Page 33

"Probability rate," Beau says.

"Right. The probability rate is that it will, um..." JD squints over at Beau again.

"Be published," Beau whispers.

"Be published are, um..." JD pauses. "Oh yeah, `up there.'"

Silence, until I clear my throat and open my eyes. "How long were you going to wait until you fed me this tidbit of info?"

"I paged you the minute this rumor was verified."

"Verified by who?"

"I don't divulge my sources."

"When?" I'm groaning. "Okay? How about when?"

"There really is no when, Victor." JD swallows nervously. "I just confirmed what you wanted me to. The photo exists. Of what? I can only guess by your, um, description yesterday," JD says. "And here's Buddy's number."

A long pause, during which Blur plays and I'm glancing around the office, finally touching a plant.

"And, um, Chloe called and said she wants to see you before Todd's show," JD says.

"What did you tell her?" I sigh, looking at the phone number JD handed me.

"`Your poorly dressed bitter half is having lunch with his father at Nobu.'"

"I'm being reminded of a bad lunch I haven't even had yet?" I cringe. "Jesus, what a day."

"And she says thanks for the flowers."

"What flowers?" I ask. "And will you puh-leeze stop staring at my bulge?"

"Twelve white French tulips delivered backstage at the Donna Karan show."

"Well, thank you for sending them for me, JD," I mutter, moving back to the couch. "There is a reason I'm paying you two dollars an hour."

Pause. "I didn't... send the flowers, Victor."

Pause. My turn. "Well, I didn't send the flowers."

Pause. "There was a card, Victor. It said, 'Ain't no woman like the one I've got' and `Baby, I'm-a want you, Baby, I'm-a need you.'" JD looks at the floor, then back at me. "That sounds like you."

"I can't deal with this right now." I wave my arms around but then realize who might have sent the flowers. "Listen, do you know this kid named Baxter Priestly?"

"He's the next Michael Bergin."

"Who's the last Michael Bergin?"

"Baxter Priestly's in the new Darren Star show and in the band Hey That's My Shoe. He's dated Daisy Fuentes, Martha Plimpton, Liv Tyler and Glenda Jackson, though not necessarily in that order."

"Beau, I'm on a lot of Klonopin right now, okay, so nothing you're saying is really registering with me."

"Cool, that's cool, Victor."

"What do I do about Baxter Priestly?" I moan. "He of the faggy cheekbones."

"You jealous f**k," Beau hisses.

"What do you mean, what do you do about him?" JD asks. "I mean, I know what I'd do."

"Amazing cheekbones," Beau says sternly.

"Yeah, but what a lunkhead. And I don't want to suck him off," I mutter.

"Hand me that fax."

"What does Baxter Priestly have to do with anything?"

"Enrolling him in a total-immersion English course wouldn't hurt. Oh shit-I've got to get going. Let's get down to business." I squint at the fax. "Does Adam Horowitz go under Ad-Rock or Adam Horowitz?"

"Adam Horowitz."

"Okay, what's this? New RSVPs?"

"People requesting to be invited."

"Shoot. Run through 'em."

"Frank De Caro?"

"No. Yes. No. Oh god, I can't do this now."

"Slash and Lars Ulrich are coming together," JD says.

"And from MTV, Eric Nies and Duff McKagan," Beau adds.

"Okay, okay."

"Chris Isaak is a yes, right?" JD asks.

"The perfect cutie," Beau says.

"He's got ears like Dumbo, but whatever. I guess I'd do him if I was a fag," I sigh. "Is Flea under F or does he have like a real name?"

"It doesn't matter," JD says. "Flea's coming with Slash and Lars Ulrich."

"Wait a minute," I say. "Isn't Axl coming with Anthony?"

"I don't think so." Beau and JD look at each other uncertainly.

"Don't tell me Anthony Kiedis isn't coming," I groan.

"He's coming, Victor, he's coming," Beau says. "Just not with Axl."

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