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ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Two pieces set in New York City, with narrators trying to make sense of their present and their past—Zoe Rana Mungin reads her short story, "Never Get Married," and Lucas Mann reads from his memoir, Lord Fear, which is out in paperback now.

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TRANSCRIPT

00:00:30hello welcome to the Catapult this is episode 52 and a collector series I'm Jamie green we've got two readings for you today that capture neighborhoods in New York City One Uptown one at the very edge of the Lower East Side placing young narrators in corners of the city that are full of life or full of Echoes of the past I'm here in my part of the city where the air seems to be full of ragweed or something it's been cold and rainy but at least my allergies know it's spring so I'm going to keep my part of this brief Beauty sponsors for you today so I'm going to hit you with the first one of those right now to sponsor and a really great opportunity as this episode of the Catapult is brought to you in part by Inc shares and Geek and Sundry are you looking to publish a novel or know someone who is in shares and epicenter of geekdom Geek and Sundry owned by legendary digital of founded by Felicia Day
00:01:30up to find the next great undiscovered works of hard science fiction readers decide which books are there favorites in a publishing contest that will run from April 4th to May 16th 2016 the top three books will all be published by ink chairs including consultations for scientific accuracy from scientists at the science and Entertainment Exchange and one or more will be selected by Geek and Sundry to be in their debut collection. Inc shares including the opportunity to co-develop their work into other media such as movies TV series and digital Productions submit at Inc shares, contacts all right now on to the Readers first up today is Zoe running mungeon reading a short story called never get married
00:02:16Justina Regina up on 116th and old school bar equal who doesn't go outside because she says the air makes her ill Rosie says his call back tattoos but mommy says about tattoos as a load of shit says it's just a reason for Thea to act a fool falling over that she needs something on the floor gasping and prayer Ave Maria deals meal you're all going to hell every month mommy sends me and Rosie up to see you on the 1st to pick up money because Mommy never has enough mommy says it's because she got she's got to take care of me and Rosie both and it's not like Thea has anybody mommy says not not nobody but us so after school me and Rosie ride the train from more than an hour still in our school closed all the way up to a body oh and as soon as we come at the station it's like stepping off the world like maybe stepping into a TV color and people in noise pushing in on you like walls made of words all in Spanish nothing but Spanish
00:03:12Steelers right across from the station above a shop called Yoli's hair with you will take Rosie to get her haircut and take me to get a perm when we bring a good report cards sometimes Thea gets her hair colored and the Chino who works in the back paints her nails and after you lie Cuts Rosie's Bangs She puts her fingers on Rosie's for head and makes faces like Rosie is something small Thea tell Rosie she has such pretty hair kaylena says Julie and Julia says Julia such a good girl to this Julie says how lucky and be an onside Rosie and Julie and doesn't look at me Tia is always waiting for me for me and Rosie head hanging from the kitchen window disembody between cilantro growing so big and their paws they look like trees more green than anything else on the street to take today her hair is that dark cherry red Thaddeus smack your lips about every time you least brought it up because right like that was for women looking for something that probably shouldn't be found Rose's got black girls in her
00:04:12classic do the same dying their hair with Kool-Aid instead every time it rains is staying in the shoulders of the uniform shirts like they're bleeding from their ears
00:04:22if Mommy we're here she squeeze my fingers and save deals meal should cross herself and then cursed because she hated that she did and I don't know the last time mommy came to see Theo but this is why she doesn't come from the window decals down to us soil a pacifier escaping over the cars in the street and the boys on the basketball courts the radio is blasting line Via La Porte in Kenya right next to each other right at the same time DSS and everybody looks up not just my sister not just me it's all the white faces like Rosie's and all the dark faces like mine and when we get to the corner of the dark skinned niggas say Besame Besame
00:05:01he is watching from the window and she can't hear anything but face goes hard like concrete for one moment and then she starts up in Spanish a rap and nasty my insides hurt and I want to cry Rosie grabs my hand and doesn't let go until we cross the street the other is on the 4th floor in an apartment with four rooms and make her seem smaller than she is she makes us take off her socks and your shoes at the door and Thea's whole house has he's black and white tiles that make me dizzy if I look down for too long and I called against my feet
