Roses Are Red, Violets Are Stealing Loose Change From My Pockets While I Sleep
In his previous collection, Not Quite So Stories, David S. Atkinson twisted reality with small absurdities. Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from my Pockets While I Sleep leaves sanity completely behind, pondering modern life through surreal humorous flash fiction involving Margaret Thatcher, jam appearing in boxers overnight, Gene Roddenberry, and more.
PRAISE FOR ROSES ARE RED
Atkinson (Apocalypse All the Time, 2017, etc.) offers a collection of flash-fiction about subjects ranging from an invasion of aerobic dancers to a tyrannosaur-sized human looking for living space.
Each of the absurdist tales here drops its main characters into bizarre, often surreal situations, with most clocking in at less than two pages in length. In one, the narrator refuses to exit a Ferris wheel at the “Scotchtoberfest,” all to avoid Henry Kissinger, who wants to know what happened to his 1987 Chevy convertible. Similarly weird predicaments abound in other tales—a city’s residents uses price comparison and couponing to find a new mayor, a civilization of tiny elves turns up in an old oatmeal container, or a cellophane-wrapped Christmas ham is, sadly, also made of cellophane and packing tape. Historical figures and celebrities also populate the book, including Benjamin Franklin on a cocaine high and in need of gas money, and Tom Cruise, who vainly tries sparking discussions on controversial matters, such as Scientology, with an apathetic new neighbor. Pop-culture references are generally to decades-old TV shows and movies, but Atkinson effectively links them to more topical concerns, such as genetically modified foods. He also tackles air travel and, repeatedly, dentists and tooth care. The majority of the stories’ titles are inordinately long and sometimes irrelevant, but typically hilarious, such as “Linseed Oil is Not an Effective Sunblock Ointment Even If You Mix it With Two Parts Crisco and Three Parts Heavy Water Beforehand, James Madison’s Amateur Home Hobbyist Chemistry Thesis Notwithstanding.” Even at its most preposterous, though, Atkinson’s prose is sharp: “Ten thousand pairs of shoes sitting alone in a square? Of course, elephants were going to come in and steal them. What else?” And despite the stories’ brevity, readers won’t feel shortchanged, as there are well over 100 of them.
Unorthodox, irreverent, and diverting tales. —Kirkus Reviews
David Atkinson’s writing resides smack between the surreal and the fantastic, with rabbits reading Bridget Jones’s Diary, a Heathrow Airport customs line for Americans located in a fish-and-chips kiosk, and Margaret Thatcher as a serial kidnapper. But what he writes about is firmly rooted in reality-the ways that society can get you by the throat and shake you; the insanity woven into the fabric of modern life. Reading his latest collection, you’ll laugh out loud while right next to you your ghost twin will read along, soberly, nodding in recognition. -Lynn Mundell, co-editor of 100 Word Story
The author’s intellect is slyly evident throughout the book. —Colorado Book Review
David S. Atkinson’s imagination is a beast unleashed! The stories in Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from My Pockets While I Sleep are bizarre and hilarious, taking us into a highly peculiar landscape with scenarios that leave me wondering: Where does he come up with this stuff? Narrated with his signature intellectual deadpan (think “straight man”) and featuring labyrinthian titles that unroll all the way to near slapstick, Atkinson leads us from one outlandish situation to the next without flinching, apologizing, or justifying. — Nancy Stohlman, author of The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories
Brace yourselves, fair readers, because this is one weird ride. David S. Atkinson’s stories don’t just walk the fine line between satire and surrealism, they dance on top of it while juggling knives. From the hilarious titles, to their far-out premises, to the noodle-like leaps of logic that dictates how each of these micro-universes function: this collection of flash fiction is a cannonade of well-crafted absurdity. —- Danger Slater, Wonderland Award winning author of I Will Rot Without You and He Digs A Hole