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The rules of attraction bret easton ellis



НазваниеThe rules of attraction bret easton ellis
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I got fed up with the hippie and pointed to a fat girl across the room who had written something nasty about me on the laundry room wall; who had come up to me at a Friday night party and said, ‘You'd be gorgeous if you were five inches taller.'


‘Is she beautiful?' I asked.


She looked up, bean sprout stuck on lower lip, squinted and said, Yeah.'


'That bitch over there?' I asked, pointing, appalled. 'Oh her. I thought you meant that sister over there,’ she said.


I looked around. 'Sister? What sister? No, her,' exasperated, I pointed at the girl; mean-looking, fat, black sunglasses, a bitch.


'Her?' the hippie asked.


‘Yeah. Her.'


'She's beautiful too,’ she said, drawing a daisy next to the message on the napkin.


'What about him?' I pointed to a guy who it was rumored had actually caused his girlfriend to kill herself and everyone knew. There was no way in hell the hippie could think that he, this fucking monster, was beautiful.


'Him? He's beautiful.'


'Him? Beautiful? He killed his fucking girlfriend. Ran her over,’ I said.


'No way,’ the hippie grinned.


Yes! It's true. Ran her straight over with a car,’ I said, excited.


She just shook her lovely, empty head. 'Oh man.' 'Can't you make distinctions?' I asked her. 'I mean, our sex is great, but how can everything, everyone be


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beautiful? Don't you understand that that means no one is beautiful?'


'Listen, man,’ the hippie said. 'What are you getting at?'


She looked at me, not grinning. The hippie could be sharp. What was I getting at?


I didn't know. All I know was that the sex was terrific.


And that the hippie was cute. She loved sweet pickles. She liked the name Willie. She even liked Apocalypse Now. She was not a vegetarian. These were all on the plus side. But, once I introduced her to my friends, at the time, and they were all stuck-up asshole Lit majors and they made fun of her and she understood what was going on and her eyes, usually blue, too blue, vacant, were sad. And I protected her. I took her away from them. ('Spell Pynchon,' they asked her, cracking up.) And she introduced me to her friends. And we ended up sitting on some Japanese pillows in her room and we all smoked some pot and this little hippie girl with a wreath on her head, looked at me as I held her and said, 'The world blows my mind.' And you know what?


I fucked her anyway.


PAUL He liked me. He would sing 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You' by Frankie Valli. It was on the jukebox at The Carousel in North Camden and he would ask me to play it a lot.
The townies would watch us suspiciously, Sean shooting pool, drinking beer, me shuffling over to the jukebox, slipping quarters in it, punching F17, the first strains coming on, shuffling back to where Sean sat, now by the bar, motorcycle helmets propped up by our drinks, and he'd lip-synch it. He even found the single and put it on a tape he made for me when I was in bed with a hangover. It was in a bag he brought over that included orange juice, beer and French fries and a Quarter Pounder from McDonald's, still warm.


When he didn't want to go to class and when he didn't want me to go either and he found it too boring to simply not go and sit around, I'd follow him to the infirmary and once there he would have fake attacks; fairly well-planned and -acted fits and imaginary seizures. He would then receive medicine and the two of us would leave (I'd complain that my migraines were acting up), excused from classes for the day, and we'd go into town to an arcade called The Dream Machine and play this totally anal retentive video game he loved to play called Bentley Bear or Crystal Bear or something like that. Afterwards we'd walk through town together. I'd look around for a double bed and he'd look for cough syrup with codeine in it so he could get high (this was after he smoked all the pot; what a hick, I know, I know). He'd find the cough syrup and actually get stoned on it ('I am hallucinating,' he'd announce) and we'd drive back to campus on his bike as it got dark in the late afternoon. By then, classes had already


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ended. And back in his room, which was usually a mess (at least his side), I'd sit around and play tapes and watch him stumble around and spin, high. He was always so animated around me, but so reserved and serious in front of other people. In bed, too, he'd alternate between being melodramatically loud and then a parody of the strong silent type: either grunting softly or emitting a weird quiet laughter, then it was suddenly loud rhythmic 'yeah's' or yelling muffled obscenities, on top of me, me on top of him, both of us hungover, the stale smell of beer and cigarettes everywhere, the empty cups with the quarters stuck on the bottom of them scattered around the floor and the always-present odor of pot, hanging thick in mid-air, reminded me of Mitchell strangely enough, but he was already fading away, and it was hard to remember what he even looked like.


