Superstar by Susan Steinberg

Fiction writer Susan Steinberg reads from "Superstar," the opening story from her collection Spectacle, published in January 2013 by Graywolf Press. 


I once hung out with this shit group of kids and they were just such shit.

This to say I made some mistakes.

Like breaking into this one guy’s car.

Like stealing the stereo out of that car.

I was young and I didn’t steal the stereo because I wanted the stereo.

I stole it, rather, because I wanted the guy.

This to say I just wanted some thing the guy owned.

This more to say that nothing else mattered in that moment except this thing the guy owned, this thing that, I now know, was not the guy.

Anyway there was nothing else in the car.

Had there been a jacket I would have stolen it.

Had anything else jarred loose—a mirror, an ashtray—I would have stolen that too.

But the stereo was the only thing I could snap out of its hole.

And so there I was, drunk and standing on the sidewalk at two a.m., the bar closing, the drunks stumbling out, holding a car stereo with both hands, a kind of person I didn’t even know I could be, and my friends said, Run.

This to say I made a mistake.

Not because I got caught, because I did not get caught.

Because no one ever once got caught.

Because this was Baltimore.

And if you know the place, you know what I mean.

If you know the place, you’re likely from there.

I mean you’re likely still there.

Which I no longer am.

Which doesn’t mean I figured it out.

It only means a window appeared and I went through the window before it disappeared.

Metaphorically I mean.

But it’s not time for anything deep.


Reprinted with permission by Graywolf Press, from Spectacle by Susan Steinberg. Copyright © 2013 by Susan Steinberg.