May 14, 2008


Why its called Into Gold, I don't know. I get tired of fancy titles. I wanted to say "Into A Swan" but that's a Siouxsie Sioux song now, plus it doesn't quite fit anyway. I got lucky :P

Matt is a combination of 2 girls and 1 guy that I know...yes, it's sickening and weird. I got Ezra's name from Ezra Pound, the poet/author, even though his personality isn't really that similar. He's a combination of a couple of guys I know. The whole flow of the story is a little Catcher In The Rye-ish.


I never liked Matt. At all. Not since the first day I met him about five years ago.

Creepy dude. He always had this big corny smile that just felt like Saran wrap stretched over his face. He had bottle blonde hair and always dressed like some Hollywood slut—which he really is, but have some decency for Christ’s sake. Well, he was all that before I changed him—I’m getting ahead of myself a little though, let me explain.


Like I said, I never really liked Matt before last summer. At that point I’d known him for five years at least, and…well, I still can’t even quite put my finger on it. Why I didn’t like him, that is. It wasn’t even just one thing. First of all, he was so damn superficial everything he said felt like an ass kiss. I told you about his smile and his dress, but his demeanor. God! He was so flighty and air-headed and had the most irritating giggle I’d ever heard. He was always leaning on someone, laughing, talking, rambling. Grade-A suck-up.

Oh, he likes girls by the way. Loves girls. He’s 100% straight to the most annoying degree. He won’t let you forget it either; he always has at least two girls on each arm. I just got sick at how he went through “girlfriends” every couple of weeks, a month if the girl was lucky. Moreover, I couldn’t understand how the girls let him. How they could fawn so much over a nobody was beyond me. I didn’t even think girls did that. At least he doesn’t whore himself out so much now, but first let me explain how we met.

Our mutual friend Robbie introduced us. Well, not really, Matt was actually just tagging along with Robbie. They’re pretty good friends. I think Robbie’s the only one Matt doesn’t annoy to death, or he hides it better than I do. Robbie’s always been a gentle guy with chestnut hair and practically see-through skin. He made Matt’s fake, orangey tan look really dark, almost real. He’s pretty good at keeping his issues inside, right up ‘til the last possible moment.

So anyway, Matt and Robbie were hanging out, and Robbie invited me to lunch, said he’d pay. Nine times out of ten I’m usually broke as hell, so of course I agreed to a free meal. We were in this family-owned restaurant called Vic’s, even though the guy that owns it is named Larry. Maybe a Vic owned it before him, I don’t know.

By the time I met up with Robbie, he was already in the place chatting with Matt. It was a warm day out so we were at a table outside. I wound up sitting next to Matt, who briefly paused his rapid-fire conversation to look at me.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I should ask you the same thing,” I said back. I didn’t like his tone, he sounded like he didn’t want me there. Robbie nodded his head in my direction.

“Matt, this is my buddy Ezra Quint. Quinty, this is Matthias Woldenhurst or...Matt.”

“Quinty…” Matt said, and I still didn’t like his tone. He sounded like he was sizing his competition up this time. I sorta mentally sized him up too and tipped my head to him.

“Sup man?”

“Sup Quinty…can I call you Quinty?”

“I prefer Ezra or just Quint really…”

“You don’t like ‘Quinty’ anymore?” Robbie asked, looking oh-so hurt. In truth, I never liked Quinty anyway. I’ve always been an Ez or an Ezra, or maybe just a Quint, but Quinty just sounds like a baby name. I’m twenty-six, for Christ’s sake. He’d been calling me that since I was—I don’t even know, like thirteen.

“I think he just doesn’t want me calling him Quinty,” Matt said as he finished his drink off. That was only partially true, but I didn’t tell him that. Robbie shrugged and fingered his napkin and fork.

“Maybe. Quinty...well, Ez doesn’t do good around strangers. I’ve known him for years.”

“About ten give or take, isn’t it?” Robbie nodded at this and we both just kind of grinned, but Matt looked just short of incredulous.

Ten years? Wow, you guys are really old friends. I don’t have friends for more than a few months!” He guffawed, and if I had eaten anything that day I probably would have thrown it back up. Robbie just kept on grinning but he didn’t laugh, which made me feel good. It made me feel like he wasn’t buying into all of Matt’s bullshit. I mean, sometimes you have to put up with your friend’s bullshit but there’s a limit.

