Jeff Winkler: I just sent a friend a check for $250 that I’ve owed for the past three years. He covered me for rent, and it’s weighed on me, no lie, each and every one of those 1,095 days. I just told my sister, “I’m broke because I paid my friend back $250.” Her immediate response was, “Oh man, I bet that felt good.” And it does!
Logan Sachon: Is the friend someone you see often?
JW: No, he’s in D.C. But even when I lived there, I actually … avoided him because I was so ashamed. The only word he had on the issue once was, “Dude, don’t worry, it’s cool. Let’s hang out more often.” Which, of course, made me feel even shittier.
LS: You’re great. I’m proud of you.
JW: Thanks, I appreciate that, even though—if I may be so candid—it almost sounds like a fellow burn victim saying, “You have beautiful skin.”
LS: Oh, god.
JW: I remember the last time I had truly significant funds like one remembers their first kiss. Do you remember your first kiss and the last time you had a bunch of money?
LS: I remember my first kiss, yes. I’ve never had a bunch of money. But I’ve always spent like I did! Ba-dum., etc.
JW: I just paid off a huge library fee, too. Paying that off is like going to confessional. Like Antonio Banderas in the El Mariachi church scene with the padre. Now that I’ve been absolved, I can go out sinnin’ again.
LS: You’re a good man, Winkler. GOOD MAN.
JW: Actually, no, I’m not. Because there’s a calculating psychology to it. With all my debts paid (by next week) I’m going to begin indignantly calling those publications that owe me a LOT of money for services rendered.
LS: NOT IT.
JW: And then I’ll buy a carton of cigarettes.
Jeff Winkler is a freelancer in Arkansas.