shelve books and file stuff.


we got to the nine pound hammer, but i couldn't see where they were. i looked around at different tables, but i couldn't spot any recognizable faces. "they ain't here," i said. we made for the exit, and that's when i spotted them. two girls in their twenties, sitting at a table for two. "there they are," i said. "hey," i said through the bars. the guy and girl were introduced. i already knew everybody, so what was i gonna say. "there's no place to sit," i said. "we'll get some chairs," the one girl said.

we got the beers, and the girl got the chairs. i liked that she was small and that she was lifting a big chair. it was like seeing those cartoon ants with the over-sized sugar cubes. you know, they just couldn't help themselves. my friend bought a pitcher of guinness, and got three glasses. he made like he was gonna walk back with the pitcher, but realized he was gonna spill. "you know what? i'd better pour them here." he started pouring, but then the lady bartender told us to get out of the way because she had a line. she said it nicely, but firmly. "could you guys please do that somewhere else? i've got a line forming." "yeah, yeah," we said.

i started talking to the girl. "so, how are you?" she said. "good," i said. she nodded and smiled. i had nothing to say to this person. but i went on with it. because that's what we're supposed to do in society. "how've you been?" "good, good," she said, and i could tell she was a bit drunk. "what are you doing these days?" i asked, though i really didn't care. again, it's what people are supposed to do. "working at the library," she said. "what do you do there?" "shelve books, file stuff. it's boring! i mean, i don't want to be a librarian!" she said it as though being a librarian was the most ridiculous thing in the world. she had just received her mlis, and i wondered what made her resent it so suddenly.

"we're gonna play a card game," she said, "do you want in?" "i don't want in," i said. she looked skeptical of me, of a man who didn't want to play cards. "i don't want to learn the rules," i explained. "if i wanted to learn something, i'd go to grad school." i thought i was being funny, being clever, but then i realized i just sounded like a bitter old dick. i just kept my mouth shut after that.

soon enough, her boyfriend, seven years her junior, arrived. seeing a bitter old graduate student and a young, naive recent grad together and in love just did something to me. what the fuck is this world? my friend seemed to know the thoughts i was having. "it's you and me against the world," he said. "you and me, we wear hooded sweatshirts, and guys like that - like michael cera - they wear their fancy peacoats and button-down shirts." he wasn't making much sense, but i savored the bitter tone.

soon, everyone got up to play pool, and i sat on the couch, thinking that this was my life. twenty-six and not a fucking clue and waiting for the cute girl in the white dress to come out of the bathroom because i might say something to her, but in all likelihood, i won't and who the hell cares - she's probably gay anyway. another woman sat on the couch across from me. "you look bored," she said. "i'm not," i lied. "i'm just tired." she went into the bathroom, and i went over to the pool table.

i decided i was going to leave, and i wanted to be alone so i could get mugged or witness some awful shit, or fall asleep somewhere along the road, or just fucking something, you know, because too much time has passed, and it's all been so calm and peaceful and neutral for too fucking long. i just want this negative karma to catch up with me already, so i'll be ready for it, and it won't catch me off guard.

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