Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls

Book:  Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls

Author:  Alissa Nutting

Type of Book: Fiction, short story collection, fantasy, humor

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because Alissa Nutting is my neurotic literature heroine.

Availability: Published by Starcherone Books in 2010, you can get a copy here:

Comments: I was reading this book when my mother died.  It’s a strange feeling to be writing this discussion because Mom was alive when I began this book and dead when I finished it. I think this is a book that will have extreme sentimental value for me for the rest of my life.  I’ll probably remember in vivid detail all the stories in this book until the day I am on my own death bed.  It’s a good thing this is a very good book in almost every regard.  If you are going to have a book burned into your brain in such a manner, best that it be a good book.

It’s not so surprising that I adored this collection – I raved about Nutting’s look at a female sexual predator and had high expectations for this book.  This collection is less concentrated in terms of content and style than Tampa and the varied nature of this collection shows Nutting’s skill as a teller of many types of stories.  She handles mundane yet self-aware neuroticism like an updated Tama Janowitz (whose seminal summation of ’80s New York, Slaves of New York, I will be discussing here soon).  She dips in and out of fantasy and magical realism with a deft hand and plenty of humor.  She is a keen observer of the human condition and tells her stories with great sympathy for her characters, even the ridiculous ones. I love this collection so much I am not going to limit my discussion to just a few stories, as I often do to save readers from an obscenely high word count. So be warned, many words beneath the cut.

In this 18-story collection, only one story didn’t seem as excellent as the others. Unfortunately that story was the first in the collection. “Dinner” is the story of a group of people who are in a cauldron or some sort of kettle, being boiled until they are removed one by one to be eaten.  A young woman develops a brief but intense romantic attachment to one of the men with her in the kettle, and this man sacrifices himself to save her when her time comes to be eaten.  He saves her life for maybe five minutes but it is an impressive, noble gesture.  When she is finally taken to be eaten, she says to herself:

You can bear anything, I tell myself, if you know you’re not alone, and the cold air stings my cooked skin as the men lift me into their arms.  Their fingers are strong with knowledge; I’m only going where the others have already been.

I think this story failed to resonate with me because there was too much neuroticism mixed with too much slipstream.  Nutting is best when she chooses one or the other, or one at the expense of the other.  There was too much silliness combined with unlikely plot combined with extremity of emotion.  But as short stories go it still was better than many you read in literary collections.

“Model’s Assistant” is one of my two favorite stories in the collection.  It is comedic neurosis and reads like it could be a lost chapter from Slaves of New York.  An average woman has a chance meeting with a Russian or maybe Swedish super model named Garla and quickly becomes her right hand woman.  The protagonist crashes a party Garla is attending and becomes so drunk she finds herself speaking plainly and truthfully to Garla.  Garla asks her opinion on an outfit and the protagonist tells her it makes her ass look pregnant.

She scowled and pranced off.  I assumed she was offended until she brought over a silver-plated bowl filled with the car keys of various guests.

“Use for vomit,” she said, and then, “have phone,” and slipped a miniature crystallized computer-wallet into my purse.  I think at that point two large, gray wolfhounds walked up to either side of her and the three of them headed towards the kitchen.

The protagonist doesn’t use the bowl for vomit but instead races to a bathroom, pukes with aplomb, and wanders back to the party, wondering if she should return the phone to Garla. She doesn’t but she puts the phone on her desk for several days waiting for it to ring.  When it does, she is wholly unprepared for what follows.

“Hi, Womun.”  It was Garla.  I began explaining how I’d meant to give it back, etc., but she stopped me quite quickly. “It your phone me.  I call you with it,” she said, to which I could’ve said a lot of things, like how I already have a phone, or that I was very afraid of getting killed for this jewel-phone, should someone see me talking on it in my neighborhood because I don’t have a lot of money and neither does anyone else who lives here, but oftentimes people badly need money, for personal reasons, and desperate times/desperate measures.

“I get you for fashion show,” she said, “tonight at the seven-thirty.”

Out of some type of pride I wanted to make sure that she didn’t mean I would be in the fashion show, that it wasn’t an ironic thing where the beautifuls try to snag themselves an ugly, and whoever snags the ugliest ugly and dresses it up is a winner.  “You mean go to watch one with you?” I asked, and she said, “Ha,” then lit a cigarette and said, “Ha. Ha. I mean this,” and told me where to meet her.

