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All the King's Horses and All the King's Men

Carole shares her thoughts on the whole Housewives experience -- and a glimpse into her new novel.

By Carole Radziwill

Spin Doctor
Spin is the name of my friend Jonathan’s ping pong club on 23rd Street. It’s a really cool place where you can play pong, eat or just have a drink with friends and watch the pros play.

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I put the event together to raise money for the IFP (Independent Film Project) New York and their Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund which my mother-in-law and I set up after my husband died. We worked very hard together and raised over $500,000 to establish it. The fund awards development grants to emerging documentary filmmakers and has helped many new and very talented filmmakers get their work produced.

Anthony left ABC News after we married to head the documentary division of HBO. He was brilliant at it -- he received an Oscar nomination for the documentary he produced on Lenny Bruce -- and he was passionate about his work, so it seemed an appropriate way to honor him.

Ping pong, however, is another story. It doesn’t honor anyone. It’s a maddening game with a crazy little ball that is impossible to control; it seemed perfect for Housewives. Plus, Spin has a bar. Also perfect.

I asked two of the club’s professionals to play with us, since most of us didn’t know a ping from a paddle. Frank is very good, Jonathan might have been stoned. Heather turned out to have a mean backhand and she and Frank came from behind, in a stunning upset, to beat Avery and take home Mario’s trophy. I learned a good lesson from this: If you want to skip a fight or the recap of a fight, plan a ping pong tournament.

Finally, the Toaster Oven! Oops, it’s Just the Box
Big Guns came back and gave Sonja two pictures. And can I just say, that is one sexy box. And Big Guns seems thrilled to be leaving the toaster oven box business. Did you see him? He did a jig. Heather went above and beyond the call of friend duty. Heather signed up for reality and she got unreality. Heather is in the undergarments fashion business. She is not in the toaster oven box business. Although I think she’d kill it in the empty box business, too. Did I mention she holds a dozen patents from the US Government?

Finally, Sonja’s sense of humor is back -- screw the toaster oven, she wants to interview the hot guys. Duh! When does the Sonja Tremont Talk Show air, anyway? The one where she wears sultry ball gowns, headbands, and interviews hot guys?

Teresa in the House
I never met-a-phor I didn’t like. Ha ha. And this scene is no exception. My sister-in-law gives us another tease of her sultry voice. She worked her way through college on phone sex. Do you recognize her? Don’t lie.

And yes, I’m comparing books to babies again. Yes, I know I haven’t had any babies. Yes, I know babies are hard, I’m just saying that writing a book is a bitch and there’s no epidural. And in the end, when I finished, I had to throw my own party and buy the champagne and flowers myself.

I’ve been to a lot of baby showers and I’ve bought a lot of strollers. I bought one for my sister-in-law, even; she liked it. She’s had babies, and books, and she wishes books came much easier.

I-R-O-N-Y meet I-R-H-O-N-Y
Season Note: Ramona plays up her pinot drinking escapades on the show. I get it. She’s in the wine business. She loves her pinot. She says herself, “I work hard and I play hard.” We’ve heard it all season. Sonja plays up the lampshade on her head party-goer who owns a party planning company. Cool. I think it suits them to always look like the life of the party, and I’m sure it is good for business. They chose to play it that way, and consume many glasses of pinot, whether it’s completely true or not. In St. Barths they both had a glass of pinot in their hand in nearly every scene. It is fun to watch, right? We all enjoy it. They make me laugh most of the time. For the record, I think the drinking all the time is a little bit of an act for cameras. But with that in mind. . .

I couldn’t help but wonder. . .Does anyone see the tongue in cheek humor in Ramona and Sonja attending a fundraiser related to liver disease? But first. . .

Does anyone recognize Alan the hairdresser from our Bartini cherry bomb scene? Heather took him home that night. Not kidding. He dressed up like a pirate and. . .well, read it on Wetpaint.

