The Tribulations of Cooles Sugar (II)
I believe that you’re being honest.
I believe that you truly mean your lawsuit.
Nevertheless, your allegations are slanderous, wily, twisted into logic pretzels, and most importantly, contradicted by a bouquet of witnesses, a great stream of people, almost a pilgrimmage, who will climb one by one onto the witness stand and testify to the accidental nature of the great pain you’ve suffered, their ethnically, culturally, and sexually diverse lips shaping essentially the same story — and not a story that will paint you in a pretty light. They’ll probably be even less sympathetic to you than I am.
Yes, that’s right—
I’m sympathetic to you.
Oh sure, I initially thought you were cruel, sadistic, and yes, quite possibly evil. I thought your lawsuit was totally frivolous.
But I’ve had some time to lick my wounds and reflect, and I’ve come to believe that not only are you in earnest, but that at the party you crushed me more or less innocently.
I had to imagine myself in your place.
I mulled it over: you’re a young woman embedded in the public eye. I considered what it does to the mind when you’ve been voted Alt Chick of the Year three times running by the worshipful readers of ART magazine. When millions of other young women copy your every fashion move, and you’re so widely regarded as a genius that every little squiggle you post online, no matter how minor or careless, sets off a leaf storm of cash, one hundred thousand comments in all caps, and hysterical, faintly apocalyptic praise from poptimistic critics who pass out like lap pugs from aesthetic bliss.
A-ha! I thought loudly. You must be anxious as hell!
That’s why you dive into distraction.
That’s why you throw hallucinatory late-Roman-style orgies at your crystal loft-complex, stocking those bacchanalias with colleagues, disciples, and famous admirers, all of whom tithe to you the devoted gazes that you need in order to stay bold and risk-inclined on the tightrope of fame.
It all makes sense: entering the sixth hour of the wildest orgy yet, having dispatched many tall drinks (and who knows what else) with great enthusiasm, having flitted and flirted and shrieked with laughter, and swept away by the glamorous whirl of your own larger-than life personality, you became quite naturally oblivious to the feelings of other people, especially people who weren’t famous, and double especially when you were earning applause. You didn’t even register the horrible rending humiliation and everlasting agony you were inflicting on an awkward strange faceless much older little man (that is, me).
You’ll say oh but it was just a caricature!!!
But think about the power dynamics.
For one thing, my eye looks like it does not because I’m a bad, frightening dude whose great evil has bubbled to the surface of his face, as your caricature would have it, but because I pucker my right eye for up to ten hours a day around the cheap secondhand jeweler’s loupe that I use to examine the minute electrical components of my little robots. Consequently I suffer from lopsided facial stiffness and occasional partial ocular paralysis, which is why the eyelid droops over the red eye, which to certain people seems to give the eye a cast of slyness or deceit or even violence.
But in reality I am a peaceful man. I want nothing but serenity. I crave a vegetable existence akin to the unruffled life of snapdragons and philodendrata; to sit quietly in the dusty sunlight while with metaphysical hands raised in abject surrender I solemnly approach the dread age of thirty, growing ever balder and pearier with a degree of tranquility that is a far cry, I’m afraid, from that of the Buddha’s.
And as anyone who knows me will tell you, I couldn’t possibly have intended to push you down the stairs, much less to step on you as I passed. I was panicking. I was running for what felt like my life, fleeing all those famous admirers of yours mocking me to my faceless face.
I still think dinner would be a good idea. You can bring along all the muscle you want — no problem. I’m easy.