Pay As You Go
Mcsweeney's Literary Arts Fund
OverviewNew to town and delusionally confident, Slide imagined himself living in a glossy building with doormen and sweeping views of the skyline. Instead he’s landed in a creaking, stuffy apartment with two roommates: a loping giant who hardly leaves his room, and a weight-obsessed neurotic who keeps no fewer than forty-seven lamps throughout the house, blazing at all hours.
Unwilling to accept this fate, Slide—a barber with an opaque past—embarks on a quest for the perfect apartment, pinballing through the sprawling, madcap city of Polis and its endless procession of neighborhoods. As he bounces from foldout couch to disaster-relief tent, falling in with some tough types, Slide begins to realize that he’s going to have to scratch and claw just to claim a place for himself in this world—let alone a place with in-unit laundry.
An exuberant, fantastical odyssey, Pay As You Go wonders if what we’re searching for is ever really out there. Its pages—surreal, biting, and teeming with life—announce the startling talents of Eskor David Johnson, who knows that all any of us really want is a place to rest our head.