That night Haley Joel Osment was alone in the apartment talking to Julia on Gmail chat. Julia was 28 and married and lived in Georgia. She was friends with an editor of a magazine that had published Haley Joel Osment’s poetry. Haley Joel Osment’s cell phone vibrated. It was Dakota Fanning. Haley Joel Osment moved his cell phone to his ear. Dakota Fanning said her mother found out about him by reading a blog post’s comments section where he had said things about his first visit to New Jersey including when they screamed bad words across the Delaware River. “I think she knows you’ve stayed here overnight and that you’re 22,” said Dakota Fanning. “She already googled you a lot I think.”

“What’s going to happen?” said Haley Joel Osment.

“I don’t know. I can’t leave here. She won’t let me leave.”

“Is she calling the police?” said Haley Joel Osment.

“No, I don’t think she will. I have to go. She’s here.”

“I don’t know what to say,” said Haley Joel Osment on Gmail chat to Julia. He said Dakota Fanning’s mother found out about him. He said Dakota Fanning was banned from the internet. “Oh no,” said Julia. “What is her mother saying, that Dakota is forbidden to contact you?”

“I don’t know. She believes everyone on the internet is a rapist.”

“Would it help for you to get in touch with the mother? Tell her you are a nice boy and not a rapist. Go kidnap Dakota. I want to help. I like a good scheme. Where is the dad?”

“The dad is good. Should I tell you these things? I’m confused.”

“It’s okay to tell me,” said Julia.

“Should I though,” said Haley Joel Osment.

“That’s the least of your problems,” said Julia.

“Yes you should,” she said. “I am your friend, don’t worry.”

“The dad is depressed,” said Haley Joel Osment. “He lives in Albany. They separated but he visits sometimes. He wanted to start an earthworm farm in the basement and Dakota’s mother got angry at him. Dakota’s mother referred to him as ‘suicidal.’”

“Can Dakota live with him?” said Julia.

“No. He said he doesn’t want any responsibility of taking care of Dakota.”

“Many dads are depressed,” said Julia.

“Dakota said her mom said ‘why doesn’t anyone in this family have emotions?’ Everyone in her family is depressed except the mom.”

“That’s why the mom is insane,” said Julia. “If you aren’t depressed you’re insane.”

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Tao Lin is the author of ten books of poetry and prose. His next book, Leave Society is forthcoming from Vintage. He has a blog, a website, a Twitter, and an Instagram.

5 responses to “An Excerpt from Richard Yates

  1. Simon Smithson says:

    I’m curious, Tao. Why name your characters after famous people?

  2. runandtellyourmoms says:


    “What was the purpose of the celebrity deaths in Eeeee Eee Eeee?
    TL: They don’t have any purpose to me outside of being ‘fun’ and ‘interesting,’ at the time, to write and read.”

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