Beleaguered Restaurateur Bites The Hand That Feeds Him

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“Timothy’s Take-Out” is 215 pages of thinly disguised, customer-directed vitriol. It’s also a popular and surprisingly enjoyable novel.

You’ll either be tickled pink or highly offended by “Timothy’s Take-Out,” the tale of a misanthropic introvert who takes a job at the noisiest, tackiest fast food joint in an otherwise beautiful resort town. Author Paul J. Barker comes out with both guns blazing, and few who wander within his sights are spared. Through Carl Fellows (his embittered main character), Barker takes aim at teenage girls, yuppies, rednecks, and clueless seniors, among others. Like Barker, young Fellows is a restaurant manager without people skills, without the ability to reason with unreasonable customers. He takes the job because it is a way to spend summer at the beach and get paid for it. He gets the job because everyone else knows what an insufferable hole Timothy’s Take-Out is.

The immense hatred building up within Carl Fellows threatens to consume him, until he hits upon the bright idea of trying to harness and channel it. He pours his negative energy into amateur boxing (with surprising results considering he’s an outa-shape slob!) He delves into cartooning and songwriting as well, though it’s doubtful these pie-in-the-sky activities are going to get him out of the store anytime soon.

Our intrepid anti-hero ends up spending almost three years at Timothy’s – his obsessive love for a co-worker is likely to blame – and during this period endures unspeakable mental anguish. Despite his best efforts, the overall hopelessness of his predicament all but drives him insane. When the life of his friend is threatened, Carl summons forth his fury one last time, inadvertently providing “Timothy’s Take-Out” with some of the most hilarious climactic moments in literary history.

Paul J. Barker’s labor of love/hate is available at select bookstores and all over the web; a good place to learn more about the author and his works is – appropriately enough – http://www.dontlikemyjob.com/pages/1/index.htm.

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