Derwin's Shadow
Peter Jensen

A quirky and bitter Midwestern family cope with the death of their stodgy patriarch the night before his funeral. The wake goes awry as the non-grown Moody children, Michelle and Josh, numb themselves with red wine and pot, argue over whose version of the past is correct, and, essentially, defy the wholesome Midwestern values imparted on them by their imposing father. In the course of one evening, Michelle manages to engage her father's self-deluded neuroscientist in bizarre, impersonal sex on the basement Ping Pong table, as well as arouse the Lolita-like neighborhood girl to orgasm via a footrub. Josh has one or two Hamlet-like moments when he confronts the ghost of his father, and deals with his Oedipal/ father-competition "issues." We journey into the past to when Derwin begins his slip into dementia and memory-loss, and the rage and bewilderment that keep him shambling between the dismal present and the hallucinatory past. His adventure is mad, bad world highlighted with cornfield follies, Kafka-esque bag-pipers, and sorrow punctuated with laughter.