I love freaks. My fondness for all things freakish is almost, well, freaky. I get ridiculously over-excited about anything that could fall into this category, from Victorian sideshows to modern cultural spectacles; from faded photographs of tattooed lion-tamer ladies in sequinned bikinis, to bespectacled geeks and sad misfits wandering down school corridors, lonesome, in countless TV shows. My bookmarks bulge with macabre curios, and Lionel the Lion-Faced man is peering down on me (albeit in postcard form) as I tap this out.
So, when I first heard about Freaks, and found out that there was a way that I could help to promote it online, of course, I leapt at the chance.
Freaks is published today, and is a collection of short stories by Nik Perring and Caroline Smailes, with comic book type illustrations by Darren Craske.
The dedication says it best: ‘To all who, if only for a moment, felt that they didn’t belong’, and within the pages, over fifty characters are contained, each one blessed/cursed with an unusual superpower, each exploring the benefits/drawbacks of having such a gift/burden, and each inhabiting the awkward space between each opposition. Cue a zombie hairdresser, a man who can invade the dreams of his lovers, a woman who can photocopy herself at will, a woman clad in My Little Pony Pants who likes to be ridden...like a pony. Wonderful.
The book is available on Amazon, here, (Kindle version here) and for a sneaky peek, here’s one of the stories from the collection, ‘Invisible’:
[Super Power: The ability to make oneself unseen to the naked eye]
If I stay totally still,
if I stand right tall,
with me back against the school wall,
close to the science room’s window,
with me feet together,
if I make me hands into tight fists,
make me arms dead straight,
if I push me arms into me sides,
if I squeeze me thighs,
stop me wee,
if me belly doesn’t shake,
if me boobs don’t wobble,
if I close me eyes tight,
so tight that it makes me whole face scrunch,
if I push me lips into me mouth,
if I make me teeth bite me lips together,
if I hardly breathe,
if I don’t say a word.
I’ll magic meself invisible,
and them lasses will leave me alone.