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Montauk - Christopher McKittrick

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Montauk

Five years after he graduated from college, a twenty-seven year old editor at a pretentious New York magazine comes to the realization that he is disillusioned with his life. By taking an unintended chance, he escapes his daily routine for an alcohol-soaked weekend in Montauk, Long Island. As an approaching late season tropical storm engulfs the seaside resort town, he considers the roots of his once-close family and his loss of connection with them, especially since the death of his father a year ago. He meets others who are also sitting out the storm and tries to find a human connection with each of them while he refuses to stop trying to fulfill his unrealized dream of climbing the steps of the famous Montauk Lighthouse. Alternately humorous and poignant, Montauk reflects the unsettled feeling of growing up in the suburbs and the career aimlessness of post-college life in a narrative though is relatable to readers of any background.

Licensing Notes

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book, and parts thereof, may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without express written permission. For information, e-mail info@vagabondagepress.com.

Montauk

© 2012 by Christopher McKittrick

Vagabondage Press

PO Box 3563

Apollo Beach, Florida 33572

http://www.vagabondagepress.com

First digital edition in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, October 2012

Cover photo by Stuart McCallum. Cover design by Maggie Ward.

Montauk

Christopher McKittrick

Table of Contents

About Montauk

Licensing Notes

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About the Author

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I’ve always found train rides to be incredibly boring since there’s not a whole hell of a lot to do on an hour commute on the Long Island Rail Road. Sure, you could buy a paper at one of the newsstands that are carbon copied at every station, but if you’re like me, you don’t care enough about the world to spend fifty cents to find out what its latest problems are. Passing the time becomes even more difficult if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands who spend every weekday morning on a train to New York City just to get to work. I’m one of them.

After five years of the same routine, I’ve learned to ignore the other people around me on the train, even on the days when I’m getting crushed in my seat, like today, after an obese nurse in her bleach-stained scrubs found a seat next to me. I look around the car and notice that nobody is smiling. If anyone were, the unfamiliar expression would stick out like the toothy grin of the otherwise-invisible Cheshire cat. At least we all seem equally miserable.

When I arrive in the city I have a few blocks to walk to work. Sometimes when I walk through the city, I look up at the concrete canyons and I think to myself that New York City has to be the pinnacle of man’s achievement of civilization. To be honest, sometimes I don’t always think of that as a good thing. It might help my demeanor if there was any joy in my destination, but a few years back, my job became more-or-less pointless. It wasn’t always like that, though. I used to be one of three copy editors at this trendy New York nightlife magazine back when I was an unpaid college intern seven years ago. In those days, I had to actually pay attention to my work, because if I didn’t, a whole slew of articles would go through with mistakes, and I could get canned. Since then, the magazine broke through and started doing really well for itself, and I somehow found myself promoted along the way. Now we have two groups of copy editing staff instead of three overworked copy-editing interns. I’m in charge of the second group. The first group catches any obvious mistakes, and then my staff looks it over. After my three-person staff goes through them, I pretend to review their corrections and send the pile up to printing. So I don’t do a damn thing. I haven’t gotten past the first page of any article in two years. I just don’t see the utility of feature articles on nightclubs that will be little more than a hazy memory of an underage drinker when the hotspot inevitably closes its doors in half a year. The truth is that I don’t even know what pretentious BS my rag puts out every month anymore. It took me until this past year to finally accept the fact that the only reason I am in this position is because I’ve been at the magazine longer than almost anybody else. It has nothing to do with my merit or ability, but rather my own inability to make a career change. Yet, I can only guess that since I’ve come to work like this every day for years, nobody really notices. I’m just eccentric, they say, eccentric and quiet, as if those words could really explain all that I am.

Fifteen minutes into my floor’s lunchtime, Morrison, this twerpy kid who never misses a single punctuation mistake, skulks into my office. Here’s those corrections on the piece about Long Island wineries, he says with a goofy I’d do anything to please you, boss grin on his face. I’d love to hit him with something heavy, but the only things in my desk that fit that criteria are liquor bottles in varying states of emptiness.

Thanks Morrison. I call all the employees I supervise by their last names because it makes the environment that much less personal. I’m much more comfortable with that separation present; it ensures that nobody knows me well enough to ask me to join their weekend softball league or buy some knick-knack to support the PTA of their children’s school.

I’m going to head over and take a lunch. I’ll see you at 1:30!

Make it 1:45. You’ve earned it, kid. That’s the first executive decision I’ve made in weeks.

Really? Thanks! You want to head over to the break room with me? Every day for lunch Morrison goes to the break room and gets a granola bar and a Snapple from the snack machines. I can’t explain it, but I just have a thing against people who eat entire meals from vending machines. If the electricity went out, would he starve to death?

No thanks. I have plans.

For someone who works in Manhattan, I’ve actually seen precious little of it even though I go out for lunch nearly every day. Instead of joining Morrison, I head (as usual) to an old-world style British pub six blocks uptown (don’t want to be too close to the office, even if I don’t care if someone catches me) and polish off four heavy stouts and a corned beef on rye. I have lunch at this place at least three times a week, and I’m so consistent that the bartenders always have my first pint ready before I sit down on my usual stool. Most people would probably think that in a city where the eating establishments number in the tens of thousands (and double that if you count the street vendors) eating at the same place three times a week is a sign that your life has become routine, but I never saw the harm in sticking to what you enjoy. With the fortification of the four stouts, the last few hours of my typical workday don’t seem so bad. I figure I might as well take advantage of being able to work in an environment where I can run my entire department with a half-decent buzz daily. That’s a luxury my father never had.

My father once told me, Do what you love and the money will follow. That was easy for him to say. Before he even learned