“How do you know you wouldn’t like it?”
“The same way I know I wouldn’t like being shat upon: instinctually.”
“Orgies are fun, if you’re in the mood.”
“Nuh-uh. They gimme the shkeeves,” Tiresias Richardson said.
She and Big-Dicked Sheila were nearly immobile in pool chairs; attractive people rogered one another in the water before them. An Olympic-sized pool for Olympic-sized fucking. Shoals of dick slammed into great reefs of pussy. The diving board was used improperly, and so were buttholes. Titties flopped, slapped, burbled, celebrated, shimmied: oh, those polymathic Hollywood titties. A character actor was being pissed upon. The pool house–far larger than Sheila and Tiresias’ homes combined–was behind them. Couples assignated within, and their hoots and grunts and safe words spilled out, rushed by the two women, dove into the pool, drowned.
“I feel like we’re being wallflowers,” Sheila said.
“Sweetie, if you wanna fuck, then go fuck. I’ll find Precarious.”
“I totally don’t wanna fuck. I have literally never had good sex on acid.”
“I can’t even imagine fucking right now. Like…some guy…like…GLAAAAAH all over me? Oh, God, not now.”
“So find a girl. They’re softer.”
Tiresias reached over, took Sheila’s hand, squeezed.
“Not bisexual, Sheel.”
“Everyone is bisexual, Tirry.”
“I can’t have this argument with you again.”
Overhead, the stars were orbiting as predicted; around the pool, the stars spanked each other and did foot stuff. The entire cast and crew of The Murph Show was there, including the monkey. It was a Capuchin named Frank, and he was wearing a toddler-sized Afrika Corps uniform. Murph insisted; he was really into Rommel. Citronella torches burned in tasteful lamps to keep the chinchity bugs and beetles off of sweaty flesh; the aroma of chemical lemons fought for dominance with the odor of balls. Murph showed his dominance by plowing his showrunner. I HAVE NOTES, Murph bellowed as he plunged.
“What’s Murph got that I haven’t?”
“A hard-on and a monkey,” Sheila said.
“The show’s gonna be syncopated.”
Both sat in silence only interrupted by the orgy going on around them.
“Syndicated,” Tiresias corrected herself. Acid always loosened the relationship between her brain and mouth; where they were–on a day-to-day basis–best friends, under the influence of LSD, they were merely fond acquaintances.
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Tremendous amount of money.”
“That’s the best amount of money there is.”
“What about ‘all?”
“But, you know, you couldn’t have all the money. Because it wouldn’t be worth anything. Because no one else would have any money and they couldn’t provide you with goods. Because it takes money to make money.”
More silence, orgy.
“AAAAHahaha! What the fuck did that mean?”
“I’m absolutely right, I just said it inside-out. Value is based in transaction.”
“Money is a verb.”
“We should be writing this shit down,” Sheila said, and began raccooning through her massive purse.
Murph stood athwart two lounge chairs. The actresses who played his daughters lapped at a ball apiece. He tried to piss on them, but his prostate was swollen. Murph demanded that the actor who played his best friend apply a forceful thumb to the gland. MASH THE BUTTON, he cried. A hesitant dribble issued from his dick, the urine’s arc not parabolic enough to reach either daughter. It was the middle of the night, so the moon was in charge, and the pool sparkled like a disco fractal–infinite mirrors spinning within mirrors-with an inflatable William Holden floating face-down, bobbing with inciting incidence. Murph had a laugh like sour meat.
Having forgotten why she dug into her bag, Sheila acted on muscle memory and pulled out her Camels and a lighter. Two from the pack, halfway to her mouth; there was a bird, maybe, or just her eyes getting giggly; she stared for a beat, two, three, four; turned to Tiresias, said,
The cigarettes in her mouth, FFT PHWOO, and one to Tiresias.
“Guy’s a shmoo.”
“Murph,” Tiresias said, trying and failing to keep herself from pointing. “Goddamned shmoo.”
“I thought that’s what ‘shmoo’ meant,” Sheila said. “I’ve never heard you say that before.”
“Well, first of all: he’s not Jewish. And, second of all: I don’t call Jewish people ‘Jews.’ I mean, not in that tone of voice.”
“No, you’re like the fourth or fifth least-racist person I know. That’s why I was asking.”
“A shmoo. From the cartoon. Big white Blooby-blobby thing that bounced around. Dumb but unkillable. That guy is a shmoo.”
Sheila sat up, sort of, and squinted across the pool.
“Shmoo, yeah, okay.”
