I WENT ON A DATE WITH A WRITER WHO WAS LITTLE MORE THAN A RACKETEER. At the exhibit showcasing the works of the long-dead artist who had once been in exile from an old country, he read the descriptions of the paintings and wrote down one word from each on his uncalloused palm. He was merely borrowing, would save these words for later. I tried to catch them while I drifted from painting to painting of women and bouquets, levitating upwards. Exuberant, one might have said, or maybe exhume. They fluttered and crumpled each time he closed his palm. The rituals of creative types are only a few degrees away from felony.
Afterwards, we went to a bar, where the writer told me that there are two things one is absolutely forbidden to write about: writers and bars.
I told him that when I was a kid, I used to drink my mother’s aromatized vermouth straight from the bottle and never even blinked; how the burn would wear the silk recesses of my throat, to sever it from the inside-out. I was a young drinker: twelve, thirteen.
Erode, he said. It would erode your throat.
Yeah, okay, I mean, it would erode it, I guess.
A date between two men or a date between two women might as well take place on an analyst’s expensive chaise. Here are the ways in which my life has been harder. Let me count them, let me hold them up for you to see, let’s both feel bad together.
His username had been HexameterMe; his online dating profile had listed his occupation under Creative/Writing/Art. So of course, I asked about it.
Well, yeah, I freelance. He paused. The dark mahogany light of the bar dimmed for the exchange of ambience. A stout, unlit candle stood on every table. I also work for an agency. I database for them. I database during the day. So he, too, wanted to be his better self. Continue reading “Breakers” – Fiction by J.E. Reich→