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Jim Meirose

Review of W<J>P Newnham’s Experimental Short Story
“El Greco”

Figures in the Street by Jacob Wexler

Reading El Greco” is like ingesting LSD. The tab goes down (you pick up the page and begin to read), and it’s all normal for a while. You’re brought into a street scene in what to me is an exotic 1980s any city in the early evening with the super-imposing greater than life El Greco (yes greater not larger. They are very different.) and then out comes Zorba in the flesh being—well, being Zorba the Greek. And you the reader keep on accepting this presence.

And faster the images come and go peaking up ever-so-slightly line after para. in intensity. Rain cloud people strippers and faster you run with the narrator, who—all at once, totally spent, is in the midst of a not-so-normal job interview.

Then you remember. Yes, yes, yes. Must be the drug—so. This is a story. Now there’s no choice to let it work.

So, get into it. Read on. Explore. Tautness and suitability to be our waiter—judged by an ass-pat.

Then you’re suddenly learning all about a particular space-and-labor saving restaurant seating style—which is fascinating—complete with floor plan and then, so taken with this and into it—now, it’s serving time. The place is packed. A page or two reminscent of the truck stop diner scene in “Thirty Two Short Films about Glen Gould” (Babel of voices etc.)

The drug drops harder and here now it’s after hours.

And so on. Party’s over time to clean up. Not to introduce any spoilers right now—read to discover the rest of the trip—the highlights in this reader’s head were; encompassing hedonism.

And after closing the magical emptiness of the used-up dining room needing to be cleaned up—and the spirit of Old Roderick O’Conor after hours cleaning the dregs from the empty drinking table in FW—the drug has kicked full in.

The rest of the ride is patently hallucinogenic. Scarface. Montana. Male/female stenches mixing.


Ends with—a coin flip—in crazy slow motion. To decide what exactly?

Eh—for each that takes this drug the payoff will be different. But it all needs to happen over again tomorrow. Which it is already, so—

Highly recommended.


About the reviewer:
Jim Meirose‘s work has appeared in numerous venues. His novels include Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer (Optional Books), Understanding Franklin Thompson (JEF), Le Overgivers au Club de la Résurrection (Mannequin Haus), and No and Maybe – Maybe and No (Pski’s Porch).

About WJP Newnham:
W.J.P. Newnham hitchhiked around Australia working as barman, bum and waiter, slaughter hand, deckhand and master, spending 25 years working in the Northern Prawn Fishery. He has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Japan and speaks marketplace Indonesian with some fluency. He is the winner of the 2016 The Lifted Brow’s Experimental Non-fiction Prize. His numerous short stories have been published in Nocturnal SubmissionsOverlandThe Lifted BrowMeanjinWesterly and Horror Sleaze Trash [to name but a few]. Newnham is an Associate Editor for Experimental Discourse at O:JA&L.

Image: Figures in the Street by Jacob Wexler (1912-1995). Oil canvas. 62 x 47 cm. 1943. By free license.

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