By Jeff Strand
Publisher: White Noise Press
Pub Date: May, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
commended for making such a fine product. Bad Bratwurst by Jeff Strand is a small 28 page chapbook with a very limited production of 160 copies. I think they may be sold out by the time you read this. I love chapbooks. When done well they are compact pieces of love by writer and publisher meant to be cherished. But when said and done, they are only as good as the fiction or essay inside.
Bad Bratwurst certainly deserves this type of love. It is a short tale that is part Monty Python, a tiny bit Calvino, and all Strand about a sausage maker bemoaning the fact that his butcher shop is not getting any customers. While he is trying to close for the night, his assistant comes up with a swift (get it?) solution that upsets the butcher and he turns it down almost immediately. He goes through an hilarious discussion of the moral dilemmas first. Yet the night is not over and, in Python fashion, he is besieged by other "helpful" characters.
I have always been amazed how well Strand can merge humor with the most repulsive subjects and this is no exception. Yet it reads more like a surrealist farce than any horror or suspense. No cringing (maybe a little cringing) but a lot of laughing. Our butcher friend does come to a solution that perfectly fits his staunch and odd set of values. It is also very funny.
This is one of the best short stories I have read from Strand and most of them have been pretty good. If you cant find a copy, hopefully it will show up in a collection sometimes in the future. But if you cant wait and want to read some other really good short fiction by Strand try Dead Clown Barbecue. Tell him the butcher sent you.