Mini Review #4 Security

Mini Review #4
Magazine: Missouri Review
Issue: Volume 35 #2
Title: Security by Daniel A. Hoyt

“Don’t flap that ear at me, I thought, and he didn’t, which was the kind of synchronicity I always wanted to believe in. That wanting is more powerful than belief itself.”

      Loss has a way of pulling you into itself, as though it is a geographic place. You may try to escape it, by moving or changing jobs, but it has a way of following you. For Larry Reynolds Jr. that place of loss is his hometown of Topeka Kansas. His father’s stroke brings him back from the west coast, and his mother’s severe diabetes keeps him there.
      The story opens at the doors of a Topeka nightclub on a slow Saturday night. Larry works the front door along with Fitzy, a tough looking drug addict who takes the cover charges, and Roger, a dullard who works the metal detecting wand. Larry manages the club now, but he remembers how it was when he used to work the door. He was good at memorizing faces, remembering who was kicked out for what, and knowing who was going to cause trouble— but most importantly he knew how to scare people if he needed to. Now the computers do all the work.
      A former college football star for Kansas University, Larry now runs with a limp caused by a freak accident during a game—a moment now immortalized on camera. People in town recognize him, they’ve seen the YouTube video, and maybe even laughed at it, and they are eager to bring it up to him. It seems that neither time nor distance has allowed him to escape his past.
      Larry’s ex-girlfriend, Lacia, is mentioned briefly in the beginning, but we don’t find out very much about her until near the end. It has been three years since Larry met anyone else in a bar, three years since meeting Lacia, “When we met, it seemed like a zipper closing up, the teeth of us coming together.” We find out that although Larry loves Lacia, she is a violent schizophrenic who refuses to take her medication.
      At the door a beautiful blonde catches Larry’s attention, he buys her a drink, dances with her—and then everything goes crazy. In a kind of controlled chaos, a fight breaks out, a gunshot pierces the night air, and Fitzy is taken away by the police.
      Near the end when Larry reviews the security tapes with the police—tapes that Larry claims to have accidentally reset— they all watch him standing at the edge of the parking lot, seemingly staring at nothing. What the cameras cannot see is the possum trapped in plastic that he thinks of saving. In an age of instant replay, YouTube, and excessive media coverage, we are exposed by these small, often negative moments in our lives, when really we are better defined by the moments that either the camera completely misses, or cannot possibly capture.
      On the day of Larry’s injury the news cameras captured Larry tearing his ACL, but they did not capture the one great catch that he made just a few plays before. The cameras cannot see Larry’s compassion for his friend that he knows has lied to him, or his complicated love for Lacia. At the end we get a brief glimpse into Larry’s life after the story, and we see that despite loss trying to pull him in, he continues to move forward. After all, he tells us early in the story “I still get places—I’ve just lost my velocity.”
      In Security, Hoyt’s writing is sharp, confident, and precise, allowing the character’s voices to speak directly to the reader–allowing us to see much more than what is on the page.

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