Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread
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Chuck Palahniuk, literature's favorite transgressive author, gives us twenty-one stories and one novella in Make Something Up, a compilation that disturbs and delights in equal measure. In "Expedition," fans will be thrilled to find to see a side of Tyler Durden never seen before in a precursor story to Fight Club. And in other stories, the absurdity of both life and death are on full display: in "Zombies," the best and brightest of a high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze—electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators; in "Knock, Knock," a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments; and in "Tunnel of Love," a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing "relief" to dying clients. Funny, caustic, bizarre, poignant, these stories represent everything readers have come to love and expect from Chuck Palahniuk. You'll never forget them. Just try.
hear the Christmas carols playing in the store beyond the door. Even Clara had stopped crying. She gazed down on the macaroni mosaic in her hands. “Two weeks,” she whispered. She lifted it to show the room. She said, “I didn’t mean to harass anyone. I did my best. I knitted the hat you gave back to me. I made the fudge.” People still talk about that moment. Telling the story, the manager always hesitates here. So people can hear the faraway music. The same music now as all those holidays ago. A
fishing in his belly button, seeking the Luminal in case he’d need it. His wife had her own demons. Working a state agency job, pushing paper for twenty-plus years. Computing accounts payable. Interest accrued. This is after attending high school with Bill Gates. Double pinkie swear. William Henry Gates III. Not in the same class, she was three years behind him, but she used to catch him watching her in a meaningful way. Significant long stares she did nothing about. Fate, everybody knew, didn’t
that, I mean any dancer too bulked up to move except for hitting competition poses. Step, flex, step. The Double Bicep. The Crab. How you keep from getting a hard-on is you’re counting all the time to anticipate the end of each song. You name a song, and I can peg the time—and not just the minutes and seconds listed on the jewel box liner. I can tell you the actual time that shows on the deck in the booth. A good dancer knows the Digweed remix of Bryan Ferry’s “Slave to Love,” the liner says
told herself to stay quiet and just let events run their course, but instead she said, “Wait.” Hamster said, “Nobody’s blaming you.” Monkey said, “I was wrong.” She said, “You can fire me, but that cheese is delicious.” She said, “Please.” She said, “Sir.” With a shrug in his voice, Bison said, “This matter is out of our hands.” Over the phone he said, “Tomorrow, you dispose of your stock samples.” “Ask Coyote,” Monkey pleaded. “Coyote’s pitching it.” “Coyote’s in Seattle,” said Bison.
get married, and at the same time we criticize them for whoring around.” Kevin continued to flash-dash-dash-triple-dot-dash-dot into the unknown. An unknown amount of night passed before either of them spoke. It was Troublemaker, his voice strained with his righteous speculation, “Imagine…imagine if everything you know about intimacy…you learned not from your folks or your teachers, but from strangers in the public toilet of a Greyhound bus station?” — On another day the Commander