“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” – Joseph Heller in Catch 22
Paranoia. It’s an insidious thing, feeding upon itself and driving the sufferer ever deeper into its clutches. Office worker Leslie comes to know this all too well in author Tim Kizer’s novella, Intoxication.
When Leslie’s boyfriend becomes seriously ill after drinking coffee that one of her coworkers brought into Leslie’s office, Leslie becomes convinced the coffee was poisoned, and that she was the intended target.
Her boss dismisses Leslie’s accusations as far-fetched and, well, paranoid, so Leslie decides to take matters into her own hands and force a confession. Easier said than done, especially when your mental demons begin to get the better of you.
And while there’s nothing funny about genuine mental illness, there’s definitely a healthy dose of dark humor involved in Leslie’s quest to bring her (imagined?) would-be poisoner to justice.
I’d like to have known more about Leslie’s background in order to give her leaping to the conclusion her coworker was trying to poison her a bit more foundation, and her refusal to go to the police with her suspicions was never explained to my satisfaction, but if you’re willing to jump onboard for the ride and just go with it you’ll find Intoxication to be an entertaining, fast-paced read. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never look at the community coffee pot at work quite the same way again.
Bonus Material: Included with Intoxication is the novelette, Hitchhiker. Billed as the first entry in a planned series, Hitchhiker is the story of a serial killer who hitches a ride with an intended victim only to get more than he bargained for. Very entertaining. A flash fiction piece called “The Bike” is also included.