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The Mirror Interviews the Author


 

– How did I get broken? The mirror asks.

– I threw a shot glass at you. Don’t you remember?

– Oh yeah. Things are a bit fuzzy today. We tied one on last night didn’t we?

– We did.

– That’s seven years bad luck you know.

– How many times have I broken you?

  • I get your point.

Pause

– When did you start writing?

– As soon as I could wield a pencil. Maybe before. I have always written a lot in my head.

– It gets lost that way, doesn’t it?

– Yeah. A lot. It usually comes back later though but not necessarily in exactly the same form.

– Your first story?

– In grade school.

– What was it about?

– A frog in love.

– ……….?

– Pond. Lily pads. Croaking. Etc. I knew nothing about the mechanics of sex at the time but I knew something was going on down there that I liked and it needed words to describe whatever it was. The eroticism was pure and untainted. I couldn’t write it today. I’ve already had a bite of the apple, you know.

– I’d say you’ve worked your way through the orchard.

– Judgmental are we?

– No. Not at all. I’m just saying you write a lot about women and sex and booze.

– I like all of those things.

– To a fault one might argue.

  • There’s no need for argument.

– I agree. That’s how I get broken.

– Anyway, what else are you going to live for? Houses? Cars? Okay. I’ll grant you things like travel and literature are nice. Things beautiful and warm and kind and, at least, real if not warm and kind. But those are experiences instead of things, totally unlike cars. More like women and sex and booze.

– Booze is a thing.

– No, it isn’t. Not really. Unless you’re foolish enough to treat it like one.

Pause Nate takes a drink.

– The substance, the liquid in the bottle, is irrelevant. Unless you’re a collector. Most collectors are anal-retentive idiots. I once new a guy who had a Scotch library. Shelves and shelves of Scotch. Old. Rare. Some from mothballed distilleries where no more was bing produced. If he drank it up it would be gone forever. Irreplaceable. But if he didn’t drink it, what did it matter that he owned it at all. As an investment? To sell when it was more scarce and more valuable but he was perhaps in worse condition to enjoy it? For mere money? What kind of life is that? See the conundrum?

– I do, I suppose. What happened?

– To what?

– To the collector. The Scotch collector.

– Oh. Right. Don’t know. Dead I’m sure. It was long ago and he wasn’t young when I knew him. Hopefully he drank the Scotch. But I doubt it.

– Pardon me, will you. I need to refresh my drink.

Pause

  • Where were we?
  • Back to sex. What was your first sexual experience.
  • That’s easy. Nate takes a gulp from the glass. Liquid dribbles down his chin. He wipes it with the back of his hand. Looks at the man in the mirror, trying to recognize him. Need to always know to whom you are speaking. – Grade school again. Second grade? Who knows. Anyway there was a swing set on the playground. Fewer swings than kids. When the bell rang we’d all race for a seat. Sometimes I’d get one. Sometimes not. If not, I’d treat the swing as kind of monkey bars. Shimmy up a supporting pole. Hang from the top. Back down on the pole, to the ground. Up and down. Up and down.

Pause. Nate takes a drink.

  • How was that sexual?
  • Hold on. I wasn’t finished. At one slide down the pole moment I felt something good. Back up the pole. Down the pole. Best recess ever. Back into the classroom probably with my eyes crossed. I guess a mirror wouldn’t understand any of this. It’s a physical thing. There’s nothing we can do about it.
  • Wow!
  • That’s probably when I wrote the frog story. And discovered Rebecca.
  • Who was Rebecca?
  • Little girl I used to chase around the playground and kiss if I caught her. I almost always did.
  • What about Gina? What are you going to do with Gina?
  • What do you mean?
  • When are you going to strop chasing her around the playground and kissing her? When are you going to offer her your seat on the swing-set? When are you going to push her high in the air just to hear her laugh?
  • When are you going to shut the fuck up?
  • It’s my job to ask the questions. Remember? Because you never will.

Nate’s glass is empty again. He looks into the mirror at the man holding the glass. Watches as he hurls it and the glass shatters.

 

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