Winston told his new friends he was a writer. It was a harmless enough lie—they thought him bookish, overly keen, and excitable anyway. This way when he hadn’t said anything for 2 hours at a time it gave them an excuse to shrug and look away.

Winston was a biology major. He liked the schematic drawings of fish and photosynthesis in his textbooks. The problem was that he’d get drunk before lab. He was bad at measurement anyways, and the cells or whatever would swim in the lens of his microscope. All of his data were falsified.

He’d been hanging around the English Department, with their wine and cheese. The people there didn’t get up nearly as early as the science folks would, and their dishevelment was affected, attractive, and lazy, not a symptom of reasonable genes. And truly they were prettier too, the average book-loving bore.

Winston’s new friends threw hooks at the government. Not like circle-A anarchy kids but trenchant, flamboyant, and droll. They were wits, the lot of them, and he was often lost. He couldn’t keep up because, Who exactly was Reagan? He was president, ok, but something about California, gorillas, and jellybeans.

Winston had to sign up for the draft. His new friends told him not to. Had they signed up for the draft? Yes they had, the boys, but he should not. They were musicians, forever beating against one surface or another.

Winston read a lot of books. He liked to tell people about the evil O’Brien, the man who had attached the rat-trap contraption to his namesake’s head. He could describe that scene with flare, never tripping over the shoelace of his tongue.

One day Winston wrote a poem. It was in the style of one of the poets he liked, alliterative and strange. It was a good poem, and it made his heart beat to think he had written it. He thought, maybe he might switch majors. What if he could get a girlfriend named Julia? What if he could write more poems.

{If you like what you read}

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