Part I is here if you somehow weren’t one of the 19 people who read it but you probably were so let’s move on.
First, the smell. It slaps her in the face. Roses somewhere. Barbecue too. The smell runs around throughout the mansion, dripping all over everything.
Mae is met by a descending set of stairs. They’re black marble, cascading down into the white marble of the main foyer of the home like night pulling the shades on day.
At the top of the stairs she looks to her right. A pin of corgis. Each guest gets one. All with golden collars. All already pre-named after a different Kanye West song. She has them sit Can’t Tell Me Nothing aside and begins her journey down the stairs.
As they did outside, all eyes in the room go to Mae. She is that great ideal. She is perfection. They all either be her, or be with her. Everything looks satin soft and they all wonder what it would be like to touch her.
She glides to the bottom of the stairs with smoothness usually reserved for spilled water. When she gets there, the lights in the room dim and the neon pink lights on the walls light up. They spell a word: Funk.
A spotlight on a stage on the opposite wall. The room stops with its buzzing and goes quiet like a corpse. The spotlight widens. Two lions, both fully grown, both with manes dyed lime green, stand on either side of a microphone stand. Then, from the right side of the stage, a figure emerges.
Mae sees the silhouette of the flat-top and knows it’s him. Her heart finds its way to her throat and she does what she can to keep the chills off her arm. The room dead around her, all that is heard is the tap of Cole’s custom, all green, Adidas Stan Smiths.
Then he’s in the spotlight. His suit is navy blue, his shirt is silver, and his tie is red. The fabric hugs him. He looks like he was born in that suit. Mae now notices the burgundy curtain behind him.
The lions roar like they’re employed by MGM and he grabs the mic. He eyes the room for what feels like three hours. As he pans, he makes eye contact with Mae. He holds it briefly and she doesn’t look away. Then he moves on and speaks.
“Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Norris Cole. This is my home, but for tonight it is also your home. Treat it well and live hard in it. Enjoy yourselves.”
He places the mic back in the stand and leaves the opposite direction he came from. The whole room claps and cheers like Dan Marino came back to play football and had just led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. As he leaves, the burgundy curtain parts to either side of the stage and out pops The Roots, D’Angelo, and John Legend. Mae hears the first few notes slide out.
She’s heard them before. Brown Sugar.
Then, softly, she feels a hand on her right shoulder. She turns around. It’s Cole. The lights dim just a bit more. He doesn’t say a word. He just smiles, grabs her by the hand, and leads her to the dance floor. White Chirstmas lights are strung along the border of the dance floor and up and above their heads, too.
She walks with him to the edge of the border of the dance floor and he turns around and lets her go ahead of him. She does. She winds through the guests till she gets to an empty spot on the floor. Then she turns ‘round and eyes him. He steps to her and she doesn’t move. Then he put his right arm on her waist and coaxes her hip one way. She lets her hip go and they start their sway.
She looks around. Dexter Pittman is in a corner with a plate full of shrimp. He’s in a yellow onesie. There’s a red eagle emblem on the right chest and the word “Lush” in descending letters on the left chest. His hat is every color and has a propeller on the top of it.
There’s Alonzo Mourning. Stone faced and sad. He’s in a pair of purple boxers and some orange lace up Vans. He’s sitting on a leopard print ottoman with an unopened Corona Light in his right hand.
Off to the right, Joel Anthony starts jumping up, trying to touch the lights above their heads. He never reaches any of them.
The two dancing don’t get fancy. They let the other know they can move, but they’re not revealing their hole cards. Back and forth. Back. Forth. Both of them moving with closed eyes.
Then the song ends. He squeezes her hand and, as Legend begins “Save Room”, Cole slips away. She stands there beneath the indoor stars and stares off toward the pink letters on the wall. Funk.