The Unknown: The Red Line.

Everywhere I see Rettbergs Rettbergs Rettbergs goddammit I can’t find the bar. It must be somewhere behind that swarming drunken mass of Rettbergs. Pixilated, German, Irish, French, British, Chicago Americans. The world is overpopulated with Rettbergs. Curt White is talking to Tom LeClair about the future of American fiction. The conversation is heated. Charlie Harris is mediating. Some genre fiction people are arguing that mystery is a more literary mode than romance. John Barth is playing poker with Chuck Aukema. Aukema’s winning. Scott’s grandmother is dancing on a table, glass of white zinfandel in her hand. She looks every bit the Irish lass. His Uncle Bob, I think, is telling Pynchon a joke. Pynchon is laughing. Many people are overheard saying “Never thought I’d see the day.” There are a lot of people with English accents. Scott’s brother Kyle is unpacking the tale of our copyright dispute with Disney for a rapt audience of wine-swilling poets. People keep hitting their wine glasses with spoons. Scott keeps kissing Marla. Gilliam is talking to Katie inbetween shooting film of the whole ordeal. Coppola’s telling Barbara Trent how much he admires her work. I don’t understand. How many of these people are Rettbergs: how many Kleingelds? I’m surprised Rettberg even remembered to invite me. It was probably just for the sonnet I read at the ceremony. He made some crack about poets actually being useful at ceremonious gatherings.

The wedding cake sitting in the center of the buffet table is a grotesque tower of whipped sugar and styrofoam covered with a frosting that resembles congealed corn syrup. In the center of the cake, the two faux family coats of arms fornicate in a perverse attempt to symbolize unity. The scarlet craggy mountain of the Rettbergs—looking very much like an enormous horse penis badly imitating the Matterhorn or Pike’s Peak—levitated above the scrotum-resembling moneybags of the Kleingelds; and between the two, an incongruous sickle appears to be separating the “cash-ticles” from the Horny Matterpike. The frosting roses have an unsettling tendency to look like bloody foreskins. . . . I keep looking for the bar.



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The Unknown at Spineless Books.