April 19, 2013
NEW YORK—I chose to live on 68th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue because it’s next to Central Park and is considered as convenient an address as any in the city. It’s not so far uptown that it’s near the DMZ—92nd Street—and not too close to the shopping shrines down by the 50s. The house where I live now used to be the Austrian consulate, and across my second-floor flat I can look into a grand embassy structure that no one ever seems to use. (It belongs to Indonesia, although when I bought my new flat I was told it was the Polish embassy, so I rushed to close the deal, as I love Poles.) No such luck, although the Indonesians have a tendency to take orders, unlike African personnel who park everywhere illegally, fill up the street with garbage, and play loud Zulu music throughout. Thank God most of these savages tend to congregate near the UN building, way down east, a good two miles from Herr Taki’s abode.
Not for much longer. Although I love my fellow tenant Tim Atwater, a Brit artist who lives above, I’ve had the horrible luck to now have another neighbor, a disgusting individual whom I’ve never met and hope to never meet in the future. The smell alone should drive me to the burbs, as this bum is the Fertilizer King. He is the shit that owns most of the shit in the world. What horrible luck. Of all the streets and neighborhoods in the world, he had to buy into mine. And no matter how you cut it—the baths, the cologne, the sprays—the man smells like shit. It’s like living next to a public toilet.
Mind you, as I’ve already said, I’ve never met him but I don’t seem to be able to get away from the smell. Yes, I know, it’s mostly in my head, but just as I tend to smell camellias when I read Dumas, I tend to smell shit when I walk by the mansion next door. And it gets worse. The Fertilizer King has decided to build an Olympic-size swimming pool beneath his mansion—chlorine and pee smell better than you-know-what—and in the process has managed to cut off every telephone and Internet connection in the area. No telephone, no TV, no Internet, but people with FM radios have been known to get some kind of signals—mostly about North Korean nuclear threats. This has been going on for months.
The King of Shit does not have to go through any of this, as he’s ensconced somewhere west from here, with Central Park in between us. That is where his daughter Ekaterina bought the most expensive apartment ever sold in the city of New York for 88 million greenbacks. Dmitry Rybolovlev is the undisputed King of Shit in the world, but I’m not one hundred percent certain that the King of Shit who has bought the mansion next to me is one and the same. A wag once said that all Kings of Shit look alike—short, broad faces, dead eyes, horrible manners, and they’re unable to speak any known language—but could there be two fertilizer kings, and could I have the bad luck to live near both of them? One King of Shit has already bought a chalet in Gstaad and paid for bulletproof windows, a first even for a place where most guests belong behind bars. (I’ll tell you one place where he won’t be visiting, and that’s the Eagle Club.)