DEREK WHITE wrote a response to Deb Olin Unferth's MINOR ROBBERIES. In it I eat nachos.
It reminded me that I'd started writing a thing about the trip, sort of in response to Ryan Call's thing about the night at AWP.
Here's what I had.
I KICKED RYAN CALL IN THE HEAD
by Blake Butler
1. I was in New York City. I had been there twice before. I get lost easily. I am easy to lose. On Friday I ate a sandwich with brie and apples. Mike Young ate the same sandwich, then he left and I was alone. I was afraid about getting lost. I called some people whose numbers I had in my phone. I walked in the rain. The rain was cold. I wasn't sure where I should go. I went back to the hotel.
2. I called Robert Lopez. He was in a hotel room. He gave me the number. I went up. I walked down a long hall counting the numbers down to the number of the room I was supposed to go to. I went down another hall. I followed signs. I got to the end of the hall and the numbers ended one before the number that I wanted. I went back down the hall the way I came and saw I'd passed the room before and not noticed. I felt lost a little and a little dumb. I knocked on the door. They said, Come in. The door was locked. I waited. Peter Markus came to the door and let me in. I had met Peter Markus earlier that day and liked him. I came into the room and saw Robert Lopez sitting around the bed with Derek White and Sam Ligon and another man I hadn't met before. I shook hands with everyone. I sat on the floor against a desk. Sam Ligon told me I could have a drink if I wanted it. I made a drink with vodka and ginger ale. I sat on the floor and listened to them talk about Gordon Lish and Diane Williams and other writers. I heard a lot of funny stories about Gordon Lish, including one where he was supposedly passing around pornographic photos at a literary reading. I heard stories about other writers. I said things when I felt I knew what I could say. I liked listening to them talking. I had another drink. I had another drink. We went to dinner. After dinner, we went to another bar. I had a beer and we talked some more. We played blackjack and poker for no money. The waitress was Latino. When she wasn't serving tables, she was reading. We talked about what the book might be. I got up and walked past so I could look. The book was by Sister Souljah.
3. After leaving the other group of people, I walked alone to a bar on Times Square to meet Ryan Call. Ryan Call was with some other people I did not know. My phone kept ringing in my pocket. I was supposed to go to Brooklyn to Tao Lin and Justin Taylor's apartment. I invited Ryan Call to come with me and he said he would and I felt better about not getting lost. We left Ryan Call's other friends and went to the subway and found our way to where we were supposed to go without much trouble. When we got off at the correct stop in Brooklyn, I called Kendra Grant Malone. Kendra Grant Malone was watching us from a window. She asked me if I saw the building. I saw the building. We crossed the street. We stood outside the building and waited for to be let in.
5. Justin Taylor came down to let us in. We talked on the way up to his apartment. Inside his apartment there were people standing. There was a girl I did not know standing with another guy I did not know. There was Kendra Grant Malone. Kendra Grant Malone looked happy. Justin Taylor offered me a glass of wine. I began to drink the wine. After I'd had a couple sips of wine Justin Taylor said there was rum and coke the refrigerator. He said I should drink rum and coke. I drank the rest of the wine to make room for rum and coke. I made him a rum and coke also. I drank mine quickly. I never don't drink anything quickly. If I am holding something in my hand that is a beverage I usually drink it within minutes, just as if I am holding food in my hand that is delicious, I will also usually eat it very quickly. I drank two or three rum and cokes in a short time. Justin Taylor and I were talking about Barry Hannah. We were talking about Will Oldham. Ryan Call seemed happy even though he was in a room full of new people. I was glad he seemed comfortable since I had brought him. I did not want him to feel uncomfortable. I asked where Tao Lin was. Someone said he was at the NYU library. I drank another rum and coke.
