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The Boondoggle

Published: August 5, 2014

I was offered a suite in a ritzy hotel to write about its renovation, a perk of my impoverishing career. There would be a Michelin-starred dinner, and I could bring a date. But who would I want to boondoggle with? The Composer does not drink and only eats Taco Bell. My friends have all been raptured to married-people heaven. Hotel rooms get lonely, even with bottomless champagne.

I invited the Magician.

He is inappropriate, but gorgeous, and had been texting me goodnight jokes for weeks. So what if he is only a zygote?

We met in the hotel lobby where we were handed the first of many glasses of brut. We toured the presidential suite, and then got another glass of bubbly. We were lost on a rooftop, and finished a bottle of champagne at the hot tub. We ate dinner in a gilded room that looked like the master bathroom at Versailles. The food was terrible, but the waiters kept plying us with bubbles.

We retired to our suite, tipsy.

Magician: Too much champagne.
Me: There’s no such thing. I have rigorously tested this theory.
Magician: I don’t feel great, like I am made of a thousand farts.

I wasn’t feeling so well myself. The Sun King’s chef, it seemed, was using funky beef.

There should be no possible scenario that includes a free hotel room and a hot, 25-year old Magician that ends in anything other than me completely naked. Yet we were fully clothed in bed, alternating trips to the bathroom, moaning in pain.

He stroked my hair and offered me water.

Me: It’s too bad you’re only 25.
Magician: That’s a weird thing to be sad about.
Me: You’ve got a lifetime of mistakes ahead of you, and I was ready to settle down yesterday.
Magician: Marriage is scary.
Me: That’s because you’re young.

We fell asleep in each other’s arms.

In the morning, newspapers came to our door, and our appetites returned. The Magician had never stayed in a swank hotel. He had never ordered room service. We had our breakfasts in bed.

Magician: I only moved to New York six months ago and my life is already so amazing. Just imagine what it will be like a year from now.
Me: That’s the most optimistic thing I’ve ever heard. I think a year from now my life will be the same. I have the same job I had when I was your age. I earn the same salary I got the day I graduated college–no, wait, actually less. I’m even dating the same men. It doesn’t change and it doesn’t get better.
Magician: What on Earth are you talking about?

He gestured at the hotel room like a veteran conjurer at the prestige. There was a king-sized bed with rumpled, fancy sheets. We had a 180 degree view of the Manhattan skyline, right over the treetops at the center of the world.

Magician: This was the most fun we could possibly have with our clothes on.


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