I couldn’t stop him; he just barged right in.
It was nice of him to take the time, though. Proust, after all, is dead, regardless of how loudly he states otherwise. We’d just gotten back from a week in Tunisa, which he described as “very warm.” I slept through most of it, but that’s what 2 months of non-consecutive jetlag’ll do to you. I placed his cane delicately by the door, and watched him create epic sea battles in his Earl Grey. He’s that kind of guy.
“You know what really gets my goat?”, he asked in that way that wasn’t quite a question, but also wasn’t the alternative.
“Hold the phone there, G-Love. You have a goat, Proust?” Where would he keep it? I was bewildered, Dear Reader. You understand.
“Well, it’s not really my goat. I’m sort of sponsoring it. You know, like those charities that send poor children cows and things like that? So really, it’s Ishmael’s goat. But I’m claiming ownership for the purposes of this discussion.”
He eyed the bagels suspiciously. I would have preferred to let him stew, but the stew was congealing, and a man’s gotta do what his kitchen dictates.
“It’s all these people calling me Proust!”
“That’s your name, M-Dawg.”
“I know that, you heathen. But people always pronounce it PROOST. I mean, what are they, French?”
I buttered a biscuit with the utmost precision. “YOU’RE French, Proust.”
“America hates the French! I don’t want to be labeled an enemy combatant under the Patriot Act.”
Those suspenders are what got me. I couldn’t even listen to his voice anymore. My ghost whispered that maybe, just maybe, he had done it on purpose. Oh, Proust, you political penguin!
I poked him.
Proust was dead. Again.
Previously unpublished. “I don’t want to be labeled an enemy combatant under the Patriot Act” hints at what year this is from.
I wish I could tell you more about what’s going on here…but I cannot.
Image: The Paris Review