>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

March 6, 2008

Brenna: How do you get a job as a literary critic?
Nathan: You suck at writing and you fail at getting readers but you're educated and you know someone.
Brenna: I'll bet it's a cool job.
Nathan: I'll bet it's soul stealing.

The bar reeked like bars do: smoke, stale beer, more smoke, wet pussy, perfume-covered smoke, smoke-covered perfume, hair gel, and fried foods.

“You tell your stories too fast,” the critic told me.

“You criticize,” I said.

I ordered another drink.

I offer perspective,” she said. “And I do it the best.”

“You criticize,” I said.

I drank my drink.

“So what? The world needs that.”

“You're judging the works of others, which means you have no talent.”

“Make people feel. Then come talk to me about how important perspective is. Make people laugh, then come bitch about weak storylines. You know shit and you sell it. Anyone can lie. Hell, it's how I get laid. But knowledge doesn't make anyone better. Only experience does.”

“That's real intelligent,” she says. “Especially for a guy whose most popular piece is entitled, ‘Why I Get Laid and You Don't.’”

“Don't forget my expose on strip clubs and my top five blowjobspiece. Those were big too.”

“You don't even care,” she said.

“About what?”

“About being great. You're wasting your talent.”

“And you're judging the works of others, which means you have no talent. Only insight and perspective. Which, let's face it, everyone has.”

“Not like I do.”

“Oh really. What was the best piece you wrote?”

“Well, it was a critique of this over-hyped Lebanese writer. I killed his book.”

“Have you ever created anything? Or do you just insult the works of others?”

“I do not insult,” she said rather tartly, “I explain. I provide explanations so the masses will–”

“Know what to think.”

“Yes, kind of,” she smiled. “People don't understand what's great. There are rules. There are standards. If you don't get that, you'll never make it in writing.”

“At least I'm a writer. You're a critic. And no one who knows how to think cares what you think.”

“I think you're hot.” She smiled for the first time that night.

“I'll fuck you,” I said.

“I'll tell you, point blank, how good you were.”

“All girls do that.”

Everyone's a critic,” she said, and she lit a cigarette before ordering her check.

The sex was good. The bitch wasn't.

Not that I'm criticizing or anything.