After he was done laughing, Matt went back to his little walnut salad and water. Robbie asked me if I wanted anything and I said I just wanted the biggest burger they had. I really hadn’t eaten anything for a while at that point, I don’t think. Robbie laughed and said he’d see what he could do. He signaled the waiter and ordered me a burger with everything and a beer. It came and I got right to chowing down while Robbie and Matt talked over my head, since I was sitting in the middle of them.

“So how’s life Ez? I haven’t seen you in like three weeks, not a call or anything,” Robbie asked around his sub sandwich.

“Busy studying,” I said. That was my last year in college, not because I was graduating but because I was dropping out. I was working on a B.A. in mass communications, something I actually really loved, but the workload and the payload just got way too much for me really. I’m going to be paying loans for the rest of my life, I swear to God I will. Robbie had already gotten his associates in Accounting at that point.

“I hope that’s going good for you. You get that job for 99.6 yet?”


99.6 WVU is the school’s radio station for updates and entertainment and the perpetual college rock roster. They were offering internships and they needed writers, broadcasters and other staff because they were pretty much a revolving door of workers. No one stayed there for more than a few months, why they let it go on like that I have no idea. I figured a radio job would be good experience for my communications degree, plus I’ve been told I have a nice radio voice.

Matt decided to perk in here. He knew about the radio station and said he had friends at the top, so to speak. I got a little sick again.

“I could pull some strings, y’know, talk to my friends and get you that if you really want…” He had this glint in his eye, it wasn’t evil or sly or anything, just kind of outta place talking about a damn radio job, for crying out loud.

“If you don’t mind, I think I can get it on my own,” I told him.

“Apparently you can’t,” Robbie said and snorted. “You’ve been trying for a month now, man, how hard can it be?”

I felt mortified. Here was my own friend blasting me out in public, to a stranger I didn’t even like. I’m sure my face just went white as a sheet. But to my surprise again, it was Matt who stood up for me.

“C’mon Robbie, radio is actually pretty cut-throat.” He took his fork and pretended to cut his own throat with it, then he did that annoying giggle. It was more of a distressed titter, like a hyena’s alarm call.

“If you don’t have the right connections,” he went on “you’re really screwed…are you sure you don’t want me to try for you, Ez?”

“If I can’t get the job on my own, I’d really rather not have it,” I said and finished off my beer. I was starting to get a little pissed at this stranger trying to interfere in my life. And he just wouldn’t stop. He leaned over to me and I could smell his cologne. It was so strong I was getting dizzy and wondering how I hadn’t noticed it before.

“There’s a lotta people that talk like that,” he said lowly. “Do you see any of them working, anywhere? I’m telling you, make the right friends and you’ll get anything you want. It’s not really leeching, y’know, it’s like…mutual.”


“Yeah, get something for him and he gets something for me, right? It starts out small, you get cigarettes here, a beer there, pot there. Then it just grows and grows until one day you own a company and you don’t know how the hell you got there. And you’re doing good and taking care of the people that took care of you. The only hard part is keeping your friends from the scoundrels.”

He wasn’t making sense, and yet, he really was. I understood him completely. He was talking about mutual mooching, black market shit. Running “errands” for people so they’ll give you stuff in return. I was getting really ill, physically ill. I had a headache from grinding my teeth to keep myself from telling him to fuck off and I felt so nauseas my eyes were swimming.

“Only right now, I feel generous,” Matt continued. “Since you’re Robbie’s friend.”

“I said no, goddamnit,” I snapped. I think I was yelling because a few people behind us turned around, I could see them from the corner of my eye. Matt was taken aback and so was Robbie. I stood up, feeling like punching someone and vomiting all at the same time.

“Ez—” I think Robbie called.

“Shut up, you fuckin’ sleazes, both of you!” I know I was yelling now. I was sweating a little too, I could feel that. “I don’t want your goddamn favors, understand? Do you understand? I don’t want your help with anything!”

“Whatever,” Matt said. He’d turned around and crossed his arms, looking totally passive. I glared at him and Robbie and ran back inside the restaurant. I headed for the restrooms and leaned over the toilet, sure I was going to retch up everything I’d eaten in the past month. I heaved and heaved but nothing came out. After a few minutes, I came out feeling drained. I peeked out the window and saw only Matt was outside still. He looked at me over his shoulder and smiled, and I could see him asking if I was okay. I flipped him off and headed back for my apartment.

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