Two Legs, Bad

Pat Mayer

Tartt Award Winner

Available June 2015

Synopsis: Come and meet the deltaís two-legged mongrels, great beasts of contrast and contradiction in a lush green water world. In these pages, the local pyromaniac sells the romance in arson and an obsessed amputee stalks a celebrated boxer. Snake handlers and prim missionaries are held in equal regard. A Russian chess master speaks from the grave, and a conversational dog utters a sacred word. Mutants with twisted bodies teach the art of perfection. A dead glutton creates a crisis for a burned-out minister, and behind the shed, a barbeque grill doubles as a crematorium. Walk softly because the loamy soil pushes bones to the surface where they move about in unnerving ways. In the swamp, nothing stays still, so youíd better keep moving. Itís the surest way to avoid being arrested. Or eaten.


ISBN: 978-1-60489-150-8 Hard cover $30.00     Sale $15.00

ISBN: 978-1-60489-151-5  Trade paper $17.95    Sale $9.00

164 Pages

  About the Author: 

Pat Mayer is a native of Alabama. She is the author of the novels Terminal Bend and The Cannibals said Grace. She has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was awarded first place in the 2007 International Limerick competition. She and her husband Paul live in Mobile.


 Excerpt from the Book:

The Destroyer of Worlds

ďThe son and heir of a mongrel bitch.Ē

~Wm. Shakespeare: King Lear

I try to ignore it, but . . . oh boy . . . thereís appeal in the smell of a fire, donít you agree? The tang of smoke hits a prehistoric pleasure center in the brain, and we react with a subliminal response that goes back to a distant time when cavemen danced around fire and worshipped it. That arousal is an ancient echo, a memory of hauling the kill back to camp after a hunt, the drip and sizzle of roasting meat, and consuming flesh together while a ring of firelight holds back the ghosts in the shadows. Fire marks a bright beginning when mankind stood upright and split from the animals. Lesser creatures run from fire, but humans are wrapped in fireís delight. To man, smoke means salvation or death, promise or despair. It carries the aroma of supper, or the dark stink of the destruction of villages, one tribe burning another out, and taking what they want.

      St. Bernard, Louisiana, my home town, is a prime example of fireís potential. Walk with me down any street and Iíll point out all the places where fire will soon be, even before it ignites. I can smell the promise of it, an odor that seeps from old buildings with frayed wires sizzling in the walls. Itís like a hiss inside my nose. Other people never notice the cordite tang of old wiring, but I know Iíll soon be part of a crowd, hands in my pockets and a smile on my face, watching a building go up, while primeval instincts zing inside me. All the ancient onesócaveman, pagan, conquering invaderówill be looking through my eyes with joy, thrilling to the sight and smell of a satisfying burn.  

      Iím too young to have seen historyís epic firesóSan Francisco after the earthquake or Chicago after the cow. I was too late for air raids in Europe or napalm in Vietnam, but I still appreciate the great creative talent that goes into the design of combat combustibles. Each military inventor, every battlefield artist, really knew his stuff, but do you know who had the finest mind of all? Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb. I admire that guy so much, I really do. Itís too bad lung cancer got him, but it was in the cards. Every picture I ever saw of ole Robbie, he was holding a cigarette, nuking himself on the inside. Throughout history, critics have called him a monster, but they donít understand that the real monster was the havoc hiding inside those little atoms. Oppenheimer was just a cool guy with enough nerve to peek inside the atom and look the monster in the eye and coax it out to work its magic.