Edgy, sexy and at times, laugh-out-loud-funny, the stories in Mark Bowles' irreverent debut showcase an affinity for the outcast and subversive. From the title story, which lays out the lengths that a normal guy and his buddy will go to unload some old smut to Sunday Morning, in which a young couple learn that, after a late night at the club, getting what you want may be a lot easier than getting rid of it; and from Muse in which a burned-out writer finds himself in the reality show from Hell, and comes to like it, to $20 The Hard Way, where we find a trio of would be first-time pornographers thrown off course by the unexpected arising of an old rivalry, these, and the rest of the stories in Found Porn, showcase a rogue's gallery of characters that offer an offbeat look at life lived on the edge with humor and understanding and mark the author, in one reviewer's words, as a "voice to watch out for."
EXCERPT: From Sunday Morning
There are hangovers and then there are hangovers. Tanya and I were used to waking up on a Sunday morning with a head full of static and an ashtray cough. What we were not used to, and hadn't prepared for, was having some strange girl fussing about in our kitchen attempting to fix us coffee.
To date, our usual Sunday morning ritual involved little more than some dog hair and the occasional nursing of an unremembered bruise. This morning was promising to break our routine in spades. All of this ran through my throbbing skull as I listened to the rustling in our kitchen that reminded me that Tanya and I had done something wrong last night. Something horribly, horribly wrong.
As if on cue, our guest bounced her way into the room with a couple of mismatched mugs of coffee and a demeanor akin to a newly weaned puppy. "I didn't know how you took it," she said, "the coffee, I mean." She was wearing one of Tanya's kimonos, a short one that showed off her bare legs.
She stood for a second, no doubt waiting for one of us to say something, but at that moment I couldn't think of a single word that would have been appropriate, and a quick glance over at Tanya didn't offer any support, though she did manage to cough out a "thank you."
Unbelievably, our new friend seemed blissfully unaware of our confused state, "Anyway, I need to use your shower, if it's alright." She was halfway down the hall by the time one of us (I don't remember who) said "okay."
Just as she reached the bathroom door, she turned. "I was thinking that maybe later we could get something to eat and then maybe hit the clubs again. Later, maybe?" She looked at us for a moment with her ingenue eyes, and, finding just bloodshot emptiness in return, demurred, "Well, we can play it by ear." And just like she'd appeared, she disappeared into our shower.
I blinked hard and rubbed my eyes a few times, but every time I looked around, I was still in my disheveled apartment, seated next to my wife at the table, facing two cups of marginally acceptable coffee and listening for the shower to start.
I looked over at Tanya, who seemed to be doing her own reality check on this whole clusterfuck and coming up with the same results as I did. Finally Tanya spoke, "She's wearing pigtails."
It hadn't been the first thing that I'd noticed, but I had noticed, nonetheless. "I know," I said. "We fucked Gidget."
I heard the shower start and an involuntary shiver ran through my achy spine. I took a sip of the coffee and nearly gagged. I got up and moved to the liquor cabinet. I shuffled through the assortment of nearly empty bottles until I found one that would work.
"Well." I said as I poured the last of the Bushmills into our mugs, "if we're gonna keep her we'll have to teach her how to make a decent cup of coffee."
Tanya nearly choked on her drink. "We're not keeping her."
"I didn't mean for long," I explained. "I just figured that since we've got her here and all, we might as well have another go at it." My stab at logic didn't seem to make the intended impression.
"For Christ's sake, we'll never get rid of her then. Didn't you hear? She's damn near ready to pull up the fucking U-haul right now."
I never doubted that Tanya knew the feminine psyche more intimately than I did, but this seemed a bit of an overreaction and was more than sure that when she came to her senses, she'd reconsider. We were, if nothing else, accommodating hosts.
"Fine," I said, "we'll just have a nice brunch with Gidget and-"
"Quit calling her that!" Tanya winced. "You'll destroy my childhood."
So I asked the obvious question, the one that we'd each been skirting up until now, "What should I call her, then?"
"By her name, goddammit!"
"Quit fucking with me."
"I'm not fucking with you."
"Yes you are," Tanya said as she poked my chest, "You fucked her and now we-"
"We," I corrected her, "fucked her."
"Whatever! Do you remember her name?"
"Okay . . . Do you remember anything about last night?"
"Well," I said, "I'm pretty sure she's not a real blonde."