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The rules of attraction bret easton ellis



НазваниеThe rules of attraction bret easton ellis
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SEAN Today, I hang out, ride my motorcycle into town, walk around, buy a couple of tapes, then come back to Booth and watch Planet of the Apes on Getch's VCR. I love the scene where an ape bullet has made Charlton Heston mute. He escapes and frantically runs around Ape City and as the net closes over his head he is raised triumphantly by The Gorillas and he finds his voice and screams, 'Get your stinkin' hands off me you damn dirty apes!' I've always liked that scene. It reminds me of nightmares I had in elementary school or something. Then, when I'm about to take a shower, I find the Duke of Disease (gross grad of '78 or 79) doing his friggin laundry in my bathroom. And he doesn't even go to school here. just visiting an old teacher. I have to run after the asshole with a can of Lysol. I get another note in my box after dinner tonight. They don't say anything really except, like, 'I love you' or "You're Sexy,' stuff like that. I used to think they were jokes that Tony or Getch were putting in my box, but there's been too many of them to take as a joke. Someone is seriously interested in me. My interest has definitely been aroused.


Then it's back in Booth after dinner watching TV in Getch's room and some tall greasy-haired hippie turned professional-college-student-type named Dan, who had been fucking Candice last term, is there talking to Tony. Anyway, it's about eight-thirty and the room is cold and I feel feverish. Tony and this guy get into a heated argument about politics or something. It's frightening. Tony, in a pre-drunken state, is pissed off that his point was lost, and Dan, smelling like some twenty-year-old unwashed rug, keeps referring to leftist writers and calling the N.Y.C.


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police force 'Nazis.' I tell him that I was once beaten up by the city police. He smiles and says, 'Here's a case in point.' I was joking. I feel weird, my body aches. I watch people argue about Nazis. I enjoy it. Saturdays suck.


Now, I'm at the party and I can't find Candice, so I hang around, by the keg, talk to the D.J. Go to the bathroom but some asshole has thrown up all over the floor and I'm about to leave when I bump into Paul Denton, who's walking down the hallway, and I vaguely remember talking to him last night, and I nod to him as I'm walking away from the vomit-covered toilet, but he walks up to me and says, 'Oh, I'm so sorry about tonight.'


'Yeah,' I say. 'I'm sorry.'


'Did you stay?' he asks me.


'Stay? Yeah,' I say. Whatever. 'I stayed.'


'God, I'm really sorry,' he says.


'Listen, it's okay. It really is,' I tell him.


'I've got to make it up to you,' he's telling me.


'Okay. Sure,' I say. 'I've gotta take a leak, okay?'


'Oh sure. I'll wait,' he smiles.



After pissing off the vomit from the toilet seat I head back down the hall and Denton's still standing there with a fresh beer for me. I thank him, what else can I do, and we walk back to the living room where these asshole frat guys from Dartmouth have crashed the party. I have no idea how the fuck they got onto campus. Security must have let them in as a joke. So these stupid rich frat guys all dressed up in Brooks Brothers come up to me while I'm waiting for Denton to get another beer and one of them asks me, 'What's going on?'


'Not much,' I tell him. It's the truth.


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'Where's that Dressed To Get Screwed party?' one of them asks.


'That's not until later,' I tell him.


Tonight?' the same one asks.


'Next term,' I lie.


'Oh shit man. We thought this was The Dressed To Get Screwed party,' they say, really disappointed.


'It looks like a Halloween party if you ask me,' one of them says.


'Freaks,' one of them says, looking around, shaking his head. 'Freaks.'


'Sorry, guys,' I say.


Denton comes back with a beer and hands it to me and we all talk. They get really excited when the D.J. spins old Sam Cooke and one of them grabs a not-bad-looking Freshman and dances with her when 'Twisting the Night Away' comes on. It makes me sick. The remaining Dartmouth jerks do a little frat handshake. They're all wearing green for some reason. Denton's looking at them closely and asks, 'Aren't you all a little far away?'