Sean liked to say 'Rock'n'roll' a lot. For example I would say, 'Well, that was a pretty good movie' and he'd say 'Rock'n'roll.' Or I'd ask, 'What do you think of Fassbinder's early work?' and he would reply 'Rock'n'roll.' He also liked the term, 'Deal with it.' For example, I'd say, 'But I want you to,' and he'd say, 'Deal with it.' Or, 'But why do you have to get stoned before we do it?' and he'd say, 'Deal with it,' without even looking at me. He also liked his coffee really faggy - tons of cream, lots of sugar. I'd have to drag him to the movies they showed that term and he'd have to get stoned first. He liked Taxi Driver, Blade Runner, The Harder They Come, and Apocalypse Now. I liked Rebel Without a Cause, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Seventh Seal. ('Oh shit, subtitles,' he moaned.) We both didn't like Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.


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Of course I started finding the notes someone was leaving in his box. Pathetic, girlish yearnings. Whoever it was, offering 'herself to 'him.' And though I wasn't sure if he was actually responding to this nitwit I still would take them out of his box and either throw them away or keep them and study them and then put them back. I would watch the girls who'd flirt with us in The Pub and I'd watch the ones who would sit next to him, asking for a light even though they had matches in their pockets. And, of course, there would be a lot of girls around since he was so good-looking. And though I hated them, I also realized that I had the power in this game since I was also good-looking and had some semblance of a personality, something Sean lacked utterly. I could make them laugh. I could lie and agree with their stupid observations about life, and they'd lose immediate interest in him. Sean would sit there, shallow as a travel agent's secretary, that one strip of eyebrow furrowed and confused. But it was a hollow victory and I'd look at the girls and wonder who was leaving the notes. Didn't that person realize we were fucking each other? Didn't that mean anything to anyone anymore? Obviously not. I thought it was this one girl. I thought I saw her put something in his box. I knew who she was. I found out where her box was and when no one was looking put a couple of cigarettes out in it. My warning. He never mentioned it. But then I realized that maybe it wasn't a girl leaving the notes. Maybe it was Jerry.


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LAUREN Conroy, who I bump into at the American Cartoon Exhibit in Gallery 1, asks why I wasn't at the tutorial last Saturday. No use arguing. 'I was in New York,' I tell him. He doesn't care. I'm with Franklin now. Judy doesn't care. She's seeing the Freshman, Steve. Steve doesn't care. She fucked him the night she went to Williamstown. I don't care. It's all so boring. Conroy who doesn't care tells me to tell the other person in class to come on Saturday. It's some Senior guy. So after I leave a reminder in this guy's box, Franklin and I go to The Pi and get a little drunk and Franklin tells me what the symbolism in Cujo means and then we go to my room. I have received no mail from Victor. The idea crosses mind that Victor might just be dead. Conversation I overheard at lunch the other day.


Boy: I think we should stop this.


Girl: Stop what? This?


Boy: Maybe.


Girl: Stop it? Yeah.


Boy: Maybe. I don't know.


Girl: Was it because of Europe?


Boy: No. I just don't know why.


Girl: You should stop smoking.


Boy: Why don't you stop . . . stop . . .


Girl: You're right. It's not working.


Boy: I don't know. You're really ... You are pretty.


Girl: You are too.


Boy: The meek shall inherit the earth.


Girl: The meek don't want it.


Boy: I like the new Eurythmics song.


Girl: It's the drugs, isn't it?


Boy: Do you want to go back to my room?


Girl: What Eurythmics song?


Boy: Was it because of who I slept with?


Girl: No. Yes. No.


Boy: The meek don't want it? What?


I have not painted in over a week. I am going to change my major unless Victor calls.


PAUL My mother called from Chicago and told me that her Cadillac had been stolen while it was in the parking lot of Neiman Marcus. She mentioned that she was flying to Boston on Friday, which was the next day, and would be there for the weekend. She also mentioned that she wanted me to be there with her.


'Wait. That's tomorrow. I have classes all day,' I lied.


'Darling, you can miss one class to meet your mother and the Jareds.'


'The Jareds are coming?'


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'Didn't I tell you? Mrs. Jared is coming and so is Richard. He's taking the weekend off from Sarah Lawrence,' she said.


'Richard?' Hmmm, that ought to be interesting, I was thinking, but tomorrow was The Dressed To Get Screwed party and there was no way I was going to leave Sean here unguarded. You have got to be kidding,' I told her. 'Is this a joke?'


I was leaning against a wall in the phone booth of Welling. I had been in town all day, most of it spent in an arcade with Sean who was trying to get the high score on Joust and was failing miserably. We smoked pot and had three beers each at lunch and I was tired. There was a cartoon someone had drawn next to the phone: in a cage was a hot dog that had sad eyes and a mean, pursed mouth and spindly arms grabbing at the bars. The hot dog was asking 'Where's me muddah?' and beneath that someone had written: 'A term for the wurst.'


