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Dawn of the Dustheads

It's 5 AM on a Thursday and Same and I are in my apartment in the East Village, high on PCP and surrounded. All of the men are nursing 40 oz. Ballantines and the girls they brought are strangers, looking around at my strange life and into my mirrored...

It's 5 AM on a Thursday and Same and I are in my apartment in the East Village, high on PCP and surrounded. All of the men are nursing 40 oz. Ballantines and the girls they brought are strangers, looking around at my strange life and into my mirrored coffee tables as they reapply their makeup. "Can we smoke in here?" They are always extra friendly, overcompensating for being here.  "What kind of cigarettes do you have?" I ask, but really it's an order, and every girl goes into her purse for me. "Do you have an extra Adderall?" asks a girl I've never met before. "Not really," I reply. Same is in the corner with his eyes rolling back into his head. He is holding but not smoking a lit Newport with an inch of ash hanging off the end. "I have Adderall," he slurs in a language only I understand, and I pounce on him. "I want the Adderall, Same," I whimper, panicking slightly. I take his cigarette and ash it into my hand. "I need it. I don't have health insurance anymore. I will, like, buy it. Do you want money?" But Same never wants money, and he reaches into his pocket and gives me pills wrapped in a napkin. I pop one in my mouth and bite down on it like it's a Sweet Tart. One of the girlfriends stares as I crunch crunch and swallow. "All of the sparkle is completely gone from my life," I announced to a rehab group a few months ago. Then I quit a job. "Justify My Love" is playing over and over from my Bose computer speakers. I don't think you know what pain is, purrs Madonna. "Uh, Same," I say. "We need to plan this night out with the Page Six Magazine reporter. I have no idea what to do with them. Should I plan, like, a dinner?" I laugh. "What should we do with them? There will be a photographer and a reporter and they will be, like, out with us, and what are we going to do—" Same focuses one of his rolling eyes on me. "This is the night," he rasps. "Call them." "What? No," I say. "Call who? They need to book a photographer." Same sort of passes out with his eyes wide-open. Again. "Your haircut is so Preppie Killer," I had whispered earlier that night in a car while we rolled down FDR Drive. I made the driver take photos of us modeling on the side of the road while our friend scored; I screamed and hopped around as rats squeaked and rattled the trash bags at our feet. Usually our dust dealer delivered right to my front door in her car. But tonight she's in jail. "RAWWWWRRRR," Same suddenly roars and rolls off my busted Eames recliner, leaps up, whips out a huge switchblade and lunges at everyone. All of the girls sitting on the floor scream and clamor away on their hands and knees. "SAME, NO!" I shriek. He is on the ground with this giant knife held above his head. "RAWWWW-RGGGGGHH!" Same starts stabbing a rolled-up rug on the floor. White shag goes everywhere. "EEEEEEE-EEEEE!" The girls—who are thin and tan—are still screaming. Clutching black Gucci bags and red Chanel purses to their chests: It's all very young. The three other guys in the room have snapped out of their dust drrrs and are off the sofa, on their feet. "Chill!" they're shouting. "Chill!" I snatch the knife and drop it behind a bookshelf. The rug is full of big, clean holes—wounds. "NO KNIVES!" I tell Same, who flops around on the ground until he is sprawled out on his belly, face-planted onto the murdered rug roll, moaning. "EVER, SAME! EVER EVER EVER!" Then I go over to the computer and put on "Drunk Text" by Paris Hilton. I went out to the club the other night, Paris begins. To, you know—dance with my bitches. "OMIGOD," one of the girls, the Blonde, is still carrying on with one of my guy friends. "WHAT IS HE ON—" "SHUT YOUR BITCH UP," I snarl at my friend, and then I start laughing. He laughs too. The Blonde looks horrified. "No, I'm joking. I'm doing Axl Rose." Same staggers up and collapses into the sofa, which everyone has evacuated. "Remember he said that to Kurt Cobain backstage at that MTV show? No?" Same rolls off the sofa and back onto the ground. The Blonde tries to smile. Earlier that night she'd told me she liked my beauty articles. "That is so nice," I'd managed to tell her, even though I don't write beauty anymore. I'd been having a psychotic break at the time, and was hiding behind a curtain of hair that I thought was jungle foliage. "Do you need an intern?" she'd asked. "I love beauty products." (I bet. Coked-up girls will steal any makeup with a Dior logo on it. Never have them over unless you have unlimited beauty resources.) The buzzer trills. "More dust?" Same and I say at the same time, his face muffled by the rug. "More coke," the three other dudes correct us in unison. Same moans again, softly this time, and buries his face deeper into his rug. I pat him softly on the back with my foot and walk to the intercom. "I think Same and I are gonna have to start doing ketamine," I sigh into the intercom. "I can't think of what else to do." "Uhh," says Drug Dealer, who is really just a graffiti writer. "I just have blow and molly."  I buzz him up. "I guess we'll stay for the coke," says the Blonde, who doesn't yet realize that she and the other girls will be paying for it all. I go sit next to Same, who is still sprawled out on the ground. "This new beachy perfume I have on is by Jennifer Aniston" I say sadly. "Isn't that weird." He nods, eyes closed. I'm stroking his damp hair. Nobody is safe in the Twittersphere anymore, Paris warns us, and it's true.You take the word sex, and mix it with texting— "It's called sexting," I tell Same. He nods again. "Can I smoke in here?" Drug Dealer's girlfriend asks. "Obviously," I say. My hands are shaking. "When did you get so many more Twitter followers than me?" Drug Dealer asks. He leans down to kiss me, takes my hand, and pours a pile of coke on the back of it. "Ha," I say. Same sits up to get high. He blinks his bleary blood-diamond eyes at us like a fawn.   "You blew up this year, huh?" Drug Dealer says.  "Brrrr, bitch," I say. I'm trying snort all my blow but my nose keeps missing. I laugh. "I guess."


Also by Cat Marnell:


Blood Suckers and Condé Nast-ys

Blonde on (Very Famous) Blonde

Nothing Is Wrong If It Feels Good

The Aftermath