ST. LOUIS—Saying he has a pretty good hunch about how much more rejection and fatigue each of his friends can withstand, local man Eric Mueller, 27, told reporters Monday that he can tell which one will be the first to abandon his dream. “My buddy John [Herrera] is a great musician, but I can just hear it in his voice whenever we talk that he only has a few more months left in him before he falls back on his marketing degree,” Mueller said, noting the amateur singer-songwriter’s insistence on living in a one-bedroom apartment in the hippest part of town pretty much guaranteed he would turn his back on his life’s passion within the next year. “After him, though, it gets a little tougher to say. There’s my old roommate Tom [Halverstadt], who’s clearly getting fed up with rejections from book publishers, and my friend Caleb [Larsen], who just wouldn’t be able to handle being part of a second failed startup. They’re both definitely going to give up on the one thing they truly love doing, but between the two of them, it’s too close to call.” Mueller then assured reporters that despite only a handful of sales in the past several years and having to pay $240 a month out of pocket for health insurance on top of his rent, he was in the indie comic book business for the long haul.

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