nervous assface

brandon scott gorrell

Lydia Davis is at a pub with Frederick Barthelme. A girl says something to them. “English,” Lydia Davis says. The girl asks for a cigarette. Then she asks what they are doing. Lydia Davis looks at a wall and Frederick Barthelme shrugs his shoulders. Lydia Davis secretly wants to touch the girl. “We’re sitting over there if you want to join us,” the girl says, pointing at a table in the corner of the bar. "Okay," Lydia Davis says. The girl goes to the table in the corner of the bar and sits across from another girl. Frederick Barthelme orders a beer. Lydia Davis tells Frederick Barthelme that they should go sit with the girls. Frederick Barthelme rubs his face. “I don’t know,” Frederick Barthelme says. “She invited us over there,” Lydia Davis says, “we could have sex or something.” “Let’s go over there,” Frederick Barthelme says. “Wait,” Lydia Davis says. Frederick Barthelme looks at her. “I can’t go over there,” Lydia Davis says. “You go first and I’ll go to the bathroom and then come out and you will be there and it will be easier for me to go there because it will look more natural.” Lydia Davis says. “Okay,” Frederick Barthelme says. Lydia Davis goes inside the bathroom and looks at the toilet paper. She starts to count to thirty and then forgets she is counting to thirty because she has a mental projection of Bret Easton Ellis. She washes her hands. She wishes that there was a secret porthole that led directly to a black hole where, she imagines, intense density would first stretch her entire body into a flesh-string the size of the Grand Canyon and then compact her entire body into an infinitely small sphere of white energy. Lydia Davis leaves the bathroom and goes to the table with Frederick Barthelme and the two girls. Lydia Davis introduces herself as she sits down in a chair next to Frederick Barthelme. The girls are Flor and Nina. "What are you guys up to?" Nina says. “We were reading Nietzsche earlier,” Lydia Davis says, feeling afraid. “What did it say,” Nina says. "I don't know," Lydia Davis says. Lydia Davis feels uncomfortable. “So,” she says to Nina, “you’re drinking a martini.” “It was Flor’s martini,” Nina says. “Oh,” Lydia Davis says. “Should we get another drink,” Flor says. “I don’t really want another drink,” Nina says. “Just one more,” Flor says. “Okay,” Nina says. Lydia Davis looks at Frederick Barthelme. “Should we get another drink,” Lydia Davis says. She feels stupid. “I don’t really feel like it,” Frederick Barthelme says. “Let’s get a beer,” Lydia Davis says. “Ok,” Frederick Barthelme says. “I’m going to get another drink,” Nina says. “I’ll go with you,” Lydia Davis says.

Nina stands up and Lydia Davis follows her to the bar. Nina is taller than Lydia Davis. Lydia Davis feels disqualified. Lydia Davis quickly sits down so height will be less apparent. Nina sits down next to her. Lydia Davis stares at the wall behind the bar. There is an older man to Nina's left, and suddenly Nina is grinning and speaking Dutch to the older man. Lydia Davis is feeling like she is going to have a nervous breakdown, and thinking that she is not going to have a nervous breakdown at all, and trying to say something to Nina, but Nina has her back turned, and the bartender is looking at Lydia Davis, and she has to order a beer, and she gives the bartender her credit card. Lydia Davis watches the bartender run the credit card. Nina continues to talk to the older man in Dutch. Lydia Davis signs the receipt and turns her body so she can look at their table in the corner of the bar. Frederick Barthelme and Flor are smiling and laughing hard. Frederick Barthelme is waving his hands in the air like a crazy person and Flor is laughing hysterically and falling off her seat and continuing to laugh face down on the floor, jittering with her eyes closed. And now Nina is touching the older man on the shoulder and talking to him at a high volume. The bartender looks at Lydia Davis with an angry face and says something. “English,” Lydia Davis whispers. “Thanks for the tip,” the bartender says. “Oh,” Lydia Davis says, realizing that she had forgotten to leave a tip. “This isn’t America,” the bartender says. "We leave tips in America," Lydia Davis says. "I know this isn't America," Lydia Davis says. Lydia Davis looks over at Frederick Barthelme and Flor and Flor is sitting on the same side of the table as Frederick Barthelme now. They are laughing and touching each other. Lydia Davis looks at Nina and Nina is laughing as the older man looks at Lydia Davis and makes the Dutch language sound very sexual into Nina's white ear. Lydia Davis's facial expression is wobbly, showing a mixture of fear and despair. Inside her head, something is screaming "SHITASS."