Exhibits Excerpt – Chutes and Ladders

Nov 15, 2016 by

This is where I usually introduce you to an author, but if you’ve read our site, there is a good chance you’ve read some of Emily’s writing already.  She’s one of our favorites.  Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s Emily’s bio. 

Emily Auman is in her early twenties. Her greatest past times almost exclusively involve alcohol and poorly written television shows from the early 90’s. She resides in the foothills of North Carolina and firmly believes the term “foothills” is a weird one.  Follow her on emilywrites.net.

Chutes and Ladders

Emily Auman


“I kind of think he sucks. Is that bad?” George chuckled a little as he said this, taking a puff from his newly lit Parliament.

“I don’t really think opinions can be mean. Probably shouldn’t say it to his face, but it’s okay to not like his stuff. I don’t like it either. Edgy doesn’t always mean interesting, you know? Like none of his stuff makes me think at all.” I don’t smoke, but sometimes I sit outside with George while he does. We take the opportunity to talk about the deep stuff or sit in silence or complain about fellow “writers” who make us feel better about ourselves.

“I told all of my coworkers we’re sleeping together,” he says, smirking. I laugh out loud.

“They fall for it?”

“They congratulated me.” I smile and take a sip of my beer, looking out at the open air. Now that it’s cold, you don’t have the frogs and crickets filling the silence, but that’s okay with us.

I first met George six years ago at the pizza place we both worked. I was the girl in charge of screaming a greeting at people when they walked in the door, making salads, and flirting with the manager despite my jailbait status. The last part wasn’t in the job description, but you know that clause in all job descriptions that says “and whatever else management sees fit?” Well, management saw my big blue eyes fit for their entertainment. George was a cook. He stood silently and assembled pizzas over and over again. Flatten crust, dock crust, sauce, cheese, toppings (“but not too many–we’re not made of money”). His unlisted task was listening to the methamphetamine-induced conversations of the women in charge of making dough. They would talk about the smutty books they’d read and gossip about other people who worked there and then he would tell me about it. We’d lean against our cars after we got off of work and talk about music or how much our franchisee’s wife hated him.

It was pure coincidence that we were both writers and something we only realized about each other a couple years into our friendship. George likes to write shocking comedy: Jurassic Park fan fiction with roller skates or futuristic humanoids all suffering from sex addiction. He is good, both in conversation and in writing, at making you laugh and contemplate at the same time. Sometimes, if he’s feeling serious and he’s read too much Tolkien, he writes about his times in Philadelphia, where he spent a year experiencing everything but brotherly love. I write about sad stuff mostly. I write the dramatization of feelings I have vaguely experienced. While neither of us has changed the world, we are, admittedly, overly-critical of others who claim to have the art down.

“Back to Joe. Doesn’t he realize that having a character obsessively snort cocaine is not a new concept? Bret Easton Ellis did it, but he did it well.” George goes through a Bret Easton Ellis phase once a year or so (I say he’s been stung by a BEE).

“Right? People are not one-dimensional and just because you make them flawed in such a visible way doesn’t make them less superficial, and a superficial protagonist is exhausting for everyone.” He nods and pulls one last drag out of his cigarette. The blanket I brought outside isn’t making up for the brisk November wind, but I still don’t want to go inside.

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