Nice Guy-Turned-Psychopath Carl Fellows

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There is a new manager working the counter of Timothy’s Take-Out. He is efficient, pleasant, cordial -- and consumed with hatred for the customers he serves.

Its themes of disillusionment and alienation notwithstanding Paul J. Barker’s “Timothy’s Take-Out” is one hilarious novel. Who would’ve guessed that shattered dreams and rage could be a source for top-flight comedy?

Against his better judgment, reclusive introvert Carl Fellows takes a job at the loudest, gaudiest, tackiest fast food joint in an otherwise lovely resort town. Horrified (and not a little disgusted) by the never-ending procession of obnoxious customers, the hitherto non-confrontational Carl struggles to maintain his sanity. He considers quitting, but this is before a gorgeous young blonde hires on.

Despite its dark underbelly, “Timothy’s Take-Out” (ISBN # 1-4137-3164-3) contains moments of majesty and beauty. Carl’s unrequited love for his coworker is almost as noble as his wretched attempts to better himself. The resort town is a shimmering paradise for the most part, as icy and remote in the winter as it is sun drenched in the summer. And then there is the novel’s hysterical climax -- a rich reward indeed for making it through to the final chapters.

The genesis of this remarkable novel can be traced to a spring day in 1984. Two restaurant workers were reminiscing about some of their more memorable customer confrontations when one inquired of the other: “Why don’t you write a book?” It goes without saying that one of those restaurant workers was Paul J. Barker, and that the wise suggestion was eventually heeded.

Fans of “Timothy’s Take-Out” might be interested to know that Barker has another book out, entitled “Life On Umbriel.” (ISBN # 0-595-37832-3) Touted as a “spectacular fantasy/adventure,” it is about a 19th Century fugitive who seeks refuge atop one of the most inaccessible mountains in the world. Both books can be found at select bookstores and all over the Web; for more information drop by the author’s website,

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