“Walter Becker.”

“So sad.”

“Favorite Steely Dan, Amir?”

“The original, Steve.”

“The one from the book?”

“It combines my two greatest loves: steam-power and dildos. What about you?”

“Black Friday, I guess.”

“That’s a good answer, too. What are you doing in New York?”

“Hadn’t been in a while, Amir. Needed to see the city again, and everything that makes it great.”

“The East River kayak put-in area.”

“Chase Bank.”

“51st Street.”

“The Chase Bank opposite the first one.”

“The Home Depot in Union Square.”

“Guy Fieri’s in Times Square.”

“All of Times Square, really. And Alphabet City.”

“Oh, it’s not Alphabet City any more, Steve.”


“Nope. Eho.”


“East of Houston. It’s all condos and restaurants owned by David Chang now.”

“Sounds great. Any Chase Banks?”

“Enough. Enough so you know you’re in the Greatest City on Earth.”

“And what are you doing in New York, Amir?”

“I live here.”

“Good reason. How’s the family?”

“My wife, Shpilkis, and my children Shmuley, Hummus, and Tom Hagen?”

“Yes. Your family.”

“They’re great.”

“Tom Hagen?”



“I’m raising him to be my cinematographer.”

“That’s long-term planning, Amir. Good thinking.”

“His first words were ‘Sven Nyqvist.'”

“That’s a good omen.”

“How’s the Buddhism going, Steve?”

“Well. Very well.”

“Reach Nirvana?”

“Saw it once.”


“But, you know, then I realized that I saw it and it disappeared.”

“Nirvana’s kind of a little bitch like that.”

“You dabble in Buddhism, too, don’t you?”

“I do. I dabble. More of a Jewish Buddhism, though.”

“How so?”

“The mandalas are made of brisket.”


“And instead of meditating, you just have a nice sit.”

“Sounds kosher.”

“So what’s next for Steve Silberman? Working on another book?”

“I am. The next Game of Thrones book, actually.”


“I’m a fast writer. I think I can beat Martin to the shelf.”

“Can you do that?”

“Sure, it’s easy. Make up some words, steal some Tolkien, describe meals for five pages at a time. Simple.”

“No, I mean are you allowed to do that?”

“We’ll see, won’t we?”

“I guess.”

“What’s next for Amir Bar-Lev?”

“I’m executive-producing a children’s cartoon about the Wild West.”

“Yeah? What’s it called?”

The Brony Express.

“Sounds fascinating.”

“They fight the Paiute using friendship.”

“How does that go?”

“Terribly. The Paiute use guns.”

“I love these talks we have.”

“Me, too. Chinese food?”

“Yeah, but I need to hit the ATM.”

“I think there’s a Chase Bank on the way.”