For the record, this was not because I wanted to give trolls an excuse to visit and talk about how ugly I am. Or how I should just shut up and kill myself or eat a bag of Uncle Richards or Pooh or whatever else all the cool, rebellious fairytale monsters who live under bridges are typing these days. Although this is the Internet, so I acknowledge it’s bound to happen at some point. Anyway, I think it’s important to note that writing the darned book was a personal journey for me.
The Robusta Incident started out, bare bones, as a 5 part (each part being a weekday Monday thru Friday) blog about a guy that turns his office into zombies over the course of a week. He does it because he’s fed up with the mindlessness of corporate culture. Something I cranked out 4 or 5 years back as therapy, not fleshing it out too much and certainly not thinking too much about its potential. Because, guess what, I was frustrated and fed up with all the corporate culture in which I was mired. It just didn’t make sense to me and it was dragging me down like quicksand. I couldn’t see how on earth it made a lick of sense to anyone else below a certain pay grade either. Not unless they were faking it, like a trophy wife does orgasms, on a daily basis. That’s still the only rational explanation, as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway, I woke up one morning and the potential kind of slapped me in the face. I had created Howard Danishefsky to be one of us, relatable, an everyday schmoe. All I needed to do was add a few unique twists. For instance, he’s a bit of a jerk with a comic book sized evil genius complex and an obsession with zombies. From Howard’s standpoint, he’s been pushed as far as he can be. By a divorce and his beloved mother’s death. By his tight-skirted Office Mussolini of a boss (Melinda Carpenter) trying to ruin him and hand the credit for his work to her current lover, pretty-boy Pate. Not to mention all the exercises in corporate futility that seem to be the backbone of the Robusta Corporation. He’s lost everything. Seriously. And when you have nothing left to lose, sometimes you just wake up with a little inner voice whispering, quietly, “What the hell? Why not do whatever you want now?”
And then, in walks Howard with an evil smirk on his face and a blowfish named Vincent Price, talking about zombie serum as if it’s a logical solution. Please understand, this is why I love him.
Howard is what happens when a writer listens to that little inner voice. His story is no bag of roses and sunshine, not by a long shot. But it’s dark comedy and, it’s an adventure and, hell, we both even managed to wrangle a little personal growth out if it by the end.
And I know, I bet you’re probably wondering, right about now…so what have I really learned from Howard Danishefsky? -Well, I suppose, it’s that the pen is a better alternative to the sword. And that sometimes it’s okay to write your revenge. As long as it comes with a wink and a nudge and a healthy dose of laughter.