On the way to Frederick Fekkai, one of the most luxurious salons in the city, Marie's mother tried to talk with her about the financial crisis-- how the bail-out bill wasn't passed by the Senate, they couldn't afford to raise the 700 billion through tax payer money during an election year-- and so, she feared, our country would inevitably spiral into a “cata-fucking-strophic” depression, the likes of which we have never seen before.
The salon is situated on top of Henri Bendel's, a designer department store. The main doors are so heavy, Marie had to hold them open while her mother skirted by. Marie made it easy for her mother, and together they walked to the back of the ground floor towards the elevators. Every step set off a land mine, sales clerks jumped out from behind mountains of blush and compact mirrors to ambush shoppers. They begged Marie and her mom to sample a sample. Marie stuck her leg out diagonally as she passed by in an effort to subdue her attackers. As the elevator doors opened she had a change of heart and thought, I guess everyone's just trying to earn a living.
The elevator ascended floor after floor as her mother kept talking about Wall Street. “It's going to crack like cheap glass into billions and billions of pieces. Think of how many pennies are represented by all the stocks on the market: that's how many pieces they'll have to pick up.” Marie thought, I've thrown so many pennies away, dropped so many, even swallowed a few.
They reached the fourth floor and the silver doors slid open into electronic, magnet-deactivating house music. A stylist said, “Heaven help those who don't indulge themselves,” while selling a woman her own face, plus pastel pink-- let it bring out the eyes-- and then Marie's mother kept going, “We've been smart, but I don't want to have to tap into our savings, you need to learn where to spend money and how to save it.” The dance mix was replaced by the soothing sound of a Latin king. Marie thought, this is the Eyebrow Pencil City of Oz. She looked at the flower arrangements that would never die. She saw the apples that would never rot inside of their wooden bowl. Every furnishing that could be reflective, was reflective.
“He tried to get me to work for him, to be his assistant.” Marie overheard a woman in a managerial suit and heels. Women slipped by everywhere, peeled from the pages of Vanity Fair and Vogue. To Marie, they were taller than the moon. She took a seat and stared. A frequent client with freshly painted toes limped by, careful not to smudge, like the dark, decrepit man Marie had seen on Broadway.