But darling, can’t you see what you’re doing? she asked.
No, what’s that? he answered.
You’re idealizing me, she stated.
The hell I am. You’re ideal, he stated back.
I’m not. I’m nothing like you imagine, she said.
The hell you are. I know you, we’ve talked, he said.
No, we haven’t. You talked, I listened, she responded.
Don’t fuck with me. You talked to. You said stuff, lots of stuff, he remembered.
Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. I said what I wanted to, needed to. Nothing more, she added.
The hell you did. But don’t pretend you don’t feel that, he replied.
That? That, what? she asked.
That! Us! Love! he cried.
She didn’t answer.
We should be together, can’t you see that? he asked.
No we shouldn’t. That’s lust you’re feeling, not love, she claimed.
The hell it is. I dig ya babe. Hell, love even, he announced.
You don’t. Shit, forget about it. Drown it in, whatever, she pleaded.
I can’t. I’m in love with you, he began.
Please don’t go there, she interrupted.
And yes, I do want to stuff your turkey, he finished.
She burst out laughing.
Stuff my turkey? she repeated.
Stuff it, cook it, eat it, he listed.
“Stuff her turkey?”
“That’s all you got?”
“For now, I guess.”
“You know, I noticed something. Your latest publications have been about women, about breaking up, romance, all that.”
“I’m telling you.”
“Okay, so what?”
“Is there anything you want to talk about? Where do you get all that stuff? Are you having troubles with your girl? Troubles that you can’t necessarily express?”
“I don’t have a girl.”
“We all used to have a girl, so what?”
“I mean, it just seems to me there’s something there. Something uncovered. Something to talk about.”
“I’m telling you.”
“Can’t it just be that it’s interesting?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean? A lot of things. But it’s not up to me to tell you what I mean.”
“What the hell are you on about?”
“That’s exactly my point. You don’t have to know what I’m on about. Just because I write about a poor old sap who wishes he could stuff his peepee into a treehole and fart sprinkles of magic stars doesn’t mean that I want to do that. Nor does it mean that it’s a window into my soul. Or whatever the new fancy fashion calls it.”
“But it’s different!”
“Is it, really?”
“Your writing is about the real world!”
“Is it, really?”
“Come on! Don’t tell me that there is not a single thing in there that hasn’t happened to you. Or that you felt.”
“Again; that’s beside the point.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Would it change anything?”
A list was being made somewhere, by a group of people. Smaller than a group actually; but words have a tendency to get carried away – and so do I. The list was basically about stupid people. An odd concept, you probably think. And you’re right. But the group got the idea a good ten years ago, before apps gave you ways to grade people, to attribute them points, stars, Xs and god knows what else, or even long before some guy wearing a scarf did it for comedy’s sake.Their idea was triggered by high school antisocial students who couldn’t stand their classmates, and who needed to let off some steam to avoid committing suicide. They spent nights thinking about it, and drinking about it, and days later it all came to fruition. They would create a new version of the list : personal ones, work lists, students lists, co-workers lists and so on. The whole point was to get people to feel better – the list served both a purpose and a catharsis. It was all about knowing who’s an idiot, and who’s not. Now, you’re probably thinking : that’s a terribly elitist idea. It might be; it’s not. There was a true meaning to the list that many people did not quite get from the start – separating people whom you can trust, from those you can’t. As simple as that. And quickly enough, the group realized the list needed improvement, new categories, distinctions, mentions, and yada yada yada. Soon, companies came knocking and asked for more criterias; the list had turned into a social device, a way for people to hire non-idiotic people, a way for them not to date stupid morons, a way to have affairs with (both physically and culturally) cultivated people. It ended up being all too demanding, and in spite of all the money they decided to drop the whole project when internet swooped in. The group invested and made money elsewhere, and the list was long forgotten.
“You think I can’t write because I choose to focus on selling other people’s writings.”
“I never said nor thought something like that.”
“I’m sure you do though.”
“Why would I?”
“You always seem like you have everything figured out. Like you have every answers.”
“I know you don’t. But I’m not sure you do.”
“I don’t. Wait, you’re not sure I do, what?”
“See, you think I can’t understand any of your writing. You think I know it’s not personal.”
“It’s not. I just told you.”
“Yeah but I’m not convinced.”
“What else can I say?”
“I’ve made a long list of themes, words and utterances of moments that I’ve gathered from your writings. And I’ve analyzed them all.”
“Don’t you sleep?”
“You want to know my conclusions?”
“I don’t, but I’m sure that’s a trick question.”
‘You write about yourself, that’s what you do. Don’t tell me there’s no woman, or women, to talk about.”
“Your list showed you that?”
“Kind of, yes. See that’s how you access the truths, you lay down the facts, you look around and count the occurrences, you read and read and reread. And then you ponder, and you get to conclusions. Truthful conclusions.”
“That’s – that’s confusing. To say the least.”
“That’s because you know I’m right.”
“No. But I know you just got me an idea; you just reminded me of something.”
“A list. And you’re on it.”