“David, I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time,” began Martin when they had left the bar. “You understand alcoholics so well. Where did you get this from? Did you also drink?”

“No, never… I was just interested in this disease out of curiosity.”

“This would never have happened to you, you’d never drink like that, your nature wouldn’t allow it,” Martin assured him. “You have strength of will, you have goals and interests in life. You’re a writer.”

“Yes, Martin, you’re right,” agreed David, but not cheerfully.


Who is he—a writer? A master of literature? Yes, it’s so, it’s true. David Budny—author of two books. But…

He always dreamed of becoming a famous writer. Being just a writer was not enough for him. Yes, he had some literary skills and ability, but he was far from being a genius. This was a problem. He wanted to shock readers with his books. Vanity and envy of the famous suffocated David from the first day he sat behind a writer’s desk. “C’mon, darling. Stop trying to be a genius. Just write a good story better,” his ex-wife used to advise him.

Two of his books—collections of short stories—were published in paperback by a mid-level publishing house with a very modest circulation. The books on the whole weren’t bad, they contained some very expressive pages, but, being neither widely promoted nor advertised, they sank into the ocean of contemporary American literature.

The whole edition of both books somehow eventually sold out. David received some royalties, a large portion of which went to the editor, literary agent, and book preparation service agency. That was the extent of his literary fame and fortune.

Then his son Anthony was born. And then his wife somehow changed, she became obsessed with the child; she didn’t care about David’s problems anymore. That’s when the family conflicts began.

David got angry more often, complained more loudly, and at the same time, his writing grew worse and worse. He blamed everybody, he blamed his family life and his job because the latter demanded too much time, time that he needed for literary work. Then he began to drink.