Thursday, 15 March 2012

Exclusive opening chapter from Bret Easton Ellis's latest - "Stoned Camden Darlings"

Looking over at Priscilla’s smooth, naked form as she lies on her bed, I suddenly realise how much I don’t love her, and how I think I might actually hate her.  Such a fine, thin line between the two, and I figure I’ve been toeing it for a while now.  Sure, she’d been good for the occasional boredom fuck since we left college, but mostly she was just an anvil round my neck. I sit up a little too fast, pulling the cover out from under her a little bit but luckily without disturbing her; I slow my movements to avoid waking her and getting into a conversation about, well, anything. 

I swing my legs round to the side and stand up, checking my reflection in the mirror.  I don’t look so bad for my 25 years, but there’s only so many all-nighters you can pull before it starts to take its toll on your complexion.  Still, that’s one of the reasons I keep Priscilla around, I suppose; those trust-fund princesses’ll scoop up the bill for a $700 pot of anti-ageing moisturiser if you make them feel like shit for not offering to in the first place.  And boy am I good at making Priscilla feel like shit. She’s pretty enough, and if I’m honest I know there are plenty of people who must think I’m punching well above my weight with a hardbody like Priss, but those pretty little rich girls are always looking for ways to get back at Daddy’s lack of attention by slumming it with the middle classes, and I’d be an idiot not to ride that wave while I can.  I run my hands through my hair, the stale smell of cigarettes emerging from my follicles where it slept while I did. My head hurts and I take a sip from the bottle of Evian next the bed, before swallowing a couple of aspirin tablets and putting on my robe.  I look at Priscilla and notice that she is still fast asleep and obviously not ready to wake up, so I grab the universal remote control next to the bed and operate the blinds , opening them fully so that the room fills with the bright, noon light to spite her.  I’d like to smack her across the face and wake her up that way, she bruises like a peach and I can imagine how good my physique would look in the action, and I love it.  But whatever I think about her lack of brains and personality, there’s no denying Priscilla’s talent for interior design.  Light, neutral colours in the bedroom, her pure walls daubed with our obscene shadows come nightfall; the luxurious, Egyptian cotton bedspread that she bought the week she spent in New York trying to get work at Vogue; and the $80 designer candles she picked up during her holiday in the south of France.  Maybe it was more a talent for spending money than anything else, but I guess in her case if you shop around enough, money can buy things that one day might start to vaguely resemble taste.  I don’t bother to fasten the robe, and stand to survey my own body in her full length mirror.  Pinching at half an inch of fat on my stomach reminds me to exercise, especially after the excesses I presume I indulged in last night.  I can never help myself, toke or coke.

    I have a regimental routine that I do either at the office gym or in Priscilla parent’s own fitness suite which involves a solid 20 minutes of running on the treadmill, followed by a circuit of 50 sit-ups, press-ups, squats and lunges repeated four times, then onto the rower for another 20 minutes, and then the stair master for the final 20.  After this, I shower; I only exfoliate three times per week, using a Dr Dennis exfoliator for my face and a tea tree body scrub for the rest of my body, and on the other days I use a Clinique face cleanser all over; I find that my skin is sensitive to most shower gels and soaps, and I don’t see why I should drape my fine, hard-earned muscles with rough, dull skin.  At times Priscilla will join me in the shower for the inevitable wake-up fuck, but more frequently she has started to use a scent-free soap that she insists on using before I’ve had the chance to make my escape to dry off; the waxy lather has twice made it onto my skin and it took all my strength both times to resist from throttling her there and then.  Another time she joined me in the shower when she was on her period, and that time - well, that was a different story.  I’d like to see anyone keep their breakfast down when their glorified blow-up doll is going Carrie all over the place.
But today she doesn’t join me, thankfully.  Another moment of that whining voice and I’d be reaching for the shotgun, although where I’d aim it I haven’t yet decided.  Obviously I haven’t heard her voice since last night; I like to push her face into the pillow with my hand and the force of my body working fully behind her, the way she hates to be fucked (as if it matters), but she screams my name over and over in that nasal crow of hers and it just pierces through the fabric, and I imagine also through the glass in the windows and out into the atmosphere of the universe.  I reckon there are planets way out in solar systems we haven’t discovered yet that are sick of her stupid voice.  I’ve often wondered if I’d be doing heaven a favour by cutting her throat and rendering her voiceless when she moves out of this world into the next, but then I’ve been covered in her blood before and it’s sort of ruined the glamour I’d been expecting of it all, to be honest.

