2015_07_15_22_19_52Author’s Note: Follow this story as it continues, intermittently, from day-to-day:

Day 1: At the Brewery

I am sitting at the Brewery and sipping on my Cranberry Merry Merry and this dude comes up and says he wants to have an imaginary conversation with me and I say what kind of conversation and he says an imaginary one and I say ‘in your dreams’ and he says that he thinks that loves me and I say ‘you are an idiot if you think that is going to work’ and he doesn’t say much but he kind of moonfaces me and I say like “‘dude whatever happened with the old ‘hey my name is Edgar can I buy you a drink’” and he looks all wounded and says it wasn’t just a line he really has imaginary conversations all the time for Instagram and I didn’t try to make sense out of it cause I was trying to figure out the best way to shake loose but while I am figuring he pulls a sketch out of a ratty backpack and says its me he drew it from across the way but he is too shy to show it to me and he holds it way back and at an angle so I can’t see it and of course I want to see it but also its sort of creepy that he has been drawing me from across the Brewery and I didn’t even know it so I say ‘that’s a sketchy thing to do’ and then he laughs and tells me he knew that he loved me and he lets me see the drawing and ouch it is bad – he has all of these weird circles where my sunglasses were and so it looks like I had gaga eyes and then my lips were all black and confusing and he didn’t get the shape of my face right – I mean you could maybe tell it was supposed to be me but not any me I’d want to meet – and I said kind of nicely but also kind of firmly too that it was ‘very nice’ and then I said ‘thank you though’ and he looked wounded again and said he still loved me but maybe a little less and he’d come tomorrow and we could make friends again though maybe he wouldn’t do any more drawings and to get rid of him I said I would see about that and he smiled a lot cause I think he thought that meant I would actually come but I only meant I would think about it and so I started to do that but I haven’t finished yet so I can’t say how it’ll come out …

Day 2: Sunglasses

…I decided to go back mostly because it was one of those perfect sunny days that make your arms tingle when you walk outside and I thought it would be perfect to sit at a long gray wooden table in the sun and I wasn’t there for two minutes before I saw the dude and he is waving and smiling like a smiley face as if I was specifically there to see him, which I was not, and anyone who knows me would know that, but he knew nothing of me so I suppose he could be understood to have misunderstood my presence but anyway none of that stopped him from bounding up to my table like a shaggy dog and handing me a Cranbery Merry Merry – how did he even know that I was partial to them? – honestly that was also creepy, though maybe not as creepy as the sketchy sketch he gave me yesterday cause at least he had seen me drink my maroon cocktail yesterday and from the color he might have puzzled it out but anyway I was inclined to be forgiving today because of the gloriousness of the sun on my arms and my chest – I was wearing this little blue top with a big scoop neck, perfect for soaking the sun even though it was little big and tended to gap when I leaned forward – so I thanked him and I asked him what he did and said that he was an illustrator and that made me groan silently cause having seen one illustration I could tell that there was no money in that and while I am not the sort of person who cares a whit about money in a man, you do like to know he can buy you two Cranberry Merry Merries without having to file Chapter 11 but then he added that he was also a columnist for a paper in San Francisco and that sounded better but before it sounded very good he added it wasn’t a paper in the sense of it being made of “paper” but rather was an Internet kind of column he wrote and while he didn’t use the word I deduced that he was a blogger and that made Chapter 11 twice as likely – was there a Chapter 22? – because blogger is just another name for broke and so I leaned back and used my left hand to make sure that any gap on my top was covered while he went on and on about his blog – he said it was called Imaginary Conversations – that’s apparently what he was trying to talk about yesterday when I was so not interested and now he was doing it again and I hadn’t hardly started my CMM and already I was thinking how I could scootch out of harm’s way and then he completely surprised me: he leaned forward so his face was close up to mine and then he gently – you could even say intimately – removed my sunglasses and looked straight and deep into my eyes and said “Rianna” – that’s my name, if you didn’t know; he got that right – and said “you have the most beautiful sunglasses I have ever seen….”