By this point in our relationship, you all know I am neurotic as any heroine in a Woody Allen film except I don’t like to fuck tiny little weirdo men and I don’t have any patience for romantic gestures, so what I am about to say will not come as a surprise, but if you were to have a television screen implanted into my head this would be the scene you would watch, with varying details, of course.  I love Alissa Nutting because she gets me. She really, really gets me.

The protagonist’s relationship with Garla is a thing of nervous, weird beauty.

At the oxygen bar, Garla gives my face three firm slaps on the cheek.  She is always taking grandmotherly liberties such as these.  “Put you in special coffin,” she says, which is a term of endearment on her part but I don’t know what it means exactly.  I like to think that it’s a sort of Snow White reference, that I’m dear to her in some way that entails it would be pleasant for her to have me on her nightstand forever asleep in a glass box, though I guess it could also mean she wants to say goodnight and close me inside an iron maiden.

Garla is a very simple woman, truly the unanalytical yang to the protagonist’s yin.

Garla doesn’t have opinions on things; she’s not really the pro or con type.  Right now she is into global warming because she knows global warming is chic.  Things are either chic or they aren’t and if they’re chic then they’re for Garla.  “The web won’t come,” Garla says.

“Solar charger,” I point out.  “There’s no sun.”

“Global warming,” Garla says.  She will often randomly say the media titles of controversial topics, such as “Crisis in Darfur,” then take a drink and be silent for a few more hours.

The oxygen bar gets weird fast for the protagonist, as she and Garla drink vodka and inhale pure oxygen.

It gets a little overwhelming in the mask when the pure oxygen starts to hit us at the same time as the vodka.  Garla takes my hand.  I don’t know if I’m attracted to her or if she’s just beautiful.  I think it’s the latter because she doesn’t say much, and what she does say doesn’t make much sense.  But people don’t have to talk a lot or make sense for others to love them.  Just look at dogs and babies.

“Cloud of vodka!” Garla screams.

The protagonist becomes a part of Garla’s life, almost like the pet dog in the equation she explains above.  Garla dresses her, takes her places and the protagonist is loyal to her, almost in love with her.  She eventually quits her job as a copy editor and offers herself to Garla as an assistant for little or no pay.  Shortly after this Garla ghosts her, or it seems that way.  Garla doesn’t call or answer her phone and the protagonist goes from feeling sulky to outright panic.  When Garla finally calls again (“Vodka head” is Garla’s explanation for her long silence), the protagonist is extremely grateful and resentful.  She drinks too much at a party, at the same place where she first met Garla, and ends up puking again.  She uses the phone to call someone to get her but of course the phone only calls Garla, who comes to find the protagonist in the toilet, face down on the tiles, reeking of sick.

…a few minutes later she’s standing over me in an Amazonian manner, one leg on either side of my body.  “Put you in tiny coffin,” she says, rolling out some toilet paper and batting it against my cheek.

“I wish you would.”

She doesn’t appreciate my display of self-pity.  I watch her toss her martini glass out the window onto the patio where it breaks.  “You go home and rest doctor-televison.”

And the protagonist is placed in a taxi, along with the phone and learns a lesson at the end, but not the one you think she learns, and not the one I hoped she would learn. Yet I love this story because though the protagonist never realizes her worth, Garla does.  Of the two, Garla understands human nature far better, as vodka-addled and stunted as she appears.  She appreciates honesty and sees in the protagonist a chance not to have a lackey and shows her affection even when the protagonist engages in silly, embarrassing behaviors.  Nothing fazes Garla because Garla is simple and the protagonist desperately needs simplicity.  She thinks she needs love or fame or just the glow of being around a model, but she really needs the emptiness of Garla’s mind to center her.  I wrote a story very much like this years ago and as I read this piece I was hit by a feeling of deep melancholy because I gave up on writing and because, like the protagonist, my head never emptied out.

“Porn Star” is a sadly hilarious and hilariously sad story of a porn actress who has to have anal sex on the moon with the winner of an adult-themed reality show.  The porn star is clever and self-aware and completely tired of the experience but endures because… well, because she gets paid to have sex with men.  I’m not going to discuss this story in depth but there were a few passages that need to be shared.

Here’s our porn star, describing one of the contestants, Leo:

I hear the executives mumble that he should be given a second HIV test, just to be sure, he doesn’t look too good, and they’re right.  When I glance at Leo, it’s like seeing a lemon the color of tooth enamel.

