“Joy to the World” is being piped in over the din of the late afternoon crush at Saks Fifth Avenue and I am cursing the fact that I have to wait so long for the clerk to return with my credit card. I am pressed against the counter as all manner of last-minute shoppers flood the aisles of the perfume and cosmetic counters. Already some annoying woman has scuffed my A. Testonis with the wheels of her stroller and I am livid. In the left pocket of my black cashmere Ermenegildo Zegna coat I grip the handle of the small Wüsthof cleaver I carry and breathe easy as the blond little hardbody at the Chanel counter returns with my receipt and my purchase. She hands me my American Express Black card and the Chanel parfum, No. 5, which she has gift wrapped for me, and flirts. “She’s a very lucky lady.” I manage a half-smile and notice that she looks like the blowjob girl from Asseaters II, which I still haven’t returned to the video store. “It’s for my sister,” I lie. I take a business card out of my Louis Vuitton wallet and hand it to her. “Maybe we can have a drink after the holiday and you can tell me about perfume.” She touches my hand and slips the card into her pocket. “I’d love to.” I wink and turn away to exit the store, knowing full well that getting a cab on Fifth Avenue on December 23rd is going to be fucking next to impossible; but I manage to get one anyway and head downtown to SoHo to meet everyone for drinks at Gush.
“So how are you going to spend your bonus, Bateman?” Price is already buzzed and I am still nursing my Finlandia as Courtney lights up at the mere mention of money.
“I haven’t given it any thought.”
“What about Gstaad?” Courtney breaks in. She is wearing a crimson satin blouse from Dior with three buttons undone, and crosses her legs as her Christian Louboutin heels sparkle under her black velvet skirt in the dim light of the bar.
I don’t want to answer and don’t really have anything to say. Pierce & Pierce had a tremendous year and my bonus was staggering considering the little amount of work I do.
“Maybe,” I offer and knock back the rest of my vodka.
“Fucking Gstaad? It’s so tired, Bateman, don’t waste your money. The skiing is much better in the Austrian Alps, and that’s where everyone is going this year.”
“I don’t like Austrians. They’re so German.” Courtney giggles, and Evelyn laughs. Evelyn is wearing a Donna Karan dress and Hermès scarf with red Santas on it, which I don’t like and picture strangling her with it.
“Everybody’s German in Austria.” Price mumbles.
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album is a collection of singles the band released over a ten year period during the 60s which features the classics “Little Saint Nick” and “Merry Christmas Baby.” Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love were known for their impeccable harmony and barbershop quartet—or quintet—appeal, which became a hallmark of the California sound, along with the Mamas and the Papas.
But even with the laconic ease through which the Beach Boys deliver a harmony, what is outstanding is the understated brilliance of composer and lyricist Brian Wilson. Perhaps outshining the classic Pet Sounds itself, The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album takes on the subtle task of fitting soft vocals with the surfer aesthetic of California and gently molds it into a holiday theme that even landlocked Midwesterners and metropolitan East Coast clubgoers can get behind. The interpretation of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” while not quite eclipsing the almost tongue-in-cheek ennui of the Bing Crosby version, is a masterstroke of longing and childlike optimism so beautifully rendered a person can imagine himself looking out the window on Christmas Eve in anticipation of snow.
The Night Before Christmas
Slow dissolve into midnight inside my apartment. The Russian escorts I ordered are lounging on my black suède Ligne Roset couch in front of the fireplace. Svetlana and Viktoria are both drinking champagne, though I am nursing a Château de Briat Special Reserve armagnac I picked up in a small town in Bordeaux when I was in France last spring. The Ecstasy we dropped kicked in twenty minutes ago and Svetlana starts kissing Viktoria and begins to slip out of her dress, some not-too-subtle Azzedine Alaia thigh-length camisole that looks as if it might fall apart or tear at the slightest pull. I will finish my drink before I invite them into the bedroom, content to watch them as they contort themselves. I decide that I won’t kill them tonight if only because I am too drunk to lay out the drop cloth, and after all, it’s Christmas. But then I think that if they so much as spill a drop of champagne on my goddamn couch I will cut their heads off with a machete and fuck their skulls. I consider this for a moment before taking off my shirt and letting them see my ripped torso and six-pack abs. Picking up my glass, I swill the last of my armagnac and move over to the couch to join the girls.
I ended up killing the Russian girls and spent the better part of the morning cleaning up the blood from the floor, but only after I finished my crunches. Having bound their legs together and tied their wrists to the bedposts they were easily subdued, though now I was faced with the task of getting rid of the bodies. Having cleaned the sheets and blood off the walls and floor, I wondered at how lovely they looked on my bed, two dolls in repose.
I had to be at Courtney’s parents’ in South Hampton by four, so I decided to leave them there until I returned. I took a shower and cleansed my pores with a Clinique astringent and dabbed some Kiehl’s face-moisturizer before dressing. I elected to go with a dark blue Prada two-button suit with a single vent and a nice break in the legs, and slipped on some black wingtips from Brooks Brothers before opting to go with the less conservative Manolo Blahnik loafers. A fresh white Calvin Klein shirt with French cuffs and the blue-flecked tie that Courtney had given me from Hugo Boss, and black and blue cufflinks from Cartier completed my ensemble. Before leaving I scooped a handful of gel from Face into my hair and gathered up the gifts into black shopping bags from Barneys and left. When I hit the street, it was snowing and the sky had a gray and purple cast to it reflecting the glow of the lights of Manhattan, and I was happy for a moment that it turned out to be a white Christmas after all.