Vardeman, David - An Angel Of Sodom
Who let this guy loose?
The opening title story is a wild read and an avalanche of deranged images. Fifteen year old Jackie weighs 342 lbs, his knockers are the envy of most girls. Under his belt lurks his mantool, buried beneath folds of flesh. Folds that prove resistant to hygiene, so they waft like only body stench can.
Such is merely the opening of a painfully funny novella.
Within weeks, however, Jackie experiences “growing up” lessons, and his outlook detours into a sadder perspective.
Oh, the novella is written without commas or quotes. Yeah, yeah, the author is being artsy.
“… I’ve always had to do the wrong thing to find out what the right thing would have been …”
So sighs Mrs. Windbourne, pondering her quietly misspent life. She has struck up a conversation with a new friend in “Stomboli” as their cruise ship circles the volcanic island of the same name. Both females, one insecure, the other incisive, drink cocktails on deck, and their exchanges grow ever more irrational and incoherent.
The next outing bears a conversational tone, with a repetitive narrative style. Meaning a phrase or sentence is echoed in varying degrees. This repetition, for me, became like an annoying coworker.
Anyway, “A Young Guy And His Career” might just as well be Detection 4 Dummies. One morning, Wally decides he is a detective. He posts an advertisement, and lands his first case within 15 days. From there, the tale moseys from Pigge to pig. I kid you not. A satire on hard boiled dicks and the Great American Way, if a little hammy.
“Tramp On The Street” is another long tale. Opening paragraphs resemble a standup monologue. Our narrator’s mother has just died – so – doing as you or I, he heads to the local saloon.
The usual table, the usual cronies, spouting alcohol soaked wisdom and philosophy. Much of your sympathy here may depend on your thoughts on the human race.
There are one or two interludes where our narrator, Kap, leaves the table and reflects. Situations, observations, paths untaken. Mr. Vardeman enters more serious territory here, before stepping back and returning to sarcasm de jour.
This is not a collection to trot through or to read solo, one story after another. The author’s voice has a “samey” quality, and I found it best to space these between stories or novels by varying writers.