The Writer of Werewolves, Lover of Crack Whores, and a Bar Bandit
There is a certain danger in believing your own bullshit because it puts you in situations where you become the object of ridicule. I tend to not be friends with too many people who refer to themselves as authors or writers because they seem prone to this danger. I had a roommate who taught me this lesson when he had the misfortune of meeting my girlfriend who unpleasantly called him out on his BS..
I met Eric through work. He seemed normal and his trajectory appeared positive. He was trying to become a class-A driver for the moving company where we worked. Getting his class-A would mean that he would be making a lot more money and I wasn’t making much money. So, when he asked if I was still looking for an apartment, I thought it might be good for both of us. I said, “Sure, I am still looking.
One thing led to another, and I secured an apartment. Within a week we were sharing the place. The bullshit started the first week. I came home from work on a Saturday afternoon and found Eric sitting on the couch scribbling in a notebook. I said, “What’s up, Eric?”
He stopped writing and said,
Vince, I would appreciate it if you would call me by my pen name. My nom de plume is Arawn Argentite. You do understand what a nom de plume is, correct?
“Yeah, I think I figured it out when you said pen name. So, you are a writer. I didn’t know that. What do you write?” I asked.
I’m working on a true story about an experience I had in the Ozark Mountains while on vacation with my parents. I was in the woods and got lost briefly, but the real terror began when I was chased by a werewolf. I managed to make my way back to the cabins where we were staying, and the wolf stopped following, after seeing other people outside the cabins.
I answered, “Well Arawn, that’s really interesting, but I’m going to go watch TV in my room.”
Arawn went back to scribbling in his notebooks and I went to my room. I turned on the TV and laid on the bed. I was annoyed because I felt like I had been duped. Why can’t the government make crazy people wear badges so we can identify them? I also felt annoyed because Arawn not only told me this crazy story but also expected me to believe it. I thought, “He better be able to pay his rent.”
As the weeks wore on, Arawn managed to obtain his class-A license and became a driver for the company. Things proceeded well between us, since he paid his rent on time. I stayed out of Arawn’s business and avoided discussions concerning anything to do with authorship or writing. Mainly because I did not want to end up punching him in the face. Our conversations on writing were typically in this vein,
Vince, I don’t think you are truly understanding the poem. You do know how to read poetry?
“I’m pretty sure I learned how to read poetry in middle school. Look, I said it was nice and has a lot of imagination. What are you looking for?” I returned.
I just don’t think you are feeling the gravity of poem. You see, my poetry is an abstract style and it is multilayered in meaning. Here let me read it to you.
“Please don’t.” I pleaded.
Ignoring me, Arawn launched into his recital,
The car is fast The car won’t last The car is in motion The car is emotion The car is not what we see The car is me.
“That’s great, man,” I said.
What was great about it?
I stood in silence for a moment growing frustrated. I said,
Look, if you want a critique of your poetry, here it is — that shit sucks. All your poetry sucks because there is no substantive emotional value in it. It’s not funny, sad, angry, or anything. All your poetry is about you comparing yourself with an object or something. That’s not how poetry works. You need to write about something that interests people or at least jars an emotion. I may not know exactly what makes good poetry, but I know that what you are writing is not it.
Turning red, Arawn calmly answered,
I write for me.
I walked away saying, “Well, if that were true, you wouldn’t be going to all the trouble to try to publish that shit.”
I tried my best to avoid conversations with Arawn when it came to writing poetry and stories. I did a good job avoiding him, but guys like Arawn place themselves in the crosshairs of contempt. The next confrontation occurred a few months later, when I started dating Farrah.
Farrah was a waitress and bartender. Having worked in this capacity for a few years, she had become an expert bullshit detector with an unfiltered mouth. While I liked these qualities, other people did not, especially Arawn.
Farrah and I arrived at my apartment on a Friday afternoon. Arawn said he would be leaving Friday evening and would not be back until late Sunday night. He tried to pique my curiosity, but my lack of giving a shit overpowered his feeble attempts to get me to ask him about his plans. Unfortunately for Arawn, Farrah took an interest in his plans.
Farrah and I came home while Arawn was finishing packing and getting ready to leave. He was standing in the living room wearing a suit and a pipe hung from his mouth. He was a Walmart version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He looked up and said,
Hey, I’m going to be leaving shortly to go to DC. You guys will have the place to yourselves.
He looked ridiculous and Farrah’s bullshit detector was screaming uncontrollably. She asked, “Watcha doing in DC?”
Arawn’s face lit up and he said excitedly and smugly,
I’ve been invited to a writer’s conference in DC. It’s a round table meeting of authors and publishing industry professionals. We will be discussing different aspects of the changing industry along with reviewing and critiquing our books.
Farrah smiled and fed Arawn’s ego, “Wow! That sounds exciting. Are they putting you up in a nice hotel?”
Arawn, beguiled by the pretty blonde, answered,
Well, they got us a good price on a room at the Marriot and they supply lunch and dinner. They also set up round tables for authors of different genres of writing to sit together. So, my book is nonfiction, and I will be with the nonfiction writers. They even gave each of us a gold name plate to put on the table to identify us.
