Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic: Goodbye to All That (the End for Now)
Amphetamine Logic was kind of making me psychotic.
I sat down for lunch with my agent at an overpriced bistro on Park Avenue South.
"So Cat," Byrd Leavell, literary agent extraordinaire, said. "What’s new?"
"Well," I said, surreptitiously picking a peroxide scab off my head. "I guess I’ve finally burned out like everyone wants me to." I was eating on a steak and trying not to gag while I chewed.
"Hmm," said my agent. "Well, what are we going to do—"
"I don’t know, man," I gulped, and my hands started shaking. "Let me just try to explain the situation. I have no money and everyday eat empanadas from the corner that I pay for in laundry quarters. My apartment looks like a fucking personality disorder. You can barely open the door—"
"Uh huh," said Byrd.
"—I mean there are perfume bottle shards in my feet and there’s blood and oatmeal on the floor—"
"Cat," Byrd said. "You can’t live like this anymore."
But couldn’t I? On the way home I thought about all of the things instead of writing that I’d been doing.
I was Rolling Stone's ”Hot Bukowski.” I was the toast of the town. I was puking flowers afterhours; I was letting everybody down. I read a Tatler article: "London’s Seven Loveliest Lesbians." I mocked a skeleton dressed as Kenny Scharf at Gold Bar. There was ethanol, Adderall, night rainbows, Nalaxone. I sat around stoned in Soho House while the concierge charged my iPhone. I stuffed Artforum in my oven and stacked Richardson on the stove. I saw Pointbreak at MOMA; I saw 3 PM Hunger Games in LA at the Grove: “(PG-13) for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images—all involving teens.” I bleached everything I owned and my knuckles burned and scabbed from the bleach.
I snorted dope in DUMBO and I smoked dust on the beach. I preyed on editors during the day and slept with monsters at night. Life’s never dowdy in an Audi scoring pudé up in Washington Heights, is it babes? I drank Diet Coke and had coke sex and sat in Yorkville townhouse basements playing Mario Kart on a grimy old Super Nintendo. We smoked crack until our fingers turned black and watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. I chilled with famous downtown stupor freaks tweaking and listening to Diplo.
“WHY IS EVERYBODY DRESSED LIKE MR. PEANUT?!" I screamed once at Le Baron. I had about 40 pounds of fake hair on.
"Shhh," Same said. "You are dusted." And though I was confused of course I trusted him.
The Boom Boom Room was always full of doom. Our PCP smelled like burnt balloons. I was dressed Boricua heroin chic. Shaun was asking me if I saw Wu Tang at Milk Studios that one weird Fashion Week.
"Cat." Shaun said.
"Oh Jesus God, does it fucking matter?” I screamed. “Is this a ‘Big Picture’ problem?” The bathroom line disasters are as disastrous as disasters can be. “Shaun, the little coke girls are STARING AT ME.”
“They are staring at us because we know them,” Shaun said. “You’ve had them over to your house to do drugs at least four times. Invite them over. They’re the little LES… dominatrixes. They have tons of tons of drugs and money and they’re nice.”
"OK," I said, and I walked over and did.
“Amphetamine Logic is coming to an end. I am better and I will continue to get better, and it doesn’t matter to me that you don’t want to believe this, or don’t understand what it means.
I’m almost done with writing about drugs. This was supposed to be the last installment, but we have a column or two more to go: I have to make you understand why I had to tell you all this. I haven’t finished explaining how it used to be.”
-Read: Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic - The End, Part 1
Amphetamine Logic: The Cockroach and the Cokehead
May 2012: I quit my job and burn all my bridges so I can swim.
I won’t realize that was wishful thinking until a few months later.
Summer starts gliding by like a sailboat. I master the Dead Man’s Float. I’m not working and life is a lazy river; I’m a pinecone that’s been dropped off an adult-world bridge by some Christopher Robin-type child, drifting around downtown, downstream. Away from Jane Pratt and all that.
A month or two passes, and I am getting accolades and new jobs and money even though I am barely getting out of bed.
"Um, hold on," I say when the New York Times calls to fact-check an interview I gave three months ago. My hair’s in a French twist and I’m wearing a vintage full-length beaded gown and full prostitute makeup and a goofy fox fur. I’ve been smoking weed and watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians and sipping orange Nyquil with a straw and looking at myself in the mirror for eight hours. “I need to turn down the TV.”
A two-page essay about me runs that weekend.
"In the fucking magazine!" I text my sister.
"Are you OK?" she texts back, even though she hasn’t seen the story yet.