'It's not that far a ride,' one of them says.


Then Denton asks, 'Well, what's it like on the outside?'


It's pretty weak that Denton's even acknowledging these jerks but I don't say anything.


'It's cool,' one of them says, eyeing some ugly girl. Our student body president.


'You guys are really in the middle of nowhere,' one of the more brilliant ones says.


Denton laughs and says, 'Kind of.'


'Hanover's a real sprawling metropolis,' I mutter loudly.


'I swear this looks like a fuckin' Halloween party,' one


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of them says again and they're pissing me off and okay, maybe it does look like one but it doesn't give these assholes any right, so I have to tell them, 'No, it's not a Halloween party. It's the Get Fucked party.'


'Oh yeah?' They all raise their eyes up and nudge each other. 'We're ready.'


'Yeah. Bend over and get fucked,' I find myself saying.


They look at me like I'm crazy and walk off telling me how 'perverted' I am. I don't even know why I bothered to say that. I look over at Denton and he's laughing, but when he sees that I'm not, he stops. It gets late and Candice is nowhere to be found and the keg runs out. Denton says why don't we go to his room since he has beer there. And I'm a little wasted so I say why not. I make sure I bring the pot I picked up earlier this afternoon when I was at Roxanne's scoring for some Freshman girls in McCullough. We leave the party and head for Welling.


PAUL After we returned from our little excursion to the hospital, I went back to my room and wondered what I should do. I first called Casa Miguel and had Sean paged. He wasn't there. He had already left. I sat on my bed and smoked a couple of cigarettes. I then went to The Pub, cautiously at first. I didn't look around the room until I had made my way to the bar. Harry was already there, recovered, getting even more smashed by the jukebox with David Van Pelt. I got a beer, but didn't drink it, then followed some people over to Booth (it was getting too cold for parties at End of the World) to confront Sean. It was a party, after all.


The party was in full swing when I got there. Raymond was standing around but I didn't want to talk to him. He came over anyway and asked if I wanted a drink.


'Yeah.' I craned my neck to look over the dance floor. 'What do you want? I know the bartender.' 'Rum and anything.'


He walked off and then I spotted Sean. From where I stood in the darkened living room of Booth I could see him f in the light coming from the bathroom down the hallway. He was standing in the doorway and had a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other and he was trying to kick something off his boot. He saw me for an instant and then shyly turned away. I was feeling guilty about our meeting last night - telling him I had failed three classes last term. I only told him that because I thought he was great-looking and I wanted to sleep with him. I hadn't failed any classes that term. (Sean later admitted to me that he had failed all four. In fact, I couldn't imagine anyone failing not only four classes at Camden, but even one. I guess the thought seemed so irrational to me that I found him even more attractive in some perverse way.) He had been coming on


to me the night before, there was no doubt about that and that's all that really mattered. From where I stood he looked a little like a rock star caught unknowingly in a video. Maybe a little like Bryan Adams (without the acne scars though, sometimes, admittedly, that can be sexy). I went over to him and told him how sorry I was.


'Yeah,' he said, looking modestly at the ground, still trying to kick something off his boots. I wondered suddenly if he was Catholic. My spirits rose: Catholic boys will usually do anything. Tm sorry too.'


'Did you stay there?' I asked him.


'Stay there? Yeah, I guess,' he admitted, embarrassed, confused. 'I stayed.'


'I'm really, really sorry,' I said.


'Oh, don't worry about it. It's okay. Some other time,' he said.


I felt so shitty about ruining his date that a rush of sympathy (or horniness: the two were interchangeable) went through me and I said, I'll make it up to you.'


You don't have to,' he said, though you could tell he had not wanted to say that.


'I know I don't, but I want to. I really insist.'


He looked down and said he had to use the restroom and I said I'd wait.


I wondered if we were going to sleep together tonight, but then I tried to push the thought away and pretended to be rational about the whole thing. In the meantime, four gorgeous Dartmouth guys came into the party. When I went back to the keg to get another beer for Sean (if nothing else, I was going to succeed in getting him drunk) they all walked over to him and started a conversation.


