Review: God in Neon by Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter’s collection of stories features protagonists paddling up a great river of booze. Their strokes are futile, the current strong: with beer, tequila, whiskey, Old Crow, Jack, PBR. They struggle under the blurry burden of constant intoxication, their boozing not an act so much as a reality, like breathing. The booze, a unifying antagonist, is steady. Lurking. There.
God in Neon is filled with atheists at the bar looking for comfort but meeting instead with uneasy self-discovery.
One spits fire and chews glass as a Key West street freak; another lights up her favorite watering hole because the doc says one drink more will do her in. One doesn’t want the baby but doesn’t want his girlfriend drinking the baby to death (“Just because I don’t want it doesn’t mean it ain’t mine”); another contemplates his remorse over strapping dad to a wheelchair ahead of a night at The Package Depot, the saloon-cum-brownbag joint that unites them all. Another stuffs rabbits with fake Easter grass in hopes his son will talk to him. The boy keeps mum. Even silence is self-discovery.