And now, the exciting conclusion of story notes for "False Idols and Other Short Stories"!
The late great Peter Bergman of the Firesign Theater said that when they wrote their first album, Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him, they decided to make the jokes as subtle as possible and layer their meanings. That way, people would listen to the album over and over, trying to figure it out. I wrote this story with that plan in mind, but I think I chickened out and added a little too much explanation.
This story does have a hidden inspiration, however. I'll tell you what: Whoever figures it out first, if you're ever in NYC (while I still live here,) I'll take you out for a sandwich at Katz Deli. Your mouth will love you for the rest of your life.
I've always wrestled with my weight. Some years I win, some years I lose. It depends if Pluto is in line with Venus, and how good the local Chinese takeout is.
The thing I absolutely love about this story is how vile every character is. Don't get me wrong, there are good and bad people in Suburbia, just like everywhere else. But it's always a great setting for black comedy, and sometimes my sense of humor gets a little dark...
The Autumn People
This is my favorite short story that I've written. I read an essay by sci-fi giant Harlan Ellison, in which he said that writing subtext into fiction was essential. I started by writing the first sentence, about the bar table being worm-eaten. The story unfolded from that point.
9-11 has been a taboo subject for fiction for many years, but it's impossible not to write about something so prevalent. And if you live in a NYC apartment, it's impossible not to come across an insect or twenty over the years. Mix all that up with the sludge at the bottom of my brain, and this is the result.
Thank you, I hope you enjoy reading these.