The scene: Saturday 11pm, a poorly renovated flat behind the Canal St Martin, furnished with an exposed lighting cable, framed photo of a painting from a Melbourne laneway, and a set of dodgy antlers on the wall. Six degenerates, two of them female, are milling around an uncomfortable two-seater couch in the living room.
K. the model I met from the plane last week is in town. Having not followed up on my invite to eat delicious burgers, I’d invited her to catch up tonight instead.
“We are in Goncourt if you want to come past for a house party,” I had written oh-so-casually about half an hour earlier.
And she’d just’d responded…
“Why not?”, quickly adding, “We are stuck with the rain.”
My other guests had been prepared since the afternoon for the chance we might catch up with the models at the Perchoir pop-up bar on top of BHV department store, but we had not been prepared for a potential house visit.
“The models are coming, THE MODELS ARE COMING!”
To recap: I’d just sent a cosmetic model and her entourage my door codes, and they appeared to be en route.
My mind raced: I imagined it like reverse Top Model – where instead the models would judge us, the salivating public, on our superficial appearance, poise
and our ability to walk in heels.
The house was now on high alert as the risk of sexy, interesting people attending my house party loomed large. Would we pass muster? That would depend if in the next 17 minutes we could:
– find more booze (there was one Desperado in the fridge, which though symbolic of our night, was already being eyed off by Wingman).
– find music: Big JamBox, which had seen me through many a picnic, bike ride and even a wedding the last 2.5 years, was broken in Big JamBits on my table.
– find some more people: I had promised a house party. We were only six.
There was no time to waste. Tall Swede leapt into action to tackle the music. Using the aluminum panel from the back of a headache tablet (most of us were suffering sunstroke, adding to the mood), he tried to repair the faulty JamBox stereo.
Wingman and I tackled the booze situation. It was slim pickings, but I persuaded the swanky Cave at ChateauBriand to reopen their cellar – “It’s a model emergency, no time to explain, but it’s urgent” – and bought three bottles of sparkling rose.
We stopped by the epicerie de nuit for a bottle of Zubrowska; not so much to acknowledge the model’s Polish roots but because it looked slightly less cheap than the Russian option on the shelf.
Back home the others had taken care of the lighting and guest situation: turning most of the lights off they created both the impression we were more numerous, as well as a killer “moody” ambiance (off-set only by the fact my toilet is the central room in my house, and basically a permanent buzz kill).
And then we waited.
Minutes ticked over.
I arranged 10 champagne glasses on the coffee table.
One bottle won’t hurt, I reasoned, the cork ricocheting off the ceiling and into Tall Swede’s eye.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Checking the What’sApp but still no news.
“Don’t text her again – you’ll seem desperate,” Wingwoman advised.
I grimaced. Nothing for it but to open that second bottle.
Seeing me still jittery and unable to focus, Wingwoman now commanded: “Show me what you wrote. You don’t want to double-barrel your texts.”
That apparently means to send two unanswered ones in a row.
“Send me a screenshot.” Having been on the receiving end of one of my barrages, she was right to be suspicious.
It was now well past midnight, and the third bottle had been popped somewhere in between. Swede was rubbing his eye.
3am came and the last few made their excuses and left. As for me, I was left rereading the texts from the night…
When she wrote, “We are stuck with the rain”, had she mean stuck for other options, or stuck with no way to get anywhere.
Having used up my double-barrel text by sending her my door codes, it was impossible to find out….