Party like I’m &
“Cum to NYC” said the text on my phone.
“Why?” I replied.
“Need a wingman. That girl from Israel with the big tits.” My friend Mike had gone to Israel for a week the previous month. It was one of those free trips sponsored by our government for some reason where Jewish college students get to fuck and drink on a desert.
“The biggest. Tremendous. Life-changing tits.”
He called me fifteen minutes later to give me the details. The girl from his trip, not the one he banged, the one he wanted to bang but didn’t, she invited him out to dinner with her and her friend. She had a friend so he needed one as well. He called me.
I’m not good with girls, but I’m better than all of my aspie basement-dwelling World of Warcraft-playing friends. She had a friend and they were meeting at a restaurant in Manhattan at 8. I told him I was broke. He said I wouldn’t have to spend any money. I told him I was not well-dressed – it’s casual Friday and I’d have to come straight from work. That’s fine he assured me, we were drinking at all our spots in Brooklyn. “Good”, I said. I like Brooklyn. Barcade, Union Pool Hall, nice low-key joints where you could just hang out, talk, and relax.
I worked an extra two hours of unpaid overtime, sat through an hour of traffic, and then parked by the hotel the girls were staying at. Always paranoid of getting my car ticketed or towed in the city, I stopped a meter maid and asked her if it was okay to park where I was. She assured me it was fine. “The whole night?” I asked. “The whole night.” She said.
I walked over to the restaurant and walked through the door 30 minutes late. I see Mike with the two girls and say “Hi. Hold on I gotta piss.” I had been holding it in for the past two hours. I pissed for what felt like 10 minutes. It was great. Almost felt like I was coming. I reenter the dining area and make the formal introductions. Mike is nervous, awkward. The girls are aloof and not hiding the fact that they’re thoroughly unimpressed by me.
The one with big tits is alright looking. Not too spectacular. She looks half-Mexican or acts half-Mexican. I don’t know. Not my type, but she does have big tits. The other one was exactly my type. Cute, blonde, dumb, entitled, thinks she’s better than me.
The one with the tits goes “We had been saving this chair for you for the past 30 minutes.” I look at Mike. Mike apologizes and takes the fall. “And I told you to tell him to wear dress shoes.” I look down at my feet. Scuffed up Nikes. I pan up. Old jeans. I continue. Green logoless thriftshop sweatshirt. “I thought we were going to Brooklyn.” “My fault again.” Said Mike.
“Are you gonna order something? We have been saving this seat for you.” Said Bitchy McBigTits.
There’s something terrifying about being attacked before you can settle in. It took having a job before I realized why when I was a kid my dad seemed to hate me every time I would maul him with affection as soon as he would get home from work.
“I’ll get a drink.”
“You should really order food.”
They had already finished theirs. I was broke. The least expensive thing on the menu was $25. I disliked them already and just wanted to drink.
“I’m only getting drinks.”
She scrunched up her face and started to say something before the blonde stopped her. In my head I heard her say, “Stop. He’s not worth it.” But I know she said something far less combative. It really seemed like these two hated me and everything I stood for as soon as I sat down.
“Listen, I know the owners so I think you should get something to eat. My family has connections in the restaurant industry so I know how this works. They lose out on money when people sit down at a table and don’t order anything.”
Annoyed, I replied, “Okay, well I worked in the restaurant industry for 8 years. What you don’t seem to understand is I am making them money. A) There are at least 4 other empty tables in this place. B) If I wasn’t here, the three of you would still be sitting at a 4-top. They just added me to it and I’m spending $12 on a Jamo and Ginger. That’s money in their pocket. If they want me to order something they can ask me to, but I will decline and leave, as would Mike. But they wouldn’t do that because then they’d be losing out on money.”
She said something bitchy back. I forget what it was, but I didn’t have a comeback for it. It just kind of stayed in the air and set a tone between us for the rest of the night. When it came time to split the bill, she tried to get us to split it 4 ways. I threw down the money for the drink and a tip, nothing else, and I left to smoke a cigarette while they figured out the rest.
From there we went to their hotel room. It was very nice. They were spoiled NYC kids with rich fathers. They do this all the time they said.
Then we went to the bar at the top of the hotel. It was also very nice, and expensive. Mike and I chainsmoked cigarettes while the girls ignored us. Their friend came too. He was black but spoke white. He was entirely unforgettable. I shouldn’t have even included him in this story. He desperately wanted to fuck the one with big tits, but no one else could tell. The girls kept disappearing for 10 minute intervals and coming back. I tried to make conversation with the black kid. It wasn’t worth the effort.
Eventually the girls came back. I tried to make conversation with them too, particularly, just the blonde. She was more attractive and hated me less. She told me she dated a UFC fighter. She was very proud of this. “Oh Calvin [that’s me] dated a girl who dated one of the Jonas Brothers. They wrote a song about her.” I laughed. I forgot about that, but it’s true.
