Ventriloquist

Lester Cleverly’s miserable life has come unhinged and his longtime partner, Butterfly, has seized the reins. She’s perched on his knee for the past fifteen years as half of the support act at the Chrome Valley Theater and believes Lester has settled for far less than their just desserts. She’s on a mission to avenge the decades of grievances heaped upon them.

Lester lost his mind quite a while ago.

He’s a junkie, hooked on a street drug that renders him a shambling gray-faced marionette. He stirs the soup pot at the Waddling Gate Food Bank, surprised when the snide comments in his head fly out of his mouth, and finds himself both repelled and fascinated by the decapitated heirloom on his therapist’s desk.

Not only has he been driven from his daughter’s life by his ex-wife and her Bugatti-driving partner, but he just learned Butterfly will be replaced by a space-traveling cat puppet, while he’ll play second banana to a new support act, Judy Presto and Jolly the Space Dog.

Butterfly will not tolerate this.

As she embarks on her revenge spree, Lester unsuccessfully tries to hold his shattered psyche together. Butterfly squawks exceptionally creative obscenities while brutally executing their enemies, including the theater owner, the primary act, the new support act, and Lester himself.

Or does she?

Ventriloquist is not only the title, but the essence, of this story. As the action grows more frantic and bizarre, readers wonder: what’s real and what’s not? Whose voice are spewing those threats and curses? What constitutes the actual, smoldering world of Chrome Valley?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

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