My computer wasn’t working when I went into work today. There was a homeless man sleeping in the alley. A person without a shirt stuck his head in and asked if we bought books. I didn’t respond. I’m not going to yell back across the whole store just because he’s not wearing a shirt. You’ve got to be kidding me.

There’s going to be quite a bit smaller portion of this left once all is said and done, so I might as well be more vulnerable. The vulnerable bits are what will end up remaining. The craft of creating takes a degree of madness, says Manwell. I’m mad most of the time, I tell him. The apple picking pansies are on my tail. They’re hell bent on knocking off the Nazis. It’s like, I’m asking you to follow my lead, and if you’re not interested, don’t follow. It’s easy. I know that it’s been done to me. And am I bitter, sure? but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and maybe you’re a fan of bitter apples. Don’t matter. I’m not here for them anymore. I’m after you. It’s a long road ahead of us, and we’ve got to keep walking. Don’t get bogged down by all the little stuff. My father-in-law is soon to be a grandparent, and all of the people at the grocery store are treating me like a second hand citizen. Why? because I’m bulky as a football player and my hair is long and tied back in a white scrunchy, a word Jake hasn’t said since the nineties. He’s one of them, and I’m older than him, but he’s been at the store longer than me, which is why I’m so submissive to him. He’s going part time soon, around the time that I leave on paternity and Franny goes to school in Chicago. He’s going to take film classes at the community college. He does not think that the director who had an event at our shop is Lynchian. Lynch was an artist who became a filmmaker, he says, not wanting to sound too much like a snob. The guy who had an event at our shop tries to insert his own sense of humor into his films, and it’s not for me. The West is not dead, I say. There are still sparks of what was in Edward Abbey and Charles Bowden. Reality, says the film director, always pulling out his camera and capturing what is right in front of him. The wise stranger. Don’t shut yourself out to them. Thirty minutes of straight flow at bed. My lover is asleep without sex. She is not holding me. She is pregnant with my child, but you all are more than well enough aware of that. I sat up in the mezzanine and watched a guy watch a short wearing long legs, hiding behind the bananas, going back and forth between produce. Made me want to masturbate, and I don’t know who was watching me watch them. Don’t care. Long hair. Built like a football player. Always wearing my jacket from the corpse. Another time. I’m undercover, and I can’t let them catch me. The separation from the e-cigarette has separated me from Jamie-Beth and she is a militant feminist. Gotta watch out for her and Jake especially, not to mention Franny, and Estelle, who knows about the new Musette. It could be a trap, but if she’s anything like the original, I should be fine. But don’t show her my writing. Everyone is always after my writing. If they catch me in the act, they’ll impale me on it. I will be killed by what I love. Live by the sword die by the sword style. Don’t even know what I’m after anymore, but a little bit of print would be nice, and maybe once it’s out of me, I’ll start dropping a few. Hard to say, man. People are heavy. Ask Celine, and then even kick me off of twitter. Artistic expression, it’s gotta be sincere, but if it’s evil, we’ll kick you right the fuck out. Literature used to be for that, but this is new money, son. Talk about American Gods. Who made the deal with the devil? The wickedness has escaped the page and taken place right here in the atmosphere. You might not be able to see it. But you can breathe it in. Don’t do too much of that there though, because it will kill you. It’s poison. Look what it’s turned me into. I used to have big dreams. Thought I’d be where they are by now, but I’m down here, with my tattered clothes, taking my shirt off, waving it like a flag, opening the door and asking if any of y’all buy books. I am an ex-pat. I am an outsider. I am lower class. There are more of us than you may think. And everybody needs a writer.

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