Authors: Bret Easton Ellis
“After they exploit you, infuriate you, crack you up, and depress you, the characters actually make you miss them when the book ends … Ellis is sympathetic to his ‘lost generation’ the way only Fitzgerald was about his.”
“Bret Easton Ellis … is an extremely traditional and very serious American novelist. He is the model of filial piety, counting among his parents Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanael West, and Joan Didion.”
“With a canny journalist’s eye for detail and dialogue, Ellis’s storytelling carries the complete lack of sentiment and empathy of a seasoned comic novelist.”
Los Angeles Times
“I can’t think of Ellis without recalling Orwell and Jack Kerouac … Ellis’s descriptive powers in defining time and place are precise and horrifying.”
“Ellis is an extraordinary writer.”
“Ellis has a keen ear for dialogue, a sharp eye for the moral bankruptcy of modern life, and a vivid imagination.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Bret Easton Ellis is the author of
Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers
He was born in 1964 and raised in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Bennington College and lives in New York City.
Less Than Zero
The Rules of Attraction
For Phil Holmes
The facts even when beaded on a chain, still did not have real order. Events did not flow. The facts were separate and haphazard and random even as they happened, episodic, broken, no smooth transitions, no sense of events unfolding from prior events—
Going After Cacciato
and it’s a story that might bore you but you don’t have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that, and it was, she thinks, her first year, or, actually weekend, really a Friday, in September, at Camden, and this was three or four years ago, and she got so drunk that she ended up in bed, lost her virginity (late, she was eighteen) in Lorna Slavin’s room, because she was a Freshman and had a roommate and Lorna was, she remembers, a Senior or a Junior and usually sometimes at her boyfriend’s place off-campus, to who she thought was a Sophomore Ceramics major but who was actually either some guy from N.Y.U., a film student, and up in New Hampshire just for The Dressed To Get Screwed party, or a townie. She actually had her eye on someone else that night: Daniel Miller, a Senior, a Drama major, only a little gay, with blond hair, a great body and these amazing gray eyes, but he was seeing this beautiful French girl from Ohio, and he eventually got mono and went to Europe and never finished his Senior year. So this guy (she doesn’t even remember his name now—Rudolph? Bobo?) from N.Y.U. and her were talking under, she remembers this, a big poster of Reagan that someone had drawn a moustache and sunglasses on, and he was talking about all these movies, and she kept telling him that she’d seen all these movies even though she hadn’t, and she kept agreeing with him, with his likes, with his dislikes, all the time thinking that he might not be a Daniel Miller (this guy had spiky blueblack hair, paisley tie, and, unfortunately, the beginnings of a goatee) but was still cute enough, and she was sure she was mispronouncing all these filmmakers’ names, remembering the wrong actors, naming the wrong cinematographers, but she wanted him and she could see that he was looking over at Kathy Kotcheff, and she was looking back at him and she was getting incredibly smashed and kept nodding and he went over to the keg to get them some more beer and Kathy Kotcheff, who was wearing a black bra and black panties complete with garter belt, started talking to him and she was getting desperate. She was going to go over and drop some names,
mention Salle or Longo, but felt it would be too pretentious, so she walked up behind him and simply whispered that she had some pot in her room, even though she didn’t but hoped that Lorna did and so he smiled and said that seemed like a good idea. On the way up the stairs she bummed a cigarette that she was never going to smoke from someone and they went to Lorna’s room. He closed the door and locked it. She turned the light on. He turned it off. She thinks she said she didn’t have any pot. He said that was okay and brought out a silver flask that he’d filled with the grain alcohol punch before it had run out downstairs and she was already so drunk on that plus beer that she drank more of it anyway and before she knew it they were on Lorna’s bed making out and she was too drunk to be nervous. Dire Straits or maybe it was Talking Heads were playing downstairs and she was blind drunk and even though she knew this was like sheer madness she couldn’t stop it or do anything else. She passed out and when she came to, she tried to take off her bra but was still too drunk and he had already started fucking her but he didn’t know she was a virgin and it hurt (not that badly, only a little bit of a sharp pain, but not as bad as she had been taught to expect, but not exactly pleasant either) and that’s when she heard another voice in the room, moaning, and she remembers the weight on the bed shifting and realizing that this person on top of her was not the N.Y.U. film student guy but someone else. It was pitch dark in the room and she could feel two pairs of knees on either side of her and she didn’t even want to know what was going on above her. All she knew, all that seemed certain, was that she felt nauseous and her head kept banging against the wall. The door she thought he locked flew open and shadows came in saying that they had to put the keg somewhere and the keg was rolled in, knocking against the bed and the door closed. And she was thinking that this wouldn’t have happened with Daniel Miller, that he would have taken her gently in his big strong Drama major arms and undressed her quietly, expertly, taken the bra off with grace and ease, kissed her
