Bret Easton Ellis: Unanswered Prayers


By Dale Peck

'Shalom, man,' Ellis said. 'Next year in Jerusalem.'

The man slipped away between passed canap's and steeply angled trays of champagne flutes that somehow never tipped over or spilled, and I moved in.

'Mr. Easton Ellis? It's me -- '
'Yeah, Dale Peck.' Something in his eyes told me he was frowning, but his face didn't really move: late nineties Botox could be a bummer that way. 'I, uh, remember.'

'Cool. Hey, so, I just wanted to apologize for the way I acted at Matthew and Jack's party --'


'Matthew Marks and Jack Bankowsky? The art dealer and publisher of ArtForum and BookForum?'

Another failed attempt at an expression. 'You, uh, write for them, don't you?'

'Yeah,' I said, and I think I blushed -- it's so nice when people notice. 'So, uh, look --'

'Bret! Hey!'

A skinny woman with a spray-on tan and brittle bleached-blonde hair slipped between me and Bret like a virus finding a tear in a condom.

'Candace! Baby! Hey, this is, uh, Dale Peck. Dale, this Candace Bu --'

'Bret! Candace! Let's get a picture!'

'Oh, um, hey Patrick. Um, sure. Ouch,' Ellis added, because I'd stepped on his foot (size twelve, remember? Bruno Maglis?) when I squeezed between him and Candace, which is the best way to make sure you don't get cropped from a paparazzi shot. We all smiled, or tried to in Ellis's case, the bulb flashed, and when I could see again Ellis was gone and I had my arm around Candace, which kind of surprised me. I thought someone had slipped a wet cigarette or a swizel stick into my hand, a post-abortion coat hanger. Something like that.

'So, uh, what do you do?' I said to her as I scanned the room.

Candace didn't bother answering. Just flashed me a look of utter disdain and turned on her heel, only to slip down the hole it drilled in the Christian Liaigre-designed floor. There was a distant spark and a puff of smoke, a faint smell of brimstone, and I was left wondering if she'd really been there. But I had other things on my mind.
I had a pretty good idea where Ellis had gone, and I made my way toward the bathroom. The attendant didn't want to let me in, but I told him that if he didn't get out of my way I'd write a review of his bathroom so scathing that he'd never hand anyone a paper towel or Goody comb again.

'You might think you can live down the title of Worst Bathroom Attendant of Your Generation, but believe me, you can't! It sticks with you forever, like toilet paper lint on stubbly ass cheeks!' I slammed the door, then pulled it back open, tossed out one more 'FOREVER!' and kicked it closed again.

When I turned around Ellis was staring at me with a demiglazed expression, which kind of makes it sound like he had shit all over his face when there was really just a little white powder on his unnaturally stiff upper lip. He shrugged sheepishly. 'Busted,' he said, indicating the three lines on the stainless steel counter with a black Amex card he held like a Ninja star. 'So, uh, you wanna do some blow?'

Did I want to do cocaine with Bret Easton Ellis? Did O.J. Simpson want to stab Nicole Brown through the throat until her head fell off?

'Uh, sorry, I can't,' I said, tapping my nose. 'It's a little Stevie Nicksy up in here.'

'Dude. Been there. I know a good doctor if it doesn't, you know, scab over.' He pressed his left index finger to his nostril, which folded in like a half-inflated basketball, leaned over to do another line, then stood up before his face made it to the counter. 'Hey, do you know what they call the pieces in Tetris?'

'Um?' Talk about unexpected. 'Tetrominoes?'

'Dude! Thanks! That's been bugging me for, like, four months.' He leaned over again, then stood up one more time. 'Sorry, man. It just feels rude to do a line when you can't.'

The sight of the coke had made me forget whatever it was I'd come in the bathroom to ask him. Maybe it was the Stevie Nicks reference, but I suddenly had an idea.

'Um, you could blow some up my ass.'

Ellis considered this with a stony expression, or maybe it was just the Botox. Then: 'Yeah, um, no straw.'

'Oh, uh, right.' I looked around the bathroom, but the closest thing I saw to a straw was a toilet paper roll. What can I say? I'm no Jack Bankowsky. 'I suppose you could put some on your finger and just, you know, push it up there. Or, I don't know, your dick?'

'I could put some coke up my dick?'

'No, on your dick. Up my hole.'

'Oh, right.' He chuckled behind his face. 'Duh.'

Tags: Art & Books