Sell Out Man, Chapter Nine

Zev was sitting at a café during a break from working. He had just finished his final painting for his upcoming show at Hang Gallery and Marissa and the other intern were applying thick layers of mate gloss to it. Zev was smoking a hand rolled cigarette and pretending to read a book as he watched people walk by. He heard someone say his name and he looked to his left with a feeling of dread. Zev never liked being recognized in public by people who knew him. It was Sandy Goldstein, a head curator for the MOMA in downtown LA. Zev couldn’t stand Sandy but he stood up to give her a hug. He felt slightly ashamed for being seen smoking a cigarette since he knew that smoking had become so taboo. But he tried not to care. Sandy asked Zev how things were going and Zev pretended to be enthusiastic about work. Zev was on his best behavior when talking with people in the art world. He had to maintain a professional image and come off as someone who was very serious about his work. Selling art to rich people was serious business. Sandy and Zev spoke for a little bit and then said their goodbyes. Sandy told Zev she was looking forward to seeing his latest works and Zev told Sandy about an upcoming essay on his work being featured in BOMB Magazine next month.

When Zev returned to the studio Marissa and the other intern where still hard at work. Marissa looked at Zev who was organizing a bunch of papers at his desk. She wondered if she should tell Zev about what she had seen the night before. She wondered if Zev knew that Amy was dating other men. She knew that if Zev did not know about Amy’s deviant behavior she could mess things up for him. Maybe she would try and talk with Amy about it first. Marissa was that way. Always trying to be ethical. Her Christian guilt caused her to always want to do the right thing. It was a drag. She decided to keep her mouth shut about it for now.

Zev observed the painting once it was finished. He didn’t like to see any gloss stains on the painting. If the gloss wasn’t brushed in evenly enough it would create little white pustules. Marissa knew it would upset Zev to find any pustules on the painting so she slaved away making sure there were none. Zev told Marissa that everything looked good and when the paintings were all completely dried they would finish packaging and sending them. The show was in two weeks and Zev was already supposed to have the paintings there a week and a half ago. The gallery needed time to clean the paintings and to go over them looking for any damage that needed repair. It also took a considerable amount of time to hang the paintings. The gallery knew that they were dealing with Zev Bauhaus. They knew everything would not go according to plan when dealing with a painter like this so they took what they could get. They tried to remain friendly and told Zev to just get them all the paintings as soon as he could. The gallery would be rushed to get everything done in time for the show. Zev felt a sense of pressure that he didn’t like. This is why he hated doing one man shows, he told himself.

Zev left the studio early that day. He told Marissa that he would see her later that night at the party. On his drive home, Zev thought about living by the beach. He thought that Oxnard would be a great town to get away in. He and Amy had the money to buy a nice home on the beach. When he was there he noticed several for sale. They could live an hour or so outside of LA and live a more quiet and healthy life. But he knew Amy would never go for it. She liked city life. She liked living in Silverlake, surrounded by friends and culture. Her job would also prevent her from living too far away. She needed to be close to the WORD office in Downtown LA. Zev thought about possibly buying a beach house and just spending weekends there. Maybe she would want to do that. He also thought that he could stay there alone whenever he wanted, but decided he wouldn’t want to be away from Amy if he didn’t have to be. It was odd to Zev that he found Amy so frustrating as a human being but didn’t ever want to be away from her. What was wrong with him?

When Zev Bauhaus arrived home the front yard looked nice and tended to. This put Zev’s mind at ease. When he walked into the house the front door was open. Caterers were coming in and out. Amy was inside getting things ready for the party. When she saw Zev, she smiled and gave him a hug. She kissed him on the cheek. Zev asked her if there was anything he needed to do to prepare for the evening’s party and Amy told him that he should just go and relax and take his time preparing for the party. Zev felt like that was just what he wanted to hear. He had no desire to help.

Zev didn’t like having anyone over to his home, let alone a party. Amy was a highly social person so he had to let her have her parties once or twice a year. Amy would throw parties every weekend if it was up to her. Zev went in his home studio and turned on music. He listened to The Residents. Eskimo was one of his favorite albums by The Residents and he listened to it as he put his feet up and sat in his black leather Eames chair. He kicked off his black low top Doc Martins and looked up at the wood beamed ceiling. He looked around and the various paintings on the walls and at his massive collection of books and records. He was listening to The Residents through his Bluetooth speaker system. He felt upset that he didn’t listen to records as much as he wanted to because it took so much work and didn’t sound as clear. Bluetooth and iTunes had become a much lazier way to listen to his music.

Zev tried to clear his mind by taking a few deep breaths. His mind was always spinning. So many thoughts. Too many thoughts for one man. The thoughts never stopped coming. He was consumed by them and no matter how hard he tried he could not get out of his thoughts. He had heard people talking about discovering his true self. That he was pure consciousness and not his thoughts. That once he entered or discovered a state of pure consciousness he would no longer be afflicted by the burden of his thoughts. He tried meditating and doing whatever he could to discover this state of pure consciousness but he could never get there. There were always thoughts. A continual tornado of thoughts that were impossible to escape from. Zev liked thinking and didn’t have issues with being overly identified with his ego. He thought people who did not identify with their egos were drones. He had no desire to be an enlightened drone. He liked ego. He just wished his ego was not so hyperactive and filled with as many negative thoughts. Zev was a tormented man even though he looked very handsome and successful from the outside.

