Paperback: 113 pp.
In Pigskinizations, L.D. Brodsky's seventh book of short fictions, a potpourri of functionally dysfunctional characters assembles itself for public inspection: a married man with a snoring problem, who finds complete bliss on his porch; a couple who've found separation to be the secret to the perfect marriage, and another, who prematurely celebrate the termination of their ant infestation; an apartment dweller who has a commuter train running through his bedroom; an evangelical peddler of insecticide and a traveling salesman purveying marital aids to a drug-addled poet; a college student with an arousing tattoo; an animal lover who revels in "walking" his pet boa constrictor; and two men who see themselves for what they really are ¬ an ape and a dinosaur. And through six of the stories, Brodsky's foul-mouthed, language-butchering auto-assembly-line worker survives the "K-Y2 viral," to "celebate Nude Year's Eve" and the "Stupor Bowl 34 x 2 +1" victory of his hometown "St. Louis Cardinal Rams."
A collection of short fictions depicting the confusions and wrong-headedness of modern American life (among the hoi polloi). One part humor, two misanthropy. For those who missed breakfast with the gang at the café, Mr. Brodsky will supply the patter and patois. The author's poetically licensed love of language leads to a great deal of punning and slanging (and literary/cultural allusions far beyond the ken of his 'regular folks') and hash slinging bone motes all over the diner. The book reads as if he had a great deal of fun writing it (humor can be like that). But as a publisher myself, I have to wonder who the intended audience is. Perhaps those willing to go beyond Tom Wolfe's flailing attempts to be a modern Dickens. Better to have (as Mr. Brodsky does) the tongue firmly placed in cheek than sticking out (as Mr. Wolfe does to his enemies, those lesser gods).
Promenading with Mr. Versace
Sometimes, late at night, when he's out walking his fourteen-foot boa constrictor (its vestigial hind legs and hip bones protruding slightly, in an exercise of evolutionary futility), which he keeps on a rhinestone-studded leash attached to a custom-made collar and muzzle he special-ordered from the local pet shop, the snake capable of undulations calibrated to keep pace with his four-mile-an-hour stride, the snake, Mr. Versace, at complete ease with its surroundings and with its master's nocturnal routine, oblivious of streetwalkers and common hussies, sophisticated odalisques pimped, in stretch limos, by the mayor and his Council of Concerned Teenage Mothers, who would proposition "Mr. V" for an hour's venery, if only its owner would become a consenting adult . . . sometimes, when the moon is bright in the seventh house and he and Mr. Versace (a South American boa of Italian ancestry, whom he acquired from an aging member of the Medellin cartel, retired, "with extreme prejudice," from brokering contraband coca extracts — the snake a token of the man's lasting appreciation, his deep esteem for their Colombiano/Gringo amistad) are very much in Shakespearean love with each other, he thinks about his life B.C. (Before Constrictor) and weeps for all that he realizes, now, he was, without the slightest insight then, missing out on, when he misguidedly had only a wife and three children, houses in the Hamptons, San Francisco, Palm Beach, and Corfu, mistresses from Rio de Janeiro to Juan-les-Pins, a stable of racecars, and a seat on the Bourse de Paris . . . sometimes, when summer rains drench his contented soul or snow blows his mind with its exquisite flakes or a total eclipse of the sun exposes him and his lover to its midnight nuclear corona, he runs his fingers down Mr. Versace's cold-blooded spine, massages the boa's vertebrae, ribs, anoints its dry scales with aphrodisiacal emollients, pleasures it by peeling its molting skin, and whispers the sweetest nothings from his own flicking tongue, knowing, as they both know oh too intimately, that after concluding their promenade, their undulation, they'll return to his chichi digs, bed down in a cage he's had custom built by Moen, approximating a rain forest in Brazil, and, squeezing each other with voluptuous passion, consummate the holiest union between man and snake since Creation.