The Naked Mole Rat

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The Naked Mole Rat promises a letter is forthcoming. Reserved, soft-spoken, the Naked Mole Rat has been more or less forced to acknowledge the fact that the service at Cheron’s Dine and Eat has become practically intolerable. The servers are downright rude. Hateful, even. For the most part, the Naked Mole Rat keeps to himself. He works from home. He cooks most of his own meals, or eats them cold. He’s not particularly interested in relationships, romantic or otherwise. But every now and then, he reasons, one must go out, if only to maintain a socially acceptable level of decorum. The Naked Mole Rat finds Cheron’s Dine and Eat to be the most palatable restaurant on the block, and the most affordable. He likes the arrangement of the tables and chairs. He likes the look of the menu. There are a variety of edible textures from which to choose. He has never ordered anything complicated or asked for any kind of special treatment. But the wait-staff at Cheron’s Dine and Eat prefer to treat him as a burden, rather than a paying customer. He is often left standing at the front door for twenty minutes or more, on nights that are not particularly busy or crowded, while the wait-staff passes him by, over and over again. The Naked Mole Rat blames his size. He blames his looks. He is not charming or even friendly, really. He may not be interesting to others, but he knows he’s not bothersome. At least he hopes he isn’t, or hasn’t been. The Naked Mole Rat feels the wait-staff at Cheron’s Dine and Eat can only see him one way: as a small, unpleasant-seeming creature. He is hard to look at, hard to understand. He is not like the rest of the clientele at Cheron’s Dine and Eat. This makes it very hard for the Naked Mole Rat to go back, time and again, as he does, when he feels it is right to do so. When he feels it is right to do so, he feels, on some level, that he must, but he is afraid as well. He is afraid to be mistreated. And the Naked Mole Rat resents being made to live in fear. Recently, the Naked Mole Rat went back to Cheron’s Dine and Eat thinking, This time, it will be different, and he waited nearly fifteen minutes to be noticed. A waitress passed and he said, Excuse me, Miss. She turned, but did not stop walking. Sir, she said. She nodded once, her eyes fixed on something just above the Naked Mole Rat. The Naked Mole Rat promises a letter forthcoming. This is intolerable, he thinks. This is intolerable, he will write. Just as soon as it feels right to do so.

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Colin Winnette is the author of the novel Revelation (Mutable Sound 2011) and a collection of short stories, Animal Collection (Spork Press 2012). He was recently the recipient of the Sonora Review’s 2012 Fiction Award. His newest book, a collection of novellas entitled A Long Line of Diggers, is forthcoming from Atticus Books in March 2013. He lives in San Francisco.