Day 3: Clumsy

…and then he launches into this morbid story about how he went down to that old cemetery on the island and found the oldest grave to make a gravestone rubbing – do people even do that? – but the grave was so weathered and old and crumbly that he couldn’t do the rubbing without the stone flecking off and so for some reason he decided he should leave his sunglasses as some kind of apology I think he actually said atonement but the thing is his sunglasses were the only ones he had and so he had to go out shopping for a pair and he has been all over the island and he couldn’t find any that he liked until he saw mine and I’m like really dude? this is about my sunglasses? but I don’t actually say it instead I ask him if he is asking me to give him my sunglasses and he gets all apologetic and tries to hand them back to me but he is super clumsy and manages to knock my Merry Merry onto the table and it all goes right through the crack and then he freaks out cause he thinks he has got it all over me and he jumps up and as he does he knocks over the tray of drinks that this girl has in her hand as she is trying to squeeze by his chair and the drinks go all over him and now he is dripping wet and apologizing to her as well as me and I know I shouldn’t have but I started to laugh which wasn’t very kind but I mean really?

Day 4: Writer’s Block

… in my experience if you have a big laugh at a guy you are just meeting they tend to move away – maybe they slink away or grouch away or fade away – but anyway away it is, but I’ll give it to this guy, this Jay Duret fellow, he belly-laughed along with me as if the sight of him dripping Cranberry Merry Merry was the funniest thing he’d seen that day so we laughed together at how ridiculous he was and that put him back on track if a track was really ever where he started and then he asked me what I did with myself when not sipping on a Merry Merry and I said that I was in school and he wanted to know all the particulars so I had to confess that I studied English and sure enough he went all enthusiastic at that morsel of character development, him being a blogger and all, and so I had to explain – more than I cared to – that I was an ABD – All But Dissertation – type of student and that confession really set him on fire cause he correctly perceived that I had a wicked case of writer’s block, now lasting into its third year, and even though I had come here to this island to finally buckle down and do it instead I was sipping drinks at the Brewery and once I vomited up all this hot mess he was full of more questions, and worse, advice about how I should get myself back on the dissertation track so I tuned out cause trust me I have played this music in my own headphones about one million times before but he apparently realizes that I am not listening to a word so he leans forward again so his face is close to mine – he is still matted and dripping like a dog come from a pond and for a moment I thought he might actually lick me – but instead he says all grandiose that he can cure my writer’s block in 30 seconds which is such a dude thing to say that I roll my eyes loudly and he says doncha believe me and I say “I am sure ura fine blogger but not sure that qualifies you as an authority” but he cuts me off right there and says he will bet me he can cure me and now I actually groan cause this is turning so awful but he powers through and says that he’ll get me writing as long as I agree to go for dinner if he does and he says ‘its kind of a win-win thing’ which gives me a laugh cause he must be recognizing that getting rid of him would be the fallback win; anyway I say that I’ll give him 30 seconds so he fishes out a black Micron – the kind with archival ink – and a little blue Moleskin notebook like someone pretending to be Ernest Hemingway might carry in their back pocket and spreads that out on the table oblivious to the pool of water and ice already there and instead of giving me the pen and making me write something down, he takes the pen and slowly writes “I am just sitting at the Brewery and sipping on my Cranberry Merry Merry and this dude comes up and says he wants to have an imaginary conversation with me…

Day 5: Har Har

“What the hell are you doing?” I said, “that’s my story you are telling and you aren’t even getting it right” but that didn’t stop him, he just kept on writing “and I say what kind of conversation and he says an imaginary one and I say ‘in your dreams’ and he says that he thinks that loves me…” so I say again, that’s not even how it happened you are making yourself all romantic and clever and persistent but really you were just awkward – I think what you actually said is that you “liked my frickin’ sunglasses” and he stopped writing for a second and said “fine fine” and then he crossed out part of the sentence and then he wrote, “…he says I like your frickin’ sunglasses…” and I say, Jeesus you didn’t say “frickin’, I said frickin’”” and so he crossed out “frickin’” and said “what did you say after I said I liked your sunglasses?” and I said “Jesus I don’t remember; it was something to get you to go away cause you were so awkward and stupid, you know like I probably said “HarHar”” and he said, “are you kidding, you said “HarHar”?” and I said, “probably; I like to say HarHar” and he said “HarHar? You mean like you are a pirate?” and I said “no like I am talking to an idiot” and he shook his head like whew, you learn something every day but he picked up the pencil and dutifully wrote down “harhar” and I had to correct him – “its not harhar its Har Har” and for some reason he wrote Harhar, sort of like Tartar, and I had to make him fix it but while that was going on I realized what he was doing and I could have kicked myself because in a minute he was going to claim I was actually writing the story of our meeting and therefore my writer’s block must be gone…

