Hiccup now a Blog – Excerpt from Casual Encounters

Hiccup is on an indefinite hiatus, due a. loss of space at Hyperion Tavern  b. my recent Fellowship award from PEN Center: I’m one of 5 Emerging Voices for 2011 — So I’m pretty damn busy.

So I’ve decided  I will start posting excerpts from the novel-in-stories collection I’m working on : Casual Encounters (inspired by the very first Hiccup)

Here’s one, an excerpt from the story : “Pittsburg, CA”

It’s one of those nights, the kind that’s dropped you in the driver’s seat of your grandma’s station wagon, reeling down a highway you’ve never heard of, towards a town you didn’t know existed, to meet someone you’ve never met.  The kind of night that has you popping Percocets and chasing them with Jim Beam, to keep you from thinking too much, because if you thought too much, you’d turn around, drive home, forget the whole thing.  But you don’t.  You keep rolling towards Paradise, a cheap motel in a town you know only by its name on the map.

                Pittsburgh? you’d typed one hour earlier, to the stranger on your computer screen.  I’m in Palo Alto.  California.  Pittsburgh’s a little far.

                Pittsburg, the stranger wrote back. With no ‘h’.  It’s in California.  Look it up.

You did.  You found it deep in the East Bay, an hour and many income brackets away from the sunny suburb your grandmother lives in.  The only East Bay towns you’d spent much time in were Berkeley and Oakland, so Pittsburg was uncharted territory.  Not that you planned on seeing much more outside of a room in the Paradise.

-Eric Layer


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