|Image by bhsher via Flickr|
Fred finished saying her twenty-first
Hail Mary and got off her knees.
She blew out all of the candles except one.
The cheap candles smoked,
filling Fred’s small bedroom with
a grayness that reminded her of an
underwater scene. She walked over
to the bed and lifted the corner
of the mattress.
She had to grope for a moment to find it,
tucked inside the elastic
of the blue fitted sheet’s corner.
She held up the razor to the candlelight.
The blood left on it from the last time
didn’t bother her. It was
clean blood, her own...
The Smell of Gas
By Erin O'Riordan
and Tit Elington
Love pulp fiction? Just try putting down The Smell of Gas. TSOG is full of saints and sinners you'll love to hate. There's Brigid, the high school basketball player and secret heroin addict. Fred, a Catholic lesbian teen, loves Brigid, but doesn't know about her affair with Edward, a married Evangelical preacher. Sex, ethics, religions and mythologies clash as you dig deeper into their connection to the death of a young couple. (Blurb)
It won't be for everyone--it scarily reflects reality for many of the young people living in today's world, where religion is ingrained in their heads without total understanding... then they meet the real world outside of family and the church.
In the midst of use of drugs, drinking, and indiscriminate sex, there are bound to be consequences. Brigid found that out when she allowed an infected needle to be used for her latest drug use...
Unfortunately, there were others who were in danger because of this...
"The shorter woman, with the long blonde hair, was the waitress who’d served him this evening. The hostess who’d seated him, the tall girl with brown skin and long, straight black hair, walked with her. They swayed drunkenly as they walked. Edward watched them talking. He didn’t expect the kiss. The two young women kissed for a few minutes, even using their tongues. Before they separated, the dark-haired girl touched the blonde girl’s breast. Edward had never seen two women kissing before. He couldn’t believe how turned on he felt..."
Readers will meet a young people who not only detrimentally affected their own lives, but, in turn, murdered while using drugs!
"He shook his head furiously. “No time. Fred, I did something really bad. I mean, they wanted me to do it, but I didn’t know it was going to be this…never mind. I’ve got to get out of here.”
“Out of my house?” she said. She thought of his half of the rent. “Where are you going to go?”
“I have to get out of town,” he said, his eyes pleading. “I killed them. So I need to know, Fred. Are you staying here, or are you coming with me?”
Fred would not live to get out of the car they used to escape...
While in the same town two families were thinking about having children. The women were sisters:
"She yanked her panties down and sat back on the toilet. Taking a deep breath, she looked down... Renata moaned. She would have no good news for Darius. She got up and looked at herself in the mirror. She noticed the lines around her eyes and lips. “Come on,” she said to herself, “we’re not getting any younger here. If we’re going to have a baby, we’d better do it now.” She scowled at her reflection, but the resulting face was so ugly, she quickly turned it into a smile.
They had tried for so long, so it wasn't really surprising that Renata became upset when she learned her sister was pregnant:
"Renata drew a deep breath and went for it. “So what’s your big news?”
"I’m pregnant!” Almost involuntarily, Renata got up from her chair and gave Monica a big hug. Then the tears fell down her cheeks. “Are you crying?” Monica asked.
“Yes,” said Renata. “I’m so happy for you.” She felt happy, but she also felt jealous and disappointed. “So, when did you find out?”...“How long did you and Travis try before you got pregnant?” asked Renata.
Monica looked sheepish. “We didn’t,” she said.
“I beg your pardon?”
“We didn’t try at all,” said Monica. “I was on the pill when it happened. It was one of those one-in-ten-thousand women you read about in magazines who uses the pill and gets pregnant anyway. But even though it was sort of an accident... I’m really excited. Travis is, too. Oh, you and Darius are going to be a great aunt and uncle, Renata.”...
Entering into the intimate lives of individuals is intrusive, but somehow enticing to eavesdrop on their lives, especially in fiction. What I found interesting was that, in the end, if you consider the stories in The Smell of Gas carefully, you will find that there are a number with a moral to their story. Something surprising for me in my first pulp fiction crime thriller...
Be prepared for some eroticism, intimate situations and language/actions of today's youth. Despite that, I found the overall storyline very compelling and an excellent representation of what's happening in today's world, if you are just willing to open your eyes and learn. I certainly don't condone it, but I also don't blind myself to understand the possibilities and issues facing us. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy this genre or like to try different types of fiction...
Book Received Via
|HIV - Budding|
"When the doctor told her she’d tested positive for HIV, Brigid felt too stunned to say anything. She sat quietly on the exam table for twenty minutes, until Kelly offered to get Diana from the waiting room. Brigid looked up at Diana and didn’t even have to say the words.
“You’re going to be all right,” Diana said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
Brigid thought of Fred and Leander first. She wondered if they already knew, wherever they were. Then she thought of Edward.
“Diana,” Brigid said, “Can you take me to that big church on the south side?”