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Naked save for the didy in which he'd been buried alive when last he faked his own death, Hollings regarded himself in the bathroom mirror with a soulful expression of mild placidity that even his harshest critics would have to concede as only possible on the face of one whose life was spent in gentle pursuit of quiet dignity. He thumbed the switch on the matte black Wahl; the clippers responded with the satisfying click of barely-controlled electricity particular to appliances designed before the 80s, the casing vibrating in his hand like an agitated beehive. Why pay for a haircut when all's I need's a trim, he had asked the checkout girl at Duane Reade.

It was easy, too. Before long, the right side of his head was as neat as a Playboy vagina. Dragging the clippers along the back, though, Hollings lost control of the angry machine and cut a swath across the top.

"Looks like it's gonna be an all-over job," he sighed.

He selected the #2 attachment and ploughed rows straight and true from the front of his head to the back. The brittle red clippings measled his clammy chest as they fell, collecting in a pile round his feet. Inspecting his nape with a hand mirror, Hollings noted discrepancies. He bit the bullet and took out his safety razor.

"Guess I'm gonna have to finish what I started," he said.

He lathered up his head and went to work. It was no good -- his irregular cranium protected odd patches of hair in its rises and dells. He looked like chemotherapy. Hollings opened the cabinet under the sink and brought out the straight razor. Angled acutely, the first pass dug a surprisingly bloodless white trench into his scalp. The strip of flesh hung like a carrot peel from the crown of his head. Structural nerves and tendons severed, the right side of Hollings' brow drooped over his eye, lending him the hangdog look of a strokey palooka.

"Can't leave a job like that unfinished," the stoic little milquetoast reasoned, digging a diagonal down to his skull in preparation for another trench adjacent to the first.

