The Blue Flower Of Happiness


"They look," Lee said, "like puppeteers who have lost their puppets."

He was lounging on a balcony overlooking the room, watching the party like a cat on top of bookshelves. It was the most fabulous party anywhere in Manhattan that night, with the hottest music and oddest hors d'oeuvres; a party of sharp-tounged women and men as carefully touseled as after-shave ads, torn from jungle or Sahara and placed on a couch; a party made up of nearly a hundred people dressed in black trousers, black turtlenecks, black socks, and black shoes.

"If they had knit caps, they'd also be dressed for breaking into a warehouse," he said.

Lee wore a bright blue shirt, and bangs that fell over one eye.

"Where's Kacie?" he said.

Kacie is his girlfriend and my boss. "She sent me to find you," I said. "She told me to tell you to come talk to people."

"Tell her," said Lee, "that people should come talk to me."

I found Kacie sitting on a barstool, talking to a bald man in a business suit. Kacie is the publisher and editor of avant-garde city magazine, the first issue of which will be printed as soon as we can find just one more investor who doesn't mind losing money.

"We want to be the New Yorker for our generation," she was saying, "but for our generation, so we'll have much bigger pictures."

Kacie is madly energetic, a cartoon with its cells spread all over the room. She's tall, about twice my size, and generates four times as much light and heat. By the way she was turning her charm on the hapless bald guy, I guessed he was someone who might put money into the magazine.

"This is Claire, my deputy," Kacie said, turning to introduce me, because no one ever notices me on my own. "Claire, go tell Lee this man remembers his record from last year. Tell him the man who might invest in the magazine wants to meet him."

"Okay," I said.

Library of Congress Copyright TXU527095