It’s Saturday and Ira insisted we go to his new office. It is somewhat of a relief and somewhat of a put off because I know he wants to show off and possibly even have sex there. It’s like I don’t have any say in this game of his. I am on a moving train and I don’t even know who, if anyone, is behind the wheel. Is it Ira? Is it me? Is it someone else? I am clueless. Adrift somewhere in another dimension. I am free floating on the outskirts of his life. His office. His wife. His children. His business. His trips.
“I want, ahhh, your opinion on how it’s decorated. I love the conference table, but, ahhh, you tell me what you think.” We have been whatever it is we are since he found me last year and I have become accustomed to the way he peppers his words with “ahhs” as if he is catching his breath or thinking of what to say.
The elevator doors swing open on the 16th floor in a narrow commercial building along 57th Street not far from his old office at Trump Tower.
What I won’t know until years later when I read a New York Times article in 1991 is that the elder Riklis moved out of Donald Trump’s building in a rather odd way: by skipping out on the rent. And as per a lawsuit filed by Trump: “….under cover of the night they moved out of two lavishly appointed floors of the Trump Tower that they had rented for $100,750 a month, leaving about $1 million in unpaid rent.” The lawsuit also charges that “Mr. Riklis and his wife surreptitiously moved a host of paintings and antiques from the 18th and 25th floors of the glitzy skyscraper.”
Ira’s office at Trump Tower was on the 18th floor while his father’s office was on the 25th floor.
“The executive suites with views of Central Park that Mr. Riklis maintained for five years at Trump Tower had granite floors, silk damask and lacquered wood walls, French antiques, museum-quality ancient Jewish artifacts, and a full-sized kitchen. Among the decorations in the suites were Old Master paintings and a life-size nude portrait of Miss Zadora that hung near Mr. Riklis’s desk.”
Ira moved out before his father made his getaway with his holding company Rapid American Corporation, McCrory Corporation and rest of the Riklis’s myriad of diversified companies that included everything from clothing (Botany 500) to luggage (Samsonite) to Playtex (tampons and even the division that made the Apollo 11 astronaut suits for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) to a hotel in Las Vegas (The Riviera) and almost every type of company in between.
“This is it,” Ira announces. He is dressed casually with a white shirt, grey slacks and a blue and yellow windbreaker. He waves his arm majestically in the air and then clutches my hand for the grand tour.
“It’s the whole floor,” he explains as he tells me who will sit where in the approximately 5,000 square foot space. “And this is my office,” he beams proudly ushering me past the door into the corner office where the windows overlook 57th Street. It’s very quiet despite the vast amount of traffic on the street below.
As we walk in there is an over-sized painting hanging on the wall to the left of the entrance. It is a life size portrait of his wife, Diana, and their two children.
I stop to absorb its grandeur. I’ve never seen a painting of a someone’s wife as large as this and which looks like it belongs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art instead of inside a person’s office.
“That, ahh, was her tenth anniversary gift.”
“I see. Impressive.” What it really told me was that she didn’t want him to lose sight of her. The way his desk was situated in front of the large window or really anywhere in his private office, her presence was felt. Her eyes followed him from every angle of his inner sanctum. The coldness of her eyes settled on my skin in a way that made me feel wildly uncomfortable. It was just one more in a series of one uncomfortable events followed by another and then another. I was already way too lost to count the infractions against my soul.
“Please have a seat,” almost gallantly he pulls out one of the chairs for me to sit on and then skips around his desk plopping himself on his large antique swivel chair.
I can’t help but to notice the accoutrements of wealth lined up on the edge of the desk: an early Wall Street ticker machine, a Lalique crystal paperweight, a solid gold Tiffany desk clock, a rare Faberge egg. Certainly not your grandmother’s tchotchkes I think silently as I marvel at the treasures.
“This is my grandfather’s cash register,” his beams proudly.
“It still works!” he adds enthusiastically as he rings up numbers and the drawer pops open.
He takes his seat again and hands me a check made out to one of the corporations he had me create.
“Don’t use your bank anymore,” he instructs. “Use my bank, the family bank.”
“Which bank?” the directives he gives me for everything are overwhelming and exhausting.
“Bank of New York. There is a branch on the Upper West Side not far from you. Go there. Only bank there from this moment on.”
I will not know for many years to come that Bank of New York was a money laundering vehicle for the men in Ira’s circle: his father, their business partners, their friends. And for the Russian mafia. The bank for the secretive cabal of wealthy men who I know run the world.
“Let me show you my safe.” He opens the door to the left of his desk (on the same side of the office as the creepy life-sized portrait of his wife). It is the size of a studio apartment in Manhattan. I follow him inside.
“Wow, this is cozy. What do you keep in here?”
He bends down and opens the safe which is in the middle of the studio sized closet. He pulls out issues of Victoria’s Secret magazine. I see all sorts of financial documents. Stock certificates, bearer bonds, cash, papers.
“These are beautiful,” he tells me as he opens a Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalog.
I am quietly amused.
“Before, ahhh, I met you, this got me very excited. Now, ahhh, only you excite me.”
I immediately have images of him jerking off to Leslie Wexner’s Victoria’s Secret catalogs.
“Ahhh, I like that you wear the Lejaby lingerie I helped you buy in San Francisco because Wexner’s lingerie is cheap stuff.” His eyes are like daggers into my flesh and I dare not move. His lips droop open slightly.
He takes my hand and leads me out of the safe and to the leather sofa which sits opposite his desk. I take my position on my knees as he unzips his pants. With his wife watching from the portrait I take his erect penis into my mouth. I think about the fact that I need to get to the supermarket because I don’t have orange juice in the fridge. And then I flicker my tongue around him softly in the way he has taught me.