Friday, August 01, 2008

Emperor Shi Huang Ti, V. Nabokov...and...

For Levi's "Consigned to the Flames" series:

By 2 a.m., he was alone with the blonde and her sister. He was without his cell phone and had no idea where he was—somewhere on Long Island. Would she call him a cab? She said that she would give him a ride after she’d finished watching TV with her sister. She told him to go into her bedroom and get in bed. So he did. He noticed an unusual number of cats and lots of dust on the table tops and grime in corners.

“I was like, ‘I want my mommy,’” he said. He came out to plead for a cab. This time, the woman was on the computer updating her cat’s MySpace page. He asked if she would drive him to the train station. The date snapped for him to get back in bed. Finally, the girl’s sister gave him a ride to the station.

“So I got back to my apartment here, and I had an epiphany,” he said. He’d been reading Roman history, about how, when Mark Antony accidentally led 150 soldiers to an island to battle 500 enemy soldiers, instead of allowing his men to flee, he burned the ship. Then they won, because they had to.

“So I sat on my bed, and across from me was my pile of meaningless phone numbers of women that I’ve met,” he said. “This is 4 in the morning, Wayne Dyer and everybody says 4 in the morning is the time when the world is quietest and it’s super-spiritual—and I said, ‘The only way I’m going to meet terrific women—I have to burn the ship.’ So I took this pile of numbers and I went to the incinerator and I blessed all the women and asked them for my soul back. And I blessed it, and I kissed it, and I threw it down the incinerator. And it started my new quest for meaning and it sta—Hi, how are you!”

A crowd of teenagers from New Jersey had come up to say hi to the Goot.

—Spencer Morgan, NY Observer, profile of Steve Gutenberg

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