"Oh god, Tim othy. Can't handle Absolut?" Evelyn asks and then contemplatively to Courtney, "The California roll should circle the rim of the plate, no?"
"Bateman. Drink?" Price sighs.
"J&B rocks," I tell him, suddenly thinking it's strange that Meredith wasn't invited.
"Oh god. It's a mess," Evelyn gasps. "I swear I'm going to cry."
'The sushi looks marvelous, " I tell her soothingly.
"Oh it's a mess," she wails. "It's a mess."
"No, no, the sushi looks marvelous," I tell her and in an attempt to be as consoling as possible I pick up a piece of the fluke and pop it in my mouth, groaning with inward pleasure, and hug Evelyn from behind; my mouth still full, I manage to say "Delicious."
She slaps at me in a playful way, obviously pleased with my reaction, and finally, carefully, airkisses my cheek and then turns back to Courtney. Price hands me a drink and walks toward the living room while trying to remove something invisible from his blazer. "Evelyn, do you have a lint brush?"
I would rather have watched the baseball game or gone to the gym and worked out or tried that Salvadorian restaurant that got a couple of pretty good reviews, one in New York magazine, the other in the Times, than have dinner here but there is one good thing about dinner at Evelyn's: it's close to my place.
"Is it okay if the soy sauce isn't exactly at room temperature?" Courtney is asking. "I think there's ice in one of the dishes."
Evelyn is placing strips of pale orange ginger delicately in a pile next to a small porcelain dish filled with soy sauce. "No, it's not okay. Now Patrick, could you be a dear and get the Kirin out of the refrigerator?" Then, seemingly harassed by the ginger, she throws the clump down on the platter. "Oh forget it. I'll do it."
I move toward the refrigerator anyway. Staring darkly, Price reenters the kitchen and says, "Who in the hell is in the living room?"
Evelyn feigns ignorance. "Oh who is that?"
Courtney warns, "Ev-el-yn. You did tell them, I hope."
"Who is it?" I ask, suddenly scared. "Victor Powell?"
"No, it's not Victor Powell, Patrick," Evelyn says casually. "It's an artist friend of mine, Stash. And Vanden, his girlfriend."
"Oh so that was a girl in there," Price says. "Go take a look, Bateman," he dares. "Let me guess. The East Village?"
"Oh Price," she says flirtatiously, opening beer bottles. "Why no. Vanden goes to Camden and Stash lives in SoHo, so there."
I move out of the kitchen, past the dining room, where the table has been set, the beeswax candles from Zona lit in their sterling silver candleholders from Fortunoff, and into the living room. I can't tell what Stash is wearing since it's all black. Vanden has green streaks in her hair. She stares at a heavy-metal video playing on MTV while smoking a cigarette.
"Ahem," I cough.
Vanden looks over warily, probably drugged to the eyeballs. Stash doesn't move.
"Hi. Pat Bateman," I say, offering my hand, noticing my reflection in a mirror hung on the wall - and smiling at how good I look.
She takes it; says nothing. Stash starts smelling his fingers.
Smash cut and I'm back in the kitchen.
"Just get her out of there." Price is seething. "She's doped up watching MTV and I want to watch the goddamn MacNeil/Lehrer report."
Evelyn is still opening large bottles of imported beer and absently mentions, "We've got to eat this stuff soon or else we're all going to be poisoned."
"She's got a green streak in her hair," I tell them. "And she's smoking."
"Bateman," Tim says, still glaring at Evelyn.
"Yes?" I say. "Timothy?"
"You're a dufus."
"Oh leave Patrick alone," Evelyn says. "He's the boy next door. That's Patrick. You're not a dufus, are you, honey?" Evelyn is on Mars and I move toward the bar to make myself another drink.
"Boy next door." Tim smirks and nods, then reverses his expression and hostilely asks Evelyn again if she has a lint brush.
Evelyn finishes opening the Japanese beer bottles and tells Courtney to fetch Stash and Vanden. "We have to eat this now or else we're going to be poisoned," she murmurs, slowly moving her head, taking in the kitchen, making sure she hasn't forgotten anything.
"If I can tear them away from the latest Megadeth video," Courtney says before exiting.