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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.
trying not to hoot or call out. I wondered what it was about that school that made me more retarded than anywhere else. This is what Swarth was saying: “Shit, man, I had er all leaned up against a fuckin tree n shit n got er pants down an er shirt up n shit an this fuckin train starts comin n she gets real nervous. I tole the bitch to fuckin shut the fuck up n shit cause that fuckin train weren’t stoppin fer nothin so there weren’t no fuckin way we was gonna get in trouble n shit. So she
really sad, ya know?” “I don’t know. I guess I don’t really wanna talk about it.” It was true. I had no idea what made me so sad. I wasn’t thinking about the parents or any of the heavy fuckness that had happened earlier that day. If I’d been thinking about that, I would probably have been happier. Triumphant and weightless. That was how I’d felt earlier. I figured it must have been something in my head, chemicals or some fuckness like that, or I would have been sad all the time—which I
man?” “I’ll be there shortly. You go on ahead.” Dr. Blast bid us both a good night, walked to the back of the smallish space, and collapsed into a heap on the floor. “Dr. Blast likes his sleep,” Skad said. “I’m sorry,” I said. “No, sleep’s good for him. Oh, you mean you’re sorry about something else. What is it, Wallace?” “Just showing up like this.” “Oh, it’s better than a stick in the eye. It’s so rare that I get company unless, of course, they’re sending somebody to spy on me.
supposed to do, just leave him laying there?” “Somebody woulda come and picked eem up. Why’d you gotta go and make it our problem?” “He’s not a problem. It’s good to do things like this.” “You think you know what’s good? He’s in there layin in his own stink. You know what he smells like? Smells like death. What he done to get himself here? You ever thoughta that? You don’t know what’s good. Whatcha oughta do is be waitin here for me with yer legs open when I get home. That’s what’d be
off the couch and went over by the television, where the stereo system was. She bent down and flipped through a small record collection. The afternoon sunlight came in through the glass sliding door at the back of the house. Last night it hadn’t seemed like the house was capable of being this bright. I watched Maria put the record on the player and drop the needle down. A familiar music filled the room. “Bobby DeHaven,” she said. “I know. He’s my favorite.” “It’s pretty good stuff. You