Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pub, Bud, and Bets

[Beginning of recorded material]

Publisher: Give it some time, Budweiser. We want to make sure she's not just pretending to write literature, you know, filling in key words, using phrases linked to art ... If she lived in the city and wrote about having typed memos, that'd be one thing. No, we don't want to be hustled here, pandering crap. We're not shit-panderers, Bud.

Bud: Yeah, I've heard a lot of these whores learn fancy talk from their johns, slap it down the page, and bammo! ... That's it, the end of justice.

Pub: That's not happening this time, we're going to make damn sure. [Presses intercom button.] Betty, could you come in here a minute?

[Enter Betty.]

Pub: Betty, could you call the whore's agent and say we just don't know for sure, that maybe we'll wait till her second book is done? Can't be too sure nowadays. Whores can get their hands on everything.

Betty: Should I say the whore part?

Pub: No, no. Keep that between us. Wouldn't want to give her anything else to write about. [Phone rings.] I'll get it, Bets. You can go back to your desk. Hello?

Me: If you don't publish my books, could I give you free blowjobs?

Pub: I'm not paying.

Me: No, free blowjobs. I won't even charge for the type.

Pub: Nothing you could possibly do would be worth any money; not now, anyway.

Me: I'm not asking for money, not even minimum wage.

Pub: I'm not paying.

Me: I'll kill you when you're sleeping.

Pub: Send your resume to my secretary. Put "Attention: Publisher." We'll call you if we're interested.

[Hangs up phone.]

Bud: Now they're phone-soliciting!

Pub: Can't get your cock sucked nowadays. Everything costs something. You'd think we were running a charity, the way these artists want money.

Bud: We don't want to encourage prostitution.

Pub: We don't believe in whores.

Bud: Whores cost money, and life isn't free.

Pub: Let's call up the lunch wagon.

Bud: Gonna' ring Betty?

Pub: Yeah.

Bud: Hey, I wonder if she takes it up her ass.

Pub: Betty has been with us for years. She's a good gal.

Bud: You did her?

Pub: Nah, knows the wife.

Bud: That's a drag.

Pub: Well, what can ya' do?

Bud: Gotta live.

Pub: Don't ya'! [Rings Betty.] Betty, could you call the lunch wagon now? [Hangs up phone.] Betty has been with us for years.

[End of recorded material]


Copyright, 2008, Jennifer Chesler, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Narcissist (Slightly Extended but Revised)

Hmm.
I was thinking . . .
About?
Careful.
One minute.
There.
The lawyer poising, a finger on his mouth. His left eye swells puffed with three creases in his desertweathered skin, eyes glassy with red spiderweb lines. He makes himself looks like he's thinking, thinking only about creating this tableau of himself deep in thought. Taut skin over bones, dry and tan. A finger bulbous at a knuckle on his large though thin hand.
Hmm, he says again. Could I? . . .
Careful.
He turns his head in the other direction, facing a window in the underground. Against the black tunnel wall the glass mirrors him. That's good, he thinks, finally able to get past this show of consideration.
I have time to listen, if what you have to say is not about me, he says.
It's not about you, says the writer.
Well. What is it then?
Nothing.
I want to hear it.
As long as it's not about you.
She goes too far. He loathes her sarcasm.
Fuck me, he shouts. Fuck me.
Shadows from a passing train flicker across his face. A passenger rolls his eyes.
I've got to get to work.
I'm distracted.
If only . . .
Hmm.
The train doesn't go any faster.
Work, work, work, he says, maneuvering himself off the underground, walking briskly up the urinesmelling staircase and into a yellow day. He stands under a tree and lights a long, thin brownpaper cigarette. Tents housing the homeless form a grid on the grass in front of the government building. The lawyer looks toward them, but his vacant eyes show no sign of recognition. His gaze is one of someone staring into an abyss. He finishes his cigarette, throws the butt in a trashcan, and glances around himself as though deciding which way to go, though his destination at this stop is, as always, the courthouse. As he mounts the steps, he stops and turns, having heard a female voice call his name. A middle-aged woman dressed in black steps out of a cab.
What are you doing here?
What are you doing here?
[Laughter.]
I'm trying a case. You?
Oh, no. I'm just watching.
She appraises him.
First time in front of the 9th Circuit?
No, no. This is probably my 10th.
Are you a lawyer, she asks the writer.
No.
She's my girlfriend.
I came to watch too.
My boyfriend is in bed at the hotel in the East Bay.
[Laughter.]
She motions to his hand, which holds a pack of Nat Sherman's.
Got to watch him with those cigarettes.
She smokes more than I do. Me? . . . I only smoke a few a day. This was my first one.
She looks surprised.
Good luck.
Thanks. Good to see you.

Copyright, 2008, Jennifer Chesler, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Narcissist

Hmm.
I was thinking . . .
About?
Careful.
One minute.
There.
The lawyer poising, a finger on his mouth. His left eye swells puffed with three creases in his desertweathered skin, eyes glassy with red spiderweb lines. He makes himself looks like he's thinking, thinking only about creating this tableau of himself deep in thought. Taut skin over bones, dry and tan. A finger bulbous at a knuckle on his large though thin hand.
Hmm, he says again. Could I? . . .
Careful.
He turns his head in the other direction, facing a window in the underground. Against the black tunnel wall the glass mirrors him. That's good, he thinks, finally able to get past this show of consideration.
I have time to listen, if what you have to say is not about me, he says.
It's not about you, says the writer.
Well. What is it then?
Nothing.
I want to hear it.
As long as it's not about you.
She goes too far. He loathes her sarcasm.
Fuck me, he shouts. Fuck me.
Shadows from a passing train flicker across his face. A passenger rolls his eyes.
I've got to get to work.
I'm distracted.
If only . . .
Hmm.
The train doesn't go any faster.
Work, work, work. See ya', he says, maneuvering himself off the underground, walking briskly up the urinesmelling staircase and into a yellow day. He stands under a tree and lights a long, thin brownpaper cigarette. Tents housing the homeless form a grid on the grass in front of the government building. The lawyer looks toward them, but his vacant eyes show no sign of recognition. His gaze is one of someone staring into an abyss. He finishes his cigarette, throws the butt in a trashcan, and glances around himself as though deciding which way to go, though his destination stop is, as always, the courthouse.


Copyright, 2008, Jennifer Chesler, All Rights Reserved