by Jake Christie

a story.

“He doesn't have a thing to write about,” said Al. He pointed at me with a nacho. “I can guarantee it.”

“How do you know that?” I asked Al and his nacho, collectively. “You've met him once. You think you know a thing about him, really?”

Al popped the nacho in his mouth. “He's interning at the magazine from one of those universities with ivy on the walls, you know what I mean?” he said around tortilla and cheese. “He said he was on the polo team. I didn't think that even existed. I thought they made it up so they could give the shirts a name.”

“Who's 'they?'” I asked. I poked at the nachos with my fork. “Maybe he's troubled.” I let the word hang there with a little gravity before I took a sip of beer.

“He's rich,” said Al. He leaned back in his seat and spread his arms wide, like he was trying to indicate the pyramids or something equally large and obvious. “And he looks like a Greek statue. What could he possibly have to write about?”

“Burroughs was rich,” I said.

“He was addicted to heroin,” countered Al. “At least I worked to get into the magazine. I started in the mail room. I spent that whole first winter without oil in my furnace, crouched in front of a space heater. You can't be a good writer if you're comfortable. You can't be a good writer when everything's easy.”

“You know,” I said, picking up a nacho, “there are people in this world who have it so tough they don't have the luxury of sitting at a bar eating nachos and drinking beer.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” said Al.

I popped the nacho in my mouth and shrugged.

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