there’s no plot
the editor emails me
rejecting the story
he says there’s no plot to it
it’s just the events of some guy’s day
it’s not as gritty as the other ones
you send me
(most of those he rejects
so here it is
i’ve come to this
writing about the battle
between the so-called writer
and the editor.
he’s probably right
there is no real plot to the story
but i want to tell him
that sometimes life is like this
there’s simply no plot.
i could’ve included some stuff
in there to make it
cohesive for the guy
like take what happened to me yesterday
i could’ve put in the story
something about waking up hungover
and drinking half a bottle of mylanta
throughout the day
or getting on the wrong train
and not realizing it for five stops
coming into work and having everyone
throw questions at me
or about standing in the freezing cold
as every bus but mine came by
about having to get on the wrong bus
cursing the world
as it crept through brooklyn
and every single person seemed to get off
at every other stop
while the rest talked loudly
on their phones.
these are important plot details.
i could’ve added the fact
that me, the protagonist, that my wife
and i don’t have cell phones
so while this is all going on
she’s in a bar somewhere waiting for me
and there i am knowing
i’m going to be an hour late meeting her
i wonder if the editor would’ve sensed
the drama building
or maybe i could’ve added the part
about me racing twelve blocks
to get to the bar
about how my chest had these odd little pains
as i ran
about getting to the bar
and having my wife tell me that she thought
that i was dead
or the part about the drunk with his head on the bar
and how only moments before
he was hitting on my wife
while i was on a fucking bus caught in traffic
and an hour late
yeah, i could’ve added the part
about the bar drunk hitting on my wife
while i wasn’t there
and how some of the other guys in the bar
kept coming down to where she was sitting
checking up on her
making sure she was all right.
sure, they are secondary characters
unnecessary and underdeveloped
but i think the story could be getting somewhere now.
although to keep the plot moving
i should probably add about how when i came
into the bar
how dramatically i threw down my bag
and declared the mta the worst public
transit system in the world
and about how i was taking all of the money
in the savings account
and moving back to pittsburgh
because places like pittsburgh are where sane people live
i should write about how my wife
sat patiently through this rant
waiting on a kiss.
i’d probably send back the story to the editor
adding all of that
but if i did i’d be leaving out
how i was so worked up i had to lock myself
in the bar bathroom
to take a massive, nervous shit while some drunk
kept pounding on the door
about how when i got out of the bathroom
jack, the drunken day bartender
was talking to my wife about karl marx
and economic theory
about how he proceed to spend the next
forty minutes talking to both of us
about economics and philosophy
and this theory he had about who
was the world’s worst genocidal maniac.
i could add all of these things
and include the fact that my wife and i
didn’t even get a chance to ask each other how
our miserable days were.
i could add it but the editor doesn’t like stories
that take place in bars
he doesn’t like relationship stories as well.
so forget jack
we’ll make him an alien
bent on world domination
and the bar will become a coffee shop
and i’ve been listening to him reveal his plot
and my wife?
we’ll make her my best buddy, earl,
even though i don’t know anybody named, earl.
earl was waiting for me
and i was an hour late not because
of some mass transit screw up
but because i was somewhere
in the dark corners of new york city
fighting the good fight.
and i never got on that wrong train
i was shadowing someone who just happened
to be going in the other direction.
hazards of the job, you see?
so i’ll write that story instead
and i’ll make the plot the test of one man’s metal
in an otherwise cruel and unforgiving world.
i’ll put a hot blonde at a corner table
the kind my wife thinks that i still want to fuck
when i complain about getting older and fatter.
i’ll put her in a short skirt that rides up
to her ass.
and as the alien talks about his plot to destroy the world
and as earl tells me about his day over an espresso
i’ll call the barista over and ask him what she’s drinking.
i’ll tell him to send her over another one.
and then i’ll walk out into the night.
i’ll write that story instead
and i’ll send it back to the editor
formatting it just how he likes it
as an attachment
in 12-point font
with my name and email address
right under the title.