Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Enterprise - Prologue

Tom begged me not to write this book.

"I dunno, man," he said, grimacing, squirming on his barstool.

"What? Why? Why not?"

He shook his head. "It's just that–"

He looked up for a moment, jiggling the warm remains of his martini.

"Never mind," he said. He took his penultimate sip. "Never mind. Forget it."

He always did this.

"What? What? What?" I pleaded.

Now he smiled, a little warily. Preparing to explain it after all. He always did this, too.

"I wouldn't do it."

"I know you wouldn't fucking do it. Why shouldn't I do it?"

"I dunno, man."

His left leg was fidgeting and he appeared distracted. It was a source of great distress to me that he was not supportive.

"You won't look bad," I assured.

He put his hand up. "Don't care about that. Not the point. Not the point."

"What is the point?"

"I dunno man." He sucked a breath in through his teeth. "Just doesn't seem like a good idea. That's all."

I peered into the watery remains of my Johnny Black on the rocks, a goddamn familiar sight if ever there was one. I felt Tom's approbation press against the walls of my body: my chest, my shoulders. It had all the more authority for being inchoate, unexplained. Unjustified. It existed beyond justification. Beyond words.

"I wouldn't do it," he repeated.

"I know you wouldn't do it."

He spun towards me and adopted a reasoning posture, hand extended to the side. Then, haltingly: "What do you expect to gain from– What's the point of– Is it that important to you to–"

"I'm not out to fuck people. It is not my intention to fuck people."

His expression broke a little bit. "Really?"

"Really."

"Then what is the point?" he asked.

"It's all I got, man."

He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. "Explain."

"Some people are programmers. Some people are project managers. Some people are this or that, biz dev, VP, blahdee blahdee blah."

"Yeah?"

"And I'm not any of those things."

"So?"

"So this is all I got. All I've got is my story. And the inclination to tell it. This is what I have."

My mouth was dry. I had a feeling I had waited my entire life to speak those words. They hung gravely in the air between us as I drank the icy water from my glass.

"All right," Tom said. "I changed my mind."

"You changed your mind?"

"Yeah."

"Yeah?"

"I think you should write it."

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