In this 50-page story, Jitters by Ken Stark, the narrator, Harold, describes all the failures in his life from the time of the first remembrance to present. At approximately 31 years of age, Harold has failed at everything and has ended up living in the same basement accommodations where he had started out years before. His parents still lived upstairs although they had gotten considerably older. Harold’s mother was never slow to tell Harold “I told you so.” The parents had produced a child that took no responsibility for anything wrong in his life. It was always someone else’s fault. His mother had always promised Harold he would fail at whatever he tried and the dutiful Harold proceeded to fulfill her predictions. His father, providing the ideal example to Harold, never contradicted his wife.
Stark describes Harold’s hermetic lifestyle in a downstairs bedroom in disgusting detail. Harold enjoys his own body scents and the odors produced by dirty clothing in various degrees of fermentation. Harold keeps himself busy with self-studies of pornographic art and literature. He would take no notice of the world outside his bed except for occasional forays off the bed to eliminate monsters that were his greatest fear, cockroaches.
Until the cockroaches arrive at a point where they have had enough. And the battle begins. This story has one human character and a horde of cockroaches. True, there is Jimmy Stanton, the neighbor next door but Jimmy has little impact on this action story of an epic battle.
This short story deserves a five-star Amazon rating for description alone. Ten pages are devoted to the disgusting imagery of Harold. A full forty pages are devoted to description, lifestyle, and animus of cockroaches. This should have received a very high grade in a creative writing class.
Occasionally Amazon offers Kindle novels free. I got this for USD 0.00; it is currently on sale for USD 0.99. I think this would be a good story for aspiring writers as an example of excellent descriptive writing. Stark even leads the writer to anticipate two very interesting possible endings and then doesn’t use either one. Stark chose a third ending which I didn’t find as exciting as the two suggested but the story still deserves five stars.