Some short stories can give the sense that a writer is really pushing out the boat as far as they can manage, maybe to add shock value or to stretch themselves and their thinking. In the case of Jedidiah Ayres, I suspect that his extremes seem so entirely natural that he might even have to rein in his imagination from time to time.
‘A F*ckload Of Shorts’ (US) is a collection which contains some fabulous stories. They’re well put together and nicely layered. The characters are fully fledged as well as being marvellously flawed; the snapshots we get of their lives tell us everything we need to know. Mr Ayres does more than just bring these characters to life, it’s as if he’s living within their skin until he sheds one to find a new protagonist.
The stories have variation and did have me cringing from time to time. Thankfully, a seriously dark humour helps when things get tough.
My favourites are the openers, with two tales criss-crossing and taking different points of view on 50k in cash that has gone missing.
Scott Philips says it perfectly in his introduction:
‘If you’re a degenerate and a pervert like me, you’ll love every page of this sick little collection of the inner-skull scrapings of a madman.’
which, I guess, makes me a degenerate and a pervert too.