Did you mean this as a tragic or comedic piece? Does one reading inform the other?
I think it’s largely a comedy, but one based on the sheer preposterous awfulness of the protagonist’s position, which is never ever going to get any better.
This story reminded me of “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” The way the narrator describes other crewmembers cracking under the same stress was fascinating. What do underdogs have that no one in the hierarchy does?
Okay, I confess; as the author of at least one other story that explicitly owes something to “The Ones That Walk Away From Omelas,” the comparison of this particular piece to that same story leaves me gobsmacked to the point of speechlessness. I don’t see it.
What do Underdogs have that no one in the hierarchy has? Nothing to lose.
How does the conscious choice not to murder everyone around you equate to love?
I think there are days, for many of us, when it equates to sainthood.
What do you want the reader to take away from this story?
I had no particular message in mind when I wrote this one. I separate stories from yarns and yarns from throwaway bits of business; this is just one of the many that sprouted from an initial situation, with no particular authorial plan regarding destination. If you take any theme from this one, it is the result of your own thought processes forming a hard shell around the story’s capacity to irritate you: a narrative oyster, so to speak.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I think this time out I will be satisfied with a mere, mysterious “Stay tuned.”
Spread the word!