please teach me about love, Adrienne Brodeur

I brought the manuscript for this book you are reading to my publisher. Exie was out so I went to the head cheese himself. I gave him the manuscript and told him about it. I came back later after he’d flipped through it.

He said, “Do you mean me to understand that you wrote this book in one week.”

“Did you read the coffee voodoo part?” I asked.

“I took it to be hyperbole.”

“Ah.”

“It wasn’t?”

“No.”

“I see.”

“Yeah, well, it’s an easy mistake to make,” I said.

He was looking for right words. He did that whenever we met. It made our conversations feel like a car that was running on fumes. He said, “It’s very different from your previous books.”

“Thank you.”

“It was just an observation.”

“I enjoy being different from my previous books. I’ll take it as a compliment.”

“And the names in the book are also not fiction?”

“Which names?”

“The women. The chapter women.”

“No. They are not fiction.”

“I see. Burroughs?”

“That’s fiction. The name I mean. I never met Burroughs.”

“Good.”

“The stories are true. It was Hunter S Thompson, not Burroughs, and we only actually met on one occasion. I caught him stealing a credit card out of my dayrunner and I beat the shit out of him. He did yell in the voice of an old man, though.”

“I see. Your family material?”

“That’s my friend CM’s family. I’m an orphan.”

“Does he know you’ve used his family in your manuscript?”

“No. I haven’t talked to that asshole in five, six years.”

“…You realize there are many potential lawsuits lurking in this manuscript.”

“I have no money and no prospects. I hope they sue. They will lose money trying to get blood from a stone. I always liked the sound of that. I wanted to be that metaphor. That’s why I wrote this book.”

“But if you succeed in your writing and start making some real money. This will haunt you forever.”

“I don’t want to succeed in America until they repeal the Sherman Act and impeach a president. I want to teach scuba on an island in Thailand and learn to be a kite maker.”

He looked at his shoes like someone trying to figure out how to say something no one should have to say.

“Are you even aware of the name of the publishing house that I and Exie work for and has published three-and-a-half of your books?”

“I thought it would be funny.”

“I’ve been thinking about firing Exie,” he said. Exie is my editor and the only reason why they print my books anyway.

“I see.”

“This doesn’t help.”

“I understand your position. I used to edit other people’s graceful trash. So you can see how I would know what it’s like to be in your shoes.”

He didn’t have anything else he wanted to tell me about his shoes so I went home wearing my own shoes to wait and see if I had got my only friend in the publishing industry fired. And if they were going to publish the book.

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