I think it's time to talk.

Wow. It's been a while. You cut your hair.
Yup, sure did. You missed the mohawk, though. Now I have a short/long with this cool side-swept rat tail. I'm pretty into it. Actually, you missed three mohawks I had; they were each a little different.

Huh? All I get is a huh?

It's been a really long time.
Yeah. It has. Over a year. How have you been?

That's completely unfair. I'm the journalist here, I should be asking the questions.
Don't you mean jour-in-al-ist?

Haha. I've missed you. I hear you're not jaded anymore.
Haha. Now that's funny. No. I s'pose not. Of course, when I actually think about it, I'm no more or less jaded than I ever was, I'm just more aware of what I'm capable of. Unfortunately, I'm capable of things that scare me. I'm also proud of myself for accomplishing scary things, though. Yeah. That makes sense, right?

No. That doesn't make much sense.
Okay. Fine. Look, what do you really want to know? C'mon, Alan. Where's that hardhitting jourinalist I once knew and loved?

Wow. Now see, I thought I might be wrong, but it seems you really are throwing that word around lately.
That was a figure of speech. I don't throw that word around. C'mon dude, it's me. Do you really think I just go around throwing L-bombs at every turn? Figure of speech Alan, figure of speech.

Hmm. Allright. Let's do this.
Sounds good. Are you going to ask me about him now?

No. I'm not. I want to talk about your career.
Wow. You sure didn't get any brighter in our time apart. What career? To date, I've sold three pieces. I hardly call that a career yet. I've barely made enough money writing for one night of drinking. Ever.

Well, that's kind of what I mean. In two and a half years, you'll be thirty. Do you honestly believe that now is the time to be falling in love with anyone but yourself?
I'm not following.

Sure you are. You know exactly what I'm saying. You see Miranda, You and I, we're kind of in the same boat here. I do these interveiws with you and many other young writers, and one day, I hope my foresight will pay off. A couple of you are bound to garner at least a modicum of fame, and I will surreptitiously be touted as the one who got in early. I'm still young, but I wont always be. And I'd like my actions now to further my career later.
So you're saying...

No. I'm asking. I'm asking how in the world you can act as if this seemingly spontaneous end that you spurned to this new and improved polyamoric tet-a-tet with someone you now love can attributed to anything but furthering your own interests.
No. It wasn't about that.

You yourself have spoken of actively creating stories. You have mentioned on more than one occasion that you have, in the moment, made a major decision based on judging which outcome will leave you with a better essay.
Yes, I have done that, but this wasn't one of those times. Okay, yes. I thought about it, and it scared the shit out of me. I mean, two more partners and I'll be a sexploit centigenarian. You think the prospect of missing it by two was an easy one for me to swallow? Of course not. And yes, I want that story. I really want that story and all of the other stories that I could and will now aquire in his absence, but it's kind of my consolation prize, you know? I mean, I was almost ready to wrap up this chapter and start writing about something else.

Almost. I mean, I just figured that I'd fill in the gaps with some re-hashed stories, and when I ran out, I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.

So where are you now? Where will you be?
Where will I be.

No it's just...he asked me that. 'Where will you be'. It's seemingly so simplistic, right? But he posed that question with all of this heady pregnant importance and...can we just turn that thing off now? We're getting a bit off topic. I don't want this recorded.

We're not off topic at all. This is fine, and we can return to you sacrificing a loved one for a string of words in a few.
I didn't do that. Okay, yes. I told you, I thought about it, I did. I wondered where I would end up if all of my stories were about the same person, but I figured I'd deal, you know? I mean, no. You gotta stop this. All of you, I mean, there is more to me than this me. There are all kinds of mes and yes, I am allowed to pick and chose which one I'd like to put on paper, and I can change it at will.

So where will you be?
Prolly right here. Some version of right here, anyway.

Is that what you told him when he asked you?
Basically. I said I'd be here, in San Francisco, and I'd be with my cat, and I'd be at work. I'd be making t-shirts and stories and painting my apartment over and over.


That can't be all you said.
Fine. And I said I would be...delighting in my freedom. I think that's how I put it, and I said I would be harboring stories from all of that said delight.

That was fast.
That's what she said.

I'm serious. You do realize that you brought this up, this fact that he might hinder you making stories, in the same conversation where you asked where you two might go as you two?
Wait...how do you even know what that conversation was about? Or that it happened?

Think about it. Look around. We're in a coffee shop on the top of the hill. Over the crest on the other side is your apartment, and in your apartment is your closet and in your closet is your bed. Barring your cat, what's in your bed? Right now?

What, did you move it?
No, it's there. My laptop is in my bed. Likely right next to my cat.

And you really think there would be room for some boy in and among your sheets when there's already you, your cat, and your laptop?
I've been asked this before, and my answer is still the same. I can make that concession if need be. I mean, I've changed. I only sleep with my laptop three to five times a week anymore, anyway.

You are aware that most people don't sleep with thier laptops. At all. Ever.
Yes, but are you aware that most people don't fuck with thier watch on?

This isn't about me.
Oh, but I think it is. I think you're projecting. I'm not near as worried about losing a career that I never really had as I am about losing a boy I really love, so what is it you're grappling with?

No really, this isn't about me.
Really, why are you so fixated on this?

That's what she said.
That's my line, number one. Number two, you're fucking projecting. And you know? This is exactly what I told him. Don't put your baggage on me. Oh, I get it now. No, I totally get it. These here--these little interviews that you sort through and edit and add your own commentary and publish--they're supposed to be more than in the moment, there supposed to build contacts for you, writers that you can still hold under your thumb when everyone finally knows thier names. And you're worried...

I'm not worried.
No, you are worried. You're worried that you might be teetering too far on either side of the line--either you're going too easy on them and so sacrificing your story to get them to like you or you're being too hard on them and so alienating them. Tell me Alan, who have you lost lately? Who is it you fear not returning for a little rendezvous with your tape recorder?

I thought you didn't speak French.


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