King Shit by Brian Alan Ellis
House of Vlad (2014)
paperback, 60 pages
synopsis: A Chihuahua-toting Mexican dressed as Santa Claus. A cross-dressing bartender. A drunk, philosophizing “Classy” Fred Blassie look-alike. Two rockabilly-greaser junkies. A bow-legged burlesque dancer and her angry dwarf lover. A man in a smelly lavender suit who rides a mobile jukebox. A quarreling, beer-spitting couple. No, this isn’t The Breakfast Club. This is a not-so-glorious night in the life of Elvis McAllister: factory worker, storyteller, Graceland enthusiast, and overall hornball. Join him and his knife-wielding sidekick, Ralph, as they bar-crawl the “Sick-Sad” avenues and alleyways of questionable hopes and dashed dreams.
review: I grew up in flea markets. I grew up in a campground in New jersey. I grew up at the Seaside boardwalk, a slimy place, where everything was half tilted and bizarre. King Shit reminds me of where I come from. King Shit reminds me of the kind of art I used to be seek out when I was browsing through Captain Video, looking at VHS in cardboard sleeves. Brian Alan Ellis is writing works that are all these things: funny, doomed, water damaged, drunk, high, unfiltered. I like that. I identify with that. Maybe his characters are saying some things that shouldn’t be said out in public, and hooray for them. This a work of fiction written outside of a writer’s workshop, but instead, maybe written in the basement of a VFW hall, right before the hardcore bands show up. Right before the spiked punks in their leather jackets show up. Right before the night gets weird, violent, skewed. The other good thing about this book, is that it’s illustrated in a way that is reminiscent of one of my favorite books, Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions”. The drawings in both books are perfect and they give absolutely zero fucks whatsoever. King Shit, is a bar crawl adventure, written as novella. Can be read on the toilet, but your ass will be numb by the time you’re finished. Can be read at the DMV waiting to get called, but you’ll probably start flipping chairs and screaming when the book is done and they still haven’t called you. Can be read at a bar. But that’s kind of silly, bars are for other things. I recommend reading this one in jail or at work, can’t go wrong there. When a book takes itself this un-seriously, I can’t stop doing the happy happy dance