Friday, April 19, 2013

Teaser for Tales from the Fringes

First I would like to take a moment to say how shocked and saddened I have been at the tragedies that have taken place over the course of the week.  There is far too much hate and violence in the world.  Hopefully this pushes people together instead of divides people, but, from what I have been reading and seeing on the internet and in the media, I won't hold out much hope for that to happen -- even if it is what needs to happen.  For all of our supposed progress, in a lot of ways we are still the same cave people we have always been.

Still, for some reason, I continue to hold out hope that someday we'll reach some kind of advanced stage of enlightenment.  Of course, we'll all be long dead.

Anyway, here is a short excerpt from my upcoming short story collection:


They call me The Eggman. It makes sense on a few levels: not only do I bear a passing resemblance to John Lennon (arguably), but I am also a songwriter who partakes in the use of mind-altering substances. I would like to think that it has more to do with these things; however, it mostly has to do with the fact that I make the most kick-ass eggs anyone at McDonald's has ever eaten.

In the mornings, between 5 and 10:30 a.m. when we switch over to the lunch menu, I am the supreme God of pouring Egg Beaters in a mold, cooking to fluffy, folding over, scrambling, whatever, and all while also making the sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon, and steak and sautéed onions at the same time.  None of the little old ladies -- retired schoolteachers, bored housewives, and widows -- who also work in the mornings, can keep up with it.  For the first couple of hours, I am the youngest person who works there by decades.  The other dropouts don't usually come in until later in the morning.

As I work at the grill, my arms moving about on their own, diligently working, amid the grease and liquid egg splatters, I often watch past the front counter, beyond the lobby, through the windows as the pinks and oranges and yellows streak across the sky as the sun rises.  I sip on my coffee as I work, standing there, grilling it up like only the Eggman can.

When I get there wearing sunglasses, they assume the worst.  I keep to myself, make my eggs, slowly edging into sobriety, attempting to not throw up when the nausea hits me.  That association is why I can't eat eggs of any sort.  None of the managers care, so long as I get there on time and I do my job, and the old ladies seem oblivious, although I am sure they are just being polite.  They seem to like me either way, so it doesn't matter.  Even the lady who is a retired school-teacher -- she was the type who had eyes on the back of her head, who was surely feared by legions of 3rd graders.

As I work, I often find myself breaking out into "I am the Eggman, they are the Eggmen, I am the walrus, coo coo ka choo, coo coo ka choo!" -- amid the Johnny Cash and the Patsy Cline that the old people who pack the dining room every morning, sipping on coffee and complaining about the world, play on the Juke Box.

The McDonald's where I work was designed to look like a 1950's diner, and the Juke Box contains mostly the worst music from that decade.  When I become irritated with hearing the same Johnny Cash song for the seventh time in a row, I find a break and run out into the lobby and play the entire selection of James Brown songs, which are about the only songs I can stand, which also signals to the old people that they have worn out their welcome.  They hate James Brown as much as I hate Johnny Cash.  While I am stuck there to the end of my shift, they can leave at any time.


Okay, that's all you get for now.  I am officially pushing back the release to May 14 so I don't open up a vein trying to finish my schoolwork, get a summer job, and finalize this collection.  I fixed the last story that I had reservations about, so now it is just a matter of proofreading, mainly for typos, but also for clarity.  I am very proud of how it's turning out and can't wait until it gets officially released.

School-wise, everything is working out very well.  Classes are going well: I have my final papers figured out, classwork is winding down and my thesis is figured out; I was also offered a full assistantship for next year, which I have already accepted and signed the contracts.

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