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When Mansur said that Luc was coming for dinner, I thought of better times. I hated novelists.
I’d moved in with Mansur two years prior to our special event and first met Luc at a local film festival in Sudbury a few months after. My studies were going well and I’d just started to like Toronto. Luc was apparently enjoying the success of his debut novel. He was fifty-three back then, writing in English a semi-autobiographical account of the un- Québécois years of his. I hated the novel.
On dinnersday, I’d chosen to bemuse meself with and by being just that (meself), times two, minus all-round assholery. I was prepared for someone to literally undress me as an object of gestures and ulterior motives; someone who’d interpret anything I’d do and wouldn’t do with mechanic precision; that’s what I perceived of all novelists. Talk about mechanic precision.
Back home, the few writers I’d known suffered from a neurotic proclivity to push-down mental prose based on everything prosy. For instance, they would create a similar paragraph of the one I just created (for instance, they would shit what I just shat, mentally, bracketsless). Theirs were pieces which constantly screamed an English-as-a-second-language and suggested ‘mechanic precision’. Non-literary acquaintances had no precision whatsoever; a dinner was preceded by a drinking session that would serve nothing out of itself. You’d drink for hours and talk out of time and mind and then you’d eat and then you’d sleep and then you’d move on with your life.
By the time we reached the third quarter of eating time, I’d been struck by the fact that Luc was the kind of dude, male dude or female dude, who’d effortlessly – or unselfconsciously, I’m not sure – talk négligées and nightgowns and spot – as opposed to anatomize – the differences between them, just for the heck of it. He actually did.
I presumed he’d snatched nothing novelly out of me and, by extension, thought he wouldn’t do so to Mansur, even though they’d already been close friends and dinner-related.
Now being a multiplied-me, I told Luc the whole story, long-version but free of compatriot writers neuroses. Speaking badly of compatriots would suggest that I was a better person. Maybe I was. Neither he nor I would’ve known. I presume.
I’d previously decided to outwit the French twat and eventually reveal to him my own neurosis, but I hadn’t anticipated myself doing it jovially.
What came next was the subject of one of his later novels, but that dinner in particular worked, in a way, as a novel-blocker (that he shouldn’t write something unpremeditated).
Naturally, I now think that we should’ve made something out of it, to displease the blasé critics who would wait for a second book and be more than pleased, thanks to mechanic precisions. Little-nothing had they known that an anti-intellectual Libyan student, with collateral average intelligence and education and self-induced cynicism (whatever that means), once mutually mind-fucked their favourite homeboy without actually doing it, and had a taste of obnoxious juvenility not imagined for the sake of the Novel.