I’ve decided to read more short stories this year. Perhaps I may even write one. I’ve also noticed that Powell’s Books has a good selection of chapbooks. In case you’re unfamiliar (like me), a chapbook is a short, flimsy, pocket sized publication. At Powell’s, they retail for a buck. I’ve picked a few up, and plan on reviewing them as I go.
This is a 24-page short story about a man in a bathroom. I read it at the Freehouse Bar while drinking a Caldera IPA. The story is a fast read. It is mostly dialogue, and the author does a decent job of keeping the conversation engaging.
The story revolves around a man visiting the restroom in a modern art museum. Once he starts relieving himself he hears a voice asking to take a peek. The urinator is disturbed by the request, and discusses why he doesn’t want to reveal his goods. Along the way he wonders whether or not he’s participating in an exhibit at the museum.
I immediately liked this piece. The subject matter is fun: what’s not to like about a story about a man in the bathroom. I may have liked it more if I read it in the bathroom, but I think it will work wherever you read it. I also think it’s a good critique on modern art. The protagonist is unsure whether he’s being asked to participate in an obscene act, or whether he’s unwittingly become a participant in a modern art exhibit. Artists often walk the line between obscenity and art. It’s interesting to experience this tension first hand. Check it out.