On a rare night out with my husband, we drove to an independent bookshop where a guy we like was reading an excerpt from his new book. I felt tentatively hopeful. I almost never go out in the evening. I was pleased to be doing something arty for a change.
We sat in the front row of chairs, since there weren’t many set up in the aisle at the back of the store. An affable guy read from his book about encounters on the bus. Then, the guy we came to see introduced himself and read a short chapter of a charming, offbeat memoir of his childhood in New York.
Another guy quickly replaced him and introduced himself. His name was Chris D. I should have been warned by that D.
He gazed at his shoes and began a rambling account of his various artistic endeavors: He was involved in music for 20 years, he had written several unproduced screenplays, poems, and short stories. He noted that some of his stories were based on dreams. He introduced a story about a couple of war veterans from Vietnam, describing their convoluted situation.
He began to read the worst piece of writing I have ever heard in my entire life. He read in a deep-voiced monotone. Some GI was shooting dope with a Vietnamese prostitute named “Lucky.” The dope-shooting was described in lurid, over-the-top detail. Veins, blood, abscesses, verbs, more blood, adjectives, then sex. “They fell to the floor and fucked each others brains out.”
I stared at my hands and played with my hair. I wanted to kill that fucker. I imagined a question and answer period after the reading, where I would confront him with the question: “Are you a junkie or just a fucking idiot?”
He read for close to 30 minutes. No cliche escaped him: It was hackneyed melodrama, both dismal and pointless.
We left the second he stopped reading. Outside as we walked to the car, I exclaimed, “What a fucking motherfucker!” My husband agreed. He added that the guy had once been in a band called The Flesh Eaters.
Back home, I googled Chris D and saw how important he was to the L.A. punk scene.
Nothing is sacred, not even old punkers.
I am left with these two thoughts:
1. I am fucking Tolstoy compared to that bastard Chris D.
2. I can’t even enjoy a simple night out.