A Halloween episode of Real Housewives of New York City is awfully redundant, isn't it? Costumery, scary skeleton people, the ache in your tooth from too much junk? That's every week on this miserable show!
But oh well, last night's was a Halloween episode anyway. Halloween in April! What a treat. Many scary and vaguely sad things (scary ghosts are, after all, vaguely sad) happened for the occasion. And what is the scariest and saddest thing of all, in all of stony, bony New York. The Countess Crackerjacks du Airstream, naturally. It was a big episode for her.
Big because her daughter Victoria came home from boarding school. Oh Victoria. All tall and grown and a real young lady. Cracky was so happy to see her, because it meant that Lunz could do her usual buffoonery while her daughter watched, bored, quietly and suddenly wishing she was back at school. You could tell, you can see it in kids' eyes, that moment when they realize that home is one place and the world is another, that there are tips of iceberg secrets that they've uncovered while out on their own—roving, adventuring, planting wobbly flags—and they'll forever be eager to get back to them. It's the melancholy price we have to pay for living, that nothing is forever. And you could see some granite twinkling in the Countess' gray eyes—she knew. Knew the jig was up. Knew that time had come and gone. Knew that she'd sent her daughter off early, and thus lost her that much sooner. But Lunz is a fighter, she'll lead the sandy charge against anyone—hell, high water, Napoleon—and Time is no different than any other enemy. So she did. She clapped her hands and cleared her throat and the trees swayed in the breeze and people sighed and blinked and ghosts were born and Lunny said "Let's go shopping."
So they did.
And elsewhere in New York the world was forgetting things and creating things in its little glue-stuck art table way and killing things and setting things aside. One of those people cast off to a dark corner, to a place where light and wind bend in ways they shouldn't, is Ramona. Dear Ramona, her parakeet eyes flicking back and forth, back and forth. White and black buoys in a sea of chicken skin. Ramona is a creative genius, so she decided that her religious jewelry needed to be shared with an even bigger amount of people than it already is. More than 10 people? Crazytown! Ramona figured the best way to accomplish this lofty goal was to haul her old AV equipment out the steamer trunk and make a video of herself selling the products. Ramona's little bindle of a wish was to get on the Home Shopping Network, where she could send her moonbeams out of her eyes through television sets and straight into your brain, as you sit addled on the sofa, the creeping dread of failure snaking its way up your back, the clock glowing in mean red letters: 3:02 AM.
But of course because Ramona must be loyal to the strange currents and frequencies that govern her, the little film project proved to be a disaster. Mario is not the ablest of directors, his camerawork remedial and lacking a clear point of view. As a line producer/script supervisor/makeup girl/craft services rep, Avery was also an unqualified failure. Ramona kept bug-eying her precarious daughter, scared of this miniature version of a person. "It keeps moving," she whispered to herself. "It's judging me." Realizing that his wife was clearly no longer able to recognize her own offspring, Mario figured that it was time to call it a day. And there went the camera equipment, back into the trunk, where it will just get dusty and forgotten once more. And when they find it in the future, when they land their hazmat spacecrafts and blip their sensors over the hulk of rubble that used to be the great island Manhattan, they'll find this video. An Earth human of indiscernible age, alive some twenty years before the Water Wars, giving some sort of religious service in her sleeping quarters. Her gleaming eyes telling a strange, lilting story. One of the Earth explorers will shake her head and wonder, What is she staring at that we can't see? What is she so afraid of? Avery. The answer is always Avery.
Let's hop in this cab here, and take it over to Jill's house. Oh, you don't have money for a cab? Huh. OK. Must be the economy. But just to be sure, let's ask Jill. Because, you know, Jill is an expert on the economy. She's been interviewed by the goddarned BBC for chrissakes. Yeah. A bunch of English people showed up to the Roundhouse and Jill sat there and answered their strange questions. "Can you eat American money? What does it taste like? Why do cars drive upside down here?" Jill nodded gallantly, pretending to understand their peculiar language. "I think rich people are nice," is basically what Jill mustered. Laughing a bit, a tad awkward, she sputtered at them, "I mean... don't you?"
