Farce Within a Farce

This review captures the tenor and purpose of Two Pumps for the Body Man with incredible brevity and precision. I wish I knew more about the reader, who goes simply by “B”. In some ways, that mystery (I know only that they also reviewed Soul Combat+ Ultimate Active Performance Over-Ear Headphones, Storm Black) adds to the satisfaction of having such an astute reader enjoy my work.

2Pumps

By B on May 8, 2016

Calls to prayer sound off with derisive omniscience, echoing through a diplomatic station situated on, in front of, or perhaps somewhere closely behind the front lines of the War on Terror. There’s no place for logic in an ideologue’s world, we’ll soon learn.

In B.A. East’s Two Pumps for the Body Man, a farce within a farce, we find ourselves strangers in a strange land — although the most unfamiliar features belong to the people and machinations of our own government.

East writes, tongue appointed firmly in cheek, as someone who experienced the bureaucracy and doublespeak of the service firsthand, introducing us to diplomats and servicepersons who are subject to, or complicit in, the gears of the WOT. Their sensibilities range from vainly ambitious to hopelessly carnal and flippant, but each unique layer of pathos is disseminated with patience and dexterity, not unlike a report from an ambassador’s trusted advisor.

As outsiders sitting behind walls, barbed wire and panes of glass, all our characters know is shrouds and faceless silhouettes. The whispers of intel they gather are flawed at best and comically manipulated at worst. As readers engrossed in a great work of satire, we can empathize.

A satirist’s world is one of its own unyielding ideology, much like the Kingdom our characters find themselves stationed in. Like them we are logicians desperately trying to make sense of it all, and it’s only when we give in to the madness of the WOT that we can find peace.

This excerpt, from Chapter 17, reinforces the reviewer’s point. Our protagonist Jeff Mutton is flummoxed by a briefing in which the intelligence chief, No-lips, discovers the front line of the war on terror. Boy, will this intel make him look smart in the eyes of his Washington task-masters: the Vice President’s people at the mysterious Fourth Branch.

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