Employee of the Year and Other Stories (ISBN: TBD ; Serial No.: BSM-LD 0001) is Christian Adams’ debut collection of fiction, first published July 2012 at Kindle Amazon Direct by Black Sunshine Media. The titular novelette (“Employee of the Year”) is currently available as a free download for Kindle and iPad.
The complete book (233 pages/94,ooo words) will be released in August 2012, and sold via Black Sunshine Media, Kindle Direct, and several other distribution sources TBD. Print on demand may also be available.
- “Employee of the Year” 12 chapters, 44,000 words
- “Sexual Economics” 4 chapters, 26,000 words – featuring an excerpted version of a previously published story, “One Night in Bangkok” plus “Does a Man Really Need a Maid?” “A Real Fucking Place” and “When Doing the Right Thing Feels Horribly Wrong”
- The Substitute (坏老师), 9 chapters, 24,000 words
Preview and synopsis:
“Employee of the Year” weaves a vivid blanket of drugs, sex, racism and corruption in Asia, as seen through the eyes of an anonymous narrator living in a “diplomatically-challenged island-nation, located in the South China Sea,” and working for a company owned by a man known simply as “the boss.”
Much to his surprise, the narrator is named Employee of the Year, prompting a closer look at who he is, what he’s doing, and where he’s doing it.
I don’t know what an award like Employee of the Year means where you work, but I’m guessing that the average recipient doesn’t come into the office whenever he “wakes up,” wearing the same clothes he slept in, stoned out of his mind, reeking of alcohol, who slips out of the office at regular intervals for unknown reasons, takes unannounced and extended leaves of absence, uses chewing tobacco at his desk, conducts personal business on the phone, or generally treats the entire operation like his own playground. These are just a few of those petty (and in certain instances, illegal) things I get away with on a daily basis. Then again, I’m not getting away with shit if they never asked me not to do it in the first place. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at the civilian level.
The anonymous first-person narrative is idiosyncratic yet compelling; Adams’ cynical depictions of expatriate life and cultural prejudice are unusually frank yet humble. The narrator recounts the bemusing events of the year in question. Following a local scandal, the boss asks the narrator to embark on a mission to recover money from a bank account in Thailand. Almost immediately, the narrator finds himself embroiled in a convoluted series of events and relationships, which ultimately, is where he “earned this award.”
“Sexual Economics” combines ten excerpts from two works-in-progress, That’s a Lot of Climbing to See a Fucking Statue and Chinese New Years: The Rabbit. The subject: prostitution.
Yours truly is violently opposed to all that feel-good Chicken Soup for the Soul-slash-Robert Fulghum nonsense, and here’s something I didn’t learn in kindergarten: hookers are people, too. They might solve the love-sex equation in a different way than most people, but they are feeling, acting, breathing human beings who deserve to be treated with great respect. But never, ever let yourself get emotionally involved with a prostitute. It should be common sense. Save-A-Whore never works. Nobody gets saved, ever. Maybe that’s why they don’t teach it in kindergarten. But it would it made my life a whole lot smoother if they had.
Charles Birch is “The Substitute” aka 坏老师 (huai hao laoshi [pron: why-how lao-shur] lit. bad, broken, spoiled teacher, usually a substitute for regular teacher). An excerpt from That’s a Lot of Climbing to See a Fucking Statue.
The idea of teaching English in a foreign country had intrigued me for quite some time, but I never fantasized about leaving everything behind to torture Asian kids with flashcards. “A” is for Apple, in case you were wondering. No, the next-to-last thing I wanted to do at age 40 was wind up teaching English in a foreign country. While it was a step up from what I was doing at the time, it wasn’t an aspiration, and it certainly didn’t fit into my ideal scenario. However, as far as finding a job in this country is concerned, unless you speak fair-to-decent Mandarin Chinese, your FOB options are limited to teaching English or scrapping it out for one of the few None-of-the-above jobs available. Pretty much everything Asians want, can be done (in many cases, more efficiently) by other Asians. The one thing they don’t want is to learn spoken English from another Asian. They want the real deal: the native speaker with a Western face. And so, teaching English became my back-up. If I couldn’t find anything else, I could always teach. Allow me to explain why this was a terrible idea.