00:05:31I know better than to complain even though it's cold enough that it hurts and I tried to walk on my toes careful over the black tiles walking on the white ones instead Rosie is behind me and she says what the hell dummy and she pushes me so that my feet are flat on the floor but just me again so that I can't even checked and he's my feet to see if I've messed everything up really sweet or flat on the floor to what she knows what I'm thinking what she thinks that I'm dumb Rosie thinks she knows everything and I used to think that Rosa new everything roses 14 me and Rosie have never been the same kind of little not at the same time before change the world Rosie to something that I don't know but that doesn't she touches what she thinks I'm a sweet and precious Tyler gets her chest cheeks going bright when she sees that I'm not sleep and she's embarrassed enough to explain it to me she says I just want to see how it looks with Julie but she's back in bed the light turned out and it's late enough that we can hear Mommy snoring all the way from the back of the house she says to me again it's not a big deal
00:06:32I don't say anything and Roses in her own bed but I can feel her breathing her air in my chest too fast but she's worried like she doesn't know that I know how to keep my mouth shut Secrets stuck in my throat she says to me don't tell
00:06:47vanilla makes roses smell like Mommy Ramones Rosie that she's not grown that she doesn't run shit when she's in trouble mommy squeezes Rosie's face with her fingers these are fingerprints on Rosy's cheeks mommy says to her cornea so you ungrateful fucking girl mommy says You Belong To Me Hear Rosie used to cry before teams made the world turned on its side cuz even if Mommy's got her hands all up and Rosie's face makes Rosie small something she can hold Rosie doesn't cry because even if mommy takes all the air Rosie still looking up Ave Maria quiet and still look something innocent things that don't exist
00:07:27mommy says to her Rosita that is as nice as Mommy gets mommy says to her who Do You Think You Are
00:07:36I cried because Rosie won't because someone has to do in order for mommy to order us both to Beth beer calling us from the bathroom says if my feet so far on the floor my heart beating against my skin loud enough for me to count we used to go into the bathroom together at first but then one at a time after Rosie started to bleed Rosie goes in first always first and I sit on the floor and watch through the door at theaters on the bathwater the bathwater is for me she forwards in the Soaps in the bleachers she's just me just you wait Jenny and she says the rosie come they're not let me see she holds Rosie space up to the light touching each of the pimples exploding across her nose poking her skin Rosie has a Mark needs her lips and Thea says what's this what's this
00:08:25Rosa de Castilla a story about another pimple says she touched it and then it did this deal doesn't know that Rosie is lying the rosie got the mark smoking with the boys on the street before Tia Rosa's like old and she says don't worry Nina it smells Vicks for each row has pimples and on the market love her lips don't touch it she tells Rosie let it sit there's another room at the end of the hall that I've never seen inside not once because Thea keeps it closed Rosie says it's where Mommy used to sleep in mommy used to live with Tia after I believe that passed because of his heart and mommy was too young to be on her own mommy stayed here even though Thea didn't want her because the reason why I believe the guy to start was because Mommy couldn't keep her legs shut and Rosie was on the way Rosie says she's been inside because sometimes rosie come sometimes Rosie comes to DS on her own that she sat on mommy's old bed
00:09:18the undresses me now you she says and Rosie sits on the toilet and I sit in the bleach into Thea comes back for us. Any thoughts but the ad says Rosie can't have any because it will mess with your skin and Rosie has to be careful. Let's Rosie have the rice in the beans and is still better than what we get from Mommy so we stayed last year so I could girls and chew with their mouth closed Rosie is too old to ask for seconds because Tia said she has to be careful things by seconds as well but I'm still a little enough to ask just a little note II don't count and I'm not Rosie not even like Rosie not for Thea so I can eat all I want
00:09:56theodosius new shoes for Rosie confirmation that she'll take Rosie to get her hair cut and colored are you least like mine theater I was there and he nods and doesn't say shit
00:10:071 x 4/3 DSS don't they feed you for the thought but she faxed dinner for us to bring home for us to have lunch the next day she text me and Rosie about school 6th graders real hard Julie she said to me you've got to be good yeah Julie Rosie says to me after Rosie dropped me off in the mornings she goes back home or close to my tails and smokes until it's time to pick me up to your ex about my uniform stocks do I have enough uniform stock do the flop of who sells them for a dollar and a hunt 25th she asked about her neighbor upstairs with the mother who died how are the kids she acted mommy has paid the rent and it's not like I know the answer the rosie says no and Thea pulls out her bag and put three Bill the top the plastic Chinese food containers with the beans and the rice that me and Rosie are supposed to bring home still warm I say thank you because I am a good girl I am the one that's good
