“The Decadents”

The very definition of a non standard family

“The Decadents” is the story of a family who are the very definition of nonstandard.  They are absurdly “unusual” people and never anything close to normal. They walk the razor edge between insanity and absurdity, the edge between ludicrously and inappropriateness, and yet they are absurdly funny. They are the “regular’ people one would expect to see on one of “those” TV talk shows. They live in some black and white bazaar sitcom world set in an alternate universe; a mash up of “Wanda Vision,” “Happy Days,” and “Breaking Bad” with a rabbit and a notebook.

Phil Ochs is a successful fast food restaurant regional franchisee. He wants to be the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Entrepreneur, but he is distracted by thoughts of vague calamities befalling his professional rivals. Son, David Samuel, is twenty-three. (He is always referred to by two names as if there might be a solitary Samuel or David hanging around writing poems and filling a sketch book to confuse people.) He says he is jumping off the roof because he needs to go to a good school. Lillian Ochs attends the women’s club meetings and eats room temperature pasta in white gloves and a pioneer skirt. She uses a “Miracle dusting mitt” on their dead (and stuffed) pet rabbit, Bernie. She is unhappy with the mitt’s performance so she calls customer service to complain. Of course, there is always a way to restore Bernie with the correct “Miracle” product.

The characters are like encountering a car wreck on the freeway, you just cannot look away. They do not pretend to be normal; they are their own normal. They are sustained by the belief that each one has outwitted the others through his or her subtle deployment and cunning. In the end, they may be saved by a breaded fish sandwich, corn on the cob, and a personalized parking space.

I received a review copy of “The Decadents” from M.C. Schmidt and Library Tales Publishing. The book is quick to read if you do not count the time laughing and shaking your head in astonishment. “The Decadents”  is now available in print, and as an e-book from independent bookstores, online booksellers, retail stores, public libraries and anywhere you get your books.