Emptiness of the Arrancar. Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman, Bret Easton Ellis’s antihero manifests all traits of the Arrancar psychological type. American Psycho is naked, „in your face” emptiness, a three year first person narrated experience of high-class gore, free of any trace of subjective moral weight or significance. Although Bateman’s life is otherwise hell, the absence of any moral pangs is comforting.

I took the pains to retrieve and assort a rich collection of quotations from American Psycho; they illustrate the parallel between Bateman and the typical Arrancar. Bateman is not the only arrancar in the book, most people in Bateman’s „life” act empty too, but I’m concentrating on Bateman. Besides, who is responsible for who’s hollowfication is not important; at least not from a hollow’s perspective: it’s too late to concern about that.

Hollows have been emptied of their heart. The process of hollowfication typically requires some extreme or shocking deprivation. As a result they lack the requisites to feel for others and to hope for higher purpose and they start leading an a-historical, cyclical life. Their desires and purpose-following either disappear or are reduced to primeval level, typically killing and feeding on others, almost indiscriminately. Most of them manage to self-contently live with despair as if there never has been anything else anyway.  With hollowfication there is a gain towards invulnerability and immunization from disillusionment. With hollowfication comes a gain in raw power, endurance, and capacity for regeneration. Translated plastically in the manga, the sign of having lost one’s heart is the hole in the chest. The mask of death, (the fragment of skull over one’s face), is the sign they lost their personal history and identity, the sign they are hiding their personal identity, or the sign their narrative became irrelevant. All of these traits fit Patrick Bateman.

Arrancars are hollows who have removed the most part of their mask. They are „shameless hollows”, as you said, no longer hide that they are the ones who have been emptied. Self-discipline allows them to share in humans or shinigami’ shape, sheen, manners and reason. Arrancars thus regain bits of their personal history and identity, come to accept their history, and may also gain the capacity to follow some long term purpose which typically remains amoral, such as being on top, (though it need not be so; one may follow moral purpose out of contingent amoral reasons). Arrancars’ essence though, remains emptiness. As humans, they are dead, and they ‚walk in death’. All of it is true about Patrick Bateman.

I assorted the quotations as follows:

  • Hollowfication. Emptiness To The Point Of Losing One’s Individuality
  • Hollowfication. Desires And Preferences, Reduced To Primeval Level
  • Hollowfication. Invulnerability, Immunity To Horror
  • Overbearance. Egocentricity
  • Walking In Death. Moral Specter Inverted, Values In Their Negative
  • Human Life is Empty. Inner Life Is Irrelevant. Intentions, Emotions, Feelings Are Bracketed In The Fabric Of The World
  • Human Life is Empty. Life Is But A Rat Race
  • Despair As The Normal, Equilibrium, Background State
  • Unhappiness
  • Own’s Own Life Is Pointless. Life is A-Historical Or Cyclical
  • Breaking Off Mask. Making It Public
  • Breaking Off Mask. Disciplined Routine
  • Concern With Surface: Dressing Codes, Tanning, Shape, Musculature
  • Impossibility To Communicate. Autism, Isolation
  • Impossibility To Live The Moment. In Death, Nothing Is Worth More Than Anything Else
  • Insistence On The Organic. Precise Focus On Body Parts, i.e. On What Is ‚Interchangeable’, Of Equal Worth/Unworth
  • People’s Identity Doesn’t Matter. People Are Interchangeable, Of Equal Worth/Unworth
  • One Is A Living Contrast Of Horror And Etiquette
  • Nothing Can Impress
  • Disgust By The Manifestation Of Life In Others
  • Coldness

Hollowfication. Emptiness To The Point of Losing One’s Individuality

<<There wasn’t a clear, identifiable emotion within me, except for greed and, possibly, total disgust. I had all the characteristics of a human being – flesh, blood, skin, hair – but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that the normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning. Something horrible was happening and yet I couldn’t figure out why – I couldn’t put my finger on it.>>

***

<<…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a noncontingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity.>>

***

<<Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire – meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in… this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged…>>

Hollowfication. Desires And Preferences, Reduced To Primeval Level

<<While she was gone I would vomit – just to do it – into the rustic terra-cotta jars that lined the patio in front or I would drive into town with the scary masseur and collect razor blades.>>

***

<<Some nights I would find my self roaming the beaches, digging up baby crabs and eating handfuls of sand – this was in the middle of the night when the sky was so clear I could see the entire solar system and the sand, lit by it, seemed almost lunar in scale. I even dragged a beached jellyfish back to the house and microwaved it early one morning, predawn, while Evelyn slept, and what I didn’t eat of it I fed to the chow.>>

***

Most of his private reflections on musicians are either worthless talk or show he is only looking in music for means to uplift and rouse himself:

<<Otherwise all the albums before Duke seemed too artsy, too intellectual. It was Duke (Atlantic; 1980), where Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent, and the music got more modern, the drum machine became more prevalent and the lyrics started getting less mystical and more specific (maybe because of Peter Gabriel’s departure), and complex, ambiguous studies of loss became, instead, smashing first-rate pop songs that I gratefully embraced.>>

***

<<…Huey Lewis and the News (…) seemed a little too willing to cash in on the late seventies/early eighties taste for New Wave, and the album – though it’s still a smashing debut – seems a little too stark, too punk. Examples of this being the drumming on the first single, “Some of My Lies Are True (Sooner or Later),” and the fake handclaps on “Don’t Make Me Do It” as well as the organ on “Taking a Walk.” Even though it was a little bit strained, their peppy boy-wants-girl lyrics and the energy with which Lewis, as a lead singer, instilled all the songs were refreshing.>>

***

<<Elvis [Costello] might think that intellectual wordplay is as important as having a good time and having one’s cynicism tempered by good spirits, but I wonder what he thinks about Lewis selling so many more records than he?>>

***

<<…the album’s theme in a much more playful way than previous songs on the album did, and though lyrically it might seem impoverished, it’s still a sign that the new “serious” Lewis – that Huey the artist hasn’t totally lost his frisky sense of humor. The album ends with “Slammin’,” which has no words and it’s just a lot of horns that quite frankly, if you turn it up really loud, can give you a fucking big headache and maybe even make you feel a little sick, though it might sound different on an album or on a cassette though I wouldn’t know anything about that. Anyway it set off something wicked in me that lasted for days. And you cannot dance to it very well.>>

Hollowfication. Invulnerability, Immunity To Horror

<<While Tiffany watches, finally I saw the entire head off – torrents of blood splash against the walls, even the ceiling – and holding the head up, like a prize, I take my cock, purple with stiffness, and lowering Torri’s head to my lap I push it into her bloodied mouth and start fucking it, until I come, exploding into it. Afterwards I’m so hard I can even walk around the blood-soaked room carrying the head, which feels warm and weightless, on my dick. This is amusing for a while but I need to rest so I remove the head, placing it in Paul’s oak and teak armoire, and then I’m sitting in a chair, naked, covered with blood, watching HBO on Owen’s TV, drinking a Corona, complaining out loud, wondering why Owen doesn’t have Cinemax.>>

***

<<I turn off the lights and in the dark before she dies I rip open her stomach with my bare hands. I can’t tell what I’m doing with them but it’s making wet snapping sounds and my hands are hot and covered with something.

