“Basil has painted the most amusing picture of me,” Dorian said as he threw himself onto a settee opposite Lord Henry ‘Harry’ Wotton, who lounged on an Empire chair with oversized wings. “You really must see it. Quite captures my ethereal beauty for the ages.”
“ I have seen it,” Harry replied with an intolerable air of insouciant smugness. “He posted it on Facebook an hour ago. Fourteen likes. My. I must say I expected more.”
“What?” Dorian grabbed his iPhone and checked. “Twenty now. Well, I’m sure it’s due to the change in metrics. Probably lots of people hiding Basil from their timeline what with his tedious happy horse pictures.”
“When he posts a laughing equine,” Lord Wotton drawled with a peculiar smile, “his stats on the website boom for a week after. It’s quite remarkable.”
“Tedious kitsch!” Dorian could not tear his eyes away from the screen. “Oh god, no!”
Harry sat up. His meme sense was tingling. “What is it, dear boy?”
Dorian’s hand curled into a fist. “Sybil,” he hissed through clenched teeth.
Lord Wotton’s lupine smile widened. “Oh dear, has she posted another snap from your night out?”
Harry set down his e-cigarette holder and took up his iPad, opening the buttery leather case to reveal the gleaming instrument within. “Oh, that is choice. How much did you swallow that night, Dorian? Half a butt?”
“She’s just mad because I shared the selfie I took with her brother at that opium den. I had no idea he was the same Vane family, let alone—”
Lord Wotton brought up his monocle to gaze at the young man in mock shock. “You didn’t sleep with him, too? Oh, you must change your Tinder profile again, dear boy.”
“Oh god, no!” Dorian stared at his phone with a mixture of loathing and horror on his face.
Harry pressed the refresh button rather too excitedly then roared with laughter. “Oh darling, it doesn’t do you justice. Amazing what you can do with Photoshop.”
“That horrible man!” Dorian’s hands shook. He thrust the phone down and got up to pace the room, muttering darkly. “He can’t get away with it. I will make him pay.”
“Oh, look. Alan Campbell has posted the picture to Twitter. Hashtag #oldDorian.” Lord Wotton shook with laughter. “You’re getting a mash-up with that toothless old man everyone was sharing last week. Oh and the grumpy cat. Remember him? Or was it her? I forget. These things pass so quickly.” He did his best to smile reassuringly at the young man, but he had dropped back onto the settee in a posture of abject despair, one arm over his eyes as if he could not bear to see how the meme evolved.
“It is too terrible to contemplate. A hashtag!”
“You know what Oscar said,” Harry tutted. ““There is only one thing in the world worse than being memed about, and that is not being memed about.”
Dorian sat up and glared at him. “He did not!”
Lord Wotton grinned. “Yes, he did. I went in and edited Wikipedia.”
Dorian sank back with a sob.