The man sat in his chair. He was reclining and drinking from a glass. The glass had been given to him by friends. Good friends, they seemed, but it was not the friends he thought of, or the drink he was drinking.
On the screen before him was an oddity. The words lashed out at him, like the fist of a drunk man who knew, somewhere, he should not be making a fist but made it anyway. There was gall in the fist of those words. Were it not for those words, the man could have reclined and continued drinking. Instead the words made him sit up and put down the glass his friends had given him.
The words said that an actor had made a movie. There was nothing novel about that — actors make movies all the time — but this specific actor was a man named Will, and the movie was based on a story written by a man name Ray. The actor's last name was Farrell, and the writer's last name was Carver.
This can't be, the man thought. He absently picked up the glass and drank and swallowed. He drank again and swallowed again. Then he set the glass down. "This can't be," he said aloud to the screen.
The movie was called Everything Must Go. The story was called "Why Don't You Dance?" The man was scared. He could not remember if he had read the story before, but dammit, he had read a lot of stories by Carver, and maybe this one was one of them.
The man stood and walked out of the room. Halfway down the hall was a waist-high bookshelf full of books. He bent down to the bottom shelf and searched for a book he knew was there. Where I'm Calling From it was called. He flipped it open and riffled the pages until he found the table of contents. There, on page one-hundred fifty five, was the story.
Standing in the hallway, his glass forgotten in the other room, he read the story. It went on for seven pages. When he was done, he still couldn't remember if he had read it before, but he was glad he read it now. It had been a long time since he read a Carver story, too long perhaps, but the feeling he felt when he was done felt familiar. That old, dead bastard could still write like nobody else the man knew.
The man went back into the room where his drink and his computer were, and he carried the book with him, either because he forgot to put it away or he remembered to take it. (There was nobody to ask him which was right, and he did not stop to consider the options.) He sat at his desk and found the movie on his computer and queued it up. Then he grabbed his drink and sat back and watched it.
The movie was so very different from the story. Yet it was good, too. The best movie, thought the man, the actor had ever made. The actor just acted, and he did not "Farrell it up" as he so often did. There was more to the movie, and something less, but at the end the man felt the same feeling he felt when he read the story.
The man thought about the movie and the story together for awhile. He did not think it strange that they felt the same, even though they were very different. He wanted to let others know what he thought. So he sat down and he typed on his computer, and at the end of his typing, he hit "Publish."