Zev smoked some marijuana and a cigarette simultaneously. He picked up his notebook which he would draw his cartoons in. He took a black felt tip pen and started drawing. His cartoons were ridiculous. They were sloppy. Looked like something a child would draw. He drew six boxes on the page and then he filled the boxes in with the same character profile and this character’s different thoughts. He had drawn this low-life character thousands of times and assumed it was his alter ego. Zev would express his deepest worries and preoccupations through the character. He wanted to create a character who was reclusive, sexually deviant, didn’t give a rat’s ass about the law and how he is perceived. He called this character The Toilet Ruminator and he wanted to make thousands of cartoons about this guy. This was the real work Zev wanted to do. Subversive, beautifully honest cartoons about the ridiculousness of life. He would call the eventual book Toilet Ruminations.

Zev drew and smoked cigarettes for an hour and then Amy came in and told him that he needed to get dressed for the party. The guests would start arriving in an hour or so. Zev took a shower and then shaved. As he was blow drying his long hair Amy came into the bathroom and asked him a question. She walked over to Zev with a hungry look in her eyes and reached through Zev’s towel and grabbed his cock. Zev let her and Amy took off Zev’s towel and got down on her knees. She started sucking Zev’s cock and Zev grabbed onto the counter to avoid falling over. The combination of being stoned, tired and receiving an expert blow job could make even the strongest of men fall over.

It took Amy about three or so minutes to bring Zev to climax. Zev was very turned on every time Amy gave him a blow job. He didn’t understand why he didn’t ask Amy to suck his dick more often since he knew she would love to do it whenever he asked. After Zev had orgasmed in Amy’s mouth she swallowed it down and said yum. Amy got up and kissed Zev on the check. She said that she hoped that would help him be more relaxed for the party and Zev laughed. He said that it certainly helped.

Zev was in charge of the music that night. There was a bartender and two cooks in the kitchen making different appetizers. Two servers dressed in all black brought the food around and also got people drinks. The house was filled with people. There was a valet in front, parking people’s cars. This is what people did in LA. Most of the people at the party were writers, editors and publishers. There were friends of Amy’s from the gym and yoga studio she went to. There were friends of Amy’s from high school who Zev could not stand. There were various artists and indie film makers. The lead singer from the band DIIV was there. Courtney Love dropped by for a little while and the great Los Angeles poet John Tottenham was also there. John was the only person there that Zev liked and admired. Marissa was also there and she brought Evan along. Amy thought it best that Arthur didn’t come.

Zev wanted to play music that people had never heard before. He wanted to turn them on to weird things. He played albums from Duster, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Dead C, David Toop, Russian Tsarlag, Jandek, Nudge Squidfish, Richard Pinhas, The Fall, Throbbing Gristle, Nurse With Wound, Boyd Rice, Einsturzende Neubauten  and Tangerine Dream. Many people commented that the music was weird and many more people came up to him to ask who he was playing. The more Zev drank and smoked the more social he became. He talked with John Tottenham about the music he was playing and different authors they were reading. They also talked about the brutality of the creative process. Zev ate and talked with lots of other people. People were excited to talk with Zev. It was not often they could socialize with a famous contemporary painter. Lots of people asked Zev about upcoming shows and what he was working on. Because Zev was drunk he had the courage to be more real. He talked about his cartoons and not about his paintings. People were surprised to hear that he was making cartoons. Why the hell would a famous painter be making cartoons? But Zev talked about his cartoons passionately and people thought they sounded interesting.

Zev didn’t talk much to Amy that night at the party. Amy was drunk and she had done some coke. She was drinking vodka martinis like they were going to become extinct the next day. Zev observed that she practically gulped them down. Amy socialized with everyone and everyone loved Amy. She was the life of the party with a large smile imprinted on her face. She laughed a lot and talked a lot. She wanted her guests to be happy and to have a good time and this energy was contagious. The party was lively and went on long after the caterers and bartender left. People swam naked in the pool and hung out by the fire pit. John Tottenham met a young woman who was a fan of his poetry and had sex with her in the back bathroom. Amy gave a blow job a young Asian video game designer that she had a crush on. He was high on LSD and weed and it was the greatest blow job he had ever received in his life. He would never be the same after that. She had sex with another woman in her bedroom, a woman she occasionally hooked up with. They snuck away quickly late in the evening and got each other off. She had told Zev she was going to do it and Zev didn’t care. He found it to be a turn on that Amy was such a sex machine.

Zev went to sleep around 2am. The high of being drunk was turning into the acidic sickness of not feeling so well. He drank a lot of water and smoked a cigarette. He avoided saying good night to everyone but told Amy he was going to bed. Amy felt happy to be able to spend the rest of her night with her friends and not worrying about what Zev would think of her behavior. She stayed up that night till 5am talking, laughing, showing people her tits, drinking and doing drugs. It was a great release for her. She was in her happy place. Zev fell asleep that night listening to Amy laughing and shouting out. He thought she was out of control and it annoyed Zev that Amy could be so reckless. Sometimes she had no limits. But it was also the thing he loved most about her.

The next morning Zev woke up early to let the cleaning crew in. He drank his coffee and smoked cigarettes in his studio while several people cleaned up the house. He felt terrible and remembered why he hated drinking so much. Amy was still asleep and would stay in bed till 12pm. This pissed Zev off but he smoked some marijuana to help him not say anything. To just be happy when she woke up. It was Saturday and they were going to spend the day together in LA.


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