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Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:36 am
by StalinSays
Feature: Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe by Ramsey Shehadeh
Drabble: Aftermath by Steve Lidster

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Thursday, July 12th, 2012
After the world ended, Jimmy set up a roadside cafe in the median of I-95, just north of the Fallston exit, in the grassy depression between the guardrails. His first cafe, nothing more than a plywood shanty, fell to the first thunderstorm that blew through. The second was better: he dug a sort of foundation and built the walls out of heavy plywood he’d harvested from an overturned Home Depot truck, reinforced the corners with steel joints, laid down a sheet of tin for the roof. He used a Hummer’s windshield for the front window, a thick yellow shower curtain for the door. And then he nailed an Open/Closed sign beside the doorway, flipped it to Open, settled down in his lawn chair, and waited…

Art by Roo Vandegrift

Twabble: “ I saw myself buying new eyeglasses. For weeks, it's all my crystal ball showed me, every single time. It was a re-vision. ” by Algernon Sydney is Dead

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:57 pm
by strawman
This is well-written, characterization is good. But the world cannot be considered to have ended until the fat lady sings;

and the idea that I-95 is in California suggests that more of the continent fell into the Pacific in the earthquake than was intended under the president's Earthquake Stimulus Program.

You can't kill Cheerios. They are the cockroach of cereals.
(But Honey Nut... are the Bees Knees?)

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:15 pm
by Ignoranus
strawman wrote:and the idea that I-95 is in California suggests that more of the continent fell into the Pacific in the earthquake than was intended under the president's Earthquake Stimulus Program.
I thought the intent was that I-95's NOT in California... he lied to her, because California's where she wanted to go and it was the last time she'd see the sunrise and she had no idea where she was or what was going on.

I really liked this story. At first I wasn't thrilled, but once the second customer - the man with the kids - arrived, I felt like it took on a stronger narrative direction that hooked me into it.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:26 pm
by Unblinking
Yeah I don't think I95 was meant to be in California, that he was just lying to her.

I didn't like this one. The little bits of humanity and kindness in it were nice but did nothing to overcome the overwhelming depressingness of it all. I like that Jimmy's there to try to help people out as they straggle by, a friendly face in a desolate landscape, but at the same time I didn't find it all that compelling to watch the last vestiges of humanity cling to the edge of the cliff from which they will inevitably plunge to their deaths, and drawing that moment out for the whole story.

Obviously there are plenty of sources of tension, but to me it all kind of came out in the wash because it was always about the same level of tension, a one note song, so its dreary never changing nature just left me waiting for it to end.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:27 pm
by Polecat
Unblinking wrote:
... the same level of tension, a one note song, so its dreary never changing nature just left me waiting for it to end.
Quite like life, really.

Having very little knowledge of US geography, I can't join in the discussion about I95, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Post apocalyptic scenarios don't bother me particularly as I have long suspected that we're already living in one but are too self-absorbed to notice. Therefore any act of kindness is to be welcomed - Jimmy's magnanimity towards Patrick strains the bounds of belief, however - I suspect that the day after someone had broken your nose and possibly your cheekbone, it would be anatomically difficult to talk to him, let alone emotionally. Maybe he forgave Patrick "for he knew not what he did" (by the way, did Jimmy know what he did when he complimented Patrick upon his dead children? or was he just trying to be a genial host?), I find this detail somewhat puzzling.

I would like to go to Florida too, one day, I've read that they grow the most flavourless tomatoes on the globe there, which must be very interesting.

respectfully

the polecat

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:55 pm
by normsherman
strawman wrote: the idea that I-95 is in California suggests that more of the continent fell into the Pacific in the earthquake than was intended under the president's Earthquake Stimulus Program.
He was trying to ease her pain in her last moments, replacing her sinister delusions with the aforementioned allusion to always wanting to see the sun set in California.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:58 pm
by StalinSays
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"Fallston exit" - Maryland (appropriate, as that is Drabblecast country). The California thing was a final kindness paid to his delirious, afflicted customer.

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As an aside, i95 is squarely the best road for transporting corpses to Florida.

This story got me a bit misty. At worst it's a tad maudlin. Nonetheless it's an episode that will stick with me.

It is amazing how well it conforms to the Talking Heads tune Norm spliced in. Perhaps Ramsey found some inspiration in those lyrics.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:12 pm
by strawman
Okay, but if it's really I95, where are the references to the South of the Border billboards? (Talk about a post-Apocalyptic scenario!)

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:20 pm
by StalinSays
strawman wrote:Okay, but if it's really I95, where are the references to the South of the Border billboards? (Talk about a post-Apocalyptic scenario!)
From the memories of my boyhood and family vacations, those don't begin in earnest until the Virginias. But yes, they're grim harbingers of a fate worse than death.

