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LORI AND FRANK BRIDGEFORD SIT ON A TERRACE of replica sandstone overlooking a ramshackle garden in 29 East Maine. They are each enshrouded in a little world, buying time, catching up with time, even toying with the notion of it.
To Lori, it is safe being like this, not talking about things.
Horrendous things have happened in their lives, clawing at normality. Now, the urge to speak is unmanageable. It hovers, it taunts.
Silently, they share a fag.
Her eyes are flat, his fretful.
A billow of smoke rises from her nostrils with her words. "It's been a long time, since - "
"Sorry babes," he says gruffly.
Time has dusted a bucket of ash in his hair, pulled at his face and added more wrinkles than before.
Before what ? she wonders.
When he speaks, his chin dances.
"Should have come to Little Country sooner," he says.
"I'm glad you made it at short notice." A dry tear prickles her eyelid.
"Not every day one comes home to find a sitter floating head down in a bathtub," he says. "Coppers sweating up a storm."
Carrying no words for him, she broods.
His car is slovenly parked at an angle, his haste to be here. Mazda TJ Plates mark the new idea of him, her father. The years have added to his persona, easing the weight of ashy greys on his head, making them seem normal. Seeing him, she can almost be grateful he didn't go cranky with loss, chasing women half Lori's age.
That could suck, seeing him in such disarray.
Always an adrenaline junkie, he was. Going off like he did after mamma died was no surprise. Settled somewhere in the hinterland, a place withmozzies so big, they tapped you on the shoulder.
A metre out, Lisianthus, cream chrysanthemums, Dutch violets and rare cyclamens sway to a slicing wind. Further out, canopies of gnarled pine oaks ghostly sway.
A patter of little feet, of a child racing on land solid as ice, lifts the silence. She leaps, humming softly. Words of her rhyme carry above outdoor filters of wind, leaf rustle and a sway of boughs.
"Mother duck said Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! but only four little ducks came back."
Lori and Frank fret, entrapped by silence despite Jordan's song. Their lips fill with useless words that cannot undo the past or rouse the dead.
Copyright © 2006 Eugen M. Bacon.
Posted October 2, 2006
Imaginative and transgressive, Eugen M. Bacon¿s lyrical collection of short pieces in Impact delivers on its title. These pieces range from the real to the fantastic, the historical to the futuristic, all with emotionally raw narratives of suffering, pain, violence and joy, all the ingredients of relationships in Bacon¿s worlds. It is an anthology of stories that invite the reader to new worlds, and keeps her turning pages with musical sentences and entrancing images. Bacon¿s fascination with sex, sex and death, and sex and violence churns in these pages. One story, A Bible Stick, whisks the reader into a nightmare of one woman¿s abduction. The emotional deprivation that follows, meted out by Bacon¿s sometimes seductive prose in sentences such as ¿Faceless maids in chiffon and crepe spilled with laughter and bubble¿ and ¿as flowers and fogged faces bobbed over and over in a tumbling sky,¿ brings the reader somewhere completely new: a reversal of the traditional rape narrative that has the abducted woman begging for a jab from the hypodermic needle her captor uses to control her. Occasionally Bacon does allow too many half-images and vague metaphors to pile up where one rich and specific image would do. The author takes her readers along to deprogram the mind of child poisoned by a cult, through a love affair with an incorporeal cyber-monster, past the mysterious deaths of loved ones and strangers, and underneath an epic, historic battle won with more magic and cunning than force. Bacon¿s strength in these stories is drawing her readers into one of her worlds, and she consistently achieves it with rich settings and physical descriptions: ¿Beneath a topaz sky speckled with an assembly of white stars, a frenetic wind sharp as a stick sweeps sheets of rain across the windscreen¿. And, like a frenetic wind herself, Bacon cuts through the dangerous fog of emotional ambiguity, daring her readers to question whether their reality is a reality at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2006