“Look at him, Sheel. Look at him.”
“I’m looking. It’s not great.”
“Objectively, I am better-looking than him.”
“Yeah. Oh, yeah. That’s not an opinion.”
“And I’m funnier.”
“Without writers,” Sheila said.
“That is a wonderful point to point out.”
The women collapsed back into the chaises, dragged their Camels PHWOO, and watched the sky above them wrestle itself. There was much zipping. The stars held hands, formed highways, rebuked one another. Brushstrokes were unignorable.
The deejay was spinning that Fungicore sound, with the occasional dip into Pagan House: it was music that was completely, utterly, 100% unlistenable if you weren’t on drugs. Was it even music, or just assembled frequencies? It sure did THROMP with purpose. Precarious Lee had not heard of Fungicore or Pagan House, so he had classified his current soundtrack as THROMP music. The blond was bopping his head along with the beat, strenuous as it was.
“You were in Brewster & McCloud.”
“That’s not the name of the movie. It’s just Brewster McCloud. You’re getting it mixed up with McCabe & Mrs. Miller.”
“You were Brewster.”
“You were McCloud.”
Precarious supposed the blond fellow was an actor, and he was right. Tusk Cant had starred in several unaired pilots, five independent films, almost a dozen (national) commercials, and had an open invitation to the Scientology Celebrity Center on Franklin to “come down and hang out, real chill scene.” His wrists were draped with bullshit–leather straps and red strings of yarn and a Rolex Submariner–and the flap of denim that covered the buttons of his fly had been sliced off. He was 34 and still referred to sexual acts by way of baseball analogy.
“You know how this guy made his money?”
Tusk gestured around.
“Guy who owns the house.”
“Buttermilk,” Precarious said.
“Director’s chairs. Canvas and wood? Name printed on the back? Town goes through thousands and thousands a year, and he sells every one.”
Precarious looked around the ballroom. He was unaware that selling chairs could result in “house with a ballroom” money. Selling drugs or stocks, sure, but chairs?
The cast of The Murph Show had been joined by the players from Pittsburgh Bomb Squad. The Top Dog, who was ex-military and loved his team, and the Main Hot Lady, who played it by the book, and the Secondary Hot Lady, who was the techie, and New Guy, who was the new guy. They ganged up on Wacky Neighbor, and Cantankerous Old Fucker. It was a crossover event for the ages. Murph had claimed Main Hot Lady, as was his right as an Executive Producer. She was bent over, and he behind her and thrusting, and a small but distinct bolus of vomit burped out of his mouth and spattered onto her back. There was no pause at all to the fucking.
“And they say romance is dead,” Sheila said, and Tiresias laughed AAAAHahaha! way too fucking loud; Murph searched around for the source of the laughter. The women cowered together, tried to suck their skulls into their chests, Sheila laid her purse over their heads.
“Don’t get his attention.”
“I don’t think he can see us,” Tiresias said. “We’re not famous.”
“If he comes over here, I’ll fuck him, but I’d rather he didn’t come over here.”
“Why would you fuck him?”
“An orgy is like a mosh pit: if you’re on the edge of it, then you’re in it.”
Sheila popped an eye up, saw that Murph was no longer scanning the area, lowered the purse to her lap. Her left leg was out straight, and her right knee was up; now the other way; now the other way; now the other way. Her gestures were florid.
“Well, I could piss on him.”
“Go blow your nose on his balls.”
“I think that would play well over there,” Sheila said. “I’ll schnot all over his johnson.”
“AAAAHahaha!” and this time Murph did see them, but neither woman cared and they kept laughing. A rabbit, sizable and brown hopped behind their chairs. That morning, the animal had been in the north of France. Nibbled on some fescue WHAZZOOM now it was in a rich guy’s backyard in Los Angeles. The rabbit had no way to express what had happened. It had no way to understand what had happened. Stochastic teleportation was lost on rabbits.
Here is Frank now. You’ll recall the Capuchin. He has removed his khaki trousers but not the desert jacket. He is noticeably erect, and far faster than anyone–including a lagamorph recently become unstuck in time–would imagine. The rabbit lunges towards its left, but Frank has come under Sheila’s chaise. The only thing worse than a monkey with a boner is a monkey with a boner and the element of surprise. Frank drags the rabbit in between the two lounge chairs, hammers it right between the ears twice three four five times until its eyes go jagged, reaches around and grabs inside its mouth SNAP the lower jaw hangs dumb. Frank now gets to the fucking.
The women propped themselves on their sides, watched.
