Roy and his mother managed to drag Spanky over the side and onto the floor, where he lay puking and gagging. Roy saw the remains of the reefer floating in the tub. Spanky was short and stout. Lying there on the bathroom floor, to Roy he resembled a big red hog, the kind of animal Louie Pinna had shoved into an industrial sausage maker. Roy began to laugh. He tried to stop but he could not.
—-Barry Gifford, Bad Things Wrong
Somewhere, somehow last night while I was surfing around the internet I came across some photos from the David Lynch movie Wild at Heart. I read and discovered that the basic plot of the film was from a noorish novel by Barry Gifford – a writer I had never heard of.
He seems like the kind of writer you would like if you liked that kind of writer.
I’ll have to look for his books. His latest work is The Cuban Club. From the Publisher:
A masterpiece of mood and setting, character and remembrance, The Cuban Club is Barry Gifford’s ultimate coming-of-age story told as sixty-seven linked tales, a creation myth of the Fall as seen through the eyes of an innocent child on the cusp of becoming an innocent man.
Set in Chicago in the 1950s and early 1960s against the backdrop of small-time hoodlums in the Chicago mob and the girls and women attached to them, there is the nearness of heinous crimes, and the price to be paid for them. To Roy and his friends, these twists and tragedies drift by like curious flotsam. The tales themselves are koan-like, often ending in questions, with rarely a conclusion. The story that closes the book is in the form of a letter from Roy to his father four years after his father’s death, but written as if he were still alive. Indeed, throughout The Cuban Club Roy is still in some doubt whether divorce or even death really exists in a world where everything seems so alive and connected.
Sixty-seven linked tales – that sounds interesting. Today’s short story, from Barry Gifford’s website, seems to be one of the short tales – if not from the book, at least related to it.
It’s a short read but manages to cram a lot of hopelessness and terror in there – concentrated and merciless.