6. Tao Lin came into the apartment. He walked in and looked around at all the people. He went into another room, I think, and got his computer. Things at this point tend to get ruined. The problem with drinking things very quickly is that you lose track of what you drank and the effect sneaks up on you before you realize. I remember Tao Lin sitting down with his computer. I remember people talking about things, but I don't remember what they were talking about. I remember my voice coming out of me very loud. I have a loud voice and don't pay attention to it, especially when I am drunk. I do not remember the conversation we had while standing around though I do remember asking Tao Lin about his very small computer. I remember checking my Gmail on it quickly. I remember Tao Lin opening my myspace and pointing to the small drawing that represents his profile on myspace. I remember thinking it was funny that we were checking Gmail and myspace at a party. I remember Tao Lin's computer keyboard on my fingers. His keyboard was very small. I remember asking him about buying a small foreign computer on ebay. I remember bananas being thrown, but I do not remember what direction they came from or who did the throwing, only the fact that they'd hurtled through the air. Ryan Call asked Tao Lin if he ran everywhere. Tao Lin said yes. I said, Tao Lin will you show me your room.
(I took a break between writing 6 and 7. In fact it is another day. I drank a lot of coffee earlier today. I am halfway crashing from the coffee.) All of us were in Tao Lin's room then. We were sitting on his bed. It felt cozy sitting on the bed with so many people. The room was rather small. The walls were white and the bed was directly on the floor. There was a small bookcase immediately to the side of the bed. I remember thinking that it was nice that Tao Lin had his books so close to his bed, and that he didn't have that many sitting out. I remember Justin Taylor and I were talking very loud at one another about Barry Hannah. I don't remember anyone else saying anything. I don't remember anything specific Justin or I said. Later I watched a video of Justin Taylor talking about Barry Hannah during this section of time but the video did not have sound. I tried to turn the volume up several times on my computer before I accepted it did not have sound. I wished that it had sound.
I do not remember anything about the time between being in Tao Lin's room and going to bed.
I remember seeing someone open up the sofa in Tao Lin and Justin Taylor's living room. I do not remember seeing who opened the sofa, only that it suddenly was open and I fell into it. I was pleased. I think I remember the light was coming up in the windows a little. It made the room look muted blue. I don't remember if there were blankets. I don't remember saying anything. I remember seeing Ryan Call laying down on the air mattress on the floor below me. I remember him saying something. I remember a bag of broccoli on the counter, but I think I remember that from earlier rather than from now. I do not remember entering the portal lodged between the two largest cushions on the sofabed. I do not remember meeting Anne Frank. I do not remember finding myself inside a dishwasher made of glass. I do not remember kicking Ryan Call in the face. I do not remember fakefucking the sofa. I do not remember Kim Chinquee.
In the morning Tao Lin woke us up. I still felt drunk and very tired. Tao Lin told me I could take a shower in his shower. He said to use the blue soap. He gave me a towel. I went into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror. I talked to myself quietly in the mirror. I don't know what I said, but I remember the way my mouth moved and that I was holding the towel and looking around. There were two kinds of blue soap in the shower. I used the kind that looked most real.
When I came back in the kitchen, Tao Lin asked me if I wanted a smoothie. I said I wanted a smoothie. I thought about how I'd read Tao Lin talking about smoothies and I was glad that he made them as much as it seemed like he did in his writing. I drank the smoothie. It was delicious. I told Tao Lin about the two kinds of blue soap in the shower and he looked at me and laughed. Ryan Call was waking up. He did not tell me I had kicked his head. He did not tell me I had been moving around in my sleep, or about the portal I’d gone into, or how I’d met Anne Frank. Justin Taylor came back into the apartment. He was talking about food. As a group we got ready to go to the Hilton and we walked out of the apartment. On the way to find a taxi I said things I thought of and Tao Lin told me that I'd already said those things before. Throughout the day and later in Ryan Call's email I was told of things I'd said that I did not remember. I thought people were trying to fuck with me, but in a good way. I thought people wanted me to feel dumb.
People were not lying.