In exchange for pizza, a beautiful crow delivered stories to my windowsill. I’ve collected those stories, here, for your amusement and observation. “Bedfellows” follows the story of a boy and a girl who are attached at the hip by supernatural means. “Belligamy” tells the tale of a powerful curse forcing married men to fight one another in order to protect their brides. “Captured by Animals” details an author’s adventures spying on people in the woods to write his romance stories. “The Red Constellation” is Law & Order SVU meets Cosmic Horror. “Young Adult Series Simulator” tells the story of that date you went on at the bookstore. “F1” is about a pregnant horse. “Nine-Tenths An Ape” is the Monkey’s Paw but in reverse. “Lethe” asks, how old were you when you had your first memory? Maybe a little too old? “The Bright Idea Room” reminds you that it’s the environment that kills you in the end. Not the serial killer. “Satan’s Spies” is about a friendly group of businessmen and their obsession with strip clubs.
The author sent me a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review – thank you Evan Witmer!
Pages from the Pizza Crows is an anthology of 10 highly unusual short stories brought together by a decidedly weird and wonderful premise: a crow brought pages of the stories to the author’s window in exchange for pizza. By altering the type of pizza each time the author is able to alter the quality of writing the crow brings to him:
“The crust controls the point of view; the toppings control the theme; the sauce controls the tone; and the cheese controls the probability of passing the Bechdel test.”
Each of the stories could be described as a little off the wall, but some are definitely odder than others – more like a particularly lucid fever dream or a hallucinogen-fueled trip – but in a strangely intriguing way. This is not your average type of short story collection.
My favorite story in the collection was ‘Captured by Animals’. Told from first person perspective, this concerns a romance author, who hides in the woods near campgrounds in order to overhear conversations he can use in his writing. He misses the punchline to one such story by growling loudly enough that the people he is eavesdropping on think there’s a bear in the woods. A very unexpected twist follows, which I found highly entertaining. There is also a talking owl and bear who are experiencing existentialist crises, bored by their surroundings and dissatisfied with their lives.
There are many instances of violence and gore in these stories, reference to rape, suicide and death of family members. The collection is not for the faint-hearted.
Tales from the Pizza Crows embraces surrealism to the extreme. The author’s imagination clearly knows no bounds. If you are looking for something very different this might just be what you need.
About the Author
Tall Pennsylvania boy. I eat a lot of fake crab meat. I was a SoundCloud rapper in a previous life. Fluoxetine, HCL 40 Mg, every morning. Risperidone, 1 Mg, every night.
Author and webmaster for http://www.oddfiction.com/ where I post many of my short stories for free. They’re all surrealist fantasy with elements of horror and comedy.
Each year I take ten stories down off my page and package them together with a strange framing device and equally unusual title. have two published short story collections so far: “Pages from the Pizza Crows” and “Digest: Ten Short Stories by Convicted & Plausible People-Eaters”.
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