He had good ideas in the shower, he was sitting upright heroically typing away on his computer – he improvised the filthiest, bawdiest limericks you can possibly imagine. A magazine had commissioned me to write thumbnail sketches of every war going on in the world — ‘unequivocally the most disgusting article I have ever read,’ he later said. But provocation was fun like the unbuttoning of a stripper’s overcoat, promising delights to come. I made a circumcision joke about snipping his name, and he remembered the old Fascist slogan – many enemies, much honour but my heart is far too reptilian for that. ‘Hello, comrade,’ he said, his glass already gratefully extended, ‘This is a real revo.’ He could be a real shit if you fell on the wrong side of his favour. ‘I don’t usually start this early, but holding yourself to a drinking schedule is always the first sign of alcoholism.’ I offered him a welcome-to-the-war shot of ‘Listerine’, just to be hospitable, or for that jumpstart he could administer so well. ‘Fuck off!’ he replied – he later wrote a paean to the expression — and then ‘I see you were feeling eeyorish about Macedonia last week.’ By 1 a.m. I was speechless with drink and he was in spate. He and I embraced each other on a street corner like parting lovers dressed in preposterous hot pants and high heeled suede boots: two cheese sandwiches, a couple of bananas. ‘Brunch? Sunday? Smooch.’ I think of it as Manhattan teatime.
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