TH1RT3EN: REAN1MAT3D by David Tomaloff
David Tomaloff goes bump in the night. He bumps in the day too but nobody notices. People are too busy to be scared in the light of day. Evil makes its delightful little home in the darkness. In these 13 short (really short) stories David professes a profound interest in tearing apart the basic conventions of story-telling. Footnotes do the job quite nicely. With each additional footnote he brings the reader closer to despair. It is nice of him to keep each story whittled down to the unlucky little number 13. Brevity makes it fascinating memorable and it uses its time economically. Even a word that normally would be embellishment (an adjective) takes on a pivotal role in his minimal world.
Home has many meanings. For nomads home has no place. David uses home in a different matter, as a way of finding oneself or something. The usage is proper. David enjoys messing with the average definition of the word. The meaning is correct but obscure. Fun is had this way. Even the title of ‘Unhappy Anniversary’ acknowledges his ability to play with the reader’s general perception. Puns are employed to full effect. Indeed some of these stories create puns through the ‘Pun Full Employment’ act passed only fairly recently. Using these footnotes showing the intended definition gives every story multiple meanings: there’s the familiar one which can feel a tad bit ordinary and there’s the deeper darker one.
The devil’s birth is worrisome. People tend to be against Satan. Of course Reverend Charles would know about it. Reverend Charles is a well-respected member of the community. Entire families, whole generations remember the spiritual guidance Reverend Charles has offered. Who better than Reverend Charles to strike the beast in his blackened wicked heart? Evil must be defeated from cradle to grave. That’s the American way. Witch hunts are another distinctly American tradition. Other area may have witches, but only America had the famous Salem witch trials, which later gave birth to the fledgling electronic sub-genre ‘Witch House’.
Of course like all good horror stories there needs to be a conclusion. David surveys the nightmarish hell scape he’s created, with rivers running red with blood, and thinks to himself “Good job”. Sunken vessels rest at the bottom of the sea happy to have defeated buoyancy. Buoyancy is a lie anyway. Birds stay above ground ready to destroy everything. And finally David uses the word ‘Sailor’ alongside the title to create a misperception of what a reader would normally think.
Yes there are twists and turns but it is better to be inside David Tomaloff’s mind than to be locked away forever in his basement.