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1) Any news?

2) It sucks doesn’t it?

3) Have you eaten?

4) Come to the reading at The Hide Out with me.

5) You’re the best writer.

6) You are.

7) Remember that one essay in The Rumpus about Jesus and Don DeLillo?

8) Didn’t I write that essay?

9) You did! I loved that essay!

10) Thank you!

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And Then

the writer quit her job. Her day job. Her restaurant. Not her restaurant. The restaurant that pays her five dollars an hour plus tips. Three days a week. She’s been there four years and now this Saturday is her last day. She turned in her kazoo. She emptied her flare onto the pavement. She fell on her knees.

For some reason they don’t put the mats down during dinner shifts. And she slipped and fell. To her knees. Bruised her knees. Cut her finger. Quit her job.

The writer got an ongoing freelance gig that’s fun and fast and pays about as much as a Saturday on a busy brunch patio. And then the writer remembered her old career as a figure model and put her name on some bulletin boards. And the hourly rate is considerably higher than it was nine years ago while the writer is still paying under a thousand a month for her two bedroom. And the writer has a small part in a small movie that will pay some real money, small. But, real.

There’s a million ways to not die.

It’s just me. No kids. No mortgage. No car.

There’s my husband. He drives a Honda. He has some jobs.

Two cats. Take pretty good care of themselves.

Student loans don’t scare the writer anymore.

Nothing really scares the writer. She’s been to the bonfires and seen all the lights. She’s got salt on the rim of her tin can and she’s eating her lunch out of a brown paper bag.

Caution. Wet floor.

This is not the story

you expected. It doesn’t start at the beginning. There’s no music. There’s no soft opening. There’s no early bus ride through the fancy part of town. There’s no spirit. There’s no idea. There’s no reason to be taken seriously.

She makes a game of collecting sex toys. One from every city.

She has a dull pain down the right side of her body.

She writes about her mother.

She eats banana peppers and quinoa.

She likes putting things down. Putting things down and looking at them is like her favorite thing.

God bless America.