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LEO by Smoke Williams

LEO by Smoke Williams

Based loosely on the style, format and narrative content of James Joyce’s ULYSSES, LEO, a new first novel by Smoke Williams, is a work of young adult fiction. It aims to take the grand ambition of Joyce and make it available for today’s generation that lives and breathes on the internet. Intsead of being set in Dublin, LEO is an American story, but one that takes place mostly on the internet. Actually, the verbosity, the grandiose performances of poetic language and the puerile humor of Joyce now must be seen as relatively mundane when compared to the lewd pastiche of words and images we find everyday in our internet feeds. The constant stream of information is overwhelming, just in the way that Joyce’s Dublin seems hyperactive with ads, chatter and gossip. Here below is a part of Smoke Williams’s adpation of Joyce’s famous Lestrygonians episode (remember the one that takes place in the pub with all the rude mechanicals yelling opinionated tirades about this and that); Williams shifts the scene to a reddit forum where the same style of nonsense-disguised-as-deeply-held-opinion and vice-versa abounds.

EPISODE 5: BIG BABY BOYS ON THE INTERNET

Leo hops on the commuter bus, brandishes his cell phone for the driver (showing that yes, as always, he paid his fare well in advance of boarding), and affixes his cheeks to the plastic cushions. He squeezes in next to an old lady who seems to be on her way back from a grocery excursion as evidenced by the copious saltines, sweets and bovine milk products she is carrying on her person. Wow what a haul. Leo unsheaths his knock-off apple iphone device from his pocket and taps lightly on the screen a number of times.

r/movies. New releases forum. Batman franchise. New edition of star wars, despecialized. Megan Fox or Scarlett Johansson. Where do you rent movies?

The air on the bus just got a bit more sweaty as a group of men all dressed in soiled soccer kits paid their fare and slid down the aisle in Leo’s direction. When did I exercise last? Oh, Mol, you’re always telling me I need to try new things. Dumb sports. Wonder what she’s doing now. Leo gazes down at the illuminated screen at his lap, avoiding eye contact with these new men onboard. The forum on the two bombshell actresses looks promising.

Megan Fox is not an actress. Yeah but she is so sexy. OK fair. Why doesn’t she just do a movie where there are no clothes involved?

Leo shuts the thing off, and taps his foot. How many more stops till I am returned. Mol might be back too, but that wouldn’t be good. She thinks I only went out for a quick bite. The time is now 5:00. Make up excuse. Tell her nothing. She has not told me anything, so only fair. And looking at her instagram revealed exactly what I was thinking. Leo was starting to perspire. The old lady next to him started to notice the sweat dripping off his shirt, and she shifted the plump bags of provisions slightly away. Oh let’s just get there already.

THE ADVENTURES OF SQUEAKY CLEAN STEVE AND YOUNG PRINCESS PANSY!

THE ADVENTURES OF SQUEAKY CLEAN STEVE AND YOUNG PRINCESS PANSY!

A new childrens’s novella by first-time author Sally Salisburg: THE ADVENTURES OF SQUEAKY CLEAN STEVE AND YOUNG PRINCESS PANSY!

Chapter 1

Boys are usually loud, obnoxious, and most of all dirty. Bits of dirt and grease seep under their fingernails, and it never gets out. This is not a problem for the hero of this story: Steve. While the other second graders play around in the yard, he sits by himself next to the drinking fountain looking at his clean skin. He is so clean.

Chapter 2

How did Steve get started on his quest to be clean? It is actually pretty silly, the reason. His father. His father worked for a multinational industrial water softening company selling water softening equipment. He brought home industrial and commercial grade water softening equipment that made Steve’s tap water especially hard-ion-free. He loved the way this special water felt on his pale skin. Never would he ever let himself wash himself with hard mineral rich water. It always had to be extra clean.

Chapter 3

One random Saturday, a small posse of rude boys from downtown knocked on Squeaky Clean Steve’s door. They wanted to tease him. He got out of his bubble bath (he takes exactly one (1) bubble bath per day), put on his bathrobe (which he had cleaned and dried with bleach just before running the bath water), and went down the stairs and opened the door. The boys were laughing. One after another, each hollered, “Feeling clean?!” “What kind of soap do YOU use?!” “Is your skin soft like a girl’s?!” Steve was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say.

Chapter 4

Steve’s neighbor was a princess, and her name was Pansy. Her parents actually, literally descended from Scottish nobility (like only 5 generations ago, OK?) and Pansy had bought some geneology software and traced her heritage back to a real Scottish patriarch. She thus saw it fit to buy herself princess jewelry from the mall, and make everyone call her Princess Pansy.

Chapter 5

Pansy would always look across the street at Steve’s house. She especially admired his pale, squeaky clean complexion. And she liked the way he lathered himself up in the bubblebath. (She could see in his bathroom.) Nobility should be clean, she thought to herself.

Steve didn’t even know she existed. He is pretty oblivious to other people.

Chapter 6

When the boys were approaching the Steve’s house that fateful Saturday morning, Pansy followed them. She knew they were trying to do something threatening to her favored prince-to-be Steve. As they knocked the door, she crouched (well, courtesied actually like royalty) behind a nearby bush. She listened (pretending to use one of those earhorns that old fancy people use when they are hard of hearing).

Chapter 7

“I dunno. I dunno,” stammered Steve in a squeaky voice. The boys were intimidating him. These rude boys, raised in the grid-iron of soccer fields during recess, knew how to sense weakness, and they sensed it here. With one hand, they each reached into their back pockets, took out clumps of dirty grass and mud; with the other, they reached for Steve and grabbed his head. Steve squirmed, but even his slippery clean skin couldn’t squirt away this time. They put the clumps of dirt into his perfectly polished, just shampooed hair. He screamed, and in this moment Princess Pansy intervened.

Chapter 8

“I order you to stop. By the powers vested in me, the scion of the throne of Scotland, you must release the boy. He is my charge and you are subverting the law of my kingdom,” she said, coldly. The boys didn’t understand her vocabularly but they went away, they knew she was boss. Princess Pansy had saved Steve and they lived happily ever after.