The aftermath. No fear, no confusion. Unable to linger since there are things to be done today: return videotapes, work out at the gym, a new British musical on Broadway I promised Jeanette I’d take her to, a dinner reservation to be made somewhere.>>

Overbearance. Egocentricity

<<I hold her head up, blood dribbling from her mouth, and make her watch the rest of the tape and while she’s looking at the girl on the screen bleed from almost every possible orifice, I’m hoping she realizes that this would have happened to her no matter what. That she would have ended up lying here, on the floor in my apartment, hands nailed to posts, cheese and broken glass pushed up into her cunt, her head cracked and bleeding purple, no matter what other choice she might have made; that if she had gone to Nell’s or Indochine or Mars or Au Bar instead of M.K., if she had simply not taken the cab with me to the Upper West Side, that this all would have happened anyway. I would have found her. This is the way the earth works.>>

***

<<“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.>>

Walking In Death. Moral Specter Inverted, Values In Their Negative

Others’ horror is the Arrancar’s joy. Others’ dream state is his reality. Through torture and mutilation, he is forcing others to accept his reality. He’s having his “David Onica six-foot-by-four-foot portrait of a naked woman” hung upside down.

***

<<Though I am satisfied at first by my actions, I’m suddenly jolted with a mournful despair at how useless, how extraordinarily painless, it is to take a child’s life. This thing before me, small and twisted and bloody, has no real history, no worthwhile past, nothing is really lost. It’s so much worse (and more pleasurable) taking the life of someone who has hit his or her prime, who has the beginnings of a full history, a spouse, a network of friends, a career, whose death will upset far more people whose capacity for grief is limitless than a child’s would, perhaps ruin many more lives than just the meaningless, puny death of this boy. I’m automatically seized with an almost overwhelming desire to knife the boy’s mother too (…)>>

But he can’t get his satisfaction by killing the boy’s mother, too many people around. As he feels unfulfilled by the boy’s death, he has to gratify himself  some more with the help of his imagination (m.n):

<<I feel empty, hardly here at all, but even the arrival of the police seems an insufficient reason to move and I stand with the crowd outside the penguin habitat, with dozens of others, taking a long time to slowly blend in and then back away, until finally I’m walking down Fifth Avenue, surprised by how little blood has stained my jacket, and I stop in a bookstore and buy a book and then at a Dove Bar stand on the corner of Fifty-sixth Street, where I buy a Dove Bar – a coconut one – and I imagine a hole, widening in the sun, and for some reason this breaks the tension (…)>>

***

<<For the first time I notice just how small and delicately structured Christie is, was. I start kneading her breasts with a pair of pliers, then I’m mashing them up, things are moving fast, I’m making hissing noises, she spits out the pages from the magazine, tries to bite my hand, I laugh when she dies, before she does she starts crying, then her eyes roll back in some kind of horrible dream state.

Tiffany is tied up with six pairs of Paul’s suspenders on the other side of the bed, moaning with fear, totally immobilized by the monster of reality. I want her to watch what I’m going to do to Torri and she’s propped up in a way that makes this unavoidable.>>

***

<<I spend the next fifteen minutes beside myself, pulling out a bluish rope of intestine, most of it still connected to the body, and shoving it into my mouth, choking on it, and it feels moist in my mouth and it’s filled with some kind of paste which smells bad. After an hour of digging, I detach her spinal cord and decide to Federal Express the thing without cleaning it, wrapped in tissue, under a different name, to Leona Helmsley. I want to drink this girl’s blood as if it were champagne and I plunge my face deep into what’s left of her stomach, scratching my chomping jaw on a broken rib. The huge new television set is on in one of the rooms, first blaring out The Patty Winters Show, whose topic today is Human Dairies, then a game show, Wheel of Fortune, and the applause coming from the studio audience sounds like static each time a new letter is turned. I’m loosening the tie I’m still wearing with a blood-soaked hand, breathing in deeply. This is my reality. Everything outside of this is like some movie I once saw.>>

***

<<A curtain of stars, miles of them, are scattered, glowing, across the sky and their multitude humbles me, which I have a hard time tolerating.>>

Human Life is Empty. Inner Life Is Irrelevant. Intentions, Emotions, Feelings Are Bracketed In The Fabric Of The World

<<[My relationship with Evelyn] is an isolation ward that serves only to expose my own severely impaired capacity to feel. I am at its center, out of season, and no one ever asks me for any identification. I suddenly imagine Evelyn’s skeleton, twisted and crumbling, and this fills me with glee. It takes a long time to answer her question – Where are you going? – but after a sip of the port, then the dry beer, rousing myself, I tell her, at the same time wondering: If I were an actual automaton what difference would there really be?>>

***

<<“Oh brother.” [Tim] Price won’t let it die. “Look,” he starts, trying for a rational appraisal of the situation. “[Ronald Reagan] presents himself as a harmless old codger. But inside…” He stops. My interest picks up, flickers briefly. “But inside…” Price can’t finish the sentence, can’t add the last two words he needs: doesn’t matter. I’m both disappointed and relieved for him.>>

***

<<As usual, in an attempt to understand these girls I’m filming their deaths. With Torri and Tiffany I use a Minox LX ultra-miniature camera that takes 9.5mm film, has a 15mm f/3.5 lens, an exposure meter and a built-in neutral density filter and sits on a tripod. […] I start by skinning Torri a little, making incisions with a steak knife (…)>>

***

<<…and though it does sporadically penetrate how unacceptable some of what I’m doing actually is, I just remind myself that this thing, this girl, this meat, is nothing, is shit.>>

Human Life is Empty. Life Is But A Rat Race

<<Everything I have been taught: principles, distinctions, choices, morals, compromises, knowledge, unity, prayer – all of it was wrong, without any final purpose. All it came down to was: die or adapt. I imagine my own vacant face, the disembodied voice coming from its mouth: These are terrible times. Maggots already writhe across the human sausage, the drool pouring from my lips dribbles over them, and still I can’t tell if I’m cooking any of this correctly, because I’m crying too hard and I have never really cooked anything before.>>

***

<<I’m twenty-seven for Christ sakes and this is, uh, how life presents itself in a bar or in a club in New York, maybe anywhere, at the end of the century and how people, you know, me, behave, and this is what being Patrick means to me, I guess, so, well, yup, uh…” and this is followed by a sigh, then a slight shrug and another sigh, and above one of the doors covered by red velvet drapes in Harry’s is a sign and on the sign in letters that match the drapes’ color are the words THIS IS NOT AN EXIT.>>

***

<<Stop and imagine for an instant a world where someone is grateful for something.>>

***

<<All summer long Madonna cries out to us, “life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone. . .”>>

***

<<I’m in a reflective mood and I place the gun, which is a symbol of order to me, back in the locker, to be used at another time.>>

***

<<“Give Me the Keys (And I’ll Drive You Crazy)” is a good-times blues rocker about (what else?) driving around.>>

Despair As The Normal, Equilibrium, Background State

<<He pats my back, says, “You’re a madman, Batsman. An animal. A total animal.”

