The Town Drunk, June 2007

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In “Habitats of Humanity” by Monte Davis, Tyler threatens, roughs up his granny, and pushes her down.  Holding up her bible for protection doesn’t help. She actually sits down with a demon for advice. When she asks about calling a priest for an exorcism, Kilkorzadab is incredulous.

“The black-suit guys with little white squares on their Adam’s apples? . . . Forget it. You’ve seen too many movies. I’ve known demons who faked their own exodus just to get those guys to go away.”

There are some funny lines, if you like your coffee, and your humor, black. The story is well-written and descriptive, right down to Tyler ingesting saccharin like powdered cocaine to ward off the demons, then levitating, convulsing, and flying out a window.  But this story didn’t leave me with a good feeling; I prefer mine light and sweet. 

Davis does manage to create some sympathy for Tyler, after all, he lost his mother, and all the medications they’re giving him aren’t helping. I would have liked to know where his father was, and exactly what happened to his mother, if only to explain why he harbors such rage inside.  It can’t only be the therapies that are screwing him up.
Buried deep inside this story is the same theme as in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest:  The cure is sometimes worse than the disease, and sometimes, the best way to control the demons inside is to embrace them before they destroy you.

The Oxford Essential Writer’s Reference defines satire as “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”  Read “Habitats of Humanity” rather than a boring manual. It’s not the usual lighthearted fare found in The Town Drunk, but Monte Davis nails the definition, every single word of it.