Sunday, February 01, 2009

Dear Editor...

As part of my work with Salt Hill, Syracuse's nationally distributed literary magazine, I get to read a lot of short stories that get submitted from all of the craziest corners of our Union. (My long-time readers--Hi, Mom!--will recall that the slush pile has been one of the enduring obsessions here at Mik Awake: Unusually Tired.)

Of the, say, hundred or so submissions you get, maybe two you'll want to pass on to the editors, but most of the stories you'll read are just, you know...meh.

But for every ten meh stories (e.g. "On a warm spring day, Billy arrived at his grandmother's house..."), there is at least one story that is exceptionally terrible and/or the work of a legally insane human being. And contrary to popular belief and whatever T.I. may think, there is a very thick line between brilliance and insanity.

But somehow even the worst stories are inspiring in their own crazy way. Which leads me to this: I have written, as a kind of homage to some of these stories, a story of my own, inspired by some of the most persistent qualities one is wont to find in exceedingly awful writing.

Some things to look out for: some form of the word "alone" in the first paragraph, casual un-ironic racism (i.e. use of the word "Chinamen" to describe Asians), use of the word "luncheon," and moments of astounding illogic, as in "Mik Awake was born at the age of five."

Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it here it go.

This is probably the best story I've ever written.


Nik in Love: Based on True Events
By Mik Awake

Alone, Nik Asleep sat in a windowless room. His mother stood in a corner. The old hag was old and haggy and had teeth that were yellow. Light streamed in through the windows.

“My dear son,” said the mother, using nice words but saying them un-nicely. “I don’t approve of your new girlfriend. And so that is why you are in this room: for grounding.”

The son felt angry. The anger boiled in him like water in a pot on a stove being made ready for use with tea or a French press for coffee which people would sip while sitting around a table and talking about current events, like Barack Obama.

Suddenly, he knew why his mother didn’t like his new girlfriend. It was because she was a different race. “Your racism is killing me,” Nik began to cry.

Instantly, his mother felt guilty, but hid her guilt from her son. “You are still grounded, young man.” She slammed the door loudly and stormed off down the hallway towards her room which she entered with a sigh. His mother, later on, would go to a luncheon and get into a car accident because she was so upset.

Otherwise, it was an everyday average day in their house. The father was absent somewhere being an alcoholic. Nik threw a chair in anger whenever he thought about his alcoholic father. "Chair!" went the chair.

The cats played in the foyer with the dogs and rabbits.

The cats were named Snuggles, Muffie, and Bridget. The dogs were named Brandon, Chuck, and Captain Fluffers. The rabbits had only two of their race on hand for the playing in the foyer, and there names were Teeny and Tiny. It was hard for Nik to tell the two rabbits apart. Was he racist against rabbits, he wondered. Maybe he had more in common with his mother than he thought.

He walked to his mother’s room to apologize. Several weeks had passed since the grounding. Did I mention he was off grounding when he was playing with all of the animals in the foyer but still hadn’t forgiven his mother? He could hold a grudge, that one.

Nik had told his mother that he had stopped dating his girlfriend of another race, a Chinawoman, named Kntadk^9. But this was not the truth. And Nik's mother found out by following Nik to school the next day and spying on him. She shook her fist at her son's interraciality.

“I hate you, Mom,” Nik cried with Kntadk^9’s China tongue jammed down his throat.

In the end, it was all he could say.

Or: FIN (For the foreign and Chinese markets)


Bryan said...

Nik Asleep, you are a delight.


Anonymous said...


I literally shed a tear, unliterally.

I love you Mik.

Your secret admirer.

PS. I'm not racist, cause Mik's my friend....ish.

(this is Richard)

PSS. It's 76 degrees here.

PPPPSS. I'm a literary genious.


Bilen said...

whoa...i am speechless.

ps - you are a "favortie blogger" on


here's to your ever expanding readership!