Sunday, December 20, 2015
The Bubble Man of Allentown, by Dimitri Anastasopoulos
I'm not a big fan of experimental or even mainstream literary fiction (sometimes defined as "stories with the last page missing.") So this story had to be extra good to top my weekly list.
I'm going to tell you about some of the characters and you are going to think it's a funny story. It isn't. The key word is actually creepy. Not horror, but it will get under your skin.
Okay, characters. Tippett is a sixty-year-old cop, on suspension because of his fascination with contaminating crime scenes with chalk outlines. He considers it a form of artistic expression. And then there's the Bubble Man, who sits in his fourth floor apartment all day blowing large bubbles down into the street below. And a middle-aged woman named Lora Gastineau who left her house in a slip and sneakers and never returned.
Tippett is called back to work when a fresh corpse is found and he rushes to prove himself and then -- well, weird things happen.
The artist had tinkered with the body's appearance after the person had died, Tippett guessed -- a new-age sketch artist, judging by the aura of the total work on the ground. it betrayed the artist's faith in symmetry and harmony, in the reconstruction of the whole figure. Techniques popularized in the early 1980s, Tippett thought...
A wild ride.