"Do you take Am Ex?"
The bum nods yes and moves away, shuffling slowly.
It's cold for April and Price walks briskly down the street toward Evelyn's brownstone, whistling "If I Were a Rich Man," the heat from his mouth creating smoky plumes of steam, and swinging his Tumi leather attache case. A figure with slicked-back hair and horn-rimmed glasses approaches in the distance, wearing a beige double-breasted wool-gabardine Cerruti 1881 suit and carrying the same Tumi leather attache case from D. F. Sanders that Price has, and Timothy wonders aloud, "Is it Victor Powell? It can't be."
The man passes under the fluorescent glare of a streetlamp with a troubled look on his face that momentarily curls his lips into a slight smile and he glances at Price almost as if they were acquainted but just as quickly he realizes that he doesn't know Price and just as quickly Price realizes it's not Victor Powell and the man moves on.
"Thank god," Price mutters as he nears Evelyn's.
"It looked a lot like him."
"Powell and dinner at Evelyn's? These two go together about as well as paisley and plaid." Price rethinks this. "White socks with gray trousers."
A slow dissolve and Price is bounding up the steps outside the brownstone Evelyn's father bought her, grumbling about how he forgot to return the tapes he rented last night to Video Haven. He rings the bell. At the brownstone next to Evelyn's, a woman - high heels, great ass - leaves without locking her door. Price follows her with his gaze and when he hears footsteps from inside coming down the hallway toward us he turns around and straightens his Versace tie ready to face whoever. Courtney opens the door and she's wearing a Krizia cream silk blouse, a Krizia rust tweed skirt and silk-satin d'Orsay pumps from Manolo Blahnik.
I shiver and hand her my black wool Giorgio Armani overcoat and she takes it from me, carefully airkissing my right cheek, then she performs the same exact movements on Price while taking his Armani overcoat. The new Talking Heads on CD plays softly in the living room.
"A bit late, aren't we, boys?" Courtney asks, smiling naughtily.
"Inept Haitian cabbie," Price mutters, airkissing Courtney back. "Do we have reservations somewhere and please don't tell me Pastels at nine."
Courtney smiles, hanging up both coats in the hall closet. "Eating in tonight, darlings. I'm sorry, I know, I know, I tried to talk Evelyn out of it but we're having... su shi."
Tim moves past her and down the foyer toward the kitchen. "Evelyn? Where are you, Evelyn?" he calls out in a singsong voice. "We have to talk."
"It's good to see you," I tell Courtney. "You look very pretty tonight. Your face has a... youthful glow."
"You really know how to charm the ladies, Bateman." There is no sarcasm in Courtney's voice. "Should I tell Evelyn you feel this way?" she asks flirtatiously.
"No," I say. "But I bet you'd like to."
"Come on," she says, taking my hands off her waist and placing her hands on my shoulders, steering me down the hall in the direction of the kitchen. "We have to save Evelyn. She's been rearranging the sushi for the past hour. She's trying to spell your initials - the P in yellowtail, the B in tuna - but she thinks the tuna looks too pale - "
" - and she doesn't have enough yellowtail to finish the B " - Courtney breathes in - "and so I think she's going to spell Tim's initials instead. Do you mind?" she asks, only a bit worried. Courtney is Luis Carruthers' girlfriend.
"I'm terribly jealous and I think I better talk to Evelyn," I say, letting Courtney gently push me into the kitchen.
Evelyn stands by a blond wood counter wearing a Krizia cream silk blouse, a Krizia rust tweed skirt and the same pair of silk-satin d'Orsay pumps Courtney has on. Her long blond hair is pinned back into a rather severe-looking bun and she acknowledges me without looking up from the oval Wilton stainless-steel platter on which she has artfully arranged the sushi. "Oh honey, I'm sorry. I wanted to go to this darling little new Salvadorian bistro on the Lower East Side - '
Price groans audibly.
" - but we couldn't get reservations. Timothy, don't groan." She picks up a piece of the yellowtail and places it cautiously near the top of the platter, completing what looks like a capital T. She stands back from the platter and inspects it. "I don't know. Oh, I'm so unsure."
"I told you to keep Finlandia in this place," Tim mutters, looking through the bottles - most of them magnums - at the bar. "She never has Finlandia," he says to no one, to all of us.