Sheila, the only other female in the room, says, “It’s as if he lives in a median between our world and a race of anemic-man-lizards.  He lives there in his car.”

The porn star decides Leo is an acceptable contestant because he will be easy to control.  She feels less enthusiastic about Bill.

Bill is Bill.  Each episode they choose at least one contestant who could be misconstrued, on a good day, as not completely repulsive, and this episode it’s Bill.  The fact that he knows this, that he’s receiving “hottie billing,” makes him so much more sleazy and disgusting than the others.  He is in no way actually attractive.  Someone from casting was instructed to go into a PTA meeting, find the one guy there with the smallest boobs and the shortest receding hairline, and to not take any points off if his eyes were too far apart.  Instead of “for sure,” he keeps saying, “for surely.”  The interviewer finally asks if Shirley is someone close to him.  He roars.  He acts as if he has met his comical match and tries to give a high five, which the interviewer does not take him up on.

And the protagonist is going to have to have anal sex with one of these men. On the moon. Yeah.

“Zookeeper” is a flash-fiction piece wherein a zoo employee steals a panda and takes it home with her.  The two bond but eventually are separated again, both behind bars, and I can totally understand the protagonist’s reason for stealing a panda.

“Bandleader’s Girlfriend” is my favorite piece in this book.  It was hilarious and had an ending that made me feel, for a while, like the world is not a wholly shitty place.  The narrator and protagonist is the girlfriend of the lead singer for a Phish-esque rock band called Wolf Rainbow.  The singer is a degenerate but good-looking dude named CT (Copper Tone), and is into all that I find terribly offensive, mainly hippie shit, like he refuses to crap in a toilet and likes to sleep naked in the grass and is attuned to auras and stuff.  The rest of the band is similarly inclined.

The protagonist is the much younger sister of a woman whose name in this story is Sister, because that is who she is to the narrator, a stoned, somewhat dim, extremely beautiful and ultimately good-natured girl. Their mother died when the narrator was a small child and Sister took care of her until she was 18.  The protagonist has always been a free-spirit and inclined to getting into all sorts of unlikely trouble, and that tendency dogs her as she lives on the road with Wolf Rainbow.  She receives frequent phone calls from Sister, who is appalled and shamed by her little sister’s often-televised shenanigans.  Oh, and the protagonist’s real name is Claudia and calling her that makes her flinch – her new name is Sorcerella Van Crystal.

Sister has been calling SVC a lot lately, needing money that SVC freely gives, but the calls are frustrating to Sister because SVC cannot concentrate and is so removed from the demands of real life that she cannot focus on what is really happening to her only relative.  And we can understand why Sister is so tense.

“Don’t give me this Sorcerella crap, Claudia.  Jesus.  The court fines I paid when you lived with me during high school.  That guy who set your car on fire in the driveway.  After all we’ve been through some ooga-booga rock weirdo can come along and brainwash you just like that?”

Sister is not receptive to meditative breathing exercises so I decide to suggest something a little more hands-on for her anxiety.  “Sister, if I send you some special brownies, will you eat them?”

The frustration of dealing with Sister causes SVC to engage in some primal screaming.

“You blew my ear out.  I’m hanging up.”

Sister does not understand that her ears are already worthless.  Their multiple defects predated my scream by decades.

“Sis, if I want to ingest the most powerful hallucinogen the Worm Eternal has provided to earthlings and copulate with my soul mate beneath the desert stars, that is my business and my right.”

“The balcony of your Vegas hotel suite is not the desert!  Do you know how many photos there are of you plastered everywhere, how many videos.  How is continuous sex for that long even possible?  Did police really have to break into your room?”

The vital fluid allows for radical love-energy.  Management was charged for the cost of the door.  “Sister, no harm, no foul.”

“No HARM?  You look like sex freaks to the entire world!  You should see the faces you’re making!  They’re not even attractive.  I’m saying this objectively.  You look carsick and blinded by headlights.”

“It’s not about how we look to other humans, Sis.  Third eye.  There’s more to see than you think.”

“Ugh, it’s on the TV right now.”  There’s a long silence; I can almost hear her eyes squinting.  “What the hell is that, a tattoo?”

After SVC reveals she and CT got married, Sister hangs up, calls back and hangs up again.  A few days later Sister recovers her composure enough to reveal that she wants SVC to sign over the rest of her part of her inheritance from their mother.  Sister has been seriously sick with breast cancer and SVC has been paying her medical bills but Sister despairs of getting in touch with SVC whenever she needs something so she wants to simplify the process.

