Tuesday 21 July 2020



A pocket guide to the twenty-three most painful things in life, written by the most well-adjusted man in the universe.

Does it make you sad to be alive?

Boo-hoo. You're living all wrong.
My name is Andersen Prunty. I'm happiest while napping. I am a man with tennis shoes. They get older every time I put them on. This is how I deal with the pain of being alive. Now is our chance to deal with our pain together. You'll thank me later.
Lover and euphoria,
Andersen :)

A new-to-me author and a bit of a departure from my usual reading with Andersen Prunty's short story collection comprised of mainly short flash fiction pieces. The common theme judging by the contents page is pain.

The Driver’s Guide to Hitting Pedestrians Pain: Pedestrians
The Laughing Crusade Pain: Laughter
Architecture Pain: Work
Chainsaw Mouth Pain: Teeth Napper
Pain: Consciousness
Princess Electricity Pain: Light
The Balloonman’s Secret Pain: Longing
Reading Manko Pain: Authors
Alone in a Room Thinking About All the People Who Have Died Pain: Death
The Tailors Pain: Pants
The Champion of Needham Avenue Pain: Winning
Teething Pain: Rebellion
Toss Pain: School
Where I Go to Die Pain: Fate
The Ohio Grass Monster Pain: Friends
The Cover-up Pain: Fathers
Lost Pain: Mustaches
Dog in Orbit Pain: Relationships
Two Children Who Want to Drive Off a Cliff Pain: Childhood
Rivalry Pain: Neighbors
A 3-Legged Dog Dying of Cancer Pain: Pets
Divorce Pain: Separation
The Melancholy Room Pain: God

Best story for me was the title piece, The Driver's Guide to Hitting Pedestrians where a competition exists for drivers to do win points for doing exactly that. Kill them and you lose points, oh and every time you score you have to take the victim to the hospital. A big money prize awaits the winner. Simultaneously there is a pedestrian competition with a prize for obviously not getting hit.

I quite liked some of the others, insofar as they display a great imagination and fascinating ideas, obviously the product of a creative and possibly diseased mind....... a moustache that disappears during oral sex and is next spotted in a porno when his ex-partner appears on screen copulating; a man who's teeth up sticks and depart his mouth, returning later, each with a partner; a girl who stands on a rooftop generating electricity for a town. I can't say I understood the point of them all or that they made any great sense but. I can't say I was bored by the collection either.

The best bizarro/speculative fiction I've ever read. Actually the only bizarro/speculative fiction collection I've ever read. Passed the time, kept me entertained and brought a smile to my face occasionally.

3 from 5

Read - (listened to) July, 2020
Published - 2011
Page count - 108 (2 hrs 23 mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format - Audible


  1. Well, I will say the title got my attention right away, Col. Not sure this is my sort of collection, but it does sound original, which I always appreciate. And as a flash fiction writer myself, I give people credit who do it well.

    1. Margot, I did like it more than not, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone TBH.