So it looks like a novel that's been on the burner for a while is going to drop in March. It's an urban fantasy/humor book called The Necro-Files: $7.50/hr + Curses. As you can surmise, it's (hopefully) the first in a series. I'm pretty excited about this one.
The book follows the exploits of a college student (Daisy Janney) who takes a part-time job at a funeral home that happens to have a very odd clientele. Ever wonder what happens after the hero kills the monster in all those fantasy/horror books? What happens when the mortician pulls the stake out of the vampire's heart or digs the silver bullet out of the werewolf during an autopsy? Well, Daisy's about to find out. Unfortunately, before she realizes the true nature of her new job, she inadverdently finds herself cursed and pursued by a demon intent on destroying her. And she's got finals coming up.
The Necro-Files is set in Baltimore. If you happened to read my recently released zombie/comedy novel Last Stand in Zombietown, you'll recognize a similar flavor of humor. Here's a little teaser, more from the comedy side than the horror side...
Chapter One: The Crap Factor
There comes a time in a person’s life—maybe several times, depending on how bad that life is—when you realize you’ve hit your nadir. The party’s over. The bloom is off your rose. Everything is going to change, and it will never be the same. I call this The Crap Factor. The thing is, The Crap Factor is like the Spanish Inquisition: no one expects it. Imagine you’re eighteen years old. You graduated from high school three months ago and spent the summer partying—okay, maybe you spent most of it playing video games because your boyfriend dumped you the day after graduation, but still, you partied a little. I mean, you drank some Tussin a couple times and had too much chocolate once or twice. And you really improved your scores on a couple games. Finally, you started college. Your mom came with you to help you move into your dorm and everything, which isn’t saying so much since she actually lives in a nice little row house right around the corner from Johns Hopkins, but whatever. So you settled in, started your classes, and even started to make friends. OK, your roommate turns out to be a party girl, who is annoying as hell when she’s around, but luckily, it leaves you in a single most nights until two or three a.m. So, really, everything is golden.
And then your dad decides to get remarried, so he can’t afford to help you with college quite as much as he promised. So here you are, walking up to a McDonald’s near the campus for an interview. Okay, now that I look at it, maybe I was wrong. Maybe my life wasn’t so great to begin with.
I stood in line at the counter and waited my turn. I was thinking I might order something, to seem more gung -ho, except that McDonald’s’ food makes me vomit, which probably wouldn’t set the right tone. I stepped up to the counter, and a very bored-looking teenage boy, gave me a bored smile. “May I take your order?”
“I’d like a job, please.”
“You want fries with that?” he said before his brain caught up to his mouth. He looked me up and down, a little more down than up. Slowly, like the flow of a glacier, he reached under the counter and rose back up to thump an application on the counter without ever changing expression. I held up my already completed one. He sighed—I got the feeling his was a life measured in sighs—and called over his shoulder, “Nadine!” Then he twisted around so he could see the woman standing behind me. “Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?”
I stepped to the side and waited. Nadine appeared, eventually. She was completely the opposite of the boy—he was fat, she was thin; he dawdled, she executed every movement with frantic haste; his face was devoid of expression, hers shifted from worry to annoyance in regular cycles. She caught the boy’s eye, and he pointed at me. I felt like I was in a lineup. She motioned me over to a table and snatched the application from my hand.
“So tell me about your prior work experience.” She didn’t bother to look up from the page.
“I have none. I mean, I’ve babysat and everything, and I can cook. I fry hamburgers all the time.”
She glanced up at me after that one. “Do you feel that you would be able to adapt to the fast-paced work environment McDonald’s?”
I looked at the boy at the register. He was standing mostly still, staring at nothing, waiting for a customer. The other employees I could see were acting similarly. I looked back at Nadine whose expression had shifted to annoyance. “I will do my best to keep up with what’s expected of me.” I tried to not sound like a zombie.
“Yes.” I smiled. “I feel that I will be able to adapt to the fast-paced work environment of McDonald’s.”
She lowered her eyes back to the page and made a little checkmark on it.
“Look.,” I leaned towards her. “I’m a hard worker, and I’m not on drugs or anything. I know how to work.”
She nodded. “All right. Thank you. We’ll be in touch.”
I rose. She didn’t even want to shake my hand.
“Nadine!” the boy at the register called out before she could leave. “You got another one.”
An older man stood at the register. He looked like he’d just come straight from Burning Man;: his hair was long and tied back in a dirty ponytail. He wore jeans and a T-shirt with a band I've never heard of emblazoned on the front. He walked over to Nadine, shook her hand, and handed her his application. I approached the counter and the bored kid and ordered a strawberry milkshake.
“Have a lot of people applied?”.
He shrugged. “Not really.” He handed me the milkshake. I took it over to a table not too near Nadine but near enough.
“I do my job,” the guy said, “but I’m not going to take any shit from any kids, you know? Some punk comes in here causing trouble, I’m not going to tolerate it.”
“What would you do?” Nadine searched his face.
The man shrugged. “Whatever it takes.”
I smiled into my milkshake, which tasted suspiciously of grease. I figured I was a shoo-in. They talked some more. Nadine asked him about some gaps in his employment.
“Shit happens.” He tapped the table, annoyed. “So are we good?” I thought, there’s no way this guy’s getting hired. Then Nadine stood and shook his hand. My stomach dropped.
“Come in tomorrow at eight.” She spread her lips in something approaching a smile. “We’ll get you a uniform.”
He left, and she went back to the kitchen. I caught the bored kid smirking at me. I tossed my empty cup in the trash and walked out.
* * *