Story Go Round 08/30/2003, round 1, #3

In-flight Magazine Interview

When I wrote 'Lord of Lard' I was just graduating college, but over the summer I kept working at my part time job with Food Service. I did the ordering and every week I had to go down to the sub-larder and bring up more of the loathsome goo and slap it in front of the cooks. I would snicker at my private revenge, because it was all such a small phenomenon at the time. My writing was secret. Like all secrets, because I didn't share it, my world was split - one part, the unrecognized drudgery of hard labor among the uncaring, the other part the unrecognized success of soft satiny words spread only among the elite, the academic recognition which tried so seriously to substitute for popularity with the masses - my deepest desire.

I came to believe that food is the universal language. It speaks to everyone, and it can esp. touch the heart of every man in his car and in her house around the country. It worked for my esteemed colleague Mr. Yankovic who sells more albums every year than Shakespeare does plays. I wondered about how to bring my love for adventure and my respect for food together. Then one night, I had a horrible dream of a giant, horned monster with cellulite-ridden flesh draping him like a big cape. He was roaring out commands to thousands of scuttling minions in chef's caps. The hue and cry of the sous chefs had some kind of jangled rhythm, and it was a while before I could make out the words-

I awoke in a sweat, gasping for air like a landed fish. Nooo! What were the words? I could barely remember. Carnage? Carnal? Carnival? Parsnip? Partner? Aaah! It had been so beautiful, and now it was fading. But I instantly dubbed him the Lard LOrd and he stuck with me all day, coming back in daydreams, his visage there before me whenever I would shut my eyes.

The next evening I started writing.

Word came of the book deal when I was finally achieving an understanding with the two cooks on the night shift. We were having a meeting around the walk-in, and one of them, Jeff, was sharing how much the old fashioned American diet meant to him.

"Potatoes are an unforgiven ... what is it Fritz?" Fritz, the mute chef, had come up with the receiver of the telephone - it had one of those long cords. He pointed at me and then at the phone.

"Now who'd be calling me here? 'scuse me, I'll try to keep it short." I took the phone out into the hallway. "This is Harve," I said into the receiver.

"Mr. Lindwurst, we received your submission and we'd like to publish it. Who's your agent?"

I didn't have one. I had been dreaming of fame for so long, but I had never truly believed in myself. So I made up one on the spot: "I'm with Orange, but let me get back to you when I've found a better one."

It came out in hardback 3 months later. I'm off to do a signing so that's all the time I have for now.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange