No Milch Today

Verdammten Schnitzel!!!!!!! Can I not even hier excape that bastard, Chris Noth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like Pete's Katie, teh so-called Mr. Big follows me through every frickin' press juncket in the Hapsburg Empire -- and he's not even on the efrickin' Continent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!L It's worese now, bescasuse aeverybody is fawining all over his "life-partner" and little 5-month-old spawn!

And now, it's all I can do to keep my schnitzel together, what with not having slept but 6 hours over teh past five days!!!! Everything is like in a dream. Even my dreams are like dreams. LIke I'mm dreaming my dreams and not living them, like it s all verwirrungt, you know what I mean?

I have been talking more frequently with Jenny, recently. We have talked about having to learn what to do when you're dreams crash upon the shores. She tels me that before ending up doling out pickles and Grey Goose in the Schatz im Freud, she was a pirate. I thought about how you would repsone in a similar situation, and I asked her fi she was acutally like an "Old School" pirate, or one of the kind of pirates that sink French yachts. She tells me neither, that she used to film US blockbusters and package them for illegal sale in wet streets behind butchershops spattered with sawdusts and under bridges outside tawdry Hungarian spas.

"What mad eyou change your lief?" I asked her.

She told me there wasn't no change, but that she had bmet a guy, who had dreams of his own and led her here to Vienna, and that she guessed we all follow our dreams sometime, until they come crashing down agaisnt the rocky shores of the New Europeean reality, where one day, every movie will be a Dogma film, and pickles wil cost an extrra 10 kronigs with your drikns. I told her, "but, Jenny, there isn't such a thing as a Kronig" and she tells me, "That's what I mean, Monkey, and soon we'll all be pirates, won't we."

And I had the impression that she had said something very deep right then. I didn't know what about it was so deep, but its obvious conclusiveness gave me the impressions that I should have leaned in and kissed her right then, and maybe I would have, if it hadn't been for teh fact that she was Pete's girl now, and then there was Heidi.

Yes, there was Heidi. But where was Heidi, now? I thought. Jenny and I sulkily strolled among the Kokoschkas at the Albertina, reflecting upon our own confused identities, the careful and remarkable precision of the contours of our alienation, our own exiles from our feelings, from our dreams, and the vast borderless landscape in which we were swimming like the gold flakes in a bottle of Goldschlager.

Meanwhile, Heidi was getting made up by Irina (returned from her shoot) to attend the FM4 opening gala for the 8 Festival for Fashion and Photography. Irina had come back, wheich was a good thing, since Jenny was too knew to be indulgent, and Pete needed a helping hand to hold in case Kate would be on the town somewhere with all the hubbub over the festival. Heidi also needed Irina -- I guess, in that sense, we all needed Irina -- in order to know how to conduct hereself and hobnob with the various designers and artists whose eye she hope dto catch, in order to have the promise of something greateer than the rolling hills of Kitzbuhel and the drip of milk from a cow's udder. Perhaps I couldn't promise her that more. Perhaps that's why you've never sought to console or gain pardon from Dagmar -- bugt I'm not trying toi ciriticize you, now, Jew. That is n ot my purpose. The task at hand, now, is to telll my story:

Jenny went off to work as did I, and it must have been 4 in the morning, still dark at least and my head only vaguely weary, that Pete and Irina and Heidi stumbled past the desk toward the elevator bay. Pete jerked still of a sudden, which resulted of Irina and Heidi tumbling to either side of them, so had he been their balance. He turned aroudn and approached me.

"Almost forgot this, Mate," he told me, as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out something brown and sticky, rolled several times in plastic wrap until its form had become unrecognizable. "Saved you a spot of Sachertorte -- he said. Thought you could yoose it, y'know, pick you up a bit, i'n'it?"

"Thanks Pete," I said, lifting up the mushy chocolate treeat as if I were toasting him, like men do amongst themselves, as if hiding their feelings behind mannish rituals -- but who were we, Pete and I to hide our feelinngs. I almost felt like we were mates. "G'night now"

My words followed him as he reached out his arms and conducted Heidi and Irina to the elevators.

I unrolled the Sachertorte adn didn't even notice how messy and sticky my fingers became as I filled my mouth with it morsel by creamhy morsel.

The call came a couple of hours later, as a pale violet glow illuminated the pavement out front.

