Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose (Submission)
Genre: Bizarro fiction, cults, indefinably ridiculous
Rating: 3.67 out of 5 stars
Summary: Norman Spooter’s eyeballs revolt and run away to get married, leaving an open vacancy in his skull. When his “Vacancy” sign is answered, five Party Wolves move in an take up residence in his brain, helping him navigate the world to locate his eyes. From misadventure to misadventure, Norman finds himself wrapped up in a road trip with the seven foot tall Zoe, visiting strange motels and being kidnapped by cults in the process.
Welcome to the third ever official Bizarro Blursday, centered around Eraserhead Press’ New Bizarro Author Series. Today’s author is Michael Allen Rose and his wildly imaginative novella, Party Wolves in My Skull. The series is entirely reliant on book sales. If the author sells enough copies of their novel, they will continue to stay on with the publisher and write more books. So if Party Wolves strikes your fancy, it is available for purchase HERE from Amazon.
Protagonist and down on his luck guy Norman Spooter is having a bad life. He works for Corporate Presence, Inc. and is an obsessive pill popping hypochondriac. When his eyes leave his skull, he takes a handful of pills, scribbles “Vacancy” on a piece of paper and staples it onto his forehead. That’s when the Party Wolves move in. They’re a Landlord’s worst nightmare. Or best depending on how you feel about wolves poking around your brain.
Imagine bros. College aged bros… In wolf bodies. These are the Party Wolves. There is Cooter the sensible one, Herb “the Herb” who is in charge of drug procurement, Rex the alpha male who dresses like Fonzie, Sophie the sexy alpha female, and Smitty the youngster. Despite their ability to walk on two legs and talk, the Party Wolves act like real wolves. When Norman is accidentally run over by a little girl, who threatens to charge him with assault, battery, rape, disturbing the peace, and petty larceny (because her Dad’s a lawyer) the wolves swing into wolfy action. They kill the girl and convince Norman nothing happened. He’s blind AND gullible.
If such events were to occur in any other novel, it would be explained away as a hallucinogenic dream and Norman would merely be operating in a drug fueled murderous state. The wolves would be a figment of imagination inside his mind. But this is bizarro, and everything that occurs is literal. The wolves don’t live inside his mind in a figurative sense, they actually live in his mind and others can see them when they choose to emerge. If there’s one thing bizarro isn’t, it’s pretentious.
The eyeballs who escape from Norman’s face are named Azul and Hazel (get it!?!) and go on their own adventure to the Cult of the Twin Spheres, where they will be married and protected. The duo have a very specific style of dialogue, and it’s easy to imagine them as revolutionaries. “‘You cannot quell the revolt of specialized labor with your capitalist machines!’ shouted the feminine-sounding eyeball.” I sort of imagine these two as the couple collecting mud in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who tell King Arthur that watery tarts distributing swords is not a strong basis for a government. Conversely, you can imagine them as any of the French Revolutionaries in History of the World: Part 1. DEATH TO KING LOUIS!
Finally, there is Zoe, Norman’s love interest. Zoe is a strange lady with a lot of secrets. She’s seven feet tall, due to specially made stilts she has. She wraps her oddly shaped feet in Saran Wrap and talks to them on a regular basis. It’s an interesting secret and I guarantee you cannot figure out what’s going in with this lanky lady. In addition to this, she’s running from an abusive relationship with a creepy man who got her caught up in the Cult of the Buttered Walrus. There are a lot of cults in this novella, one of which involves gun nuts devoted to their Lord, Charlton Heston.
The story takes our protagonists and antagonists on a wild road trip around the country as Norman and the wolves hunt his eyeballs, Zoe’s boyfriend hunts her, and Norman’s eyes are looking to elope. Along the way the parties arrive at the Motel Sick, presenting us with the most intriguing concept in the novel. Yes, more intriguing than wolves living in your frontal lobe. The Motel Sick is centered around theme rooms. There is the Irish Potato Famine Room, where the room has potato blight, but your stay is supplemented with complimentary butter, the Empty Room which has nothing in it, not even doors or windows or walls, the Antarctica Room which is 56 degrees below, and the Screaming Room of Eternal Nightmares which is not a place to go if you need some sleep. Or to retain your sanity.
Ultimately, this book is about a wild adventures full of a ton of impossibilities. None of these is more prevalent than the fact that despite his loss of eyeballs, Norman can still magically see things. And not through the vision of his prior eyeballs either. Not sure if Michael Allen Rose forgot that his protagonist was blind, but especially toward the end of the novel he constantly sees things and reacts to them as if he weren’t blind. It was definitely a little confusing. EYE definitely didn’t SEE how it functioned in the narrative. ::canned laughter::
-Intriguing concept, love the characterization of the Party Wolves
-So many twists and turns (you’ll never guess why Zoe is so tall)
-The Motel Sick is a moment of hilarity and whimsy
-Norman often reacts to things as if he’s not blind, the verb “see” or “saw” is used a lot in reference to Norman (you’re blind dude!)
-Inter-species erotica is worse than a donkey show
Intrigued? Confused? Enticed? Curious? Then buy Party Wolves in My Skull to support Michael Allen Rose‘s pursuit of being a published author! He cannot succeed without your help. Even if you are merely looking for a way to break into bizarro, consider the eBook edition. It’s only $5. What else are you going to do with the money, buy 500 penny whistles?