00:10:59wealthiest says when it's almost time to go she sounds tired but she doesn't want to ask even though she's always gone too and she looks at me for a moment this as to Rosie how is it with your mother Rosita's fine I think about mommy in the mirror cutting her own hair I say that Mommy is fine to DSS oh yeah she asked Mommy is fucking deer said she knows mommy is fucking she says you think I don't know things and Rosie says I don't think anything you don't think to you said she says you have to be careful with these things Nana end up just the same I think she means the same as Mommy but she points the picture of Jesus with their lips
00:11:40Jesus makes me think of the bad things like lying to Mommy about Rosie smoking with Mateo and lying to Rosie about her cigarettes when I throw them away do you just makes me think of the answers I get wrong in school and every time I miss a step and Mommy try to teach me to salsa without music and I can't feel anything no no rhythm even though I tell her that I do because Mommy says that I should under the table I'm sitting on my hands but I can't stop moving my feet still looks at me and I imagine her pulling back my skin looking at the lies I tell Mommy and Rosie and teacher in a lot of Thea Thea who was so good to me. Who tells me to pray even though sometimes I don't accept because sometimes I can't remember and I cry because I forget and I hope the Seas that part I hope she thinks that's important Jesus cried to really doesn't say anything because she's not supposed to say anything not to this it's not really his fault the says but what can she do with Lola Lola doesn't listen to you put your hands on my shoulder fingers digging in until I am still
00:12:39DSS be careful Rosita
00:12:42when we get home Mommy asked about Tia and I tell her because I tell Mommy everything except for when I don't Mommy costia because that's what she always does when we after we visit costia and complains in English and espanol mommy Costilla a pain in the ass mommy said she already bought roses shoes that she can get roses hair done at East New York and Rosie doesn't want to look like the anyway
00:13:06Emagine Theater showing up our hands you think you know I'm at the assisted mommy you think you know anything about raising girls
00:13:14Zoe random engine was born and raised in East New York part of Brooklyn where gentrifiers have only just begun to explore she's working on a project that explores the intersection of colored girls and Sailor Moon R second sponsor today is catapult a publishing startup that offers classes publishes books and has a great website full of awesome short stories and essays and as I always remind you they just happened to quit the Donnelly have pretty much the same name as this podcast has announced their summer and fall classes and they look awesome a few that look especially great Emily Gould is teaching Advanced nonfiction Workshop called dear diary transforming the everyday into narrative Tony Tula to Moody is teaching a fiction workshop on concision and Justin Taylor is helping usher catapult into online classes with a fiction Workshop that starts April 25th I'll also mentioned that the one-day class I'm co-teaching with Tim Manley is on April 23rd that is a class on reading your work life
00:14:14what's the weather looking at open mics or a looming book tour we will help you get better at reading your work out loud and enjoy the whole thing more you can find information on all of those classes and many more at classes. Catapult. Co alright our second reader today is Lucas man he's reading from his Memoir Lord fear which is just now out in paperback here Lucas When I visit New York Dave and I walk around the block to get high nothing serious just stubby joints filled with dry Brown weed we stand in the dark doorway hitting his best we can be from accusing street lights and we act like teenagers it's windy I cut my hands around the joint Dave hold it in his mouth and lights it the sputtering flame glows across his face Shadows turning like an ocean of his cheeks to his eyes his eyes are Josh's eyes reflect layered brown or maybe they're not
00:15:08Davis on a cream kick which makes him seem more stoned and he is listen to this he says holding out his iPod I don't want to I say that I don't like cream I don't think you get it says if I can get it I say I just think it's kind of indulgent he gives a Grimace and enforces one of his earbuds on me we stand why are connected in a doorway hiding from the light reeking of bad weed nodding along to a bluesy jam and trying to say profound things listen to Ginger Baker Dave says listen to the drums I say
00:15:42the drums roll in spasms Dave rolls her shoulders along with the sound of the drums I take my earbuds out and let the in the music lingers over the sidewalk Saint this is an image that records in Burrows drug writing surprisingly gentle over the gaping needle holes in the ass fucking music floats and broken streams brief invisible over and over when somebody's trying to speak to the narrator or when he is trying to remember something the words in the meaning dispersed like music down a windy Street
