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Authors: J. Minter

Hold On Tight

BOOK: Hold On Tight
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hold on tight

an insiders novel

by j. minter

Contents

what i could really use is a little time away from it all …

what
wouldn't
mickey pardo do for a thousand dollars?

arno's turn on the couch

the new new david grobart

it's a brave girl who tries to domesticate patch

my guys and I move slowly, slowly northward

he's not my little ted anymore

david adjusts his armor

arno in outer space

i am now known as …

patch (almost) loses his cool

mickey goes underwater

arno practices going to bed alone

david just can't stop winning

art chicks are crazy

i am on the outside of cool, looking in

arno gets right

patch spreads the cool around

that old thing that's been pumping in arno's chest all these years

my friends
are
the afterparty

david and the poor little rich girl

i'm back, and i'm trying

was that patch flood waiting on a call?

mickey v. dad

arno tries on a little more complexity

david tries to keep a secret

tuesday afternoon with uncle heyday

i find out how dark it is when you care

mickey runs into an old special someone

arno would just like to know what meaningful really means

david goes home to his lady

patch puts on a blazer

blinded by the flashbulb lights

meanwhile, back in the west village …

me and my demons

the artist at school

patch goes west, again

i discover a little-known creature called the penguin

david amidst the ghosts of the little screen

arno gets some advice, and gives some

patch in the wilderness of the soul

all mickey wants from his papa is a nice, warm art crit

i finally get some answers

arno tries to remember the dream

if mickey pardo's your guest, you send the limo

a daring escape

networking, patch style

i have to find that girl

meaning, and how to get it

what would duchamp do?

it's not breakfast at tiffany's, but i'll take it

arno has one too many mornings

mickey in the spotlight

i make it to the front lines of caring about stuff

arno takes to the trees

david
still
can't help it if he looked great naked

i know when it's time to go

Also in this series

for
EER

what i could really use is a
little time away from it all …

When I stepped out of my apartment Friday morning with the vague idea of getting a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant and heading up to school, I had no idea I wouldn't be coming back until Sunday night.

My John Fluevog croc loafers hit the pavement and I was suddenly overcome with that feeling all Manhattanites experience when they've forgotten to leave our hallowed island for far too long. The streets were full of people carrying bulky bags and moving way too slow, and the May air felt dense and sooty. It's like the population of the city doubles when it's warm like this, I swear, and that kind of overcrowding can really trigger the ol' fight or flight mechanism. (In my case, that would mostly be flight.) Now that my friends and I are at the end of our junior year, all anybody can talk about is which colleges they're applying to and what
percentage of applicants Harvard accepts a year and blah blah blah—that
alone
could make a guy want to catch a cab to Grand Central and hop the next train out of here.

The second sign that I wasn't going to be sleeping in my own bed that night was the phone call I received just as I was on my way out the door. It was my brother Ted, who's a sophomore up at Vassar—he just wanted to let me know that he'd heard about all the bad stuff that went down with our stepbrother Rob a month ago. (Or ex-stepbrother, as I prefer to think of him, if you can divorce a step-sibling without your dad divorcing his absurdly wealthy British-Venezuelan wife.) Rob
did
try to ruin my life, but realistically, so did I. See,
New York
magazine crowns one guy Hottest Private School Boy every spring, and I wanted that guy to be me. A little too much. So when it was my friend Arno who was picked, I spent an interminably long week acting like a total jackass, alienating my friends, and really messing up with my girl, too.

Anyway, it all worked out—the crew is back together, and it's probably a good thing that Flan and I broke up—but it was still nice to hear from Ted. The thing is, I feel kind of burnt on the whole
New York party scene right now, and my older brother Ted is this intensely grounded, earnest guy. I know I haven't said much about him before, but, well, we're awfully … different. He's my brother, so I wouldn't want to say he isn't
cool
, but suffice it to say that, he hasn't spent a whole lot of time dreaming about what it would mean to be Hottest Private School Boy. And there
certainly
was never any risk of him being chosen. So when I told him I had to go, he said, “It was really good to reconnect with you, Jonathan. You should come up and see me at school sometime.” Normally if someone said that, I'd laugh, because the chance of them talking that way and not being sarcastic is about as good as finding your true love in the backroom at Marquee at two a.m., but with my brother it's different. He's sincere. To a fault. A totally dorky, but lovable fault.

Then, as I was walking up Fifth, I thought, yeah, I
should
go see him.

The third unheeded sign was the simple fact that my friends—David, Mickey, Patch and Arno—are the guys they are. And crazy shit just tends to happen. That's definitely something I should know by now. After all, Mickey Pardo recently convinced a bunch of kids we know—all of them pretty
sophisticated, but still, you know, in high school— to pose for him. In a restaurant. As a group. Naked. But wait—you're going to hear a whole lot more about that in a minute.

