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Hose-water Cereal and Day-Old Scones: A Single Stroke Seven Menu by Lavinia Ludlow

single stroke sevenThe characters in Lavinia Ludlow’s Single Stroke Seven (Casperian Books) may not enjoy the most appetizing of cuisine, but this book-themed menu put together by the author makes for a hilarious, if stomach-turning, read. In a review of Single Stroke Seven at Necessary Fiction, Alex Kudera writes, “I couldn’t stop turning pages.”

There were two goals resonating in mind while drafting this book. I wanted to redefine the phrase “suffer for your art” and exploit the spirit of the “starving musician.” By thrusting the characters into advanced states of survival mode, they were forced to devise cringe-worthy solutions to hunger and medical care. Below are a few items on the menu in Single Stroke Seven.

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  • Lukewarm coffee brewed from reused grinds and a paper towel filter. Have your band’s lead guitarist steal these during his shift at Noah’s Bagels.
  • Day-old scones and bagels fished from the dumpster behind Noah’s Bagels’. Don’t worry about cross-contamination or food poisoning because your lead guitarist always triple-bags the goods before hurling them in the trash.

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  • A raw block of Ramen seasoned with its broth packet. Drench this convenient meal-on-the-go with Worcestershire sauce and trick yourself into believing that you’re not chomping on a dehydrated brick but instead a juicy t-bone.
  • Beggin’ Strips that the feeble man who may or may not be your biological dad hoards beneath the fireplace ash because the woman who may or may not be your biological mom allegedly beats and starves him.

Afternoon Snacks

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  • Mailbox cereal eaten with “milk” that you engineer by diluting heavy cream with yard hose water (because the cream was on sale and real milk was not). Since you have a delinquent account with the water company, wait till nightfall to sneak into your neighbor’s yard to mooch refreshing aqua from their hose.
  • A fancy espresso drink that you concoct by ordering cheap filter coffee and abusing the milk in the condiment bar canisters.


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  • Condiments swiped from the office break room fridge. Choose items that pack the most fat and calories per bite like mayonnaise, cream cheese, and half-and-half, but settle for relish, mustard, jam, and olives, whatever will ease the shivers and hunger pangs as you round the thirteenth hour of your salaried shift.
  • Chef Boyardee’s “overstuffed beef ravioli” laced with imposturous red goo that the cartoon chef on the label wants you to believe is tomato sauce. Eat straight from the can with a spork, and swallow those suckers whole, or chance crunching on bone chips and sand.


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  • King Cobra and Mickey’s Forty malt liquor beer purchased at the gas station in a two for $5 bundle. Consume when getting shitfaced at your amateur street percussion rehearsal in the alley behind an East Side San Jose stripmall of Asian restaurants.
  • Gas station mart generic whiskey that smells sketchier than bathtub moonshine. Don’t worry about liver damage or going blind because you won’t be drinking it. You’ll need every drop to disinfect cuts and wounds since you and thousands of others in your community lack access to affordable health care.

Single Stroke Seven is available for purchase through Casperian Books or major online retailers.

Amy McDaniel

About The Author

Amy McDaniel

Amy McDaniel teaches high school and runs 421 Atlanta, a very small press that publishes poetry and short prose. She is the author of two chapbooks, both with the words "Adult Lessons" in the title, and her writing has been published widely online and in print. She is the editor of Real Pants.

Real Pants

Good hair, crooked gait

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