It is the unmitigated pleasure of Joyless House Publishing to bring you, our legions of fans, a hot little piece of fiction from a young man who I can declare without reservation to be - a genuinely good dude. Blake and his pals hosted JH & friends in Jacksonville this winter and we were treated to flawless Southern hospitality. And get this... the kids came out! For a reading!! Earnest enthusiasm for the high arts in a charming American armpit. Praise be.
Then one of Blake's friend's made a peace offering to an old man. "It's kind of like two vapes stacked together - you gotta hit it pretty hard," he said. I'll show this whippersnapper, I thought, manfully. When the coughin' and a spittin' was done I think I still had both my lungs, but I don't remember much after that. Blake did put us up for the night. Good on him. And I fucking ramble. Here is an excerpt from Blake's unfinished novel:
A few days later Jordan and Robert sat on a twin mattress in Jordan’s living room. It was the only furniture in the room. Robert played Sunny Day Real Estate on his IPhone. They tried to think of something to do. They said they should either walk to a bar, go to an Asian massage parlor, go see a Pavement cover band, drive to Georgia to buy 40-ounces, spend all their money at Red Lobster, or smoke marijuana on the porch. They decided to spend all their money at Red Lobster then Aubrey texted Robert and told them to come hangout at her place.
At Aubrey's house Jordan, Robert, Aubrey, and Olivia sat inside on couches. They drank PBR and smoked marijuana. They tried to think of something to do. They talked about either driving to a batting cage or starting a punk band. “Let’s sit outside,” said Olivia. They sat outside in the driveway and drank PBR and smoked marijuana. Jordan felt glad that he was drinking beer. He felt glad that he was young. He saw a car pull into the driveway. Eric got out of the car. A PBR bottle fell out of the car and made a noise. Everyone said, “Hi” to Eric.
Eric said he thought about driving into a tree while listening to emo music on the drive over. Robert talked about snorting hydrocodone when he was in high school. Jordan said he accidentally took one of his dachshund’s hydrocodones in the eighth grade instead of taking one of his grandma’s hydrocodones. Aubrey said she took three gravity bong hits of spice and got naked in the shower and thought about her parent's finding her dead. Jordan said he smoked salvia every day for a month in the ninth grade when his friend used his mom's credit card to order salvia off the Internet. Robert talked about the time him and Jordan drove into trashcans for fun after a Surfer Blood show, then decided to only take Ubers for the rest of their lives. Eric said his dad was an Uber driver. Olivia talked about taking an Uber at 6 a.m. in Miami while high on cocaine. Aubrey talked about peaking on LSD while taking an Uber to an AirBnB in Atlanta. Jordan said they should put his storage closet on AirBnB. Aubrey said she wanted to be an Uber driver so she can quit her job at Starbucks but that her car is too shitty for Ubering. Everyone said she should quit her job at Starbucks. Robert said that Aubrey should get a job at Waffle House.
"Let's all go to Waffle House," said Jordan.
"Let's go to Waffle House," said Olivia.
"Let's go to Waffle House everybody," said Robert.
"Everybody now," said Robert. He started singing “This Little Light of Mine” and everyone sang along. They stopped singing. It was quiet for a minute. “Why does my life suck?” said Robert.
“Let's mix Busch, Tecate, and PBR,” said Jordan. “And say it's a craft-beer, bottle it and sell it to young professionals in Williamsburg.”
“We'll take over the craft-beer community," said Robert.
“We’ll make merchandise,” said Eric. “We'll sell umbrellas. And flip-flops."
Jordan mixed Busch, Tecate, and PBR. He handed Robert the beer. “Why do I have to drink it first?” said Robert.
Jordan picked up the beer and drank a little. “It’s really good,” he said. “The future of craft-beer.”
Eric drank a little. “It's refreshing,” he said. “And complex.”
Robert drank a little. “Wow,” he said. “I can taste the alcohol…I wanna listen to Jawbreaker.”
He played a Jawbreaker song on his IPhone.
No one said anything for a minute.
“Do any stores in Jacksonville sell Faygo?” said Eric.
“The BP,” said Robert. “Can we go to Waffle House now?”
“I have work at six thirty,” said Aubrey.
Robert said he would buy Aubrey a dozen waffles if she quit her job. Olivia said Aubrey should quit her job the same way Kevin Spacey quit his job in American Beauty. Aubrey said she thought about that scene sometimes, and it made her want to quit her job. Robert said he had a story. He said he went to the bathroom at Winn-Dixie and there was Fruit of the Loom underwear covered in shit in the middle of the bathroom. He called underwear “jock wranglers,” and said he made it up. He asked Aubrey if she hated him and thought he was an asshole, and she said no. “I feel like you think I'm an asshole,” he said.
“Stop,” said Jordan. “No one thinks you're an asshole.”
"It's okay," said Aubrey. “I think I'm an asshole sometimes.”
“Can we all be friends and drink PBR?” said Robert, and they all drank PBR.