40 Points: Witch Piss

Witch Piss
by Sam Pink
Lazy Fascist Press, 2014
112 pages / $8.95 buy from Amazon

1. Lot of 40s get drunk in Witch Piss.

2. So, take a pull.

3. King Cobras to be specific.

4. King Cobras are dirt cheap at just $1.99.

5. It’s hard to get an idea of the narrator.

6. Early on, he decides to be a ‘yes man.’

7. “I decided then to only ever encourage people, no matter what they wanted to do.  To get through life by saying yes to everything, so no one could say I didn’t get what I wanted, and also so nobody would dislike me.”

8. Most everything he says is deflective in this way.

9. The reader does, I think, get a glimpse of the narrator when he shares his thoughts every now and then.

10. “Imagining myself enlarged, inhaling the smoke off a burning cop as he scream ‘no no no’ – unable to even touch his agonizing face because his skin’s so blistered.”

11. “I briefly imagined a withered root as Speedy’s spinal cord.  Running it between my teeth to scrape off what little’s left.”

12. “I imagined myself as a public executioner for the city of Chicago.  One who used a baseball bat to execute prisoners.  I’d live in a tower somewhere out in Lake Michigan, within a few miles of the city.”

13. “I imagined…” seems to me an epithet/clause of alt lit.

14. Take a pull.

15. Witch Piss, along with most of Pink’s novels, reads like this review.

16. That is to say, a sentence often constitutes a paragraph.

17. And its pretty short.

18. I usually read his stuff in a day or two.

19. I had my friend read him recently and he asked how he was able to record all these astute observations.  Did he remember it all? Did he write as it happened?

20. Idk and I wonder the same.

21.  I lean towards remember – it’d be weird and maybe rude to write that shit while hanging out with the ppl he hangs with.

22. With the narrator not so visible, the focus is on the ppl he hangs with.

23. Some of the people he hangs with: Janet, Speedy, Spider-Man and Face.

24. Janet: “Um, nice a meet you too.  Hi I’m juh, Janet.”

25. Speedy: “He kept pronouncing ‘pussy’ like ‘bussy.’  ‘Airforce is for bussy shit,’ he said, snot going into his mouth.  Then something about Vietnam again.  Something about bullets.  He leaned forward and rolled up a pant leg, showing me the bullet scars on his calf. ‘Z?’ he said.”

26.  Spider-Man: “‘Oh, I got heroes, gah be kiddin me.’  He held one wrist with the other hand and said, ‘Ice Man.’ He was staring straight forward dramatically.  He pointed his head forward still holding it by the wrist. ‘Shing shing.  Gotta be kiddin me.  Got ice powers.  Shing shing.  Boosh.’  He did really good sound effects.  Over 75% of what he was saying was just sound effects.”

27. Face: “Smash this bitch with me, cous”

28. Take a pull.

29. Also typical of Pink’s novels is the narrator’s unemployment.

30. Good thing the ppl he hangs with are such entrepreneurs.  Some ways to make kwik kash:

31. Sell porno DVDs, 4 for $12 (to beat out the guy selling 3 for $10 on the corner).

32. Hand jobs in Boystown = $40.  Or jerk off for someone (pay based on experience).

33. Find someone who gets a disability check and make them your partner.  Make that disabled someone sit in front of the post office and panhandle = $60 on a good day.

34. Steal DVDs (3 persons, 2 wheelchairs needed).

35. Arrange cleaning duties with your local liquor store = five handrolled cigs and five 40s.

36. I wonder if Pink is as good at impersonations as he is at writing speech as sound.

37. I think theres something to be said about citizenship: asking homeless if they want something to eat/drink/smoke and buying it for them, putting a guy’s lopped off limb in a bag of ice and wait with him for the ambulance, most the homeless are wearing army gear, giving homeless a voice beyond “spare change?”

38. There is an army of bums assembling in Chicago.

39. Pink lurks among them, welding a baseball bat in one hand and a sunbeam sword in the other.  Public executioner on the one hand.  Guardian of the city on the other.  Which will it be?

40. Witch Piss is the bottom of a 40.  Take a pull.

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  1. Shawn

      neat review conceit, yo.

      I just reread Witch Piss a week ago. it’s certainly different. Person, The No Hellos Diet, and Rontel were not only told from the narrator’s prospective (or “your” prospective in the case of No Hellos), but were essentially novels ABOUT a narrator’s perspective, the only real ‘plot’ elements being the subtle ebbs and flows of his bipolar visions of chicago and the universe, with a real undercurrent of love and joy that sucks me in everytime (like you and probably everyone else, i read them in gulps, it’s impossible not to)

      and so it was confusing at first to read a book where he casts the narrator as a passive witness, ceding the majority of the text to the ‘witch piss’ of the chicago streets. I almost felt disappointed at first because I was so in love with the screwed up hero of the other novels, but it did not take long to see that this was a monumental undertaking on a different dimensional plane entirely. I’m in awe of it.

      and yeah, constantly wondered how he managed to hold all of these conversations and especially all the ticks and inflections in his head (assuming that many of them were based off of real, unrecorded interactions)

  2. deadgod

      13. “seems”, “feels”, “i think” [instead of ‘am, are, is’]; ‘no good or bad outside of context or goal’ [Tao Lin]; ‘actions and beliefs are based on arbitrary assumptions’ [Tao Lin]; “whatever”: awareness of the phenomenality of experience and ultimate unknowability of reality external to experience are definitely properties of alt lit. Or I feel like as though that maybe.

      25. Maybe Speedy was displaying a chicken-peck scar.

  3. deadgod

      19.-21. With respect to turning experience into narrative, maybe Pink has really good literary metabolism – that is, he’s unusually good at fiction, ‘making shit up’.