Local author Michael Frissore, from Oro Valley, has published a collection of strange short stories dating back to the '90s.
Puppet Shows is a collection of thirteen short stories which Frissore called his "babies," which he has written throughout his writing career. The oldest of the stories, "Dinner at Wither Port," was written 20 years ago while Frissore was still in college.
The story is about two brothers who inherited the fictional Wither Port Mental Clinic and are careless with the place and its patients. It tells of an annual honorary dinner held for a State Medical Board representative, in which the two brothers drink, one shoots clinic patients with a tranquilizer gun and the waiters at the dinner dress in ninja suits and speak offensive mock-Chinese.
Like "Dinner at Wither Port," the rest of the stories in the collection don't make much sense, yet they're funny and absurd enough to keep you hooked. Frissore said while some stories just came to him, it took him a while to find a direction for others while trying to limit the story's absurdity.
"It's somewhat surprising that I would have a limit to absurdity based on these stories," Frissore said, "but there is, you know, something of a limit there."
Despite Bradley Sands, author of Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy, calling the short story collection "absurdism at its best," Frissore said he doesn't think of himself as a philosopher. His sense of humor just happens to lend itself to absurdism, he added.
Frissore does however agree with absurdism, the philosophical belief that everything the universe is meaningless and irrational, in a sense.
"It's [the universe] not meaningless but it doesn't necessarily have to have the meaning that everyone kind of sees it as," Frissore said. "But certainly, irrational, I agree with."
A husband, father of two and full-time credentialing specialist at the University of Arizona Health Network, Frissore said his writing career has definitely slowed down. Because most of these stories were written before his children were born, most of the work he put in was in finding a publisher.
"I think every writer would love to be able to do it [be a writer] full-time but there's very few who can make that happen," Frissore said. "I would love to have more time to do it than I do but financially ... I need the nine to five job to kind of balance the writing career."
The book can be found in print for $8.99 and as an eBook for $6.99.