Does Anyone Care How the Vegetable Oil Feels?

Does Anyone Care How the Vegetable Oil Feels?

I knew this fucking writer who every time he wanted to write something he’d go way deep in the zone and live the shit hard. I asked him do you call it method writing or some shit and he chased me with a butcher knife. One time he wanted to write a story about a drummer who was manic depressive and a maniac genius and this was definitely way before that fucking Whiplash movie came out except he didn’t know shit about drums or music, the writer I mean, he just liked jazz and death metal. He bought a drum kit off this retired drummer dude who used to play in twenty different bands and was 6 foot 4 and 400 pounds. He pounded this kit all night not knowing what the ever-loving fuck he was doing, and the old lady that lived downstairs came up three times, and she was hard of hearing as shit. His hands didn’t bleed like in that movie, but I think out of frustration he took a knife and cut his palms open and as he was spewing blood all over his floor he decided the drummer in the story would have to be a total lunatic who howled at the moon so he went out and howled for hours and wrapped his hands in J-cloths and we got really drunk, vomiting and everything, then later he got nerve damage.

He was obsessed with porcupines and wanted to write a story about one named Barbara, so he a went out into the country and trapped one, don’t ask me how. He came back with it thrashing around in a net, his hands and chest already stuck with quills. He said his dad called him Porcupine. This thing lived in his apartment for weeks, rampaging around all pissed off but eventually it chilled out and then later it died and he was so sad, even though he’d no longer be impaled with quills. I meant to ask him why his dad called him Porcupine but I forgot and then it was too late.

I brought Emma over once, I’d just told her he was a writer I looked up to, and not much else and she seemed to like that I was spending time with other writers, people from whom I could learn, but when we got there and she said so you’re a writer huh he said no I’m an accountant and she said oh, I thought you were a writer and he said no I’m an accountant. She nodded and looked confused and looked at me and he said writers are fags and I wasn’t about to begin trying to explain him to her, who knew what the fuck he was working on at the time. Then later a guy he was dating came over and they made out a bit and Emma was more confused.

I just wanted to spend more and more time around him and Emma did ask about that, but I just enjoyed being in the room with the guy, like everyone else did. Magnetic shit. After he died I felt numb and like shit and thought about trapping porcupines but didn’t. I didn’t tell her that he died, I still haven’t told her. She probably doesn’t know, why would she.

The last thing I remember him working on was a story told from the perspective of a bottle of vegetable oil that had been on the same grocery store shelf for nine years. He said he’d been writing the fucking thing for nine years and had erased and chopped and rewritten more than he could remember, and still only had 325 words. He was obsessed with this fucking batshit story. He couldn’t type anymore because of the nerve damage in his hands so he recorded the story on a voice recorder but his voice was shot from smoking glass so he had me come over a few times to help him record the thing, but I’d say a few sentences the way he told me to then he’d shake and go nuts and scream no no no it’s all fucking wrong! His apartment was littered with empty bottles of canola oil, I’m talking hundreds. He had one full bottle on the kitchen counter, looking down at us while we worked. I asked him about that story later, and in his broken voice he said ah fuck that stupid shit, I’m done with it, but I knew he was lying. I just knew. He was thinking about that story all the time, right then and there, as we spoke. I just knew.


About the Author

Derek Fisher is a writer from Toronto, with work published or forthcoming in X-R-A-Y, Wigleaf, The Harvard Advocate, Heavy Feather Review, Fugitives & Futurists, TRNSFR, Atlas and Alice, and more. To see more of his writing, visit


Photo by Enguerrand Blanchy on Unsplash