The party was at Mimi Hilton’s place, downtown Manhattan. It was my first assignment as a rookie hack for a gossip magazine. Mimi, a New York socialite had friends in high places and loved the exposure.
The party was full of people I recognised: actors, politicians, sportsmen and billionaires. Then I spotted Lola Sinclair, a model, who spent most of her career on the front pages of fashion magazines.
She was standing over by the buffet table, chinwagging with Dirk Wendell, a slimeball property magnate twice her age, while I, shy thing that I am, watched from the corner of the room pouring a bottle of Moet down my throat.
Lola stood there, tanned, lean, in a little black dress, twirling a champagne flute between her manicured fingers. Her hair, chestnut brown and wavy, hung loose on her shoulders and her dangly earrings swung each time she threw her head back to laugh.
As the bubbly took effect a mysterious spirit drew me away from my safe space and guided me through the crowded room to the buffet table. I hovered by a tray of club sandwiches and listened in to their conversation.
At that point Mimi, the perfect host, sent over a waitress carrying a tray full of canapes. I grabbed two and smiled and stuffed them into my mouth.
Noticing a lull in their dialogue I sprang to interject.
“Hi, I couldn’t help hearing what you were saying and I agree entirely, there’s many unused buildings in this city that could be turned into apartment blocks.”
They both turned and looked at me. Lola pouted her red painted lips and Wendell furrowed his brow clearly unhappy by the interruption.
“Oh, maybe I should introduce myself, I’m Kendell Newman, writer,” I said.
“Well Kendell thank you for giving us your view on New York property,” said Wendell.
Suddenly, a partly chewed canapé lodged in my throat and I was overcome with queasiness. I coughed and bolted, and pushed through the crowd to a dark room and fell on a bed. Within seconds I was seized by nausea and vomited and passed out.
Next thing I knew, I was shaken awake. I opened my eyes to find the hostess, Mimi, staring down at me, with a horrified expression on her stupid face.
“Get up ….Get up. What the fuck?” she loud whispered.
With the light on I could see the results of my throwing up in all its glory. I had laid on a bed piled with coats. My sick had produced a Jackson Pollack effect on several of them.
“Guests are leaving. They want their coats, what am I going to say to them?”
“Er, don’t know” was all I could say.
She pushed me aside and I slid to the floor. She grabbed the coat on top and dashed to the en suite bathroom. I heard the tap running. “Fuck, fuck fuck….” she said.
There was a knock at the bedroom door.
Lola Sinclair popped her head round. I sat there on the floor looking up at her and her jaw drooped as she fixed her eyes on me.
“Oh, hi. Hope I’m not interrupting anything. It’s just that my cab’s outside and I have to go. Need my coat.”
“Coming”, said a strained voice from the bathroom.
Lola stepped into the room.
“What’s that smell? She said with a scrunched face.
She looked over at the bed and the splatter of vomit.
“What the fuck?”
“I know, sorry. Felt unwell and didn’t quite make it to the bathroom.”
“Is that your sick?”
“Did you throw up on my coat?”
“Um, the long black Gucci?”
“That’s the one.”
“Yes, but don’t worry Mimi is cleaning it as we speak.”
Lola’s face turned crimson.
“For fuck’s sake.”
Mimi emerged from the bathroom holding a damp coat in her arms.
“Lola I’m so sorry. I’ve cleaned off most of it.”
“Look I’m happy to pay the dry-cleaning bill,” I said.
“Fucking right you will,” said Lola.
She then launched into a vulgar tirade, her language was unimaginable even I was grossed out by it. I couldn’t help wondering how such a beautiful face had such a potty mouth.
She snatched her coat from Mimi’s grasp and gave me the stink eye. I watched her storm out. Through the opening I could see a clutch of guests crowded by the door peering into the room.
I decided it was my time to leave and got up off the rug and left.
It felt like the entire party was staring at me. Sheepishly I made for the exit, grabbing a couple of vol-au-vents on the way. I went down the stairs and out into the street.
Lola was standing outside in the rain with her coat folded over her arms. Next to her stood Dirk Wendell holding an open umbrella.
I approached. “You missed your cab?” I said.
“Yeah, no thanks to you.”
“I suggest you go home buddy. You’ve caused enough trouble this evening,” said Wendell.
I didn’t like his tone and swung at him and socked him on the jaw. He went down like a sack of spuds and lay there moaning like a girl.
“Thank you. I’ve been trying to get rid of this creep all evening, you’ve done me a big favour,” said Lola.
A cab pulled up.
“Want a lift? We can drop you off.”
“Well why not, thanks.”
I opened the door for her and she climbed in and I got in the back next to her.
The car sped through town and about ten blocks later we arrived at her gaff. She got out the cab and threw her coat at me.
“Here, get this cleaned.” She said.
Then she tossed in her business card.
“When you’ve got it cleaned, call me on this number and we’ll meet.”
She shut the door and skipped into her building holding her purse over her hair to protect it from the rain. I watched her go and sat back and smiled.