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Excerpt from Musings with Franklin: A Novel Told Entirely in Conversation

Monday 1/15/24

Franklin: Tidings, lads.

Bartender: I'm fifty.

Franklin: Who isn't? Why does he look like he's about to slit his wrists?

Writer: You don't need to italicize the pronoun.

Franklin: So you've decided on what they are to be, then? That's very current of you. One must be very current. So current that one is ahead of their own time. As I was. And so I thus remain. Am remaining. Tenses are also important. Though not as important as declaring one's pronouns. In my day we had a little something called the Declaration of Independence.

Writer: I'm not in the mood, man.

Franklin: Then perhaps you'd like to hear the ballad I've newly composed.

Bartender: You mean you did that thing where you came up with a song title and you'll tell us what it is.

Franklin: Look, do you want to hear the fucking song or not? You think songs write themselves? Or that kid banging the drum leading the doughty advance against the Redcoats just came up with that particular patriotic air then and there like he's Charlie Parker with a jingoism streak before he gets his head blown into a thousand pieces by a musket ball? Trust me: Each of those songs were workshopped near to death, which is why they held up like they did as that kid's guts went flying in every direction. Rounds and rounds of vetting. We had preview audiences. Scullery maids with coarsened hands. Women fresh from the fields, with the stink of turnips in all of their fleshy folds. Everyone thinks they're a music critic. I work hard on this shit.

Writer: You should play us the song.

Franklin: Thank you. This is a new one I wrote last night. Ready? "I Pitted My Massive Cock Against His Tiny Dick and Guess Who Won (Upset of the Century)?"

Writer: Intricate.

Franklin: No, I know.

Bartender: So what you're saying is that the guy with the smaller--allegedly, anyway--genitalia had some kind of surprise victory over...yours?

Writer: What strange manner of battle was this?

Franklin: You're assuming I'm the I. You can't assume with pronouns. We just went over that.

Writer: So you're the other one then? The tiny-appendaged fellow?

Franklin: It depends who you ask, doesn't it? Many things in this life come down to who you ask.

Bartender: Are you working on any others?

Franklin: Do you mean me? Or him?

Writer: You italicized it again.

Bartender: You.

Franklin: Why? What have you heard?

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