The idea of drug addiction is terrifying to me. That terror goes up a notch when the drugs in question involve needles. Now add the idea of sticking a needle full of poison into your testicles. Yeah, that hammer blow made the puck fly high and ring the bell, didn’t it?
The Green Kangaroos, by Jessica McHugh, is junkie fiction wrapped in sci-fi and enough seedy Gummo ick that it qualifies as some sort of horror. We follow our “hero,” Perry, through a drug-drowned world in the year 2099, a world where people literally pay for dope with lumps of flesh and vaginal meat. Breasts seem to fetch top dollar. Perry has a family that wants him clean, but he just wants to stay high. Every scenario in which he finds himself should have him screaming for sobriety, yet he clings to his agenda of chemical impairment. When the world as he knows it turns out to be nothing like it seems, then things get really strange.
In The Green Kangaroos, Jessica McHugh gives us the bastard love-baby of William Burroughs and The Matrix, thankfully devoid of Keanu Reeves. It’s needle-sickness-meets-dopesick Blade Runner world is horrifying. Even the likeable characters are shitbags, but they are so richly drawn and the story is so wonkily brilliant you just keep your hands and feet inside the car and enjoy the ride.
I had no idea what to expect with this book. To that point, I can say I enjoyed it. McHugh gives us a very detailed and sordid chronicle of an unapologetic junkie in a world that doesn’t really care about much of anything. The writing is sharp and cuts deep. The layers and nuances that slither and snake around the prose are unsettling.
The Green Kangaroos is available through Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.