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Jealously I hurried back. When I handed him the beer, almost protectively, the one that was the best-looking went off dancing with the student body president (The Vagina Lady,' Raymond always seemed to call her). The Dartmouth boys thought that this was the annual Dressed To Get Screwed party and they were quite disappointed that they had driven all the way from Hanover to come to the Camden Early Halloween Ball. They said this sarcastically and I thought it was a little mean. But I asked them, flirtatiously, 'Aren't you all a little far away?'


'It's really not all that far away, I guess,' the blond said. 'So, what's going on in the real world?' I asked, laughing.


'It's cool,' the one with a slight double-chin said. The same stuff,' another one said. "You guys are kind of in the middle of nowhere, aren't you?' the blond asked. They were all looking at the dance floor, nodding their heads. 'Kind of,' I said.


Then Sean made some rude comment that I couldn't hear. I realized then that I was making Sean jealous by talking to these guys, so I immediately stopped talking to them. But it was too late. He was so jealous that he ended up telling them off. He told them it was the Get Fucked party and that they should bend over and get fucked. I hoped I wasn't playing too hard to get, but it was sort of erotic to hear him say that, yet I still showed no emotion. I was afraid that the Dartmouth guys were going to beat him (actually, me) up but they just walked away, too stunned to say anything, their suspicions about this place confirmed by Sean's brash actions. After a while, when it was nearing


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midnight, I asked him if he wanted to come by my room. I had asked Raymond to stop at Price Chopper on the way back from the hospital so I could pick up a six-pack, especially for this occasion. But I wasn't sure if we'd even get around to drinking it since he was fairly drunk by now anyway. I first made sure he was interested by asking him if he wanted to go to his room first.


'We could,' he said. 'My roommate's gone a lot. His girlfriend lives off-campus, so he's there a lot.' He was slurring his words. He bumped into someone's drink, oblivious.


'Do you have any alcohol?' I asked, laughing.


'I have alcohol?' he asked himself. 'Do I?'


'You do?' I asked.


'I don't.. . have any,' he said, starting to laugh also.


'Let's go to my room,' I said. 'I have beer.'


We walked out of Booth, past the Dartmouth guys. Someone had stuck pieces of paper with the word 'Asshole' on them to their backs. We started for Welling.


'Are you a Catholic?' I asked him.


We walked a little while before he finally answered. '1 don't remember.'


LAURE N I don't know why I sleep with Franklin. Maybe it's because Judy likes him, or is just sleeping with him, occasionally. Maybe it's because he's tall and has brown hair and reminds me of Victor. Maybe it's because we're at a Sunday night party and it's dark and I'm bored but what am I doing at Booth anyway. 1 should know better. Maybe it's because Judy went to the movies over in Manchester. Maybe it's because when I asked the boy from L.A. after poetry class to meet me at the Beverage Center at dinner tonight he didn't show and when I saw him later at Booth he told me he thought I meant the Beverly Center. I don't know. Maybe it's because Franklin's . . . just there. But he's not the only possibility. There's the cute French guy who comes up to me and tells me he's in love with me. But he also reminds me that maybe I should go to Europe and just find Victor and bring him back home. But then what would that do? We talk, Franklin and me. But not about much. Some great-looking but utterly bland Dartmouth guys crash the party (How can you tell they're from Dartmouth? Franklin asks. They're wearing green, I explain. Franklin nods, impressed, and wonders what our school color is. Easy, I guess. Black.) I really hope (but not really) that Judy comes back so I won't end up doing this. We dance to a couple of oldies. He pays for drinks he brings me. When he sweats he's really handsome. What am I talking about? This is Judy's geek. But then I get mad at him: what a jerk to cheat on Judy like this. But I get drunk and too tired to argue and I crumple into his arms and he doesn't quite know what to do with me. I decide to leave it all up to him. We walk back to his room. How easy this all is. Will Judy ever know? Will she even care? Doesn't she


