WTF Weekend: Edge of the Known Bus Line by James R. Gapinski (@JamesRGapinski)

A woman's daily commute takes an abrupt turn when she's dropped off in a grotesque shantytown in Edge of the Known Bus Line. 

The townsfolk live in huts and tents scavenged from broken trinkets. They eat dead rats and human flesh. 

They've developed cult-like religions about miracle bus routes that will someday set them free. 

The narrator searches for a way out of this surreal hellscape while dredging up a few nightmares of her own.

   

A gross, cannibalistic, bizarro take on the existential musing of Waiting for Godot - call it Waiting for the Bus - Edge of the Known Bus Line is both smarter and deeper than it appears at first glance. It's also bleaker, much bleaker, so if you find that stark black cover ominous, prepare to get gloomy.

James R. Gapinski takes us on a weirdly surreal bus trip to the disgusting little town of Out of Service, population 66, from which there is no escape, and no return. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to eat but rats and each other, and nothing to covet or possess but lost articles from the latest bus, the citizens have still established a distressingly greedy, needy sort of society. It's a town that has no use for names, but individuals still cling to their identity, becoming defined by it - Tarp-Woman, Condom-Eye, Scarred-Back, Naked-Boy, and more.

Edge of the Known Bus Line is also an interesting story about faith, belief, and the need to belong. The town is divided into two camps, the Chicago Faction and the Pittsburg Faction, each of which lives for the return of a bus with a destination, even though their prophets have long since lost any faith of their own. Actually, there's a third camp, the Cleveland Faction, but they're that weird cult up in the mountains, finding their way closer to the bus driver through hallucinogenic spiders. There is no hope in this town, no dream of a better place, just the desperate faith in a bus that will someday be destined for somewhere other than Out of Service.

At the heart of all this is a woman who challenges the town and its culture, even though it's clear to see she belongs there. Even before her bus leaves her in Out of Service, she's already reduced her fellow passengers to Newspaper-Guy, Napping-Woman, and Ass-Starer, and her selfish ways are no different than the people she despises. Much of the story's horrors come from seeing things through her eyes, and the thrills through watching her desperate, useless attempt to escape. Deep down, we don't really expect her to make it, but we do have a burning curiosity to see what happens.




Paperback, 136 pages
Published April 25th 2018 by Etchings Press


The WTF Weekend gang is group of readers and reviewers who enjoy Weird, Taboo, and Forbidden fiction that is most definitely NSFW. Join us every Saturday and Sunday for more twisted tales . . . and if you have a review to contribute, please contact us!

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