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"Your daughter's in love, Ms. Perez. This is no time to pinch pennies."
The old cow just stared at me with those tiny black eyes, like raisins pressed into dogshit.
"Now then," I said, "We'll start with an intensive course of isolation therapy—"
"No, Dr. Marsten, please. My Louisa, she cannot stand to be alone..."
I took off my reading glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose.
"Ms. Perez, be reasonable. We've already discussed the alternatives. Your daughter is a very sick girl. Do you know what she has to look forward to, unless properly medicated? Emotional dependence, depersonalization and irrational neediness, pathological jealousy and possessiveness, increasing inability to function alone, delusions of oneness with the object of her demented affection, and finally Ms. Perez—"
"No," the simpering bitch murmurred, as if in a stupor.
"Yes, Ms. Perez: marriage and procreation. Your daughter will voluntarily immure herself in that barbaric institution, a stifling, regressive environment of emotional and intellectual stagnation, denying herself a full, healthy range of sexual, and, by extension, psychological experience. She will subordinate and repress her own needs to serve what in her very sick mind is the highest possible good: the chimerical tyrant that is her love for this, uh—"
"Yes, this Fernando. And I might remind you, Ms. Perez, any children they raise in that toxic environment will be permanently scarred. If not for your daughter's sake, Ms. Perez, think of your future grandchildren, who surely have not asked to be born into—"
"Enough! I'll do whatever you say! I... just want my daughter to be well!"
"Good. Good. I don't mean to be cruel, Ms. Perez, but your daughter needs immediate help. Now then, if you could just sign the release form here, and here, we'll have her committed by this evening."
"I... feel like I've failed her. Where did I go wrong? I tried to be a good example: I was promiscuous through her entire childhood, I barely ever hugged her... no dolls..."
"Don't blame yourself. There's no telling who will succumb to this horrible disease, and it is a disease, Ms. Perez, make no mistake about it. DAMN IT! We've cured everything... everything... the last known case of schizophrenia died over 15 years ago... unipolar and bipolar disorders have been contained with medicine and lasers... we systematically cauterized the genomic sequence responsible for religion before either of us was born! But this monster, this irrational beast called love continues to elude us, mowing down millions of innocents every year and costing untold trillions in lost productivity... no genetic trail, no developmental correlation... every time we think we have it, the motherfucker gets away from us!!"
I swiped some manila folders off my desk.
"Forgive me, Ms. Perez. Forgive me. But I've sat behind this desk for well nigh three decades, and I never get used to it... the ravages... I'm tired, Ms. Perez... so tired..."
"Oh, doctor. I had no idea... would you like to...?"
Ms. Perez stood and half-turned, grabbing the back of the chair with one hand and, with the other, hiking her black skirt up past her knee-high stockings; irregular lumps of quartzy fat dripped over the nylon piping. Well now. The old bitch had a few tricks up her sleeve after all.
"Yes," I said. "Yes, I would like to. Show me that brandied fuckprune, you cock-famished puta!"
Date Written: July 24, 2005Comments:
Average Vote: 4.4
07/29/2005 The Rid: That ending is horny. Kinda saw it coming, though (and maybe cumming, too!).
07/29/2005 Mr. Pony: You thought the ending was telegraphed? I didn't see it coming. I'm curious, was it the complete lack of clues in the previous paragraphs that gave it away?
07/29/2005 Jon Matza (4.5): Enjoyment aplenty. Lutefisk premise.
07/29/2005 The Rid: I don't know, Pony. Maybe it's because a lot of these shorts have similar reveals. But at 2:37 AM, I definitely thought, "I bet they're gonna fuck." Anyway, what do you care that I saw it coming? I didn't say it ruined the short for me, did I?
07/29/2005 Ewan Snow (4): Quite good, though not "har har" funny. The sudden and unnecessary revelation that this takes place in the future, and other diseases have been cured, detracted slightly. "Raisins pressed into dogshit" was cool ranch, though.
07/29/2005 Mr. Pony: Did I say that you said that it ruined the short for you? You realize that you're putting words in my mouth about my putting words in your mouth? Anyway, my tone may have been mocking, but I was honestly curious. I was sort of surprised by what happened, and I'm still digesting the sense behind it. And, I guess while we're doing this, you're right; what do I care that you saw it coming?
07/29/2005 TheBuyer (4.5): William S esque in parts.
07/29/2005 Klause Muppet (5): "I swiped some manila folders off my desk." was my favorite part. The fact it took place in the future didn't affect my love for this short. I love you short.
07/29/2005 The Rid (4.5): Pony, you are correct, sir. I tried to put words in your mouth about putting words in my mouth. Yikes! A true mouthful. That said, I quite enjoyed this short, long as it was, and the ending, despite my anticipatory feelings, made me laugh out loud.
