"uneven" is a collection of eleven short stories I wrote in eleven days.

Why did I do this? I don't know. I started out with the idea of writing a few tales revolving around the fine town of Crooked Corners, and after the fourth or fifth, I realized I was cranking them out pretty fast. In the face of horrific obstacles (I would rather not go into them here, as they upset me so much I would break down if I tried), I challenged myself to write one story a day for eleven days. The number seemed reasonable enough, and because of the time constraint, I didn't think they would add up to too many pages in the end.

I was wrong. Rather than making a book--with the accompanying expenses involved in photocopies and mailing unsolicited packages to my family and friends--I have decided to put these stories onto Crooked Corners Webside Stop. Though I know it is difficult to curl up with a computer and read, I will not be liable for damages if this behavior on your part results in injury and/or broken monitors. Besides, due to the painful carpal tunnel syndrome I developed on the tenth day (like having a snake's fangs permanently attached to my wrist), I have already spent $10.83 on a brace which I wear as I type this preface. By the grace of the managers at the drug store, it was on sale.

The table of contents presents the stories in the order I would have arranged them if they were actually published in a book the way I would prefer (on lambskin pages with fawn-gut stitching bound into a cover of calf leather). However, if you must move from one story to another in a higgledy-piggledy fashion, keep in mind that you may get lost. Or maybe not.

But do give yourself some time. Don't try to sit down and read one while your bath is running or the cheese burrito is in the microwave. I may have written them under duress (really, now, don't get me started), but I did at least take the time to run them through the spell checker thingy.

Oh, and just for fun, I gave myself the subordinate goal of making the stories different from each other genre-wise and tone-wise while constraining them to the same literary space. How's that for pretentious? Even I don't know what it means, and I'm a smarty-pants!

Alas, since the Internet is a public forum, I feel I must address specifically those of you with weak constitutions. Yes, certain words common to the English language but apparently unpopular in rarefied circles do appear among these tales. If you fear that exposure to such amalgams of phonetic symbols and their contextual meanings will harm your delicate sensibilities, then tough noogies.

I hope the rest of you enjoy "uneven."

Erik the Cool Cricket