by Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt
Alex was seven when he ran away to join Santa’s elves.
If anyone had asked why he wanted to leave home, he would have said “I hate it here!” (Actually, he would have said, “I’m not telling you!”, then raced into his room and slammed the door, which is one way to say “I hate it here!” in the language of seven-year-olds.)
Alex had his reasons. Even after he started second grade, his parents made him go to bed at 7:30, even though all his friends stayed up until eight, and Fletcher didn’t go to bed until 9:00 p.m., an unmatched hour in his little boy crew. For Halloween, Alex wasn’t allowed to be Darth Vader, because his parents didn’t like him “idolizing villains,” and they made him be a Jedi knight instead. Alex made the best of it by telling everyone he was young Anakin Skywalker (a detail he kept from his parents so they wouldn’t change his costume into something stupid, like old Obi-Wan). He wasn’t allowed play dates with the two kids he liked the most, just because they got in trouble for chasing some kindergarteners and putting dirt in their hair. What was the big deal? Alex had gotten dirt rubbed in his hair when he was new, too!
About the Authors
Heather Shaw is a writer, editor, bookkeeper, and lindy hopper living in Berkeley, CA with her husband Tim and son River. She’s the fiction editor at the pro SF zine, Persistent Visions and has had short fiction published in Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy, Escape Pod, PodCastle, and other nice places. She’s been a featured author at the SF in SF Reading series in San Francisco and read her poetry in front of disgruntled grunge concert-goers at Lollapalooza back when it was a thing.
Tim Pratt is the author of over twenty novels, including Heirs of Grace and forthcoming space opera The Wrong Stars. His short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year’s Best Fantasy, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and other nice places. He’s a Hugo Award winner, and has been a finalist for World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Stoker, Mythopoeic, and Nebula Awards, among others. He lives in Berkeley CA and works as a senior editor at Locus, a trade magazine devoted to science fiction and fantasy publishing. For more than two years he’s been publishing a new story every month for supporters at patreon.com/timpratt. That’s where “Six Jobs” first appeared.
About the Narrator
Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4 and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud.
He started narrating stories for a wider audience than his wife and children in 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum. Since then, he has gone on to become PodCastle’s most prolific narrator.
He’s also narrated for many other podcasts, including all of the Escape Artists casts, StarShipSofa, Tales to Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine, and the Journey Into… podcast. He fits in all this narrating between his day job as a web developer in Vancouver, Canada, and being the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.