As I rounded the corner onto West Twelfth Street and looked for a cab, my phone started buzzing in my pocket.

“This is Jonathan,” I said, very calmly flipping my phone open.

“J, it's Mickey,” Mickey said, and his voice didn't sound calm in the least. “I need your help.”

“What's up?” I tried to redirect all my attention from the Fluevogs—it had just occurred to me that they might be a tad garish—to what had Mickey so rattled. (Mickey is not a guy easily rattled, I might add, although high-octane crises do tend to follow him around. His father is this famous sculptor, Ricardo Pardo, and his mom is an ex-model and actually super-hot for a mom. It's basically a high-octane household.)

“Remember how I'm supposed to lecture this weekend?”

“Um, lecture?”

“Yeah, you know, on the photo project …”

Yes, that would be the naked restaurant photo project. I paused a moment, and tried to re-wrap
my mind around the kind of world we live in. “Where are you lecturing, the basement of Pastis?” I asked.

“Naw, man, it's at some college.”

“You were asked to lecture at a
college?”

“Why is that surprising?” In the background, it sounded like Mickey had knocked over a mighty stack of something. “Yeah, I think the art department asked me. Listen, it's tomorrow night at like seven or something, but I'm supposed to be up there tonight because they reserved a place for me at this cottage and they're paying me a stipend and—”

“A
stipend
?” Like I said, I should have learned to expect this kind of thing by now. But in the moment, I was just trying to take it all in and make sense of it.

“Yeah, whatever, like a thousand dollars. Anyway, how am I going to get there? J, you know how to uh—plan travel. It's got to be tonight.”

“What college is putting you up and paying you money for a talk about your naked photos?”

“Vassar?
The Vassar Art Department has cordially invited you …”
Mickey started reading something into the phone. “So, how do we get there?”

The very same Vassar my brother Ted goes to. It was a sign. I told Mickey that I was coming over, and slipped my phone into one of the back pockets of my Yanuk six-pocket jeans. Then I turned and started walking in the other direction, back downtown, to the huge converted warehouse where the Pardos live.

what
wouldn't
mickey pardo do
for a thousand dollars?

“Gah!” Mickey screamed from under his down comforter.

The massive house where the Pardo family lived and worked was full of noise, although Mickey's room was perhaps the noisiest. He had recently taken over a spare bedroom that his father's art assistants occasionally slept in when the workday went late. The floor was paint-splattered concrete, and the bed was a loft made out of chrome and driftwood. He had switched rooms mostly because the old room reminded him of his longtime girlfriend, Philippa Frady, who had recently come out as a lesbian and broken up with him.

The new room already was full of his stuff, particularly the loft part, where he was now searching for the directions the Vassar people had sent him. He thought they were around here on the bed somewhere, but with all the CDs, rumpled T-shirts, and cans of spray paint scattered around, he couldn't help but wonder where he'd actually
been sleeping. Certainly not here. The big Ricardo Pardo-made couch in the living room? Whatever—he didn't have time to think about it right now.

He turned up the live, bootlegged Babyshambles recording that was blasting through the five speakers he'd hooked up in various corners of the new room. Mickey, who was attractive in a rough, simian way—no one would call him handsome, but lots of girls thought he was hot anyway—air guitared briefly. Then he went back to tearing through the piles of papers he'd practiced tagging on and schoolbooks that had somehow arrived in his room. Finally he found the piece of paper he had been looking for. It was on Vassar letterhead and it included various instructions on how to get to the school, what time his lecture was scheduled for, how long he should speak, and so on. It also reminded him that, on completion of his lecture duties, he would be offered a thousand dollar stipend.

“Score,” he muttered to himself.

Since Mickey had successfully staged a nude restaurant photo shoot, he'd been getting a lot of attention. Most of the photos had ended up on Websites, and there had been some newspaper and magazine attention. He'd been invited to several gallery openings, and been asked to sit on a panel or two, and some public radio person had wanted to interview him. But his father was a famous artist, and
Mickey's best friend, Arno Wildenburger, was the son of famous art dealers, so none of this felt all that special to him. He'd been declining the offers, mostly. But because his parents kept cutting off his cash flow for some behavioral reason or other, when these Vassar people had thrown money in the mix, he had called them right away and said he'd be there and could they make the check out to cash?

Now he just had to find a way out of the city, get his overgrown thicket of dark hair in order, and think of something to say at this lecture-thingy that wouldn't get that thousand dollar offer taken away. Luckily, his dad's studio manager, Caselli, liked Mickey in spite of his many antics, and had converted the film from the photo shoot into slides. Mickey was sure that those were around here somewhere, too.

BOOK: Hold On Tight
12.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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