Thursday, September 1, 2011

the last book I ever read

from House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard:

Your book comes out and nothing happens. A friend of yours who works at the Washington Post calls the publicity department of your publisher to get a copy to review, and they tell him you are not one of their authors. When he calls again, they tell him you are dead. You pay off your personal debts and continue to live off the stories you sell to Esquire; they end up buying five of them.

The editors there, Will and Rust, often take you to the Broadway Deli for pastrami sandwiches and manhattans. One time at the end of the lunch you carefully pack the uneaten half of your pastrami sandwich, and Rust asks you why you are doing that, and you confess that you're broke again, which is no surprise to Will, who lets you borrow and repay two hundred dollars at least twice a month. Over lunch you have been telling them about the summer previous when you were in Virginia Beach and spent an afternoon sitting on your bicycle watching the police retrieve a body that had been sucked into a sand dredge in Rudee Inlet. You were thinking of writing a story called "Where Blue is Blue," but you didn't have it all worked out.

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