I haven't been able to find time to blog recently, but just wait 'til you hear the reasons...
It was at a reception at the Czech embassy on Friday evening that my wife and I met the Lithuanian basketball player and the CEO that started everything. I was wearing my silk mustard-coloured leisure suit with a crisp blue cufflinked shirt opened to mid-chest that implied I didn't care that the disco retro fad had died a few years ago. My wife was decked out in a sharp, short lime-green number trimmed with black lace. She was gorgeous.
The CEO was on his third scotch and explaining to me how his board of directors was taking away his private jet. It seems the corporate world had rediscovered restraint a few years ago and the new rules now applied even to him -- especially after his last disasterous quarter. In a month, he would once again be forced to fly with his inferiors in business class. I suggested that he should use this last month with his Gulfstream to take advantage of the freedom he had now and enjoy himself. In the the modern, hyper-connected world we live in, he should be able to conduct his business remotely from anywhere in the world. Life is for living!
I was just making conversation, of course, because it would not really be proper to use a plane owned by his company's shareholders to indulge in private adventure, but -- perhaps due to some invisible personal identity crisis -- he thought what I had suggested was a grand idea. He got the pilot on the phone and told him to warm up the jet. But where to go?
This is where the basketball player joined our conversation. He was sitting on a armchair facing away from us with a diminutive and beautiful asian woman sitting in his lap. He turned around and said that his girlfriend's brother's agent had told him about a fabulous fundraiser being held in a mansion on Long Island tonight. We would miss the dinner, but he could get us in for the late-evening drinks and schmoozing.
"What's the fundraiser for?", asked the CEO to the asian woman.
"She's not my girlfriend!", said the basketball player. "It's something to do with orphans. Hmmm, yeah, it was definitely orphans somewhere..."
For proposing the idea I was invited along. It sounded like fun -- it wasn't me that would be hauled before the SEC. I went to tell my wife, who was deeply involved in a wide-ranging discussion on the topic of the crisis in modern cinema with a world-famous ballerina. The ballerina was tall and beautiful and displayed a huge mouth full of perfect teeth when she laughed -- which she did frequently. With absolutely no permission to do so, I invited her along for the ride (and my wife too). We were to meet at the airport at 10:00. We didn't have time to get anything; the three of us jumped in a cab and were off.
The CEO was late. So late that we were starting to fear that he'd lost his nerve. In the meantime, we got to know the basketball player and his (not) girlfriend. She was a fashion designer from Hong Kong who had fled the steadily encroaching oppression of Communist China for the less steadily encroaching oppression of Canada. Her english was perfect.
Finally the CEO showed up. His wife had caused the delay by insisting that she needed a new outfit. We had seen this woman at the reception and had tittered a bit privately at her -- but now we would be crammed together for two hours on a flight to the States. She was at least six feet tall (six and a half with her heels), thin save for the large safety devices grafted to her chest, and had her skin toasted to a deep, rich brown. Her makeup was tastefully done, but still looked wrong because of her artificially enlarged lips.
On the plane (which was a little more cramped than I'd expected) we were forced to lift the armrest between two chairs to fit three people in. I spent the flight squeezed tightly between my wife and the ballerina, whose hips were larger than you might have expected. The CEO's wife was a splendid hostess, warm, funny, and down-to-earth. The seven of us had a wonderful time on the flight, and drank some excellent wine.
We landed at a small airport on Long Island. We were forced to cab it to the party, and the CEO's wife worried how it would look. It turned out that no one cared. No one but the basketball player's girlfriend's brother and his agent saw us arrive. The basketball player endured puzzled frowns from his sponsors at the number they would have to sneak in, but his sheepish look and repeated shrugs seemed eventually to satisfy them. We went in. It had been a long grueling cab ride. I went straight to the bar.
The house was quite magnificent. Spacious, but with furniture laid out in a such a way that small clusters could get a sense of intimacy for their discussions, but without disturbing the flow and movement of people. The only fault I could find was with the decor. Some people are frightened by intense colour but I think this is what would make this house more exciting. As it was, it was beige, black, and (ugh) powder blue that dominated. I assumed it was an older person that was the host of this party.
I could tell this was quite the high-power event. If the style of vehicles hadn't already tipped me off to this, a glance around the room would have. There were famous people here! Good thing the wife and I looked so incredible cool. At the bar, I stood beside a famous character actor as he described the complicated drink he wanted the bartender to make. When he was done, I asked for the bartender to make me one too.
"You can't have one", the character actor said, "this is my personal signature drink!"
I asked him what he called it. "It's a Monte Carlo Black." And he said to the bartender, "Don't make him one."
I said, "If you don't let me have one, the recipe and name of this drink will be featured in next Sunday's New York Times Style section." And to the bartender, "You can put it in a different style glass for me."
That seemed to satisfy the character actor, and we started to talk. (The drink was pretty good.) I made up an extraordinarily preposterous story of who I was and what I do. He bought it. And he knew just the person I should talk to -- and that's when things got really interesting...
Wait. Wait. That's not what really happened. I don't have a silk mustard-coloured leisure suit. I stayed home all weekend and successfully prevented my kids from killing themselves. That was fun too, I guess...