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I stepped all over Johnny Tarmac on the way to the cleaners. He felt like bubble wrap: a few pops and hisses here and there, and a generally enjoyable feeling when I was all done. I was about to enter the local ice house, The Liquor Despot, when I noticed the sign's odd spelling for the first time. Then again, the owner was a real prick. I then caught a brief glimpse of my bleak future when Richard, the local truckstop condom vendor, was turned away for the umpteenth time. Jumpteenth, I thought to myself, adapting the title of the Ellison disappointment to the sight before me, letting it become a temporary mantra as I waited anxiously for Richard to leave. It wouldn't happen to me. Richard probably saw me as a younger, fitter, more ambitious version of himself, circa '93. "You're no threat," I imagined him denying as he shuffled past. I was overdressed, and the heat told me why. Also, my cock was fighting gravity for no good reason. I stepped inside to pay Louise. I was clearly out of her league, though I insisted on playing the game. "Say, Louise, it's been a while." "Since what?" she responded abruptly. "With the fecundity of the situation..." "Hey!! You gotta rub it in, right? You know I don't like cleaning toilets, you lousy bastard." With my vocabulary having gotten the better of me, Louise reached for a fairly hot pot of decaf and threw the coffee into my face. Moments later, while I lay on the ground waiting for the EMT's to tend to my severe facial burns, Louise removed a greasy weiner from the revolving tray and dropped it on my chest. "This remind you of anything, tough guy?" I couldn't respond, not for lack of wit, but because of the intense pain.

Date Written: August 25, 2005
Author: Turgid
Average Vote: 2.6

09/2/2005 Mr. Pony: I am simultaneously mildly irritated and quite amused by this short's snappy tone and rhythm.
09/2/2005 Will Disney: TURGID
09/2/2005 The Rid: Unlike Pony, I'm incredibly irritated. I feel like this short is smirking at me the entire time I'm reading it. Like, "See? See how goddamn smart I am?" And there shouldn't be a comma in EMTs.
09/2/2005 Litcube: YOU'RE irritated?
09/2/2005 anonymous: I think you meant to say quotation mark.
09/2/2005 Mr. Pony: Technically, author, there shouldn't be a comma there either.
09/2/2005 anonymous: Why don't we use this miserable thread as text for a t-shirt that will be prominently featured in the Acme Lustreless Store? You walking travesties/transvestites.
09/2/2005 The Rid: No, I meant to WRITE "apostrophe." Better to goof in my comment than in my short. Anyway, in that instance, the EMTs don't possess anything.
09/2/2005 The Rid: Litcube, I am indeed irritated. This short is crap from top-to-bottom. The author's intention reminds me of the qualcomm short in which the couple being married are rubbing their asses together in front of everyone and imploring the guests to celebrate their goddamn love. Ugh.
09/2/2005 Mr. Pony: Author, do you really think a shirt like that would sell well? I think it would actually detract from our lustre. That's just my opinion, though.
09/2/2005 Mr. Pony (4): I felt the same annoying smirk that the Rid is talking about, but I was surprised by some of the jokes. I'm on record as saying that I really don't like shorts that are just incoherent lists of gags. This short, in fact, starts to become cohesive without ever getting there, but to suggest that this short worthless is a little extreme, I think, and worth 3.5 of my stars.
09/2/2005 anonymous: That's why it's to be featured in the Lustreless Store, not the Lustre Store. But yes, I might buy one (or two).
09/2/2005 anonymous: Pony, thank you for your fair and thorough analysis. Now get to work on that t-shirt I was promoting.
09/2/2005 The Rid (1):
09/2/2005 Litcube: "Also, my cock was fighting gravity for no good reason." Vomit rip-off?
09/2/2005 qualcomm: johnny tarmac's a lousy name that thinks it's funny. who cares that the narrator was on his way to the cleaners? the liquor despot is an okay name that thinks it's funny. "then again" doesn't coherently contradict what came before it. truckstop condom vendor is terrible joke that thinks it's funny because it's random. the local ice house, the local condom vendor: does it matter that either of these are "local"? do i care? etc: just about every detail in this short feels unnecessary. i've never read juneteenth, but i'm willing to bet it has little or nothing to do with the short. "the fecundity of the situation" sounds like dialogue from a kevin smith movie. also i don't get her reply. how does "fecundity" relate to cleaning toilets? did you confuse fecund with fetid? and exactly what "situation" is fecund? so much to dislike here. ugh.
09/2/2005 qualcomm (0.5):
09/2/2005 Litcube: Interesting. I'm curious: is it The Rid's ire that Pony rated thus.
09/2/2005 Litcube: ?
09/2/2005 Mr. Pony: I'm not sure I understand that question!
09/2/2005 Litcube: Four chocolate monkey boners?
09/2/2005 TheBuyer: Definitions of fecundity on the Web:

