Hey! Thanks for continuing to read my novel. I hope you enjoyed the last chapter. On to the next!
So, where were we? Oh yeah–Paolo had found crumbz in his bed, but he’s a very assiduous and cleansly guy and would NEVER eat biscuits in bed — so he feels more than a little concerned that something might be “afoot.”
Paolo walks, naked, into his giant fancy bathroom. He is surrounded by mirrors. His penis is very long (flaccid). He hums tunelessly to himself, a song whose only lyric is–Paolo.
“Hmmm, hmmmn, Paolo, Paolo, hmmm, hmmm…”
This is Paolo’s song. He regards his abs, the soft downy fur ‘pon his chest. NSFW!?!??!?!?!? (Teenagers: Make sure you read the newspaper: it will improve your vocabulary and keep you apprised of current events. Adults: do whatever you like. You can eat thirteen meals a day and do as many drugs as you can afford. Go for it, It’s your life, etc)
Paolo is not a novelist. He can’t even read. He’s a cyborg. He can do math, and logic puzzles, but he can’t read. I mean, he can “download books,” but he can’t read in the “analog” tradition, like looking at printed text. He can only “download books.”
Paolo’s boyfriend calls. Paolo’s boyfriend is an eccentric seventy-year-old painter named Hamish. Long white hair, very ornery, they meet in person like three times per year. Hamish lives in New York. Paolo lives in… L.A.
I always think sentences–and especially paragraphs–that end with punctuated abbreviations — like L.A., or U.S. — feel deflated. That poor period has to do double duty: It uses up all its power abbreviating “Angeles,” or “States,” that when it comes time to finish the sentence — the paragraph! — its muscles have all gone slack and it emits a dusty little cough and expires. The air squeals out through the puncture.
This is the kinda shit I’m gonna miss when I go blind. Physical act of reading. I don’t want to listen to Economist podcasts for the visually impaired. I want to read smelly paperbacks printed in the 1960s! I want to open new tabs in my browser and click on things! Sometimes I feel more excited about the insane visually-impaired-friendly internet soft- and hardware that’s gonna be out there than I do about some hypothetical cyborg cure that I’m irrationally unconvinced is coming. Also sunsets, and breasts
Is there something homophobic and bad about writing ‘fl(a/e)sh’ fiction on the internet about a vapid gay cyborg??? This is probably why people tend to write things on their hard drives and then print them out and send them to editors of small literary magazines instead of just writing garbage directly into their web browser. Electric Literature, you can keep your $1,000. Just kidding. Electric Literature, you can just PayPal the $1,000 to my gmail. Thanks!
Paolo sits on the unmade bed talking to Hamish. It’s 11 a.m.
You are such a careful reader! I’d like to kiss your mouth.
I think all the time about the parts in I. when Stephen Dixon drinks miso soup packets during his writing breaks. Well, I think about them maybe three times a year. I felt annoyed when the narrator of Shoplifting From American Apparel read a Stephen Dixon book late at night in his bed. Why? Why was I annoyed?? I can’t remember. It made me feel like one of those reactionary old-guard creative-writing professors who tell David Foster Wallace in E Unibus Pluram that it’s OK to write fiction with cars and electricity but it’s not OK to include things like Coke or TV. Am I a 29-year-old reactionary who thinks it’s OK for people in novels to read Proust and Baudelaire but not OK for them to read Stephen Dixon? I wish it weren’t so. Maybe it’s not. Well: In my novel, this novel, the one you’re reading right now, there’s someone reading Tao Lin! So there you go. I’ve done you one worse. The peach barfs some flies. The fly barfs some peach-bits. Paolo tosses the whole thing into the compost.
This snowstorm has made New York City so beautiful– I live in a snowglobe! I want to eat a Gilbert Sorrentinocake.