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Tao Lin

Tao Lin

The day after Thanksgiving Tao Lin woke up around 10:45. He looked at the computer, saw the time, saw no emails from Dakota Fanning, and went back to sleep.

At night Tao Lin gmail chatted Haley Joel Osment. "God I felt fucked lying on the bed," Tao Lin said to Haley Joel Osment. "I wanted to fall asleep immediately but that is impossible."

"I need to fall asleep," Tao Lin said. "Any second now. Just fall down asleep."

"I played video games, perfect dark," Haley Joel Osment said. "I killed people for two hours then I got bored. I know what you mean by impossible." Haley Joel Osment said, "Tao Lin." Tao Lin said, "This is fucked." Haley Joel Osment said, "You know those people that get up everyday, and do things."

Tao Lin said, "Iím going to eat cereal even though Iím not hungry."

Haley Joel Osment said, "And are real proactive, and like are getting things done, and never quit their jobs. Those people suck."

Tao Lin said, "We get shit done too. Look at our books. Look at your movies. We are on Gawker every week."

"I know but that brings in no money," Haley Joel Osment said. "Are we like, that word bohemians. Or something. Our bios, they lived in poverty writing their masterpieces."

"We are the fucked generation," Tao Lin said. "Someone release the press release announcing this." Tao Lin made a typo for the word announcing. "Look at that typo," Tao Lin said.

"Iím laughing," Haley Joel Osment said. "That is a good typo."

"How do we get out of this," Tao Lin said. "What generation we are."

Haley Joel Osment said, "Their cars were shit, they couldnít afford haircuts, they were stealing to stay alive, living off of strippers, to create their art, but they believed that if they could write it something would happen."

"Who are they," Tao Lin said.

"They is us," Haley Joel Osment said.

"Iím alone," Tao Lin said. "What would happen if I started sniffing coke."

"You would kill yourself in a panic attack," Haley Joel Osment said.

"Are you sure," Tao Lin said.

Haley Joel Osment said, "You will be on coke trying to steal batteries and your mind wonít be working properly and you will fuck up and someone will catch you then you will go to jail."

"Oh yeah," Tao Lin said. "I donít have to worry about money anymore, I just steal batteries. Donít tell anyone."

"Iím going to watch cartoon porn," Haley Joel Osment said. "No Iím not. Iím going to look at Indian women. Have you ever fucked an Indian girl."

"No," Tao Lin said. "Native American or Indian."

Haley Joel Osment said, "You are awesome. Is her picture online."

"Iím confused," Tao Lin said. "What are you talking about."

"How did you meet her," Haley Joel Osment said.

"No, I havenít fucked one," Tao Lin said. "Youíre confused."

"What are you talking about," Haley Joel Osment said.

"I havenít had sex with one," Tao Lin said.

"Okay," Haley Joel Osment said. "What are you talking about."

"Haley Joel Osment," Tao Lin said. "What is happening. Itís Saturday."

"I think we are going insane," Haley Joel Osment said. "From not being around people. We are starting to go inside ourselves, and play around inside of our own mental illness. That doesnít make any sense."

"Haley Joel Osment," Tao Lin said. "Tell me something. What should I eat. I have two choices. Cereal or peanut butter bagel."

"Cereal," Haley Joel Osment said.

Tao Lin said, "I wanted the bagel. Iím eating the bagel, I donít know why I asked."

"Dakota Fanningís mom didnít let you come over for leftovers," Haley Joel Osment said.

"No," Tao Lin said. "She hates me now. We went to a party when she wasnít home and told us not to. And Dakota Fanning dyed her hair and I didnít stop her."

"Are you serious," Haley Joel Osment said. "You took her car. And she found out. Thatís bad."

Tao Lin said, "Dakota Fanning told her. I told Dakota Fanning not to lie. We are fucked."

"Why did Dakota Fanning tell her," Haley Joel Osment said.

Tao Lin said, "I told Dakota Fanning not to lie anymore. We have too many lies. Itís better to be honest like you."

"Iím alone," Haley Joel Osment said. "And have no friends."

"Youíre right," Tao Lin said. "Maybe not. That is interesting. Maybe we should lie."

"Marisha Pessl lies a little bit here and there, and she has a much better life than ours," Haley Joel Osment said. "Of course, did you ever read The Wall by Sartre."

Tao Lin said, "This is fucked. No reward for not lying. No."

"Itís about lying," Haley Joel Osment said. "You told Dakota Fanning not to lie. Then her mother asked where you and her were, she told the truth, now Dakota Fanningís mom hates you." Haley Joel Osment said, "I woke up at 12 p.m."

Tao Lin said, "I woke up at 3 p.m."

Haley Joel Osment said, "I wonít go to sleep until five in the morning. We are fucked."

Tao Lin said, "I woke at 10:30 then said, ĎThis is fucked,í and went back to sleep. I forced myself back to sleep."

"Dakota Fanningís mom wonít let Dakota Fanning talk to you," Haley Joel Osment said. "Or is it that because your cell phone broke."

"No," Tao Lin said. "We just didnít talk since yesterday. We are like fighting or something. Or I just didnít email her or something. I canít handle people anymore."

Haley Joel Osment said, "When Marisha Pessl and I fight we lay on our sides for an hour in different rooms, and wait for the person that was mean to come into the room and say they are sorry, then we existentially attack each other in very quiet voices."

"That sounds great," Tao Lin said. "Dakota Fanning and I talk in very quiet voices. In the car on the way to Dakota Fanningís Uncleís house Dakota Fanningís mom got pissed at us for talking quietly. She said it was rude."