'Now, can you take the bus down Friday into Boston, or the train?' she asked, knowing damn well that Friday meant tomorrow. 'How much does that cost? From Camden to Boston?'


'I have money. That's not a problem. But this weekend?' I asked.


'Darling,' she managed to sound serious, even longdistance, 'I want to talk.'


'What about Dad?'


There was a pause, then, 'What about him?'


'Is he coming too?' I asked, then added, 'I haven't spoken to him in a month.'


'Do you want him to come?' she asked.


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'No. I don't know.'


'Don't worry about it. I will see you at The Ritz-Carlton on Friday. Right, dear?' she hurriedly asked.


'Mom,' I said


'Yes?'


'Are you sure you want to do this?' I was relenting. Suddenly she depressed me so badly that there wouldn't have been any way to say No under any circumstance.


'Darling, yes. Now don't worry. I will see you Friday, right?' She paused and then said, 'I want to talk. There's things we have to talk about.'


Like what? 'Fine,' I sighed.


'Call me if there are any problems?'


Yes.'


'Goodbye. Love,' she said.


Yeah, you too,' I said.


She hung up first and I stood there for a minute and then slammed my fist against the wall and stormed out of the booth. My mother's timing had never been worse.


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I can tell by the way he moves that he knows. In some way he has caught on and I'm no longer left in the dark about the messenger who is me. I know he knows. The way he looks around a room, the dining hall, the way he walks past Commons. Everything about him. And I think, I just think, that he knows it's me. I've seen him look me in the face; those sultry dark eyes scan the rooms he's in and they come on me. Is he too afraid to come up to me and tell me how he feels? I listen to 'Be My Baby' and dance sad dances and sing His name while I listen and hug myself. I know he likes me. I know it. And tomorrow night at the ball it will be complete. The final answer will be . . .


(I called my mother today . . . she wasn't feeling well. .. I received a nice comment from a glowering teacher. . . .)


A teacher asked us today in class if a person can die of heartbreak. He was serious. He is also a devil. My idea of hell is being locked in a room away from you but able to see you and smell you. Shut up, shut up, I tell myself over and over again. If I taught a class I would tell you, 'You must sleep with me and love me to pass.' I have to leam to write my notes to Him neater. I sit so still thinking of Him. Afraid to breathe. Sometimes I think I will scream. Mary, I tell myself, tomorrow is the night. What do you think about? Who do you think about? Me? Alone? Who has seen you naked, I think to myself. Who have you slept with and loved, is another one. How many cigarettes have you smoked, also crops up. Two, today? True? Shrewjewbluebrewcrewdrewrab-bitfrufru. Song for poor Mary. Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Guess I'll go eat some worms. Oh! Lay! Your! Hands! On! Me!


////I am in a class now with only forty minutes left. I think


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I'm going to throw up. I have to see You. I am frustrated, I tell myself calmly, because I want to moan and writhe with You and I want to go up to you and kiss Your mouth and bull you to me and say 'Love you love you love you' while stripping, while sex commences. I want to kill the ugly girls who sit around you at The Pub but cannot. I hear a Bread song and suddenly you appear. Someone came up to me and said 'Undo the karma, undo the karma,' and I thought of you. I could leave and go somewhere, I guess. Take a vacation . .. where? Concentration ... on what? Penn Station? Masturbation? I have seen this couple walking around and they seem to be very unhappy and I want to touch you. I want you to touch them. Do you like those boring naive coy calculating girls? A poster I saw the other day in a room I peeked in on: When two snake rattlers fight, it is according to strict rules. Neither uses poison fangs, the object is only to force the opponent's head to the ground and hold it there for a few seconds, thus establishing superiority. Then the grip is released and the loser dismissed. Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well, it's you girl and you should know it, with each little glance and every movement you show it. Love is all around, no need to fake it, you can have it all, why don't you take it, your gonna ... Sometimes I hate Him. Tomorrow night.////


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PAUL We were lying in my bed since the Frog was back. Sean sat up and leaned against the wall and asked me to hand him the cigarettes that were on the floor. I lit one for myself then gave them to Sean.


'What's wrong?' he asked. 'No. Let me guess. Paul's tense, right?'


'Ten points for Sean.'


He got up, disgusted, and put on his boxer shorts.


'Why do you wear boxer shorts?' I asked.


He ignored me and continued getting dressed, cigarette dangling from his lips.


'No, I mean, I really never noticed that before, but you wear boxer shorts.'