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B3


like his roommate instead? Michael? That's right. I look over at Michael's side of the room: a fern, Hockney print poster of Mikhail Baryshnikov. Definitely not for you, Judy. Forget him. It makes me remember a boy I was in love with last term, part of last summer. B.V. The time Before Victor. And maybe that's why I go to bed with Judy's lover. But she should have been here to stop him. And maybe he shouldn't have touched my neck that way, a cruel but familiar sensation. Even before he's in me I know that I will never sleep with him again. And maybe Franklin reminds me of that lost boyfriend, which is good but maybe bad and now we're in bed, actually on the bed.


'What about Judy?' I ask, reaching back and feeling the knots and blades in his shoulders.


'She's in Manchester.' He has strong fingers.


It seems a sufficient answer.


PAUL I used the dead best friend story. It seemed better than using the girlfriend with cancer story or the favorite aunt who committed suicide after the favorite uncle died story, both of which seemed overly melodramatic. I told him about 'Tim' who died in a 'car accident' on a 'road near Concord' killed by 'a drunken gas station attendant.' I told him this after we finished the first beer, when I was adequately drunk.


He said, 'Gee, I'm sorry.'


I kept my head lowered, tingling with excitement. 'It's so terrible,' I said.


He agreed, excused himself for a minute to go to the restroom.


I bolted up and checked myself in the mirror then took one of his cigarettes that were lying on my desk, a Parliament. Then I sat back down in a suitable, casual position on the bed and turned on the radio. Nothing good was on I so I put a tape in. When he came back he asked me if I wanted to smoke some pot with him. I told him no, but that it was okay if he wanted some. He sat in the chair next to the bed. I was sitting on the edge of the bed. Our knees touched.


'Where did you spend your summer?' I asked. 'Oh, last summer?' he said, lighting the small pipe with a lighter that barely worked. 'Yeah.' 'Berlin.'


'Really?' I was impressed. He'd been to Europe. 'Yeah. It was okay,' he said, looking for another lighter. 'How are the clubs there?' I asked, reaching into my pocket. I handed him some matches.


'Good, I guess,' he laughed and sucked in on the pipe.


'Clubs?'


'Yeah? Do you speak German?' I asked.


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'German? No,' he said, laughing. His eyes were very red. He took his jacket off.


'You don't?'


'No. Why?'


'Well, I just assumed since you spent the summer in Berlin, I thought.. .' my voice trailed off and I smiled.


'No. Berlin, New Hampshire.' He was studying the pipe; he sniffed it, then filled it with more pot. It smelled bad, I thought.


There's a Berlin here?' I asked.


'Sure is,' he said.


I watched him refill the pipe, inhale, then hand the pipe to me. I shook my head and pointed at the Beck's in my hand. He smiled, scratched at his arm and let out a thick stream of smoke. I had only my desk light on so it was dark in the room and beginning to get hazy, dreamlike, smokey. I watched his growing intensity as he refilled the pipe, his fingers delicately fingering what looked like dried moss to me. (He assured me it was 'top grade weed.') And it struck me then, that I liked Sean because he looked, well, slutty. A boy who had been around. A boy who couldn't remember if he was Catholic or not. That appealed to something basic in me though I didn't know what.


I took another Parliament and asked him to sit on the bed.


'I have to go to the restroom first,' he smiled shyly and left.


I took my jacket off and put another tape into the cassette player. Then I decided to take my shoes off. I checked myself in the mirror once more and ran a hand through my hair. I opened another beer even though I didn't need it. He came back five minutes later. What was he doing in there, I wondered.


'What took you so long?' I asked.


He stood there and closed the door, then leaned against it for balance.


'I had to make a phone call.' He started to laugh.


To who?' I asked, smiling.


To Jerry,' he said.


'Jerry who?' I asked.


'Jerry Garcia,' he said, still smiling.


