Thursday, 12 February 2015

#23 - "In the Heat of the Cockpit" by Don Johnson

Ornery, Illiterate, Wide-Eyed Apes


By Admiral Fartmore

(book chosen by Admiral Fartmore)

Editor's Note: There's a sequel?

I was quite confused when I first saw that I was assigned Don Johnson’s In the Heat of the Cockpit, because for the most part, I had no idea what it was. It is difficult to know what to say about this book. It’s mostly a pretty awful story of gayness and treasure hunting. But there’s more. On the surface this book is a cheap Piece of Shit™, but at its heart, this book is something special.

The plot is simple. Two gay African children – Blake and Will – have somehow gotten their hands on a plane, which they use to fly tourists around the African savannah. They also are engaged in what is possibly a sexual relationship with a third person, a younger and gayer boy, known as Joey. One day, while flying around Africa, a tourist by the name of Logan who hired their plane, reveals that he is hunting for hidden treasure. The hunt for treasure is a thinly veiled metaphor for Logan’s secret carnal desires. As the European visitor, penetrating the dark continents deepest canyons, Logan is overwhelmed by the open and raw sexual prowess he encounters. This primarily comes in the form of the young African boys he pays to ride.

After flying around for a while, an evil genius called Brady shows up to rob them. They flee to a Pharaoh kingdom, where a crazed king spouts a bunch of random gibberish before they run down a sewer, get on a plane, and escape. That’s about it.

The sub-text of the book is only slightly more nuanced than the childish plot. Society’s dominant narratives of hetero-normativity are challenged by the repressed homosexual urges of the purportedly straight characters. Particularly intriguing is the character Steve, who is described as an “ornery illiterate wide-eyed ape.” He is, quite literally, an ape. He is a monkey in a zoo. He is constantly yearning to crave the only thing he desires; his last and final banana. The homoerotic subtext is clear.

This review is quite short, because the book also is a mere 40 pages. I wouldn’t wipe my ass with this book; most importantly because I only have an epub copy and I don’t want to get turd on my Kobo. However, if this book were printed on paper, it wouldn’t be worth the paper it was printed on. So don’t bother printing it.

At the same time, there is something oddly intriguing about this book. It is a clumsily written and haphazardly edited saga of a group of very entertaining boys. Did I mention the additional characters? Brady the pedophile, and Devin the prostitute? I think I forgot to, but their redemptive arcs add to the story of these boys in the desert.

I later found out is the first book in a three-part series known as the Boy Trilogy. The sequel – The Legend of the Leopard Boy – is coming out soon, and I have to say I will probably read it.

There’s more to these boys than meets the eye.

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