I Solemnly Swear Not To Accidently Burn Down Austin
So… I got drunk. I mean, obviously, I doubt anyone thought I actually climbed to the top of that Starbucks sober. And that was just my metaphorical soapbox. What I said on the rooftop, as the crowd gathered below me and I began to feel like a dictator preaching to his adoring masses… well from what the police tell me it was both thrilling and completely untrue. Thus, I am forced to come before you today in order to publicly clarify and dispel my false claims about what will be happening on April 9th, 2015, when I do a reading at Malvern Books in Austin, TX.
To those of you not in attendance at what is now the burned remains of the Starbucks on Main and St. Paul in Dallas, much of this will be nonsense. To those of you who were present, I apologize for my over-enthusiasm, as well as for technically making you all accessories in an arson.
Right then, the policeman looking over my shoulder says I’ve only got so long to do this, best get right to the clarifications:
1. I will not, as shouted from the flaming wreckage of a chain coffee shop, be challenging random members of the reading’s audience to do keg stands. This is apparently in conflict with store policy and local Austin law. Plus, from a personal standpoint, that may have been hubris on my end. Shit, I’m not 22 anymore; those damn things make me dizzy as all hell. Thus, I will be issuing no challenges… but as per my lifetime policy, I will accept all comers so long as they bring the keg.
2. There will not be a pre-reading parade thrown in my honor. Here I plead simple mistake, as in the city of my family’s origin, New Orleans, parades can be thrown with little notice and a few hundred dollars. It seems Texas has not yet caught up to their fore thinking ways, and thus no parade will ensue. This leads me to many questions about the times I drunkenly stumbled down Texas streets in the company of brass band (Are they rogue parades bucking the system? Was I so intoxicated I was hallucinating?) but as it could further incriminate me to ask for clarification, we’ll all just have to live with the mystery.
3. The reading does not have a “theme” requirement for its guests, and if it did then said theme would certainly not be a “Black Out or Get Out” party. Nor would it be, as I later amended in my (alleged) rantings, a “Burn Down This Coffee Shop Just For Fun” theme. My lawyers tell me that is not even a real party theme, but they didn’t go to heavy drinking schools so I don’t trust them.
4. While there will be Q&A after the readings, it will not be a Backyard Wrasslin’ Q&A, where the other author and I compete with the sweetest finishers to see who gets the next question. It will, in fact, be politely organized and involved no violence at all. This also means that the other author, David Heymann, and I will not be forced to fight to the death when the proceedings are finished. Again, here we have a simple cultural misunderstanding, in that by this point in the speech I was so drunk that I mixed up writers with Highlanders.
5. I will actually be bringing physical copies of my books for sale, but they will not be “Limited Edition: Immortality Granting” copies. Due to constraints on publishing technologies and the laws of science, no such editions yet exist to my knowledge. As I promised to sign any books or purchased or, according to the transcript I’m being shown, “fuck it, I’ll sign anything, thanks for coming!” that promise will be honored to the best of my ability. Signing stars and the singularity of being might prove limited by the current capabilities of the modern pen.
6. We do not have the necessary permits to try and recreate Sodom and Gomorra but “way more chill” as proposed, so that one is pretty much all the way out.
7. While I certainly intend to take in Austin’s nightlife and culture (read: bars) after the reading, I am not allowed to organize the masses in an attempt to “drink this town so dry it sinks into the gulf.” Aside from the fact that the statement makes little to no sense, even by drunken boasting mottos, the police have told me that severe public intoxication is in fact still illegal. My attempts to debate them were slightly hindered by my inability to form words that were intelligible, so I am forced to give in to their demands as a defeated warrior. Thus, fun will be had, but I am legally obligated to recommend fun is enjoyed in responsible quantities.
8. There will not be a “smoking crater of town” left as I drive away. The police have been very firm that my proximity to fires is to be strictly monitored, and thus I will require a volunteer to follow me around and feed me any flaming shots I may desire. Duties may also include lighting candles, setting off fireworks, and throwing a lighter at a trail of gas leading back to a bunker full of the evil robots and cans of fuel, depending on where the night takes us.
9. There is no conspiracy of evil robots plotting against us, and I did not lead a courageous rebellion against one of their hives by orchestrating the burning of the coffee shop. The police are not in on it, and I am not winking at the screen as I write this because we all know the real truth of what’s going on.
10. And last, but not least, while I shall endeavor to give the best reading I can on April 9th, it will very likely not be “good enough to raise the dead” so my request that everyone bring taxidermy animals is moot. Also, if we’re being upfront, even if I were bringing them back to life, that’s a little irresponsible. What’s the best case scenario? Now we’re in a book store, surround by resurrected wild animals who are confused, angry, and have stuffing up their ass. That does not make for a pleasant time, especially since they’d still have teeth and claws. Leave the animals corpses at home, my dear readers. The pleasure of your company is more than enough.
Okay, so all jokes aside I really am pumped about getting to do my first public reading and signing on Thursday. Hopefully some of you will come out so I’m not doing it alone (though don’t get me wrong, I do love the sound of my own voice).
For those of you who might make it, I’m sticking a poll down below. My space for transporting books is limited, and I’m trying to figure out what people want the most of for those who are planning to buy signed prints. Thus, please vote for the ones you’d like me to have on hand. I can’t make promises, but I’ll do my best to match what people tell me they want. I guess since it’s the internet I can’t stop people who aren’t going from voting anyway, but try to resist the urge if you can. Don’t make me be the asshole lugging a trunk full of books both ways.
Lastly, I really am hitting 6th Street, so if anyone has any great bar recommendations please e-mail me or leave them in the comments.