Nothing Is Wrong If It Feels Good
Photo courtesy of Cat Marnell
It is a sunny afternoon in Soho and I have had five friendly glasses of champagne with a married celebrity at a bar.
Now we are at a gallery in the neighborhood.
I’m on loads of speed and showing off; it’s nothing new.
“Let me tell you why I detest Kenny Scharf,” I hiss at the pudgy young Greek who is supervising the gallery.
I am wearing all dirty whites and no bra and a tiny skirt and silver Lanvin flats and a long white blonde side-braid. I smell like Banana Boat, Colette Black Musk Oil, and Nicorette gum. That morning I’d fought the urge to Instagram a photo of my scale’s display of my weight: 98.
“But—but—everyone loves Kenny!” stutters Yanni.
I smirk. I’m spun like a kite from gobbling Dexedrine all week. A kid I know traded me a whole bottle for a Slayer hoodie.
“My graffiti writer friends, Yanni, took out Kenny’s wall on Houston Street,” I say, “and Kenny was a bitch about it, and tried to get our friend’s sister kicked out of SVA. It was all in the Post. It turned into this huge thing. Anyway. All those dumb flowers and the fucking Jetsons? I mean, the only cool thing he ever made were bongs.”
I spot a painting with BLEK LE RAT stenciled in block letters at the bottom. “Is that a Blek le Rat?”
“Why yes!” says Yanni. “How did you know that? Wow!”
“Wow what?” I snap. “I’m not retarded.”
“Isn’t she something?” says the famous man, who has millions of dollars, plus a wife and child. He’s so cute that I want to die.
“Would you like to join our mailing list?” Yanni asks me, gesturing toward a dorky binder-and-flyer set-up.
I roll my eyes. Drum my fingers on my torso. Pull down the hem of my flimsy white Italian mini skirt just on one side. Hipbone zone.
Photo of Cat's fridge by Reza Nader
Suddenly the three Dexedrine that I gulped back at the bar kick in—hard. My chest tightens.
I’m also still drunk, and still drinking.
“I would like there to be an artist like Damien Hirst whose arch-nemesis is a master magician like David Copperfield, OK?” I snarl. “And the artist creates something, right, and then the magician makes it disappear—“
“She’s amazing,” says the celebrity, who knows I am cranked. “OK! We should go.”
“Have you heard the rumor that I have? That Matthew Barney was fucking Elizabeth Peyton?” I can feel my heart pounding.
“Well,” chuckles Yanni. “That Matthew Barney is quite a guy.”
I glare at him.
“He’s also married, Yanni,” I hiss, and poke him hard through his summer cashmere. “To Bjork! You know, I’ve personally been to black metal barbeques, with these weird wrestling competitions and James Franco—at their Long Island City compound.” I take a sip of champagne. “Matthew Barney cannot just take any painter into his submarine thingie and have sex with her, for Christ’s sake—“
The owner of the gallery appears and kisses me on both cheeks.
“I’m scared of her!” Yanni howls, pointing at me. “I am terrified!”
“Ah, but she is so pretty!” the owner—foreign, mustached—says.
“No,” I snap. “I’m smart.”
“O-kayyy,” giggles the owner.
“Has the ___ sold?” I toss my head, my beachy perfume cloud, toward a painting behind me. “I slept with him.” I flash my teeth like a shark. “I was 18.”
“No!” the gallery owner pants.
“No!” says Yanni.
I give the owner a sexy side-eye. Sidle up to him. Blow a weak Nicorette gum bubble: POP.
(Remember: Men just want a show.)
“Your gallery is just beyond,” I purr to the gross old man. “Now tell me, why do all Lucian Freud subjects look so… hate-fucked?”
Yanni and the owner practically clap.
“We better go,” the celebrity says again.
“Come back soon!” Yanni says. I wave.
“You are impressive,” says the celebrity as he escorts me out.
“I know,” I say.
I watch him light two cigarettes for us.
CAT, I think. Don’t.
I rifle through my moral inventory like a card catalog and every card is blank: erased. Where did I go?
Instead, Amphetamine Logic has stepped in like one of my graffiti writer friends with a can of electric lavender spray paint. It scrawls this in messy, loopy cursive all over everything:
NOTHING IS WRONG IF IT FEELS GOOD
Photo by Baron Von Fancy
“Do you like Jim Morrison?” asks the celebrity, who is kind, as he lights two Parliaments for us.
“Loathe,” I practically spit.
“Really?” the celebrity exclaims. “I—”
“It’s too bad you’re married,” I sing-song. He looks up.
I’m throbbing with sex and speed. Amphetamine Logic is screaming again:
THERE ARE NEVER ANY CONSEQUENCES
It’s that easy, then. It is that easy to destroy people who you don’t even know.
Photo by Reza Nader
Twenty minutes later we’re on a bed in the Thompson Hotel. It’s 5:30 in the afternoon, blackout curtains halfway closed. We’re on the fifth floor.
Rain starts to fall outside as he kisses me.
Guilt is magical. I’m remembering a poem, pulling my hair up into a blowjob ponytail.
“You’re so skinny,” the celebrity murmurs in the half-darkness as I pull off my t-shirt.
“Ribs are my thing,” I purr.
And then it’s time to bone.
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