Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Confessional: How I Ended Up in Brooklyn Tonight

Confessional: How I Ended Up in Brooklyn Tonight

Jay Firestone

I don’t like Brooklyn, I’m pretty sure of it, and I don’t know Bobbins. I’ve never read his work. At first the name sounded familiar, but now I am certain that it was just my mind catching up with my ears—a sort of auditory déjà vu—after hearing “Bobbins this” and “Bobbins that” and “Bobbins is great, wonderful, mind-blowing or mind-numbing,” or “the most overrated, overly-stylized, prosaic, formulaic, redundant, force-fed, Midwestern bullshit” as Nathan, in a rare display of emotion, explained tonight. (Yeah, I wrote down what he said.)

I am not sure I want to do this interview thing or even bother to look for him. I mean, really? I live in Riverdale. It takes me a long time to get to Brooklyn. And then I have to look for the guy? How do I start?

“He wears suspenders.” Dave told me. He actually said that, “look for a guy with suspenders a guy that has absolutely nothing in his hands.” (Apparently Bobbins never carries anything in his hands). That was Dave’s advice. He wasn’t smiling when he said it. His tone did not change. He was serious. They are all serious. Masha is serious (of course she claims to know someone who knows someone else in Russia who knows someone in Queens who used to live in Brooklyn, next door to Bobbins’s neighbor, but I have my doubts (and I am not sure that’s exactly what she said)) and so is Dave, he’s serious too, they really want to interview this guy.

I don’t know. Why don’t we attempt something more reasonable? We can, like, build a tall tower, the tallest of towers, one to reach the heavens and defy God. That would be easier.

My Kindle. Where the hell is my Kindle? I thought I had it with me and I don’t. I would have been able to quietly order his book from Ozzie’s, while sitting there while the others went on about him—and I was willing to buy it, even if it would have cost me more than ten dollars, even if I have to still finish all of Shakepeare’s plays and Hardy’s novels and Dante’s Inferno—and begin reading it now, on the train, on my way to Riverdale.

But I can’t find it. My ex gave it to me, right before I left for Korea. It was the perfect gift . . . even if every time I’d open it in South Korea, I was to be reminded of her.

I don’t think anyone noticed my surreptitiously shuffling through my bag. And if they did, so what?

I am not good enough to judge other works of art for publication. I haven’t even read Bobbins, whom everyone on staff has not only read but also either loves or hates, viscerally, which, to me, when a writer is either loved or hated viscerally—Nathan’s hatred is so, so, so . . . he scares me—it’s often a sign he or she is that good, that powerful, that effective . . .

I have heard of Bobbins for the first time in my life only tonight. And I’m a creative writing major.

I left Riverdale, on a perfectly nice reading day, to go to Brooklyn’s Park Slope. I was sort of excited. I barely ever get down to the Park Slope area (not that I should have a reason as the Bronx has such nice parks and hills) and so this should have been, what’s the word, momentous? Brooklyn. It wasn’t that momentous. Ozzie’s was okay. We all made eye contact with each other. But then it started raining and I didn’t have an umbrella.