What is keeping you from responding to my email? I have used my imagination. I have really tried.
I have thought: a wedding. Maybe you’re the groom? Maybe you have two weddings. How many weddings can a person have in the span of eighteen days?
I have thought: sickness.
Thought: bubonic plague. Depression? An echec amoureux?
I don’t know if you have a pet. Maybe a small parrot? And maybe this parrot is suffering from dehydration because it has been hot in Brooklyn recently — in Brooklyn is where I assume you live — and you came home one night from your job as an online content editor at an arts and culture magazine and saw that he’d lost feathers, and — no one was watching — you sat down on your Ikea mattress (SULTAN FLORVÅG, $99.00 Article Number: 201.397.51) and cried.
Not just for your parrot, but also because of all the unanswered emails you left behind you at your job and the fact that one of your two roommates is following his girlfriend to Costa Rica to take a two-month wine-making intensive and last Tuesday he asked if you could save his room for him when he gets back? This means that you are going to have to deal with Craigslist (or maybe airbnb?), and you can already feel psychosomatically what a nightmare it is going to be just in terms of keys. And it’s going to be you that is going to have to deal with this. It’s always you.
It’s going to mean more emails and more time on the computer.
Your other roommate is worthless. His girlfriend has just dumped him for the dude with the bad mustache who works at the bike shop at Avenue B and East 13th which means that in addition to not being able to ask him to help you find a subletter, also — damnit! — you can no longer buy that bike.
The bike is a matte black Sparta with an enclosed chainguard: fully padded, with a double spring saddle and a bell; and every morning after getting out of the L at first avenue, you walk by it and think: If I owned that Sparta, my life would be different. For example, I wouldn’t be taking nighttime creative nonfiction classes at Brooklyn College, I would be in Iowa with exciting friends. I’d be friends with Lan Samantha Chang. I’d call her L-dog in our emails. Or I’d be a Wallace Stegner fellow. I keep meeting them everywhere I go. They’re like tacos. They are breeding. They’re everywhere I go.
So you don’t have a bike, but listen, don’t you know — it’s a lot easier and less stressful (in the long run) to reply to an email the minute that you get it than to let the guilt build up inside of you, letting three weeks, four weeks go by.
All I need to know is: are you taking my short story? Plutôt yes, or plutôt no?