Q asked me to a drink.
“You can meet my American friends,” he told me.
“Yeah,” he said, excited, “they are from Portland.”
Q is already there when I arrive, a place not far from my apartment that serves only alcoholic cider.
His American friends turn out to be one guy and his absent girlfriend.
“She got sick off some vegan shawarma,” he tells us from under a mustache.
The ciders come; two Russian, one from the south of France.
“So, what are you doing in Russia?” The American asks.
I shrug. “A few things here and there.”
He nods. “Yeah, I am a teacher too. It’s really great, you know–rewarding.”
“So, why’d you pick Russia?”
“Dunno,” I say.
“Rad. Yeah–I love it here man. The culture is fascinating and so beautiful. Rich–you know, like, rich-rich. It’s so old and just–” he takes a breath, “just amazing place. People are so friendly! I mean and the language is so interesting! I was reading this article on Dostoevsky the other day–you know, to practice my Russian. It was talking about how Russian is an asophiocratical language–you know?”
“Well anyways–I was so fascinated. How is your Russian?”
“Bad,” I say in Russian.
The American laughs. “That’s a shame–reminds me, I’ve been reading this great book. It’s called The Satirist Sat on a Goose Egg, by Gordon Fenris. Ever hear of him?”
I shake my head.
“Oh–he’s fantastic. It’s a satire about a satirist living on some farm in North Dakota.”
I drink my cider, waiting. It doesn’t take long.
The American looks at the label on his cider, nodding. “I love French cider. I saw this one in this docudrama about this French hair-growth specialist. It’s fascinating. Really good stuff.”
“Hair growth specialist?” Q asks.
The American smiles knowingly, “she is in charge of consulting on movies and TV shows to tell directors and writers how long hair should have grown when they jump ahead in post-apocalyptic and survival films.”
“Huh,” Q says. I nod my agreement, chasing down the bottom of my glass. We sit there for another hour learning about the therapeutic value of gutting fish, a painter who paints with their own feces, a Swedish rock group that only plays music by hooking their brains up to CT-scan machines; and a Troll article about how playing fetch with dogs should now be called handicapped-pass.
Outside, I have a cigarette. Q stares across the street at a suspicious looking goat.
“He was nice.”
I laugh. “He was a douche.”
Q frowns, “You’re too judgmental. He was an intelligent guy at least.”
I nod. “I knew an intelligent guy who could recite Shakespeare’s Macbeth, all of it–word for word.”
“So, when we said goodbye, he said ‘peace fag,'” I toss away my cigarette, “so, there’s that.”
We start walking home,”Do you ever actually have a point?” Q asks.
I shrug. It starts to rain.