00:16:13what's that famous story about Burrows how you wrote by cutting apart pages and scenes in sentences refitting newly scissored passages into one another that's where the repetition comes in the images that fit everywhere that mean the most music down a windy Street I think it's because of the uncertainty the sound that is so familiar but you can't even be sure it's there it's a junkie soundtrack what you want to hear what you need to believe that you hear what can the story be but fragments lies little packages of what we want to remember what we want to tell can you hear it faintly down this windy Street
00:16:51how did Josh play the drums I ask Dave who does he play like I remember reading a description of Keith Moon that said he played to the very limits of control and that's what I want to hear Dave Hunter's his shoulders up by his ears like he's colder embarrassed then he starts swinging his arms furiously Josh play like this he says he's trying to be so loud that you couldn't hear anyone else like you couldn't fully feel the music You Know listen to the way Ginger feels it he closes his eyes
00:17:20I'm surrounded by other people's memories other people's eyes other people's voices like a radio that cannot hold a signal that sounds like every song his voice is there to the softest so much is undated but I think I found Josh's last writing it's in a marble notebook that he returned to off and on for years he writes as usual of childhood struggles and future Glory then there's a break he folds a page into an arrow to separate what comes after on the next page he writes whenever I put an entry into this notebook it was under the influence of drugs like that's a sign to disregard
00:17:57then there's another page he tries to start over something new something better he writes humans as all animals are ruled by Basic Instinct survival in all its many facets and Power in the true nietzschean sense and every animal group there's a social pecking order outside of this they're the same thing between different species look at lions and zebras and imperialism he stopped there and gives up another Pages folded into an arrow and on that Arrow he tries to start over one last time he writes my Works number one then the next page the final one band in junkie you know what is so damn ironic in this very notebook where I
00:18:38it's another day I am back in New York alone I'm leaving the birthday party for someone who is not my friend but I kind of know it's at a karaoke bar somewhere on the far East Side downtown it's late and cold I walk along Delancey Street the opposite direction to my parents home toward the East River there's a billboard on top of what was once a tenement building what is now a doorman condo is an ad for itself
00:19:04I remember when I started all this I went down to the harm reduction center near Delancey to interview some of the counselors in this billboard was a Village Voice ad it said where have all the junk is gone and newspaper headline font because the thriving real estate market in a drastic increase in Fusion restaurants don't we shouldn't coexist with a scabby needle pocket masses who wants huddled over Subway grates for Weber stove warm air but of course that's why this neighborhood is so cool so money. Who doesn't want proximity to a little danger
00:19:32that's what I always wanted from Josh or something like that there's a reason why we tell the attic story so many times that it becomes too easy to anticipate the next turn the pause for a gas for a slow head shake you wanted to be something unlike himself I wanted that to still do but I don't think I ever had the courage or the desperation whichever term you like to give up control
00:19:54what I remember most when I remember at all or the moment when it was just the two of us and I remember being afraid I like that and he was gentle to me he was gentle to me and that felt good but underneath it was the rush this year the possibility that something big and bad was about to happen
00:20:12these Red River shutters in the wind the water wrinkles then Smooths there's a police boat moving toward me somewhere in the black between Manhattan and Brooklyn it's Spotlight is on scanning the surface of the water like a long white finger pointing to the sky
00:20:27I worked at a baseball camp on the river once I was leading the kids their morning game and cops were leaning over the side of the pier hoisting a bluish arm out of the water I remember it seems so impossible that they found the body or the body found its way back to shore
00:20:42in Paris once I walked along the sand with Sophia and everything was so beautiful that I felt nervous in the middle of the river under a stone bridge a police but was stopped into black clothes cops pull the dead man from the water I think I said something pretentious about how there is so much hidden underneath every perfect thing and then we held each other
