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j i m m y

 

Alice's Blue Period




Madison Glass, a fictional character, and I were having some Margaritas in her kitchen. She edits a literary journal and is fond of meta-fictional work.


For example, in the issue preceding this one, there's a story veiled as a letter to the editor. In another story, the author is a fictional character in his own story. In an issue prior to the one in mention, a semi-famous poet titled a story named after another semi-famous poet's name, who had been published by this journal in an issue preceding that one.


"Madison, is Glass really your last name?" I asked, licking the rim of my glass with my tongue to collect all the salt.


"What do you think?" She said. Her face is covered with skin.


"I think that you think that you are part of the Glass family. You know, Salinger's?" I said, sucking on the wedge of lime.


"J.D. Salinger is over-rated," Madison Glass said. Her eyeballs are soft. She looks like Zooey from Franny and Zooey.


"J.D. Salinger is like the TV show Friends. People think it's cool to say they're over-rated, but really, it's the best stuff around." I said, chewing on the rind, squinting in discomfort.


"I don't think this is funny," Madison Glass said.


"Okay Madison, fair enough. But can I say one more thing?" I said.


"Sure."


"You emailed me and said that I missed the deadline, and that I should re-submit during the next reading period, which was in effect at the time of your message."


"Yes. That is correct."


"Why couldn't you just hold on to the story and read it at a convenient time, instead of me having re-submit it? I mean, I'm not concerned about the minor chronology or lineage of your journal, so if I missed the deadline, fine—just read my piece for the next deadline."


Madison hasn't touched her Margarita.


She imagines the writer as he is: at home, naked with some crusty semen on his left thigh, having just masturbated to porn. He's drinking a glass of single malt Glenmorangie 12yr scotch. A car rushes past his window, which rattles from the bass of another stupid song. The shadow from his house makes a triangle across the street.


Madison wants to answer him, but there is no answer, because obscurity does not deserve reason.


You take one obscure journal, toss in a bunch of depressed and obscure writers with day jobs, throw in some drinks that were never drunk, and never respond to this.








 

m a d i s o n

 

I'm Not a Real Person and Jimmy Chen Doesn't Like Me




I order a margarita, which is dumb. I take the umbrella and push the glass aside. I don't drink. I'm lying. But I don't drink margaritas. Or mint juleps. Maybe.


I have a vague recollection of once calling Salinger overrated after a conversation during which someone else said Salinger was overrated. I may have said this to Jimmy Chen. I don't remember.


Jimmy Chen is angry because I deleted his submission to alice blue, a small online journal no one reads. I tell him this, about the journal, but he's still angry.


"You emailed me and said that I missed the deadline, and that I should re-submit during the next reading period, which was in effect at the time of your message."


"I know," I say. I'm uncomfortable. "I'm uncomfortable," I say.


"You and everyone you know are obscure," he says. "You're obscure."


"Obscure," I say. I like this word.


Jimmy Chen is not amused. He drinks some sort of scotch I can only tell is expensive and I think he's trying to show off and I don't know anything about alcohol apart from parts per volume and which I can mix with Coke. I'm sure we had old scotch around the house, but they always drank wine, which I also don't know much about, and I didn't spend much time around the house anyway.


"Single malt," he says.


"I don't know what that means," I say. "I have illegal copies of JD Salinger's under-published works which I can type up and send to you if you like because it only had a run of fifty and it's really beautiful and I don't want to ruin the spine because it was made by anarchists."


Jimmy Chen looks out the window. He's tapping the counter. He's tapping the counter and it's making me nervous.


"Was that obscure?" I say. Jimmy Chen doesn't answer. I suddenly wonder if Jimmy has a blog. I do not ask if Jimmy has a blog.


"Why couldn't you just hold on to the story and read it at a convenient time, instead of me having re-submit it? I mean, I'm not concerned about the minor chronology or lineage of your journal, so if I missed the deadline fine-just read my piece for the next deadline," he says. "Stop dicking me around."


I am not dicking him around. Jimmy Chen is trying to play me. I think. I don't want to tell him why I deleted them. Because there's a reason for this vagueness. Or something. I'm tired because people don't understand me without explication and I say things as straight as I can.


"Clean desk," I say. "Blank walls," I say. "Spit balls in the piano room." This was wrong to say. It's vague and Jimmy doesn't like vague. "Everything has reasons," I say. I'm fucking myself over. I can tell. Jimmy will not submit his story again. I am sad.


"You're a bitch," he says.


"I'm a bitch," I say. I wait for him to call me a slut. I've started saying 'hey, only my mom call's me that.' Jimmy Chen does not call me a slut. I'm disappointed.


"Madison, is Glass really your last name?" he asks. He's licking his glass with his tongue. I shrug. "Sure. You don't think so?" "I think that you think that you are part of the Glass family, like Franny and Zooey and Seymour," he says, "but you're not."


"Oh."


"I like Ben Marcus."


"Oh." Ben Marcus has been very mean to me. I understand why Jimmy Chen likes Ben Marcus. Many people who hate me have ganged together.


"I like Friends."


"It is the most underrated show of all time."


"Yes it is."


"No it's not. Friends sucks."








 

j i m m y

 

Notable American Women




Madison Glass is Seymour's daughter. She was conceived the morning Seymour shot himself. A perfect day for bananasplit.


Twenty-five years later, Madison Glass has a blog. She doesn't want anyone else to have a blog, just her and her avant-garde blog friends. They link each other to each other's blogs, like a blog orgy.


