Sensational Sherri by Nathaniel G. Moore
Black Bile’s One-off Chapbook Series 3
Black Bile Press, 20pp, $5.00 (CAN)
Reviewed by Mark McCawley
In "Sensational Sherri" Nathaniel G. Moore -- Toronto based poet, short fiction writer, cultural activist, and editor of the online cultural magazine Critical Crushes -- has written a transgressive, allegorical home-movie-like story of lust, booze, violence, nostalgia, pornography and obsession. In the story, we follow a thirtysomething Ricky Galore, a down and out ex-backyard wrestler in the throes of mediocrity on the verge of tapping out:
"When you tap out, you give up. That's what it is called: tapping out, he's tapping out, he just tapped out, surrendering, quitting: he had been giving up each night since the last time he saw Sherri.
Tapping out, counted out, whatever it took to go back through the little curtain backstage, feeling like a total piece of shit."
By using the media of Wrestling as a virtual substructure for the ongoing relationship between Ricky and Sherri - beautiful, young and sought after - Moore has fashioned a Baudrillardean hyperreality whereby the real and the simulated are as interchangable as the profession wrestlers on pay per view -- performances with predetermined outcomes between wrestlers with fictional personalities portrayed as real:
"Everything was fake and did fake things; small moths moved, chomped ice, hot breathing burbled nouns and the go-to: I know . . . I know! I know! trademarked after each utterance TM TM TM, and totally or tots."
In "Sensational Sherri" Moore returns to this motif again and again, Ricky and Sherri's torrid and torrential relationship, just another wrestling storyline swerving swerving day to day, hour to hour. The most detrimental swerve begins, though, when Ricky asks Sherri about her sexual fantasies.
"He was, in fact, booking himself out of their program. A program is a series of matches that assist in telling a story between (usually) two competitors. The program can last anywhere from six weeks to six months depending on the intensity of their encounters."
As their program neared it's numb conclusion to make way for new talent, Sherri had countered Ricky's "But I love eating your pussy," with "But you can eat other pussies." Ricky knew he would be replaced by a much younger, much fitter and hungrier competitor. One she'd bring home to her parents.
Moore's irreverent and sardonic short fiction make him a CanLit writer to watch and enjoy. Get a copy of Sensational Sherri while it's still available. Published in a limited edition of 80 copies, it won't be in print for very long.
Sensational Sherri by Nathaniel G Moore is part of the Black Bile Press One-offs Chapbooks Series Three (also featuring Tony O’Neill and Julie McArthur).
Order all three books for only $10.00 (plus $2.00 postage), for a ridiculously good final price of $12.00 for all three books. Or order one chapbook (please specify the title) for $6.00 ($5.00 for the book, plus $1.00 postage). US orders, the same price applies, as the exchange rate to Canadian currency will cover the higher postal costs. UK and RoW orders, please email email@example.com for the price in your currency.
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