“I met him in Las Vegas, he took me out to dinner, but I wasn’t feeling it.” she said. I think that’s codeword for they fucked and he never talked to her again. “That’s it?” I asked. “That’s it.” She confirmed. “So you didn’t really date him. You went on a date with a UFC fighter.” She hated me even more.
The girls wanted to go to some fancy club called RFK. I’ve never heard of it. Mike asked how much, they said it was “$400 for bottle service and $1500 for table.” There was no way this was going to happen. I didn’t even know what they meant, but I knew I couldn’t afford it. Neither could Mike who started to hate them as much as I did. “They suck!!!!” he texted me discreetly while on the rooftop. “We ditch them and go to BK in 30.”
This plan never materialized. Mike told her we were leaving and she wouldn’t stand for it. I have no idea why. She clearly didn’t like either of us, but somehow agreed to pay for both of our entries into the club.
Standing in line, the big fear was that I wouldn’t get in. Everyone else was wearing Hugo Boss suits, or I don’t know, whatever is more expensive than Hugo Boss. I was wearing sneakers and a plain green sweatshirt I bought at a thrift shop for $4. They let us in regardless.
We walk in and immediately we are the ugliest people there. Everyone is beautiful. Like a different species altogether. The place just screams money. We hang with the girls for a little while we drink their bottle. Once we kill it I tell Mike I can’t spend another second with them so we have to ditch. We do.
We wander around looking at all of these people who’ve had it so much better than us. “Tell people I’m the youngest son of the guy who founded Penthouse.” Says Mike.
“Okay, tell people I’m a rapper.”
“What’s your rapper name?” he asks.
I think for a second then come up with “DJ Ampersand, but spelled ‘DJ&’.” He laughs.
We walk around for a while. We get a good look at everybody. Okay, those people are probably in a band. Those are models. That looks like a bachelor party. Models. Wall Street hot shot. Trust fund kids. Models.
Finally we pick out our first mark. It was a table inside of the only people there who, almost as much as us, looked like they didn’t fit in. They were nerds. They didn’t know how to stand like men or wear their suits. I went over and started a conversation with the only girl there.
Not three exchanges into the conversation does the nerdiest looking one of the bunch come over with this childlike excitement in his eyes shouting “My IPO just dropped!” That’s fantastic news I tell him. “You know, I work for a hedge fund. What’s the name of your company, maybe I’ll invest.” He tells me and then proceeds to explain in intricate detail every facet about stupid company. Not really listening while I’m filling up my glass with his Johnnie Walker Blue, I see Mike sheepishly watching from afar. I grab Mike and introduce him, telling the 32-year-old owner of a newly public company that this is my husband. I did it only because I was bored and wanted to make Mike feel uncomfortable. I also hoped it would help get me out of this conversation faster, but it did not. We stayed there listening to his life story until the bottle was done, and then we moved on. “Wait, I’ll get us another bottle.” I heard as we walked away.
What a sad man. He just became a millionaire, his dream has just been realized, and all he cares about is my affection. “I’m pretty hammered off of that Blue Label. I don’t think you’re supposed to drink that stuff fast. You must be gone.” Mike tells me.
We move on to another table. A bunch of guys about our age. They look like what I imagine Yale’s rowing team to look like. We talk, they’re boring and don’t care about our existence. Naturally. You’re rich kids surrounded by models, why would you give a fuck about anything else. However, the fact that those girls were a possibility for them enraged me. I dumped as much of their bottle into our glasses as I could while they weren’t looking. One of the bigger ones stops me as I’m walking away. I’m not nervous, just interested in seeing what kind of excuse I’ll come up with and whether or not it will work. “Hey, do you like rap?”
Caught off-guard, but remembering my alter-ego, I start “Actually, I’m a rapper…”
“Do you know who that is?” he interrupts pointing into the crowd. “The one with all the tattoos. That’s Spooky J. Off of the Black Ax label.”
“Yeah, he was on Jimmy Fallon last night. Dude goes hard. Swear to god he’s the future. He’s like Freddie Gibbs mixed with J. Cole.”
“Nah, he’s a punk. I’d spit circles around him. Bet he can’t even freestyle.”
“Are you good?”
“Top off my glass and I’ll spit for you. Don’t feel like going back to the bar.”
He obliges and I rapped a few verses. I did very well. The lyrics weren’t mine, but from a talented underground rapper I was hoping he wouldn’t know. He didn’t.
“That was AWESOME! I know hip-hop. You’re gonna be big.”
“No thanks, I like the view from my throne atop the New York underground.” I said trying to sound like a douche.
He stares at me like an idiot. “DJ Ampersand. Come to a show sometime.” I walk away.
When I drink, I go through periods of intense clarity and then periods of nothing until the intense clarity comes back. At this moment I’m talking to Spooky J. I don’t remember how we began our conversation, but I know he sees me as being disrespectful towards he and his crew. I’m very drunk at this point and angry for some reason. He’s with two very large men, presumably bodyguards, and four very attractive girls.
