I don't take it personally when I get accused of inventing my friends Grant and Lary, because sometimes I wish they were imaginary, too, especially given their penchant lately for "keeping things real." That was their excuse last month when they tried to kidnap a visiting colleague of mine, tie him to a tree and talk him out of collaborating with me on a television project. "Are those guys for real?" he yelled at me once he was safely back in California. I've been hearing that question a lot lately. So to put everybody's doubt to rest, the following is an ACTUAL CONVERSATION that is practically verbatim, and occurred between the three of us at Java Vino coffee house at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2008. If you drove by, you would have seen the three of us out there, me with my laptop pecking away as these two demented dicksacks bloviated about life in general and being professional characters in particular:
Lary: I just figured out how I'm going to win the Nobel Prize for solving two world problems, the global food deficit and the overcrowded prison system. Here's the solution: We eat the convicts.
Grant: In other parts of the world cannibalism is common, so somewhere it's already an accepted practice. It would just be a matter of opening your mind. But it would take a long time to get people comfortable eating people.
Lary: Two meals. It would take missing two meals. I conducted a study in my basement.
Grant: Lary, I would love to have the time – or the drugs – you have on your hands.
Lary: It's a delicate balance.
Grant: I don't know if I slept on my arms wrong or not, but I woke up with old-people wrinkles all over the backs of my arms.
Lary: You got it from your parents. Pretty soon your toes are going to start falling off like your dad's did.
Grant: I am not going to handle old age well when it happens.
Lary: The worst thing about old age is that denial doesn't work. Those wrinkles on your arms are gonna start working their way up.
Grant: I know, I was looking at them in the rearview mirror on the way over here. Hollis, I would say that 75 percent of the people who read your column think we're not real.
Lary: Are we real? Or are we just voices in her head?
Lary: Hollis, you are one of the few people I know whose voices in her head are real.
Grant: I admire you, Lary, for your drugs, but I've been too chicken to do drugs. You're freer than I am.
Lary: No, you're freer than I am, 'cause I don't want a dick pointed at me.
Grant: You've gone there in your mind.
Lary: Yes, and it didn't seem like a good idea.
Grant: Are you still set to suck your first cock when you turn 60?
Lary: I'm going to Thailand when I turn 60.
Hollis: I'm going with you!
Grant: Let's go now! Why wait?
Lary: Thai dick for everyone!
Grant: Hollis, you need to polish your shoes first.
Hollis: Lord, look who's talking. You have to wade knee-deep through strange DNA just to get out of bed every morning.
Grant: Hollis, I know the title of your next book. You should call it Crack Moms for Christ.
Lary: Crack Dads for Dick
Hollis: Fetal Alcoholic
Lary: Hollis Gillespie's Baby Shaker
Grant: Hollis, you know one of the hardest things about you writing about us is? It's how to filter what comes at us as a result. I have to learn to process all the personal contact.
Lary: You just need more guns. I don't have a problem.
Grant: I have the problem.
Lary: Refer to your seminary training. Probably the best thing you could have done with your seminary background is become a bartender at the Local.
Grant: Monday night is ministry night.
Lary: I've seen him there passing out therapy.
Grant: Therapy in a cup. You wanna tall therapy or a short therapy? I minister to my flock.
Lary: All flocks are misguided. But your following has a better chance than most, because religion is fucked up.
Grant: If people were really set free, they'd be fearless, but the church is fear. They have all the money, though, so who wins?
Lary: Who needs money when you've got guns?
Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed. (www.hollisgillespie.com).
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Neither will anyone else, since there reasoning is entirely opaque.