Hanging with Kafka

I’ve mentioned Brooklyn writer Greg Ames’ hilarious “Lost in Carver Country” and disturbing but touching “Physical Discipline,” but now Ames has got himself a website, and it was while fumbling around there that I discovered an older gem, “Appetites.”

Kafka in his garden, cultivating begonias. He bends over them, frowning. I am seated on a lawn chair nearby, slurping a Long Island Iced Tea through a bent yellow straw. “Franz, what are we doing here, I ask you?” I ask him. He does not reply, merely spritzes the waxy leaves with the pump-sprayer in his dirt-crusted garden glove. “Guys like us,” I say, “we should be out boozing and brawling, picking up chicks.” Kafka drops to his hands and knees to inspect the soil. Then he stands with a sigh, one back-turned hand on his aching lower lumbar. “With your ears and chin,” I continue, “my biceps and hairline, we would be unstoppable, my man!” Kafka ignores me.

Better yet, it looks like he — Ames, not Kafka — has just finished a novel.


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