Mike is next to me, very nervous. “My dad owns Penthouse.” he says. Spooky doesn’t care, but I think he believed it. The desperation for social proof is what sold it. The son of a powerful man would have acted in a similar manner, I thought. Freud was right. If you can’t kill your father, or so to speak, you can’t ever really announce your masculinity to the world. In a way, maybe I should be thankful my father was an unemployed drunkard for most of my life… “I ain’t never heard no DJ Ampersand.” I’m slapped back to reality.
I am very angry. Why am I so angry?
“That’s cuz I ain’t no pussy sell-out. I run the fuckin underground.”
“That’s sour grapes for being broke and no one showing up at their shows.”
“Nigga.” I say without thinking. Mike thanks God Spooky J is white and there aren’t any black people in his crew. “I’M THE PAUL DANO OF THIS MOTHERFUCKING RAP GAME!”
What is wrong with me? I am furious right now. Why am I so angry? Why did I just say that? Does that even make sense?
Spooky stares blankly back at me.
“I’M THE MOTHERFUCKING PAUL DANO OF THIS RAP GAME.”
He keeps looking. Then he laughs. “What was your name again?”
“DJ Ampersand. Spelled ‘DJ&’.” I lose clarity once again. Everything goes into autopilot. I’m not sure who’s in control of me now. I vaguely remember the following exchanges: We rap together (more from that underground rapper who has saved my life), we drink his champagne, I shout “I am the Paul Dano of this motherfucking rap game.” off of the balcony a few more times, and then we rap again with a large crowd around us.
Though I continue to drink, I slowly come back to my self. I see Mike making out with a model. A 10. Goofy, awkward-looking ginger Mike, is now making out with an actual model 4 inches taller than him in heels. I hit on one of Spooky’s girls. She rejects me. “Yo Spook. I didn’t know you got lesbians in your crew.” He laughs. He doesn’t see me as a threat. He probably sees me as a joke. I don’t care. I’m no longer angry. I enjoy the taste of his champagne. We make fun of Drake for the next 15 minutes then decide to go to the dance floor.
I can barely walk at this point and know I will be puking soon. I can’t leave. Mike needs this. On the dancefloor, we are surrounded by beautifully dressed, beautiful people. I can’t walk straight and I never could dance. I am bouncing into people. I get shoved. I shout “I am the Paul Dano of this motherfucking rap game.” and shove them back. Spooky sees this and playfully shoves me. Fastforward three minutes and we are engaged in an all out mosh pit. All of the beautiful girls have at this point run away and it’s me, Spooky, and his two bodyguards going to war with the Yale crew team. It’s intense. One Yale boy ripped his suit. I get a bloody nose. It’s gushing all over my sweatshirt. “Bad ass, dude!” Spooky says to me.
Twenty minutes later, smoking a cigarette on the balcony with Spooky trying to catch our breath, Mike runs up to me and says “I just puked on that girl. She’s really pissed. We gotta go.”
“Damn dude, you fucking know how to party.” Spooky tells me.
“Pshh, we do this every weekend.” I reply.
“Heh, I’m just shocked you’re standing.” Mike drags me away. On our way to the elevator we run into the two girls from before. They’re about as hammered as us. Big tits’ tits are falling out. The blonde runs up and hugs me excitedly. We make out. I’m not sure what’s going on. Big tits drops her purse and everything falls out. I help her pick everything up. Then I remember she’s a bitch and pocket the $20 I find on the floor.
We stumble through the exits and find our way out of the club. The blonde asks me if I need a place to crash for the night – she has a place in Brooklyn. Mike can’t come, but I can. Mike begs me not to. He needs to get home ASAP, he has work the next morning. I play the good friend and stay with Mike. “Next time.” I tell her. Big tits begs us to walk her back to her hotel. She has no idea where she is or how to get home. She’s 40 minutes from her hotel and she can barely stand. We ditch her.
Walking back to my car I realize, “Fuck. I’m hammered. There’s no way I can operate a vehicle right now even if I wanted.” Mike is begging me to drive drunk once we find the car. I tell him I don’t want to risk it, I’m too hammered.
Luckily for us, I guess, the car has been towed. I curse the metermaid who lied to me. We spend the next 5 hours getting it out of lock-up. It costs $800 I don’t have. “Mike, I hate you.”
Eventually I get the car out, sober up enough to drive, and get us home. I spend the next 24 hours hungover.
Six months later or two days ago, whatever, I get a text from Mike with a link. “You gotta check out this song, bro.”
I click the link. It’s a rap song from Spooky J. I listen.
Boom. Right there, 45 seconds in. I hear it. “Ladies know I’m in command, Rollin with the contraband, and Party like I’m Ampersand.”
“Fuck yeah! I’m famous” I text back.