The rat hurls itself against the glass cage as I move it from the kitchen into the living room. It refused to eat what was left of the other rat I had bought it to play with last week, that now lies dead, rotting in a corner of the cage. (For the last five days I've purposefully starved it.) I set the glass cage down next to the girl and maybe because of the scent of the cheese the rat seems to go insane, first running in circles, mewling, then trying to heave its body, weak with hunger, over the side of the cage. The rat doesn't need any prodding and the bent coat hanger I was going to use remains untouched by my side and with the girl still conscious, the thing moves effortlessly on newfound energy, racing up the tube until half of its body disappears, and then after a minute - its rat body shaking while it feeds - all of it vanishes, except for the tail, and I yank the Habitrail tube out of the girl, trapping the rodent. Soon even the tail disappears. The noises the girl is making are, for the most part, incomprehensible.
I can already tell that it's going to be a characteristically useless, senseless death, but then I'm used to the horror. It seems distilled, even now it fails to upset or bother me. I'm not mourning, and to prove it to myself, after a minute or two of watching the rat move under her lower belly, making sure the girl is still conscious, shaking her head in pain, her eyes wide with terror and confusion, I use a chain saw and in a matter of seconds cut the girl in two with it. The whirring teeth go through skin and muscle and sinew and bone so fast that she stays alive long enough to watch me pull her legs away from her body - her actual thighs, what's left of her mutilated vagina - and hold them up in front of me, spouting blood, like trophies almost. Her eyes stay open for a minute, desperate and unfocused, then close, and finally, before she dies, I force a knife uselessly up her nose until it slides out of the flesh on her forehead, and then I hack the bone off her chin. She has only half a mouth left and I f**k it once, then twice, three times in all. Not caring whether she's still breathing or not I gouge her eyes out, finally using my fingers. The rat emerges headfirst - somehow it turned itself around inside the cavity - and it's stained with purple blood (I also notice where the chain saw took off about half of its tail) and I feed it extra Brie until I feel I have to stomp it to death, which I do. Later the girl's femur and left jawbone lie in the oven, baking, and tufts of pubic hair fill a Steuben crystal ashtray, and when I light them they burn very quickly.
At Another New Restaurant
For a limited period of time I'm capable of being halfway cheerful and outgoing, so I accept Evelyn's invitation to dinner during the first week of November at Luke, a new superchic nouvelle Chinese restaurant that also serves, oddly enough, Creole cuisine. We have a good table (I reserved under Wintergreen's name - the simplest of triumphs) and I feel anchored, calm, even with Evelyn sitting across from me prattling on about a very large Faberge egg she thought she saw at the Pierre, rolling around the lobby of its own accord or something like that. The office Halloween party was at the Royalton last week and I went as a mass murderer, complete with a sign painted on my back that read MASS MURDERER (which was decidedly lighter than the sandwich board I had constructed earlier that day that read DRILLER KILLER), and beneath those two words I had written in blood Yep, that's me and the suit was also covered with blood, some of it fake, most of it real. In one fist I clenched a hank of Victoria Bell's hair, and pinned next to my boutonniere (a small white rose) was a finger bone I'd boiled the flesh off of. As elaborate as my costume was, Craig McDermott still managed to win first place in the competition. He came as Ivan Boesky, which I thought was unfair since a lot of people thought I'd gone as Michael Milken last year. The Patty Winters Show this morning was about Home Abortion Kits.
The first five minutes after being seated are fine, then the drink I ordered touches the table and I instinctively reach for it, but I find myself cringing every time Evelyn opens her mouth. I notice that Saul Steinberg is eating here tonight, but refuse to mention this to Evelyn.
"A toast?" I suggest.
"Oh? To what?" she murmurs uninterestedly, craning her neck, looking around the stark, dimly lit, very white room.
"Freedom?" I ask tiredly.
But she's not listening, because some English guy wearing a three-button wool houndstooth suit, a tattersall wool vest, a spread-collar cotton oxford shirt, suede shoes and a silk tie, all by Carrick Anderson, whom Evelyn pointed out once after we'd had a fight at Au Bar and called "gorgeous," and whom I had called "a dwarf," walks over to our table, openly flirting with her, and it pisses me off to think that she feels I'm jealous about this guy but I eventually get the last laugh when he asks if she still has the job at "that art gallery on First Avenue" and Evelyn, clearly stressed, her face falling, answers no, corrects him, and after a few awkward words he moves on. She sniffs, opens her menu, immediately starts on about something else without looking at me.