This is my Henry James impersonation.

Confessions of a Fool: The Autobiography of Henry Noble

If Mason Enright felt it necessary, he would not hesitate to humiliate his friends, not in retaliation for any perceived transgression, and not simply for his own pleasure (although, with his boisterous laugh and toothy grin, he made it plain that his actions gave him indecent amounts of pleasure), nor merely to demonstrate his obvious physical and mental superiority, but to show them that, if they appeared not to want to follow his program, then he could do without them. He employed various techniques of psychological abuse on both his friends and his lovers, and they almost always kept coming back for more.

As I saw it, M.E. had a side to his personality that was actually very likable; it was because of his underused kindness, as well as his erudition, that I chose to be his friend for ten mostly unpleasant years. Since kindness is weakness in the day-to-day world, I saw less and less of M.E. the nice guy as we got older. It got to the point where I felt I could relate to Mase about five minutes out of the day, five minutes where he acted like a decent human being, and, as time went on, it seemed like I only saw that side of him after he had said or done something mean to me or someone else, so that it wasn’t even a spontaneous kindness anymore.

One more thing: Eventually, all the shitty things he’d been doing to other people, he started doing to me. That did have its benefits, though; at least I got rid of the guilt I’d been feeling for laughing at his other victims, although I didn’t suppose they’d be sympathizing with me, the fallen one, anytime soon.

Falling from grace with the Evil Deceiver, the Gamesmaster, also freed me to join the ranks of the upstanding young citizens of America, a role to which I was thoroughly unaccustomed, having experienced it only briefly in childhood and early adolescence. I found it maddeningly restrictive and unpleasant. But when I met Mase, I became free to strike terror into the hearts of those who dared try to impose their standards of decency and moral conduct on me; however, the truth was that I always did a fairly half-assed job of it. I let my concern for how my actions might affect others hinder my performance, and Mase knew it.

In my years at college and beyond, I met a lot of other Mases (and permutations thereof) who could do the terror thing a lot better than I could, and even as they practiced their unholy craft on me, I kept saying to myself, “God! I wish I could be more like them!”