Spend it All

“Had I mentioned the real intention behind my return home—eating myself to death—I’m pretty sure my grandmother’s reaction may have been more subdued…”

So begins Teddy Rawski’s journey to his hometown of Buffalo, and to the end of the night. An obsessive eater, itinerant dreamer, half-hopeful novelist, reluctant food journalist, and a pathological football lunatic, Teddy ponders nascent adulthood’s quandaries on the road, over too many drinks and a beleaguered stomach. Set against the big-shouldered indifference of his present Chicago, between scattered half-stabs at professionalism, an unamused editor, unpolished manuscript, and a sputtering late-20’s romance, Teddy wonders on a last ditch trip. For an assignment, maybe. To end it all, possibly. But also for a check on the tattered family he left behind, and the broken Buffalo Bills responsible for all life failures.

This is a story of the busted-gut death of a childhood, any idealism, all good health. Rife with chicken wings, pizza, and Proust, it is a reflection on football and futility, colored by a throat-punching uncle, slice-counting brother, and a smattering of ghosts and interior dialogue diarrhea. Spend It All is an after-hours vomitorium of fandom and frustration, a last-call fever dream of ideas and appetites.

Todd Lazarski is a freelance writer and the author of the novel Make the Road by Walking. Born in Buffalo, he currently lives in Milwaukee with his wife and daughter.