Horrible Kelly went to a photoshoot. Horrible Kelly went to a photoshoot and there was a terrible Frenchman who told her to open her legs and when the blood started pouring out of my face my roommate turned to me and said "Richard, you have blood pouring out of your face," and I said, "Yes, you too Rose," and so we both sat there, blood pouring out of our faces, as Kelly opened her legs and talked about how pretty she was and at this point there were pools forming at our feet. "Well, I'll never wear these pants again," Rose said merrily, blood pouring out of her face. Once there was no more blood and we had both passed out on the floor, Kelly decided that she was going to use one of the photos for a Halloween party invitation. Because she's so funky and fresh and fun and, oh fuck, blood just started pouring out of my face all over again.
Speaking of awful things pouring out of people's faces, Alex and Simon keep saying words. Last night they decided to tell us about The Environment. The Environment is a place somewhere near Alaska where all the polar bears are melting and everyone's dead. Alex and Simon were very concerned about this far off place, so they decided to solve the problem the only way they know how: buying hideous clothing. Yeah, whenever something goes bad, Alex and Simon just put on their flaming tophats and step out into miserable Brooklyn, pavement cracking under their feet, three-legged dogs trotting by, blood pouring out of their faces. Usually the problem they need to solve is something simple, like a stubbed toe or a terrible case of homosexuality, so they just need to buy regular ugly clothing. But The Environment is a big problem, so it would require something really ugly. So they went to Ed Begley Jr.'s house and he sold Alex a corset that was made out of potato sacks and said "Feed" in big black letters on the front for like five thousand dollars. Thus The Environment was saved and Ed Begley Jr. waved them off, smiling, and when they turned the corner he shrugged, sighed, and put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Because The Environment was no longer an endangered place, and so his work was done. He'll be buried, ironically, in a Styrofoam container full of gasoline.
Speaking of buying clothes! Do you know one thing that Victoria has learned at boarding school? Poor people stuff! Like how to buy clothes for a measly, scrabbly dollar. One buck! For a sweater! When Victoria told LuAnn this proud fact, the Countess' face did gymnastics and a rumble and moan sounded in her belly. "How charrrrmmming," she purred. And she looked at her daughter, all proud and trying to be poor and normal, like regular Wendy's-eating shitheads, the kinda folks Lunny had been dodging, shaking off, evading, escaping her whole damn life. LuAnn thought to herself, I didn't shoot that Greek guy in Des Plaines for this. I didn't scuff up my good boots doing honky-tonk burlesque at a truck stop in North Platte for this sweater. I didn't steal Dana Plato's Mazda for thrift stores. I didn't get chased by wild dogs for six miles across the Sangre De Cristo mountains for a buck. I didn't look out on that big Painted Desert and feel my heart swelling and my knees buckling and my tits twirling and that cold steel of the Smith & Wesson pressing against my hip and my wig blowing in the wind for a goddamned thrift store fuckin' sweater for a dollar. No sir, no m'am. Not on your life, Stefanos. Cram it with walnuts, wild dogs. Up yours, Plato. I was always better than you, Boot-'n'-Scoot. I won this shit. I beat you. So my daughter? She's gonna be wrapped in hundos. She's gonna shit twenties. She's gonna fart fifties. My kid's gonna be a regular goddamned ATM. So Crackerjacks grabbed her daughter and they went out to buy "cheap" earrings. For like $150. Well done.
Then it was time for parties. Alex and Simon had spent their afternoon carving pumpkins on their front steps with their little cherub children. As the slopped the mealy sluice out of the pumpkin, like brains from a head, they thought about their old friend Ed Begley. So sad, what happened to Ed. Then they had to get dressed for their big party. So they put the kids back in their boxes and put them up on the top shelf of the closet and they'd be back for them someday. Their costumes were Natasha and Bullwinkle from the cartoons. No, Alex. No it wasn't Sarah Palin and a moose. That is incorrect. It was Natasha Fatale and her dumb Minnesotan moose enemy and Fearless Leader in this case was Andy Cohen. So yeah.
