Bob Merckel was awarded the not-yet-prestigious “Teclado de Mierda” (Keyboard of Shit), aka the “Teclacaca”, last night for his short story “The Trainwreck of Her Soul”. The annual prize, awarded by “Criticamos” (the literary offshoot of Spain’s political party, “Podemos”), celebrates the worst of the printed word.
During a post-awards interview, Merckel said, “What a shock! I always knew I was bad, but I never thought I’d scrape the bottom of the barrel.”
The story, hailed “a litter box of literary vomit,” is a stream-of-consciousness monologue of a 17-year old with a fraudulent Eurorail pass and a bottle of Adderall. She imagines herself as the pet cat of each of her fellow passengers, featuring gems such as, “this purring train meows to me, whatever scratching post it leads me to will be better than the claws of Carrefour cashierdom.”
Merckel said he tried to write (and finish!) something bad after struggling with the second draft of a novel he had started years ago. “Aiming for perfection was exhausting, so I gave mediocrity a shot.”
Will he return to his novel? “Well, now that I see just how bad I can be, maybe I’ll try a screenplay. Something starring Mario Casas.”