In the heart of everything, I say, there is a brave capitalism, the spirit of making something for doing something.
Wow, Tony says.
Everyone at this job thinks you’re a fucking idiot, Tony says.
I respond with an articulate “bwuh”, the strength of my ancestors lashing back against such an insult.
You’re smart, Tony says. You’re obviously smarter than most of the people who work there, and you fuck up all the time, and you never file anything right, and all the people who like their little timetable with everything in order hate you. Your boss hates you, the bosses boss thinks you’re lazy, and the night guys think you’re drunk every night.
Wow, I say.
Oddly, I’m sober every night. If I drink I fall asleep. The graveyard shift has given me these weird rules. I’m just tired, man. I’m just so fucking tired.
You wear a nice suit and you just show up and talk a lot of shit and never really do anything, Tony says.
Yeah, I do that, I think about saying. I’ve always been kind of lazy — I’ve always been just enough to get me out of anything. Just charming enough, just smart enough, just good looking enough, just good enough in bed, just whatever, and it’ll get me out. I create stupid fake universes and walk through them all the time. I’ve got an empire of excuses and a whole physics of bad intentions. That’s how I work. When I was a teenager I was dumb and drunk and never paid attention and class and when I was in college I never did anything right and now that I’m an adult, nothing feels that important.
We’re drinking in the financial district, and everyone around us has a nice suit and talks a lot of shit. Even Tony does. He’s got a decent suit on, but he’s young. When I was his age I was wearing my dad’s blazers I stole, which were too small, and shades everywhere — I looked like an idiot filmmaker. Oh, I say. Nastynasty retweeted me. I made some weird joke.
Tony shakes his head.
Everything is material, I try to explain. I don’t care about my life. I don’t care about my health, if I’m in love, if anything works — I will sacrifice anything for my art. Even if that’s not a hundred percent true, I try to live that. I try to live for what I do in my head, even if my body has to wander around and do other things.
Listen, I say.
Do you think we can get more vodka?
Tony motions at the bartender, who nods at us. We’ve already tipped her outrageously.
So, I say, do you like that one song, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”?
Tony looks at me like I’m crazy, and I laugh.
Hey, I want to say — you’re young, and neither of us are dead yet. A job doesn’t matter. Money in the pocket is fine and dandy but you can find anything anywhere, if you are fast and clever and resourceful you can’t die just yet. There’s always something warm and something nice at the end of the shitty broken dreams. Even if at the time we find it cold and awkward. Everyone you know, knows someone else. You can’t die. I’m six years older than you and I’m not dead yet. Fuck a DUI, a drunk in public, a cop with a chip on his shoulder, an NWA song.
I’m full of shitty advice on how to get a bunch of stories that only some people will listen to.
Listen, I say again.
This vodka sucks.