Kevin Tosca’s stories have been or soon will be published in Redivider, Literary Orphans, Paper Darts, Prole, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, and elsewhere. Poetry in Motion, a fiction chapbook, is forthcoming from Cervená Barva Press in 2017. He lives in Paris. Find him at kevintosca.com.
Because I believe every period deserves a story, deserves one, that is, if words aren’t minced and truths aren’t ducked, if the period’s essence—its core—can be so encapsulated and penetrated and distilled as to impart something meaningful, something pleasing, to the reader, whether that something springs from the particular epoch in time, the setting, the characters, the plot, or the language, I, here and finally, would like to write for you the story of when I worked the overnight shift at Home Depot. And because I want to be open and aboveboard (as a good author needn’t be), to lay my cards on the table, as it were, I will tell you that the title of this story comes from The Misfits, that I was reading Thomas Bernhard while I wrote it, and that the next to last word down there before the “FIN” is a nod not only to the strictest requirements of literary and metaphysical fact, but also to him. I do hope you like this little story.
The year: Not long after the millennium.
The time: From 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m., five nights a week.
The setting: Home Depot—Atlanta, Georgia.
The characters (all armed with black magic markers and box cutters): The Dropout, The Mean Redneck, The Kind Redneck, The Crusty Lesbian, The Foreman, The Russian, Mr. Speed, The Token Black, The Professional, The Laggard with OCD, and Me.
The plot: Repetitious, mindless, ghastly stupidity.