The thought of her sister so ill upsets SVC and she wants to engage in New Age stuff to heal Sister but eventually agrees to meet with Sister and sign the papers.  Sister then engages in forced slapstick as she tries to track her sister down as the band rambles across the country.  Wolf Rainbow engages in various drug-induced freakouts and CT accidentally shits on a grave so they get detoured. Sister is not amused when she finally finds SVC backstage at a Wolf Rainbow concert. Sister has a headache and SVC listens to the voice of “The Worm Eternal”:

“This is your last chance,” it told me. “You might never see her again.”

SVC offers her pills, which Sister thinks are aspirins. Sister begins to trip balls and her resistance to SVC’s lifestyle begins to crumble as she lets her emotions run free under the influence of drugs, telling her sister and the band about her cancer, about losing a breast, about the rigors of treatment. Grog, one of the band members, draws a nipple on her scar tissue. He later demands that Sister bloom like a flower and Sister does.

But before that happens, Sister and SVC share a moment that struck me as beautiful.

“Sis,” she yells, putting her naked arms around me and bringing my face to her half-bosom. She rocks me back and forth like a mother for a little while.

“What were Mom’s last words?” she asks. I was only four at the time but I remember them easily.

“Mother looked at me and said, “I’m doing this because of you. You drove me to this.”

Sis completely cracks up. CT and Grog start laughing too, and before I know it tears are pouring down my face because I can’t stop laughing either. “That’s ridiculous!” Sister says through her laughter. I nod.

This is a ridiculous story. SVC’s life is ridiculous, Wolf Rainbow is ridiculous. Cancer is ridiculous. An evil, suicidal mother blaming her toddler for her death is ridiculous. It’s only through the haze of drugs and then the focus of extremity that we see the scope of the human experience in all its ridiculousness. It’s not gallows humor. SVC and Sister don’t use humor to blunt the sheer and desperate horror of being alive. Rather their ability to recognize the ridiculousness that has been foisted upon them is at play and they leave that desperate horror behind once they can see the truth. I don’t think I have recognized that truth in my own life yet and this story was a blessing in a way, coming as I do from a family of grim people, crazy people, suicidal people. It was a hopeful story I read during a time of hopelessness. In a way this short story helped me deal with the absolute horror of my mother’s slow, agonizing death.

Mom stayed in the stage before the death rattle for days, lost in a coma, letting out a deep but short snort/snore every time she breathed. Her sister, my aunt, fell asleep in the hospital room and began to snore herself. My step-aunt said, “Listen, they’re talking to each other.” And sure enough it sounded like they were responding to each other in sleep. Mom would grunt, my aunt would groan in reply. My mother and aunt had about a decade between them, my mother the younger sister, and while I think my aunt and mother understood each other better the older they got, they were two very,very different people. It was ridiculous, to consider that somehow they were genuinely talking in a sleep language no one else understood but the timing was so perfect. But consider it we did and we all cracked up. It wasn’t funny – it was a horrible but ridiculous realization that this was the last time my aunt would speak to Mom, that snoring was the only communication left.

Enough time has passed so that I can see how I processed media during and just after my mother’s death. Would this story have resonated so clearly with me had I read it four years ago? Probably not, but that doesn’t matter. It resonated. And it’s so funny that even if it doesn’t resonate with you, you’ll still enjoy it. This is a price of admission story.

“Ant Colony” is a story that made me itch. When space and resources became limited on Earth, in order to preserve species, human beings are forced to host other organisms in their bodies. A woman decides to have her bones hollowed out and have ants introduced into her system. It’s a bad idea and the doctors know it but she’s famous and pretty so they do what she wants. I’m not a big fan of bugs and the knowledge that there is a moth in the house can give me hives if I lose track of it and imagine it landing on me. So yeah, this was a horror story more than a science fiction piece.

“Knife-Thrower” is a melancholy but funny short piece about a grandmother and granddaughter confronting the ghost of their daughter and mother, respectively. Killed in a stupid fight, this woman is haunting the house and the grandmother wants her granddaughter to wrestle the ghost and exorcise the house. The experience is extremely strange and oddly comforting, and yet there is still a little spike of petty revenge at the end. I liked this one a lot. It hits on a lot of themes that come up in this collection – family conflicts, rapprochements, dark humor and bodily scars and damage. It’s interesting to see how these elements weave themselves in and out of Nutting’s work. Ant colonies in bones and a merging of selves, a murdered woman meeting her daughter for the last time, orphaned sisters bonding over loss and sickness.

