by Tao Lin
My story is pasted below. Go here to read Brandon's story.
I finished reading. Brandon was in the front row. I looked at him. He was looking at me. Someone walked to me and I drew a hamster in their copy of my book. After a few minutes there were three groups of people left. Ross Simonini and his friend stood together. Brandon and I stood together. Matthew Simmons stood alone organizing something. Sometimes Brandon walked toward another group while I looked at him and the group he was walking toward and then he walked back to me and said something about not knowing what to do or not knowing what was going to happen. Sometimes I walked toward another group and the same thing happened. Sometimes Matthew Simmons walked toward another group and said something and then went back to where he was and organized some more things. Sometimes Matthew Simmons said something and we looked at him and said something. Brandon and I talked about what we should do now. The previous night someone had introduced me to Ross Simonini as I came out of the bathroom. Ross Simonini had asked if I wanted to have lunch with him the next day. I said I did. The next day was today. Someone from the internet sat by me and we talked a moment and she left. Brandon and I talked about doing something before going back to his apartment. “I think he wanted to have lunch with me,” I said to Brandon about Ross Simonini. Brandon and I talked about doing something with Ross Simonini. I asked if there was anything we could do. Brandon said something about a bar or something about a party in a club. I think I asked Brandon if he wanted to go to a bar and he said he did not or that he didn’t know. I walked toward Ross Simonini. “What are you doing now?” I said to Ross Simonini. He said something about eating something. He introduced Brandon and I to his friend, Corky. He and Corky moved back into their group and talked to each other. Brandon and I asked each other what was happening. We walked toward Ross Simonini and Corky. “What are you doing tonight?” Ross Simonini said. I looked at Brandon. “Are you hungry?” I said. “I don’t know,” Brandon said. “I don’t know,” I said. “What should we do?” “Should we go eat?” Brandon said. “I think we’re going to go eat,” Ross Simonini said. “Okay, can we come eat?” I said. “We’re just going to go eat near here,” Ross Simonini said. “Can we come?” I said. “We can eat together.” “Yeah, let’s go eat,” Ross Simonini said. We moved back into two different groups. I stood with Brandon. We looked at each other. Ross Simonini and Corky stood together. Matthew Simmons said something either about his girlfriend, about being at work and not being able to leave yet, or something else. He left. “Should we go eat?” I said to Brandon. “We can eat,” Brandon said. Ross Simonini and Corky had left the bookstore. Brandon and I did not know where they went. We talked about this. “Did they ditch us?” I said. Brandon said something. I said something. We asked each other what we should do. We said we should go outside. We walked outside. We saw Ross Simonini and Corky in the parking lot by their car. They were about sixty feet away. We walked to them. There were many CDs in the trunk of the car. We talked about the CDs. Ross Simonini said he got free CDs. We talked about eating dinner together. We talked about driving somewhere to eat. We talked about walking somewhere to eat. “There’s a Thai restaurant near here,” Ross Simonini said. We walked to the Thai restaurant. Brandon and I sat facing Ross Simonini and Corky. We were in a booth. Ross Simonini said he was in a band. He said he made money from the band. He named a TV show and said the TV show used one of his band’s songs. He said he wrote music reviews for The Stranger. He said he fasted every six months. Brandon or I asked if his shit looked different when he fasted. He said it did look different. “What color is your shit when you fast?” Brandon said. “Black,” Ross Simonini said. I looked at Ross Simonini. He had a neutral facial expression or a serious facial expression, I wasn't sure. I felt that he might be feeling happy on the inside but maybe not. I looked at Brandon. He was grinning a little and he looked a little nervous and he also looked very excited. I felt that Brandon might be feeling “unsure” and also “direct” on the inside. I looked at Corky and thought that he looked a lot like Chris Moran, a person I was friends with on Facebook. Sometimes I felt good feelings toward Corky because I had good feelings toward Chris Moran. Corky talked about the filmmaker Haneke. He and Ross Simonini pronounced it “Hanukkah." We asked what “Haukkah” was. They talked about the movie “Cache.” I said something about Werner Herzog. They talked about Werner Herzog. I said the name of a Werner Herzog movie. Corky said the name of a Werner Herzog movie. I said something else about Werner Herzog. I felt bored of myself. I said something about Ross Simonini being the interviews editor for The Believer. Brandon asked questions. I said Joy Williams didn’t have any long interviews anywhere. Ross Simonini said I could interview her if I wanted to. Brandon had food left and I ate the rest of his food. He said I ate a lot of food. I said I did not eat a lot of food. I went to the bathroom. They left. I went outside and “danced” in front of Ross Simonini and he laughed a little. I felt strange. But I was glad I made Ross Simonini laugh or grin, I don't remember. I asked about an interview between Gary Lutz and Diane Williams that he had mentioned. I said that that would be good. He said something good about them and said that the interview would be good. He said something about Lydia Davis having an interview in The Believer. I said that that was good. I think Brandon was in the bathroom. Brandon came outside. We walked one block. Ross Simonini and Corky left. Brandon and I walked on the sidewalk. We said we had made connections in the literary world. Important connections. We talked about Brandon interviewing me for The Believer. We said we would email Ross Simonini asking if Brandon could interview me for The Believer. We said we would do this tonight. We said we would interview each other for The Believer. We talked about what Ross Simonini’s friend’s name was. We said, “Ricky?” We said some other names. We said, "Cory?" Then we said Corky. His name was Corky. But I don’t think we were completely sure. We said that we both heard Ross Simonini say something like, “Corky,” but we didn’t know. We each said “Corky” a few times.
I felt excited when I read Brandon's story. I think I smiled the entire time and sometimes laughed. This was fun. We did not read each other's stories until we had finished our own stories. It was interesting to see what Brandon focused on. I think Brandon's dialogue during the dinner was more accurate than mine. We have also talked about what Ross Simonini will think about what we have done. Brandon said he did not want to hurt Ross Simonini. I do not want to hurt Ross Simonini either. We both like Ross Simonini. I think Ross Simonini would probably like what we have done because he likes Werner Herzog and things like that. At one point Brandon and I talked about Ross Simonini also writing a story about what happened during the dinner. I am excited about this kind of writing.
Ross Simonini is the interviews editor for The Believer. He is also in a band I think. Brandon Scott Gorrell and I had dinner with Ross Simonini and Ross' friend when I went to Seattle last year to read. Brandon and I wrote about what happened when we had dinner with Ross Simonini. This post is a continuation of this post. Read Brandon and I's gmail chat below for more information about the origins of this post.
Brandon: there is a gmail chat we had that is like 676 lines about emailing ross simonini its good and talking about alot of other things me: forawrd it to me we talk about ross a lot his name appears on my blog a lot also Brandon: i know its a recurring theme in our friendship why has he taken on such a significant meaning me: ross 'holds us together' when ross dies our friendship will wither Brandon: im afraid me: he is healthy, i think he'll live long fasting Brandon: he does cleanses black shit me: we are talking about him again Brandon: haha the situation was funny when we didnt know what to do in the bookstore and the lunch me: yes, we should both write about the lunch corky Brandon: we should write about what happened before the lunch though it took so long to decide that we would go to lunch me: before the lunch, and end when we left and talked about corky a little Brandon: the time would be, the moment after you stopped reading, and yes, when we left and corky me: yes Brandon: okay ill write about that today me: im going to eat something away from the comuter be back Brandon: okay [8 minutes later] me: while eating i laughed about ross simonini after we write this we should post it on blogs and link each other and link to the previous post as explanation