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August 29, 2012


(excerpted from The Ketamine Sun by Cole Coonce)

The room was as white as an albino elephant. Central air overwhelmed the heat, the climate control was as startling as an eskimo pie down a steelworker’s underwear. The decor was a tip of the fedora to both show business and modern metaphysics. A brass Buddha sat on the mantle, cold, next to a frame of Mahatma Gandhi. There was a hazy underwater photo of some semi-nude strumpets mounting a dolphin. A piano sat tangential to an eight-foot tall sepia print of a soft-focus Gloria Grahame headshot. This was the only understated element of the Second Sex in the house.

I sat down on a black leather sofa lined with candy-colored pillows and stared at Mrs. Chandra Nameesh the way a card player studies another but tries to appear as if he is not looking. She was facing away from me so I was rubbernecked and gawked out of habit, as I took in her backside and a bottom sheathed by a mini-Somalian sarong tied at the waist and a pair of shoulder blades framed by an authentically weathered scoop-neck tunic. A cozy, vintage worn-in feel isn’t cheap on this side of town, and the price of having no two shirts exactly the same is no object here, as that is what all the girls are wearing. Every body wants to be different. Everybody wants to to be the same. As Mrs. Nameesh knelt in front of the frigid Buddha, she began to chant. “Nam me ko ring ge ko, man me ko ring ge koh, Nam me ko ring ge ko,” ad blah blah blahseum. It was repetitive polysyllabic gewgaw, designed to tap into some greater consciousness and receive some vague spiritual enlightenment or, failing that, another luxury car. Whatever it was, it was self-important if not selfish. One couldn’t be more affluent than this woman, and yet she wanted more. To what end? Any real enlightenment might mean taking an actual vow of poverty and administering polio vaccines to pygmies, but she didn’t look like she was game for any actual sacrifice. Still, her sense of entitlement struck a libidinous chord. When she had reached a certain nirvana she stopped and turned around. She acted like she never heard me enter, like I was never a bamboo shoot away. She was prettier than a pair of queens, and my guess was she was as difficult to play. Apparently exhausted from all that ultimate spiritual truth, she stretched out on an adjacent couch, hiking up the cloth and showing a lot of leg.

“So Mr. Carbon: Welcome to the Palisades,” she cooed. “Is this always where you go when the Santa Ana winds blow?” You could’ve knocked me over with a heron feather.


(excerpted from The Ketamine Sun by Cole Coonce)

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