Aviva looks good in everything. No tights, shapely legs, great butt, fabulous outfit. Hot. Just don’t drop the jacket, Viv. Don’t take off the jacket. Aviva, what are you doing? Noooooo. . .Don’t take off the gorgeous jacket and put those silly necklaces on, no! You dropped the jacket! Aviva is a good sport, but not a good model. Models are not designers. Models are meant to be seen and not heard. Strut and smile, and smile! Did Heather just say “strap-on”?

This is where worlds collide. The crossroads of everything that came before and will most definitely come again -- Sonja and Ramona are attending a liver organ donation charity event. I’d take Sonja’s heart, because it’s big. And I’d take Ramona’s stomach, she’s got a strong one, but I’ll pass on her colon. It malfunctions when Aviva is around. I’d take her corneas, though, and small intestine but none of her filtering organs -- liver, kidney, pancreas, nope. She’s unfiltered and those organs are working hard. I’d take her lungs. I’d definitely take Ramona’s lungs. Her lungs, in fact, would be my number one pick, that and Sonja’s décolleté. Can you donate décolleté?

Lucy and Ethel are at it again here talking all the way through the show, complaining about. . .? (Drum roll, please.) Yep. The toaster oven shoot. You can’t make this up. I couldn’t write this. Shakespeare couldn’t write this. Didn’t I tell you we’d be talking about this photoshoot until the very last minute? I don’t lie.

The show was incredible. It was Heather’s moment to shine. It was for a wonderful, heartfelt cause, and it was fabulous. Ping pong champ and sexy fundraising Queen, Holla! Nice way to end a season.

My Baby Book Shower
George has been lying about his age. Did you see how I did that? I took Mad Aviva and turned her into Fun Aviva. I’m a princess, I waved my wand. I like when Aviva laughs, she has a nice laugh. She needs to keep her hair out of buns, her waist out of corsets, and her laugh out of the closet! Those are words to live by. I take every chance I get to throw some humor into the show now. I’m looking for the funny.

Jacques toasted me. Ramona is seeing. Ramona is apologizing. It took her seven hours to come to my party. Let’s make love, not war. Ramona is stealing my lines. Everybody was. What if I run out of lines?

I invited a bunch of my real life friends to my I Finished My Book party. That’s them sneaking around giggling in the background. They were like Florida school kids at Great Adventure -- thrilled to see the animals in their element. Giddy at the chance to see us Housewives up close, unleashed, in the wild. There was an audible gasp in the room when Ramona grabbed my arm, like when the lions yawn then eat a visitor at the zoo. They’re still talking about it, right now. Rule #746: Don’t invite your friends to your Real Housewife party.

Michael my agent sounds like he’s reading from Tolstoy. He’s a good agent.

By the end of the party, though, my eyes have come unhinged, they’re rolling around in my sockets like marbles. I look possessed. And then, just when I think we’re all fait accompli, a great tremor lifts the room. A powerful wind howls and rages and chunky jewelry is swept up in a cloud. Our screams and fights and screams are all mashed up in a swirling dervish of Louboutins. It’s bedlam. The building buckles and bends. My head, oh my head. Something furry lands on my cheek. I pass out.

When I come to, the wind has died down, the cabs are askew on the Avenues and I am in my bed, in my room, with Margaret curled at my feet. Lenny, my mailman, is applying a compress to my head. He’s in a blue strapless dress, which seems odd, but I don’t let it concern me. Tripp has come round with my coffee, and a man wearing a leather vest, who I can’t quite place on his arm. Lydia my housekeeper holds a tray of mac and cheese truffles. She’s wearing a brown bikini but none of that’s important.

My intern, Eric, hands me a wine bottle and adjusts his boa.

“Now, now,” he says. “It’s okay. You must have been dreaming.”

“No.” I say. “I wasn’t. It was a real truly live place, and I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice. And most of it was very drunk. There was a Lion with a huge smile and a Scarecrow with cleavage and a kind Tinman who tried to fly and a Wizard who made wine -- oh, and a real-life Countess! But just the same all I kept saying to everybody was ‘I want to go home.’”

