Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Murray’s Hill is a half-hour sitcom that takes place in Manhattan’s most prestigious neighborhood. The show centers around the lives of four young professionals, Steve, Gopal, Dan, and Morgan, two investment bankers, a strategy consultant, and a derivatives trader, respectively.
This episode has been adapted from its screenplay format for readability.
Two bankers got in a fight last night. Fortunately for the global economy, neither of them was seriously injured.
[Theme Song by The Fray]
At around 9:00PM, Steve Murray was sitting on his couch leafing apathetically through the New Yorker, waiting for his roommate Gopal to come home so they could begin the night. Two of Steve’s female friends from Dartmouth were in town for the weekend, and as such, he and Gopal had been as happy as two Vonage shorters the whole week. It had been decided well in advance that Gopal would buy the alcohol, Steve would buy the food, and they would drink and eat and watch 2 episodes of Entourage (On Demand)—perchance the ideal pre-game.
Gopal fought his way through the lobby elevator lines and rolled into the apartment at around 8:50. He entered into the adjoined foyer/kitchen/living room, nervously set a bag full of cans down on the kitchen counter, and quickly stepped away from them, as if they might detonate.
“What’d you get, boss?” Steve inquired from through the drywall window, sitting up on the sofa like a squirrel about to be fed.
Steve was tremendously picky about what he drank. One time Gopal bought Red Stripe after seeing an inspiring commercial, and Steve hurled both six packs off the balcony, claiming it was angering enough that his employer believed in Affirmative Action—Red Stripe was an inferior beer, and he would have none of that in his home. Oddly perpetuating was that Steve insisted Gopal always buy the booze; he refused to go himself. As such, Gopal was forever worried that his selections might irk the volatile Steve.
“Shit, bro. Just promise me you won’t get mad…” Gopal implored, visibly shaking as he removed his blazer.
Steve pressed his lips together, focused his eyes on his roommate, and gritted his teeth, already prepared to explode.
“All they had was this SPARKS shit,” Gopal continued sheepishly, and then he ducked covered his head with his arms. “I swear, I looked all over…” he insisted, poking his head out from between his hands. Then he cautiously pulled the orange and silver cans out from the bag in a humble offering, still shielding himself.
Note: SPARKS is a beer/energy malt beverage “lifestyle drink” with a larger Indie Rock following than The Arcade Fire.
Steve stared at his roommate for 5 long seconds. The look on his face was one of utter disgust. He scrounged up a wad of phlegm and spit on the West Elm sofa.
“What! You douche!” he finally exploded. “I saw some chick wearing a Strand bag and mismatched checkered Converses drinking that crap the other day when I was lost downtown.”
“I can’t believe you brought that fucking h-hipster shit into this house!” he continued as he got up from the couch, enunciating each word and shaking his head, furious. He stumbled over the H-word as if it was physically draining for him to speak it.
He persisted, now just as disappointed as he was angry, “This is Murray Hill, man, not fucking Bushwick. This is a BANKER household! How hard is it for you to get some freakin Amstel?” he scolded.
Gopal rehid behind his hands. “What’s Bushwick?” he asked, apologetically.
“I can’t believe the doorman even let you in with this shit!” Steve exclaimed grandly like Ari Gold. And he ripped open one of the cans, downed a sip, and winced at the sweetness as he crashed back down onto the couch. He let out a soft grunt of disapproval.
After a few moments, Gopal cautiously inched over and sat down next to Steve, and they turned on the TV and ate and got buzzed on SPARKS. Not as ideal as they had envisioned, but they had to get ready for the night somehow.
Dan came home when the first episode was finishing up. He stumbled into the apartment ragged, rolling a suitcase and carrying a fistful of dry cleaning. It had been raining earlier, and he was soaked and squeaky.
“Choi Polloi! How was the week?” Gopal inquired, getting up to help Dan with his things.
“Sucked, bro. Totally sucked,” Dan responded miserably after he threw down his things and made his way over to the refrigerator. “Contrary to popular belief, West Bumblefuck is actually worse than East,” he elucidated as he studied the sparse contents of the fridge, oddly serious. After grabbing a bottle of Fiji and taking a few swigs, he was ready to retire. “Shit, I can’t even think, man. I’m gonna crash,” he notified.
Dan started to walk over to his room to put away his things and in his sloppy tiredness, knocked over his suitcase.
