Rejection Letter: Jason Schwartzman

Dear Watermelon Pub Trivia Team By the Back Left Table AKA “Kookie Cat Men,”

That means you, Gilbert. And yes, you too, Basil, though everyone knows you only come when your girlfriend is out of town. It’s not as if I haven’t heard the rumblings. The bartender you so kindly love to denigrate as “Creepy Liam Neeson,” happens to believe in something called loyalty, and he’s passed on some of your overheard blabberings about me — your now former teammate.

So, my banter is lackluster. You think Jordan was chatting away before a NBA Finals game? And so what if I nurse my beer? Perhaps I simply like to savor. And yeah, you caught me, I lied about having a cat to get in! That time Basil swung by my house, he was right to suspect that the cat was not in fact mine (I commandeered a kitten from my next door neighbor who owed me a favor). Shoot me for wanting to fit in. Convenient that you invoke that little lacking after all the recent success!

Before our connection is fully snipped, I have a few things to get off my chest. Edgar, don’t kid yourself. We all saw you picking your nose that time and then casually flick away the evidence (after waiting two whole minutes when you thought we weren’t looking). Bernard, no one knows what the heck you do in the bathroom. Who needs to flush three times every time they go? And Rudy. Simple Rudy. I know for a fact you all turned the other way when he Googled the answer to the nickname of New York City’s sanitation department (“New York’s Strongest” lol) last week on his smartphone. He broke the covenant! I once believed the Kookie Cat Men to be above dirty tricks like that. How wrong I was.

It’s still hard to believe that after I carry this ragtag crew of nudniks to four consecutive Thursday Night Championships (beer gift certificates up the wazoo), you drop me just like that? It’s one thing to tell me to my face but to simply remove me from the Kookie Cat Men Facebook Group at 2:30 in the morning? Larry, you love to present yourself as a “charismatic confrontationalist” in all your anecdotes, and then you shower me with this mouse fart of a move at the witching hour! Sweet lordy, I thought I was seeing things.

Don’t think I’ll be leaving the ‘melon behind. Quite the contrary. By tomorrow, the Flintstones, Hip Dads, or even the Stepford Raccoons will have snapped me up. It’ll be just like when Antonio Brown left the Raiders and the freaking New England Patriots signed him the next day. (Not that it ended well, but not that you would know either. Say goodbye to all these weeks dominating the sports category.)

You may consider this letter a permanent response to any attempt to win back my affections. (Once the losing begins, I wager the begging will follow.) You think that on God’s green earth you would have known the capital of Namibia is Windhoek? Or that Amelia Earhart’s middle name is Mary? Please. What about that name of Fidel Castro’s beloved cow? Yes, he was infatuated with cows. Perhaps you didn’t know. Well, if I were still a Kookie Cat Man I would be overjoyed to inform you her name was Ubre Blanca, (or White Udder, to you).

I’m so sorry I didn’t fit into your cat-tinted Bohemian Club by the back table. I know, I never asked Edgar enough questions about Trotsky the kitten. Or about Nifty or Twitch or Tambourine. Not…a…cat…person. You can all hide behind the note that Gilbert sent (at least he was human enough to acknowledge the dump) in which he mentioned that the “table was beginning to feel a little crowded,” and yet we made it work, didn’t we?

I know I didn’t go to high school with all of you and was only on the team because my ex-girlfriend Judy was buddies with Gilbert, and yeah, we broke up a few days ago, but it was amicable, and I’d gotten to know you guys just a little, and for a hot second, I counted you all as my friends. Once upon a time, Rudy, you nearly suffocated me one of your patented bear hugs when I locked down that literature triple bonus question (Norman Mailer was so angry at his wife the night he attacked her with a penknife because she said he lacked the talent of…Dostoyevsky!). And yet, it ends like this. (With your charismatic whimper, Larry. That’s a T.S. Eliot reference, if you didn’t know. Hope it comes in handy during the occasional quotation round.) I hereby declare the Kookie Cat Men as the Watermelon Pub knew them finished.

See you next Thursday. Which comes from Thor’s Day, by the way. As in the Norse god. Kindly consider that my parting gift.

With acrimony,
Maxwell “T” Abrams


Jason Schwartzman is the senior editor at True.Ink, a revival of a heritage American adventure magazine. His writing has been published in the New York Times, New York, The Rumpus, Hobart, River Teeth, Atlas Obscura, Nowhere Magazine, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Human Parts, Gothamist, Untapped Cities, and is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine.