The Reader and the Writer

Over near the bar, THE WRITER stands alone, watching the people. He wears brown leather Topsiders with no socks, tan chinos and a Polo shirt under a navy blazer with brass buttons. His brow is furrowed behind dark glasses. He’s just discovered there’s no booze at this party.

THE READER approaches. She nods politely in greeting to the WRITER. She doesn’t know he’s a writer. She thinks he may be a tennis player from the way he’s dressed.

READER: Nice party.

WRITER nods.

READER: What do you do?

WRITER: I’m a writer.

READER is delighted.

READER: Have you written anything I’ve read?

WRITER: I don’t know. What have you read?

READER: I read a lot. Are you famous?

WRITER: I don’t think so.

READER: Have you been published?

WRITER: Not widely or recently.

READER: What do you do then?

WRITER: I told you. I’m a writer.

READER: I know. But what do you do to live?

WRITER: Eating and breathing seem to help.

READER: Of course. But what is your occupation?

WRITER: I’m a writer.

READER: What do you do for money?

WRITER: I use the same stuff everyone else does.

READER: Where do you get your money?

WRITER: Mostly from those little machines.

READER: How do you pay your rent?

WRITER: A check to my landlord every month seems to do the trick.

READER: Where does that money come from?

WRITER: It’s in the bank. It has to be or the check bounces.

READER becomes visibly frustrated.

READER: There’s no need for word games.

WRITER: I’m not playing word games.

READER: Then tell me. What is it that you do to put money on the table?

WRITER: I put my money in a bank. It’s safer than on the table.

READER: I was speaking metaphorically.

WRITER: So was I.

READER: Now you are confusing me.

WRITER: Then the tables have turned.

READER: What is the source of your money, before you put it in the bank?

WRITER: It’s deposited directly into my account.

READER: Where does that money come from?

WRITER: People who have more money than me.

READER: What do you do that causes them to give you money?

WRITER: I write.

READER: So you write for these people and they pay you?

WRITER: Sometimes. Sometimes not.

READER: They pay you not to write?

WRITER: They pay me whether or not I write.

READER: Then why do they pay you?

WRITER: You’d have to ask them.

READER: Don’t you have some idea?

WRITER: I don’t have any ideas.

READER: A writer with no ideas is not much of a writer.

WRITER: It’s better than a writer with no money.