About My Very Tortured Friend - Peter
He lives in a house with a swimming pool and says the job is killing him. He is 27. I am 44. I can't seem to get rid of him. His novels keep coming back. "what do you expect me to do?" he screams "go to New York and pump the hands of the publishers?" "no," I tell him, "but quit your job, go into a small room and do the thing." "but I need assurance, I need something to go by, some word, some sign!" "some men did not think that way: Van Gogh, Wagner-" "oh hell, Van Gogh had a brother who gave him paints whenever he needed them!" "Look," he said, "I'm over at this broad's house today and this guy walks in. A salesman. You know how they talk. Drove up in this new car. Talked about his vacation. Said he went to Frisco - saw Fidelio up there but forgot who wrote it. Now this guy is 54 years old. So I told him: 'Fidelio is Beethoven's only opera.' And then I told him: 'you're a jerk!' 'whatcha mean?' he asked. 'I mean, you're a jerk, you're 54 years old and you don't know anything!'" "what happened then?" "I walked out." "You mean you left him there with her?" "Yes." "I can't quit my job," he said. "I always have trouble getting a job. I walk in, they look at me, listen to me talk and they think right away, ah ha! He's too intelligent for this job, he won't stay so there's really no sense in hiring him. Now, you walk into a place and you don't have any trouble: you look like an old wino, you look like a guy who needs a job and they look at you and they think: ah ha! now here's a guy who really needs work! If we hire him he'll stay a long time and work hard!" "Do any of those people," he asks "know you are a writer, that you write poetry?" "No." "You never talk about it. Not even to me! if I hadn't seen you in that magazine I'd have never known." "That's right." "Still, I'd like to tell these people that you are a writer." "I'd still like to tell them." "Why?" "Well, they talk about you. They think you are just a horse-player and a drunk." "I am both of those." "Well, they talk about you. You have odd ways. You travel alone. I'm the only friend you have." "Yes." "They talk you down. I'd like to defend you. I'd like to tell them you write poetry." "Leave it alone. I work here like they do. We're all the same." "Well, I'd like to do it for myself then. I want them to know why I travel with you. I speak 7 languages, I know my music" "Forget it." "All right, I'll respect your wishes. But there's something else" "What?" "I've been thinking about getting a piano. But then I've been thinking about getting a violin too but I can't make up my mind!" "Buy a piano." "You think so?" "Yes." He walks away thinking about it. I was thinking about it too: I figure he can always come over with his violin and more sad music.