We normally review novellas and novels at Rabbit Hole. But Chris Pimental’s The Bitch Pit is a special piece of short dark fiction that deserves note.
Bert Rickshaw makes his money selling expired pharmaceuticals to a corrupt third-world government. A change of regimes leaves him with competition—the Texan. And together, the narrator and his rival are headed for the nastiest entertainment south of the equator—the legendary Bitch Pit.
This story is dark. Shining a light on this tale illuminates nothing. Suffice it to say that the plot involves fighting dogs, mothers and babies, and rich, corrupt vermin. The narrator is no hero, though you may find yourself rooting for him out of habit.
What elevates this tale is Pimental’s incredible descriptions. The story takes place underground. The sense of claustrophobia was palpable. I broke sweat reading the story. And there is a weird sort of justice in the denouement to offset the nasty taste in the back of the throat that comes from stepping into the author’s world.
The Bitch Pit is not for everyone. Hard-boiled noir operates with a certain set of assumptions about life. I won’t argue that those assumptions are more realistic than, say, middle-class American assumptions. I will argue, however, that Pimental’s story presents a distilled version of a different world, and that we are generally sheltered from that world. And useful knowledge can be gained at the sharp edges of common experience.
This story has our highest recommendation. (Five stars out of five)