He pulled on a T-shirt and then tied up his paint-splattered boots. Why were they paint splattered? Did he fingerpaint or something?


'Do you have them in different colors? Say, mauve? Or maybe tangerine?'


He finished dressing then sat on the chair next to the bed.


'Or do they only come in that. . . asphalt gray?'


He just stared at me. He knew I was acting like a fool.


'I knew a guy named Tony Delana in ninth grade who wore boxer shorts.'


'That's a real scorcher, Denton,' he said.


'Yeah?'


'So you don't want to go to Boston tomorrow, is that it?' he asked.


'Now, you have twenty points.' I put my cigarette out in an empty beer bottle that was on my nightstand and shook it.


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Sean just looked at me and said, 'I don't like you that much. I don't know why I'm here.'


'I'm sorry about that,' I say, getting up and putting on a robe. I smelled the robe. I've got to do my laundry.'


I scanned the room for something to drink, but it was late and we had finished all the beer. I reached over him and held a bottle up to the light to see if there was anything left in it. There wasn't.


'You're going to miss The Dressed To Get Screwed party,' his voice was low and ominous.


'I know.' I tried not to panic. 'Are you going?' I finally asked.


'Sure,' he shrugged, moved over to the mirror, still in the chair.


'What are you going to wear?' I asked.


'What I usually wear,' he said, staring at himself. The narcissistic little sonofabitch.


'Is that right?' I looked around the room. I didn't know what I was looking for. I wanted a drink. I walked over to the stereo and looked behind it. There was a half-empty Beck's next to the speaker. I sat back on the bed.


He stood up. Tm gonna go.'


'Where to?' I asked. I casually tasted the bottle. It was warm and flat and I made a face but drank it anyway.


'All night study room,' he said. The narcissistic lying little sonofabitch.


He walked to the door and I ended up blurting out, 'I don't want to go to Boston for the weekend. I don't want to see my mother. I don't want to see the Jareds,' (though I probably did want to see Richard) 'and I don't want to see


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Richard from Sarah Lawrence' (hoping to make him jealous) '... and . . .' I stopped.


He stood there, saying nothing.


'And I don't think I want to leave you here . . .' Because I don't trust you, I didn't say.


'I'm gonna go,' he said. He opened the door and looked back. Til take you to the bus station tomorrow. What time does it leave?'


'I think eleven-thirty.' I took another sip of the beer, then coughed. It tasted terrible.


'Okay, meet me at my bike at eleven,' he said, heading out.


'Eleven/ I said.


'Night.' He closed the door and I could hear his footsteps echo down the hallway.


'Thanks, Sean.'


I started to pack, wondering what Richard looked like now, trying to remember when I saw him "last.


SEAN Someone walks into The Pub, looks for someone, can't find them and leaves, the door closes behind them. It


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wasn't Lauren Hynde, the completely beautiful girl who had been leaving notes in my box, the only reason I'm in The Pub tonight, waiting to confront her. I saw her slip one in last Saturday, when I was up in Commons. I couldn't believe it. I was so shocked that it was actually someone good-looking that I spent the last week in a sort of daze. Now I'm sitting at a table with four or five or six people, kind of listening to some lame conversation, looking for the girl. They're all talking about what's going on at the sculpture studio, about sculpture teachers, and sculpture parties, about Tony's latest sculpture, even though they have no idea what it says. Tony told me it was supposed to be a steel vagina, but none of these idiots can figure it out.


'It's so disturbing, lyrical,' this girl with a serious problem says.


'Very potent. Undefinable,' her friend, some dyke from Duke who's visiting, who looks like she's had way too much MDA, agrees.


'It's Nimoy. Pure Nimoy,' Getch says.


My attention drifts. Somebody else walks in, somebody who if I remember correctly gave me a totally unprovoked kiss on the lips at the last Friday night party. Peter Gabriel still plays on the jukebox.


'But it's Diane Arbus with none of the conviction,' one of the girls says and she's serious.


Denton gives me a steely look from across the table. He probably agreed with that.


'But the revisionist theory on her seems completely unmotivated,' someone else gleefully replies. There's a pause, then someone asks, 'What about Wee Gee. What do you think about Wee Gee, for Christ sakes?'


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Vaguely horny I order another pitcher and a pack of Bar-B-Que potato chips, which give me indigestion. Peter Gabriel turns into more Peter Gabriel. The girl who kissed me on the lips last Friday leaves after buying a pack of cigarettes and in some warped way I'm disappointed. She's not that pretty (slightly Asian, Dance major?) but I'd probably fuck her anyway. Back to the conversation.
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