"Lavender Diamond," by Edward Sheehy in Crimeucopia: Boomshakalaking! Modern Crimes for Modern Times, Murderous Ink Press, 2023.
This is one of those mysterious books that came into existence without an editor. And this is, I believe the first story from Crimeucopia to make my best of the week list.
What is the difference between comedy and farce? Farce is the extreme end of the spectrum, clowning, no suspension of disbelief necessary. Neil Simon's The Odd Couple is comedy, his Murder by Death is farce.
And what Sheehy offers us today is farce. Here's how it starts:
I'm done writing first-person point-of-view stories. My latest saga of a modern family stretching back several generations, voiced by 72 first-person characters including pet dogs and cats and a crow circling the narrative dispensing omniscient commentary, had been soundly rejected by dozens of publishers.
Can't say that I blame them. But my first question: is this meta? Is this Sheehy telling us something about his writing?
No, as it turns out this is his character, who is a writer. But now it gets confusing, because our hero, still writing in first person, visits a library where he encounters...
A tall dude, six-feet-four with a shaved head, wore a gold chain over a tight turtleneck that showed off a thick musculature gained from years of pumping iron at Cumberland Correction on a narcotics charge. Inside the joint the dude known as Craz had been the leader of a brutal and murderous prison gang.
Wait a minute! How does our character know all this? Have we wandered into third person omniscient narration?
Strap in. It's going to be a wild ride.