Tonight’s Featured Act

NB: Paper Cut Flophouse was a group blog that ran in the late aughts. Most posts were written by two contributors: me, using the pseudonym Roman Briton, and my friend Pompeston, the mastermind of the endeavor. This is a cross-posting of a post I originally wrote for PCFH; here’s a link to the original.

She was talking about going to hear Dawn Raffel read, but the words formed in my head as Don Raffle. Maybe the former is pronounced the same as the latter? Neither of us were sure. I started imagining what a writer like Don Raffle would be like. A Borscht Belt comedian of a writer. The Fozzie Bear of fiction. “How’s everybody doing tonight?” he hollers, stumbling out on stage in his tawdry suit and hat. He’s got a martini in one hand, microphone in the other, pages up his sleeve. Is his voice Fozzie’s, or Krusty the Clown’s? There’s feedback from the PA. “Are you ready for some short stories?” The last word drawn out like taffy. Oh yes. It’s late, the audience is drunk, it’s a long drive home, the audience wants to be entertained. Maybe literary fiction should be more like bawdy jokes about farmers’ daughters and popes walking into bars, priests and hookers and presidents on lifeboats. I think I want to be Don Raffle.