The Pulitzer Prize Winner’s Dead Cat
By Lewis Gross
I have been a long- time fan of your column exposing the dark side of the lives of the rich and famous people living in theHamptons, as a professional with inside information, I thought this non-fiction literary contest would be a good opportunity to set the record straight. They are different from us, but not in the way most assume.
Hampton’s playwrights often hold skeletons in their closet. It is the nature of success that as one climbs the literary ladder, flotsam from fallen romances and the debris of bad castings, will be left in the wake. That’s where I come in. I’m a Personal Maintainer (P.M.), or for lack of a better term, as you Americans say, I am the cleaning-up man. For more years then I can remember and more than my Pulitzer Prize Winner employer will admit, I have vacuumed his rugs the morning after, washed strange men’s lipstick from the glass, and lay to rest the odd collection of dead soldiers and sailors. It is a profession for which I am proud and I would never, at any price, reveal secrets that Dan’s Paper, tell-all television shows, and those summer-society salivating websites, would dearly pay for. To date I’ve held my lips like the proper English butler I was raised to be, but the other night, my present playwriting employer went too far.
Hampton’s authors are often eccentric in their personal habits. I’ve worked for a Who’s Who of rich and famous literati and they all have one thing in common. They pick their noses and eat it or even more disgustingly, they scratch their asses in public. For example, that impeccably well-dressed, white-suited author never wears underwear and truth-be-told, he dyes his beard white. If you would bear with me, I’ve got a million such confessions, more or less.
As a long practicing member in good standing with the International Brotherhood of Personal Maintainers, I understand this. So it came as no big surprise when I opened the refrigerator the other morning to discover a baggie full of dead flies lying next to a left-over chicken pot pie. When I queried my present employer about my find, he was quite evasive. This worried me because he is an old man and has been losing weight. His eating habits were never good, but the thought of his eating flies was unbearable. I followed him around the remainder of the day and I am happy to report that the flies were for his Pitcher Plant, a lovely trumpet shaped carnivorous specimen he proudly displays in the kitchen window. Personally, I prefer English Roses.
Famous authors often have bad mothers, but my present literary employer considers his mommy dearest the least desirable. I met the old dame once when she came to our house for a dinner party. She was dressed to the nines in pink silk and wore the Queen’s jewels. She was a lovely grand lady, helping me slaughter the lamb and fry the veggies until they were burnt to a crisp. I swear he made the whole play up to protect his preferences from this judgmental parent. Believe me the world has nothing to fear from Virginia, certainly not him, although he might have waited to publish until after the old bird kicked the bucket. Maybe I should follow his advice? He won’t be too happy to learn I’d broken my oath of silence.
Famous writers eat food off the floor. Forget about the five second rule, they need to find their inspiration where it lay. With the advent of the internet there is no longer any privacy in his public life anyway. I’m already headed for the unemployment line. I’ve tried to be his buddy, but I know by the end the day that I will never play his muse. He doesn’t trust me not to burn his toast.
Famous people are capable of every indiscretion. That’s what I really want to divulge. As much as it’s goes against my best judgment to disclose this personal information, the time has finally come for the world to know the truth. A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out the downstairs freezer. As I rummaged through the box, to my astonishment, I exposed a frozen calico cat defrosting between the peas and ice cream, the flavor toasted hazelnut coffee, if I recall. Her name was Mane, or possibly that was one of his dogs, but she was quite dead. Her white whiskers cracked like broken icicles when I laid the stiff pussy out on the kitchen table. When I admonished the Pulitzer Prize Winner for his poor mortuary skills he admitted that he was saving Mane for a proper burial when his long-time friend would be visiting. Unfortunately, the friend died soon after too. The playwright was heartbroken with this loss of his longtime buddy. Mane never did receive a proper casket. I took her frozen carcass back out of the freeze and tossed her into the ocean, in front of his Montauk estate, and for all I know, the large cat recovered post-mortem as the swollen sea-tossed Montauk Monster. Now wouldn’t that make for a good play?