BARNACLE BRAT by Adrian Baldwin
5/5 Bloody Towel Hooks
– (if you don’t giggle at the reference – you don’t know
your Dark Comedy 101)
‘When there is absolutely nothing left to do, you HAVE to pull the trigger.”
It begins with an upside down Betty.
Betty is a V.W. Bug. But, her occupants are upside down too. Lester & Veronica are hanging by their seat belts in the back seat – (sixty year olds looks much older upside down), while the also upside down driver, Leon, is arguing with a dummy (“I’m a mannequin!”) in the front.
This is the opening of BARNACLE BRAT, and even though it’s tagged as a Dark Comedy For Grown-Ups, I never imagined it would live up to my definition of a dark comedy. (Not saying I wear a cape of Super Wit, just saying I have a pretty messed up sense of humor!)
* The Urban Dictionary defines a big girls blouse as –
A male displaying percieved feminine characteristics through actions which cause his peers to think less of him. Being a big girls blouse is much worse than being just a girls blouse, thus it’s highly insulting nature.Also used to force a man to do something they fear through peer pressure.
See also: pink fluffy curtain; gaylord
Leon Blank is enough of a character to fill this book.
He’s a bit … ‘touched’. He hears voices, (and answers them), he sees things (side effect of being sexually frustrated?), and speaking of sexually frustrated – his tastes are a tad unconventional – Voyeurism; Feederism; Shoes – that kind of thing. Since the accident, these things seem to be escalating. Saying he’s ‘easily distracted’ doesn’t quite grasp his level of – oh look! A duck!
Now, add in the cast of characters that surround Leon, and you get 400 pages of a book that you can’t put down. When you HAVE to put it down, for pesky things like sleep or work, it calls out to you. I thought about Leon when I wasn’t reading about him. I admit that it took me a little longer than usual to finish this book, but I chalk that up to rereading sections that I listened to on my commute to & from work.
* The Urban Dictionary defines (in part) Feederism as –
An underground sexual fetish which involves one partner (the feeder) feeding the other, both to obtain sexual arousal and to encourage weight gain in the feedee.
Some feeder relationships are not undertaken with the purpose of weight gain at all but for the enjoyment of food in an intimate context.
Leon seems to get constantly used and taken advantage of by those closest to him – his ‘agoraphobic’, “Im not lazy, I’m just not well”, brother Richard, his grandparents Bill & Norma- who always seem to be busy, (unless they want some of his money, then they’ll spare 5 minutes), and even the people he considers friends, like Wayne. But, he’s nearing the end of his rope. I was wishing he’d go balls-out on some of these people; it made me feel better that he KNEW what was happening, (for the most part), and I wasn’t in a rage because he was clueless & naive.
“Silence is argument carried out by other means.”
The evil clown, the one that reminds him of John Wayne Gacy’s ‘Pogo’ character, has started following him more vigorously, and he’s carrying a baseball bat! And now – who a that big, wrestler-looking dude with him?
He fears he’s losing his grip, he’s definitely losing time. Did he talk to that girl earlier today, or was it a week ago?
He’s going to start keeping track of things. Writing it down, a journal to keep track of the weird things.
And there is no lack of weird things in this book!
Even listed as a dark comedy, don’t think that everything is a barrel of laughs. There were times that I’d be pissed off, and other times where I felt I wanted to cry. I also laughed out loud – a couple times I laughed out loud while listening to the book, and people think I’m a lunatic!
If you have the choice, let me recommend the physical copy of this book. (I have both – e-book and a [signed] physical copy). The electronic version doesn’t do justice to the stunning cover-art, or the different fonts used.
Awesome gift from author Adrian Baldwin!
**A note to film-maker/photographer/artist MIKE ZAFFINO –
Again, Marco (Mike for a bit, in my head ) – my deepest & heartfelt apologies to you.
I have a weird sense of humor, and have an odd need to quote movies at every possible moment. While I think I’m hilarious most of the time, I forget that people who have never met me, or even heard my name, have no clue as to what I may be thinking at any given moment. I want to publicly say that I’m sorry – I came off rude when I meant to be funny. I hope we can start fresh!!
I have a special little video that I want to share here, kind of an ‘inside’ joke for Adrian & some of his buddies. (They’ve got a Molly and they know how to use it!)
If you haven’t read the book yet, or the acknowledgements at the end, that’s ok – because you can enjoy the video for what it is. Someone on YouTube, COYOTE STARRK, made this video for Jonathon Culton’s song re: your brains – and it’s been one of my favorite things for a long time.
Adrian on FACEBOOK