“I feel like we should stop this,” Tiresias said.
“Hey! Monkey!” she stage-whispered.
“Be respectful. He’s got an Iron Cross. That monkey must be a war hero.”
(Frank did, indeed, have an Iron Cross on his chest. Murph insisted.)
Tiresias swatted at the air five or six feet from Frank and the rabbit. She would put her hand no closer, as she was not a complete idiot. Frank ignored both her entreaties and her pantomime. Frank kept fucking.
“Stop it. You’re better than this.”
“He’s clearly not, Tirry. Some monkeys are rapists.”
“I think all of them are.”
“No, that’s ducks.”
“Giraffes fuck way up high,” Tiresias answered.
“And they only got one position.”
“People are lucky. We can fuck every which way.”
“It’s not lucky. I’d love it if, like, the human body could physically only do one sex position. It would take so much pressure off.”
Frank had the rabbit’s forepaws in his hands SNAP the limbs slop about; Frank is fucking hard tonight.
“Sheel, shoot him.”
“This is why guns were invented. Shoot him. Or the rabbit. Put the poor thing out of its miserable.”
“Tirry, sweetie, it’s a party. I’m not shooting a monkey.”
“Fire a warning shot.”
“You fire warning shots all the fucking time. You did it twice last week.”
“Back home, sweetie, in Little Aleppo. We’re in a rich guy’s backyard in Los Angeles. And also we’re hiding from the police, remember? All the felonies we committed? And the cop I might have killed?”
“I don’t think he died.”
“But he might have.”
“His face hit the steering wheel pretty hard.”
“Right. So I’m gonna pass on the warning shot. What’s happening here–”
“–is gonna happen here.”
“You should be an action hero. You’re so good under pressure.”
Sheila started to reach out for Tiresias, but then thought better of it and snatched her hand back. Whatever hole Frank had chosen was beginning to expand, tear, fissure. The rabbit’s ass looked like an envelope opened by a toddler, the blood brown under the pool’s lighting.
“HEY,” Murph called from across the water. He was up to his balls in his own stand-in. “IS FRANK OVER THERE?”
The women both looked up. Tiresias gave a thumbs-up.
Sheila added her thumb.
“THAT’S MY BOY!”
The rabbit had stopped moving. It experienced a miracle six hours previous, and now had been fucked to death by a monkey wearing half of an Afrika Corps uniform. Let that be a lesson to you.
“You never did any acting?”
“I was married twice.”
“Niiiice,” Tusk Cant said, and raised a hand for fiving. Precarious did, as he didn’t see the need to be rude yet. He had read somewhere that a gentleman is someone who is only rude on purpose, and he liked that. He was sure that the idiot with the expensive haircut he was talking to was an idiot, but he had nowhere else to be.
“I got a thing going. Pilot called Bletchley Park. About the code-breakers. I play Nigel Smythe-Yessington.”
“You break codes?
“I break hearts,” Tusk said. “And there’s, like, dramatic shit. I’m British and I fuck.”
“Cool,” Precarious said.
“This would be huge for me.”
“Second lead. Lots of comedy stuff, sex stuff. It’s the star role. I could break out from this. I mean, if the network’s behind it.”
“Network’s gotta be behind it.”
The ballroom was the tell. Wealthy is different than rich, and the ballroom is the tell. Rich folks have the same kind of houses as poor people, just moreso. Both got kitchens, the rich just got nicer; both got bedroom, the rich just got more. But only the wealthy got ballrooms and whatnot. Inspired sluttery amongst maximalist furniture; incommunicado drug deals under the eaves; O, those men in ascots and cock rings; the slapping like a captain’s table; Emilio Estevez fingering an Asian woman; good Christ, what’s occurring upon that pool table; get down , get real loose with it, disco dresses on all; some bastards like to fuck like the whole world’s watching. Hey, man, why do you think they call it a ballroom? Precarious took in the sights.
“You get it, man.”
“What was your name again?”
“Archibald Leach,” Precarious spat into Tusk’s ear.
They clasped hands. Not “shook,” as this is for lessers. Thumbs back and manly. WHAMP the palms sturck. Chins thrusted.
“You get it, man. You really get it,” Tusk said.
Precarious had been told that he “got it” on three continents and counting,, but he was clocking the window overlooking the backyard, overlooking the pool and the orgy that was going on, and the two women on chaise lounge chairs caught completely unaware by the large man with the crewcut and the broken nose standing above them. It was just like Precarious always said: A good plan will work most of the time, but a terrible plan will work every time.