“The Caretaker” by Dan Klefstad

“The Caretaker” is a first for this blog.  I was very reluctant when the author approached me to feature it on Fictionophile, but when I began to read it, I just couldn’t stop.

This short story begins:

Dear Applicant

Congratulations. Out of hundreds of applications, yours stood out for your “unwavering persistence to get the job done.” Well put! No doubt, you will deserve the eight-figure salary and opulent benefits that come with this job. But I must warn you: The more you read, the more my employer will consider you a threat if you decline our offer. If you have no intentions of taking the job, delete this message now before reading further.

I mean really, how can you not read on?  It is a clever ploy for sure.

Without revealing too much, I can only say that the genre is one I never read (above graphic is a HUGE clue!).  It only took a few minutes to finish, but I think I’ll remember it for some time. The writing held my interest, which is impressive given that the subject matter is not at all to my ‘taste’.  Well done Dan Klefstad!

To see Dan read from his short story “The Caretaker”, check out this YouTube video.

You can check out Dan’s novels that are available on Amazon.com HERE.

To regular readers of this blog – Don’t worry, I haven’t been converted… LOL

About Dan Klefstad and his inspiration behind “The Caretaker” in his own words:
I am the morning newscaster and book series editor for NPR station WNIJ. After my on-air shift ends at 9 a.m., I interview authors from all over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin — novelists, short story writers, poets, memoirists. Here’s my archive: http://northernpublicradio.org/topic/wnij-read-me

Each interview has been a master class in storytelling, and in the creative process, whether I’m interviewing someone with an international reputation (such as Robert Hellenga or Amy Newman) or a self-published writer from my neighborhood. I guess it made sense that I’d try to write my own stories. So, earlier this year, I published my debut novel, Shepherd & the Professor, on a traditional contract. Then I wrote this story, “The Caretaker” that I want to expand into a novel. The journal Crack the Spine was the first to express interest, so I went with them.

As for what inspired this piece…Let’s just say I’m a person who, like many others, works very hard and dreams of spending my “evening years” in peace and luxury — traveling the world, eating at the best tables, drinking the finest wines, and living life to the fullest. But I’m not there yet; I have several more years of work for an employer that demands much of me. But this employer, unlike the vampire Fiona, is on a mission to serve others. I am, of course, talking about public radio — independent, public service-minded journalism. It’s a mission I believe in — but, truth be told, it takes a toll. I’m sure everyone who works in the not-for-profit sector will identify with that statement.

I live in DeKalb, Illinois, with my wife Susan.


About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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18 Responses to “The Caretaker” by Dan Klefstad

  1. Christine says:

    I do not do vampires, but have to admit I’m intrigued by the sounds of the short story.


    • Fictionophile says:

      I don’t read vampire fiction either Christine. It was only the fact that the opening of the story was intriguing, coupled with the fact that it took only ten minutes to complete, that persuaded me to read it. Clever writing, but I won’t be reading further when he expands the story into a novel.


    • danklefstad says:

      Allow me to reveal more about my intentions for this story, and the subsequent stories that will comprise the novel. It’s not really about the vampires; they’re just a metaphor. These stories are about the humans who become perpetrators and/or victims in service to a constantly needy thing. How you interpret that “thing” will determine how you perceive the story. Hope that makes sense.


  2. Oh I loved this one! And Dan is fantastic. Very excited to see him here on your blog 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. danklefstad says:

    Reblogged this on danklefstadcom and commented:
    Thanks to Fictionophile for reviewing my story “The Caretaker.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. alexandrited says:

    Thanks for this opportunity to comment. Congrats on your job (I love NPR!) and writings. One thing popped into my head immediately, and you might want to think about it doing the same to others. I recently read and discussed in a book group, the novel The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad. Just a thought, perhaps a different, longer, or … title for your piece, esp if you expand it to novel length? Looking forward to hearing more from you. Best, Carolie

    Liked by 2 people

    • danklefstad says:

      I think I’ll take your advice when I title the novel. Don’t want to receive any “Cease and Desist” letters!


      • Fictionophile says:

        Dan, I wouldn’t take that comment to heart – unless you really want to. Before I retired I was a cataloger in a public library. There are myriad instances of titles that have been used over and over. For instance, there are at least 30 one word titles for “Betrayal” – by thirty different authors. A nightmare for library staff, but it will not merit you a ‘cease and desist’ letter. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      • alexandrited says:

        I love your reply! (Made me laugh–a good one.) Never thought of that! I just thought: two titles, less buyers or confused ones (too busy/lazy to dig deeper), or… Also, since your premise is quite different, I didn’t want readers to reject out of hand thinking they’d either read or didn’t want more of the same topic. I also agree with the Fictionphile writer’s comment. Recently, a writer released a novel titled Idiot (using the latest technique of intertextual technique w/in). As any editor worth his/her salt knows, a writer will do what a writer will do and that’s why we love to read what writers write.


  5. I really enjoyed this story too! Looking forward to the longer version.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I read this a while back but really didn’t enjoy it, I’m afraid. I found the amorality in it disturbing and not to my taste at all. However, each to his own…


    • Fictionophile says:

      I do agree with you Cathy. I was impressed with the author’s writing – but not his subject matter. I won’t be reading the full novel version. Vampire fiction is not something I’m likely to ever read.


  7. Pingback: “The Caretaker” by Dan Klefstad – danklefstadcom

  8. Jessica's Reading Room says:

    I have read this as well and also interviewed Dan. He might be expanding this short story into more! Me personally, I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Dan is very good at hooking his audience 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. deborahkehoe says:

    Ooooohhhh. Interesting! That certainly reaches out and grabs you!


    • Fictionophile says:

      Yes, the author used a clever ploy to capture his reader. (It would have to be ingenious to persuade me to read anything about vampires) Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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