"Presto" by Charles Rammelkamp

  • "Presto" by Charles Rammelkamp

Presto chronicles the adventures of an employee for a temp agency as he goes out on what often seem like absurd assignments for which he occasionally has to make up the rules as he goes along, improvise. As the sequence deepens, we see this unidentified character in later work situations. His attitude seems unchanged as he deals with the absurdities life throws his way.

What a supremely textured, sharp-witted and absorbing book Presto is. Rammelkamp explores the temp job experience brilliantly—that multivarious, short-term universe where a factotum shapeshifter resides only for a moment. That wet cement terrain one steps into for fast cash, then gets out of before it has a chance to harden.
—Robert Scotellaro, author of God in a Can and Ways to Read the World
In Presto, a man goes on a succession of short-term McJobs for a temp agency called...Presto, where the biggest joke of all is the promise of full-time work. Assignments as diverse as survey taker, security guard, house painter, phone salesman, and pretzel vendor become springboards for Charles Rammelkamp’s wry, spot-on workplace observations. These Chekhovian slices of life are a welcome response to capitalism’s “dignity of work” con job. 
—Peter Cherches, author of Whistler's Mother's Son
As an answer to the ubiquitous question – what do you do? – Presto takes us on a journey through the world of work as a Presto – a temp agency that sends the narrator on all sorts of jobs (most of which he’s convinced he isn’t ready for) and somehow ends up, catlike, on his feet. An easy and very likeable read, Presto will bring you back to your own tentative years before you knew for sure what you wanted to be when you grew up. 
—Francine Witte, author of Just Outside the Tunnel of Love

Charles Rammelkamp

Charles Rammelkamp lives with his wife Abby in Baltimore, Maryland, where he has been retired since 2014. He is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books, Maryland’s oldest continuously-publishing literary publisher, and he writes poetry and fiction. Recent books include A Magician Among the Spirits, winner of the 2022 Blue Light Press Poetry Prize, and Transcendence, published by BlazeVOX Books. Other titles include The Field of Happiness, Ugler Lee, Catastroika, American Zeitgeist, Mata Hari: Eye of the Day, Fusen Bakudan, Me and Sal Paradise, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, Mixed Signals and Castleman in the Academy.

Twitter: @CharlesRammelk2

email: RammelkampJC@gmail.com

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Tags: temp work;absurd;humorous;short story