07/29/2005 Mr. Pony: Yeah, well, I'm sorry for being a jerk.
07/29/2005 Will Disney: The raisins line was good. That religion thing is something to look forward to.
07/29/2005 The Rid: Well, I'm sorry for becoming instantly persnickety.
07/29/2005 TheBuyer: Just kiss already.
07/29/2005 Mr. Pony (4.5): I think this is a thorough expression of this idea. However, may I put forth the counterpoint that what you humans refer to as "love" is a survival strategy that evolved to compensate for your species' offspring's unusually long infancy, and that only those with the inability and/or "lack of desire" to procreate who experience the sensation should be considered ill, similar to the presence of religion in the minds of non-suicidal/non-alcoholic individuals?
07/29/2005 TheBuyer: As a sucidal alcoholic, I object to the assumption that if god were to exist in my mind that I should be considered more mentally ill than I already am.
07/29/2005 Bill W.: TheBuyer, maybe I can help.
07/29/2005 TheBuyer: well...I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
07/29/2005 anonymous: Mr. Pony: Certain humans (10% by some estimates) evolved the once highly successful characteristics of traits we now refer to as sociopathy. These characteristics remain successful only from a strictly genetic standpoint; culturally, they have proven to be complete failures, which is why they are now classified as a mental illness. As we move closer to the inevitable and prophesied age of unfettered eroticism, the cultural success of the delusional syndrome called love will diminish, and its sufferers will gradually come to be seen as the victims they are, entitled to full coverage under most progressive health plans for radical, intensive treatments, up to and including a mandatory regimen of masqued orgies.
07/29/2005 anonymous: Whoops -- strike "of traits" from first sentence and all will make sense.
07/29/2005 Mr. Pony: Dude, I honestly think that European broad just wasn't that into you.
07/29/2005 Will Disney: Don't feel bad about it, though.
07/29/2005 anonymous: Help is on the way for both of you. Stay insured. And try to keep an open mind. The process is painless.
07/29/2005 anonymous: One piece of advice, though: practice relaxation of the sphincter.
07/29/2005 Jon Matza: Dr. Marsten believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us...
07/29/2005 Kenji X (2): No.
07/30/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum (5):
07/30/2005 qualcomm: how dare you, kenji.
07/30/2005 Litcube: Simultaneously, a few dudes in the bar just went, like, "Whooooooaaahhhh".
07/30/2005 qualcomm: huh?
07/30/2005 Mr. Pony: Yeah, like at the same moment some pulled the needle off the record that was playing.
07/30/2005 qualcomm: oh
07/30/2005 Litcube: I really need Dr. Marsten's therapy.
07/31/2005 scoop (5): This beautiful fairy tale stirred part of my soul that I long ago given up on. For a moment I dared to imagine a world as wonderful this actually existing. It was a tantalizing fantasy, one which prompted in me a strong, intense irrational obsession. I closed my eyes and doggedly hoped, dogliek, in some way that the thoughts in my head would ahve some bearing on reality; that they would in fact re-shape it into the beautiful utopia portrayed here by the author. I think there's a word for it. But alas, my reveries was interrupted by my wife who asked me, "What are you doing over there?" And I was like "Nothing dear." I guess it is just a fairy tale after all.
07/31/2005 Mr. Pony: So where are you and qualcomm going on your honeymoon?
07/31/2005 qualcomm: it's so sad to you trapped by old concepts, mr. pony.
07/31/2005 qualcomm: actually, it's kind of funny!
07/31/2005 Mr. Pony: Sorry; "Post-Nuptial Journey".
07/31/2005 qualcomm: thank you.
07/31/2005 TheBuyer: PABLO? PABLO, HONEY?
08/1/2005 Dylan Danko (5): The author's just-add-water misanthropy and a slight inconsistency in tone aside, this short has made me realize that the ache in my heart is better explained by doctors than by priests, hypnotherapists and victorian novelists.
08/1/2005 qualcomm: what exactly is just-add-misanthropy?
08/1/2005 qualcomm: water, that is
08/1/2005 Jon Matza: What exactly is water? It's a clear liquid that you drink. Crispy bacon, anyone?
11/10/2008 Ewan Snow: I disagree with myself, somewhat. I just read this one and didn't remember it. Was very surprised by the expositive and gratuitous revelation 2/3 of the way through that it takes place in the future, but this time enjoyed it, rather than was annoyed by it. Would be more likely to give it 4.5 or 5 these days. Also, I'd agree with The Rid that the end was predictable, but so what? I agree with Pony: I don't see why that ruined the short for him.
Also, I should add that my new criterion for short crit, now that it's retrospective, is would I want it in a handsome bound volume of Selected Acme Shorts, would I enjoy stumbling across this short, thumbing through my worn copy as I curl up on a sofa by the fire. This short meets that test.