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"That sounds a little too commercial for me right now."

"What are you saying? That Space Cadets doesn't rock your world?" I hear Bill tapping his headset. "Hello? Who am I speaking to?" Pause. "This isn't Dagby, is it?"

"What else could I do?" I'm sighing, checking my face for blemishes, but I'm blemish-free tonight.

"Oh, you could play someone nicknamed `The Traitor' who gets his ass beaten in a parking lot in an indie movie called The Sellout that is being directed by a recently rehabbed Italian known only as `Vivvy,' and your per diem would be twenty Burger King vouchers and there would not be a wrap party." Bill pauses to let this sink in. "It's your decision. It's Victor Johnson's decision."

"I'll let you know," I say. "I have a party to go to. I've gotta split."

"Listen, stop playing hard to get."

"I'm not."

"Not to be crass, but the dead-girlfriend thing-an inspired touch, by the way-is going to fade in approximately a week." Bill pauses. "You have to strike now."

I laugh good-naturedly. "Bill, I'll call you later."

He laughs too. "No, stay on the line with me."

"Bill, I gotta go." I can't stop giggling. "My visage is wanted elsewhere."


A party for the blind that Bacardi rum is sponsoring somewhere in midtown that my newly acquired publicists at Rogers and Cowan demanded I show up at. Among the VIPs: Bono, Kai Ruttenstein, Kevin Bacon, Demi Moore, Fiona Apple, Courtney Love, Claire Danes, Ed Burns, Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan, Shaquille O'Neal and a surprisingly swishy Tiger Woods. Some seem to know me, some don't. I'm having a Coke with someone named Ben Affleck while Jamiroquai plays over the sound system in the cavernous club we're all lost in and Gabe Doppelt just has to introduce me to Bjork and I have to pose with Giorgio Armani and he's hugging me as if we go a long way back and he's wearing a navy-blue crew-neck T-shirt, a navy cashmere sweater, navy corduroy jeans and a giant Jaeger-Le Coultre Reverso wristwatch. And there are so many apologies about Chloe, almost as if it was her fault that she died on me (my information is "massive hemorrhaging due to the ingestion of fatal quantities of mifepristone-also known as RU 486"). Mark Wahlberg, fire-eaters and a lot of blabbing about generational malaise, and everything smells like caviar.

Just so much gibberish and so chicly presented. Typical conversations revolve around serial killers and rehab stints and the amount of "very dry" pu**y going around as opposed to just "dry" pu**y going around as opposed to just "dry" and the spectacularly self-destructive behavior of an idiotic model. I'm so uncomfortable I resort to sound bites such as: "I'm basically a law- abiding citizen." The phrase "back to school"-employed every time a reporter's microphone is pushed into my face-becomes an overwhelming drag and I have to excuse myself, asking directions to the nearest rest room.

In the men's room two fags in the stall next to mine are comparing notes on how to live in a plotless universe and I'm just on my cell phone checking messages, taking a breather. Finally they leave and it becomes quiet, almost hushed, in the rest room and I can listen to messages without holding a hand against my ear.

I'm muttering to myself-Damien again, Alison, my publicist, certain cast members from a TV show I've never seen-but then I have to stop because I realize that the men's room isn't empty.

Someone's in here and he's whistling.

Clicking the cell phone off, I c**k my head because it's a tune that seems familiar.

I peer carefully over the stall door but can't see anyone.

The whistling echoes, and then a voice that's deep and masculine but also ghostly and from another world sings, haltingly, "on the... sunny side of the street..."

I yank open the stall door, my cell phone dropping onto the tiles.

I walk over to the row of sinks beneath a wall-length mirror so I can survey the entire bathroom.

There's no one in here.

The bathroom is empty.

I wash my hands and check every stall and then I leave, merging back into the party.


Back at the new apartment Dad bought me on the Upper East Side. The walls in the living room are blue and Nile green and the curtains draped over the windows looking out onto 72nd Street are hand-painted silk taffeta. There are antique coffee tables. There are beveled French mirrors in the foyer. There are Noguchi lamps and scruffed-up armchairs situated in pleasant positions. Paisley pillows line a couch. There is a ceiling fan. There are paintings by Donald Baechler. I actually have a library.

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