Reza Nader (The Arab Parrot)
Everything’s working out. My dust dealer Doria gets out of jail and delivers right to my doorstep like the Easter Bunny in her SUV. My favorite rock star’s blonde daughter comes over high on ecstasy and fucks my friend on my rooftop 15 feet away from where we’re in a circle of deck chairs smoking dust and politely trying not to see a thing. I hear a single firework launch and hiss just above my building. It bursts bright orange and glittery over Avenue C and Rock Star Daughter and I both scream. I’m braless in a mesh white tank top by Dior Homme and wearing Kiehl’s Musk Oil and there’s stuff written in marker all over my arms. My friends are arguing about a cat that possibly looks like an owl. A guy keeps texting me telling me he’s in love with me, which is nice to know even though I don’t and will never care.
And the media requests keep coming. I am not so dumb that I think these writers want to write nice things about me, but I am secretly very confused about what people—their editors, their audience—want.
So I try to play it safe. I decide I absolutely can’t be on stimulants or anything for my Wall Street Journalinterview, but it winds up not even mattering. I go to the wrong Café Gitane and finally get there 45 minutes late. I guzzle iced coffee and announce that I have very low self-esteem.
"I hate myself!" I say to the reporter.
"You need a publicist," says my friend the publicist when I tell her this.
"I have to get the fuck out of this mess," I say.
Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic - Coke Sex for Teen Sluts
Sometimes when a dick is inside me I can’t help but think about my family. I know that sounds totally gross, but I don’t mean it in, like, an incestuous way. My dad never fucked me or anything; he’s never touched me sexually. If I had to diagnose myself, which I am constantly doing since my parents are shrinks, I’d say that they were pangs of guilt, you know, or I’m ashamed, for whatever nutty reason.
Like that time I had sex with that man in the bathroom at Flow on Varick—that guy who told me he was the guitarist for ______, and I guess I believed him, mostly because at the time the door at Flow on Sundays was really tight, with all of those NBA players jammed into the VIP section and whatnot, so I figured he’d have to be somebody important to be there.
In the meantime, honestly, I can’t name a single ______ song, but whatever. Anyway, when I was in that bathroom stall in the men’s room fucking the guy who said he was in ____ but probably wasn’t, and the attendant totally knew what was going on and was laughing with the other guys at the sinks, and I wasn’t using a condom because I’m rarely good like that—I thought about my dad. Like, What would he think if he knew this me?
It’s not like I don’t hate my dad; I do. I went to boarding school to get away from him, you know? I don’t know. I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter; it’s just some weird thing that I think about.
This is all back ten years ago, FYI—2002. So I am 19 years old. We’re going back in time but not; it’s a real-time memory.
Amphetamine Logic: Disappeared - Cat Marnell
A few days ago the text came. It was from a 202 number—D.C.
"Call Paul at 202XXXXXXX or your dad if you want to know what’s going on," it read.
When I read this I’m in the dark midday silence of my apartment downtown, lying on my bed, which is where I had been for about half a week. I was wearing dirty J brand jeans, a stained yellow tank top, and no makeup.
Disgust shot through me like an electric charge—the first thing to arouse me in days.
"If U have something to tell me tell me YOURSELF," I texted. "Paul? Why would I call your boyfriend who I don’t know? And you know I’m not calling DAD." This Fashion Week I turn 30.
Two hours later the sun set outside behind my blackout curtains, and I actually turned a lamp on instead of resigning myself to the dark once again. My lampshades are always draped with pillowcases and towels, so even inside it never gets bright-bright.
No Signal was bouncing around a blue screen on my television, like usual. I found my phone in my bed and texted again.
"I am sick of this if you have something to say to me just say it yourself, this is retarded," I tapped into the phone and pressed send.
Finally a message back: “I haven’t felt like talking.” It actually made me laugh a little.
For God’s sake, I thought. This stupid bitch.
”?????!!” I typed. Send. Who gave her my new number?
" ______ is missing in Idaho. He disappeared mountain biking two days ago."
"But I thought he was living in South Korea!!!" I typed, and never sent it, though that was what I thought.
My brain reeled to remember what a mountain bike was. Where Idaho was. What my little brother really looked like. When the last time I saw even him was.
Amphetamine Logic: Bloodsuckers and Conde Nast-ys
July, three years ago. I came into the Lucky magazine beauty closet strung out after being up all night and ordered my intern—Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme’s then-teenage daughter, named Intern—to take care of me all day.
Intern worked in the beauty closet, a small studio-apartment-sized space on the sixth floor of the Conde Nast building, with a desk that faced out into Times Square.
She adored me. All of my interns always did—not unlike, I imagine, Jordy Chandler adored Michael Jackson.
I was 26 and an associate beauty editor, but I was very weak and lonely. At night, I was running around with sociopaths and addicts. Predators who took me to the projects to spend my money on crack and heroin and snap obscene Polaroids of me with my legs spread open when I fell asleep. Narcissist losers who fancied themselves the second comings of Dash Snow and Egon Schiele and would make Flip phone videos of themselves… flipping through their own sketchbooks.
