Douglas Stuart in Conversation with Maureen Corrigan

Posted in Announcements

Left: Douglas Stuart headshot. Right: Maureen Corrigan headshot.

October 26, 2021 at 7:00PM ET

Location: Lohrfink Auditorium, Rafik B. Hariri Building
Moderated by Maureen Corrigan

Public Health Guidelines:
Thanks to the generosity of the Lannan Foundation, all readings are free and open to the public. However, all attendees are required to wear a mask at all times and follow Georgetown University’s public health guidelines.This guidance for indoor campus spaces shall apply regardless of vaccination status for the time being and may be updated in the future. If you are experiencing fever or symptoms, please stay home.

From Shuggie Bain

The day was flat. That morning his mind had abandoned him and left his body wandering down below. The empty body went listlessly through its routine, pale and vacant-eyed under the fluorescent strip lights, as his soul floated above the aisles and thought only of tomorrow. Tomorrow was something to look forward to.

Shuggie was methodical in setting up for his shift. All the pots of oily dips and spreads were decanted into clean trays. The edges were wiped free of any splashes that would go brown quickly and ruin the illusion of freshness. The sliced hams were artfully arranged with fake parsley sprigs, and the olives were turned so that the viscous juice slid like mucus over their green skins.

Ann McGee had the brass neck to call in sick again that morning, leaving him with the thankless task of running his deli counter and her rotisserie stand all alone. No day ever started well with six dozen raw chickens, and today of all days, it was stealing the sweetness out of his daydreams.

He pushed industrial skewers through each cold, dead bird and lined them up neatly in a row. They sat there, with their stubby wings crossed over their fat little chests like so many headless babies. There was a time he would have taken pride in this orderliness. In reality, pushing the metal through the bumpy pink flesh was the easy part; the difficult part was resisting the urge to do the same to the customers. They would pore over the hot glass and study each of the carcasses in detail. They would choose only the best bird, ignorant to the fact that battery farming meant they were all identical. Shuggie would stand there, his back teeth pinching the inside of his cheek, and indulge their indecisiveness with a forced smile. Then the pantomime would really begin. “Gies three breasts, five thighs, and just wan wing the day, son.”

He prayed for strength. Why did no one want a whole chicken any more? He would lift the carcass using long prongs, careful not to touch the birds with his gloved hands, and then he would dissect the parts neatly (skin intact) using catering scissors. He felt like a fool standing there against the broiler lights. His scalp was sweating under the hairnet and his hands were not quite strong enough to artfully snap the back of the chicken with the dull blades. He hunched slightly, the better to throw his back muscles behind the pressure in his wrists, and all the time he kept smiling.

Continue reading Shuggie Bain at KCRW.

Read more about Douglas Stuart.

Read about Maureen Corrigan.