Jimmy Chen doesn't have a blog. He is an alcoholic. He was very upset one night, because it seemed fairly implicit that Madison, who edits a journal that he wanted to be published in, rejected not only his formal submission, but subsequent somewhat facetious discourse about such rejection veiled as a submission in itself. He speaks with spite.


“You and everyone you know are obscure,” he says.


"Is that a Miranda July reference?" Madison says, "because it's actually 'Me and you and everyone you know'".


"Sorry," he says, taking a sip of Glenmorangie. "I'm not exactly in touch."


“I have illegal copies of JD Salinger’s under-published works which I can type up and send to you if you.”


"Those are all available online, but thanks."


"Sorry," she says, taking a sip of Pinot. "I'm not exactly in touch."


"This is beginning to sound like some eloquently written story," Jimmy says, "you know, with the symmetry and everything."


Madison leans back into her chair. She closes her eyes. She saw a bio photo of Ben Marcus once. He was bald. He looked sad.


Ben Marcus will fill his apartment with books, so many books that he must stack them on the floor. When attractive women come over, he will nonchalantly move them aside so they can sit. He is bald. He is sad.


When Jimmy Chen is done with a book, he trades them in for credit at a local bookstore. When women come over to his apartment, the only book they see is the one he is currently reading.


"What are you reading?" Madison Glass asks.


"Proust."


"I said what, not who." Madison says.


"It's complicated."


"You're a fucking moron."








 

m a d i s o n

 

“You and everyone you know are obscure,” he says.


"Me and you and everyone you know.” Maddie’s mumbling.


“Sorry,” he says. “I’m not exactly in touch.”


Maddie’s offended Jimmy Chen and she doesn’t know why. Jimmy thinks Maddie thinks he’s making some sort of literary reference and that she’s correcting him, or that she did and he’s correcting her, it’s hard to tell, but Maddie doesn’t read, and she doesn’t like performance artists at least she doesn’t think so.


Madison offers Jimmy illegal copies of Salinger’s under-published works. She is desperate. She offers to type them up for him, which is a pain in the ass, and she does it before he responds, right there on his bed, bed-transcription, because she doesn’t know you can find them on the internet, but Jimmy does. And Jimmy’s drunk.


Jimmy’s an alcoholic. He’s balding. Alcoholism and receding hairlines scare Maddie. Jimmy Chen has his own website and is probably more professional than she is. Madison Glass is just a kid. Madison Glass is twenty-five. Madison is small. She is sensitive. She screams like a rabbit.


“If you aren’t going to publish me at least stop jerking me around.”


“Don’t be silly.”


Maddie’s tired. From work. She wonder’s if Jimmy works. Or if Jimmy paints. Or if Jimmy smokes—you know, crack, or eats fish or anything.


"What are you reading?" she asks.


"Proust."


"What?” Madison says.


“Idiot,” he says.


"Yes,” she says. She collapses delicately to the floor. She lies on her stomach, on the floor. She makes flapping motions with her arms. “It's complicated,” she says.








 

j i m m y

 

“I don’t like performance artists,” Maddie says, “at least I don’t think so.” Madison collapses delicately to the floor.


“That looks like performance art,” Jimmy says.


“What does?” Maddie asks.


“You know, collapsing on the floor like Miranda July,” Jimmy says.


Jimmy is bald, an alcoholic, and more professional than Madison is. “You’re just a kid,” he says.


“I have illegal copies of J.D. Salinger that I can type up for you.” Maddie says. She examines her blossoming bruises on her leg, getting darker with time like a polaroid.


“We’ve been through this already” Jimmy says.


He doesn’t know whether to call her Maddie or Madison. For some reason, he’s convinced her name is Alice Blue. This is the problem with the internet. Madison is probably some 40yr old man.


Jimmy likes to eat fish, but he doesn’t smoke crack. Madison is just a kid. Jimmy is a professional artist. He’s too lazy to send out manuscripts to established journals, so he harasses online editors with cryptic meta-fictional stories. He’s a bitter writer.


“The publishing world is run by Jews,” Jimmy announces.


“I said I was a rabbit, not a rabbi,” Madison says, though what she really said was that she screams like a rabbit. This is the opposite of anthropomorphism, which would be a rabbit screaming like a human. Maddie is full of contradictions. And she is tired.


“Do you have a full time job?” Jimmy asks.


“How did you know?” Maddie asks. Her largest bruise is the size of a small potato.


“There are two types of people in this world. People who have a full time job, and people who get grants by collapsing on the floor.”


“Why do we always make fun of people? There is something wrong with our generation.” Mad(d)i(e)son says.


“Don’t say our generation,” Jimmy says. “You’re just a kid.”


Madison sneers at the screen, removes a Cheetos puff from his navel, eats it, and types: I’m a 40 year old man.








 

m a d i s o n

 

Madison Glass does not write back. Madison missed generation x by a year and it makes her sad. She is tired of losing, bored with systematic abandonment and does not write back. It doesn’t matter. Madison is twenty-five and she’s disappearing. She disappears for years at a time. She disappears.

 

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MADISON GLASS disappeared for nearly a year and won’t talk about where she was. We are concerned for her. We love her dearly. Like any good kid, she has accounts with twitter, facebook, goodreads, blogger, etc. and full access to my paypal account (send to s.burgess@hotmail.com).

JIMMY CHEN maintains a blog and archive of his writing at Embassy of Misquided Zen. He is a contributing writer at HTMLGIANT.


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