"Konig von Ungarn, Gruss Gott!"

It was Dagmar. "Monkey, is that you? What are you doing?"

I told her I was the NIght Porter, for whatever that would mean to her. Anyway, she urgenlty needed to speak with Heidi, she told me.

I tried the room. Pete answered on the fifth ring, but not altogether out of it.

"Yeah, Monkey that you?" Cough Cough, then I heard the gagging. It must have lasted several seconds before someone else grabbed the phone. No luck, it was Irina this time.

"Can you get Heidi on? Her sister needs to talk with her and quickly!" There was a brief pause, the sound of Irina's palm covering the receiver. She was laconic upoon returning to the phone.
"Yeah," she said. The phone dropped and echoed against the Biedermeier mahogany surface of the six-drawer dresser of the Konig von Ungarn.

For some moments, all I heard were petulant cries that filled the luxurious air. "Get away from me... I can 'andle it meself..." It continued, but then a breeze swilred against the receiver and Heidi picked up. I told her it was Dagmar, and patched her through to her sister.

Some time later, I was polishing off my chocolate fingerprints fromthe phone at the front desk, and Klaus came to relieve me of my duties. I hadn't exactly remained awake the rest of the shift, but my mind recognized a certain low level of concern over the reason for Dagmar's unexpected call at the crack of dawn. That left me inquisitive and worried engouh to keep my eyes heavy but open.

The stench of puke greeted me as I got off on our floor. I could tell whey as I prgressed along the hallway. In front of Pete's suite someone had set out a room service trey with four flutes of champagne (I recognized them from the night before) a couple of empy platters, and the silver ice bucket full of thin, gruelly vomit, whose faint chocolate aroma was overwhelmed with the overbeering nastiness of bile. Goddamm Pete and his Sachertorte I though momentarily, my own stomahc heaving, but, I suppose my muscles were too weary to stir a more violent reaction to the grotesque still life. I paced further down the hall to collect my thoughts, then returned past the doorway, and finally reached the courtesy phohne by the elevator.

"Klaus," I said, "send someone up to clean the Doherty suite, bitte."

It was nearing noon, that Pete, Die Presse in hand, slipped into the koffeehaus where I had stationed myself, wearily poring over the faux marble surface of the table and sipping black tea loaded with kandizucker and cream to keep from sinking into sleep. As he order strudels, he caught me out of the corner of his eye.

Pete grabbed the strudels when they were all in the bag, and pushed his 100 euro note to the baker -- "You keep it, luv," was his charming admonition. His gaunt form held me in its shadow for a moment, then he leant down and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. "Monkey! Wotcha doin' 'ere?" Then it stopped, he pulled back and took a strudel out of the bag and placed it on the table in front of the teapot.

I restrained myself from shoving the strudel right back into his pasty face. Instead, I asked calmly, "What was that about, the call earlier?"

"Dunno, mate," Pete said, "you'll 'ave to asker yoursewf."

I settled up for the tea and followed Pete out the door. When we got back to the suite, the tray was gone, and the stench had subsided. Walking through the doorway, though, was like a journey once more into the night. the shades were drawn and little light penetrated beyond the three inches of carpet underneath the luxurious, cream satin curtains of the Konig von Ungarn. Heidi, when I found her, was rolled up in Pete's Union Jack with Irina's head nuzzled into her armpit. Her other arm lay at a right angle with spread fingers snug among the rich, silky threads of the thick carpetting of the Konig von Ungarn.

I knelt down and raised her chin slightly, caressing her golden locks with my free hand. I must've sat over her for at least a quarter hour before her breath became more pronounced and her lips parted with a muted cough.

Later... over a strudel and some viennese coffe taht I had Klaus send up, Heidi explained to me what was happening.

"There's a Milk Boycott on throughout Europe! Dagmar doesn't know what to do with out me. Sunday's World Milk Day, and she wante sto know whehter we deliver or not. I have to be there for her. Monkey, I have to go back tot Kitzbuhel, tomorrow!"

Pete was sitting in the lotus position watching CNN-Europe while Irina was still putting on her face in the bathroom.

"Pete," I said, "Let me see your paper."

Heidi and I spread out Die Presse on the table and there we saw the confirmation of what Dagmar had said.

So... it was a MILK WAR!

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