My Dinner with Laurie

by Mateo Burtch

[Editor's Note: The name "Laurie Smith" is a pseudonym. It is also the original name of the rock band Megadeath.]

The other weekend, I had the opportunity to dine with my friend Laurie Smith, currently appearing in the hit off-Broadway show Educational Attainment Goals for K-6 Children Living in Publicly Subsidized Housing: A Diversified Matrix. Laurie, resplendent in an off-the-shoulder Givenchy belt and a pearl-inlay dental drill, was the very picture of health as we dug into our rosemary-infused salads at Le Duc Tho, the toniest Vietnamese restaurant on the West Side. Busy though she is with her stage acting, Laurie graciously consented to take a few minutes away from her schedule to speak, on record, about her life and her loves, including her famous decade-long romance with Eddie, the Duke of Winchester's long-eared rabbit, which she eventually ate with a bearnaise sauce. Following is a recreation of an excerpt our lunch, based on my notes.

Burtch: What Marx was saying is that alienation of the worker from the means of production is not just inevitable, it's actually a goal of the capitalist system. And, ultimately, the alienation extends not just to hating the system or hating one's job, but hating oneself.

Smith: [ejecting a long, ropy stream of thick vomit across the table with an audible gagging noise] 'Scuse me.

Burtch: Even though you can argue that the mindlessness of assembly-line work serves to free up the mind of the worker, that worker will realize that he—or she—is essentially trapped in a powerless situation.

Smith: [dipping an exposed breast into a plate of sautéd garlic butter and using it to rubber-stamp breast patterns all over the damask tablecloth] Urk.

Burtch: The Situationists were on the right track when they deemed work to be not just a part of The Spectacle, but an integral support structure of The Spectacle. Participating in society-at-large is simply a way of building the bars to one's own cage.

Smith: [giving birth to a scaly, hydra-headed demon] Are you done with your toast?

Burtch: What is needed is not simply the escalation of class conflict by the dispossessed, but a revolution in consciousness. Only when we have returned to the normative belief systems of an agrarian socioeconomy can we begin to reinvent ourselves as citizens.

Smith: [pulling a large toilet from her purse and rummaging around in it absently] Mmmm.

Burtch: In the end, of course, capital and labor are equivalent, in the same way that mass and energy are equivalent. Different forms of the same thing.

Smith: [inserting an orange peel into her mouth so that it covers her teeth] Mnnppph cmmmph tphhht.

Burtch: Not that I'm saying that workers should consider themselves mere resources. There's a lot more to human existence than that.

Smith: [smearing a mix of Vaseline and K-Y jelly on nearby diners, then hurling fruit and bat feces at some passing invalids] Did you see Everybody Loves Raymond last night? It was the one where Raymond thinks his wife is having an affair.

Burtch: Oh, Jesus, grow up! I fucking hate Everybody Loves Raymond! That show is so fucking lame! And yet everybody gets on my case for watching Fear Factor. Let me tell you, compared to Fear Factor, Everybody Loves Raymond blows rancid monkey chunks!

Smith: If you're going to be crude, I'm going to leave.

Copyright Mateo Burtch. Please don't duplicate without permission. Thanks.