Forgotten Birthdays By D.I. Jolly

“No, no, just, no. I don’t care what anyone says, The Great Gatsby just isn’t good.”

Johnny sat resolute in his statement and waited for the reaction, which came quickly.

“How can you say that?”

“Easily, it’s because old Scottie isn’t a good writer.”

Josh stood up and paced away for a few steps then turned.

The Great Gatsby is a classic, you understand, claaaaassic. That means it is the very measure of what great writing is. It’s a story that’s stood the test of time, and the fact that we’re still able to have this argument, how every many hundred years later, proves you wrong.”

“Don’t give me that, just because something is old doesn’t give it merit. Just because some headmaster got bribed into making it required reading in high school doesn’t actually mean it’s good literature. Hemingway on the other hand…”

“Don’t you dare!”

Interrupted Josh,

“Don’t you dare bring that bloated boring windbag into this. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote poetry with vision and beauty while Hemingway wrote boring flat prose with no heart, no soul and no dimension. It’s not comparable.”

“But it’s also a claaaaassic. So how can you defend one and hate the other?”

“Have you read For Whom the Bell Tolls? Of course you haven’t, because no one has, no one can stay awake long enough to get past the first page!”

Johnny rolled his eyes in response which only annoyed Josh more and he flung his copy of Gatsby at him in a rage.

“Go on then, turn to any page, any section and read it and it’ll prove you wrong. I don’t need to defend it, it’ll defend itself!”

Johnny took a deep breath to maintain his poker face, knowing exactly which part of the book to read that would prove his point best and burn down his friend’s argument.

After a moment Tom got up and began wrapping the unopened bottle of whiskey in the towel.

“Want any of this stuff? Jordan? . . . Nick?”

I didn’t answer.

“Nick?” He asked again.


“Want any?”

“No . . . I just remembered that to-day’s my birthday.”

Chapter 7 The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.

Josh stared at his friend in a rage so intense Johnny though he might actually attack him.

“I hate you.”

“I didn’t write it.”

“That’s not fair that’s only one section out of the whole book and…”

“And you said the book could defend itself.”

Josh started pacing up and down the room breathing heavily and Johnny suddenly wondered if he hadn’t gone to far this time. They had had the argument before, not quite so intensely and Josh had never reacted so badly, and it made him wonder what was up. He also knew his friend well enough to know that the best thing to do would be to sit quietly and wait. Which he did for about 2 seconds before deciding that teasing him and seeing how much further he could push the situation actually seemed like much more fun.

“What, did you just remember that today’s your birthday too?”

Josh let out a weirdly high pitched scream and dove onto his friend. The two wrestled for a solid minute before collapsing onto their backs on the floor next to each other, breathing heavily.

“We really need to get out more.”

“I can’t believe you actually attacked me.”

“I mean, God damn, are we really this unfit?”

“Fuck you douche bag you attacked me.”

Josh turned his head to look at Johnny.

“Yes well, you were being a dick.”

“That’s not the point.”

Josh shrugged panting and reached out an arm across to pat his friend’s chest.

“You deserved it, now stop saying horrible things about my favourite book or I’ll … hell, I don’t know, sneak up on you in the middle of night and cry on you.”

Johnny’s face contorted in horror and disgust.

“Jesus, that sounds.’

He shuddered as his skin erupted in goosebumps.

Really awful.”

They both let out tired laughs as they lay there panting for a few more minutes until Josh managed to say.

“How did we get into the argument again?”

“You came home and after finding a pile of free books on the street and asked me to name the greatest book ever written and I said The Lord of the Rings.”

“Oh right, now I remember.”

Another few moments passed as they lay on the floor until Johnny sat up, sighed and said.

“Hungry? I think we’ve still got some soup.”

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