Sam Frybyte is known around the Chronicle office for writing challenging, fascinating stories about fringe characters. His writing is often philosophical, musing, and grammatically difficult. We fell for his fiction with the story, Our work has just begun. This strange piece of satire takes less than a minute to read, but it leaves a strong impression. It reminds us of Franz Kafka in the best possible way: digging its teeth into corporate structure, the black humor of something resembling human resources bent on making life just a little bit worse. It’s this sense of dark sarcasm that led us to approach Frybyte for a Chronicle Playlist.
We gave Frybyte free creative reign on his playlist, and he produced a truly original work that we’re very proud to be the first to publish. Summing up Gladys in the traditional sense is an exercise in futility – the story spirals and sprawls across themes, genres, and characters. The unifying piece of Gladys is the setting: things revolve around and take place in the bar known only as Gladys. The style of writing is distinctive: it feels as if your drunken grandpa or great-uncle is sitting in the corner, spouting half-true stories that everybody is only half-listening to.
Reading Gladys can be challenging, and the narrative thread isn’t always 100% straightforward. You might occasionally lose track of exactly what’s happening for a few sentences at a time. When you do, stick with it, because things do always come back into focus. It’s those seemingly nonsensical sentences that often contain important meaning, even if their purpose isn’t immediately obvious. If you stick with it, you’ll find, by the end, that you, like so many characters in Gladys, don’t want to leave the bar.
Look for Gladys out today on Chronicle!