The President’s Parasite and Other Short Stories
By Jim Musgrave
The President’s Parasite and Other Short Stories is a rich collection of slice of life vignettes written with a melancholy flavor and a twist of dark humor in an easy-to-read conversational tone. Each story deserves a review of its own, but for this review I’ll mention a couple of my favorites. However, if you read this and are hungry for more, you can get your hands on a downloadable sampler of his stories on his blog “Let There Be Blog!”.
For this review, I thought I’d highlight a couple of my favorite stories:
Jim Musgrave’s engaging characters in Remembering to Laugh opens a window into everyday life into the “invisible America” that no one wants to see. This story’s protagonist is a Jewish woman who marries a blue-eyed, red-headed Irish cop much to his mother’s chagrin. The story highlights the changing relationship of the mother and wife as the two women learn to work together when the father-in-law, a Viet Nam vet with Alzheimer’s, needs to be cared for and the husband ends up in Iraq as a hostage. I could write an entire review on this story alone, and recommend it highly.
The Wager portrays a man who wins 117 million dollars in a lottery and bets his pastor that he can cause more trouble by trying to do good with his winnings than he would if he squanders it. If he doesn’t, he’ll give the rest of the money to the church, but if he wins the Pastor agrees to change the church into a Church of Satan. The pastor takes the bet. Talk about good versus evil! If you want to know how it plays out, you’ll have to buy the book.
The short story IS NOT dead. Jim’s stories vary enough that there’s no one marketing umbrella formula that can lump them together other than original, creative and thought provoking. His work affects the mind in a subtle way, much like Twilight Zone. It entertains but grabs you and doesn’t just let go until it threads into your mind and makes you think.