“I can’t disagree.” I laugh weakly, walking him to the door. As he leaves I’m wondering and not wondering what happens in the world of Tim Price, which is really the world of most of us: big ideas, guy stuff, boy meets the world, boy gets it.>>

***

<<This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliché, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics.>>

***

<<Shoestring french fries surround it and chunky red salsa has been smeared across the top of the plate – which is white and porcelain and two feet wide – to give the appearance of a sunset but it looks like one big gunshot wound to me.>>

***

<<I buy a very hard apple at a Korean deli which I eat on my way to meet Jean who, right now, stands at the Sixty-seventh Street entrance to Central Park on a cool, sunny day in September. When we look up at the clouds she sees an island, a puppy dog, Alaska, a tulip. I see, but don’t tell her, a Gucci money clip, an ax, a woman cut in two, a large puffy white puddle of blood that spreads across the sky, dripping over the city, onto Manhattan.>>

***

<<It’s as if her mind is having a hard time communicating with her mouth, as if she is searching for a rational analysis of who I am, which is, of course, an impossibility: there… is… no… key.>>

***

<<I sense [Jean] wants to rearrange my life in a significant way – her eyes tell me this and though I see truth in them, I also know that one day, sometime very soon, she too will be locked in the rhythm of my insanity.>>

***

<<When I get back, in January, Jeanette will be out of the country. I relight a cigar, search for an ashtray. There’s a church on the corner of this street. Who cares? This is, I think, the fifth child I’ve had aborted, the third I haven’t aborted myself (a useless statistic, I admit). The wind outside the limousine is brisk and cold and the rain hits the darkened windows in rhythmic waves, mimicking Jeanette’s probable weeping in the operating room, dizzy from the anesthesia, thinking about a memory from her past, a moment where the world was perfect. I resist the impulse to start cackling hysterically.>>

***

<<In fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this – and I have, countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed – and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing>>

Unhappiness

<<There’s no use in denying it: this has been a bad week. I’ve started drinking my own urine. I laugh spontaneously at nothing. Sometimes I sleep under my futon.>>

***

<<The smell of meat and blood clouds up the condo until I don’t notice it anymore. And later my macabre joy sours and I’m weeping for myself, unable to find solace in any of this, crying out, sobbing “I just want to be loved,” cursing the earth.>>

***

<<…and along with a Xanax (which I am now taking half-hourly) this thought momentarily calms me.>>

***

<<I don’t say anything. How can I tell McDermott that this is a very disjointed time of my life and that I notice the walls have been painted a bright, almost painful white and under the glare of the fluorescent lights they seem to pulse and glow. Frank Sinatra is somewhere, singing “Witchcraft.” I’m staring at the walls (…)>>

Own’s Own Life Is Pointless. Life is A-Historical Or Cyclical

The following types of chapters recur mechanically in the narration: social activity, physical exercise, murder, reflections on a musical band. There are types of actions and thoughts that appear obsessively, such as watching the Patty Winters show in the morning, working out for two hours at Club Xclusive, returning videotapes, having shiatsu massages, and observing the branding and minutia of other people’s outfits.

<<“But… what about us? What about the past?” she asks blankly. “The past isn’t real. It’s just a dream,” I say. “Don’t mention the past.”>>

***

<<I buy (…) the current Sports Illustrated and the new issue of Esquire, even though I subscribe to them and both have already arrived in the mail.>>

***

<<…paisley ties and crystal water pitchers, tumbler sets and office clocks that measure temperature and humidity and barometric pressure, electric calling card address books and margarita glasses, valet stands and sets of dessert plates, correspondence cards and mirrors and shower clocks and aprons and sweaters and gym bags and bottles of champagne and porcelain cachepots and monogrammed bath sheets and foreign-currency-exchange minicalculators and silver-plated address books and paperweights with fish and boxes of fine stationery and bottle openers and compact discs and customized tennis balls and pedometers and coffee mugs… I check my Rolex while I’m buying scruffing lotion at the Clinique counter, still in Bergdorf’s, to make sure I have enough time to shop some more before I have to meet Tim Severt for drinks at the Princeton Club at seven.>>

***

<<I wait for something to happen. I sit in my bedroom for close to an hour. Nothing does. I get up, do the rest of the coke – a minuscule amount that’s in my closet left over from a late Saturday at M.K. or Au Bar>>

***

<<McDermott has on a cashmere sport coat, wool trousers, a silk tie, Hermès. Farrell is wearing a cashmere vest, leather shoes, wool cavalry twill trousers, Garrick Anderson. I’m wearing a wool suit by Armani, shoes by Allen-Edmonds, pocket square by Brooks Brothers. Someone else has on a suit tailored by Anderson and Sheppard. Someone who looks like Todd Lauder, and may in fact be, gives thumbs-up from across the room, etc., etc. Questions are routinely thrown my way, among them: Are the rules for wearing a pocket square the same as for a white dinner jacket? Is there any difference at all between boat shoes and Top-Siders? My futon has already flattened out and it’s uncomfortable to sleep on – what can I do? How does one judge the quality of compact discs before buying them? What tie knot is less bulky than a Windsor? How can one maintain a sweater’s elasticity? Any tips on buying a shearling coat? I am, of course, thinking about other things, asking myself my own questions: Am I a fitness junkie? Man vs. Conformity? Can I get a date with Cindy Crawford? Does being a Libra signify anything and if so, can you prove it? Today I was obsessed with the idea of faxing Sarah’s blood I drained from her vagina over to her office in the mergers division at Chase Manhattan, and I didn’t work out this morning because I’d made a necklace from the bones of some girl’s vertebrae and wanted to stay home and wear it around my neck while I masturbated in the white marble tub in my bathroom, grunting and moaning like some kind of animal. Then I watched a movie about five lesbians and ten vibrators. Favorite group: Talking Heads. Drink: J&B or Absolut on the rocks. TV show: Late Night with David Letterman. Soda: Diet Pepsi. Water: Evian. Sport: Baseball. The conversation follows its own rolling accord – no real structure or topic or internal logic or feeling; except, of course, for its own hidden, conspiratorial one. Just words, and like in a movie, but one that has been transcribed improperly, most of it overlaps.>>

***

<<… surface surface surface, a Rolls is a Rolls is a Rolls.>>

Breaking Off Mask. Making It Public

<<…able with shaking hands to pick up the cordless phone, looking through my Rolodex, exhausted, eyes falling upon Harold Carnes’ number, dialing the seven digits slowly, breathing deeply, evenly, I decide to make public what has been, until now, my private dementia, but Harold isn’t in, business, London, I leave a message, admitting everything, leaving nothing out, thirty, forty, a hundred murders.>>

***

<<“My… my need to engage in… homicidal behavior on a massive scale cannot be, um, corrected,” I tell her, measuring each word carefully. “But I… have no other way to express my blocked… needs.” I’m surprised at how emotional this admission makes me, and it wears me down; I feel light-headed.>>

Breaking Off Mask. Disciplined Routine

I used to have a personal trainer whom Luis Carruthers had recommended but he came on to me last fall and I decided to develop my own fitness program which incorporates both aerobic exercises and training. With weights I alternate between free weights and weight machines that use hydraulic, pneumatic or electromechanical resistance. Most of the machines are very efficient since computerized keypads allow one to make adjustments in weight resistance without getting up. The positive aspects of the machines include minimizing muscle soreness and reducing any chance of injury. But I also like the versatility and freedom that free weights offer and the many variations in lifting that I can’t get on the machines.