* the intellectual fruitfulness of a creative imagination
* fertility: the state of being fertile; capable of producing offspring
* fruitfulness: the quality of something that causes or assists healthy growth

I think you meant

Definitions of feculent on the Web:

* fecal: foul with waste matter; of or relating to feces

Try here.
09/2/2005 Mr. Pony: With regards to this issue, didn't our narrator actually mean "fecundity" (for a reason that becomes less and less clear to me every time I read the passage), and Louise thought he meant "feculent", or some other word with feces as a root (and thus her anger)? I'm surprised more people haven't voted on this short, although it is Friday; and Acme is experiencing a profound paradigmal shift.
09/2/2005 anonymous: I'm too tired to respond to QC's laundry list of things that raise his ire. As for "fecundity," yes, she confuses it with "fecal," "feces," or the like. Apologies to all, etc.
09/2/2005 anonymous: Aren't you guys overdoing it with the low votes? I know it's sexy to award half a star and everything, but is this really equivalent in value to the very worst this site has to offer? This is truly equivalent in value to the worst poem you could imagine, or to utter nonsense? I could scan a picture of a turd and put it up here and get an equal (or higher) vote? I'm not sure I understand.
09/2/2005 The Rid: Author, take a nap. Respond.
09/2/2005 TheBuyer (2.5): It makes my cunt hurt but yes, there are worse shorts.
09/2/2005 The Rid: Author, this short is really bad. What makes it worse is the self-satisfied manner in which you wrote it. This short screams "Love me! Think I'm funny! Think I'm smart! Wait, I am smart! What's wrong with you?" And by extension, you scream that, too. The wink-wink nudge-nudge vibe, in this case, only works if you're 1) Eric Idle, 2) Making fun of yourself, or 3) Really, really funny. This short, and by extension, you, are none of these things. Maybe I'm just projecting the smirk/smug attitude onto you based on this short, but that's how it comes across.
09/2/2005 anonymous: Okay. Well, let's see. Whether or not a particular name is funny seems to be a matter of taste. I don't think Johnny Tarmac's the most creative name to appear on this site, but I started the short with the idea that it would be amusing to have this hard-boiled narrator stumbling his way through these bizarre, albeit random (as some would say) encounters. I find the randomness funny. It's not a plot contrivance. I'm trying to mine the humor in the details themselves. I particularly like "Liquor Despot" because it seems like a realistic misspelling that has nothing to do with the commonly exploited theme of English mistakes made in Asian cultures. It struck me as something someone could overlook, and despot is underutilized, period.
09/2/2005 anonymous: I too have not read Juneteenth, but what I know about it is probably what you all know about it. It's the consummate sophomore slump, and the narrator is paranoid about becoming a failure. He's somewhat well-read (or at least aware of literature), which potentially doesn't jibe with his current or past ambitions to become a successful condom salesman. Also, condoms for sale at truckstops is funny. The personfication of heat is good. And to begin the following sentence with "also," when it really has nothing to do with the preceding one, is something I like, especially when this sentence serves as the first in the short which is so blunt. I thought the "fecundity" to "fecal" connection would be clearer. That was too vague on my part. I also think the utter humiliation at the end of the short is funny. Dropping a greasy weiner and challenging the narrator's manhood is just an exaggeration. Maybe it's not surprising enough to be that funny, but Louise's boldness and utter disregard for the narrator provides a nice finishing touch to the short's incongruity. This guy's language doesn't fit within his world, and neither does he.
09/2/2005 qualcomm: author, do you want me to respond? or should you have the last word?
09/2/2005 anonymous: qualcomm, please respond!
09/2/2005 anonymous: You can respond if you like. Ultimately, I don't think is a half-star short, and I don't think you do either. You and Rid find it offensive. Apparently, for Rid, it's in the tone. I'm not more than mildly irritated by the low votes.
09/2/2005 Will Disney (5):
09/3/2005 The Rid: Disney, there has to be some explanation.
09/3/2005 anonymous: Essentially my point is this: If you take the voting process semi-seriously, then what's the point of such a visceral, thoughtless vote? Of course you have your reasons for disliking the short, as you listed below. I'm not arguing for this to be a 4-star short, even though Pony found it to be one. QC, maybe I'm misinterpreting (or forgetting) your argument with Matza, but you seem to position yourself as the arbiter of honest and fair voting, as opposed to some of the sugar-coating that goes on around here from time to time. That being the case, is this really worthy of half a star? That's just a throwaway gesture...a reaction. In short, Sir, you are threatening to undermine the credibility of the very institution you purport to uphold! (Italics for sarcasm, so as not to start a firestorm of debate...)
09/3/2005 Turgid: Sorry, that wasn't meant to be anonymous. Also, Disney: Please explain yourself.
09/3/2005 qualcomm: no, i really hate this thing. not only do i find all the jokes unfunny, but the narrative is totally incoherent -- it's hard to even tell what the hell is happening. also, regarding the particular matter of "fecundity," even if your intention was that louise misunderstood what the main character was talking about, i still don't see any reason why he would use that word. how is the situation fecund? in fact, exactly what situation is he talking about? sitting there ordering a drink? i just don't understand what you're talking about anywhere in this short. it's like listening to a five year old try to tell a story: it fails in the most basic way to clearly tell me what's happening, and i don't think this was some choice you made, to be incoherent. to me, that merits the worst rating possible. i can't believe you're actually defending this thing (if you could call "condoms for sale at truckstops is funny" any kind of defense). speaking of which, were you serious when you said that the narrator has an ambition to be a condom salesman? because that would be yet another thing this story fails to get across.

