Silencing the Kielbasa Hippie


So, I boarded the aircraft in Houston, bound for Toronto, and I’m sitting in my seat, minding my own business and trying to finish off The Arrow’s Flight, one of those gay-lit books with gushing, gay-lit-critic exhortations like

“Top-of-the-line…compulsively readable and very, very sexy.” — Robert Plunket, The Advocate

“The sexiest, smartest gay novel to come down the pike since The Swimming Pool Library.” — Lambda Book Report

on the back cover. Now, I hate to sprinkle poo on anyone’s cornflakes, here, but if anyone on this planet finds The Arrow’s Flight in any way sexy, they really need to get out and, oh, I dunno, have sex, some time. I’m talking about a complete and utter lack of blood flow to any half-interesting part of your body. To be fair, it’s a well-written, interesting exercise. (Though, to be honest, by the end I wanted most of the main characters to get stabbed in the face, just to put them out of their tortured-fag misery, so popular in gay-literature.) But, my point? Not. Sexy.


The important pieces of information are:

  1. I was minding my own business
  2. I was trying to read my book

And, I guess, one other important bit of info: that the act of reading (or pretending to read) a book, and not watching The Pink Panther, implies not really wanting to do anything other than read my book, including talking to anyone.


Remember the Garlic Kielbasa Hippie? She’d plunked herself down beside me and cracked open her copy of A Million Little Pieces. And, yes, I know you want to ask: her bookmark was macramé. But, sadly, the lies and ludicrous prose of James Frey were not enough to keep her occupied.

“Oh, that looks like a good book!” she cawed, pointing and, ugh, breathing. (Why? Because I was burying my face in it, to avoid contact with you and your malodorous breath?)

“It looks like a historical novel.” (So astute.)

“It is,” I replied, ending the word “is” as abruptly as possible, as if to signal that I was not just interested in the book but in rather a hurry to get back to it, too.

“I love historical novels! I try to read one for every place I travel. I read Michener’s Hawaii when I went to Hawaii, I read his Mexico when I went to Mexico, and when I went to the South Pacific..”

“Let me guess.” Could I sound less interested? Probably not. And what did reading a book by bullshit artist James Frey reveal of her destination today?

“What’s your novel about?” she asked, taking in the Greeky woodcut imagery on the cover and, perhaps, spotting one of the “sexy!” quotes mentioned above.

“Mostly a lot of fellatio and sodomy,” I replied, matter-of-factly (but not at all factually), “oh, and some war stuff. Trojan War, maybe? I think it’s that one, but I was mostly paying attention to the fellatio and sodomy.”

Sweet silence for the rest of the trip. Shame about the smell, though, as she bit off chunks of garlic kielbasa from her half-coil, panting her fetid stench with every lunge and gnaw. Stupid, gross hippie.

3 Responses to “Silencing the Kielbasa Hippie”

  1. 1 JM

    I really liked Arrow’s Flight, but I’m also not up on the gay-literature tropes, and as a straight woman, I didn’t expect to be turned on. Mostly I just enjoyed the classical angle; maybe if I’d been looking for more I’d have been disappointed.

    Garlic kielbasa? On a PLANE?

  2. 2 bstewart23

    I know!

    The part about The Arrow’s Flight that I appreciated most was the strange disconnect that happens when the modern and the classical elements collide — like when Achilles is conscripted into the army, he strips naked in the moonlight, his armor is brought to him and… they drive off to war in a Hummer.

    By the end of it, though, even as an interesting exercise, I found there was scant character arc. Pyrrhus finds love, sort of, but it’s far from passionate and he’s largely unchanged by it. And everyone else seems to exist solely to lead Pyrrhus to that end.

    But “sexy”? Achilles strips naked in the moonlight in front of all those soldiers and that’s it?!?

    (Now, The Boy Who Picked the Bullets Up, that is sexy.)

  3. 3 drunken monkey

    God, I hate the people who try to make friends with you on the plane. They’re the reason I always have headphones on when I fly, even if I’m not actually listen to my iPod. I am reading and doped up on Gravol; don’t talk to me.

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