deeply, tenderly, and it probably wouldn’t have hurt, but she wasn’t with Daniel Miller. She was there with some guy from New York whose name she didn’t know and God only knows who else, and the two bodies above her continued moving and then she was on top and even though she was too drunk to stay on top, there was another person holding her up, propping her up, while another touched her breasts through the bra and kept fucking her and she could hear the couple next door arguing loudly and then she passed out again, then woke up when one of the guys hit his head against the wall, slipping off the bed taking her with him and both of them hitting their heads against the keg. She heard one of the guys throwing up in what she hoped was Lorna’s wastebasket. She passed out again and when she woke up, maybe thirty seconds later, maybe a half-hour, still being fucked, still moaning in pain (they probably thought she was turned on, which was definitely not the case) she heard someone knocking on the door. She said, “Answer it, answer it,” or at least that’s what she thinks she said. They were still on the floor when she passed out again…. She woke up the next morning, early, on the bed for some reason, and the room was cold and reeked of vomit, the half-empty keg leaking onto the floor. Her head was throbbing, due partly to the hangover and partly because it had been banged against the wall for she didn’t even know how long. The film student from N.Y.U. was lying next to her on Lorna’s bed, which during the night had been relocated to the center of the room, and he looked a lot shorter and with longer hair than she remembered, his spiked cut wilted now. And in the light coming through the window she saw the other guy lying next to the film student—she wasn’t a virgin, she thought to herself—the boy lying next to the N.Y.U. guy opened his eyes and he still was drunk and she’d never seen him before. He was probably a townie. She had actually gone to bed with a
I’m not a virgin anymore, she thought again. The townie winked at her, didn’t bother to introduce himself, and then told her this joke he had heard last night about
this elephant who was wandering through the jungle and who stepped on a thorn and it hurt a lot and the elephant was having trouble pulling it out so the elephant asked a rat who was passing by to “Please pull the thorn out from my foot” and the rat made a request: “Only if you let me fuck you.” Without hesitation the elephant said okay and the rat quickly pulled the thorn from the elephant’s foot and then scrambled up behind the elephant and began fucking. A hunter passed by and shot the elephant, who then started to moan in pain. The rat, oblivious to the elephant’s wounds, said, “Suffer baby, suffer,” and kept on fucking. The townie started laughing and it was a joke she wished she would forget, but it has stayed with her ever since. It was beginning to dawn on her then that she didn’t know which one she had (technically) lost her virginity to (though odds were good that it was the film student from N.Y.U. and not the townie), even though that seemed to be beside the point for some reason on this post-virginal morning. She was vaguely aware that she was bleeding, but only a little. The guy from N.Y.U. burped in his sleep. There was vomit (whose?) all over Lorna’s trashcan. The townie was still laughing, doubled up naked with laughter. Her bra was still on. And she said to no one, though she had wanted to say it to Daniel Miller, “I always knew it would be like this.”
The party is starting to end. I get to Windham House right when the last keg is being tapped. The deal in town went okay and I have some cash so I buy some weed from this Freshman who lives in the cardroom in Booth and get high before coming to Thirsty Thursday. There’s a Quarters game going on in the living room and Tony is filling a pitcher with beer.
I ask him, “What’s going on?”
“Hey Sean. Lost my I.D. Pub’s out,” he says. “Brigid’s got the hots for that guy from L.A. Wanna join in?”
“It’s okay,” I say. “Where’s the cups?”
“Over there,” he says and goes back to the table.
I get some beer and notice that this hot-looking Freshman girl with short blond hair, great body, that I fucked a couple of weeks ago, is standing near the fireplace. I’m about to go over and talk to her, but Mitchell Allen’s already lighting her cigarette and I don’t want to deal with it. So I stand against the wall, listen to REM, finish the beer, get more, keep my eye on the Freshman girl. Then some other girl, Deidre I think her name is, black spiked hair that already looks dated and trendy, black lipstick, black fingernail polish, black kneesocks, black shoes, nice tits, okay body, Senior, comes over and she’s wearing a black halter top even though it’s like forty below in the room and she’s drunk and coughing like she has T.B., swigging Scotch. I’ve seen her stealing Dante in the bookstore. “Have we met?” she asks. If she’s joking, it’s just too dumb.
“No,” I say. “Hi.”
“What’s your name?” she asks, trying to keep her balance.
“It’s Peter,” I tell her.
“Oh, really?” she asks, looking confused. “Peter? Peter? That’s not your name.”
“Yeah it is.” I’ve still got my eye on the hot Freshman but she won’t look over here. Mitchell hands her another beer. It’s too late. I look back at Dede Dedire whatever her name is.
“Aren’t you a Senior?” she asks me.
“No,” I tell her. “Freshman.”
“Really?” All of a sudden she starts coughing, then sips her Scotch, actually downs it, and says, her voice raspedout, “I thought you were older.”
“A Freshman,” I tell her, drain my cup. “Peter. Peter the Freshman.”
Mitchell whispers something in her ear. She laughs, and turns away. He keeps whispering. She doesn’t move. That’s it. She wants to leave with him.
“Like, I could’ve sworn your name was Brian,” Deedum says.
I consider the options. I can leave right now, go back to my room, play the guitar, go to sleep. Or, I could play Quarters with Tony and Brigid and that dumb guy from L.A. Or, I can take this girl off-campus to The Carousel for a drink, leave her there. Or, I can take her back to my room, hope the Frog is gone, get stoned and fuck her. But I don’t really want to do that. I’m not into her all that much, but the hot-looking Freshman has already left with Mitchell and I don’t have any classes tomorrow and it’s late and it looks like the keg’s running out. And she looks at me and asks, “What’s going on?” and I’m thinking Why Not?