Terrance Gonzo meets a traveller from an antique land who claims to have a varicose heart

‘How did you feel on your wedding day?’


‘You said you changed the invitation to read Dedding Day.’

‘That is correct.’

‘When was the last time you saw your wife?’

‘Last week.’

‘Will you get a divorce?’

‘I expect so. If she wants to.’

‘You won’t push for it.’

‘I am recklessly inert.’

‘I see.’

‘Do you?’


‘How do you know?’

‘How do I know?’

‘Yes. How do you-’

‘Everyone knows what they know.’

‘I see.’

‘Yes I think you do.’

‘Oh I do. I do.’




‘Are you dissatisfied with your writing career?’

‘I don’t have a career.’

‘But you-’

‘My writing jobs make me a hack. There is nothing but fiction yet I have not the time to focus on it like I need to. I am consumed by false obligation. I fear I will wake up too late.’

‘Do you enjoy life?’

‘Parts of it, yes. But as I say, there’s never enough time. Or rather, my false obligations consume my energy, focus and passions. I like walking on the beach, drinking, fucking, thinking, travelling, watching films, discovering new music. The problem is some prick always asks me to write about my experiences. And a lot of the time they don’t want to pay me. I half expected my wife to ask me to live blog at our wedding.’

‘How is the writing going now?’

‘Well, having written a novel I felt sure was the zeitgeist incarnate, a literary masterpiece, what had I achieved? Ten years and more it took from inception to birth, and barely a whimper of adoring interest.’

‘Well it’s said the artist is a slave.’

‘Indeed. And I’d certainly subscribed to that. Now I want to write something simple. Don’t take this too seriously, I tell myself. Relax. It’s only words. I must not set out to write the most important book in the world. Be quick, pump it out. It’s time to be raw, simple, abrupt, brutal. Anyway, what more can I add? What can I offer that hasn’t already been written? It’s only words. Don’t take it too seriously.’

‘Is that why you’ve come abroad for a bit?’

‘More or less, yes.’

‘Would you like a whisky?’


‘Here you are.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Do you believe you will find success?’


‘How would you measure success?’

‘When I am no longer asked questions like that.’

‘You mentioned the heat had gone out of your relationship.’

‘Not to you I didn’t.’

‘No but-’

‘It’s fine. I agreed to this interview. I assumed you’d do your research.’

‘So when did-’

‘It went cold quickly. Though our souls were, are, connected, there was a degree of incompatibility in the bedroom. Our essential, sexual beings had nothing in common, nothing to say to each other. And I stopped trusting her a while back. But then I stop trusting everyone fairly quickly.’

‘Why is that do you think?’

‘It’s too boring to go into.’

‘Not for me.’

‘No. For me.’

‘It’s said that all you ask for in a relationship is honesty and fidelity.’

‘That’s not all I ask for. I also ask for fun and conversation and good sex and laughs. But yes, honesty and fidelity is, are, the bedrock.’

‘So she betrayed you?’

‘I don’t know if it’s her or my mind that betrayed me.’

‘You mean you don’t trust yourself?’

‘No I trust myself, it’s just that my thoughts may be wrong. The mind, my mind, has a habit of creating sacrosanct truths from half-remembered angers that have morphed in such a way that the cause of the anger is no longer locatable, only the anger itself. The cause of the anger is misremembered yet I feel…’

‘You don’t ask for intimacy?’

‘Intimacy? How do you do that? I am locked. Instead I develop an obsequious laugh. I’m confident, casual and fun with people I don’t care about. I have easy congress with women I don’t really care about. My friend once said to me ‘you are shame.’ I might very well be.’

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