Simon walked around a party in a moose costume. I mean. It was perfect.
Ramona showed up for Halloween eating dog food and dressed as Robin Hood. She tried to blow in her own ear while shooting an arrow and now she's wanted for manslaughter. Jill decided to dress up as a Classy Old Lady. This involved a purple fright wig and the wallpaper from an out-of-business Stride Rite that was lashed around her midsection. She looked dynamite. Bethenny was Roller Girl from Boogie Nights, though she looked more like Janis Joplin at the rollerderby, all drugged-out and confused. "Bobby... is this the post office?" "No Jan. Just go back to sleep."
Though everyone had about six or a million fancy parties to go to, they were actually lying and didn't have anywhere to go. So they all went to Horrible Kelly's dumb party for jerks. It was perfect for a Halloween party, because everyone was just standing around with blood pouring out of their faces. "Thinkin' about Kelly's open legs?" one guest would ask another. "Yep."
The only problem was this: Kelly is a complete jackass and showed up like twenty hours late to her own stupid party. Worse still, she was dressed as a Playboy bunny or something, which was just sad and pathetic and prompted people to stare at her for a while and finally ask "Did Hef survive the fire?" So everyone else stood around—Jackie Jormp-Jomp, Classy Foreign Broad, Ramona in flames, and Natasha and her gay moose—and waited. And waited. And waited. Bethenny was pissed because it was a cash bar, and Jill was just mad because someone asked her if she was supposed to be the Marquise de Merteuil and Jill had responded "No thanks, I'm married" and the person had laughed at her bemusedly. Ramona was up in the rafters of the club, having tea with some pigeons. Finally they just decided to leave because what the hell is Kelly's problem anyway.
Finally Kelly showed up with her dumb outfit on and her naked boyfriend in tow, and surprise, everyone had left. "Where are my friends," she blubbered. They were gone. Had skated off into the night. And everyone was angry. Because Kelly thinks she's people. Which is a shame, because she's not. She's an old hat that's been flattened out and given the spark of life. She's one of those bugs that look like sticks.
So Halloween ended on a sad note.
Eventually, we're to assume, everyone will see Kelly again and a fight will ensue. At some point someone will douse Ramona out and she'll totter off into the sunset, keeping a wary eye peeled for any sign of Avery lurking in the bushes or perched atop telephone poles, watching... Bethenny will continue to be mad at everything and maybe she'll keep her rollerskates on because what the hell. SkinnyGirl rollerskate diet. It could work. Alex and Simon will go to Ed Begley's funeral to which Alex will wear her newest fashion, a pickle barrel with the word "Manure" written across the front in big black letters. Simon will twirl his dandy cane and think about that one magic summer evening he spent rolling around the compost heap with a naked Ed Begley, their bodies smeared with corn oil, the earthy stink of apple cores lodging in hidden crevices.
And somewhere someday LuAnn will send her daughter back to boarding school. Victoria in her fancy rich people clothes, that strange and wonderful flutter of realizing that the wardrobe opens up to a whole magical world tumbling in her stomach. What wishes she'll make! What hopes and what dreams she'll have, and so easily! Not knowing the bloody, dirty, scuffy cost. But LuAnn will know. She'll always know. She'll know about the unmarked grave up in the foothills outside of Missoula. She'll know about the burned-out car probably still sitting in that front yard in Bellingham. She'll know about mournful train whistles. She'll know that a grown ass woman wearing velcro sneakers just might be the saddest thing in the world. She'll know about the ratty clothes. Oh those clothes. A sweater. For a buck!
She'll shake her head and make a tight ball of a fist with her hand and she'll watch the train leave Grand Central, whisking her daughter off to this storied place, and she'll know all these things. But it will be OK.
Because past is passed. Because trains mostly move forward.