“Deliverywoman” is a dark story that breaks from the above mold of women working things out at the end. A woman runs a space-delivery service in a small spacecraft. She has an online relationship with a man named Brady, online name FluidTransfer69, that she feels is very serious though Brady’s dedication is questionable. The woman’s mother was frozen cryogenically when she was sent to prison and the prison is auctioning off the pods some prisoners were frozen in and the woman buys her mother. It doesn’t end well, but at least at the end the woman accepts reality for what it is, and for once I wish one of Nutting’s characters had remained completely in the dark.

“Corpse Smoker” is a strangely indescribable vignette, all the more strangely indescribable because it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Enjoyable, though. You should read it.

Though I am married, “Cat Owner” was awfully on-the-nose for me. The protagonist owns a fat, nasty cat named Baxter. She has arranged a date with a man called Eddie, and she is preparing dinner for him at her house. She is desperate to fall in love but seems completely baffled as to why it is no man sticks around very long. She wants to seduce Eddie and has made elaborate plans to that end, including moving across the room the ramp Baxter uses to access her bed so that he can’t climb up (Baxter has a foot defect and is too fat to jump). Baxter, who is almost 30 pounds, has a bad habit of attacking her sex partners. This story is unspeakably funny to me because it involves obese cats and gratuitous references to poop. Take this short paragraph:

Tonight, I’ve prepared mashed sweet potatoes. I’m nervous because they look like the diarrhea of a clown.

That the last paragraph in the story more or less describes my first year out of college, living alone with my own foul and degenerate cat who simply could not stop annoying my boyfriend (Mr OTC so it all worked out for me) just seals the deal. Very funny, and this character is one of the few Nutting writes who doesn’t have a whole lot of insight, but the character is neither rejoicing nor despairing, so I didn’t feel too bad for her at the end.

“Teenager” is the most emotionally difficult piece in the collection. A teenage girl gets pregnant and aborts the baby, causing a lot of angst for her boyfriend. She steals from her grandmother to afford the procedure, she takes her grandmother’s drugs, and almost every chance for real emotional growth is tempered by her callowness. But she’s a teenager. She’s supposed to be callow. You see little glimpses of her growth as she begins to understand that her thieving, duplicitous, unkind nature is not serving her well, and you sense that she is not going to remain so trivial much longer. She is learning from long-past lessons, “like something I ate long ago but am just now tasting.”

“Ice Melter” is another neurotic-girl story. A diabetic woman gets a job with a company that makes ice sculptures for parties. She is hired for reasons that are less than flattering.

“You’re perfection!” exclaimed my bosses, a male couple who were looking for someone who would not easily distract or be distracted. “Not only are you a woman, but you are also a plain one!”

She monitors a hypodermic needle ice sculpture for a party, and chisels off small pieces for people’s drinks. She’s really annoyed that she, a diabetic who has to inject insulin, is made to interact with such a sculpture. A man at the party picks up on her irritation and encourages her to explore her annoyance by kissing and hugging the ice sculpture, which she does, and it devolves into schtick but there is a revelation at the end, a small one.

“Hellion” is the story of a woman sent to hell who ends up dating the devil. It’s an unusual story, in that it doesn’t do what you expect when you hear of a woman dating Satan in hell, and despite the setting and the romantic plot, it’s the least neurotic story in the collection. It’s a fascinating look at an unlikely second chance at transcendence, and it’s funny in that wry, somewhat sad way that is such a part of Nutting’s style.

Hell also has an incredible number of nurses, so many that it’s ridiculous. I don’t know why, but the bar is always full of them, guzzling fake beer and talking about how they wish they could go back to earth for just a second and pull someone’s catheter out really fast.

The story also features a ludicrous statement that makes perfect sense in context but on its own is strangely hilarious to me and has become a part of my mental dialogue with myself.

“Whatever you do,” I thought, “don’t pee inside the devil.”

