This darkly offbeat novel opens with the narrator, Wallace Black, as the target of the school bully's violence. After suffering a horrendous beating, Black goes home to his equally abusive family. As a punishment for fighting at school, his mother straps a set of grotesque horns to the top of his head. He is unsure of where the horns came from. They have always been in the house. And they contain a power no one could have expected. Let Andersen Prunty (ZEROSTRATA, MORNING IS DEAD, and THE BEARD) guide you through a sometimes hilarious, sometimes violent and terrifying coming-of-age Midwestern gothic novel.
form of vicious cycle. The parents would punish me and I would fail or, more often, get sent home from school or suspended, the small failures I imagined culminating into a life of failure. The night of the particular failure, they would punish me. I, in turn, probably wouldn’t do my homework, creating another failure. The cot was what I got for burning my bed. I can’t even remember what the punishment that brought that on was. I waited for the day they both left the house, which was a very
running all over my body, nearly paralyzing. While the Frisbee came floating toward me, I had the idea that, somehow, Uncle Skad was supposed to save me from all of this. “Uncle Skad,” I called. Futility, a sinking dread, closed in around me along with the blackness and not the hell orange, but its hot essence. “Uncle Skad!” I yelled. “Uncle Skad! Uncle Skad!” I opened my eyes and he was there. Chapter Seventeen Uncle Skad The first thing I saw were his huge, crystal blue eyes
six feet tall and had to look way up at Drifter Ken. His thick hands were the size of baseball mitts. He had flashy hair, all stiff and gray and piled up on top of his head in wild curls. That made him seem even taller. I thought about Racecar, pathetically sitting in his wheelchair and growling and I thought dads should always be taller than their children, if only by an inch or two. Drifter Ken would have been the perfect father for me. He always sucked on these unfiltered Camels that
brought a forkful of food to my mouth. “You’re shaking,” she said. “I’m okay,” I said, then, “Slight palsy.” “I’m so sorry.” Then I took a deep breath and asked, “Did you call the police?” She giggled, “Why would I do that?” And then, maybe because for a brief moment she felt unprotected, like maybe I had just given her a reason to think she should have called the police, she said, “Besides, Boo’s gonna be home any minute.” “Thank goodness,” I said. “Boo’s my husband. His name’s Robert
and shredded tarpaper. The parents were down there. Not the vibrant parents of the last dream. These parents were the rundown gutter version of those people. The father wore a stained white t-shirt stretched over an enormous gut. Blackened jeans truncated at the tops of his thighs. His shiny new legs were now thickly rusted iron springs. He bounced heavily around the forest floor. The mother drank her gin out of a pitcher, sloshing the brownish-tinged liquid down her chin. Even from my