On the leg machines I do five sets of ten repetitions. For the back I also do five sets of ten repetitions. On the stomach crunch machine I’ve gotten so I can do six sets of fifteen and on the biceps curl machine I do seven sets of ten. Before moving to the free weights I spend twenty minutes on the exercise bike while reading the new issue of Money magazine. Over at the free weights I do three sets of fifteen repetitions of leg extensions, leg curls and leg presses, then three sets and twenty repetitions of barbell curls, then three sets and twenty repetitions of bentover lateral raises for the rear deltoids and three sets and twenty repetitions of latissimus pulldowns, pulley rows, dead lifts and bent-over barbell rows. For the chest I do three sets and twenty reps of incline-bench presses. For the front deltoids I also do three sets of lateral raises and seated dumbbell presses. Finally, for the triceps I do three sets and twenty reps of cable pushdowns and close-grip bench presses. After more stretching exercises to cool down I take a quick hot shower.

***

<<After I change into Ralph Lauren monogrammed boxer shorts and a Fair Isle sweater and slide into silk polka-dot Enrico Hidolin slippers I tie a plastic ice pack around my face and commence with the morning’s stretching exercises. Afterwards I stand in front of a chrome and acrylic Washmobile bathroom sink – with soap dish, cup holder, and railings that serve as towel bars, which I bought at Hastings Tile to use while the marble sinks I ordered from Finland are being sanded – and stare at my reflection with the ice pack still on. I pour some Plax antiplaque formula into a stainless-steel tumbler and swish it around my mouth for thirty seconds. Then I squeeze Rembrandt onto a faux-tortoiseshell toothbrush and start brushing my teeth (too hung over to floss properly – but maybe I flossed before bed last night?) and rinse with Listerine. Then I inspect my hands and use a nailbrush. I take the ice-pack mask off and use a deep-pore cleanser lotion, then an herb-mint facial masque which I leave on for ten minutes while I check my toenails. Then I use the Probright tooth polisher and next the Interplak tooth polisher (this in addition to the toothbrush) which has a speed of 4200 rpm and reverses direction forty-six times per second; the larger tufts clean between teeth and massage the gums while the short ones scrub the tooth surfaces. I rinse again, with Cepacol. I wash the facial massage off with a spearmint face scrub. The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It’s made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish. In the shower I use first a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey-almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Vidal Sassoon shampoo is especially good at getting rid of the coating of dried perspiration, salts, oils, airborne pollutants and dirt that can weigh down hair and flatten it to the scalp which can make you look older. The conditioner is also good – silicone technology permits conditioning benefits without weighing down the hair which can also make you look older. On weekends or before a date I prefer to use the Greune Natural Revitalizing Shampoo, the conditioner and the Nutrient Complex. These are formulas that contain D-panthenol, a vitamin-B-complex factor; polysorbate 80, a cleansing agent for the scalp; and natural herbs. Over the weekend I plan to go to Bloomingdale’s or Bergdorf’s and on Evelyn’s advice pick up a Foltene European Supplement and Shampoo for thinning hair which contains complex carbohydrates that penetrate the hair shafts for improved strength and shine. Also the Vivagen Hair Enrichment Treatment, a new Redken product that prevents mineral deposits and prolongs the life cycle of hair. Luis Carruthers recommended the Aramis Nutriplexx system, a nutrient complex that helps increase circulation. Once out of the shower and toweled dry I put the Ralph Lauren boxers back on and before applying the Mousse A Raiser, a shaving cream by Pour Hommes, I press a hot towel against my face for two minutes to soften abrasive beard hair. Then I always slather on a moisturizer (to my taste, Clinique) and let it soak in for a minute. You can rinse it off or keep it on and apply a shaving cream over it – preferably with a brush, which softens the beard as it lifts the whiskers – which I’ve found makes removing the hair easier. It also helps prevent water from evaporating and reduces friction between your skin and the blade. Always wet the razor with warm water before shaving and shave in the direction the beard grows, pressing gently on the skin. Leave the sideburns and chin for last, since these whiskers are tougher and need more time to soften. Rinse the razor and shake off any excess water before starting. Afterwards splash cool water on the face to remove any trace of lather.>>

***

<<… into the kitchen where I take two Advil, a multivitamin and a potassium tablet, washing them down with a large bottle of Evian water since the maid, an elderly Chinese woman, forgot to turn the dishwasher on when she left yesterday, and then I have to pour the grapefruit-lemon juice into a St. Rémy wineglass I got from Baccarat. I check the neon clock that hangs over the refrigerator to make sure I have enough time to eat breakfast unhurriedly. Standing at the island in the kitchen I eat kiwifruit and a sliced Japanese apple-pear (they cost four dollars each at Gristede’s) out of aluminum storage boxes that were designed in West Germany. I take a bran muffin, a decaffeinated herbal tea bag and a box of oat-bran cereal from one of the large glass-front cabinets that make up most of an entire wall in the kitchen; complete with stainless-steel shelves and sandblasted wire glass, it is framed in a metallic dark gray-blue. I eat half of the bran muffin after it’s been microwaved and lightly covered with a small helping of apple butter. A bowl of oat-bran cereal with wheat germ and soy milk follows; another bottle of Evian water and a small cup of decaf tea after that. Next to the Panasonic bread baker and the Salton Pop-Up coffee maker is the Cremina sterling silver espresso maker (which is, oddly, still warm) that I got at Hammacher Schlemmer (the thermal-insulated stainless-steel espresso cup and the saucer and spoon are sitting by the sink, stained) and the Sharp Model R-1810A Carousel II microwave oven with revolving turntable which I use when I heat up the other half of the bran muffin. Next to the Salton Sonata toaster and the Cuisinart Little Pro food processor and the Acme Supreme Juicerator and the Cordially Yours liqueur maker stands the heavy-gauge stainless-steel two-and-one-half-quart teakettle, which whistles “Tea for Two” when the water is boiling, and with it I make another small cup of the decaffeinated apple-cinnamon tea.>>

***

<<The suit I wear today is from Alan Flusser. It’s an eighties drape suit, which is an updated version of the thirties style. The favored version has extended natural shoulders, a full chest and a bladed back. The soft-rolled lapels should be about four inches wide with the peak finishing three quarters of the way across the shoulders. Properly used on double-breasted suits, peaked lapels are considered more elegant than notched ones. Low-slung pockets have a flapped double-besom design – above the flap there’s a slit trimmed on either side with a flat narrow strip of cloth. Four buttons form a low-slung square; above it, about where the lapels cross, there are two more buttons. The trousers are deeply pleated and cut full in order to continue the flow of the wide jacket. An extended waist is cut slightly higher in the front. Tabs make the suspenders fit well at the center back. The tie is a dotted silk design by Valentino Couture. The shoes are crocodile loafers by A. Testoni.>>

Concern With Surface: Dressing Codes, Tanning, Shape, Musculature

He is a careful reader of style sections of and lifestyle magazines, and buys expensive contemporary art. He is a flawless master of contemporary dressing code. The particular phrasing „(s)he’s wearing a…” appears 145 times in this book. Obsessive concern with other peoples’ surface signals continuous refusal to connect to others’ inner life; concern with one’s own surface signals insulation from and conscious resistance to the environment. Arrancars have iron skin due to compressed spiritual pressure. Bateman’s deep tan also correspondents to the Arrancar’s residual  mask.

