This is an attractive, well-organized journal that does something I really like: the stories are presented both in regular script or can be downloaded as a pdf. Their contemporaries often do one or the other, and it is nice to have a choice. The editors describe their interests the following way: “Our tastes tend more toward the offbeat and the absurd, the unclassifiable and the insane, stories most other publishers can’t be bothered with.” Well, they certainly have been successful in finding and publishing work to their taste. I had a great time reading their offbeat and usually humorous tales.
I liked all five stories in this issue, some of them being absolutely hilarious. “Golden Hours” by Colleen Chen is about a man who has the short-lived ability (due to the blessings of a fairy) to pee on anything and turn it into gold. Unfortunately, he keeps getting beaten up, robbed, and arrested, preventing him from turning this gift into any wealth for himself. “Jesus’ Nephew,” by Joe Thompson, outlines the vexations of a man who has been reincarnating for two thousand years and now has made the mistake of getting a woman named Sherri pregnant and the two of them are delivering the baby in the handicapped stall of a bathroom in an Arby’s restaurant. If this sounds implausible, it gets even more peculiar from there.
“Jolly Roger” by Michael Sions concerns a young man with a decomposing body in his basement that eventually becomes a skeleton. He wanders around telling people about it, getting a variety of reactions, while periodically talking to an insurance salesman who wants to sell him insurance alternately for floods, tornadoes, and greyhounds. Lastly, “Red,” by Christopher Owen, is a variation of the “Little Red Riding Hood” story which begins: “'Here,' said Red’s mother, a half-smoked and ash-laden cigarette dangling from her well glossed lips, 'take this basket of ennui to your grandmother.'” You know, there is nothing more gratifying than getting rid of the ennui laying around your house.
I haven’t enjoyed doing a review so much in years. If you’re tired of the stuffy literature coming from the big guys, take a break and have a few ho ho’s with Jersey Devil Press. Bizarro at its best.