Fat Books & Thin Women

Story Sunday: John Jodzio’s “This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get”

Story Sundays is a weekly feature at Fat Books & Thin Women. Always short stories, always ones available online for free.

John Jodzio’s “This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get” is a powerhouse of a story, one that punches you in the gut, repeatedly, and proves just what a skilled writer can do with 500 words. There is a gorgeous repetition to this story, which underscores not just the routine and drudgery of work and a life but the need for that routine and the reasons behind it.

“This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get” is about a woman who works at a nail salon. Jodzio’s story opens:

Tell your customers they have pretty hands, even if they don’t, especially if they don’t.  Good breath means good tips.  If you get sad, go into the break room and stick your head in the pickle bucket filled with the Mexican nail polish and you’ll get happy real quick.

It’s that image, of the pickle bucket filled with Mexican nail polish, that comes up again and again in the story and gives to Jodzio’s prose, though spare, the feel of verse. And though he never manipulates his reader, if you don’t reach the end of this story feeling like your heart’s been squeezed to a pulp – something’s not right.

Go. Read. Now.

Read “This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get” online


Be sure to visit Shivanee at Novel Niche and read her Story Sunday post. If you’d like to join in and begin posting your own Story Sunday feature, email story.sundays@gmail.com for information.


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[…] This Sunday, Ellen, the creator of the Story Sundays feature, shares her thoughts on ‘This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get’ by John Jodzio. You can read her post at her blog, Fat Books and Thin Women, here. […]

Pingback by Story Sundays – ‘Winter Break’ by Hilary Mantel « Novel Niche: A Place for Books

sounds great- have read another short story by Jodzio & was blown away by how much he could convey in such a concisely written story- off to check this one out.

Comment by Jennifer, bookspersonally

I preordered Get In If You Want to Live last week – so excited for it!

Comment by ohemgillie

I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. Have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Jodzio till I read this story – I think I am a lot more out of it, in terms of recent short stories, than I want to admit. (This will all change in a year, when I spend every cent of my peace corps readjustment allowance on magazine subscriptions.) Based on this story, I’m already convinced the man can do no wrong – it’ll be fun to hear what you think of a collection of his work.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Reading this short piece was the best way to spend five minutes on a Sunday morning that I can imagine. I’ve kept my eye on Pank’s issues for some time now. Thinking of submitting work there in the near future; for various reasons it’s a publication that rings true with me.

I’m adding both his collections to my ‘must have’ list. Great Story Sunday post!

Comment by Shivanee @ Novel Niche

I added Pank to my regular reads recently. It’s one I’d love to submit to, too, but I hesitate because I’m not sure that my stuff qualifies as a “good fit” there. Also, the stories they publish are just so damn good.

I’m glad so many people here pointed out Jodzio’s collections. They’re going onto my (seemingly endless) “must have” list too. Or at least the “must find at the library” list.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Thanks for reviewing this wonderful short story. I read it and featured it on my Short Story Monday segment. John Jodzio is new to me but I’m going to look for more of his work. He’s fantastic.

Comment by Kinna

Glad you liked the story! I have a feeling that within the week I’ll find myself on Jodzio’s website, trying to find other stories I can read online.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

[…] what a short story can do. In format, the story is similar to one featured here a few months ago, John Jodzio’s “This is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get”: a monologue directed at a new employee. Orozco’s picture of the office is spot-on and […]

Pingback by Story Sunday: Daniel Orozco’s “Orientation” « Fat Books & Thin Women

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