About the Book: The characters in Matthew Pitt’s debut short story collection strive to blend into the background only to wind up emerging from or being prodded past the scrims of convention. Some do it bravely; others with reckless abandon. In ‘The Mean,’ a cancer-stricken, high school math teacher’s plan to live out his days in quiet moderation shatters, after he befriends a gang of stoner dropouts. In ‘Au Lieu des Fleurs,’ Parisian prankster-anarchist Mouna Aguigui visits a grieving office worker in his bowl of soup, nudging him and others to commit madcap acts of agitation. In ‘Kokomo,’ a young boy living in a rural Indiana community becomes attuned to a piercing hum a noise that may presage apocalyptic events. And in the title story, a public address announcer entertains crowds by airing the local baseball team’s dirty laundry for the entire stadium to hear. Throughout the people inside these eleven stories are jolted awake, alert, and alive by patchwork alliances, bracing humor, and episodes of surreal grace. Matthew Pitt is a writer who understands and explores the strange balance between the serious and the comic, the quirky and the familiar. Irresistibly complex, always imaginative, these stories showcase an immensely talented writer grappling with the ironies and difficulties of life in the new century.