I Could Be Your Neighbor, Isn’t That Horrifying? by Cavin Bryce Gonzalez

Review copy provided courtesy of the author.

Flash fiction and poetry from the depraved mind of The Ultimate Florida Man.

So this is going to be a kind of stranger take on a book review—way too personal, and incredibly awkward, but you know what? We are gonna roll with it, because I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a “right book at the right time” quite like this. It probably sounds terrible, but I don’t really recall many actual details of the book, so I don’t know how much help this will be for prospective readers, but I’ve got some feels to throw down.

A few months ago, I had a rough day. It wasn’t the worst day ever by a long shot, yet somehow it triggered the worst intrusive thoughts I’ve had in nearly a decade. Like, straight up “you know you should just walk into the forest and kill yourself, right?” and “obviously your son will be better off without you” kind of thoughts, and it scared the ever loving shit out of me. I’m living my dream life, and suddenly there’s a voice in my head screaming at me to remove myself from it. Fortunately as bad as it was, there was still the “real me” voice there with the awareness to combat it, but I caught myself hours later still going in those circles, which sent me into a panic that I might not be able to keep reasoning against it, and end up convinced. So out of desperation I decided to see if I could distract myself even the tiniest bit with a book.

I did feel a brief moment of hesitation—reading a book described as “a neighborhood plagued by the presence of a college graduate struggling with...impulsive desires, and the ever present whispers from  inside his noggin urging him toward self destruction” could be a terrible fucking idea in such a state, but thank chicken wings I dove in anyway. From the very first page it radiates pure manic chaos and is dripping with deranged humor and nacho cheese. I felt like I was reading someone else’s intrusive thoughts, but these involved evil twins, puppies, a whole lot of gas station food, and of course, the persistent call of the void.

A lot of literature (and art in general) loves to doll mental illness up in purple prose and romanticism, and that’s a whole lot of bullshit in my opinion. These surreal pieces of flash touch the reality of things, and who would thought I’d find so much comfort in a book dedicated to chicken wings? Life is stupid and absurd, and sometimes hard to continue being a part of, but fuck it, lean into the weird and go buy a hot dog from your nearest gas station.

Oh, and pick up I COULD BE YOUR NEIGHBOR, ISN’T THAT HORRIFYING? It could be exactly what you need.