Liver of Darkness by Una Slack It wasn't a bad party. I knew a few people, and the ones I didn't know were friendly enough. It was neither straitlaced like a political fundraiser, everyone putting their best feet forward in the anxious wish to win the game of thrones, nor completely nose-in-the-shit decadent like a rave or a Hollywood after-party. You could sort-of see Hollywood from the house, built nicely into the hills of Northeast Los Angeles. I heard some idiot call it East Hollywood without irony. I did not talk to that man for the rest of the night. It was equal parts a letting down of the hair and a schmoozing among possible investors for my equipment company. Business had been strong that year, and I both needed a night off and needed to spread the word around. Helen told me some of the people she knew from Medieval Times - Sound and Lighting guys, not show cast like her - who would be there either had or were starting indie production companies. That's what you do now. You do indie. And I had a goodish time. There was a civilized mien to the whole thing. Even the coke dealer wore a blazer and a turtleneck and was well-manicured. Nobody stuck their nose into a fishbowl - they went off to the bathroom and did a bump like a grown-up. I did one, just once, more out of a sense of manners than any real urge. Coke can be fun, but it's worse than whiskey for amorous encounters. Which I was also in the mood for. But I came back from the elegant, faux-vintage 1920's bathroom with its reproduced prints and a set of no- doubt painstakingly worsted three-volume set of the Works of Sir Thomas Browne - all clearly ordered from Etsy - and I suddenly had no idea where I was. The room looked different and it was as though I'd stepped into the wrong hallway. But it was the same hallway with the Art Deco light fixtures every ten feet. But something was off. What was in that coke, I wondered. "The door sprang open and the cops rushed in," said a voice out of a room off to my left. I stopped, not just because I knew the reference - final line of The Wild Party - but because I knew the voice. I walked in passed a set of completely inappropriate beads and in a room with bare oak floors and a zen garden that took up half the room and a set of brown rounded Bauhaus-knockoff chairs sat Ellory Martin. Ellory was a friend and an initial investor. I'd met him a few years ago when we were dating a set of sisters - twins, actually - and became pals. We worked out at the same gym, had the same general aesthetic in film and art and books and music. We even dressed to a similar aesthetic. Neither of us dated the sisters for long - but the friendship stayed. Once in a while we'd joke about them, and deliberately screw up which sister we were dating. A silently agreed-upon joke. He was sitting in one of the brown Bauhausettes with his hands in his lap, palms upward, looking like he was trying to attain enlightenment or figure out how to stand up. A bottle of Bulleit Rye sat at his feet with three glasses around it like a display case. One of them had whiskey in it.