Lyrical Press, $3.50
At the risk of coming off like a dowdy and uncool person, I have to admit that the redolent Sixties passed me by without making much of a ripple in my life. Enjoying a bong? I’m afraid I was never that adventurous back in those days. But if I ever decide to take up that hobby and I’d like to start with style using a skull bong, I’d have a good idea how to create one, thanks to the instructions I manage to gather from Yeva Wiest’s Billy Bong.
Like the previous two short stories Ms Wiest had written for Lyrical Press, this one is a farcical comedy rather than a romance. In fact, there is zero romance here, just plenty of black comedy. It all begins when 19-year old Billy Boone picked up a woman in 1970 only to have her kill him when she took grievous offense at him pointing out that her breath was, er, strongly scented. Today, the same woman decides that it would help improve her mood considerably if she has Billy’s skull turned into her personal bong. She hires two men related to her Mexican housekeeper to dig up Billy’s body and bring her his head. She has no idea that the action would have Billy’s two elderly stepmothers charging into her neighborhood.
There is much more to this story, of course. Plenty of farcical mayhem takes place, involving crossdressers, elderly women with guns and whistles, and some gratuitous violence depicted in a perversely humorous manner. The closest to the “normal” character would be Gayle, the young lady who had a crush on one of Billy’s two stepmothers when she was younger and who is now taking the two ladies around town, but she also seems rather attached to her childhood Betsy Wetsy doll for someone of her age.
There are some abrupt switches in points of view here and there, with the occasional insertion of an observation that cannot be possible from a character’s point of view, but these boo-boo moments, while noticeable, don’t distract me from the story. Call me a pushover in this case, but I’m having too much fun not to care, at least until I have to sit down and write this review, heh. My genuine complaint here is how the story is wrapped up due to coincidences coming together rather than anything else.
Still, Billy Bong still manages to deliver plenty of fun similar to that in the author’s previous two stories for this publisher. If you had fun with those, chances are you may just have fun with this one too.