COOL DRAMA solo booth installation at VOLTA NY March 7-10
I'm drinking a doppio espresso and stealing ideas when Serp bursts into my office; he's totally geeked and chatting my ear off. Out front, a half-dozen Russian businessmen and their escorts have just entered. They are purposefully loud in an effort to impress but they needn't bother; Celeste, my world's-best-employee, has discreetly texted me names and net worths before they are fully in the gallery.
Serp is still crapping on about his solo show he is convinced is scheduled for next September. I'm not listening at all but stay seated so it looks like he is more important than some oil rich Russians. Not a single one of them is remotely attractive until you imagine all the rubles spilling out of their pockets. Their escorts are young and generic--high hem, low neckline, high heels, low self-worth. I am certain at least one of them is a tranny.
I finally tell Serp to shut up and to not touch a thing. I leave my office door open as I reach out my hand and say "Как поживаете?" --something else Celeste texted. Tomorrow she will find a bottle of Stoli Elit on her desk. (Later this week, while leaning next to a Schiele drawing of a young girl masturbating, I will learn that she has no gag reflex.)
The current show, YOUTHDEATH, has practically sold out--save for a few paintings by a young artist named Ashly. The Russians will understand her talent when I explain her work as “pulsating with an enigmatic morose virility.” Two Dimitris argue over who acquires ownership of the syllables. Dimitri number one wins with an offer of almost double the listed price. I envision his fist buried in the tranny’s ass in a suite at the Four Seasons and imagine my description offered a brief moment of self-reflection.
Dimitri the Tranny-Fister heads back to my office and pays for the paintings out of an enormous wad of hundreds bound with a rubber band. I cringe as Serp introduces himself as one of my artists, but calm down slightly as he inadvertently reveals himself as my dealer and offers to share a small fortune in coke. Dimitri no longer cares about the rest of his group, shouting at them to head to TeaHouse, a new-ish restaurant in Brighton Beach. He will catch up later. The party leaves and Celeste soon disappears--she has learned her lesson on getting high with groups of men in locked buildings more than once. Dimitri vacuums up half a gram through a ridiculous 18 karat gold coke straw (thanks again Serp) and goes on a rant about getting gonorrhea from an Iranian hooker in Atlantic City. Nervous laughter drops into drugged-up silence. One muffled vibration and everyone instinctively reaches for their phone, and once again I become overwhelmed with anxiety.
The Russian extracts his blackberry from an interior pocket of his ill-fitting Versace suit. "Business," he apologizes, "I need to go."
Serp offers him a ride in his S Class, one of the perks of his own business endeavors. We all exchange valedictions with varying degrees of sincerity and they are gone. I lock the gallery doors behind them, turn off the lights and text Celeste to take the afternoon off. I curl up under my desk covered in a sweat. My nose is running and I can't stop crying.
I want all this noise to stop.