<<Price seems nervous and edgy and I have no desire to ask him what’s wrong. He’s wearing a linen suit by Canali Milano, a cotton shirt by Ike Behar, a silk tie by Bill Blass and cap-toed leather lace-ups from Brooks Brothers. I’m wearing a lightweight linen suit with pleated trousers, a cotton shirt, a dotted silk tie, all by Valentino Couture, and perforated cap-toe leather shoes by Allen-Edmonds. Once inside Harry’s we spot David Van Patten and Craig McDermott at a table up front. Van Patten is wearing a double-breasted wool and silk sport coat, button-fly wool and silk trousers with inverted pleats by Mario Valentino, a cotton shirt by Gitman Brothers, a polka-dot silk tie by Bill Blass and leather shoes from Brooks Brothers. McDermott is wearing a woven-linen suit with pleated trousers, a button-down cotton and linen shirt by Basile, a silk tie by Joseph Abboud and ostrich loafers from Susan Bennis Warren Edwards. >>

***

<<In the cab I’m wearing a double-breasted cashmere and wool overcoat by Studio 000.1 from Ferré, a wool suit with pleated trousers by DeRigueur from Schoeneman, a silk tie by Givenchy Gentleman, socks by Interwoven, shoes by Armani, reading the Wall Street Journal with my Ray-Ban sunglasses on and listening to a Walkman with a Bix Beiderbecke tape playing in it. I put down the Journal, pick up the Post, just to check Page Six.>>

***

<<“Actually, where do you go, Bateman?” Van Patten asks. “For a tan.”

“Yeah, Bateman. Where do you go?” McDermott seems genuinely intrigued.

“Read my lips,” I say, “a tanning salon,” then irritably, “like everyone else.”>>

***

<<It’s really even too late to be asking these questions since now I’m in the men’s room, staring at myself in the mirror – tan and haircut perfect – checking out my teeth which are completely straight and white and gleaming. Winking at my reflection I breathe in, sliding on a pair of leather Armani gloves>>

***

<<Free weights and Nautilus equipment relieve stress. My body responds to the workout accordingly. Shirtless, I scrutinize my image in the mirror above the sinks in the locker room at Xclusive. My arm muscles burn; my stomach is as taut as possible, my chest steel, pectorals granite hard, my eyes white as ice.>>

***

<<“Patrick,” she says slowly. “If you’re so uptight about work, why don’t you just quit? You don’t have to work.”

“Because,” I say, staring directly at her, “I… want… to… fit. . . in.”>>

Impossibility To Communicate. Autism, Isolation

<<Evelyn is talking but I’m not listening. Her dialogue overlaps her own dialogue. Her mouth is moving but I’m not hearing anything and I can’t listen, I can’t really concentrate, since my rabbit has been cut to look… just… like. . . a… star!>>

***

<<“Oh, and lots of chocolate truffles. Godiva. And oysters. Oysters on the half shell. Marzipan. Pink tents. Hundreds, thousands of roses. Photographers. Annie Leibovitz. We’ll get Annie Leibovitz,” she says excitedly. “And we’ll hire someone to videotape it!”

“Or an AR-15. You’d like it, Evelyn: it’s the most expensive of guns, but worth every penny.” I wink at her. But she’s still talking; she doesn’t hear a word; nothing registers. She does not fully grasp a word I’m saying. My essence is eluding her.>>

***

<<As usual, Evelyn misses the essence of what I’m saying>>

***

At the dry cleaner’s:

<<[…] Then for ten minutes I point out the stains to the tiny old Chinese woman who, I’m supposing, runs the cleaners and she’s even brought her husband out from the back of the shop since I can’t understand a word she’s saying. But the husband remains utterly mute and doesn’t bother to translate. The old woman keeps jabbering in what I guess is Chinese and finally I have to interrupt. Listen, wait…” I hold up a hand with the cigar in it, the Soprani jacket draped over my other arm. “You’re not… shhh, wait… shhh, you are not giving me valid reasons.” The Chinese woman keeps squealing something, grabbing at the arms of the jacket with a tiny fist. I brush her hand away and, leaning in, speak very slowly. “What are you trying to say to me?” She keeps yipping, wild-eyed.>>

***

<<In the lobby of my building I stop at the front desk and try to get the attention of a black Hispanic doorman I don’t recognize. He’s on the phone to his wife or his dealer of some crack addict and stares at me as he nods, the phone cradled in the premature folds of his neck. When it dawns on him that I want to ask something, he sighs, rolls his eyes up and tells whoever is on the line to hold on. “Yeah whatchooneed?” he mumbles. “Yes,” I begin, my tone as gentle and polite as I can possibly muster. “Could you please tell the superintendent that I have a crack in my ceiling and…” I stop. He’s looking at me as if I have overstepped some kind of unspoken boundary and I’m beginning to wonder what word confused him: certainly not crack, so what was it? Superintendent? Ceiling? Maybe even please?>>

***

<<But Whitney [Houston]’s talent is restored with the overwhelming “The Greatest Love of All,” one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation and dignity. From the first line (Michael Masser and Linda Creed are credited as the writers) to the last, it’s a state-of-the-art ballad about believing in yourself. It’s a powerful statement and one that Whitney sings with a grandeur that approaches the sublime. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it’s not too late for us to better ourselves, to act kinder. Since it’s impossible in the world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It’s an important message, crucial really, and it’s beautifully stated on this album.>>

***

<<“Basically no one has seen or heard anything.”

“That’s so typical, isn’t it?” I ask.

“It’s just strange,” he agrees.>> (Italics mine)

***

<<“It’s just” – he sighs, exasperated – “futile.” I pause, unsure of what to say, and come up with “Futility is… hard to deal with.”

I am thinking about nothing. It’s silent in the office.>>

***

<<Then, very simply, dinner reaches its crisis point, when Evelyn says, “I want a firm commitment.” The evening has already deteriorated considerably so this comment doesn’t ruin anything or leave me unprepared, but the unreasonableness of our situation is choking me. […] For the first time I notice that she has been eyeing me for the last two years not with adoration but with something closer to greed.>>

***

<<…even after I tell the table, “Listen, guys, my life is a living hell,” they utterly ignore me, the group assembled (Richard Perry, Edward Lampert, John Constable, Craig McDermott, Jim Kramer, Lucas Tanner) continuing to argue about allocating assets, which stocks look best for the upcoming decade, hardbodies, real estate, gold, why long-term bonds are too risky now, the spread collar, portfolios.>>

***

<<To break the uncomfortable silence that follows, I mention all I can come up with, which is, “Did you know that Ted Bundy’s first dog, a collie, was named Lassie?” Pause. “Had you heard this?”

