Of course, this devil in disguise (unless he’s unmasked as a “fonzie,” a phony) is most certainly a rebel—who’ll never ever be any good. More details about this predatory being can be gleaned in the trenchant “He’s a Rebel,” in which Geddes fully and deftly draws on his wit and craftsmanship to trace the circuitous migratory pattern of this elusive nonconformist, now endangered since hunters “brought them to near extinction until the Rebel Preservation Act.”
In a finely-etched and more fondly nostalgic vein, the downward spiral of a more public figure is chronicled in “Bongo the Space Ape,” as the embittered has-been star of a Golden Age sci-fi television series ekes out a living in the remaining years of his waning career, his celebrity and fame--when his “hairy, grinning face graced everything from lunchboxes and comic book covers to toys and cigar advertisements”—a distant memory.
Though the faded-glory focus of a more inanimate kind figures in “The Enormous Television Set,” Geddes nimbly recounts the anthropomorphized consciousness of the titular 72-inch TV as it evolves from gleaming but long-unsold magnificence as a store model at a major electronics store, to shabbier and ever-more dusty stores, less prominent shelves or boxed-up obscurity, and then from buyer to buyer, home to home. All along, however, the author carefully and cohesively assembles amusing and affecting character studies for each customer or sales clerk in the shelf life of the TV.
And who knows? This particular television set might transmit some familiar program--perhaps a situation comedy or the movie it’s based on--about a 16-year old wannabe “Surfer Girl,” characterized in Teenage Princess as a cross between a girl and a midget, whatever that may be. And though Geddes introduces her as being mythically and gingerly deposited on shore by a “foam-lipped wave,” it’s more like a fish out of water emergence, a real life ill-fit indicative of the growing pains and rites-of-passage ahead for our protagonist. Not as a goddess, but as a sentient, plucky sort, albeit with “crimson petals blossoming from the gashes on her forehead and abdomen, skin pale and cold against the glittering white sand, the halo of a sand castle’s moat above her seaweed-tangled hair.”
We like her, we really, really like her. But we might be a little uncomfortable with the anachronistic elements creeping into the story--as if intentional!-- and also harbor mixed feelings concerning the oddly contemporaneous surfer crowd she’s attempting to ingratiate herself into, with their leering mores and motivations--especially as it pertains to this Big Kahuna horndog.