Paperback: 82 pp.
Leaky Tubs trots out a variety of societal misfits who rise to the surface of Brodsky’s toxic satire, exhibiting everything from compulsive toilet routines to rage brought on by a surfeit of Thanksgiving turkey. The reader meets, firsthand, an eighty-three-year-old ersatz Mr. Universe, who ogles female weightlifters; two born losers who see themselves as evolutionary throwbacks to their simian ancestors; a crematory operator who misfires but redeems himself with an eleventh-hour substitution; a writer who strains so hard to break his block that he leaves his mark in a different medium; a fruitful-but-unmultiplying wino who seduces a teenage waitress at “Vito’s Little Sicily,” only to end up under the two-jug influence of impotence; and a desperate commuter who rolls in on fumes to a gas station, wrangles with a broken pump, and pushes a vindictive attendant too far.
How lost we can let ourselves get when people assume we're schizophrenic and we take them at their word. How claustrophobic we get inside hallucinations arising from such vital delusions when we allow ourselves to follow our dreams to their illogical conclusions at land's end, only to fall off the invisible edge, into a wet sponge a hundred feet below, survive the painless blow, bow to the inaudible applause of a crowd of thousands — creatures escaped from Seussian page-cages — huddled under a red-and-white circus tent, whose roof and sides are the hides of living zebras.
Suddenly my I becomes a you, me, myself, and I dissociated from my ego, and you think, OK, bub, you've stuck myself good now, got me so far out there in midair that getting back will be Houdini slipping ten sets of chains while strapped into a straitjacket inside a casket filled with writhing rattlesnakes.
So you shake yourself like a maraca. Your brains resonate as if infested with chittering crickets, and you think, How are you going to perform this trick, transform your soul into an integrated whole again, return to the I associates recognize . . . especially when, this time, someone's forgotten to saturate the sponge?