Tables without Chairs #1: By Bud Smith & Brian Alan Ellis, 164 pgs. By MP Johnson

Feb 01, 2016

This book is a slacker sandwich.There are two novellas about slacker dudes going about their day-to-day slacker business. Between them is a spread of bullshit—and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

The bullshit in the middle is a piece by Brian Alan Ellis called “Ha-Ha! Sad Laughter.” It’s really just a collection of tweets and tidbits that are probably only funny to other writers. Like: “Dreamed you got a rejection letter that thanked you for submitting your manuscript and then told you to burn in hell.” I’m a writer, so I found a lot of it hilarious—especially the one about selling your first novel for a copy of Playboywith Chyna on the cover. (P.S., my copy is autographed.)

This is fun, but the novellas are where it’s at. The first one, “Sexy Time in the Spook House, Oh Yeah!” by Brian Alan Ellis, is about a dude who lives in a spook house and is in a relationship-type thing with someone referred to as Sexy Time. He faces the usual trials and tribulations, which involve drunken karaoke to Alabama songs and girls in hippie dresses peeing in his living room.

The second novella, “Calm Face” by Bud Smith, is about a dude who lives in New York and gets grumpy about his corner bodega disappearing. He kind of wanders around and is awkward. He fills a pool in his apartment with a hose and calls it his hot tub. The water overflows and goes into his downstairs neighbor’s apartment, but she already hates him anyway. He watches a horse shit in a bucket while eating a hot dog. I don’t know if he has a job; I’m guessing not.

It’s fun to laugh at slackers doing slacker business, right? –MP Johnson (House Of Vlad,