Bialy Pimps by Johnny B. Truant

The Bialy Pimps — Johnny B. Truant
(caveat: Adult Language and Content: I warned you.)

Everyone has worked fast food at some point in their lives. Everyone knows how aggravating, annoying and disgusting customers can be. How badly you want to smack some of them upside the head when they’re stupid. This book is about that.

If you knew you were going to lose your minimum wage, thankless job, how far would you go to make those last days memorable? What if everyone you worked with were going to lose their job as well? How memorable would you make those last days? This book is about that.

What starts out as a simple act of civil disobedience by the staff of a bagel shop and deli, goes from rebellion to ridiculous to outrageousness. Ever more elaborate methods of humiliation are employed and the customers keep coming back for more. Not only are the regular customers returning, they’re bring their friends to be insulted and assaulted as well. Soon the deli becomes The Place to Be Seen in Columbus, OH and the tourists start coming to see, and BE, the show.

The deli has a regular clientele of street people, all well developed characters that aren’t just for color but add to the depth and complexity of the plot. As the book progresses, the villain evolves from customer to the more difficult problem of actually getting fired. Which somehow, never happens.The book contains several sub-plots (including The Rat) that keep the action flowing. It’s difficult to put down, particularly in the later chapters. Chapter endings aren’t cliffhangers and they aren’t open-ended, but when you get to the end of the chapter, its finger simply points to what’s happening next. You just want to keep going.

In the midst of all of this craziness is an underlying examination of why we desire to hold onto the present sometimes at the expense of the future, and how we deal with the fear of loss when change becomes inevitable. The book also examines the meaning of fame, how fame can sneak up on you and how quickly it can cease being fun. This is a rare mixture of hilarious and philosophical. Of course you might just find it’s a really funny story.

If you want to know the meaning of the phrase “Bialy Pimps” you’ll just have to read the book. Watch out for Army Ted and Roger, too.  Be sure to read the afterword to get a larger understanding of the philosophical subtext.
(caveat: Adult Language and Content: I already warned you.)