Day 6 Welching

…and just then before I could do anything he said ‘you realize you are writing the story of our meeting: your writer’s block is gone gone gone and we are going to dinner, Ta-Dah!’ and I said ‘number one I was not writing I was just correcting your writing which is called editing, not writing, and number two I am not even doing that cause…’ but he interrupted to say I was welching on the bet and anyway editing is part of writing in fact it is the bigger part and the harder part in his experience and while he is going on and on I see there might be a way to maneuver myself out of having to have dinner with him so I say “like you’re basing that on your extensive experience as a blogger and he gets all wounded again like I have besmirched his honor – by the way, have I described this guy: he is one long run-on sentence of a character, shaggy and red like he was baked rather than tanned at the beach and he’s got this goatee which I can’t stand usually but this one isn’t very precise so I think maybe its just a threadbare beard and anyway he is wearing one of those ancient and super out of date wide brimmed straw hat with a blue bandanna tied around it instead of a hat band – anyway you can imagine that it takes a bit of work to get concerned about this dude’s honor as a frickin’ blogger in that hat – but I really need to backwalk the writer’s block bet so, without going into all the back and forth of it, I launch into a discussion of writing vs editing and it results in us agreeing to substitute a new bet for the old bet: we will each write the story of our introduction – he calls it a “meet-up” which I let slide but the sloppiness of it adds to the general sloppiness of the situation – and then we’ll each edit the other’s and when that is done we’ll compare notes and if he is right that editing is the harder endeavor I will have dinner with him and since there is zero chance that that’s the case I start to feel a bit smirky about my maneuver when I hear my name and I turn to look and oh shit oh shit oh shit there is Sam

Day 7: RSF

Sam is wearing his trademark look – you know how you hear that some people have resting bitch face cause when their faces relax into default position it looks like they are pissed off? well Sam has RSF cause even when he is sleeping – and I have seen a lot of more of that than I should have – he is frickin’ smug, ninety-percent-smile-and-ten-percent-sneer smug, famously, gloriously, smug – and even though I had told myself one million times that I hated that smug self-satisfied fuck-up of a face I could not help but smile a bit when I looked up and saw him coming to us ringing out a cherry “Hey Hey Hey!” all boyish and friendly with three drinks in his circled hands, a Merry for me of course and two clear ones – unidentifiable by inspection but most certainly Tanqueray and Tonic because this was after all summer and G&T was Sam’s summer drink just as a very dirty martini was his drink the rest of the year, and I could have killed myself for getting that old feeling – the feeling that more than anything was responsible for my wicked case of writers block – as he approached, wavelets of Gin and cranberry slightly slopping over the plastic rims of the cups, when surprise surprise it dawned on me that Sam wasn’t ringing out his happy cheerio for me; the cheery cheerio was for the shaggy guy who had not yet told me his name but now I heard it for the first time coming from the big lips of my smug ex, “Jay! Jay Duret! How the hell are ya?”

