Intruder | Jean-Luc Bouchard
The Molotov Cocktail.
⇒This piece is fucking crazy. The images are brutal, the pacing is dizzying, and the events described herein are wild and surreal and otherworldly in the best way possible. The piece contains bits of Garcia Marquez-like magic realism and the cartoony randomness you associate with the absurdist/surrealist/bizarro lit scenes. If this were a comic book, it would be illustrated by R. Crumb and colored in with actual human blood.
To give you a sense of what’s in store for you, here are the opening lines of the story:
He was a great big horse of a man, and when he pushed me I fell to the ground and cried out in pain. He snorted dust from his nostrils in reply and swept his leg over me and into the house, crashing through the door like it was a tea house curtain.
So we have this guy, this intruder, rendered in terms that make him seem more like a horse than a man. He is a beast, large and fierce and unstoppable, and at once we see the power dynamic that will inform the majority of the story: the narrator/protagonist is small and feeble, the “intruder” an enormous brute, larger than life, more animal or juggernaut than human. From here, it gets even weirder.
This is a dark fairy tail or American tall tale–dream-like, larger than life, full of unexpected character reactions and narrative swerves that make it one of the most unpredictable works of flash fiction I’ve read in quite some time. This piece is a ferocious cocktail of cheap vodka and human growth hormone and newly synthesized psychedelic compound the DEA hasn’t even heard of yet–all ingested in one hearty gulp by a reader with a 103 fever and raging hard-on at the same time. That’s what this story is, and it’s effing brilliant–whatever it is, and I’m not quite clear on that yet.