e met our fictional characters in a bar in Indianapolis. On the whole, we were kind of put off by them. Dirk absolutely couldn’t stand the character named “Dirk,” the cult leader. I mean, when “Dirk” would get into talking, laying down some heavy barroom preaching, Dirk would just take his hearing aids out.
The one in flowing robes, his beard majestic. The other in suit jacket, tie died shirt, fanny pack, cut-offs, shaven, even shorn. Both in sandals, with earrings. The one a golden hoop as wide around as a bicycle wheel, the other a stud.
Scott and “Scott” shook hands, and then “Scott” continued to shake, as the smack wore off. The one bummed a smoke from the other.
William left the room when “William” started to recite some of his work.
But it was an important moment for us, potentially, in terms of understanding our own constructs both within and without, the one a projection of the other. The one a center to the other’s perifery, the one a silhouette to the other’s caricature. The way one might dice up a brain and serve its various portions separately.
Many rounds later, things had become more complicated. Scott and William had both fallen for the beatific “Dirk,” who could handle many margaritas and still finish sentences. All the people in the bar were drawn to him like spokes to a hub. Dirk was talking to “Scott” and “William,” both of whom, although fictional, were in the end serious fiction writers of a caliber hard not to appreciate for a man who had been working on his Ph.D. in English Studies for almost a decade. They talked books, publishing, self-publishing, writing, written, to write, having had been writing, and electronic literature.
By then, “Dirk” was counseling William and Scott, both drunk beyond any brakes, through a two-player pinball game which he had loudly and resonantly framed for them as a spiritual endeavor upon which their souls would be measured, and “Dirk” expected nothing less than high scores.
The blipping and beeping rang out acorss the bar while “Dirk” said:
those Flippers are yore Wings;
that hole ist Perdition;
that Ball yore Sole.
Flap, my Brothers, Flap.