Today, I read Maria Dahvana Headley’s “Such & Such Said To So & So,” appearing in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014 edited by Rich Horton (pages 95-104). It’s a fun story with nice gritty language, but I didn’t get it.
My son, the chef, says it’s because I don’t drink or go to bars. That makes sense. The story reminds me of Will Smith’s “Candy” where he integrates tons of candy names into a song. I did recognize some of the literary references, but anything having to do with booze, I don’t get. Yeah, when I was in the Army, I went to bars with my friends, but as the designated driver or designated walker. I got all the water I wanted or paid premium prices for four ounces of Coke. Sometimes as high as five dollars.
What I loved about this story is the language. It’s very cool. It has that dark feel of a rave in Blade or the Matrix, but also of the speakeasy world of prohibition. My comic is of Joe Mexico trying to buy a Coke Zero from the bartender that is depicted in Headley’s story. Joe knows more about this stuff than I do. He’s a former homicide detective and is currently a private detective. He might not drink, either, but he has in the past.
When I go deeper into Joe’s story, I’ll be employing language much like the language of this story.