“Woah there, bra!” Steve screamed from across the room, finally distracted from studying the can he had been drinking from. While Dan clumsily tried to get himself together, Steve persisted: “You better be careful with that thing, man…TUMI might take away your sponsorship!” And Steve fell all over himself in laughter. “OH SNAP!” he yelled and pointed. A pillow or two was assaulted fratastically.
Dan recovered, chucked an empty SPARKS can at Steve, and made his way to his room.
Gopal sat back on the couch, and they unpaused the televsion.
“At least we don’t do that, man,” Steve said, cynically.
“You don’t need to be such an ass,” Gopal responded, upset by his roommate’s crassness.
“Yeah, and you don’t need to fucking scrape a piece of metal across your tongue every day, but you do, right?” Steve shot back mockingly and then socked Gopal on the arm.
Gopal almost held back his cringe.
About 10 minutes later, Lauren, Dan’s girlfriend and a non-profit worker/future law student, walked into the apartment. The building’s tenants left their doors unlocked, dorm-style, so she was able to make her way in by herself, unimpeded. Gopal and Steve remained fixated on the 42” plasma and waved at Lauren to pass quickly. She followed orders and jogged by briskly in her terry shorts. The letters of “CORNELL” clung eagerly to her ass as she swooshed by. She was attractive—not stunning with an awkwardly long torso—but the guys’ eyes followed her bottom purely out of instinct.
Before heading out, Gopal and Steve stopped in Morgan’s room to check if he wanted to roll out with them (there was a chance a third girl would be coming). Morgan hardly ever left his room when they were home, but they thought they might as well try. They pushed open the door and in the dim light, they could see the husky young trader hunched over his desk in a white undershirt, surrounded by Jackson Hole Burger wrappers and empty, dip-spit filled Gatorade bottles.
“Yo Gay Waiter,” Steve interrupted, noticing the Q-3 Morgan had open on one of the two games of online poker he was playing simultaneously. “Wanna roll out?”
“Get the fuck out of here guys or I’ll rip your heads off,” Morgan shot back preemptively. The trader’s neck hair moved as he growled at them, but his body did not turn from his screen.
Steve was preparing to make clever comment about how Morgan took it in his “gamma hole,” but Gopal dragged him out of the room and shut the door.
Since their ladies were from out of town, Steve was determined to wow them with the best of New York City nightlife. As such, he decided they would go to 230 Fifth, the city’s newest, chic-est, and most exclusive hotspot. All their buddies loved the place.
After pre-gaming, Steve and Gopal met up with the girls, Francie and Sapna, outside the bar’s building at around 10:30PM. In their party tops and slipperish flats, Francie was striking and Sapna was “definitely cute,” despite the fact that her sideburns crept down eerily close to her chin. Gopal, undeterred, awkwardly tried to kiss the girls’ cheeks when introduced.
The foursome waited together in a line that wrapped around the block. They chatted about their jobs and how great everything was—Francie was doing some marketing stuff and Sapna was a 3rd year med student. But after waiting in line and riding the elevator up, they had exhausted all possible conversation topics, and each was grasping for something even mildly interesting to offer.
Fortunately, when they exit the elevator and made their way up the short set of stairs to enter the bar, Steve and Gopal’s game was saved. Seeing the sprawling rooftop and tremendous view of the city, Sapna stood awestruck; her arms fell to her side, causing the little purse she had cupped just inside her armpit to fall to the ground.
“ohmyfuckinggod,” she whispered to herself blasphemously, awestruck. After a moment, she turned and smiled coyly at Gopal as he placed the purse back into her hands, grazing them slightly. Had her hands not been otherwise occupied, she would have been nibbling a forefinger coquettishly. At that moment, Gopal felt something strong. He knew he had her. He couldn’t tell if it would be a one night thing or something more long term, but he had it sealed. If they made Lucite Ass Toys, he’d have one with a little drowning Sapna in it, and he’d put it on his desk next to the one he got from Maidenform’s IPO.
The foursome went inside, got a table and ordered drinks and a cute mini bucket of champagne. They were in the center of a Manhattan rooftop with amazing views, surrounded by the city’s most attractive and successful people. They had life by the balls and toasted to it.
Conversation was revitalized by the alcohol and soon everyone was cracking jokes and getting along famously. Steve and Gopal played off one another skillfully, each setting the other up like seasoned volleyball players. Within an hour, Sapna and Francie were certain they had hit the jackpot meeting two such fine, charming young men.
