“I am excellent,” he insisted to himself and no one in particular as he gazed in the mirror each morning. He said it in the sort of way that was both expectedly confident but also sounded like he had a frog in his throat and was about to cough. Like saying it out loud, let alone thinking it, even made him want to vomit, but he couldn’t fully acknowledge that was the case.
Yet Geoffrey had been such a believer in his own worthiness of esteem for so long, that he could scarcely remember any moment in his life when he didn’t feel utterly impervious with confidence. His unkempt brown hair was receding, sure, and his skin vacillated between the chameleon-like colors of Elmer’s glue white or crab red, almost shifting as unexpectedly as his weight fluctuations. No matter, Geoffrey knew he was excellent, and he only needed himself to sanction it. Of course, it helped that everyone in his family agreed, encouraging his every aspiration with the generous giving of alms for his congenitally mushrooming coffer. The one that managed to constantly wreak new inheritances from long lost relatives in such an absurd fashion as to truly suggest that maybe the universe did prefer undeserving assholes to those struggling just to keep their heads afloat while still being decent, self-effacing human beings.
As he arrived late to brunch with his current victim of a girlfriend, Celeste Moncrieff, a 23-year-old French girl who was really only seeking to up her local New York City cachet by dating a rich American, Geoffrey caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and simpered as he sat down at the table, thinking to himself, “Sometimes I wonder, ‘Am I really this awesome?’ I mean, I have to be. People are always seeking my approval or opinion.”
Barely greeting Celeste, he picked up the menu right away and muttered, “I’m starving.” Celeste tried to gently touch his hand as a form of affection, a way to differentiate that they were more than just strangers mutually benefitting from one another in some arcane way who happened to be dining together. But Geoffrey cringed and recoiled. “Your hands are like snake’s skin, you ought to moisturize once in a while.”
He re-straightened the menu and cleared his throat. “I think I’ll have the eggs Benedict and a mimosa, how about you?”
Before Celeste could answer, their slightly younger waitress, who had the according chipperness to match someone who had only just moved to the city, queried, “What can I get started for the two fo you today?”
It was then that Geoffrey took it upon himself to respond for both by requesting a mimosa pitcher and two orders of eggs Benedict. Celeste bit her lip, as though also biting the urge to say out loud that he had ignored, once again, some aspect of her own wants and desires. They had only been together for three months, but his self-interest was starting to get insufferable, even for someone as self-interested as she was.
Geoffrey proceeded to talk, though not to her so much as at her. In his mind, he was “regaling” her with a story of how his brother had taken advantage of an Israeli’s overt puppy love for him by demanding to be able to cum in her face if she wanted to keep seeing him. Geoffrey laughed to himself just thinking about it. Someone as prim and poised as Miriam conceding to letting Irvine’s seed spray on her meticulously made up visage. He could hardly contain his laughter for almost a full minute before pouring himself another round from the pitcher. Celeste was both horrified and transfixed by his behavior. On the one hand, it was the very embodiment of everything abhorrent about humanity–but on the other, he was rich and Panglossian (minus the aspect of the definition that included him facing any hardship). Even if his plucky attitude was more about self-satisfaction than spreading his mood to anyone else.
On a private boat tour of the East River after brunch, Celeste reminded herself that this was yet another reason not to dismiss Geoffrey just because he largely ignored her except when they were fucking underneath the mirror above his circular bed in the Financial District, where he chose to live instead of work. He had a boat. How many people could bring that to a relationship?
Then, out of nowhere, he actually called to her, “Come here baby,” like the pet he viewed her as and then removed his phone from his front jeans pocket so they could take a picture together. It was these rare moments of what she thought was kindness that kept Celeste coming back for more.
When the photo had been snapped, despite Celeste’s protests that her dark roots were showing too much and that she needed to schedule a hair appointment immediately, Geoffrey sent it to his mother, which Celeste found somewhat odd. It was only later, thinking back on it weeks after, when Geoffrey had dumped her, that she realized he just wanted to keep his parents at arm’s length enough to keep getting money from them. To prove that he was a fully functioning human being capable of emotionalism and not just another Patrick Bateman in the endless army of Patrick Batemans called New York’s male population.
He didn’t really specify a reason for ending things with her, waffling between excuses such as, “We’re too young for this” and “I need my free time.” This was true, he did need his free time. To stare at himself in the mirror and say, “I am excellent,” genuinely awestruck by his excellence as he gazed at himself. Unlike being fed the positive mantra by another person, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important,” this self-indoctrinated incantation was more of a dangerous justification for being mediocre at worst and average at best beneath all that said excellence as opposed to a mentally boosting message to repeat.
It got to the point where Geoffrey became so wrapped up in his mantra that he eventually couldn’t even leave the house. He was addicted to seeing himself and reciting, “I am excellent” to the point where it left very little time for other activities outside of the apartment other than putting in just enough face with his parents on the Upper West Side to make them believe he was doing something worthwhile besides rubbing one out to himself in the mirror, screaming, “Yes! Yes! I am excellent!,” a white-clear river flowing forth to prove as much. Mercifully, that specimen that spurted forth from his body, a self-described specimen, would never manage to manifest in the form of any progeny.