by L. D. Brodsky
Last night, he floated home, from work, on a current of turbulent, groaning automobiles forming a rush-hour river running in reverse, like the Mississippi during the New Madrid quake of 1812.
He knew not who he was or whether time was a co-conspirator in his journey; indeed, he may have reached his destination or not. Either way, it was inconsequential and crucial to his nonsurvival.
No one he knew intimately, all strangers to themselves, the stars and planet, and him, agreed or disagreed as to his identity and purpose.
In truth, he never arrived at his tenement on the fringes of forgetting, where he’d spent the previous ten minutes or years suspended in fast-forward black-hole collapse.
Of a sudden, his naked shadow materialized, pacing the main runway at Lambert International as if communicating with jets taking off and landing like confused angels sent by a disillusioned friend of man.
Waving frantically, screaming, above the roar of engines, in demented jubilation, he left the earth, soaring, and nobody was the worse or better for his early or late departure.
In fact, not a single radar screen mentioned his evanescence to the congregation of foreign flight controllers, who’d come to St. Louis for advanced training in UFO’s and stood around, all night, toasting each other with champagne spritzers, paying no attention to the nuclear glow engulfing their control tower.
Brandishing the caustic wit that is the hallmark of his four previous books of short fictions, L. D. Brodsky gives "Xmas" an X rating in this latest volume, with his salty-tongued South St. Louis auto-assembly-line "rough," who gets way too far into the Christmas spirit(s). At least deserving of an R rating are some of Brodsky’s other outrageous characters, such as the guy who disguises himself as a Persian cat or basset hound to escape the scrutiny of his neighbors; the misguided soul who turns into a UFO; experts in fecal matter and the mortuarial arts; the husband who flies home early to avoid a snowstorm, only to surprise his preoccupied wife; the art forger who’s so good he becomes more famous than the masters he copies; and men who mate with bears, whales, and themselves.
Drop your quarter into Rated Xmas and view the peepshow that’s always playing in Brodsky’s mind.