Title: Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style by Peter Wild
Date Read: 04 March 2009
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009)
Briefly: FBI operative Alfie Vedder is on the verge of petrol-bombing the Detroit office of the Committee to End the War in Vietnam, in order to discredit the leader of the White Panther Party – John Sinclair. He pauses and sees before him his ‘future self’ and the consequences of his actions, and at the same time his ‘past self’ as it rewinds, showing him his ‘course’ leading up to this moment. As a consequence of his past and future laid in front of him, Vedder, with Molotov Cocktail in hand, must come to a decision on his next moments of action.
Afterthoughts: The start of this story is really good; the end equally so. However it’s the bit in the middle I wasn’t too enamored with. It’s a bit of a ramble as far as I’m concerned. Wild is clever in his story telling, very clever and maybe that’s where the problem lies i.e. “Radical Adults…” is just too clever for me. It’s not clever enough though for me not to appreciate some quite remarkably poetic lines of narrative from Wild. The man’s got talent!
Notable Quote: “The bottle struck the window of the Detroit office of the Committee to End the War in Vietnam, bottle and window shattering as one, the petrol igniting with the whoomph of a shaggy, jowly dog, the office lit, momentarily, as if it was daytime, only for the sudden lick and tickle of flame to dispel any such misconception.”
*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.