Monday, July 7, 2008

The Exquisite Corpse

Alfred Chester's The Exquisite Corpse, which I'm now several chapters into, is the kind of book they should be teaching in high schools instead of The Scarlet Letter.  Of course any teacher who dared to teach this would probably be shot on sight by order of the Righteous League of Moral Enforcers, or whatever the PTA is calling itself these days.

For some reason I felt compelled to use a dollar bill as a bookmark for this, an idea which had never occurred to me before.  I wondered why it did now.  Then tonight I came upon this passage:

          Mary Poorpoor was only a child herself when her son
          was conceived.  She was unmarried and alone in the
          world.  She was homeless, hungry and skinny.  She had
          no idea who the father could be, but it came to pass
          that she hoped more and more it was the kindly fat so-
          cial worker who befriended her a few months after
          she became pregnant.  The social worker was named
          Emily, and she set Mary up in a sunny tenement flat
          that had its own toilet as well as a bathtub in the
          kitchen, heat and hot water.  Emily was a stately-
          looking sober yet playful woman with large breasts
          under either or both of which she was given to hiding
          one-dollar bills.

You can guess where it goes from there....