There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
“Fell in love. Bleach-bottle blond with a cheating heart….I couldn’t get enough of her….She was always interesting to me. She could get up in the morning with a cigarette in her face and a ratty bathrobe, and to me, she looked great. I was always hot for her. I could do it with her and a half hour later, do it again, wait a half hour and do it again, and so on….Five days later she unloaded four shots from a .38-caliber revolver into my thoracic cavity, hit me in the knee and creased my ear with the sixth shot. Then the bitch dumped the empty cartridges onto the white plush carpet and calmly started to reload the gun.” Welcome back to the Schlitz-splattered purgatory of Thom Jones. In the new Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine, the short-story writer’s follow-up to the collections The Pugilist at Rest and Cold Snap, Jones, a thoroughly modern mix of the Raymonds Chandler and Carver, revisits his old down-and-out haunts yet still manages to shine some bare-bulb light into previously undiscovered corners. Stand-out tales here include “Mouses,” in which an out-of-work engineer with a hump performs horrifying experiments on rodents, and “I Love You, Sophie Western,” about a lithium-dependent teenager with a constant hard-on and a thing for Susanna York. Ask former boxer Jones why he’s never attempted a novel—but watch out for the ensuing haymaker—when he discusses and signs copies of Sonny at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Sean Daly)