Sunday Stories: “atlanta midtown samba station” (excerpt)

atlanta midtown samba station (excerpt)
by Josh Spilker 

at the mailbox, avery opened it. avery had a letter from the bank. avery had a letter from the electric company. avery had a copy of ‘texas monthly.’ avery looked at a man standing next to a truck on the cover. the truck was from the 70s. there was hay in the back of the truck.

“texas is wide open,” avery said.

avery studied the ‘texas monthly.’ he studied the women in dallas in a feature called ‘the real housewives of dallas speak out.’ it was about underprivileged kids in plano.

“i didn’t know underprivileged kids existed in plano,” avery said.

avery turned to the back. he read a restaurant review. the restaurant review was about a new york-style bagel shop. the new york-style bagel shop was in a loft district. the lofts sold for approximately $245,000 to $385,000 according to the article in ‘texas monthly.’

“dallas is like atlanta,” avery said.

avery looked at the clock. it was time to prepare to prepare to go to work. avery sat down and stretched his legs. avery did 50 sit-ups. avery did 13 pushups. avery did 25 more sit-ups.

“i am limber,” avery said.

avery went into the bathroom. avery turned on the faucet in the bath tub. “how fast must the water run for it to get away?” avery said.

avery prepared to go to the restaurant where he worked. the restaurant served southwest cuisine in a suburb of atlanta. the name of the suburb is “douglasville.”

avery rode his bike through douglasville. avery rode his bike to chili’s.

avery walked in the back door. the door had an onion smell. the door had a tortilla chips smell. the door had a guacamole smell.

“has anyone ever tossed guacamole on this door?” avery said.

avery listened, but no one said anything. avery could only hear squeaks. avery could only hear muted voices. avery could only hear swiped credit cards, the silent provider.

“psssst…..avery,” avery heard. avery turned his head. avery saw brody. brody had his fist in the air. avery knocked fists with brody.

“my av man,” brody said.

“hehe,” avery said. “word up brody.”

brody took out his wallet. brody had an id in his wallet that said “dekalb technical college.”

“ave,” brody said. “i’m becoming a salesman. an rv salesman.”

“that sucks,” avery said. brody handed avery a card. avery looked at the card. the card said, “brody caston, sales.” the card had a phone number. the card had an address. the card had an email address.

“nah, bro, it’s good, totally good,” brody said. ” we got these old people that live in Atlanta, right? they’re buying rv’s here and going to florida.”

“naw right,” avery said.

“they drop like 100 g’s on these crazy homes,” brody said. “they said i’ll get a commission.”

“that’s kind of like tips,” avery said.

“but richer if you seal the deal,” brody said.

“seal the deal,” avery said.

“tonight’s my last night, so we’re getting crunk after,” brody said. “we’re going to jock and jill’s.”

“yeah,” avery said.

“sweet,” brody said. “now i need avocados.”

avery walked back to the refrigerator. avery picked out some avocados. avery walked to the cutting area. the cutting area was a burnished metal cart. avery pulled out a white cutting board. avery pulled out a drawer in the metal cart. avery pulled out a knife.

“born to be a travelin man,” avery sang. “born to be a travelin man.”

avery cut the avocado. avery cut the avocado into multiple pieces while singing this song.


avery rode his bike to jock & jill’s. on the way near a panera bread, someone honked their horn. on the way, near a yogurt shop that was under construction, someone flipped off avery.

at jock and jill’s there was no bike rack. “this sucks,” avery said. avery tied his bike to the handicap pole.

“it is not a handicap to ride your bike,” avery said.

avery walked inside. avery walked onto plush maroon carpet. avery saw between 3 and 23 tvs. avery saw multiple games being played on tv. avery looked around. avery stood still. avery pulled out his phone. avery texted brody. “in the lobby,” avery wrote.

“is this a lobby?” avery said. avery’s pocket moved. avery pulled out his phone.

“obwling” the message said.

avery walked to the area where bowling occurred. avery saw between 2 and 20 lanes. avery saw multiple games being played. avery walked to the game and to the lane where brody stood. brody was with a group of 3 to 7 guys.

“guys,” brody said, “let’s get crunk.”

“you said that at chili’s,” avery said.

“yeah, yeah up in here, what,” one guy with his shirt unbuttoned said.

then avery heard 4 guys say “shots, shots, shots” really fast.

“like it like it,” brody said.

a waitress with a pony tail and a smoker’s voice came over. “shots shots shots,” she said.

another waitress with a pony tail and a smoker’s voice came over. “jameson and jack, jameson and jack,” she said.

“like it like,” brody said.

brody took two shots. one was in each hand. he tilted his head back. he drank one. he tilted his head back again. he drank another. brody drinking shots took between 1 and 11 seconds.

“hmmmmmhaaaa,” brody said.

“hahaha,” the four guys laughed.

“shots, shots, shots,” the first watiress with a pony tail said. she had come back. avery did not see her come back.

the other four guys had shots.

avery found a plush barstool. the barstool had black and red vinyl on it. avery sat down.

“cots, cots, cots,” avery said.

avery saw a kid put a quarter in a gumball machine and avery said “i don’t have any quarters.”

avery bowled a 180. brody bowled a 220. the other four guys bowled an average between 160 and 210.

“hahaha,” the four guys said.

the four guys sat down. no one laughed. brody exhaled. avery stood up.

no one said anything.

avery walked to the front counter. avery looked back at his bowling alley lane. he didn’t know any of them from high school.


avery took out the card. he dialed the number. “where are you located?” avery wrote down the location.

“isn’t it on on my card?” brody said. “yes but i like to make sure.” avery said.

avery rode his bike to the RV park. avery dropped his bike by the front entrance. he walked inside. brody met him at the door.

“hey again,” brody said.

“i want an old RV,” avery said.

“let’s see what we have,” brody said.

brody took avery outside into the lot. they walked past large rvs. they walked past rvs with large pull-out sides. they walked past motor homes.

they walked past tall campers with large towing paraphernalia.

“fifth wheelers,” brody said. brody said this with his mouth partially hidden by a cupped hand.

“why did you cup your hand like that?”avery said. brody did not respond.

they kept walking. many of the campers seemed decrepit. many of the campers seemed worn down. “the ones with the truck front are called class-c,” brody said.

avery saw a class c camper from the 70s. it was dirty with mold. parts of it were green. parts of it were yellow. “open the door,” avery said.

brody opened the door. inside was dirty brown carpet. inside were ornate old wooden cabinets. avery opened a cabinet. moldy oranges were inside.

avery took a deep breath. “I will take this one,” avery said.

inside the showroom, avery wrote a large check. The price was between $5000 and $15000.

“this might need some work,” brody said.

avery put his bike inside the motor home. avery sat behind the wheel. avery rolled down the window. “this is great,” avery said.

Josh Spilker lives in Nashville. He is a copywriter and a teacher. He blogs about books for Impose Magazine. He runs a music site called Deckfight. He runs a small e-chap press called Deckfight Press. His first book, The Ambient Florida Position, will be released later this year on KUBOA Press


Art by Margarita Korol.