Holm’s debut is a short collection of flash fiction and poetry narrated by an ex-Navy electrician and drug aficionado in the cold woods of Minnesota.
In the first story—and at three pages, one of the longer stories in this collection—the narrator proudly explains his “dirt bag” work ethic: He does only the bare minimum required for his Navy job but goes about growing pot with energy and creativity. This opener also includes information on passing drug tests, the money-saving plans of a Navy captain and the narrator’s eclectic design for his bedroom. This sketch gives readers a sense of the narrator—the sort of guy whose friendships involve various controlled substances and whose interests include wiring up a massive sound system. As important, the story gives a sense of the book to follow: eclectic and episodic, short, rough, funny. Topics (and timeframes) occasionally jump around. For instance, the narrator shifts from a tale about his later life troubles in his mobile home (the refrigerator that he can’t quite fix or the time he accidentally burned his trailer down) to an earlier account of almost being caught napping in Naval Nuclear Power School. Holm adds poetry and just-so fables to the mix, including the secret story of the Last Supper. These pieces have the same humor and brevity as the flash fiction, as when the narrator casually notes of ancient times: “And since Jews mysteriously had New Jersey accents….” While the stories are generally humorous and interesting, the assemblage is short and scattershot, particularly at the end, which features military special operations teams and an encounter with one of Santa’s elves. The book also doesn’t keep a standard font size, and some entries are distractingly highlighted.
An interesting, quick debut where the unpolished, random approach may be part of the charm.