American Psycho

Page 38

From my POV Paul Owen sits at a table across the room with someone who looks a lot like Trent Moore, or Roger Daley, and some other guy who looks like Frederick Connell. Moore's grandfather owns the company he works at. Trent is wearing a mini-houndstooth-check worsted wool suit with multicolored overplaid.

"Nekenieh?" Hamlin asks. "What's Nekenieh?"

"Guys, guys," I say. "Who's sitting with Paul Owen over there? Is that Trent Moore?"

"Where?" Reeves.

'They're getting up. That table," I say. "Those guys."

"Isn't that Madison? No, it's Dibble," Reeves says. He puts on his clear prescription eyeglasses just to make sure.

"No," Hamlin says. "It's Trent Moore."

"Are you sure?" Reeves asks.

Paul Owen stops by our table on his way out. He's wearing sunglasses by Persol and he's carrying a briefcase by Coach Leatherware.

"Hello, men," Owen says and he introduces the two guys he's with, Trent Moore and someone named Paul Denton.

Reeves and Hamlin and I shake their hands without standing up. George and Todd start talking to Trent, who is from Los Angeles and knows where Nekenieh is located. Owen turns his attention my way, which makes me slightly nervous.

"How have you been?" Owen asks.

"I've been great," I say. "And you?"

"Oh terrific," he says. "How's the Hawkins account going?"

"It's..." I stall and then continue, faltering momentarily, "It's... all right."

"Really?" he asks, vaguely concerned. "That's interesting," he says, smiling, hands clasped together behind his back. "Not great?"

"Oh well," I say. "You... know."

"And how's Marcia?" he asks, still smiling, looking over the room, not really listening to me. "She's a great girl."

"Oh yes," I say, shaken. "I'm... lucky."

Owen has mistaken me for Marcus Halberstam (even though Marcus is dating Cecelia Wagner) but for some reason it really doesn't matter and it seems a logical faux pas since Marcus works at P & P also, in fact does the same exact thing I do, and he also has a penchant for Valentino suits and clear prescription glasses and we share the same barber at the same place, the Pierre Hotel, so it seems understandable; it doesn't irk me. But Paul Denton keeps staring at me, or trying not to, as if he knows something, as if he's not quite sure if he recognizes me or not, and it makes me wonder if maybe he was on that cruise a long time ago, one night last March. If that's the case, I'm thinking, I should get his telephone number or, better yet, his address.

"Well, we should have drinks," I tell Owen.

"Great," he says. "Let's. Here's my card."

"Thanks," I say, looking at it closely, relieved by its crudeness, before slipping it into my jacket. "Maybe I'll bring..." I pause, then carefully say, "Marcia?"

"That would be great," he says. "Hey, have you been to that Salvadorian bistro on Eighty-third?" he asks. "We're eating there tonight."

"Yeah. I mean no," I say. "But I've heard it's quite good." I smile weakly and take a sip of my drink.

"Yes, so have I." He checks his Rolex. "Trent? Denton? Let's split. Reservation's in fifteen.minutes."

Goodbyes are said and on their way out of Harry's they stop by the table Dibble and Hamilton are sitting at, or at least I think it's Dibble and Hamilton. Before they leave, Denton looks over at our table, at me, one last time, and he seems panicked, convinced of something by my presence, as if he recognized me from somewhere, and this, in turn, freaks me out.

"The Fisher account," Reeves says.

"Oh shit," I say. "Don't remind us."

"Lucky bastard," Hamlin says.

"Has anyone seen his girlfriend?" Reeves asks. "Laurie Kennedy? Total hardbody."

"I know her," I say, admit, "I knew her."

"Why do you say it like that?" Hamlin asks, intrigued. "Why does he say it like that, Reeves?"

"Because he dated her," Reeves says casually.

"How did you know that?" I ask, smiling.

"Girls dig Bateman." Reeves sounds a little drunk. "He's GQ. You're total GQ, Bateman."

"Thanks guy, but..." I can't tell if he's being sarcastic but it makes me feel proud in a way and I try to downplay my good looks by saying, "She's got a lousy personality."

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