Date Written: June 17, 2004
Author: qualcomm
Average Vote: 4.3077

06/22/2004 Will Disney (4): this one is gross. as someone who has short hair, though, i can definitely identify. you know what? i'm giving this one a 4. i don't know if it deserves it - i just don't. it didn't have the pat acme i was expecting so that's something.
06/22/2004 Will Disney: with a one-word proper noun title like hollings, maybe this short is positioned to join the ranks of comment juggernauts Jibley and Dani?
06/22/2004 scoop: Hey Will, would you mind defingin what you meant by "pat acme"?
06/22/2004 TheBuyer: First graph stalled me a bit, in fact the first phrase is a complete mind-fuck, feels tacked on. Saved by the beauty of the language, clarity of the examples, and only slight throwback reference to Robbie Williams's - Rock DJ video. i say 4 stars.
06/22/2004 Litcube (4): I figured it out around 10 seconds in, but I'm giving it 4 stars on the off chance that I fluked out.
06/22/2004 anonymous: oooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaahhhhhhhhh!! eeeeh! ee ee ee!
06/22/2004 Will Disney: when i say 'pat', i mean 'reduced to a simple or mechanical form' (thank you m-w.com). and the pat ending in this case would have been, in my mind, a typical "surprise" plot jag toward pooping, deviant sexuality, or some kind of ironic situation. maybe in this case it could've been something stupid like hollings' mother coming in to tell him he was late for dinner. stupid, i know. or, uh, something along those lines. instead, this one pretty much proceeds along its natural course which is what i was appreciating about it.
06/22/2004 TheBuyer: Rock DJ, by the way if you're not a vidiot, features Robbie Williams tearing off layers of clothes, then skin, then muscle, right down to his skeleton. Its such a fuckin choice video, eh.
06/22/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan (3): Hey Mr. Disney, is that the same pat one might use when they say "down pat"?
06/22/2004 qualcomm: not enough votes to get an average, despite one vote by disney. must be a disney short.
06/22/2004 TheBuyer: Three votes no rating, Disney?
06/22/2004 TheBuyer: ...TheBuyer said, screwing around too long before pressing Submit.
06/22/2004 Ewan Snow: C'mon, Lerpa. Who are you kidding?
06/22/2004 qualcomm: huh? whuh?
06/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Don't play dumb with me, you dummy!
06/22/2004 TheBuyer (4): i'm with Litcube. He seems really strange. He hasn't written a gee-dee thing. I'm with Litcube. Hiyeeee!
06/22/2004 scoop: I admire the opening graf, particularly the idea that the protagonist faking his death is so incidental to the rest of the narravtive. No big laughs, but some nice moments. 4 Stars. If this author writes anyhting that might suck in the future I will be sure to let him know.
06/22/2004 Mr. Pony (5): I was all set to give this a four, but then I heard that it might be written by Disney! I like that dude! Also, if he did write it, then his opening comments are super-awesome!!
06/22/2004 John Slocum (4): Loved the writing. This one will grow on you. On you. I laughed alot the second time through, after a short break.
06/22/2004 qualcomm (5): ok, ok
06/22/2004 John Slocum: This is Scoop, by the way. If it's not I'll become a Johnny Pop-a-Bow.
06/22/2004 TheBuyer: I think so too John. I would have said something before, but I talk too much as it is. [emoticon]
06/22/2004 Litcube: Hiyeee!
06/23/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): Yeah I like this one, it's really gruesome in a believabnle way, which brings me closer to my own mortality. It's a little messy though. What in the name of Sam Hill is a "naked save"? Or is that a mistake?
06/23/2004 Benny Maniacs: I get it now: Naked, save for the didy blah blah blah. Scooperific!
06/23/2004 qualcomm: save = except. asshole.
06/23/2004 John Slocum: I'm a Johnny Pop-a-Bow
06/23/2004 Dylan Danko: Oh man i'm drunk and I've just been listening to The Faces. Holy shit, Rod Stewart in his prime. Oh man, what a shame.
06/23/2004 Dylan Danko: Scoop, don't worry you can give this 5 stars now! It's your girlfriend's short!
06/23/2004 Pix (5): I like. Grotesque is good.
06/23/2004 scoop: Four stars for the short, and an extra star to The Lerpa, for being such a good girlfriend. Thanks, Danko, for giving me the courage to do this! If you hadn't gone and said that I would have worried people would start talking if I gave it a five, especially after making the big stink about four stars and all. And so I would have had to have give it three stars to compensate and conceal my true feelings. But that would have sent me down a unspeakable spiral of despair. And I really would've wanted, no desired, nothing more than to give it five stars upon learning the shorts genuine authorship. Now by openly piercing ths bubble of shame and confusion you have empowered me to be me. You idiot. I'd rather date The Lerpa than jack-off to that fucking dishonest bearded pig ideolgue Michael Moore. Make sure you swallow for Mr. Moore, Danko, or he may sue you for defamation! He keeps a list.
06/23/2004 scoop (5): !
06/23/2004 Mr. Pony: Gosh, I guess you showed him!
06/23/2004 scoop: Slocum: What is a Johnny Pop-a-Bow and whom does it serve?
06/23/2004 scoop: Hi, Pony.
06/23/2004 scoop: I said Hi Pony. Your embarassing me in front of all these people.
06/23/2004 John Slocum: Hi Scoop!
06/23/2004 scoop: Hi, dude.
06/23/2004 Craig Lewis (4): I don't know how I failed to see this one yesterday. It's real good, but I feel that the pudding's a bit overcooked, y'know? Too many words, adjectives, pronouns, mind-thoughts, text-images. "He looked like chemotherapy" is choice. Author: what in fuck is a strokey palooka?
06/23/2004 qualcomm: strokey palooka = a stroke-prone boxer
06/23/2004 Craig Lewis: aha.
06/23/2004 Mr. Pony: So how did that three votes-no rating thing happen? Do I not understand the system or did the Lerpa hypnotize me again?
06/23/2004 Dylan Danko: Scoop, wanna snuggle?
06/23/2004 scoop: Danko: Yes.
06/23/2004 Will Disney: pony - what did you see again? there was a change to the way that avg ratings are shown on the day-of-publication. basically, on the day of rating, the author's own votes are supposed to be reflected in the short rating but that should go away after that first day and the votes should no longer be counted.
06/23/2004 Mr. Pony: At the time of the Lerpa's first comment, there were three votes (yours, Litcube's, and Ferucio's), but the rating still read "(not enough votes)". At least, that's what I thought I saw. Which, I guess, is really the same thing as seeing it. Anyway.
06/23/2004 Ewan Snow: I think it now takes four votes, not three.
06/23/2004 Will Disney: yes, we were using a greater than comparison instead of a greater than or equal to comparison! it's fixed now - votes should show up after 3 votes submitted - and on the first day that should count votes by the authors too...
06/23/2004 Mr. Pony: Thanks, I need to know these things for my chart.
06/23/2004 Phony Millions (5): Don't know how I missed this one either. This is the Lerpa at his best; who are we kidding? The opening sentence for starters: it is a mini-short within a short - a compressed shrapnel shell of pure sentiment. The aside comments of Hollings here and there interspersed. The short, jagged vernacular here and there: '...Hollings noted discrepancies.'
06/24/2004 Great Satan (4): I know better ways to peel scalps. PM me. 666.
06/27/2004 Jon Matza (5): 4.5, asshole.