by Jason Jordan
Keyhole Press, 2013
58 Pages / $9.99 Buy from Keyhole Press
Strange situations infect the stories in Jason Jordan’s Pestilence and the unusual premise of each tale blends the surreal with everyday life in a disturbingly enchanting mix. In “Pestilence,” the eponymous story upon which the collection is titled, there is a new plague that visits a building every day of the week. Monday has corpses appearing randomly, then disappearing at midnight. Tuesday has hives of bees that swarm the residents. On Wednesday, they all need scuba gear as the entire building is flooded. The narrator invites a journalist to document the plagues that visit their house. He wants the anomalies within the building to be reported on, yet refrains from personal details about the inhabitants as he’s saving that information for the national media. While the reporter reacts with terror to what he witnesses, the residents are oddly indifferent. After the reporter endures two days of the plagues, he is ready to leave:
The pestilence becomes a decrepit bridge through which the narrator hopes to connect to the world. He is disappointed, then, when he finds out their house is misrepresented in the published article.
In similar form, the characters in the collection attempt to break the quarantine that separates them from everyone else. This is the second book by Jason Jordan I am reading and if there’s an aspect that ties his previous work, The Dying Horse, with Pestilence, it’s a chill attitude by the character in the face of horrors. In the case of “The House of Ice,” that’s a literal chill. The whole house is frozen along with the owner, Bill Jones, his dog, and even the cardinal. There is no explanation given for the freeze and after they are thawed, no one seems to care:
July 15th, 2013 / 11:00 am