What Else Do You Have to Say to Me?

Manhattan Puzzle; or, Matryoshka Dream

[Short Story]


When I write the way I think a writer writes when he wants to have a narrator tell the story of a man who tells the story of another man telling the story of a man who exposes his sentiments about a bookstore’s staff that he finds—why should I betray what I have intended here, and so let me now present what I wanted to set as a piece where a narrator narrates about a man who tells a story on the pages of his notebook, one he keeps with him at all times everywhere . . .

The story is as placed here, my intentions clearly delineated and representing the story-telling as it does; it also indicates why my author–yes, the prime authority in all matters where the fictional writer writes and speaks through a fictional narrator who then tells the fiction of a character or characters—yes, why he chose the title he did, and it is he that the writer me—what about the writer me? about the reader you? And not necessarily the actual in the world reader you who is a person apart from any conception I have in my mind about a reader or this or that reader who could or would read anything that is written, having been written by writers both actual and fictional, if you will, that is wish, want, desire; will is desire, the German willan expressing  what the French desirer expresses . . .

And what the author is is—there are many, many layers in anything written, persons and authorities and writers actual and fictional, as of course there must also be fictional author between the actual author as the actual author is on one end of the writer, the actual writer bracketed by the real world person and the actual author because a writer does not become an author except of a text which is only the case after it has been written, sometimes we can say this in the process of writing, but not before the writing takes place or the having written has taken place  . . . and I am not talking about the real world person human that becomes the author when I speak of writer, the writer I am–it is interesting that I am a writer even when I am not writing, but I am not an author unless I am writing or I have written  . . . everything is one fiction on top of another inside another and another:

A man speaks on the pages of a notebook he keeps with him always, pen and paper with you all the time anywhere you go the only discipline a writer needs. There is no need to say where he has written these lines, or why he has written them, or when, with whom or without whom accompanying him. What he is wearing is irrelevant, as is his age, his height, his ethnicity or ethnicities, his religion, whether he is Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox. It is irrelevant what the color of his hair is, or eyes are, the line of his chin, his jaw, his nose, the shape of his eyes, or where he lives or with whom, whether he is married or not, or has children or not, that is, whether he has a son or a daughter, and if so, whether either or both are going to college or not. What he is drinking at the table he is sitting at in a bistro in Manhattan that will remain unnamed because why would you need to know this, the name of the place he is sitting in writing in? is also irrelevant.

I am not a model of formal realism that you can glean for your fix of facts, facts and more facts that you imagine you need in order to continue reading because what you have experienced in life just might be so paltry in the realm of experiencing life, as we like to say, and do say tritely so often, pales by comparison to other lives lived that you do need this kind of realism to go on pretending you have had experiences your life is too fucking boring to provide, one delusion after another perpetuated by the insipid or the inane, which I try to shy away from expressing about other humans; but every time I am in a community book shop in a place like Park Slope Brooklyn I do have to bite my tongue so as not to tell people just what I think of their insipid ideas or disconnection from living any kind of life of thrilling immediacy or real literary involvement for that matter, which is what allows too many from one or another kind of neighborhood, clipped in its vocalized expression as this ‘hood or that ‘hood while living in their snobbishly provincial degradation, to imagine they think they are living a life more real than others, especially if these others are white . . . there has never been any race or ethnicity or metaphysical bracket of human living that has a hotline to imbecility that others have not also had. The overriding human generalization is just how fucking stupid people everywhere can be. Let his words be your guide.

I heard a friend talking to other friends about what a friend of theirs, not of mine, had said to him, our mutual friend, my friend, who was talking to friends of his, not mine, as I have already said; and it was one afternoon following the night after having recently visited the The Strand Bookstore on Broadway just south of Union Square Park.

“Why are most of the people who work at The Strand on Broadway assholes,” he said, “and I mean real, itchy hemorrhoidal assholes” he continued. He said to his friends that their friend had said these and other words about the staff at the Strand.

“Each is either ready to pop or one or another brand of twit or mealy-moouthed schmuck or some arrogant, condescending jack ass who imagines his years of systematic under-education and inflated B.A. in cultural studies leaves him educated enough, and that any of their not-nearly-literate-enough no matter how many pages they superficially skim in one or another deluded masquerade in reading . . .” he continued to say the friend said. “You know I know that this is already too  much,” he said he understood the friend had thought, by an indication he said he saw in the friend’s stance, posture, facial expression. “It’s so annoying  going there and having to engage even for a brief few moments at the registers . . .” he said his friend had said. What more do you want or need? I imagine my friend saying his friend had said, asked.

There are just too many assholes from every corner of bumble-fuck America who imagine in their solipsism that they can condescend to New Yorkers, native born New Yorkers, like asshole fucking Americans who imagine they appreciate or know Paris better than Parisians, and some might more than some, but fuck you and your asshole childhood with your asshole family in your small asshole town too far from a city with your pigs or cows or chickens or wheat or corn or whatever the fuck else it is that makes you so fucking narrow-minded about being cosmopolitan. A stick—you-people should be beaten with sticks that you are made to climb trees to get by breaking off a branch or switch.

And what else do I have to say write put place express expose narrate about . . . ?


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