"I think her mom has a case of Ďtelevision personality,í" Haley Joel Osment said. "My parents act like that."

"When I talked to someone last night I talked for a long time and then they said, ĎI canít hear you.í I talked for a long time," Tao Lin said. "I donít think I can go back to Dakota Fanningís house. Her mom hates me too much. I canít look at her. I told her thank you for letting me stay at her house and she thought I was being sarcastic. She said, ĎThank you for aiding my daughter in lying to me,í or something.í"

"Thatís cold," Haley Joel Osment said. "She treats you like a child."

Haley Joel Osment said, "You should say, ĎIím a grown man. The New York Times has published me. I graduated from college and I can take care of your daughter, your daughter ainít a baby anymore. Sheís a grown, intelligent woman. And you know why sheís so intelligent and mature. Because you are a good parent. You need to recognize that your wonderful upbringing has made your daughter like this. Her intelligence which has come from your raising and genetics has made her capable of being with older men and doing more mature activities."

"Iíll print that out," Tao Lin said. "And recite it. In a sonorous voice. Thank you."

"Is there a radio in Dakota Fanningís house," Haley Joel Osment said. "Play sound good music while you do it. You must create the sitcom. When was the last time her mom got laid or smiled."

"She didnít tell me," Tao Lin said. "She sat in the dining room binge-eating pizza and openly crying. She is a Yates character."

"Are you fucking serious," Haley Joel Osment said.

"Letís stop talking about her," Tao Lin said.

Haley Joel Osment said, "Did you ever go to one of those countries where no one speaks your language, like Mexico. I like those countries."

Tao Lin said, "Itís only 1 a.m. What are we going to do for four hours."

"Do you sometimes look up from the computer and look around the room and know you are alone, I mean really know it, then feel scared."

"Yes," Tao Lin said. "I really do that."

"Should we kill ourselves now or start crying or punch ourselves in the nuts," Haley Joel Osment said.

"What is wrong with us," Tao Lin said. "Should I email Dakota Fanning. Or wait until she emails me. Iíll be alone either way. I donít have a car, phone, bike. Iím going to add more people on Myspace."

"We are so weird," Haley Joel Osment said. "We met online a year ago. And we are up a year later being weird as shit."

"One year," Tao Lin said. "This is weird."

"I feel like my chest is going to explode," Haley Joel Osment said.

"Iím adding random people on Myspace," Tao Lin said.

"I feel weird," Haley Joel Osment said. "Like I was molested by my Uncle or something."

"This is fucked," Tao Lin said.

"You are on the floor," Haley Joel Osment said. "With the blanket around you."

"The blanket is over my head," Tao Lin said.

"Are we fucked," Haley Joel Osment said.

Haley Joel Osment signed off the internet. Tao Lin stared at the computer screen. Tao Lin lay on his bed. Tao Lin went back to his computer. Haley Joel Osment was back. "I just laid down and tried to cry," Tao Lin said. "I made a noise."

"My computer took a shit for a second," Haley Joel Osment said.

"I canít think," Tao Lin said. "Iím going to do push-ups. Thereís nothing else to do. What if Dakota Fanning and I break up. Iíd be so fucked."

Haley Joel Osment said, "You still like each other right."

"Yeah," Tao Lin said. "I donít know."

"I donít know what to do," Haley Joel Osment said. "Do you wake up most days and your first thoughts are of literature, you go to sleep thinking about literature."

"Yes," Tao Lin said. "That is all I think about. If Iím having a shitty time with Dakota Fanningís mom I think about writing it in my novel later. I think about that the same time it is happening."

"When Iím talking to someone I think, ĎCan I use this dialogue in a book,í" Haley Joel Osment said. "If the answer is no I try talking to someone else." Tao Lin said, "Has Marisha Pessl ever threatened to kill you." Haley Joel Osment said, "Oscar Wilde said that a genius is a spectator to their own life, to the point that the real genius is uninteresting. No, Marisha Pessl has never threatened to kill me."

"Oscar Wilde was stupid though," Tao Lin said.

"Yeah, youíre right," Haley Joel Osment said. "My chest is going to explode."

"My face is going to float away from my skull," Tao Lin said.

"What are we going to do," Haley Joel Osment said. "We met each other and didnít talk that much."

"I donít know," Tao Lin said.

Haley Joel Osment sent Tao Lin a link to a porno site. Tao Lin said, "I already masturbated, should I really do it again." Haley Joel Osment said, "I already masturbated today also. If you need to Iíll go away." Tao Lin said, "No, Iím just looking a little." Haley Joel Osment said, "Masturbation is an escape from literature." Haley Joel Osment sent Tao Lin a photo of a stripper. "Is she sweating," Tao Lin said. "I think they oiled her down," Haley Joel Osment said.

Haley Joel Osment said, "We have been sitting here all night bullshitting and we still donít know what to do."

"I canít take this anymore," Tao Lin said. "Iím going to masturbate then do some other shit then try to sleep for like 20 hours. Have a good night."

"Have a good night, Iím laughing," Haley Joel Osment said.

"Thank you for the chat," Tao Lin said.

Tao Lin is the author of a novel, EEEEE EEE EEEE, and a story-collection, BED, which were published simultaneously by Melville House in May, 2007 in the first two-book story-collection/novel debut since Ann Beattie in 1976. Tao is also the author of a poetry collection, YOU ARE A LITTLE BIT HAPPIER THAN I AM. His web site is called READER OF DEPRESSING BOOKS.

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