Month: March 2018

Bill of Fare

By: Susan Olding


Pimento-stuffed olives
Celery with cream cheese
Julienned carrots
Angels on horseback
Pigs in blankets

Your career begins early, before your head even clears the kitchen counter. The crystal dish that your mother places in your hands feels much heavier than you expect. Pressing it to your chest, you look down at your red patent party shoes, nervous you might skid on the kitchen’s vinyl tile or trip on the lip of the living room carpet. Music greets you, music and smoke; clinking ice cubes and the smells of mingled perfumes. The women’s faces glow. Their dresses rustle like the plumage of exotic birds. Like birds, they coo and sing at your offerings, pecking and cooing while watching you with bright eyes. Someday you would like to join their dazzling flock. But for now, you observe them observing you. Passing your plate of savouries, you pause in front of one guest, whose jewel-encrusted bracelets jingle when she reaches for a morsel of sausage. She takes a bite and turns to her companion with shining lips. Your mouth waters. Your tongue craves the pastry’s buttery caress. You are so hungry. Will anyone offer you a taste? Will anyone notice if you serve yourself? You stand, hip-high, amid the throng of grown-ups. Waiting.

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Assholes and Stanky Glitter

By: Arch Jamjun

I have been a server for almost twenty years. When I say that out loud, I feel like a big failure, and when I think about my parents, how they went from being children Sally Struthers might hug to USA professionals, I feel like an even bigger failure. This feeling especially haunted my twenties when, after trying pharmacology, education, nutrition, paralegal studies, nursing, and even accounting, I always found myself inept. Server money has been a big comfort. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you can earn a middle-class income while garbage-mouthing leftover food and guzzling wine you could never afford in half of the above-mentioned careers. But my mom has an interesting perspective: “Oh you are like a food prostitute.” In a sense, that’s true. When you’re a server, you’re constantly thinking, “Am I too old for this?” and I think only sex workers and athletes ponder that as much. Also, when you’re a server, people often ask you, “But what do you really want to do?” And I’m like, “Ummm, be the next Whitney Houston.”

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TCR Talks with Tyler Dilts

By: Felicity Landa

Tyler Dilts spent his childhood investigating police work, hoping to one day follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he found himself to be much more interested in writing about crime than pursuing a career solving it and has since become the author of five books on crime fiction, including the Edgar Award nominated, Come Twilight, and the forthcoming, Mercy Dogs. His chilling and sometimes terrifying novels explore the complex and haunted characters of the Long Beach homicide department and the murders they solve. Dilts’ Long Beach Homicide series has gained quite a following amongst crime fiction fans, Long Beach natives, and many others. “Someone told me to set a couple of long-term goals, for motivation,” Says Tyler Dilts. “So I set some goals that I thought would be impossible to reach,” he told me when we met in L.A. to discuss his upcoming novel. “I thought, I’m going to sell a quarter of a million books, and I’m going to get nominated for an Edgar award. And in the last year, I’ve realized those goals weren’t as unrealistic as I thought.” He laughs, “I’m still in shock that those things have happened. Having so much success as a writer still baffles me.”

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Book Review: Jessica Keener’s “Strangers in Budapest”

by John Flynn-York

Image result for strangers in budapest

In Jessica Keener’s new novel, Strangers in Budapest, the lives of two ex-pat Americans become intertwined in the titular city in the 1990s. Annie is unhappy and shiftless, at loose ends after a move to Budapest with her husband and their young son. Meanwhile, Edward, an elderly man, is in Budapest for one reason only: to find the man he thinks murdered his daughter. When they cross paths, they find common ground in this quest. Edward is a cause Annie can invest her energy into—something she’s been lacking since moving to Budapest. But when she is drawn deeper into Edward’s scheming, she begins to question whether she’s merely helping an old man or abetting his delusions.

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