Then Sapna got up to go to the bathroom (alone, oddly), and Gopal watched his date fondly as she pranced delicately through the swarms of people, eventually having to squeeze herself through a group of suit-clad young men. And he continued to watch the lips of one of the guys in the group as he said to his friends, “Damn, son! I’m gonna fuck that one tonight.”
Gopal was immediately infuriated. He turned to Steve to see if he had witnessed the scene, but Steve was wowing Francie with stories about his male hair salon/club/bar he had just visited. The normally timid Gopal had rapidly been falling for Sapna, and this rather casual disrespect was for her invoked his demon within. Perhaps it was the hipster fuel, but absolutely livid, he got up and walked over to the guy.
“Yo Hoss,” Gopal began, quasi-confidently after tapping the guy on a shirt that felt Charles Tyrwhittish. “Don’t even think about talking to that girl.”
Gopal had always heard badass guys using the word “Hoss,” and for added intensity, he augmented his comment with a beaked air-slicing hand movement.
The guy turned around and looked at Gopal.
“Who the fuck are you?” he responded cockily, with the self assurance of someone who’s been at a school where no one has ever thrown a punch but talks a lot of smack.
“Oh…” Hoss continued, finally putting brown and brown together. “I guess you’re talking about that fine little chicken teekka that walked by here, huh?”
“I’ll talk to her if I want, man. What are you going to do about it?”
Offered the chance to respond, Gopal stayed silent and clenched his fists.
“They didn’t teach you how to talk at your shitty little job, man? Do you work in Research or something? You gonna hurl rocks up at me from the third tier?”
And then Gopal finally spoke, full of confidence. The attack at the one thing he knew no one could mess with him on (elitism) sparked his inner super-dude. “Hm. I guess you didn’t see the league tables recently, huh?”
And the guy’s mouth began to form the word “what?” but Gopal’s fist muffled it as it landed on his face. Gopal had assumed the horseback riding position and unleashed 1.5 months of Tae Kwon Do training onto his adversary. This was, however, the first time Gopal had actually ever punched someone not wearing a headgear and Gi, so it was more of an open-handed slap. Nonetheless, his opponent was stunned and nearly fell backwards.
Before any of the friends could retaliate, a headsetted manager-type in a pinstripe suit and tie with an impressively large knot had intervened with two bouncers. They dragged Gopal downstairs, out of the club, and tossed him out onto Fifth Avenue.
Gopal chuckled to himself the whole way. After being thrown out, he walked home bathing in the fresh night air, drunk on adrenaline and Moët. His hand tingled with an encouraging sensation—he had gotten in his first fight tonight, and he’d done all right.
He felt his blackberry vibrate and wrangled it out of his pocket. He paused for a second and watched the blinking corner red light pulse a few times before checking the message.
Steve: “Wow, man. Wtf was that about? At least you don’t have to wait in this fucking line, though. It’s going to take me 3 hours to get out of this place.”
The next morning at around 7:30AM, Steve came back to the apartment to find Gopal passed out on the couch and Dan in a chair next to him working on his Thinkpad with a cup of coffee on the floor beside him. Gopal was still in his clothes from the night before and an eerie smile was painted across his sleeping face.
“Check out this slide I made!” Dan said eagerly to Steve once he registered he had company. And as if it weren’t 7:30AM on a Sunday, he excitedly turned the laptop’s screen around to reveal a tremendously cluttered PowerPoint with 30 Harvey balls, a pie graph, and a big tri-colored tapered tube.
Steve ignored him and walked over to the couch to prod Gopal awake. Gopal arose groggily and started punching the air and grumbling, obviously still dreaming about his title fight. But he eventually calmed down, and the boys rehashed the night in fantastic specificity.
Gopal told the story of the fight, enhancing details as necessary to make himself look more badass. It turned out that Steve went home with Francie, but “only got an hj.” Sapna had asked after Gopal repeatedly. And Dan and Lauren just ended up fighting all night about how much he traveled but then spooned, which Dan enjoyed.
While the guys were laughing over the details and capitalizing on every opportunity to zing one another, Morgan walked out of his room, still in his slacks and untucked white undershirt. Lack of sleep showed on a face that seemed almost entranced.
Steve, Gopal, and Dan all paused and stared at their roommate.
“Guys,” he announced. “I’m going to the World Series of Poker.”