How to write as two people when u r really only one:

It’s like when a nite is over before it begins and u go flying past lonely and straight into SUPER lonely and out of sheer desperation u employ yr childhood trick of throwing a little party in yr head, not unlike Alice in fuckin Wonderland®. There u r: sitting by yrself in a vinyl padded booth in the Silver Diner at 3AM eating a grilled cheese sandwich. The UV protection on yr filthy Foster Grants casts a yellow aura across the buttery surface of the bread. It seems the only way to distract yrself from the depressing facts of yr surroundings is to narrate each and every event, no matter how small, and to try and tie some fucked-up feelings and associations and maybe even stories to everything u see…to imagine what it would be like if u were tripping, or from another planet and u were faced with that revolving glass display case of cakes and pies…or if you were missing two fingers on yr right hand and trying to eat this sandwich without getting any grease on the fly black, let’s say Sean John leather golf glove u were sporting (u don’t actually know fer sere if good ole Puff Duddy makes golf gloves, but there u have it)… As the instantly recognizable heart beat/synth intro of The Pet Shop Boys, “West End Girls” plays, you imagine someone sitting across from you and watching intently as you slowly unscrew the grimy top of the ketchup bottle and overturn it with some difficulty, as though either it weighed ten pounds or yr wrist was broken…the black second hand on the white Timex wall clock seems to stop…

We’ve got no future; we’ve got no past
Here today--built to last
In every city in every nation
From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station…

U imagine the person across from u to be someone undeniably cool…the last of a dying breed who recognizes you--silly, stupid, plain old you--as being of a like kind…

A playboy in a girl’s body…a thrilla…a killa…

The song ends with an 80s style fade-out but another one doesn’t begin and the Silver Diner sails off into radio silence…

…the ketchup bottle hung sideways over the landscape of fries like the space shuttle floating over the earth. The first glob of ketchup coalesced heavily on the glass lip. I watched, transfixed by the glistening red tongue.

“You haven’t answered my question,” I said, my voice sending a jolt thru TRUE’s slouching frame and shaking the bottle so that the tongue lurched forward.

“Sorry, mayn,” she drawled, and watched, nonplussed, as a mudslide of ketchup poured down on the fries.

“I’m totally zoning out,” she said.

“Look at those fries,” I said, “You ruined them.”

“Nah. I like em like that. Lots of ketchup. You can eat the ones on the bottom.”

“Ok. Gee--thanks,” I said.

“Don’t mention it,” she said. Then she coughed several times, spat something into a napkin and inspected it with a grimace before folding the paper up and putting it in her pocket.

“Green with red chunks,” she said, with a sigh. “That’s not good.”

There was silence as the gored fries sat glistening between us.

“So?” I said.

“So, what?” TRUE said, and sighed again.

“So what’s the answer to my question?”

“Ah, c’mon, Sterling,” she said. Her chin was in her hands and her hair was in her eyes.

“Don’t bat yr eyes at me,” I said, in an angry voice that was mostly pretend.

“Please answer the question,” I said.

“It’s a fucked up question. I don’t know how I’m supposed to answer it. I mean, of course I’m not better off without u…but just by asking u make it sound like I had a choice.”

“Of course you had a choice! You could have talked to me…we could have worked something out…instead u kicked me out…u kicked me out and then what was worse u never asked me back. And it was all yr choice.”

TRUE slumped back in the booth with her arms folded.

“Now there you go,” she said, “How do u expect us to have a conversation if u start talking about make believe shit like that.”

“What make believe shit?!”

Choice, mayn. Motherfucking choice. There’s no such thing and I’m sick to death of hearing about it.”

She pulled her hood over her face so that it covered her eyes.

“Did you hear me?” she said. “Sick. To. Death.”

As I watched she took out the “violent red” lip gloss she’d stolen from the girl I was fucking and slowly ran the shiny wand across her top and then bottom lip.


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