You’re sick, Amphetamine Logic said. These are your people. You fell off.
AMPHETAMINE LOGIC: BLONDE ON (VERY FAMOUS) BLONDE - Cat Marnell
It’s the Purple Magazine party during Fashion Week and I’m at a booth with my friends Chrissie Miller and Frankie Inglese.
And then there’s Lindsay Lohan.
“You guys are exactly alike,” our mutual friends have told me over and over again. And so when she’s in town, I—or perhaps that moron, Amphetamine Logic—keeps expecting us to get along.
We sure do look alike: a couple of Bony Joanies in the club, our Balenciagas full of prescription bottles that rattle like maracas. We’ve both got hair so white-blonde it glows in the dark. She’s wearing heavy black eye makeup—photo-shoot makeup—ubiquitous false lashes, darling, and of course so am I.
And, then there’s the permeating toxicity that we wear like heavy clouds of perfume—to keep the boys away and all. (“I never have boyfriends either,” I’d like to imagine our giggly girl talk going, were we ever to become—HA—friends, as my other female friends actually are friends with her. “My dad is totally, like, away abusive pathological narcissist mega-asshole who terrorized my whole family until I left home at 15 just like you did, too.”)
Am I wrong? I don’t think so. And we’ve got those mutual friends, so… Lindsay, you know I sort of know all about it.
We’ve both been black inside for a very long time, you see. Or, to look at it another way, we’ve been sealed off from the light.
When’s the last time you saw joy on Lindsay Lohan’s face in a magazine?
If you know me, when’s the last time you saw joy on mine?
There’s a “pinched amphetamine expression,” as doctors call it, that I’ll explain more to you in another column—but let’s get back to Le Bain.
It was recently reported in the tabloids that Lindsay claimed she doesn’t even drink anymore, and I guess I… vaguely believed this. I mean, at this point in my own life, I take so much amphetamine that I just sip one glass of champagne per hour, and that’s not drinking, really.
But now, as I’m sitting next to her and even trying not to watch her, doubt is creeping in. She is a fucking mess.
You just can’t help but see it.
AMPHETAMINE LOGIC: NOTHING IS WRONG IF IT FEELS GOOD - by Cat Marnell
It is a sunny afternoon in SoHo and I have had five friendly glasses of champagne with a married celebrity at a bar.
Now we are at a gallery in the neighborhood.
I’m on loads of speed and showing off; it’s nothing new.
“Let me tell you why I detest Kenny Scharf,” I hiss at the pudgy young Greek who is supervising the gallery.
I am wearing all dirty whites and no bra and a tiny skirt and silver Lanvin flats and a long white blonde side-braid. I smell like Banana Boat, Colette Black Musk Oil, and Nicorette gum. That morning I’d fought the urge to Instagram a photo of my scale’s display of my weight: 98.
“But—but—everyone loves Kenny!” stutters Yanni.
I smirk. I’m spun like a kite from gobbling Dexedrine all week. A kid I know traded me a whole bottle for a Slayer hoodie.
“My graffiti writer friends, Yanni, took out Kenny’s wall on Houston Street,” I say, “and Kenny was a bitch about it, and tried to get our friend’s sister kicked out of SVA. It was all in the Post. It turned into this hugething. Anyway. All those dumb flowers and the fucking Jetsons? I mean, the only cool thing he ever made were bongs.”
I spot a painting with BLEK LE RAT stenciled in block letters at the bottom. “Is that a Blek le Rat?”
“Why yes!” says Yanni. “How did you know that? Wow!”
“Wow what?” I snap. “I’m not retarded.”
“Isn’t she something?” says the famous man, who has millions of dollars, plus a wife and child. He’s so cute that I want to die.
“Would you like to join our mailing list?” Yanni asks me, gesturing toward a dorky binder-and-flyer set-up.
I roll my eyes. Drum my fingers on my torso. Pull down the hem of my flimsy white Italian mini skirt just on one side. Hipbone zone.
Suddenly the three Dexedrine that gulped back at the bar kick in—hard. My chest tightens.
I’m also still drunk, and still drinking.
“I would like there to be an artist like Damien Hirst whose arch-nemesis is a master magician like David Copperfield, OK?” I snarl. “And the artist creates something, right, and then the magician makes itdisappear—“
“She’s amazing,” says the celebrity, who knows I am cranked. “OK! We should go.”
“Have you heard the rumor that I have? That Matthew Barney was fucking Elizabeth Peyton?” I can feel my heart pounding.
“Well,” chuckles Yanni. “That Matthew Barney is quite a guy.”