Tripp takes my hand, “Carole, this is George. He’s from Miami. He wants to have your baby.” George looks like Johnny Depp but before I can tell Tripp this, Lydia proposes a toast. “Oh my,” I say. “You all seem so. . .familiar.”

I shake my head. No. It was just a dream. In the other room, my piano begins to play. “Hey, baby, I was worried about you,” Russ yells. I smile. Then someone starts to sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“Is that. . .Cara Quici?”

“Shh,” Eric says. “Take a drink.” I do. I felt better. I scratch Margaret behind the ears. A parade goes by under my window. A tuba plays on the street. Someone screams something about f---ing in the ass. Coats go to charity. Dresses to moviestars.

“Oh, but anyway, Mags,” I say, “We’re home! And this is our room, and we’re here. And we’re not gonna leave here ever, ever again because it’s crazy out there! They yell. And no one knows what they’re yelling about and there are too many lunches. But it’s okay. It is. Because there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

And. . .cut. Fade to black.

This was a heck of a ride. Thanks for sticking with me, you guys. I miss you already.

Until we meet again. . .

[Editor's note: Read on for an excerpt from The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating]

Random excerpt from: The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating

They were just starting, Claire and Dr. Singh; they’d just finished shifting in chairs and clearing their throats, and were on Claire’s second question.

“So is there any evidence, then, that the size of the penis matters, reproductively speaking?”

Just as a hint of a smile crossed her face, Claire’s cell phone began to buzz. She’d set it to “vibrate” and now it lurched noisily across the desk.

“I’m sorry, just ignore it,” she said, and made a gesture with her hand to mean “go on.”

“Before we get too far,” said Singh, “let’s do this.” He was holding a measuring tape. He jumped up, then motioned for Claire to stand so he might measure and calculate her own ratio, her own potential for reproduction.

“I’ve studied every Playboy centerfold since 1952,” he said, with his arms around Claire’s waist, his head down. He mumbled a number and jotted it on his notepad. “And though the bunnies have gotten thinner” -- he paused as if about to reveal a great secret -- “their hip-to-waist ratios have remained the same!”

A stack of transparencies lay on his desk; anatomically correct line drawings of well-ratioed women: Eva Mendes, Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch. He showed Claire, laying the drawings one over the other, how the shapes were different but the ratios stayed in line.

“Watch this,” he said, putting a transparency of Kate Moss over Scarlett Johansson. “Hmm? Surprised?”

“Well, Kate’s skinnier, and her breasts…”

“But that’s it!” Singh shrieked, delighted. “It’s not the breasts!” He lowered his voice and leaned toward her. “It is strictly the proportion of the hip to the waist. It signals health and fertility. This is the true essence of desire.”

Claire looked down at her own small breasts. She wanted to believe him. She wondered if there was a Mrs. Singh, and if so, what size her breasts were. He jotted her measurements on a notepad and did the math. “Ha! Point seven five,” he said, nodding in approval. “Almost perfect.”

The buzzing continued, persistent. Claire’s phone lurched forward, then stopped, then lurched again. Dr. Singh took in the spectacle.

“We should take a short break,” he said.

Claire agreed, and while Singh ruffled papers she punched in the number for voicemail and pressed “one” to play her messages. There were four:

The first was a policeman in a somber tone: “Mrs. Byrne, this is Officer Callan from the 19th precinct. I need you to contact me immediately, your husband…there’s been an accident.” The second was Richard, who also asked her to call back, and spoke in a suspiciously measured tone. The third was Michael, Claire’s close friend and Charlie’s longtime assistant, who just said, “Honey. I’m sorry. Oh fuck.”

Sasha was fourth. She was sobbing and Claire could hear ice clinking glass. “Jesus, Claire, why aren’t you answering your phone? They dropped a goddamn Giacometti on Charlie, turn the TV on! He’s dead! Oh God. . .Richard said he didn’t suffer. Call me.”

Claire set her phone on the desk and looked at Singh shuffling paper stacks. She ran a couple of versions through her head, then settled on this: “My husband, I think, is dead.” She looked out the window and her gaze fell on an oak tree.

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