Eating Authors: Jeremy Fabiano

No Comments » Written on November 17th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Jeremy Fabiano

Come Saturday, I’ll be participating in the online version of Philcon, holding forth on a few panels and doing a reading. It will be odd not to be there in person, but such is the world we live in. I honestly don’t understand how we can be halfway through November already. I’m not complaining, mind you, I want to race through the rest of 2020 because surely crossing into 2021 will lift the curse that we’ve all been grappling with these many months and through some magic or sleight of hand everything will be better.

I was supposed to be at the 20Books conference last week, but like all of the year’s travel those plans fizzled. But it got me thinking about the many incredible authors I’ve met at that event over the last two years, which as it turns out includes this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Jeremy Fabiano. How’s that for a segue?

Jeremy’s an IT guy by day, but for the past few years he’s been producing fiction across multiple genres, everything from LitRPG to Space Opera, Fantasy to Post Apocalyptic (and even something he calls Medieval Post Apocalyptic).

Like a lot of indie authors, he has elaborate plans involving releasing dozens and dozens of new titles over the next few years. From my conversations with Jeremy, both at past 20Books conferences and more recently through email, I had little doubt that he’d make that happen. After reading his most memorable meal, I changed my opinion from ‘little doubt’ to ‘no doubt at all’. The man has drive and determination. I’m just going to stand back and watch him do his stuff.

LMS: Welcome, Jeremy. Since we didn’t get to meet up in Las Vegas this month and actually break bread, would you mind telling me the tale of your most memorable meal?

JF: Like most stories, this one starts on a dark and stormy night. No, seriously. Hear me out real quick. I lived in Edgewater, Colorado at the time. November 28th, 2008. It was nearly three in the morning. Snow fell in sheets, blowing sideways in the wind. The magnesium chloride the snowplows dumped over the road was keeping it from sticking. It was beautiful, really.

The smell of old hotdogs assailed my nostrils. They didn’t smell good to me anymore — I was used to them. The buzz of the hotdog machine filled my left ear, Five Finger Death Punch blared in my right. My co-worker tended to customers not five feet away. It was a slow night. The kind where you get your tasks done, pass off to the next shift. Then, go home, shower, sleep, and do it all over again.

It was a rough time in my life. I had rent to pay. And child support. And the gas station was the only place hiring that was near home. And it was a rough neighborhood. We all knew that. The store four blocks away had a bulletproof glass cage around their cashiers. Our store? Four grainy surveillance cameras because “we never had issues.”

Bishop's Gambit

That night, things changed.

I was shoulders-deep in the hotdog machine when, peripherally, I saw my coworker fall over. She was in her early twenties. Not fit, but not overly heavy. Definitely shouldn’t be laying on the cold tiles. She hit the ground hard, landing on her back. How she didn’t hit her head, I can’t remember.

I dropped everything. Spun around, and was about to reach a hand to her when I noticed the expression on her face. Fear. Utter shock. She was terrified. And she was looking past me. I heard a noise behind me and I began to turn.

Someone punched me in the gut. It felt like nothing more than a slap. My thoughts? What kind of pussy punches someone in the stomach? I look down and see a hand pulling a twelve-inch chef’s knife from my abdomen.

Time stops. Thousands of years of instinct flood through my mind at the speed of thought. It all coalesced into one thought: I have less than three minutes to live. See, my dad was a doctor. My mom’s a nurse. And I scored extremely well in my human anatomy classes. I knew the knife had passed through my lower vena cava. I also knew that the assailant had missed my aorta due to my vertical rotation when I spun toward him. That gave me time. Not much, but some. If I was going to die, he was coming with me. He would never hurt anyone again. Ever.

Still, in slow motion, I could feel shock set in. Adrenaline flooded through my body setting my veins on fire. I felt stronger than I’d ever felt at any point in my life. I could have crushed brick to powder in one hand. I’d never killed anyone before. Oh well, first time for everything.

My legs shut off. Literally. Apparently, you need back pressure in your veins to make your fast-twitch muscle fibers, also known as type II fibers, do their magical explosive movements. These muscle fibers let you do all sorts of great things. Vertical leaps. Forty-yard dash. Punch someone in the throat with enough force to collapse their trachea, ending their life. Yeah. None of that happened.

I dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

It felt like half of a second, but several moments later, I stood. My senses reset, and he was gone. The knife lay next to me, discarded. I walked past my co-worker. She was losing it.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, are you all right?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “Not really.” I clutched my side to keep the blood in me. It provided minor backpressure. Enough for my legs to function. I called 911. My coworker was in shock. She was useless for the time being. The phone cut out halfway through reporting what happened. I walked to the back office, called 911 again, and got an ambulance on the way. The adrenaline surge wore off. My body temperature was dropping. Fast. I sank to the cold tile and lay on my side. I was done.

From being injured to the operating table was about nine minutes. The next three days are gone. Memories lost to the void. And I don’t want them back. They put a tube up my nose into my stomach. Five or so out of my stomach. And a catheter. And they intubated me. A million memories I’m happy not having. After two surgeries, both with less than twenty percent chance of survival, and nearly a quarter of a million dollars later, I woke up in the recovery room.

Legend of the Sword Bearer

Every fiber of my being. HURT.

My hair hurt.

My eyelashes hurt.

And I was HUNGRY.

No water.

No food.

Eight ounces of ice cubes per twenty-four hour period.


For forty days I didn’t eat. Your stomach shuts down a ways before that. Around the twenty to twenty-fifth day, if I remember correctly. I developed a new ability during my stay. I could tell you precisely what patients on the floor had ordered. With only one nostril — I still had an NG tube in the other.

The head nurse didn’t believe me. We wagered on it. I was accurate three out of four times. From five rooms away. They were impressed. I still felt tortured, but not exactly hungry anymore. I craved food, but I didn’t need it, per se.

Day forty:

The head nurse walked in. “The doctor cleared you to try to eat today. Are you feeling up to it?”

“Do you even have to ask?” I said with as much sarcasm as I could muster.

She laughed. “I figured I would, just to make sure. We’re going to try something easy.” She had the dietary aide bring in a covered plate. I knew what was in it before it cleared the delivery cart. My mouth watered. I nearly choked on my own salivations.

The platter was placed in front of me and the lid removed. If you’ve ever had hospital food before, you know it’s bland. The least amount of seasoning possible to match the most number of diets possible. It’s generally not great. But it’s fuel. Right?

Pot roast. Mashed potatoes. Gravy.

I took my first bite. Sensations I thought lost to me erupted throughout my body as dopamine flooded my receptors. Heaven. The meat was a gift from on high. As if the heavens parted, and God himself put this meal here, crafted by the hands of angels and delivered unto me by the Creator Himself.

The Bloodwood Forest

It was bliss.

An hour later, I finished eating the delightful meal. My arms were heavy — I was still recovering. And eating exhausted me. It was worth it. There was a side-effect I hadn’t considered. My stomach had shut down some ten-ish days prior. Now with food in it… well… let’s just say I know why a baby cries when it gets solid food for the first time. The cramps of your stomach rebooting are uncomfortable. Excruciatingly so. And the bowel movement afterward? I also understand why baby diapers smell so horrid…

A couple of weeks later, I was released from the hospital. I was septic. I couldn’t work. Bills were due. I’d spent Christmas in the hospital. And new years. My first wife had brought my son to see me. It was time to go…

Now, I did the only thing I could do. At twenty-nine years old, I moved back to my parent’s house in California.

A lot has happened since then. A few relationships. Got married. Getting divorced soon — we’ve been separated for a while, but we’re friends again — bonus. My son (previous marriage) moved in with me a few years ago — finally got custody.

I had started my first book three weeks before I got stabbed.

Two years ago, I published my NEW first book. The original book is still collecting dust. But a new series will be pulling all the info from it and finally putting to use.

I have to be careful about what I eat. There was a ton of internal damage. But I’m surviving. It isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Thanks, Jeremy. Also, whoa! And yet, reading your account, I remember my favorite meal during my weeks in hospital earlier this year. It was actually a hot dog (with cheese). I feel like you and I have come full circle.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

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