What is this? Helen. They want me to tell them more stories about famous foist stories in The Portland Review? Christ. I got a stomach problems. God. These kids don’t care. Fine. Fine!
Back in 1853 I was a clerk for a law firm on wall street, and since I’m a rather elderly guy today it might be hard for me to remember, but I did meet Herman Melville.
Mell, as his friend’s preferred not to call him, was a janitor sweeping all up over my firm. He kept coming by and asking me questions.
“Hello good sir.”
“What can I do ya for?” I said, doing some very important paperwork.
“Were you asleep?”
“Just restin’ my eyes, kiddo. What’s up?”
I was up shitcrick. This no nothing party member janitor found me napping at work. Now I made a handsome salary in those days, which was about seventeen cents a month. God, could you live like a king on that. I used to eat nothing but ham, which is odd because I’m a chosen person, if you know what I mean. What? Oh come on Helen. I’m just kidding. My uncle was in the vaudeville. Zeppo Marx. You know. The Marx Brother that the Marx Brother’s all hated. Zeppo. Yeah yeah.
“Good sir, can you do me a favor,” this Herman kid asked. “Could you read this story of mine, and start a literary magazine and publish it?”
“Kid, I don’t know the foist thing about publishing. I’m not even sure I know how to read.”
And then he pulled a gun on me and the Lone Ranger came out with Hemingway riding him instead of a horse and I took a nosh from the onion on my belt, which was not the style at the time because onions had just gone out of style, and well. Blackmail is such an ugly word. That’s what Hermy said. Uh.
Helen. I need a Fresca. What? Sanka? Well, that’s not the same. Sigh. Whatever.
And that’s how Tin House got started. Now stop calling me.