This is Zack’s second story on Vol. 1 Brooklyn. His first can be read here.
You wrote a book called “All Dust Settles”, and you’re not even embarrassed. What the fuck? I wrote a book of short stories called “Why Won’t You Let Me Love You”. In place of a jacket photo, I had them put a picture of you, crossed out, with a beanie that I hand sharpied in on every individual copy. My mother wrote a memoir called “You Always Hurt the Ones I Love, Especially My Son”.
I have a brother. I had to read the book to find out that you betrayed him too. My brother writes prose poems. Or, rather, he writes pointless essays that don’t rhyme. His last collection had poems that described parts of your body that I had no idea existed. It was called “Snow On another Place’s Glass”, but it may as well have been called “Her Other, Better Vagina”. The reviews called it fecund and compelling and asked for your number in print. I wrote anonymous letters of complaint, and gave it to them. I camped out, Peter Parker style, outside the editor’s office, hoping you’d show up to protest. But, like the bomb bearing jet that you are, you remained above the destruction, drinking beer with other men. I wore a sandwich board that said The End Is A Long, Long Way Off. They threw me out forcefully, asking me to pass along how strong they were, how their muscles rippled. My grandfather was highly regarded in academic circles for his book, “The Hillbilly God of Our Forefathers”. When, in his later years, his Knut Hamsun qualities extended past a deep love of gardening, he was shunned. He self published a children’s book called “Don’t Play With My Grandson, Neighborhood Youth, He Is Pre-Destined to Die Filthily”. I pretended to be cool with it, but I wasn’t. I remember that you were the only child, in a two hundred and fifty mile radius, who would still play with me. We’d sit under the sprinklers of your lawn, using our discarded finger nail clippings as smiles or frowns on our handmade play doe dolls. How was I to know that, years later, you’d use that as some sort of penny dreadful foreshadowing device in your trade paper horror, ”The Night Is a Repulsive Child ”? I thought we were having fun. My Grandmother made a family album, consisting solely of the obituaries of our immediate neighbors. She never named it. It’s hard to name things when you’re constantly crying and stuffing your mouth with oversized chunks of veal. She thought you were a baby dear, until all the baby dears disappeared and they had to build the maze up around you. When she died, she left me a rusty broadsword and a leaky pen. All her will said was “choose one”. I use the pen to write pornography and broke the sword picking the lock to your private library. When I got in, there was a reception in progress. You and my family gave me pamphlets that said “Saved? Everyone is Saved. With a few Notable Exceptions.”, until I got the hint and left. Even I know salvation is a sucker’s game, but it hurt my feelings nonetheless. Some day our descendants, the ones that make it, that turn away from the easy temptations of black hoodies, cigarettes, aggressive jay walking, the ones that turn towards the direction of the sea and start marching; those ones will use our bones for Braille. They’ll prefer yours as they’ll be their mother’s sons, but we won’t even know. So in that way, we’ll be equals. And I know what the plaque on our mausoleum will say. It will say everything, using all the words that never failed us.