A Call From Prague

Dear Drunk:

Writing very early as usual and I need a break, so I drifted here to my email. You like to message me when you’re drunk – like you did on my birthday, geez. I’m sober, it’s morning here, and I thought I’d bother you with this when you wake up hungover. What the hell are you doing in Vermont anyhow?

My ballot arrived yesterday. All the relentless cr-p hurled from the cr-pper-in-chief about “voter fraud” is rooted in him looking to make an excuse for possibly being defeated. Anyone who has ever applied for an absentee ballot while residing overseas knows to obtain one you have to have an address in the U.S. where you are (or were last) registered to vote and you have to sign the ballot itself as if you are voting in person. You can’t just email from “North Wherever-ia” to any state of your happy choosing claiming to be a U.S. citizen and you are casually mailed a ballot and nobody double checks. But we already know he is an honorless slug who says anything and has no morals and who insists on continuing to try to delegitimize our election just to prop up his many-bankruptcies inherited-from-Daddy-multi-millions fake-tycoon con-artist’s unwarranted-massive-ego, and large numbers of Americans – who he looks down on, and considers losers – sadly have fallen for his unbelievable bulls-it on stilts act.

Speaking of abroad as well, on Sunday night Father Face-timed me from Pennsylvania saying a woman from Prague phoned and left a message. (No, “A Woman from Prague” is not a book or story title. It could be, though.) She was evidently looking for me. But I have never even been to Prague. The recording – you remember he screens all his calls – was not entirely clear, but he said the number she left for me to call her back on was definitely not in the U.S., but unfortunately he did not understand all of the numbers. He did not recognize her accent either; he doesn’t know what country it sounded like. (And he would not know a Czech accent anyway. I probably wouldn’t either to be honest.)

He blurts all that out while my wife is sitting three feet away on the sofa. “You had some life,” he chuckled. “If you are up to something, I want her to hear it.” (Gee, thanks for your faith in me, Dad.) On my stating that I have never even visited that city, she observed – laughing, fortunately – that the mystery lady caller could always have MOVED TO Prague from elsewhere, of course.

Indeed to my relief my wife thought the episode was hilarious and pointed out that she took it as a great compliment that her father-in-law felt SHE would find it funny and not threatening. I have to admit I had not thought of that initially, and that made me feel better. Nonetheless I spoke to Dad again Monday – when my wife wasn’t home – and he then played it all down. I think he realized that while I was smiling and lighthearted I was also pissed off at him because his springing that on us that way could have caused me trouble in my marriage over nothing. Anyway, case closed… permanently, I hope.

It has crossed my mind as well that maybe it was a long ago former student of mine? Regardless to try to track me down at a phone number I have never given anyone which is at my father’s in PA where I have never lived and doing that at least two decades on from when I may – MAY – have known her and clearly we have had no contact since back then… is a bit creepy, really. It’s almost like stalking. I have no idea who she could be. (Her name he thinks he heard correctly is relatively common and rings no “Oh, my, her!” bells in my head.) Everyone who I want to know my whereabouts has known for over twenty years. So before you write back, smart a-s, to ask me, no I don’t owe back child support payments. Why the apparent detective “googling” anyhow and phone call to MY FATHER when I am easily located on Facebook or LinkedIn under my real name?

Moving on to the great literary stage. You must have heard about this as you liked those wizard books. Apparently Joanne has decided to write another in a crime novel series under her male pseudonym – as if nobody knows who it actually is. They sell well (of course), but seem to get mixed reviews.

The kicker this time is this book seems to be built around a serial killer man who dresses up as a woman to kill women. (Didn’t Columbo or McMillan & Wife or Hart to Hart or Murder, She Wrote or some other US 1970s-80s TV drama like maybe try something like that?) Okaaaaay. Given the hot (transgendered) water she had determinedly thrown herself into recently, that should be no shocker. As near as I can tell her take seems to rest on her belief that there is some radical effort afoot out there to “erase” women. Thus her newest fiction was almost certainly influenced by her current social obsession.

She is damaging her “Potter-brand” in all this, but apparently does not care. I have to assume she does not care because she must realize she is doing it. You and I try not to comment on matters about which we don’t consider ourselves expert. (Well, I’m not sure about what you are expert, but nevermind.) I hope deviating so much from what she had done so well – writing about wizards – and which practically had won her Shakespeare-like immortality proves worth it both in her book sales and to her much longer-term reputation as she fights to prevent women’s, uh, “erasure.” For if you are going to go AS ALL IN, guns figuratively blazing, on ANY SOCIAL issue as she is here, YOU HAD BETTER BE RIGHT… or history will wreck you.

[An excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997. Paperback. Copyright 2015. Photo by me, 2020.]

You remember I had thought while I was writing my first book about maybe publishing it under a woman’s name, but backed away from doing that. I concluded that I had hoped MOST readers – women or men – would no longer care about a writer’s gender; that all that mattered is if a book is good reading. (You also know I “hedged” my bets a bit, which is why I use the “R.J.” initials – which could be either man or woman.) I think I have been proven right given insofar as I know MOST of my readers are women (who themselves seem under no threat of “erasure”).

Oh, and let me stop you here right now too. I know you. You are probably also joining up “Prague” with my late uncle in your fantasist thoughts – that she’s looking for me for some reason because she knows he’s gone, because it has to do with him, not with me. The Dutch women’s swimming team from way back when sort of thing. Or that Spanish editor. Oh, and for the record, AGAIN, “Madame Sand” is NOT his daughter. LOL!

All kidding aside, one positive may come out of this “woman from Prague” stuff. I’m thinking I may someday get a short story out of it. You know as an author we ALWAYS have to think that way!

[Photo by me, September 2020.]

Put the Grey Goose away. Close this email and go back to your writing. I will go back to mine too…

…uh, I don’t mean vodka, I mean my writing, you moron.

All the best,
R.

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