Farrah exclaimed, “Wow! What a great deal! So how much did it cost you? DC is expensive, I hope they got you a good price.”
Arawn laughed, “The whole trip only cost $2500.”
Farrah and I started laughing and she stated,
So, you paid $2500 to get a gold name plate, two meals a day, and the privilege to sit with a bunch of amateur writers like yourself and feel important. Damn…Vince is right. You’re a douchebag.
I would like to say that was the end of my experience with Arawn, but it was not. No matter how often Farrah ridiculed him, he just scowled and took the abuse or walked out the door indignantly. She smashed him with insults and cracks:
Did you get your little book published, Arawn?
Are you and all the big-time authors meeting this weekend?
Hey, the bar where I work is holding a writers workshop this week, it’s only $1000.
There is no harder truth than the truth told to you by a pretty girl who hates you. Arawn could claim I was an asshole. He could shoot down the laughs of his coworkers because he considered them uneducated losers. But he could summon no response to the wisecracking girl who saw through his bullshit.
As time progressed, Farrah began to relent in her assault on Arawn’s image. I think she was even approaching the point of letting it all go. But keeping with Arawn’s douchebaggery, he did something that reignited Farrah’s despise.
Farrah and I came back to the apartment late one night after a concert. It was around 2am when we entered the apartment. As we made our way across the living room, we heard some giggling coming from Arawn’s room. Farrah stopped and whispered, “Did you hear that? He has a girl in there.”
I pulled her by the hand to my room. Once in my room, Farrah kept peeking out the door and listening at the wall. While I hated Arawn, Farrah seemed to live for his destruction. She viewed him the same as the barflies that she was forced to serve drinks, food, and listen to their awful lies. She saw Arawn as that same bullshitter that would endlessly pitch lousy flirtations at her. While she could do nothing to the bar clients she was forced to smile at for tips, she could unleash all her pent rage on Arawn. And she did, and I would be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy it.
She paced about the room, wearing my boxers and her sports bra. More than once she cupped her ear to the wall, eavesdropping. She continuously peeked out the door of the room, waiting like a predator. I laid on the bed drinking a beer, awaiting the inevitable. Soon, we heard the door of Arawn’s room open.
Like a lioness taking down a gazelle, Farrah raced out into the living room. Before I could put my feet on the floor I heard, “Hey, I’m Farrah.”
I stood and hesitated. I heard the conversation unfolding. Farrah jovially asked, “Don’t I know you? Haven’t I seen you before?”
I heard Arawn’s voice stammering, “This is uh, Betty. We met at a bar a few weeks ago.”
Farrah’s voice laughed, “I know you! You’re that girl who hangs out in the parking lot at the bar. Oh my God!”
Farrah burst into the bedroom and exclaimed, “She’s a crack whore! Arawn’s dating a crack whore.”
Things got crazy when Arawn came racing into my room yelling, “She is not! I hate you! Leave me the fuck alone!”
I stood between him and Farrah. Farrah got on the bed and began jumping up and down and said, “Hey, Arawn I got a poem for you.
Arawn loves a hooker He writes poems to her She thinks he’s a sucker He’s just a phony fucker
At that moment, the crack whore entered the bedroom behind Arawn. I saw the black space where her front upper teeth should’ve been as she ventilated hostility. Her spandex one-piece suit pinched her fat rolls in a way that made them look like giant skin tags. She pointed at Farrah, crying and cursing.
Sometimes, life is such a tragedy that all you can do is laugh. I began laughing and could not stop. My guts hurt as I watched Farrah standing on the bed, jeering down at Arawn and the crack whore:
Why don’t you recite her a poem, Arawn. Just make sure you give her ten bucks first so she’ll act like she enjoys it…Oh, you didn’t know he was a poet? Oh girl, you are going to make some money now! This guy paid $2500 to pretend he is a writer. Imagine what he’ll pay you…
Farrah swung the hammer of vengeance for all waitresses and bartenders everywhere. She was cruel, vicious, and beautiful. I loved her.
Arawn and his crack whore disappeared into his room as Farrah fell on the bed laughing hysterically. That was the end our roommate arrangement. In thirty days, he moved out to go live with the crack whore. In a few months, he got fired from work for being a no-show. Arawn would get arrested a few weeks later trying to rob the bar where Farrah worked. He hid in the bathroom until closing time and then tried to make off with the night’s earnings. Luckily, Farrah was not there that night because Arawn tried to fight his way out when the bouncer caught him.
When Arawn got out on bail, he came by the company to collect some things he left there. I saw him and asked how he was doing. Arawn arrogantly said, “Yeah, I got a better job lined up, and I’m going to be publishing my books soon.”
I felt the pain of internal frustration listening to him. Eric was just a nobody pretending to be somebody. The phonies always choose to be writers because they think they can fake their way through the craft by rhyming any old words and spinning a lie. The truth is that you’ll only BS your way so far, before that girl with the penchant for hammering people with the truth brings you down. I would almost feel sorry for Eric, but he got something valuable from that situation. He got a real experience he could write about if he is honest enough to tell the story.
Fuck it. I’ll just write it for him.
© 2019 Vincent V. Triola