My first attempt at a full-length novel is ONE WEDNESDAY IN NEW YORK CITY, whose characters, living within a four-block area of Brooklyn bound by a bank and a restaurant, keep bumping into each other—the “six degrees of separation” motif. And on a given Wednesday each has a life-changing experience, one of Joyce’s “epiphanies.” The tone, the mood is bitter-sweet, straddling the comic and serious, and, to be honest, my model here is Samuel Beckett in his short story collection More Pricks Than Kicks.
Here I am, in the supposed “twilight zone” of a career as a scholar and worker in the theatre, and now, like some would-be beginning novelist, I am seeking an audience–and an agent–for my fiction. I include here two of the stories: “Bernie Boda and the Salvation Bakery” and “Lester Holcomb” (based loosely on an agoraphobic friend from real-life) as I revised it for submission to a journal. One story, “Beer Is A Vegetarian Meal,” has already appeared in the internet journal Underground Voices (http://www.undergroundvoices.com/UVHomanSidney.htm).
In the course of the novel we encounter:
Restauranteer Joe Fascenda makes two unsuccessful attempts on the life of his shrewish wife, only to find that a toothpick in a BLT does the trick.
Ethel, a 300-pound head waitress, changes her dull life by opening up a trendy nightspot and then becomes “The Plump Clothed Virgin” on the internet porn site “Wifelovers.”
Trying to please his evangelical Christian wife, Bernie Boda opens up a “Christian bakery” selling food sculpted like religious figures and Biblical events, but then finds real love with a nerdy graduate student.
Undertaker/grief therapist Endicott Ball, despairing of his profession and his unfaithful wife Brenda, is renewed through secret visits to the Tabernacle for Snake Handling and Redemption.
A dull accountant, Ben Feinswog and his wife Marge spice up their social life by playing Parcheesi games with their guests, until winning becomes an obsession for Ben.
An NYU Shakespearean from a blue-collar Brooklyn family who just doesn’t fit in with the academic crowd quits his teaching job, finds love, and become a circus clown.
Sidney, an obsessive compulsive, is barely hanging onto life, until by chance he encounters even more abnormal people on his way home.
A divorcee, saddled with a dull personality, Loretta tries to rescue her unmarried daughter Anna from a similar life when she invites a young man over for dinner and tries to convince him to marry the girl because she has “big breasts.”
Freddie Munos, a bank President who is a functioning alcoholic, has a revelation one drunken night while he trips as he carries his sleeping daughter upstairs, cutting her lip on the banister.
A vain male hand-model, who loses his right hand in a freak accident, finds a new life as the busboy, then meets a physical therapist who shows him how to find humor in his condition–and romance
Retired schoolteacher Matilda Sizemore is hired by the prudish new Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to make plaster casts to cover the genitalia of Roman and Greek statues, and while on the job finds a soul mate in Eddie, the maintenance man,
Head teller Charlie Everett, coming off a disastrous experience at a speed-dating service, is invited to dinner by assistant teller Ashley Donohue who, with a long-time crush on him, takes the next step after reading Charlie’s online questionnaire.
Still under the suffocating control of his dead mother, bank-teller Adolph Lagley clings to the insanely ordered life, until one evening on the way home from work he becomes involved with a woman grateful that he has rescued her from an abusive husband.
Having failed as a cab driver, doorman, and caterer, Ansel Franklin, a former football players and later civil-right activist, struggles unsuccessfully to make it as a musician/composer until an old man in the park make him an offer that changes everything