A giant set-high-tech and industrial with hints of Art Deco and Mission -appropriating an apartment in either the 8th or the 16th arrondissement is where Jamie Fields, Bobby Hughes, Bentley Harrolds, Tammy Devol, Bruce Rhinebeck and myself live during autumn in Paris. We're inhabiting a 5,000-square-foot triplex that has been paid for with Iraqi money washed through Hungary. To get into the house you have to deactivate an alarm and walk through a courtyard. Inside, a swirling circular staircase joins all three floors and the color scheme is muted olive green and light brown and soft pink, and in the basement there's a gym, its walls lined with Clemente drawings. An expansive open kitchen designed by Biber contains cabinets made from Makassar ebony and dyed tulipwood and there's a Miele oven and two dishwashers and a glass-door refrigerator and a Sub-Zero freezer and custom-made wine and spice racks and an industrial restaurant sprayer installed in a stainless-steel alcove with teak-lined drying racks holding gilded polka-dotted china. A giant mural by Frank Moore looms above the kitchen table, which a silk Fortuny shade hangs over.
Serge Mouille chandeliers are suspended over sparkling green-and-white terrazzo floors and rugs designed by Christine Van Der Hurd. Everywhere there are glass walls and giant white citronella candles and glass-box towers filled with CDs and white glass fireplaces and Dialogica chairs covered in Giant Textiles chenille and padded leather doors and stereo systems and Ruhlman armchairs in front of TV sets hooked up to a digital satellite system that picks up five hundred channels around the world, and bookcases filled with bowl arrangements line the walls everywhere and piles of cellular phones lie in heaps on various tables. And in the bedrooms there are blackout curtains designed by Mary Bright and rugs by Maurice Velle Keep and Hans Wegner's lounges and ottomans in Spinneybeck leather and divans covered in a Larson chenille and dwarf fruit trees often sit next to them and the walls in all the bedrooms are leather upholstered. The beds were made in Scandinavia and the sheets and towels are by Calvin Klein.
A complicated video-monitoring system runs throughout the apartment (and the outside cameras are equipped with built-in illuminators) along with a vast alarm system. Codes are memorized and, since the sequence is changed weekly, rememorized. The two BMWs parked in the garage have been equipped with global-positioning tracking systems, as well as untraceable license plates, bulletproof windshields, run-flat tires, blinding halogen lights in front and back, ramming bumpers. The apartment is swept twice a week-phone lines, outlets, PowerBooks, lampshades, toilets, everything electrical. Behind locked doors are rooms and behind those rooms are other locked doors and in those rooms dozens of pieces of luggage-mostly Vuitton and Gucci-are lined up waiting to be used. In other hidden rooms there are heavy-duty sewing machines, strips of explosives, hand grenades, M-16 rifles, machine guns, a filing cabinet containing battery chargers, detonators, Semtex, electric blasting caps. A closet contains dozens of designer suits lined with Kevlar, which is thick enough to stop bullets from high-powered rifles or flying bomb fragments.
All the phones in the house analyze callers' voices for subaudible microtremors that occur when a speaker is stressed or lying, giving the listener constant LED readings. All the phones in the house are installed with analyzers that send electrical pulses down the line and, bouncing them back, provide an affirmative reading for the listener if the call is being traced. All the phones in the house have a digital binary code scrambler that converts voices to numbers and allows the person on the other end of the line to decode it but keeps third parties from hearing anything but static.
Suddenly, that first week in Paris, Bobby threw an elaborate cocktail party in honor of Joel Silver, who ended up bragging to Richard Donner, who had just flown in from Sacramento, about his new three-million-dollar trailer and someone else was flying his dogs over on the Concorde and then Serena Altschul showed up and gave us the inside scoop on the Bush tour and a soon-to-be-slain rap star and Hamish Bowles arrived with Bobby Short and then-boom boom boom, one after the other-Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia, Prince Pavlos of Greece, Princess Sumaya of Jordan and Skeet Ulrich, who was wearing a Prada suit and a shirt with spread collars and seemed happy at first to see me even if the last time we bumped into each other I ended up running away from him down a darkened street in SoHo. Skeet worriedly noticed the way I eyed a dropped Mentos lying on the terrazzo floor. I bent down and, after brushing it off, popped the Mentos into my mouth and started chewing rapidly.
"You just need to, um, put a positive spin on things," Skeet told me hesitantly.
"I'm saying hello to oblivion," I told Skeet, chewing rapidly.