Swack

“You cannot be real,” she insisted, arms crossed in defiance.

I blinked back. “Except, y’know, I am.”

My once-classmate looked like she needed a moment to gather her thoughts, so I poured us two more cups of tea. The LA sun burnt upon the city relentlessly, as it was wont to do, but somehow that hadn’t managed to prevent us from sitting outside a coffeeshop and enjoying something hot to drink.

We’d run into each other at an event hosted by a mutual friend a couple days ago. Of course in the moment, I don’t think either of us had been particularly happy about it– our conversation began with that miserable five minutes of fabricated pleasantries I’m fairly certain is socially mandatory in the event of running into an old acquaintance –but thankfully we soon discovered we actually had something in common! She’d become a music journalist, and I’d become a musician.

An interview, then, was an obvious decision.

I had to admit, however, it might’ve been one of the most unusual interviews I’d ever done. Apparently, my public image in the school days made for an interesting contrast with the one I upheld now.

I’d just filled her in on the latter.

Finally, she spoke up again. “I mean, it’s just impressive is all– you’ve done Coachella and SXSW, you’ve had millions of YouTube hits as a music director on Buzzfeed, you’ve even written for feature films, and that was all before you’d even released a single?!”

“Well, I have one out now,” I defended, feeling rather indignant. “It’s called ‘Born�Intertwined,’ and I highly recommend it.”

“Believe me, the accolades do that for you,” she agreed, grumbling only slightly. “And so now you’re looking for management, labels, that sort of thing, right?”

I took a sip. “Exactly,” I informed, drumming contentedly on the table. “I’m doing some DJing too, which I’m particularly excited about– I’ve got this incredible controller called a Monome, and instead of just playing back loops it divides them into individual beats that you can . . . “ Her features were morphing into a look of distinct boredom, so I decided to cut the technical details short. “Basically it’s exceptionally cool– I’m really looking forward to playing shows with it.”

“I’ll have to come see one to check it out,” she confirmed, sipping on her own drink. “Thanks for the tea, by the way– I’ve never seen it made like this before, but it’s really good.”

A smile warmed my visage. “Any time,” I offered, pouring a bit more water. “And yeah, it’s a hobby– I’ve gotta do something besides work, right?” I laughed at my own joke, because hah, me doing anything other than working? Not in this world.

I’m not sure she totally got it. “True dat,” she confirmed, without a lick of sarcasm. “Speaking of which, what else do you do for fun?”

Yeah, she definitely hadn’t gotten it. That actually was a good question though– what did I do for fun? “I mean, this more or less counts as working, but you could definitely say I mostly do it just for the sake of joy,” I mused, running a hand through my hair. “I have an ongoing story I like to write, where each chapter is like a different episode. I don’t like most of what’s on TV, so one day I started improvising, and next thing you know I’m halfway to a novel!” Another pause. “Also, I make videos with my friends sometimes– we have this collective, called �IRIS? –and we stream and stuff too, both of which definitely qualify as fun-but-also-work, so . . . ”

She blinked again. “Seriously, do you sleep? Do you bleed? Are you human at all?”

“Uh, let’s go with no, yes, and no,” I offered, only partially kidding.

She nodded, looking much more serious than I. “Well I think that’s it for my questions, but one last thing– you’ve gotten a nickname since we last saw each other, right?”

“Yes, I have,” I grinned, finishing the last of my tea. “Though it’s less of a nickname and more of a family tradition– one that began many grandfathers prior to mine.” I extended my hand in typical over-dramatic flare. “Wonderful meeting you again– my name is

�‍�Swack.”

© 2017