Cordial Hatred

“I can’t take you anywhere.”

“Oh, that’s original.”

“That’s it! Make it worse! Honestly.”

“He provoked me.”

“You behaved like an ass.

“Not an asshole?”

“Take your pick.”

“I like ass better.”

“Well, by all means, let’s go with that one.”

“He provoked me. You can’t deny it.”

You provoked him.”

“What, you’re sticking up for him now?”

“I’m not sticking up for anyone. I think you both behaved…”

“Like asses?”

“Abominably. Don’t edit me.”

“That’s not what you said when I met you.”

“Oh, my God. No wonder he hit you.”

“He didn’t hit me. He tried. He hits like a…”

“Don’t even say he hits like a girl.”

“I wasn’t going to say that.”

“You were going to say he hits like a woman.”

“I…it’s not the same thing.”

“You’re a pig. And an ass. You’re the whole unpleasant, foul-smelling barnyard menagerie.”

“I don’t know why this is such a big deal. Feuds like this are part of a tradition.”

“A tradition? A tradition of what? Acting like an idiot?”

“Literary disagreements. Duels have been fought.”

“So I guess I should be happy that you didn’t shoot him!”

“Buckley threatening to punch Vidal…Vidal and Mailer tussling…”

“Maybe this tells you something about Vidal.”

“Wilde and Shaw and Whistler verbally sparring at dinner parties…”

“Okay, first of all, this wasn’t a dinner party. It was a book signing.”

“They had snacks.”

“Second of all, you’re not Oscar Wilde.”

“I’m in the mold of Oscar Wilde.”

“Why? Because you’re egotistical, or because you’re bitchy?”

“Well, stylistically, I…”

“And third, you’re not even a writer.”

“I am so a writer! I’ve been published! He and I have the same publisher!”

“Having your letters printed in the letters column of his comic does not mean you have the same publisher.”

“He. Provoked. Me.”

“How? How did he provoke you? By having Moonsword change his costume? By picking an inker you didn’t like? By refusing to answer your stupid question about Egyptian motifs?”

“Can’t we just drop this?”

“I can’t drop this. I work at that store.”

“Well…he…”

“He what.”

“Uh, he said you looked fat.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. He said he really wanted to nail that fat chick behind the counter.”

“He said that.”

“Yeah. So I belted him.”

“You did?”

“Do you forgive me?”

“Well…”

“Come on.”

“As long as it wasn’t about art.”

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