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BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY by Michael Guinzburg


by Michael Guinzburg

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55970-208-7
Publisher: Arcade

Fast-moving, extremely broad satire of 12-Step programs and New York's downtown drug scene; glimmers of cleverness are lost amidst over-the-top violence and constant recourse to the ``silly name'' school of humor. Crackhead/junkie/alcoholic Ed T., once a successful reporter, returns home from rehab to discover long-suffering wife Michelle and their twin sons gone. Clean but bitter, aching to get high, Ed wanders into a Hard Drugs Anonymous meeting, where he finds a degree of comfort and the cast of caricatures who fill out the novel: Ed's sponsor, Myron, a pre-op transsexual; hard-bitten cop, Frank, on suspension for his heroin habit; and Rachel, the beautiful nymphomaniacal actress with whom Ed has an affair. Afterwards, despite good intentions, Ed hies to dealer Flaco; sorely tempted and deeply humiliated, he resists by way of murder. Taking the late Flaco's gun, cash, and attack dog, Natasha, Ed proceeds to ``work the steps,'' fight for sobriety, search for his wife—now living with a pimp, turning tricks and using drugs—and off dealers with outlandish violence and increasing frequency. Ed's exploits edge out ``Leonard Lump'' and ``Sarah Syrup'' for coverage in the Post, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous blares from TVs dotting the Lower East Side squalor, and Ed recounts the childhood abuse which fomented his addictions, until Frank and Rachel peg him for the vigilante, set him up and send him to jail. Much of the 12-Step parody is funny and on-the-mark, and ``Crack City'' is well-observed, but these elements can't support an ultimately slight tale.