We lay in bed and smoked cigarettes. She wasn’t allowed to smoke in her apartment, but figured she’d find a way to cover the smell when the time came to move out. The future never concerned her much. Untouchable, unknowable things never did. Her naked leg rested on my stomach as we talked about the past, about music, about films. We both vowed to re-watch Twin Peaks, this time with each other. I worried that I’d never make it as a writer. We discussed this while listening to something like goth music, something she liked and wanted me to like too.

She said, “Hush. Don’t talk that way. Bukowski didn’t publish his first book until he was fifty-one.”

I said, “But Bukowski wasn’t serious literature. Philip Roth won the National Book Award at twenty-seven.”

She laughed and blew smoke in my face and said, “You can’t break out of prison and into society the same week.”

“What?” I said.

“John Wayne,” she said. “It’s from a John Wayne movie.”

“You don’t seem like the type.”

“I wasn’t born with black eyeliner and lace. Besides, Bukowski is twice the writer you are.”

I shut up and we made love. Later, she apologized about the Bukowski remark.


by Jason Christian


Jason Christian traveled for more than a decade, first with a carnival, and later in search of adventure. He is currently studying creative writing at Oklahoma State University and plans to pursue an MFA after that. He has published in This Land Press, Mask Magazine, Liquid Journal, and has a story forthcoming in Oklahoma Review.

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