"How... gentrifying of you, McDermott," I tell him.
Daisy is leaning against a white Mercedes parked next to the curb. Another Mercedes, this one a limo, black, is double-parked next to the white one. There's more lightning. An ambulance screams down Fourteenth Street. McDermott walks by Daisy and kisses her hand before hopping in the second cab.
I'm left standing in front of the crying black woman, Daisy staring.
"Jesus," I mutter, then, "Here..." I hand the black woman a book of matches from Lutece before realizing the mistake, then find a book of matches from Tavern on the Green and toss them at the kid and pluck the other matchbook from her dirty, scabbed fingers.
"Jesus," I mutter again, walking over to Daisy.
"There are no more cabs," she says, hands on hips. Another flash of lightning causes her to jerk her head around, whining, "Where's the photo graphers? Who's taking the pic tures?"
"Taxi!" I whistle, trying to wave down a passing cab.
Another bolt of lighting rips across the sky above Zeckendorf Towers and Daisy squeals, "Where is the photographer? Patrick. Tell them to stop." She's confused, her head moving left, right, behind, left, right She lowers her sunglasses.
"Oh my god," I mutter, my voice building to a shout. "It's light ning. Not a photographer. Lightning!"
"Oh right, I'm supposed to believe you. You said Gorbachev was downstairs," she says accusingly. "I don't believe you. I think the press is here."
"Jesus, here's a cab. Hey, taxi." I whistle at an oncoming cab that has just turned off Eighth Avenue, but someone taps my shoulder and when I turn around, Bethany, a girl I dated at Harvard and who I was subsequently dumped by, is standing in front of me wearing a lace-embroidered sweater and viscose-crepe trousers by Christian Lacroix, an open white umbrella in one hand. The cab I was trying to hail whizzes by.
"Bethany," I say, stunned.
"Patrick." She smiles.
"Bethany," I say again.
"How are you, Patrick?" she asks.
"Um, well, um, I'm fine," I stutter, after an awkward byte of silence. "And you?"
"Really well, thanks," she says.
"You know... well, were you in there?" I ask.
"Yeah, I was." She nods, then, "It's good to see you."
"Are you... living here?" I ask, gulping. "In Manhattan?"
"Yes." She smiles. "I'm working at Milbank Tweed."
"Oh, well... great." I look back over at Daisy and I'm suddenly angry, remembering the lunch in Cambridge, at Quarters, where Bethany, her arm in a sling, a faint bruise above her cheek, ended it all, then, just as suddenly, I'm thinking: My hair, oh god, my hair, and I can feel the drizzle ruining it. "Well, I gotta go."
"You're at P & P, right?" she asks, then, "You look great." Spotting another cab approaching, I back away. "Yeah, well, you know."
"Let's have lunch," she calls out.
"What could be more fun?" I say, unsure. The cab has noticed Daisy and stopped.
"I'll call you," she says.
"Whatever," I say.
Some black guy has opened the cab door for Daisy and she steps in daintily and the black guy holds it open for me too while I get in, waving, nodding to Bethany. "A tip, mister," the black guy asks, "from you and the pretty lady?"
"Yeah," I growl, trying to check my hair in the cabdriver's rearview mirror. "Here's a tip: get a real job, you dumb f**king nigger." Then I slam the door myself and tell the cabdriver to take us to the Upper West Side.
"Didn't you think it was interesting in that movie tonight how they were spies but they weren't spies?" Daisy asks.
"And you can drop her off in Harlem," I tell the driver.
I'm in my bathroom, shirtless in front of the Orobwener mirror, debating whether to take a shower and wash my hair since it looks shitty due to the rain. Tentatively I smooth some mousse into it then run a comb over the mousse. Daisy sits in the Louis Montoni brass and chrome chair by the futon, spooning Macadamia Brittle Haagen-Dazs ice cream into her mouth. She is wearing only a lace bra and a garter belt from Bloomingdale's.
"You know," she calls out, "my ex-boyfriend Fiddler, at the party earlier tonight, he couldn't understand what I was doing there with a yuppie."
I'm not really listening, but while staring at my hair, I manage, "Oh. Really?"