Jean looks at her dish as if it’s confusing her, then back up at me. “Who’s… Ted Bundy?”

“Forget it,” I sigh.

“Listen, Patrick. We need to talk about something;” she says. “Or at least I need to talk about something.”

…where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible.>>

***

<<My appearances in the office the last month or so have been sporadic to say the least. All I seem to want to do now is work out, lifting weights, mostly, and secure reservations at new restaurants I’ve already been to, then cancel them. My apartment reeks of rotten fruit, though actually the smell is caused by what I scooped out of Christie’s head and poured into a Marco glass bowl that sits on a counter near the entranceway. The head itself lies covered with brain pulp, hollow and eyeless, in the corner of the living room beneath the piano and I plan to use it as a jack-o’-lantern on Halloween.>>

Impossibility To Live The Moment. In Death, Nothing Is Worth More Than Anything Else

Most 1st person narrated paragraphs end in a completely different topic than the one they started with. This rush shows the impossibility to dwell on any idea, that he has no interest in fully developing any one more than the other, and that, at some basic level, all ideas, events or their attributes, are the same. Bateman the narrator is also too often switching focus from the content of the dialogue to the behavior or appearance of those who are talking. This manages to extinguish or empty the message. He has the capacity to concentrate. But his focus is shifting randomly, as a sign that value (or the lack of) is uniformly spread throughout all instants of experience, memory, thought. When dead, nothing is worth more than anything else. The mind is racing over a flat platform.

<<I move away from the bum, noticing, instead, a little girl smoking a cigarette, begging for change outside Trump Tower. “Shoo,” I say. She says “Shoo” back. On The Patty Winters Show this morning a Cheerio sat in a very small chair and was interviewed for close to an hour. Later this afternoon, a woman wearing a silver fox and mink coat has her face slashed in front of the Stanhope by an enraged fur activist. But now, still staring at the sightless bum from across the street, I buy a Dove Bar, a coconut one, in which I find part of a bone.>>

***

<< Her breasts are high and full and firm, both nipples very stiff, and while she’s choking on my cock while I’m fucking her mouth roughly with it, I reach down to squeeze them and then while I’m fucking her, after ramming a dildo up her ass and keeping it there with a strap, I’m scratching at her tits, until she warns me to stop. Earlier in the evening I was having dinner with Jeanette at a new Northern Italian restaurant near Central Park on the Upper East Side that was very expensive. Earlier in the evening I was wearing a suit tailored by Edward Sexton and thinking sadly about my family’s house in Newport.>>

***

<<“I just want to know what you want to do,” she says.

“To live happily ever after, right?” I say sarcastically. “That’s what I want.” I stare at her hard, for maybe half a minute, before turning away. This quiets her. After a while she orders a beer. It’s hot out on the street.

“Come on, smile,” she urges sometime later. “You have no reason to be so sad.”

“I know,” I sigh, relenting. “But it’s . . tough to smile. These days. At least I find it hard to. I’m not used to it, I guess. I don’t know.”

“That’s… why people need each other,” she says gently, trying to make eye contact while spooning the not inexpensive sorbet into her mouth.>>

***

<<I’m asking Jean, “How many people in this world are like me?” She pauses, carefully answers, “I don’t… think anyone?” She’s guessing. “Let me rephrase the ques- Wait, how does my hair look?” I ask, interrupting myself.>>

***

<<“I’m just leaving,” I say simply. “But where?” she asks, more tears welling up. “Where are you going?” Everyone in the restaurant within a particular aural distance seems to be looking the other way. “Where are you going?’.’ she asks again. I make no comment, lost in my own private maze, thinking about other things: warrants, stock offerings, ESOPs, LBOs, IPOs, finances, refinances, debentures, converts, proxy statements, 8-Ks, 10-Qs, zero coupons, PiKs, GNPs, the IMF, hot executive gadgets, billionaires, Kenkichi Nakajima, infinity, Infinity, how fast a luxury car should go, bailouts, junk bonds, whether to cancel my subscription to The Economist, the Christmas Eve when I was fourteen and had raped one of our maids, Inclusivity, envying someone’s life, whether someone could survive a fractured skull…>>

***

<<…plummeting into a state of near vertigo that forces me to excuse myself before dessert, at which point I use the rest room, do a line of cocaine, pick up my Giorgio Armani wool overcoat and the .357 magnum barely concealed within it from the coatcheck, strap on a holster and then I’m outside, but on The Patty Winters Show this morning there was an interview with a man who set his daughter on fire while she was giving birth, at dinner we all had shark…>>

Insistence On The Organic. Precise Focus On Body Parts, i.e. On What Is ‚Interchangeable’, Of Equal Worth/Unworth

<<I push her away from Tiffany’s cunt and start licking and biting at the pink, soft, wet cuntness (italics mine.)while Torri spreads her ass and sits on Tiffany’s face while fingering her own slit. Tiffany hungrily tongues her pussy, wet and glistening, and Torri reaches down and squeezes Tiffany’s big, firm tits.>>

***

<<She places a file on top of the desk before asking, “Doin’ the crossword?” dropping the g in “doing” – a pathetic gesture of intimacy, an irritating stab at forced friendliness. I gag inwardly, then nod without looking up at her. “Need help?” she asks, moving cautiously around the desk to where I sit, and she leans over my shoulder to offer assistance. I’ve already filled in every space with either the word meat or bone and she emits only a slight gasp when noticing this.>>

***

<<“She is hot, ” Van Patten says, ignoring his scallop sausage.

“Hardbody.” McDermott nods in agreement. “Definitely.”

“I’m not impressed,” Price sniffs. “Look at her knees.”

While the hardbody stands there we check her out, and though her knees do support long, tan legs, I can’t help noticing that one knee is, admittedly, bigger than the other one. The left knee is knobbier, almost imperceptibly thicker than the right knee and this unnoticeable flaw now seems overwhelming and we all lose interest.>>

People’s Identity Doesn’t Matter. People Are Interchangeable, Of Equal Worth/Unworth

<<From my POV Paul Owen sits at a table across the room with someone who looks a lot like Trent Moore, or Roger Daley, and some other guy who looks like Frederick Connell.>>

***

<<… I make my way slowly through the dining room, waving to someone who looks like Vincent Morrison, someone else who I’m fairly sure is someone who looks like Tom Newman.>>

***

<<Someone who looks like Forrest Atwater – slicked-back blond hair, nonprescription redwood-framed glasses, Armani suit with suspenders – is sitting with Caroline Baker, an investment banker at Drexel, maybe, and she doesn’t look too good. She needs more makeup, the Ralph Lauren tweed outfit is too severe. They’re at a mediocre table up front by the bar.>>

***

<<“And how’s Marcia?” he asks, still smiling, looking over the room, not really listening to me. “She’s a great girl.”

