So I’m sitting in a Chinese buffet in Surprise, Arizona, not at all certain of what I’m eating. It said cream cheese wonton on the sign, but when I split the fucker open, there’s clearly more than just cream cheese in there. Some pink shit. Probably imitation crab meat, which is fish. I don’t eat fish. Or crab, for the matter. But I always look forward to cream cheese wontons. My lunch just got a whole hell of a lot less interesting.
What do I do? I ask myself as I stare down at my plate of steamed rice, uninspired vegetables, and a lone, sad vegetable egg roll.
I reach into my pocket and pull out my celly. I fire up my Kindle app and see what there is to see. I’ve got a lot of shit loaded on there, but I never seem to get around to reading any of it. I flip through the options and come to this: Bad as Fuck by Jason “Bad as Fuck” Armstrong, enemy of hipsters, hater of all that is fake.
I start in on “Man Changes Mind,” a short story about a dude who wants to be a serial killer, not because he’s psychotic, but because it’s an easy way to fame. And then there’s “Morning Breath,” my favorite story in the collection (and definitely in my top five favorite short stories of all time), which details the efforts of a man to figure out my the fuck he drools so much in his sleep.
After that was “Rejected,” which was so meta-tastic it’ll make your head spin: a writer writing about himself submitting to an e-zine and continually being rejected. Then there was “Ass to Mouth,” a story that needs no summary because it’s title pretty much bitch slaps you into reading it. And, lastly, “Employee of the Year,” a little tale about an under-appreciated employee who has locked himself in the bathroom for a really long time, but nobody seems to notice.
What I like about Armstrong’s work is that he takes real life situations (celebrity envy, sleeping, working, writing) and roots around in their mouths like a profoundly fucked up dentist until he finds a cavity. Once it’s been located, he sticks his drill into it and makes it larger, amplifying the weirdness and possibility of every day life. He walks the line between bizarro and literary fiction, but tends to lean more heavily toward the latter. This shit is weird, but life is fucking weird.
Give this one a shot. You’ll knock it out in half an hour. Perfect for a disappointing lunch in a suburban town with a funny name in the middle of the desert.