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.