“Oh yes,” I say, shaken. “I’m… lucky.”

Owen has mistaken me for Marcus Halberstam (even though Marcus is dating Cecelia Wagner) but for some reason it really doesn’t matter and it seems a logical faux pas since Marcus works at P & P also, in fact does the same exact thing I do, and he also has a penchant for Valentino suits and clear prescription glasses and we share the same barber at the same place, the Pierre Hotel, so it seems understandable; it doesn’t irk me. But Paul Denton keeps staring at me, or trying not to, as if he knows something, as if he’s not quite sure if he recognizes me or not, and it makes me wonder if maybe he was on that cruise a long time ago, one night last March. If that’s the case, I’m thinking, I should get his telephone number or, better yet, his address.>>

An Arrancar Is A Living Contrast Of Horror And Etiquette

<<I’m wearing a Joseph Abboud suit, a tie by Paul Stuart, shoes by J. Crew, a vest by someone Italian and I’m kneeling on the floor beside a corpse, eating the girl’s brain, gobbling it down, spreading Grey Poupon over hunks of the pink, fleshy meat.>>

***

<<The bastard’s wearing the same damn Armani linen suit I’ve got on. How easy it would be to scare the living wits out of this fucking guy. Kimball is utterly unaware of how truly vacant I am. There is no evidence of animate life in this office, yet still he takes notes.>>

***

<<Her breasts have been chopped off and they look blue and deflated, the nipples a disconcerting shade of brown. Surrounded by dried black blood, they lie, rather delicately, on a china plate I bought at the Pottery Barn on top of the Wurlitzer jukebox in the corner.>>

Nothing Can Impress

<<Evelyn hasn’t broken her monologue – she talks and chews exquisitely (…). I keep studying her face, bored by how beautiful it is (…)>>

***

<<“Do you want to come up for a drink?” [Jean] asks too casually, and even though I’m critical of her approach it doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t want to go up – but something stops me, something quells the bloodlust: the doorman? the way the lobby is lit? her lipstick? Plus I’m beginning to think that pornography is so much less complicated than actual sex, and because of this lack of complication, so much more pleasurable.>>

***

<<Everything failed to subdue me. Soon everything seemed dull: another sunrise, the lives of heroes, falling in love, war, the discoveries people made about each other. The only thing that didn’t bore me, obviously enough, was how much money Tim Price made, and yet in its obviousness it did.>>

***

<<The two of them come, yelling simultaneously, in a sixty-nine position. Once their cunts are wet enough I bring out a dildo and let the two of them play with it. Torri spreads her legs and fingers her own slit while Tiffany fucks her with the huge, greased dildo, Torri urging Tiffany to fuck her cunt harder with it, until finally, gasping, she comes. Again I make the two of them eat each other out but it starts failing to turn me on – all I can think about is blood and what their blood will look like.>>

***

<<But even her sobs fail to arouse me. I feel little gratification when I Mace her, less when I knock her head against the wall four or five times, until she loses consciousness, leaving a small stain, hair stuck to it. After she drops to the floor I head for the bathroom and cut another line of the mediocre coke I scored at Nells or Au Bar the other night. I can hear a phone ringing, an answering machine picking up the call. I’m bent low, over a mirror, ignoring the message, not even bothering to screen it.>>

***

<<I (…) then walk to the elevator, step in while inspecting the Ralph Lauren brochure and press the button for my floor and then the Close Door button, but someone gets in right before the doors shut and instinctively I turn to say hello. It’s the actor Tom Cruise, who lives in the penthouse, and as a courtesy, without asking him, I press the PH button and he nods thank you and keeps his eyes fixed on the numbers lighting up above the door in rapid succession. He is much shorter in person and he’s wearing the same pair of black Wayfarers I have on. He’s dressed in blue jeans, a white T-shirt, an Armani jacket.

To break the noticeably uncomfortable silence, I clear my throat and say, “I thought you were very fine in Bartender. I thought it was quite a good movie, and Top Gun too. I really thought that was good.”

He looks away from the numbers and then straight at me. “It was called Cocktail,” he says softly.

“Pardon?” I say, confused.

He clears his throat and says, “Cocktail. Not Bartender. The film was called Cocktail.”

A long pause follows; just the sound of cables moving the elevator up higher into the building competes with the silence, obvious and heavy between us.

“Oh yeah… Right,” I say, as if the title just dawned on me. “Cocktail. Oh yeah, that’s right,” I say. “Great, Bateman, what are you thinking about?” I shake my head as if to clear it and then, to patch things up, hold out my hand. “Hi. Pat Bateman.”

Cruise tentatively shakes it.

“So,” I go. “You like living in this building?”

He waits a long time before answering, “I guess.”

“It’s great,” I say. “Isn’t it?”

He nods, not looking at me, and I press the button for my floor again, an almost involuntary reaction. We stand there in silence.

“So… Cocktail,” I say, after a while. “That’s the name.”

He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even nod, but now he’s looking at me strangely and he lowers his sunglasses and says, with a slight grimace, “Uh… your nose is bleeding.”

I stand there rock still for a moment, before understanding that I have to do something about this, so I pretend to be suitably embarrassed, quizzically touch my nose then bring out my Polo handkerchief – already spotted brown – and wipe the blood away from my nostrils, overall handling it sort of well. “Must be the altitude.” I laugh. “We’re up so high.”

He nods, says nothing, looks up at the numbers.

The elevator stops at my floor and when the doors open I tell Tom, “I’m a big fan. It’s really good to finally meet you.”

“Oh yeah, right.” Cruise smiles that famous grin and jabs at the Close Door button.>>

***

<<Another broken scene in what passes for my life occurs on Wednesday, seemingly pointing to someone’s fault, though whose I can;t be sure (…) “You kill Solly,” he says, definitely recognizing me from somewhere, cutting another denial on my part by growling, “You son-of-a-bitch.”

Near the docks downtown he swerves off the highway and races the cab toward the end of a deserted parking area and it hits me somewhere, now, this moment, when he drives into and then over a dilapidated, rust-covered aluminum fence, heading toward water, that all I have to do is put the Walkman on, blot out the sound of the cabdriver, but my hands are twisted into paralyzed fists that I can’t unclench, held captive in the cab as it hurtles toward a destination only the cabdriver, who is obviously deranged, knows. The windows are rolled down partially and I can feel the cool morning air drying the mousse on my scalp. I feel naked, suddenly tiny. My mouth tastes metallic, then it gets worse. My vision: a winter road. But I’m left with one comforting thought: I am rich – millions are not.

“You’ve, like, incorrectly identified me,” I’m saying.

He stops the cab and turns around toward the backseat. He’s holding a gun, the make of which I don’t recognize. I’m staring at him, my quizzical expression changing into something else.

“The watch. The Rolex,” he says simply.

I listen, silent, squirming in my seat.

He repeats, “The watch.”

“Is this some kind of prank?” I ask.

“Get out,” he spits. “Get the fuck out of the car.”

