Swelter 28

And then a long chat with a witty gentleman, my new best friend eviscerating a grossly distasteful guest: "There he is, still inflicting himself on decent people after all he's done. Sometimes, I suppose, it's easier to go on covered in blood, like Lady Macbeth, rather than retire from the stage and attempt to wipe it all off." Wit, as Sheridan noted in The School for Scandal, depends on malice. With some reluctance, making contact with the more judiciously spoken political set: Bower, the focus of the evening, beyond down to earth and looking content amid a reprieve from more mundane campaign circumstances: "Wallace and I met at the Miami Design Preservation League negotiations, when he represented Gianni Versace, who was lobbying to tear down that hotel next to his house -- what was the name of it? Oh right, the Revere. Anyway, we fought and argued endlessly, but I'd always go up to him afterward and remind him that it was nothing personal."

My feelings exactly, and a modus operandi that serves as the foundation to success, particularly in Miami. The weekend, and more mingling opportunities loom on the horizon. Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour hosting a benefit for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Murder Mystery Extravaganza serving as a cozy metaphor for ballroom society: Watch your back lest you be slaughtered, and the biggest diamond always wins. On South Beach, district pioneer Tomata du Plenty presenting his "Floozies" exhibition at Ted's Hideaway, amid the new world of commercialism. The Virtua Cafe unveiling the Red Room. Caffe Torino opening in the long dormant I Tre Merli space. Cafe Manana evolving into Mex Mess. And of course the usual club fray, enough to send St. Francis of Assisi back to the devil of dissipation.

Somehow the clarion call of nightlife boot camp having limited appeal, an innocent stroll on Washington Avenue in search of ice cream proving philosophically profitable. A series of acquaintances wondering about the night's social program, wanting me to go somewhere -- anywhere -- of an exclusive nature, some mystical VIP room of the great beyond. Unfortunately in a marked-down world there's nothing untainted left. The scrambling uncompables chase mirages, intimidated and humbled by media creations. Social columnists are closer to the nexus, but forever conscious of being beggars at the banquet, indulged and tolerated for a certain outre usefulness. At the top there's always the gnawing fear of stumbling off the treadmill. Nobody really has a clue: There's no secret society where everyone's having more fun than you are, and a good time starts at home.

On the let's-get-happy wanderings, sheer professionalism demanding a midnight pit stop at Kremlin. Filmmaker Melanie Morningstar shooting a segment for Eurotrash, Jean-Paul Gaultier's campy newsmagazine show on England's Channel 4; Monti Rock III, my black sheep uncle in the cheap renown game, scheduled to appear on the show. As the Rock's personal image consultant/Greek chorus -- talk about existing in the unholy shadows -- I'm always happy to help with fame maintenance. After all, Monti is family. And more important, I've never met a television camera I didn't like.

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