cover image The Kid That Could

The Kid That Could

Humphrey Pond, Bill Henderson. Pushcart Press, $8.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-916366-62-9

Previously issued in a limited edition (as The Galapagos Kid by pseudonymous Luke Walton), this bizarre fantasy of a boy's adolescence is narrated by Kip, who survives the usual tragedies of youth (``pimples and a big nose and growing tall as the Washington Monument'') to achieve his life's goal: getting his picture on the cover of People magazine. Kip's existence is made wretched by Mirabella, a girl who is devoted to him but seems to be turning into an Ichthyosaurus. Puberty intervenes (Kip suspects he caught it from another student), Mirabella becomes beautiful, and she leaves him for a football player. Kip perseveres, rating himself daily on a Virtue Chart that includes such attributes as ``brave,'' ``revolutionary'' and ``tithing.'' A chance for glory comes in the National Teen Scholar Contest. Kip's project is to cure his comatose sister; instead, he turns her into ``a mute monster with wings and vastly exaggerated sexual characteristics.'' She is trapped and imprisoned at the SPCA, he gets the long-coveted magazine covers. The Kid That Could may secure a cult audience , but it will leave many readers wondering what the gist is. Henderson is publisher of Pushcart Press. (May)