The next day was a Saturday. And more importantly, it was time for The Drunkard to resume his tale and, hopefully, finish it. Luckily, I’d set my alarm before passing out, so I woke up at a decent hour, cursed, and stumbled into the shower. I could have been more hung over, but that wouldn’t change the fact that I was in dire straits.
Eventually, and after much wincing and struggling to get a couple aspirin down, I made it down to the Sub-Pope’s Flock around two o’clock. It was cold and raining outside, and, of course, inside the pub, it was dim and cave-like. I bought an orange juice and sat down at the table—where everyone else was already seated and discussing God knows what.
“Hey Narrator,” The Traveler said. “How’d casting go?”
“I got the part.”
“Mazel tov!” shouted everyone but The Stalker, who slurped at his cider.
I winced and said, “Thanks.”
“Fun night then, huh?” asked The Drunkard.
“I tried to use being Jewish as a pick-up line at The Dolphin,” I said. “It didn’t work. Ugh. Story?”
“Right,” said The Drunkard.
He leaned back in his chair, cleared his throat, and said, “Where was I?”
“Hell,” said The Writer. “We waited too long.”
The Drunkard leaned forward and flipped The Writer the finger, “You can go fuck yourself.”
The Traveler said, “I think it was something about getting started on the road.”
“Hold on,” said The Student. He pulled out his black Sony laptop and clicked a few buttons.
“What,” I said, “you’re keeping track of all this?”
The Student snorted. “God no, that would be mildly pathetic. I’ve got a better method of following who’s telling what.”
“And that is?” I asked.
My face paled. “You’re reading my blog?”
The Student grinned. “Oh, you bet ya. And, jeez Narrator, if you felt that strongly about Lena, you should have said something to her. I’m sure that if she weren’t immediately scared off, she might have laughed.”
“Ooo,” said The Drunkard, leaning forward. “What’d he say?”
“Nothin,” I said.
The Student cleared his throat and toyed with the mouse pad. “‘My loins,’ he writes, ‘were as strong as Haphaestus’s hammer.’”
The Writer burst into laughter and fell out of his chair. The Traveler let a horrified look go over his face.
“No,” I said. “You’re reading it out of context!”
“Oh?” asked The Student. “What’s the context?”
“It’s in the style of an opium-addled Romance-era poet, damn it! I’m playing around with styles. I wouldn’t go around saying that shit.”
“How about,” said The Student, “‘as I gazed upon her Teutonic countenance, I understood, then, what would drive a god to become a goose, a thing of beauty.’”
“Go fuck yourself!” I shouted.
The Drunkard rolled out of his chair in laughter.
“Oi!” shouted the barman. “Watch it.”
“Sorry!” shouted The Student. He cleared his throat again and The Writer and The Drunkard slowly brought themselves back up to the table and into a semi-serious mindset. I, on the other hand, wished that I had never started that damn blog. “Anyway. The Drunkard’s tale left off with Cloyd howling along with Creedence Clearwater Revival and asking where Murfreesboro was.”
“Ah,” said The Drunkard, “right. Man, I think we should all just give up and hand The Narrator the game, though.”
The Writer burst into more laughter, and I wished death upon him.
“Anyway, here we go, it’s a long one:”