The sleet pounding down onto her that frigid January night as she walked past the Bed Bath & Beyond in her gentrifying urban neighborhood, Megan yet again desperately wished she had accepted that financial analysis executive job offer at PKM Investment (she never did find out what those letters meant) four years ago instead of (seemingly on a whim) attending motherlovin’ (more like motherfuckin’) Columbia University to pursue that full-time master’s degree in English literature, a subject she had always loved but apparently not enough to prevent her from dropping out midway through her first semester due to excessive consumption of whatever imported upper-end wines she could afford, always a bottle at a time, as if some of Western culture’s greatest authors, especially the female ones, could have prevented her from turning into a slurring, stumbling, vomiting, pants-wetting alcoholic (though of course, even when pissing herself, she never failed to do so in the most stylish of imported designer retro-Thirties and Forties women’s pants, her lifelong sartorial aspirations only an infinitesimally close second to her “need for lubrication,” as she used to put it during the early, jovial stages of what she now calls her “sorry-ass boozing”). She would have still turned into an alcoholic at that job, but at least the company would have paid for her twelve-step program, permitting her to retain enough money to give generously to every homeless person she encountered, and she encountered them more and more frequently as the hipoisie—including her nauseating cousins, the white ones, the heterosexual married couple who drove his-and-hers hybrids and mocked her father’s Ecuadoran accent right in front of his face in a ha-ha-just-kidding kind of way—have moved in and driven up rents, not that she had ever given anything to any panhandler sleeping on the street, the panhandlers representing a “There but for the grace of God” situation, referring to a deity she wished she could avidly believe in due to what she considered “the resulting spiritual narcosis, cheaper than weed or alcohol,” a narcosis her nauseating cousins had displayed but not at that Christmas dinner at his house two years ago, when the male cousin had told her father “Yo, Derian, pass the gravy, or I’ll report you to ICE, ha ha, I have ’em on speed-dial, ha ha ha,” the only moment in her life she had ever regretted not resorting to violence, and she would have inflicted very impressive violence upon her motherfuckin’ cousin, too, considering she had already drunk half a bottle of wine before arriving at the house. Preloading, she called her practice of drinking before leaving for any occasion, a party or a staff meeting or that particularly important graduate seminar she otherwise hadn’t prepared for two weeks before her self-removal from Columbia, a seminar during which she had spent ten minutes vociferously arguing for the literary (“Nobel-level,” as she had put it) superiority of someone she had never read, bestselling author Danielle Steel, mainly because Steel’s “utter schlock” about “vacuous heroines” who find “riches and dick” in the “most idiotic and clichéd way possible” perfectly epitomized the “stunted dreams of the typical, all-American, non-Columbia-attending reader” who “cleans the toilets” at that university, and “everyone with a few unshrivelled brain cells” knows that the “university elite” had to “worship the shit the lower classes loved” in order for the elite to demonstrate “true Americanism” and “thus” grow more popular and “thusly” provide competition for “the GOP-holes” infesting “this fine nation,” Megan slurring quite a bit by this part and also worrying for a few milliseconds that she shouldn’t have used the word “dick” in such a sophisticated milieu as related to what mainstream literary heroines really wanted, considering this particular seminar (especially its most erudite member, that freckled, bespectacled guy she had drunkenly fucked while watching Downton Fuckin’ Abbey at his apartment) disparaged heteronormativity.
Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews
January 13-14. 2018
(revised January 19, 2018)