Photo by Tommy Mas
Amphetamine Logic was kind of making me psychotic.
I sat down for lunch with my agent at an overpriced bistro on Park Avenue South.
"So Cat," Byrd Leavell, literary agent extraordinaire, said. "What's new?"
"Well," I said, surreptitiously picking a peroxide scab off my head. "I guess I've finally burned out like everyone wants me to." I was eating on a steak and trying not to gag while I chewed.
"Hmm," said my agent. "Well, what are we going to do—"
"I don't know, man," I gulped, and my hands started shaking. "Let me just try to explain the situation. I have no money and everyday eat empanadas from the corner that I pay for in laundry quarters. My apartment looks like a fucking personality disorder. You can barely open the door—"
"Uh huh," said Byrd.
"—I mean there are perfume bottle shards in my feet and there's blood and oatmeal on the floor—"
"Cat," Byrd said. "You can't live like this anymore."
But couldn't I? On the way home I thought about all of the things instead of writing that I'd been doing.
I was Rolling Stone's "Hot Bukowski." I was the toast of the town. I was puking flowers afterhours; I was letting everybody down. I read a Tatler article: "London's Seven Loveliest Lesbians." I mocked a skeleton dressed as Kenny Scharf at Gold Bar. There was ethanol, Adderall, night rainbows, Nalaxone. I sat around stoned in Soho House while the concierge charged my iPhone. I stuffed Artforum in my oven and stacked Richardson on the stove. I saw Pointbreak at MOMA; I saw 3 PM Hunger Games in LA at the Grove: "(PG-13) for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images—all involving teens." I bleached everything I owned and my knuckles burned and scabbed from the bleach.
I snorted dope in DUMBO and I smoked dust on the beach. I preyed on editors during the day and slept with monsters at night. Life's never dowdy in an Audi scoring pudé up in Washington Heights, is it babes? I drank Diet Coke and had coke sex and sat in Yorkville townhouse basements playing Mario Kart on a grimy old Super Nintendo. We smoked crack until our fingers turned black and watched Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. I chilled with famous downtown stupor freaks tweaking and listening to Diplo.
"WHY IS EVERYBODY DRESSED LIKE MR. PEANUT?!" I screamed once at Le Baron. I had about 40 pounds of fake hair on.
"Shhh," Same said. "You are dusted." And though I was confused of course I trusted him.
The Boom Boom Room was always full of doom. Our PCP smelled like burnt balloons. I was dressed Boricua heroin chic. Shaun was asking me if I saw Wu Tang at Milk Studios that one weird Fashion Week.
"Cat." Shaun said.
"Oh Jesus God, does it fucking matter?" I screamed. "Is this a 'Big Picture' problem?" The bathroom line disasters are as disastrous as disasters can be. "Shaun, the little coke girls are STARING AT ME."
"They are staring at us because we know them," Shaun said. "You've had them over to your house to do drugs at least four times. Invite them over. They're the little LES… dominatrixes. They have tons of tons of drugs and money and they're nice."
"OK," I said, and I walked over and did.
"So listen up all you skinny young things," I yelled, frowning at a gob of Juicy Fruit from my hair, "—with your Dexedrine, uh, sexualities and nosebleed sleeves walking these streets with heads full of clip in weaves and fucked up beliefs and your at-home chemical peels and skipping meals smelling like Bobbi Brown Beach with bulimia and the blood of babies and your grandmother whom you have sucked dry like a leech and men who will never be your boyfriends on your hands, when it all catches up with you—"
"Um," said Bad Attitude Jinnifer, one of the 20-year-old coke girls, who may or may not be a prostitute. "Do you want me to run your dishwasher?"
"LISTEN," I roared. "When you've social climbed and sucked as much dick as you can handle; when you're finally gagging on glamorous glue instead of trying to paste yourself together with it—when the watermelons at J.G. Melon start bouncing off the walls and coming after you, when the Balthazar seafood tower finally fucking collapses on you, when you've eaten every poisonous flower at every afterhours and the editor-in-chief of… oh God, just forget it; anyway, when he has gone ahead and pissed on you in the shower, well, that's when you know you've finally bitten off more toxicity in this city than you can chew."
Photo by Tommy Mas
"Yes!" said the 21-year-old, Eleonora.
"Last night our friend Karmony had anal sex for money with a dude in an apartment above Juicepress," said Bad Attitude Jinnifer.
"And the worst part is… she's a lesbian!" said Elenora, my obsession, who has devil eyes and a tiny waist and is a natural D cup and is a kept woman who wears Forever 21 jeans and carries the most gorgeous red Chanel quilted bag you've ever seen and Instagrams the trips her sugar daddy pays for her to take to Milan. "I feel so bad." Which no one believed.
Was Karmony ever going to come around my apartment and put up bookshelves the way she always promised to when she was coked up, or did she not need the money anymore because she was getting paid for sex now?
"Last week I bumped from a bag of dope called Lion King and threw up one bottle of Nantucket Nectar for literally three hours. Today I wept from exhaustion during a pedicure at Salon AKS," I lied for no particular reason.
This hung in the air.
I added, "Or maybe from… despair."
"I really need a haircut," Eleonora said.
"As a feminist," I said, "I must advise you to not cut your hair."
Remo tried to help me out: "Shit gets real."
"Uh huh," I said. "But babes, every sociopath and socialite alike in this city has a cold sore to conceal. And the beginning of the war has always been a secret, honey. That's, uh, Jenny Holzer—"
"Are you into Suze Orman?" Eleonora asked.
"What?" I said. "No."
"I know it's weird but my roommate Echo and I are like obsessed with Suze Orman," Eleonora said.
"Echo?" I said.
"Echo," Eleonora said, and turned to Remo. "You know Echo."
"Echo?" Remo said.
"Echo!" said Eleonora.
Don't panic, Amphetamine Logic whispered.
"Um, Paz de la Huerta is fucking everyone's boyfriends in nightlife right now and it's really disgusting," I announced. Then, "I have to go."
"But it's your house!" Eleonora exclaimed.
"She just high," Remo said quietly. "She need her space."
"I'm coming out of my face," I said, and started openly weeping. "I'm sorry—"
"Omigod, no problem!" Eleonora squealed. "We're so leaving!"
"I need to take a walk," I dust-stuttered. "I'm sorry but no one can sleep here. I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping—" I haven't had enough money lately to binge.
Photo by Reza Nader
"So, uh, keep drinking Juicepress juices and if you want to be skinny take Topamax," I said, and was gone. New York Ghost floats over sidewalk cracks. I've stepped on a lot of backs. These streets and I will never change: you're looking rough and living strange.
My heart is a Hanna Liden neon pentagram. Watch it glow like an eye under this very pink sky I was walking under on Lafayette. I am the tannest vampire. I smell like Hypnotiq and cocoa butter. I am humming like a Miele dishwasher: getting high is just a looping lullaby I am too cowardly to end. I am listening to The Beach Boys on my iPhone. "God only knows what I'd be without / God only knows what I'd be without / God only knows what I'd be without…" Amphetamine Logic might be ending but amphetamine logic's my best friend. I'm okay you're okay. Close your eyes and pretend.
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