'Shell Game', a Psycho-Social Cat Comedy by A.B. Funkhauser
September 4, 2017
A.B. Funkhauser is with us today to celebrate the release of her new novel, Shell Game. Toronto born A.B.
is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us, not we it.
Shell Game, tapped as a psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs, is the third book in the series, and takes aim at a pastoral community with a lot to hide. “With so much of the world currently up for debate, I thought it would be useful to question—again—the motives and machinations championed by the morally flexible, and then let the arbiter be a cat.”
Funkhauser is currently working on The Heuer Effect, the prequel to Heuer Lost and Found.
A.B., If you could name one author who really does it for you, who would it be?
Favorite author has always been Kurt Vonnegut. His humor and brevity with an eye to the subtext inspired me from the get go. Being able to say what needs saying in one hundred and fifty pages is a gift. Getting those pages to stick with a reader decades after first brush is priceless.
If you were to write up an adventure project what would you choose?
I have always wanted to work on an election campaign in another country. Boots on the ground with a ballot box in hand is a faster way to getting at what's really on people's minds.
Do you have a set writing routine?
My routine is dictated by the time of year and where I'm living at a given time. Winter lends itself to classical music in the background and heavy, heavy character studies. Summer in a place close to the equator triggers contemporary pop and an optimist's view with an eye to really zinging the reader with something "off.". Lol. This can change year over year. I'm a bit of a method writer.
How do you see the publishing market developing, from digital to traditional. For instance, can you see advertising pages appearing in the actual content of books?
I love the digital age because I'm in it. A guest columnist in my local newspaper warned against the evils of it: says culture is in danger of being overrun by "amateurs." lol. More people are reading, writing, commenting and THINKING because they have ACCESS and a PLATFORM. From rank amateurs (like me, like my colleagues) comes the next idea. Even the ads. I'm unafraid.
Carlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is jeopardized when a snarky letter from animal control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine/loss of kitty to The Man is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?
Bull Dave wheeled the snazzy Audi into the parking lot of what had once been a pottery barn. Inside, the old kilns, long gone cold, had been restored as stand-alone art pieces, along with the thick planked rendering tables once used for clay pots, now manufactured elsewhere for a kitsch-hungry world looking for its past.
It was a beautiful space.
“I don’t see him—this Güdderammerüng,” Poonie said, connecting the dots between the imposing mile high posters of the great man, and the mix of guests that clearly did not include him. “I thought you said he was expected.”
Bull Dave barely had a chance to get a word out, choking on a glass of Veuve Clicquot offered freely on what was, clearly, an auspicious occasion. Along with the mile-high posters lining the perimeter walls were moving liquid interactive screens, assembling and reassembling at the touch of a palm to reveal outtakes from the Maestro’s renaissance period.
“That’s from Wütend unter den Kirchtürme,” Bull Dave piped excitedly, drawing her across the room to a black and white feature playing out against another, set perpendicular, and at right angles. The piece, originally filmed in 70 mm Cinemascope, and in full Technicolor, featured humans, stripped naked, and wedged in cages, only to be freed by heavily sedated elephants swaying this way and that with multiple shining hoops on pierced tusks.
Bull Dave, slightly drunk and profoundly moved, pointed at the adjoining display. “This film is called Zootrope auf Frukkasia. In Sweden, it was called Blod av Däggdjur.”
Poonie Rajput downed another glass of champagne. “Why have you brought me here Bull Dave?”
The lights dimmed and the one and only Goddess Moonbow took center position on a delicately draped riser splattered in a “too red to be real” blood motif. Poonam caught her breath. Hardly one to be taken by celebrity—that was Mummy Ji’s department—the sight of Pictontown’s nearly famous sister in the flesh was overwhelming. Iridescent and impossibly petite, her straight, waist-length silver hair, dotted with sequins and pearls, matched, exactly, the startling luminosity of her bare feet. Fanlike, they swam instead of walked.
“She’s beautiful,” Poonie gasped.
“In a holistic and entirely unselfconscious kind of way,” a disembodied voice from behind her replied.
Goddess Moonbow beamed. “It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you tonight, an artist of raw power, unmatched in his humanity, and unfettered in his avowed willingness to join every animal, right here, right now, on the ground.”
“That’s our cue to get down on the ground,” the voice said, accompanied by strong, oiled hands applied to elbows to draw her down.
Poonie Rajput did not resist; did not even try to wheel about to see who’d laid hands upon her because she knew who it was. “Mr. Kárpáty?”