I break a glass, I think, well, at least I didn’t pee inside the devil. Someone cuts me off on I-35, near the University where driving is a Mad Max-ian hell-fest of car dodging, fear, and misery, where life is cheap and so are the cars, and I hope he pees in the devil. I don’t ever say this out loud because Mr OTC has enough shit to worry about where I’m concerned. You go around yelling that and people are going to worry that you didn’t take your meds, which just makes this statement all the more perfect, I think.

“Alcoholic” is a very short vignette, a look at an alcoholic woman, neurotic to her core, who attends a high school reunion with an ex-boyfriend. She gets drunk, ruins his evening, but even in his annoyance he finds it hard to remain too angry at her. It is striking to me that Nutting manages to write neurosis in a way that is often very accepting. Though those around the neurotics may be irritated or even briefly angered, there is an acceptance of them, a gentle kindness and openness that allows the neurotic women a chance to either climb their way out of their anxious tics and unhappiness or an opportunity to understand themselves a bit better. Garla, SVC, the gay couple in “Ice Melter,” the boyfriend in this story – they all see the uptight, unhappy women in front of them and they react to them in an even-handed, calm way, never condemning but also not getting swept up in the histrionic drama. I like that a lot.

“Gardener” is the story of yet another neurotic woman, whose flagging sexual relationship with her husband causes her to seek solace in the most unlikely of places. It’s a magical realism story that some may find erotic but I found mostly inventive and strange. It involves garden gnomes, so I guess it is very specific in its eroticism. I find Nutting’s mind very interesting, the sort of mind that weaves these sorts of stories. There is a magical wonder in everyday objects in her story, transcendence through ice sculptures, true love with a garden gnome.

“Dancing Rat” is an amusing story of a woman who works on a children’s television program, wearing a mouse costume. She is eager to become pregnant but has yet to conceive, and becomes somewhat obsessed with the bratty little girl who is the star of the children’s TV show. Missy is a beautiful, manipulative child, and the protagonist has a love-hate relationship with her. She is practicing being a mother around Missy but is also acting out her very internalized aggression against the child. Roped into babysitting Missy for a day, the protagonist decides to take her out for fast food, delighting in how the beautiful young girl feasts on greasy, unappealing food she is not permitted by her controlling mother.

As the day went on, my urge to defile her perfection grew extreme. I had the thought of driving her down to some cantinas in Mexico to see if they’d let me drink for free in exchange for Missy washing some dishes.

But later, watching television, the protagonist reveals another reason for her obsession with Missy. She may want to destroy the angelic but bitchy beauty in this child, this little girl who reminds her so much of the popular girls who rejected her in high school, but she also values Missy’s blunt and nasty honesty.

During each commercial, she immediately began to critique aspects of the actor’s performance and physical appearance, which I deeply appreciated. She is completely brutal. If someone’s right eye is even slightly higher than the left, she will not let this slide.

She doesn’t reach an earth-shattering conclusion at the end of the piece, but her time around Missy gives her the patience to see what will happen, in the fullness of time, and enjoy her present situation. In a way. She’s going to continue to be nervous and weird and think about her maternal prospects but at least for one moment she is content.

“She-Man” is a heartbreaking tale of a female transsexual prostitute who enters into a relationship with a professional bowler. She is pre-operative and still has male genitalia but is able to hide her body from her lover. She and the bowler have the most productive, happy period in their lives, but it gets taken away from them both in a very sad plot line.

“Magician” is the story of a young woman, Joan, who buys her brother a bird in an attempt to cheer him up after he loses his hand in a car accident. It’s a very short piece, a vignette, and a piece that ultimately doesn’t go anywhere – it’s purpose is to show the attachment and affection between siblings, a bond that causes pain for one when the other is hurt. It is a touching and lovely piece.

I really need for Nutting to wrote more novels and short stories. I adore her style, her humane love of her characters, her eye for the silly and the profound. I sort of want to host a dinner party wherein I invite Nutting, Hank Kirton, Shane Hinton and Amelia Gray and record the conversation that occurs. This is a far better scenario wherein people imagine four people from history they want to have come to dinner and they pick Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Marlon Brando and Henry VIII and you know that the conversation will be unpleasantly bizarre and may even result in some form of bloodshed. This would be a good dinner party with excellent guests, and I wouldn’t serve sweet potato clown diarrhea though my cats would probably ruin everything. That I am already seeing the potential downside of creating a short story dream team fantasy dinner should show why I am so much a fan of Nutting’s neurotic characters.

Clearly I recommend this book. Highly recommend it, even. Go buy this book and come back and talk to me about it. Now!

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