|Most Wonderful Time For A Beer
Humorous Seasonal Fiction by John Patrick Gallagher
“Most Wonderful Time for a Beer.“ The title says it all. This is a light-duty takeoff on Christmas and several literary and musical genres at the same time.
The story is set in Rudy’s Bar, the lowest dive in Hell’s Kitchen, which our narrator, Patton Lee Beaugus (aka Bogus), chooses for his Christmas Eve outing (and all his everyday evening outings) because it has the cheapest beer. The plot really gets going when the Party-Mob appears: an unlikely conglomeration of characters straight out of a time-warped pulp detective novel. They might or might not be a band. Their avowed goal, besides destroying every Christmas song we hold dear, is to entrap Santa and take over Christmas for their own nefarious ends.
Throughout the story Molly, (ex-Belfast gunrunner, ex-Stevie Hawking assistant, PhD in Physics, and the sexiest girl-next-door Bogus has ever met) attempts to manipulate String Theory and navigate through 11 to the 11th power (several billion) alternate universes in order to get just the right balance of reality and chance so that Clydie the flying (and talking) Clydesdale can ground Rudolph and leave Santa into the clutches of the Party-Mob.
The ensuing plotline is too convoluted to follow, but that’s not the point. The point is the constant flow of one-liners and bizarre situations that permeate the narrative. Flying ceramic pigs and barfly t-rexes figure in the equation, just to give you an idea. And through it all, Bogus the narrator thinks up a storm but does nothing except recycle whatever alcohol he can get his hands on.
Chapter headings like “Molly Wii Wiis” “Molly Blows Boston” and “Don’t Whiz into the Fountain” give you an idea of the level of humor. “Back When”, “Back in the Same When” and “In the Same When as the Back When Before” will perhaps widen the reader’s understanding.
This is a well-written satire, and perhaps my only complaint is that this writer, like many comedy writers before him, fails to understand the natural function of humour in defusing tension. A series of good one-liners at a tense point in the narrative takes all the suspense out of the story. This results in a sameness of tone that takes the peaks and valleys off the emotional experience, and also numbs us to the freshness of the humour. A judicious edit would be needed to cut a bunch of the lesser quips, and rearrange the rest to allow the tension of the plotline to flow.
Another interesting dimension to this story is the format, which supposedly allows us to go on the internet and hear the songs and comment on the action as it happens. Unfortunately the links don’t work on a .pdf download. I found them on the author’s website, <http://mostwonderfultimeforabeer.com/> and the music is professionally produced and very smooth. Also very funny.
Taken as a whole, and read in small sections, this is a great holiday read. Definitely recommended for all adults, and especially those with an active funnybone.