"I'm sorry, sir," the waitress says. "No cheese. Kosher," and I have no idea what the f**k she's talking about and I say, "Fine. A kosher burger but with cheese, Monterey Jack perhaps, and - oh god," I moan, sensing more cramps coming on. "No cheese, sir," she says. "Kosher... " "Oh god, is this a nightmare, you f**king Jew?" I mutter, and then, "Cottage cheese? Just bring it?" "I'll get the manager," she says. "Whatever. But bring me a beverage in the meanwhile," I hiss. "Yes?" she asks. "A... vanilla... milk shake..." "No milk shakes. Kosher," she says, then, "I'll get the manager." "No, wait." "Mister I'll get the manager." "What in the f**k is going on?" I ask, seething, my platinum AmEx already slapped on the greasy table. "No milk shake. Kosher," she says, thick-upped, just one of billions of people who have passed over this planet. "Then bring me a f**king... vanilla... malted!" I roar, spraying spit all over my open menu. She just stares. "Extra thick!" I add. She walks away to get the manager and when I see him approaching, a bald carbon copy of the waitress, I get up and scream, "Fuck yourself you retarded cocksucking kike," and I run out of the delicatessen and onto the street where this
"What are the rules for a sweater vest?" Van Patten asks the table.
"What do you mean?" McDermott furrows his brow, takes a sip of Absolut.
"Yes," I say, "Cla rify."
"Well, is it strictly infor mal - "
"Or can it be worn with a suit?" I interrupt, finishing his sentence.
"Exactly." He smiles.
"Well, according to Bruce Boyer - " I begin.
"Wait." Van Patten stops me. "Is he with Morgan Stanley?"
"No." I smile. "He's not with Morgan Stanley."
"Wasn't he a serial killer?" McDermott asks suspiciously, then moans. "Don't tell me he was another serial killer, Bateman. Not another serial killer."
"No, McDufus, he wasn't a serial killer," I say, turning back to Van Patten, but before continuing turn back to McDermott. 'That really pisses me off."
"But you always bring them up," McDermott complains. "And always in this casual, educational sort of way. I mean, I don't want to know anything about Son of Sam or the f**king Hillside Strangler or Ted Bundy or Featherhead, for god sake."
"Featherhead?" Van Patten asks. "Who's Featherhead? He sounds exceptionally dangerous."
"He means Leatherface," I say, teeth tightly clenched.
"Leatherface. He was part of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
"Oh." Van Patten smiles politely. "Of course."
"And he was exceptionally dangerous," I say.
"And now okay, go on. Bruce Boyer, what did he do?" McDermott demands, releasing a sigh, rolling his eyes up. "Let's see - skin them alive? Starve them to death? Run them over? Feed them to dogs? What?"
"You guys," I say, shaking my head, then teasingly admit, "He did something far worse."
"Like what - take them to dinner at McManus's new restaurant?" McDermott asks.
"That would do it," Van Patter agrees. "Did you go? It was grubby, wasn't it?"
"Did you have the meat loaf?" McDermott asks.
"The meat loaf?" Van Patten's in shock. "What about the interior. What about the f**king tablecloths?"
"But did you have the meat loaf?" McDermott presses.
"Of course I had the meat loaf, and the squab, and the marlin," Van Patten says.
"Oh god, I forgot about the marlin," McDermott groans. "The marlin chili."
"After reading Miller's review in the Times, who in their right mind wouldn't order the meat loaf, or the marlin for that matter?"
"But Miller got it wrong," McDermott says. "It was just grubby. The quesadilla with papaya? Usually a good dish, but there, Jesus." He whistles, shaking his head.
"And cheap," Van Patten adds.
"So cheap." McDermott is in total agreement. "And the watermelon-brittle tart - "
"Gentlemen." I cough. "Ahem. I hate to interrupt, but..."
"Okay, okay, go on," McDermott says. "Tell us more about Charles Moyer."
"Bruce Boyer," I correct him. "He was the author of Elegance. A Guide to Quality in Menswear." Then as an aside, "And no, Craig, he wasn't a serial killer in his spare time."