Despite some odd word choices (geezer), Kuhl vividly evokes a dissipated waterfront atmosphere… And, as a pipe-smoker myself, I raise my Peterson to the author who has written an authentic horror story which works through artifacts rather than artifice, and which delights and surprises throughout. This is the first Jackson Kuhl story I’ve had the pleasure to read and, I hope, not the last. Well worth investing in a copy of this issue of Black Static to read Barbary alone.
Much of the language used in “Barbary” was researched to prevent anachronism but apparently I didn’t dig deep enough. While “geezer” does hail from the early 1880s — the same decade in which the story is set — it derives from the word “guiser,” slang for someone who dressed eccentrically. Only later did it become a pejorative for senior citizen, which is how it’s used in the story. Mr. McEvoy is correct to bean me for it. Now somebody get me rewrite!