09/3/2005 Hitler: I, Hitler, think this thing is OK. I think maybe you are being a little harsh, qualcomm. Even if it isn't really funny, at least he tried! That should count for something shouldn't it?
09/3/2005 Mr. Pony: Now, Turgid; qualcomm's the only one who's really explained his vote. Why is his the only vote you seriously consider to be disingenuous? Why am I being left out?
09/3/2005 Turgid: I don't understand why you find the narrative incoherent. There are a few vague elements -- as you indicate, it's not clear what the narrator is talking about when he first starts in with Louise, although I think it's possible to glean that he's trying to impress her with his *knowledge*. For some reason, the Rid thinks that's equivalent to me trying to impress the readers, even though it's pretty clear by the forced use of "fecundity" that I'm not taking that sort of thing seriously and/or making fun of myself, which according to Rid is a hallmark of acceptable pseudo-high brow humor. By referencing Juneteenth, it's at least a good possibility that he thinks of himself as being above his current station in life, so that idea has already been established by that point in the short. In fact, he says he's out of Louise's league, so we know what he thinks of himself, at least in relation to her. Anyway, it's her harsh reaction -- more than his words -- that are supposed to be humorous. I also don't understand what's unclear about his connection with the condom salesman. He's staring at the guy and imagines him to be paranoid. He's also denying that he won't amount to more than that. What's so vague about that? Not that anyone cares at this point, but the basic narrative is this: He's on his way to the cleaners. He stops at the liquor store/ice house first. He sees Richard, makes analyses, etc. He enters to talk to Louise. She throws coffee in his face when he says something that offends her. That's about it. Again -- I am not defending this thing to the death. I just think it's better than your rating, which to me, especially given the fact that you take such things seriously, seems knee-jerk.
09/3/2005 Turgid: Sorry, Pony, I can only focus on one thing at a time.
09/3/2005 Will Disney: I find this to be enjoyable. It's got an interesting tone and some next content, e.g. the liquor store name and "fighting gravity". Anyway I'd call it a 3.5 or 4 normally but was adjusting upward compensatorily.
09/4/2005 qualcomm: i didn't ask what the connection is between richard and the narrator, you dingbat. i was asking what you meant when, in an earlier comment, you said the narrator expressed "ambitions to become a successful condom salesman." either this is a simple case of your comments being as incoherent as your short, or your short failing to get across the information you think it is. for another example of this cognitive dissonance, you commented, "I particularly like "Liquor Despot" because it seems like a realistic misspelling that has nothing to do with the commonly exploited theme of English mistakes made in Asian cultures." what? does this story have something to do with asian culture? i have no idea what the fuck you're talking about, either in the short, or in your comments. all this subtext you say is in the short makes you seem delusional: "By referencing Juneteenth, it's at least a good possibility that he thinks of himself as being above his current station in life..." really? is that what referencing juneteenth should mean to a reader? wow, it's neat that you can boil down that book's complete cultural baggage to one single thing! and here i thought it meant he considered himself an invisible man. (i am joking, i wasn't thinking that at all, but you see what i mean?) to quote you again: "Dropping a greasy weiner and challenging the narrator's manhood is just an exaggeration." of what? do you mean it didn't really happen? what the hell do you mean, ever? "Maybe it's not surprising enough to be that funny, but Louise's boldness and utter disregard for the narrator provides a nice finishing touch to the short's incongruity." again, what the fuck are talking about? can anyone decipher this pompous bullshit?
09/4/2005 Will Disney: I donít think you guys get the Turgid aesthetic, which, as a genre unto itself, is entertaining.