Excerpt: 'My Brooklyn Writer Friend' by Greg Gerke


Photograph by Michael Tapp

From Overtone:

He had just broken up with her and felt free, yet horny. Felt kind of happy, yet replete—though he didn’t know what replete meant and he’d left her the dictionary.

Then he began reading a novel about a woman who has a tough time when a relationships ends, so tough that she lurks around trying to find the man in the city where they live. Ha, he thought, what a sad sort. I’m so on top of things—I’m losing weight, I’m watching baseball again, and I don’t even worry about being made fun of for posting a picture of my angry cat.

As he continued the novel, he found it bizarre he would keep reading about a human being at odds with herself, but he wanted to see if the couple got back together. They didn’t and he was pleased, because in real life people don’t so often get back together. But the novel wasn’t real and the woman inside it was so desolate at the end, so crushed. After closing the book, he felt a false sense of happiness.

The author was a good one. She’d won prizes, she’d been translated in Africa, and she’d made him complicit in this woman’s debacle. He walked around his favorite park wondering if a mistake had been made. He’d broken up with her, yet he felt lost. He wasn’t supposed to feel the way he was feeling, and beyond lost, he couldn’t describe it in his own words. But the woman author certainly could. She was smarter than him, more successful, and she lived alone in a house on the Pacific Ocean.

Goddamn her, he shouted. Goddamn her so much.

Excerpted from My Brooklyn Writer Friend by Greg Gerke, published by Queens Ferry Press. Republished with permission of the author.