00:21:01I walk North until Manhattan juts out I think I can see the bottom of Roosevelt Island if they are hard to distinguish a few lights in the high-rises still on I look back at the water I remember one more thing and I haven't remembered it for a long time Josh and I at my parents place was one of the last weekend to try to change the story and quit came over for a safe detox but he wasn't making promises this time there was no bless her over the phone there was only a body deteriorated submerged Josh lay in the bathtub my parents left on a date night at the door my mother said honey are you sure you're okay I said yeah fine my father said what's going to happen he's in the bath my mother said just watch TV
00:21:44down the hall from Josh I watched Public Access porn I tried to imagine classmates faces on surgically stretch adult bodies I tried to imagine the sensation it would feel on my cheeks if they were sandwich and silicone I pulled my sweatpants out and inspected found two new pubic hairs they were sounds echoing from under the bathroom door I was supposed to ignore them if it sounds stopped for a while too long I was suppose to well no don't worry about that it's not going to happen the sounds got louder I muted the TV so I can hear him listen to his low moans over the visuals of to fake blonde sucking a double sided dildo like spaghetti in Lady and the Tramp then I turned the TV off I sat in the dark listen to my own breath and listened to him I thought of movies were pretty young white dude protagonist were tortured but didn't break I like those characters I pictured him as one
00:22:36when I heard his voice crack a pained Winnie and then a little gasp the fantasy stopped the bathroom door was open and I let myself think this was on purpose the room smelled of shit and vomit and sweat I breathe through my mouth I tiptoed into stand over him the water shuttered shuttered when he rised the water was oily with his Brian in the soap that he poured into it the soap bottle lay on the floor next to him squeeze empty it so there was a logical correlation to be found the more soap the better the chance to be cleansed the suds covered him stuff to his arm hairs clumped over his crotch his knees broke to the surface and I reached out to touch the skin that was available his eyes were red I'm sure they were other things but all I remember is red the brightness of it the idea of it he focused his Gaze on me and I thought I could see the effort in that
00:23:26how he said and then he smiled but it turned into a wins he put his hand on top of mine and it was heavy but I didn't move I'm sorry I said when he breathed his body he I watched his nipples poke through the water and then disappear again his submerged skin with nearly translucent he was perfectly visible but just obscured enough to be a glow a suggestion something approximating a human being the outline in the general shading he didn't speak so I stayed to go stay he said I stayed I reached out my hand I went the strings of hair from his forehead the way I remember adults hands doing to me is a fever if child he smiled and I asked why and he said nothing we were quiet again he took my hand and put it on his cheek and I knelt beside him I let my palm cup his cheek Bones still elegant he tried to smile again and there was such softness in it such fear that I would not smile back
00:24:25I think I was aware of that how much you didn't want me to not smile I felt sadness and I felt love this hurts so much he said I didn't say anything is this water fucking freezing or what he said I put my hand in the water and it's called it so I said no bulshit he said oh maybe it is I said no I'm sorry he said I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry over and over until it felt like there were any spaces between the words he didn't tell me a story there was nobody there to shape the story for him there was no beginning to this moment and he spoke with no ending that we would soon reach he said that it hurts and he said he was sorry he let his body slide lower so just his face poke through the water he put his hand on the edge of the tub kept his fingers wedged between mine
00:25:12I stayed to be sure he wouldn't let himself sink I stayed because we were touching I stayed and watched the pain moving little pulses across his face I wanted him to feel better than he felt
00:25:24Lucas man is the author of Class A baseball in the middle of everywhere and Lord fear a memoir which is now available in paperback Lord fear was named one of the best books of 2015 by the Miami Herald kirkus reviews and oprah.com MFA from the University of Iowa and now teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and that's it for this episode of the Catapult thank you for listening as always you can email me at letters at catapult podcast.com treat a tussock caterpillar podcast finest on Facebook sign up for newsletter at tiny letter. Com the Catapult other website which is also a Tumblr is a catapult podcast.com that's where you can find links two more work by the writers you've heard today and all of our past episodes and if you want to leave us a rating and review and iTunes you will get a sudden and copious increase in Good Karma
00:26:19our theme is make it up by the blow her to see if it's located in records and terror bird media closing credits music is fleeced by arms things to tag both game for that and thank you so much for listening I'm Jamie free will be back in 2 weeks with another episode of the catapult
00:26:45on the mountain song

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