Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SINKING SHIP by Peter Nolan Smith

Snobbery is an art in the Hamptons based on proximity to the City. Most of my friends have summer places in Easthampton and Montauk, but a few ignored the elite sneers in favor of a shorter drive back home to Manhattan. Last summer Richie Boy and I stopped on the way to Ditch Plains to show a large diamond to Errol, the heir to a schmatta fortune. We knew him from Xenon and 54. He greeted us at his beachfront mansion and we sat in his living room surrounded by Picassos, Warhols, and a large photo of a yacht. Richie showed a 5-carat D Flawless Pear Shape Diamond. It was a steal at $560,000. Errol broke out a bottle of vintage Veuve Cliquot. After a little dickering Errol and Richie Boy agreed on a price and said 'mazel', after which we talked about old times. The "The goy still has 'ludes." Richie Boy glanced at me. "My doctor and I were cleaning out his father's office in Staten Island and we found a couple of jars of Rorer 714s. In their original boxes from 1974." 'Ludes were the only drug to have gone extinct. "No way." Errol's eyes lit up like he was a virgin seeing pussy for the first time. He looked good for his age. "They couldn't be any good." "I did one with a friend at a bar." I didn't mention any names. "Thirty minutes later I did another half, thinking they were stale. An hour later the owner of the bar came up to me and asked where I thought I was. I was pissing, so I said, "The Bathroom?" The owner said the hallway and the bouncers threw me out of the bar with my friend." "So they worked?" Errol wanted to know if I had more. I wasn't telling him the truth for less than $5000. "Evidently." I wasn't looking to Richie Boy for back-up. He had a diamond to sell, but he offered a story of those days without any encouragement. Champagne was a good truth serum. "One night me and the meanest man in New York were coming out of Studio 54. We had to go to school in a few hours, so we did our last 'lude. Stannie was driving. I don't remember anything about the ride back to the Island, but woke up in a wreck. It was dawn and Stannie had driven into a parked car. The police came and asked what happened. Stannie and I said we didn't remember and they let us go." "Didn't they take you to the hospital?" Errol poured us the last of the champagne. He had guests coming for dinner. "We weren't hurt." The 'ludes had saved them from any injury. "That's a good story, but you see that yacht?" Errol pointed to the photo over the fireplace. "That was mine. It was called 'la bella bella'. One night we steaming between Sardinia and Sicily and a storm hits us. A rogue wave breaks the hull and the ship sinks fast. I had a jar of 'ludes in the safe. I went below and dove under the water to get them. Everyone thought I drowned, but I came to the surface with my 'ludes." Richie Boy and I exchanged a look. Errol was a serious 'lude fanatic. "Where are those 'ludes?" "Back in New York." "How much you want for them?" Errol pulled out a check book. "$5000." They were the last Quaaludes on Earth. I waited for his counter-offer. There was none, but he wrote a check to Richie Boy for the diamond. We left it with him on memo. He was good for the money. old disco associate.

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