by L.D. Brodsky
Tree of Life
There once was a young man who grew old overnight, in the single spell of a November night's sleep, older than a sequoia or bristlecone pine, so old, in reality, that he awakened behind Moses' eyes and believed, in all good faith, with all his might, that he was of Biblical times reborn, a sage in the likeness of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But for all the spiritual inspiration this miracle delivered to the young man, who, overnight, grew into a tree, assumed the likeness of Old Testament patriarchs, one unwanted side effect appeared to him, in his bathroom mirror, refused to accord him respect, horrified him, such was the nature of his transmutation: his skin had turned into inch-thick bark.
Arrested in stupefaction, utter fear, he stared at his bare physique, wrapped in ghastly, wizened disfigurement, wondering what he might do to remove this curse, at least how to disguise himself, for now, hide from the curious, the freak-seekers, the greedy media, society at large, his immediate circle of friends, and backstabbers at the office, who coveted his position.
But try as he might, applying astringents and emollients (witch hazel, Vaseline with aloe, K-Y Jelly), spraying himself with bottles of Chaps, Brut, Lilac Vegetal, resorting to cleaning products under his kitchen sink (Endust, Windex, Tilex, Clorox, Formula 409), he couldn't debark his body or even get his business suit over it.
Meet the ordinary people who inhabit Louis Daniel Brodsky's neighborhood.
There's the young man who becomes a tree, and the one who, thanks to magical seeds, becomes who he is.
There's the open-heart-surgery patient whose chest cavity becomes the trash receptacle for the operating team.
There's the office worker whose clothes replace him, and another, known by his colleagues as "Earth's most positive person," who wreaks carnage on the workplace.
There's the poet for whom constipation equals writer's block.
There's the Starbucks regular whose sense of civic duty prompts him to share his coffee with an eyesore of a statue.
And from time to time, amidst this everyday parade, Brodsky treats us to a tour of an apartment building that offers its residents an unequaled view of the "other side."
And just what do all these characters have in common? They have one foot in the funny farm, and they're candidates for the butterfly net. In other words, like Brodsky himself, they're folks "with one foot in the butterfly farm."
It's a bit hard to go through life and not lose your mind a little. With One Foot in the Butterfly Farm is a collection of short fiction with absurd twists from L. D. Brodsky as he tells tales of workplace shenanigans, the duty that drives us through life, and the things you face simply living in one's home. Funny yet poignant, With One Foot in the Butterfly Farm is a choice pick for humorous fiction collections.
— Midwest Book Review