'Who's Jerry Garcia?' I asked. His roommate? 'Does he live in Booth?'


He didn't say anything and stopped smiling. Was he a lover? What?'


'I'm just fucking with your mind,' he said, whispered actually.


There was a long silence. I drank the beer. We listened to the music. I started to shake. Finally I said, 'I didn't expect you to come.'


'I didn't either,' he said, confused, shrugging. 'Come here.' I motioned for him. He looked down. He touched the back of his neck. 'Come here,' I said, patting the bed. 'Urn, let's talk for a little while. What did you get on your S.A.T.S?' He was nervous and shy and I didn't like feeling as if I was the instigator. 'Come here,' I urged. He started moving toward the bed, slowly. 'Urn,' he started nervously. 'What do you think about ... nuclear weapons? Nuclear war?'


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'Here.' I moved over so there was room but not too much.


Something romantic was on the tape. I forget what it was exactly, maybe Echo and the Bunnymen or 'Save a Prayer' but it was something that sounded lush and slow and appropriate. He sat down next to me. And I looked at him and said, 'You're no different. You're just like me, right?' I was still shaking. So was he. My voice trembled. He didn't say anything.


"You're no different,' I said again. It wasn't a question anymore. I leaned closer. He smelled like pot and beer and his eyes were watery and bloodshot. He looked at his boot, turned to me, then looked down again. Our faces were almost touching and then I kissed the side of his mouth and pulled back, waiting for a reaction. He was still looking at his boots I touched his leg. He was breathing hard. Our eyes met for something like five seconds. The music seemed to be getting louder. My face felt hot and red. I moved my hand up. He spread his legs slightly and he looked at me, daring. I kissed him again. His eyes closed.


'Don't pretend we're not doing this,' I told him.


I moved my hand up the denim, unsure if it was at his knee or thigh or close to his crotch. I leaned over slowly. 'Come here,' 1 said. I tried to kiss him again. He moved back. I moved closer. He moved his head a little towards me, eyes on the ground. And then his mouth was on mine. He stopped and breathed in and then kissed harder this time. Then we both leaned back, flat, on the bed, him slightly on top of me. We kept kissing. I could hear a toilet flushing, then footsteps padding down the hallway. I raised one of my legs carefully, then reached down and unbut-


SB


toned his jeans, then pushed my hand underneath his shirt. His body was thin and tight and he was moving on top of me. His pants and underwear pulled halfway down, mine also, rubbing against each other, our hands interrupting occasionally, hands we had licked or spit on. The springs in the mattress squeaked rhythmically as our bodies moved together in the darkness. I kissed his hair, the top of his head. The springs and our breathing, which came in hard sighs and gasps, were the only sounds in the room once the tape clicked off. We came together, or close enough, and lay like that for a long time, barely moving.


SEAN Go to Denton's room. We drink some cold ones and smoke some pot and talk but I can't deal with the friend's death story and the Duran Duran music and his weirdo stares so we talk a little while longer and I get wasted. Then I leave and wander around campus. There's a keg in Stokes, since the party in Booth died. See some graffiti written about myself in the bathroom and make an attempt to remember if it's true. The guy from L.A. is standing in the hallway wearing shorts and sunglasses and a Polo shirt. He doesn't smile when I pass him by, just says, 'Hey dude.' One of the girls I scored for earlier, who has short spiked hair and who wears a lot of black kohl and who's holding her pet snake named Brian Eno, leaning against a lava lamp, calls me over, and we talk about the snake. Her friends join us, all on Ecstasy, but they don't have any left. I'm too wasted to complain. Getch is there radically stoned and tells me that kids who die of crib death are the smart ones, since they have an intuition of how terrible life is and choose this option out. I ask him who passed this info his way. The music's really loud and I'm not sure whether he tells me it was Freud or Tony. I leave, walk around campus, look for cigarettes, look for Deidre, for Candice, even Susan. Then I'm in Marc's room, but he's left, gone, history, vapor.
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