I'm here to tell you, there IS something WRONG with Aunty Beth, and with a whole lot of other people populating the stories in this collection. Well, they spring from the imagination of Mark Towse--why should I be surprised? Daytime reading only: do not enjoy a meal, do not read while alone, do not leave doors unlocked nor windows open.
My favorite stories in this collection:
There's Something Wrong With Aunty Beth [of course];
The Fruits of Labor [whoa whoa whoa];
My Name is Mark Kellis [again, whoa],
Music Man [speechless]
Bucket of Chicken [A whole lot of Sleepless Nights ahead]
The Undertones [I knew it all along!!]
Cosy Street is WAY TOO SCARY
and Long Distance Call is SAD.
A Bad Harvest. This may be my favorite in the entire collection. Why? It's way saddening, gory, reeks of despair, but man, Poetic Justice.
Retail Therapy: I'm with George. 100% Right On.
Time For A Change: Ah ha, definitely a special favorite among my favorites. Poetic Justice again, and Sisterhood.
Mount Pleasant Home: Painful story, but: Poetic Justice, and Schadenfreude.
Just A Fly: really unexpected, not for the faint of heart; but the protagonist's early views are precious (especially considering his object) and suffused with lyrical imagery.
Time To Reflect: Weeks if not months of sleepless nights will follow. It's all your fault, Mark Towse.
The Bedroom Window: and umpteen more months of sleepless nights!!
Make Me Shine: I begged and begged and begged the story NOT to turn out this way. Shouldn't have cold chills on a sunny afternoon. No forgiveness, Mr. Towse.
The Candle Maker: YEARS of Sleepless Nights!!!
I'm noticing a couple patterns throughout these stories, and I wonder if these are continuing themes with Mr. Towse:
1. A character commits a certain act, out of peer pressure or rage or envy--for whatever reason--expecting a certain limited outcome. But it never works that way: like a stone causing ripp!es in a pond, the consequences are bound to be widespread and drastic.
2. Regret and remorse are useless. You can whine for forgiveness all you want, it's not coming; but retribution sure as Hades is.
3. The Crack in the Ceiling. Never just a crack, it's an always enlarging portal.