Dogwalker – Arthur Bradford

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

Exceptional

You know what it’s like when you first wake up from a weird dream, but you remember that it didn’t seem weird at all at the time?. That is, it seemed quite natural, then totally surreal when you woke up? You may even try to analyze it. What does it all mean? Should I see a psychiatrist?

All except the last part is exactly what came to mind when I read Dogwalker, a series of twelve stories, some related, some not. Our unknown narrator seems to think that it’s all normal. You’ll find mutant puppies, a singing muskrat that’s really a dog/human, a family with flat cat-like faces, a weed dealer who puts whiners in his closet, a woman with an iron lung who gives birth to a litter of puppies…There’s just so much weird stuff going on.

Just image trying to grab onto a friend’s  kicking legs even after they’ve been severed from the body. It’s not that easy. As you can see, it’s not just the people or animals that are weird; it’s what they do and how none of these bizarre events even faze them. For example, a boy wants our unnamed narrator to hide a dead puppy in his refrigerator. He complies, of course. Why wouldn’t he? That is, until he realizes that’s where he gets his food from. Most of the people involved in there stories are his neighbors or roommates (who are even stranger).

Our guy is also apprehensive towards meeting women but surprisingly still manages. His bizarre  but indifferent behavior doesn’t even impede him from getting into romantic relationships.  I guess these women consider these events to be quite  plausible. By the way,  this all takes place in central Texas. I don’t know if there’s any significance to that.

I admit that the stories can be disturbing, and yes, I may have a dark and bizarre sense of humor. But with all that’s going on in the world, and daily life for that matter, Dogwalker is a quick 160  page hilarious diversion that I couldn’t put down.

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