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Aside from some nagging technical glitches, Werner Beefcock had been pleasantly surprised with the electrical collar he purchased for his wife, Hilda. He couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe he had paid too much. But in the end even Werner, a thoughtful consumer, didn’t mind the price tag. After all, the collar had been a godsend.

But it couldn’t work miracles. Here they were on another Saturday afternoon fighting – again. Bickering – again. Needling each other – again. Exhuming ancient arguments, like an old dog feebly scratching at a pile of dirt where it thought it buried a bone years before. Their disputes sounded like they came straight from central casting. They appeared a pair of dispirited actors, phoning in their performances in a hackneyed domestic drama.

“We don’t communicate anymore.”

“Well, what do we have to talk about?”

“Us, for one”

“How many times do we have to go through this same song and dance?”

“Until you get it through your self-absorbed head that there’s more to this relationship then trudging through another day.”

“Like what?”

“Well, my feelings for one.”

With that Werner reflexively pushed the button sending a high-powered jolt of electricity through his wife’s body. He couldn’t help it. Feelings. Whenever Werner heard that word he reached for the controls.

Werner’s wife instinctively grabbed at the collar before collapsing on the ground in a frantic, jerking heap. A froth of foam gathered around the corners of her twitching mouth. Her flower print dress bunched up in a twist between her splayed knees.

Werner stepped over his wife and slumped on the couch with a sigh. Werner made a silent oath, as he sat flipping through the channels, to talk about her feelings as soon as the old gal came to. He also promised to get this thing calibrated first thing Monday morning.

In time, Werner’s wife’s erratic spasms subsided, her breathing evened out and fitful unconsciousness yielded to gentle sleep. Werner stared at his wife wistfully. A montage of faded silent Super 8 memories sputtered in his head. Awkward first date. A kiss on a beach. Afternoon naps in the backyard hammock. He reached down and wiped some dried spittle from Hilda's cheek.

Why, he thought to himself, can’t she always look this beautiful?

Date Written: July 31, 2004
Author: scoop
Average Vote: 4

08/9/2004 qualcomm (5): i'm really mad at werner. he shocked his wife for saying feelings, but in the first graf, "he couldn't shake the feeling". why don't you shock yourself, werner? 4.5, rounded up for maths.
08/9/2004 John Slocum: according to your typical ol summer analysis, this short was probably written by ("phoned it in" being in another ol summer short)
08/9/2004 TheBuyer (4): What a great way to start a week! I like his Pavlovian response to "feelings," I get the same way when someone says "Referendum" or "soft-wood lumber" but without the benefit of a re-education collar strapped on the neck of the CBC.
08/9/2004 Will Disney (4):
08/9/2004 scoop (5): Look, everyone, it's easy. Read, write, vote. Get in to the spirit.
08/9/2004 Mr. Pony (4): See, this one's easy.
08/9/2004 Jon Matza (4): 1st 1/2 was 'num. (platinum)
08/9/2004 qualcomm: by the way, author, you use "Werner" too many times. pronouns, dude. pronouns.
08/9/2004 Mr. Pony: But "Werner Beefcock" is such an inherently funny name, independent of the short. Totally independent, in fact.
08/9/2004 qualcomm: yeah, but werner on its own is just like, whatever. it's not like he wrote "werner beefcock" over and over, and it's not like he purposely wrote "werner" over and over. i think it was simply careless.
08/9/2004 qualcomm: Q: Is part of what makes Werner Beefcock so 'num the fact that Werner is almost wiener?
08/9/2004 Mr. Pony: That's what I was saying, in my smarmy round-about way. The name doesn't help the short; actually, I think the name hurts it a little. It's just a signature, I think. A: "Equinimius Dingaling" is 'num. "Werner Beefcock" is just 'pper.
08/9/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan (4): I can't help but feel I've read this situation before in someone else's short. But it is a pretty piece. The unconsciousness to sleep paragraph is particularly nice.
08/10/2004 Mr. Pony: Summer, Werner Beefcock should not be shocked for "feeling" that he had paid too much, and I'll tell you why. In this case, the word "feeling" actually means "thinking", or more specifically, a nagging suspicion. These "thoughts" originate in the human brain, an organ in the head, and are derived through a combination and comparison of memory and experience, along with input from the constant stream of both internal and external stimuli. The human brain combines these elements in a process we like to call reason, and "thoughts" are the result. The truth of some of these thoughts is not always readily apparent, as in the case of Werner's suspicions that he had been ripped off. Nevertheless, their reality is unquestionable, as they are are the result of the aforementioned physical and mental stimuli combined in a "reasonable" and "logical" manner by that wonder of existence and awareness, the human brain. True Feelings, however, originate in the human heart, a muscular circulatory organ in the chest.
08/10/2004 John Slocum (3): This has good moments but no surprises and is too long. 'graf 2 seems poorly thought through (although if that was purposeful, apologies). For example, if these 2 are always fighting, their issues wouldn't be dead and buried and therefore would not need to be 'exhumed.'