I step out of the shower and dry myself off lightly with one of her huge, pink Walmart towels, mentally commenting that her design prowess hasn’t extended to this room of the house, with its pink and white checkerboard tiles and tacky porcelain facilities. I imagine Priss as a life-size Barbie doll, her surgically enhanced tits and impossibly tiny waist, tottering about completely naked save for a pair of red heels, and I feel the image start to turn me on.  I let the image pass through my mind, imagining her attending to the domestic needs (which she never does), then attending to my carnal needs (which she always does) with the obedience of a nun and the well-practised mouth of the whore that she is.  The movie plays in my head as she saunters around the house, stopping in the kitchen to cook breakfast for me, standing over the stove as she fries up two perfectly formed eggs in the pan, shaking the pan to move the oil which slides over the yolks with ease.  She reaches down, moves her hand up her own thigh and then across to the stove controls and turns up the heat under the pan.  The oil starts to hiss and pop, spitting out and burning her milky skin but she doesn’t move; she stays in her place and leans closer to the pan as the oil spits uncontrollably and blisters her flesh and-
The phone starts to ring next to the bed, and my thought are disrupted.  I ignore the call - Priss is there, she can answer it, it’s her fucking phone anyway. I step out of her bathroom and walk back through the bedroom, wrapping her towel around my waist and stepping out onto the balcony for a cigarette.  She’s never once let me smoke in her house, makes me stand outside like a fucking dog. I remember at one of Vance Lightman’s parties back at Camden College, she tried to introduce a new pet name for me - ‘Puppy’ - and I stealthily disguised my initial temptation to grab her head and smash it into the mantelpiece by turning the gesture into a seemingly innocent and affectionate stroke of her hair.  Later that night I made her bark like a dog while I shoved a plastic bone-shaped dog toy up her ass and then beat her round the head with it while she sucked me off.  Dysfunction is excitement, darling, but what a drag it is too. She has to learn.  She never fucking learns, and she always comes back for more.

I drag on my cigarette till it almost burns down to my fingers, a trick I learned from my dad to get the most out every smoke.  Priss has a pretty perfect view from this terrace, but she doesn’t appreciate it.  She tried her hand at being a photographer before, but in the same way that most stupid rich girls think they’re artists when they get behind the camera - black and white photos of her own feet in All-Stars sneakers, a tipped over bottle of nail varnish spreading across the New York Times crossword, a close up of a elderly man’s eyes welling up with tears. Nonsense. I explained to her about my dad’s work as a photographer in the Gulf War, offered to show her some of his portfolio; that skank wasn’t even remotely interested, said she’d rather go shopping for lipgloss or tampons or whatever shitty items she wanted.  I remember feeling hurt, and that’s why I thought I loved her; her thoughtless actions had hurt me, which must mean I care about her, right? 
I hear her talking, and actively try to ignore her until I realise that she sounds distressed, and then realise that it isn’t even her voice I’m hearing.  She’s obviously let the phone ring out and go to voicemail, lazy bitch.  Cassandra’s hurried voice fills the room from the tiny black box on the sideboard.
“…and we weren’t sure how many you took, and we didn’t know if you gave any to Prissy - oh god Kyle pick up if you’re there, pick up please-”
My cell starts to ring, electronic beeps blocking out some of Cass’s words like an over-zealous censor during a live telethon.
“- last thing I remember was you leaving with her, and you were angry, and I haven’t talked to the police yet I swear, but oh fuck Kyle this is serious man, Mel and David are at County General, but they don’t think Mel is gonna make it, and I’m so scared Kyle I’m so fucking scared…”
Her voice takes on that screechy tone that she shares with Priss, except hers only goes like that when she’s hysterical. Like when I used to fuck her right there on the balcony with Priss downstairs, I’d hang her almost all the way over the railing when she was about to come and her unintentional Priscilla-impression would take over in that moment of ecstasy - she couldn’t help it.  But my mind is clouded by what she’s saying and the realisation that I can’t remember anything about last night, except that I know something extraordinary had taken place. But what the fuck was it?
“…just call me back as soon as you get this, I need to know that you and Prissy are okay.” Then a click and the message cuts off, and it’s like the click has switched something on in my brain.  Something about last night.  I remember doing a couple of lines with Mel and David, and after a couple of round of tequila we went through the usual routine of coercing (mere suggestion) Mel to go down on Priss and then vice versa, but something was different this time.  What the hell was it?  Cass’s words came back to me. “They don’t think Mel is gonna make it” - it takes me a second to realise what she means by this, and then it hits me that David was part of whatever happened too and now it feels like someone’s pushing down on my chest, making it harder to breathe.  I can’t remember anything past skinny-dipping with everyone, and I figure that Priscilla might remember something, so I lean over her body and roughly shake her to wake her up. 
“Priss, fucking wake up, something’s happened.”  She doesn’t move, and it takes a second to register that she’s stone cold. Shit. I gently roll her body over to face me, and for a split second I interpret her glassy stare as her being wide-eyed and awake - but she’d never make it that fucking easy, would she?

No comments:

Post a Comment