Labor Days, Labor Nights: More Stories
by Larry D. Thacker
Bottom Dog Press

"He did what he usually did when he needed to think. He took a nap."

Homespun humor is on picture-window display in this collection of sometimes satirical, sometimes sentimental short stories. From ribald run-ins with hair-removing professionals to bittersweet memorials with ghost-like siblings, these tales put one in touch with people perhaps more engaging on paper than they'd likely be in person. Within these yarns, there's definitely a case to be made for literary social distancing.

It's not that the characters created here are without warmth and the milk of human kindness. Certainly, the recurring Uncle Archie fills each of his episodes with a high regard for individualism and a desire for everyone to have a smile as their umbrella, even as his fart-simulating and turkey-exploding antics keep the rain coming. And one can't help but be attracted to the fire and brimstone preacher whose lightening-pocked dalliances with the Almighty don't dissuade him from calling sinners to salvation, or the comely young lass less concerned with her attractiveness attributes than her bare-hands catfish catching capabilities.

Author Thacker knows how to make reading fun. From fainting pygmy goats to shrunken heads to ransom notes for kidnapped mannequins, he keeps readers surprised. His prose is refreshingly casual, his dialogue realistically conversational, and his forays into philosophy frequently ironic. There's a Will Rogers, Jeff Foxworthy tone to his writing that often takes readers one way and leaves them someplace they weren't expecting to go. For example, "Everyone was talking and shaking hands and hugging and kissing. As churches go, it seemed legit enough. As legit as an ex-arsonist who'd won the lottery and found God could muster, I guess." This is a collection for those who like to read with smiles on their faces—if only to keep those watching them envious.

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