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Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:44 pm
by strawman
"150 miles to South of the Border. Pedro has 250 Heir conditioned rooms!"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N5NsYxTkDE

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:30 pm
by Unblinking
Polecat wrote:
Unblinking wrote:
... the same level of tension, a one note song, so its dreary never changing nature just left me waiting for it to end.
Quite like life, really.

Like much of life, certainly. Especially the day-to-day grind of wage work. Exactly the kind of thing I don't want to read.

But I don't just want to wait for the end in this life--I want to find small enjoyments in everyday life, hopefully punctuated by large enjoyments now and then. There are dreary times, but hopefully they will serve to make the good times better.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:24 pm
by Bad Wolf
Nothing beats a good end-of-the-world story. It was sufficiently bleak, enough so to make the simple touches of humanity and cheeiros stand out in contrast without being so heavy handed that you want to dash your brains out with a Cormac McCarthy novel. But best of all, above the corpse stench, you could smell an earthy hint of Faulkner. A little post-apocalyptic 'As I lay Dying'. I really liked this one, but then again, my mother is a fish.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:09 pm
by Richmazzer
Unblinking wrote: Like much of life, certainly. Especially the day-to-day grind of wage work. Exactly the kind of thing I don't want to read.

But I don't just want to wait for the end in this life--I want to find small enjoyments in everyday life,
Like stopping to watch or listen to birds. Loved that reoccurring motive in this story, loved how the bird chirps were incorporated in the outro swell.

Hands down favorite Drabblecast of the year. Well, maybe tied with Jaganath and Killing the Morrow. Guess thats not really hands down then, but whatever, I really really enjoyed this one. I've listened twice and blinked tears away both times. I loved Jimmy's quirky characterization, goofy, somehow naively childlike and wise at the same time. This is how I've always pictured the character of Jesus Christ, awkward and direct, selfless in a way that doesn't make sense in the wasteland. I think Norm nailed it in the outro, in the horror of post-apocalypse survival is everyone's focus, the choice comes down to whether you survive to the benefit or detriment of others. Do you lure them down to your carnie-cellar and eat them (still one of my fav Drabblecasts ever!) or do you offer them respect and kindness.

The music, reading and production here was also phenomenal. I'd love to see more Ramsey Shehadah on the show, Creature was also one of my favorite stories. I wonder if he can write a happy story not set in the post-apocalypse though? :)

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:15 pm
by ROU Killing Time
This was a fun and delightfully dreary episode to get to be involved in.

As far as the main story goes, I liked the endurance of kindness and compassion amidst the desolation displayed in the main character. Oddly enough, the story gives me the sense that there is hope even when the shit is hitting the fan.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:25 pm
by Polecat
ROU Killing Time wrote: Oddly enough, the story gives me the sense that there is hope even when the shit is hitting the fan.
Oddly? To me that was the point the story made, that no matter how abominable the situation becomes, it is still possible to behave like a decent human being, and this behaviour will have an effect on the people around one. That might not improve the world objectively, but subjectively it can be enormously important.

respectfully

the polecat

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:34 am
by ROU Killing Time
Polecat wrote:
ROU Killing Time wrote: Oddly enough, the story gives me the sense that there is hope even when the shit is hitting the fan.
Oddly?
Well, I'm an odd person. But in the end, I think we agree with each other. That, combined with the fact that you are already by definition a strange listener, I guess that makes you a bit odd too. :-)

That's cool. Even is for wimps.

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:11 am
by shagin
Really enjoyed this story. The bits of humanity, good, bad, ugly, cemented the narrative and helped draw the moment and setting into sharper relief.

From the review on my blog:
"This is the tale of surviving a plague the only way one man knows how, by starting over: “After the world ended, Jimmy set up a roadside cafe in the median of I-95, just north of the Fallston exit, in the grassy depression between the guardrails.” Customers come and customers go, and death is a certainty, quiet and inescapable. Ramsey colors his world with every day details, from the texture of a donut to the sound of a shovel biting into the dirt. His characters are three-dimensional, and the quiet desperation of their lives lends an aching beauty to the story. I’ll admit it, this story left me dangerously close to tears, not an easy feat. If you like “Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe”, make sure to listen to The Drabblecast #206, “Creature”, another great story by Ramsey."

For more reviews of great audio fiction, including Drabblecast Goodness, check out: http://sandramodell.com/tag/hear-that/

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:32 am
by tbaker2500
Unblinking and I rarely agree, but his sentiments are almost mine exactly. What is the world coming too?!?

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:44 pm
by Unblinking
tbaker2500 wrote:Unblinking and I rarely agree, but his sentiments are almost mine exactly. What is the world coming too?!?
I'm pretty sure that's a surefire sign that the end of the world is night!

Re: Drabblecast 249 – Jimmy’s Roadside Cafe

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:28 pm
by strawman
Unblinking wrote:
tbaker2500 wrote:Unblinking and I rarely agree, but his sentiments are almost mine exactly. What is the world coming too?!?
I'm pretty sure that's a surefire sign that the end of the world is night!
I see what you did their. :)