The things we did, the things we didn’t do, the things we can never do again, the things we can never undo. Beneath every fantastical premise in Vampires In The Lemon Grove, a ghastly longing gnaws at the heart. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’s illustrated by a soldier’s magic back tattoo (“The New Veterans”); a mysterious scarecrow haunts a rueful teenage bully (“The Graveless Doll Of Eric Mutis”); immortal bloodsuckers struggle with retirement and commitment (“Vampires In The Lemon Grove”). In my favorite story here- the one I had to stop reading a couple times because it kept hitting me so hard- a woman-turned-silkworm is tortured by the past mistakes and the present limits of her own free will (“Reeling For The Empire”).
In the middle of it all there’s a lighthearted intermission involving US Presidents reincarnated as horses (“The Barn At The End Of Our Term”) and a spoof of sports fandom as it might appear near the South Pole (“Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules For Antarctic Tailgating”). Yet even these zany amusements throb with that same painful longing. Because in some way or another, we’re always Vampires In The Lemon Grove, chomping on the unpeeled lemons that are shabby substitutes for the bloody throats we really crave.