What’s On the Menu? by Chase Griffin

Finalist in the 2018 Wild Onion Novella Contest

In a basement apartment beneath an abandoned candy factory lives an unnamed Florida man and his roommate, Will, a stand-up comedian. After discovering Will can cook gourmet meals – though only while blackout drunk on tequila – the two begin a restaurant business, employing the audience members who regularly attend Will’s sets.

Things immediately start to get weird. Household appliances gain sentience and develop feelings; Tampa’s water system becomes tainted with psychotropics; Will keeps disappearing and reappearing, and starts going kind of mad with power; and a cult run by a man who looks like Santa may or may not be orchestrating everything from a motel in St. Petersburg.

Through it all, our Florida man keeps getting distracted by arcade games and his own thoughts.