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What does normal even mean…and why does it seem so fake?

Let me tell you…

31 tales of normal things gone wrong. Everything from coffee to gift cards to having friends over. 31 innocuous, even delightful things that are supposed to be able to replace happiness, job satisfaction, and a sense of purpose. 31 atmospheric tales about good things gone wrong–horribly, weirdly wrong.

When the world has gone completely nuts, even the normal looks strange.

(Teens and up.)

Here’s the first story:

October 1:  Coffee


So I’m just about to drink this cup of coffee at work when all of a sudden my hand melts.  I’m left-handed.  I reach for the handle of my coffee mug–which is plain on the outside but has You’ve been poisoned! on the bottom in the inside, which I bought in an effort to keep my coworkers from stealing my mug–and my fingers grasp the handle and then the handle just kind of slowly slides through them, not like I’m a ghost but like I’m butter, I’m left with most of my pinky and thumb and the stubs of the rest of my fingers, and some lumps of pinkish goo running down the side of the bland white mug and plopping onto the desk.  My wedding ring falls off the stub of my ring finger and lands on the top of the paper towel I was using as a coaster with a clunk.  And I’m sitting there, looking at my fingers, and thinking, Surely I’m more than this, more than a piece of waxwork.  It doesn’t hurt.  I mean, ten seconds ago I was holding that same cup of coffee by the handle without any issues, but then again the handle hadn’t warmed up yet.  I reach out with the right hand but I hesitate.  What if I’m completely made out of wax now?  Did the real me swap me out so she could play hooky?  Is this some kind of bullshit HR tactic to save money on employees?  What?

It doesn’t matter.  I won’t be able to function without coffee this morning and I can’t go home early, not with all the time off I’ve used this year.  I’d get fired.

I go to the break room and get a straw.