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by J. D. Riso

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the following people without whom this novel never would have been written.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank my father for calling me “sissy boy.” His searing contempt pissed me off enough to make me rebel. Dad, I hope you come across this book during your graveyard shift as janitor at the public library.

I’m especially grateful to my mother for pretending that everything was peachy and ignoring my pain. “Why can’t you be more like your father? He’s a real man! What are ya, queer like Uncle Butch?” she nagged. I had no choice but to channel my rants and raves into writing. Have fun bragging about this at your weekly Overeaters Anonymous meetings, Mom. And don’t ask me for an autograph, either.

My tenth grade English teacher, Mr. Livingstone, was particularly influential in my formative years. Without his scathing, spittle-flecked tirades about my work, my fire might have been snuffed out. Have another Valium on me, you toupee-wearing fascist! Without you, I would have ended up just like you.

Then there were my peers who sneered at my aspirations, my so-called friends who turned their backs on me when I was down. Hey, I didn’t need you all anyway! To you, my friends, I flip the ultimate bird.

Over the years, my English 101 students were unceasingly scornful of my tweed jackets with the elbow patches and my well-gnawed pipe. They snickered during my passionate litanies on Proust and the decline of literature. I hope you amused yourselves my dear children, for I’m sure that the rest of your lives won’t be so amusing, given that you’ll never rise above a career in retail.

It gives me much satisfaction to mention my ex-girlfriend, Katie, who ripped out my heart and fed it to the dogs. Her gleeful cruelty was the spark that set this novel into action. Oh yes,my sweet, you are faithfully rendered within these very pages. But don’t even think of crawling back to me.

Of course, the media’s obsession with fame caused me to set lofty, unrealistic goals. There’s nothing worse than being a nobody, and thanks to its incessant goading, I’m not!

My sincere thanks to the masses. Their inability to formulate their own opinions makes this novel a sure bet for the bestseller list. Selling out is great fun! I only wish that I had trampled on my ludicrous ideals sooner.

Most of all, I’d like to thanks my cats, Muffy and Fluffy. My wittle meow-meow machines! Lights of my life! Daddy loves you!

I do realize that my gratitude may come across as self-indulgent gloating. However, Dear Reader, this day has been too long in coming. I thank you for throwing me the proverbial bone.