The man on the plane
The man on the plane said he just doesn't understand novels.
"I get nothing from them. Nothing. What's the point? It's just a bunch of stuff someone made up. It has nothing to do with life. It doesn't tell me anything. There's nothing useful in novels."
The man on the plane said he doesn't really read books.
"I've read maybe 12 books in my whole life. I have a masters degree. I didn't need to read books for that. It's in public policy. I had this class called American literature? All of them were crazy -- what was that guy who wrote the poem, about grass? Walt Whitman! He was just on drugs. I knew this right away, before we even got to the part of the class where they talked about the Beats. What was his name? That guy? Ginsberg! And the other one. Kerock! All of them were on drugs. That's why they wrote like that. I knew that right away. Same as Walt Whitman. It's just stupid. I wrote a paper about how Whitman was like Ludacris because both of them wrote shit that makes no sense. The one had music and the other didn't was the only difference. It's stupid. The teacher thought it was interesting. And Emily Dickinson was a crazy bitch."
The man on the plane worked for the American government.
"Counter terrorism," he said, and he read his file folder of e-mail print-outs for the rest of the flight.