I stare past the driver’s head, out the windshield, at gulls flying low over the dark, wavy water, and opening the door I step out of the cab, cautiously, no sudden moves. It’s a cold day. My breath steams, wind picks it up, swirls it around.

“The watch, you scumbag,” he says, leaning out the window, the gun aimed at my head.

“Listen, I don’t know what you think you’re doing or what you’re exactly trying to accomplish or what it is you think you’re going to be able to do. I’ve never been fingerprinted, I have alibis-”

“Shut up,” Abdullah growls, cutting me off. “Just shut your fucking mouth.”

“I am innocent,” I shout with utter conviction.

“The watch.” He cocks the gun.

I unhook the Rolex and, sliding it off my wrist, hand it to him.

“Wallet.” He motions with his gun. “Just the cash.”

Helplessly I take out my new gazelleskin wallet and quickly, my fingers freezing, numb, hand him the cash, which amounts to only three hundred dollars since I didn’t have time to stop at an automated teller before the power breakfast. Solly, I’m guessing, was the cabdriver I killed during the chase scene last fall, even though that guy was Armenian. I suppose I could have killed another one and I am just not recalling this particular incident.

“What are you going to do?” I ask. “Isn’t there a reward of some kind?”

“No. No reward,” he mutters, shuffling the bills with one hand, the gun, still pointed at me, in the other.

“How do you know I’m not going to call you in and get your license revoked?” I ask, handing over a knife I just found in my pocket that looks as if it was dipped into a bowl of blood and hair.

“Because you’re guilty,” he says, and then, “Get that away from me,” waving the gun at the stained knife.

“Like you know,” I mutter angrily.

“The sunglasses.” He points again with the gun.

“How do you know I’m guilty?” I can’t believe I’m asking this patiently.

“Look what you’re doing, asshole,” he says. “The sunglasses.”

“These are expensive,” I protest, then sigh, realizing the mistake. “I mean cheap. They’re very cheap. Just… Isn’t the money enough?”

“The sunglasses. Give them now,” he grunts.

I take the Wayfarers off and hand them to him. Maybe I really did kill a Solly, though I’m positive that any cabdrivers I’ve killed lately were not American. I probably did. There probably is a wanted poster of me at… where, the taxi – the place where all the taxis congregate? What’s it called? The driver tries the sunglasses on, looks at himself in the rearview mirror and then takes them off. He folds the glasses and puts them in his jacket pocket.

“You’re a dead man.” I smile grimly at him.

“And you’re a yuppie scumbag,” he says.

“You’re a dead man, Abdullah,” I repeat, no joke. “Count on it.”

“Yeah? And you’re a yuppie scumbag. Which is worse?”

He starts the cab up and pulls away from me.

While walking back to the highway I stop, choke back a sob, my throat tightens. “I just want to…” Facing the skyline, through all the baby talk, I murmur, “keep the game going.”>>

This scene was the closest thing to punishment or redemption in the book. In a few days he’s getting a new gold Rolex that insurance paid for. It’s not like Bateman can’t feel anything. He does. Anxiety and panic are high but are rather uniform: the level of fear does not rise with objective danger. And the level of excitement brought only by murder drops quickly.

Disgust By The Manifestation Of Life In Others

<<I needed a vacation. I needed to go to the Hamptons. I suggested this to Evelyn and, like a spider, she accepted.>>

***

<<She tries to smile, this time apologetically. “It’s just” – she shudders again – “it’s just… so minty.” To me she looks like a big black ant – a big black ant in an original Christian Lacroix.>>

***

<<On my way over to Park Avenue to find a cab I pass an ugly, homeless bum – a member of the genetic underclass – >>

***

<<calmly and without difficulty I turn out of the stall and move over to a sink to wash my hands, but my gloves are still on and I don’t want to take them off. The bathroom at the Yale Club suddenly seems to me to be the coldest room in the universe and I shudder involuntarily. Luis trails behind, touching my jacket, leaning next to me at the sink.

“I want you,” he says in a low, faggoty whisper and when I slowly turn my head to glare at him, while hunched over the sink, seething, my eye contact radiating revulsion, he adds, “too.”

I storm out of the men’s room, bumping into Brewster Whipple, I think. I smile at the maître d’ and after shaking his hand I make a run for the closing elevator but I’m too late and I cry out, pounding a fist against the doors, cursing. Composing myself, I notice the maître d’ conferring with a waiter, the two of them looking my way questioningly, and so I straighten up, smile shyly and wave at them. Luis strides over calmly, still grinning, flushed, and I just stand there and let him walk up to me. He says nothing.

“What… is… it?” I finally hiss.

“Where are you going?” he whispers, bewildered.

“I… I’ve gotta…” Stumped, I look around the crowded dining room, then back at Luis’s quivering, yearning face. “I’ve gotta return some videotapes,” I say, jabbing at the elevator button, then, my patience shot, I start to walk away and head back toward my table.

“Patrick,” he calls out.

I whirl around. “What?”

He mouths “I’ll call you” with this expression on his face that lets me know, that assures me, my “secret” is safe with him. “Oh my god,” I practically gag, and shaking visibly I sit back at our table, completely defeated (…)>>

Coldness

Evening with Jean:

<<And though it has been in no way a romantic evening, she embraces me and this time emanates a warmth I’m not familiar with. I am so used to imagining everything happening the way it occurs in movies, visualizing things falling somehow into the shape of events on a screen, that I almost hear the swelling of an orchestra, can almost hallucinate the camera panning low around us, fireworks bursting in slow motion overhead, the seventy-millimeter image of her lips parting and the subsequent murmur of “I want you” in Dolby sound. But my embrace is frozen and I realize, at first distantly and then with greater clarity, that the havoc raging inside me is gradually subsiding and she is kissing me on the mouth and this jars me back into some kind of reality and I lightly push her away.>>

***

With Courtney, after sex:

<<“Will you call me before Thanksgiving?’ she asks. “Maybe.” I button up the front of my shirt, wondering why I even came here in the first place. […] “I never knew you smoked,” I say. She smiles sadly but in a dumb way. “You never noticed.” “Okay, I admit I’m embarrassed, but just a little.” I move over to the Martian mirror that hangs above a Sottsass teakwood desk to make sure the knot in my Armani paisley tie isn’t crooked. “Listen, Patrick,” she says, with effort. “Can we talk?” “You look marvelous.” I sigh, turning my head, offering an airkiss. “There’s nothing to say. You’re going to marry Luis. Next week, no less.” “Isn’t that special?” she asks sarcastically, but not in a frustrated way. “Read my lips,” I say, turning back to the mirror. “You look marvelous.” “Patrick?” “Yes, Courtney?” “If I don’t see you before Thanksgiving…” She stops, confused. “Have a nice one?” I look at her for a moment before replying, tonelessly, “You too.” She picks up the stuffed black cat, strokes its head. I step out the door into the hallway, heading down it toward the kitchen. “Patrick?” she calls sofy from her bedroom. I stop but don’t turn around. “Yes?” “Nothing.”>>

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~ by ionsterpan on July 18, 2010.

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