|Now||2020||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Black Authors||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio||Artwork||WIP|
Today's story from Fantasy & Science Fiction is "Hunchster" by Matthew Hughes. This short story reminds me most of the "Mind Over Murder" episode of Family Guy.
In "Mind Over Murder" most of the episode centers around Peter building a bar in his basement while he's under house arrest. The B-plot though has Stewie building a time machine. Here the plot isn't about beer; it's about poker. The narrator and his buddies are taking advantage of someone who wants to be called the "Hunchster." He's good with technology but is probably on the highly functioning end of the autistic spectrum.
The Hunchster is a victim of the dot-com crash. Once upon a time he'd had a career at an up and coming start-up that promised to change the world. Except it didn't. Now he's on disability and his "roommates" need his regular checks to pay the rent. That's about all they need him for.
Stewie and the Hunchster are both ignored Stewie because he's a baby and the Hunchster because he's not exactly social. Both are perfectly happy to be left alone. They use their time to build things. Stewie's family is probably too dim to understand most of what he does but the Hunchster's roomies are just smart enough to see potential in what he has created.
Poker themed stories usually make my eyes glaze over and my brain turn off. I just don't care for the game. But Hughes pulls it off for "Hunchster" by peppering in enough dialogue to give a hint at what's really going on. So when the big surprise comes it's a rewarding end.