. Vanden seems amused and so now, unfortunately, does Courtney, who I'm beginning to think finds this monkey attractive but I suppose if I were dating Luis Carruthers I might too. Evelyn laughs good-naturedly and says, "Oh Stash, you are a riot," and then asks worriedly, "Tempura?" Evelyn is an executive at a financial services company, FYI.

"I'll have some," I tell her and I lift a piece of eggplant off the platter, though I won't eat it because it's fried.

The table begins to serve themselves, successfully ignoring Stash. I stare at Courtney as she chews and swallows.

Evelyn, in an attempt to start a conversation, says, after what seems like a long, thoughtful silence, "Vanden goes to Camden."

"Oh really?" Timothy asks icily. "Where is that?"

"Vermont," Vanden answers without looking up from her paper.

I look over at Stash to see if he's pleased with Vanden's casually blatant lie but he acts as if he wasn't listening, as if he were in some other room or some punk rock club in the bowels of the city, but so does the rest of the table, which bothers me since I am fairly sure we all know it's located in New Hampshire.

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