Day 8: Ugh

Ugh, it isn’t but twenty minutes before Sam and “Jay Boy” – that’s what Sam starts to call him – are onto their third G&Ts and have become highly cheerful revisiting triumphantly the libations they consumed in years past and now for the third time I decided to get the hell out this bar but before I can Jay Boy starts explaining to Sam our writer vs. editor bet and Sam points out the flaw in the structure of the wager – honestly that’s what he calls it: a frickin’ flaw in the structure of our wager – because we have to each edit the other’s piece and all we can know is how hard it is to edit the other guy’s work which will only tell us who is harder to edit not whether the writing or editing of the same piece is harder and so Sam says, “sheesh, what you guys need is a judge” and then gives us that smug and stupidly appealing smile like he has solved a riddle of the universe “and you are in luck cause I just happen to be available to resolve this controversy as a fair and impartial bringer of justice”, and I’m like oh shit this is a new and nasty development but JB – somehow he now has become “JB” like the brand of underwear – thinks it is brilliant and heartily endorses it completely unaware that Sam and I had had a thing that began when we together studied the writing of prose in the English Department of that very famous university not so far from here – the one which conferred my ABD – under the tutelage of the Dean of American Letters: Professor Tobias Eliot Swilling…

Day 9: Swilling

…just saying that name brought back the old phrase – how thrilling would be killing Swilling – I used to mumble it whenever the old fartbag geezer would pin his lighthouse beam of a stare on me – it happened constantly in his class – and then he’d shuffle closer – actually too close, so close you could smell the lilac water he bathed in and see those wild hairs that sprung like tendrils of honeysuckle up from the plane of his forehead so it seemed as if he had a small garden bursting from the loamy earth of his liver-spotted brow – and then say “Ms. Timpet, Riana Timpet, your name sounds so musical you shall have to sing for us one day, can you tell us why Mellville thought it sound to make the whale the object of the quest? please, help us with that issue would you please?” and though I hate to admit it today, I would be reduced to tremors that distorted the tone and modularity of my response so even when I was correct it sounded as if I was lost; oh I feared that old man so much that I consulted a healer and spiritualist who understood immediately what I was going through and her wise counsel was that I needed a powerful talisman to ward off the evil that Swilling spewed in my direction and I asked “what sort of talisman? what could be powerful enough to resist the focused evil of Swilling?” and she said showed me a picture of the most extraordinary drawing – it was a 7 legged spider with knobby knobs at the intersections of each joint of its hairy legs and long black pinchers and also a patch over one eye and a blood red heart in the middle of its chest – oh it was terrifying, death defying, utterly transfixing – and so I said “wow how do I use it do I hold the paper up when he approaches?” and my occultist said no it had to be made a part of me so its powers would always be there and then she said fortunately she was a tattoo artist and if it pleased me she could tattoo that nasty creepy freaky black spider right onto the back of my neck where he could guard me from behind and I could hide him until the last moment when I could turn around and the full force of the spider power could explode out like a bolt of lightening decimating Swilling or any other person who tried to put their power on me and wow that sounded pretty good even if was going to hurt and so I asked if the tattoo had a name and she said, “of course, my dear, of course”… …

Day 10: Black

I will give you a little bit of time to guess what the tattoo is called and I’ll see if you are awake but anyway back to the contest between me and Jay Duret to be officiated over by my smug ex Sam and they are all liquored up on G&Ts having a great old time and I realize that I don’t know how they are connected – it isn’t the most likely combo truth be told – Jay with his sad ass ancient straw hat and bandanna combo going for the Most Like To Be Cast in a Revival of Hee-Haw and Sam with his polaroid camera from back in the day that he used for real time throwback snapback art – that’s what he called those stupid clipplets of his, Real Time Throwback Snapback Art, I couldn’t see exactly see how they’d fit together unless the organizing principle was the word stupid so I just asked “like how do you guys know each other and it was like Jay had been waiting for me to ask he puffed up his chest and started to blow forth an anecdote that went like this, “in that year I was travelling rough on the banks of a great western river, playing cards to make my metes end, and I chanced into a game in a bar called the Busted Lip Tavern, a dive bar would be a charitable description, where after the usual introductionary nonsense to establish my bona fides a player, I was allowed back into the back room where there was serious action, six players at the table, one seat empty, and every eye on me as I made my way slowly to the seat trying to grip and grin as I did but not getting much love from this tough crew especially from the fat man who was nearly obscured by the enormous pile of chips and markers in front of him, ‘I am Jay’ I said to all, ‘I am here to play’, and with that all the lights went dark….