Alibi V.12 No.38 • Sept 18-24, 2003 

Art Article

Lunatic Chameleon

North Korea, the West Nile virus, SARS, monkey pox and al Qaeda—to say nothing of the Tush Administration. Nightmarish developments on the world stage aside, having suffered the trauma of setting foot outside my home on numerous occasions, I am in league with those who aspire to ultimate creative success, staggering wealth and fame achieved in one's bathrobe, rising only occasionally to freshen one's drink.

Realistically, we can't expect to entice Tom Clancy's agent to greener literary pastures with a blank résumé.

What, then, is the unrecognized genius to do?

While payment is a contributor's copy, particularly if one's authorial bent is characterized by a proclivity for unbridled imagination, from the expunging of the repressed dark via creative metaphor to dalliance in liberating silliness, the aspiring literati could do far worse than to target that exotic reptile, Lunatic Chameleon. It is here that the work of talented unknowns stands a good chance of seeing print alongside such veterans of off-center fiction and poetry as Cathy Buburuz, Christina Sng, Charlee Jacob and Lynn Lifshin.

Of the 14 stories in their sophomore effort, Greg Bauder's An Archbishop at a Popular Restaurant is an amusing foray into free-spirited oddity: "He tells me we should break bread. He tells me we can have communion. He tells me we are Christ's body. So I bought him a Big Mac. ..."

R. David Fulcher's outlandish horror yarn, "Day of the Cricket," is told with an antiquated sensibility reminiscent of Poe, while Tim Johnson's clever and original chiller, "Shedding Light," is delivered to great effect with remarkable economy. Mark Mandell's "God Bless America," a display of everyday cultural ugliness set in a bus terminal, reads more like a mortified journal entry than fiction.

Of the 72 poems, Vladimir Miscovic's "a day in the life of ..." is, well, perhaps "appetizing" would not be the ’mot juste': "another dinner served cold. tasteless. eggs like tumor sacs..."

My favorite is Kelley White's quiet, poignant reminder of that institutional laboratory for social Darwinism in which virtually all American youth have shared a role as guinea pig, called "I Would Not Eat the Hot Lunch."

Of the 27 illustrations, I think the five drawings by Chris Friend are so tightly rendered that they ought to employ his work in the most professional periodical dedicated exclusively to horror which is currently distributed in bookstores, known as Cemetary Dance. (They mis-spell "cemetery," on porpoise.)

My own productivity only continues to improve, since—heel of hand rebounding from forehead—it dawned on me that I could compose at the wet bar. I look forward to the day when I shall take up permanent residence deep beneath the earth's crust. As for why I would aspire to such a thing, I leave you, simply, with the axiom espoused on the cover of Lunatic Chameleon itself: "because the world is not sane."