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Kofi Annan absentmindedly fingered the burled walnut inlays on his Bentley's rear passenger control panel. "Diplomacy," he thought, paraphrasing Chateaubriand, "Is the paring away of all hypocrisy, false charity and obligatory altruism to arrive at the only truth there can be in a world of limited resources: naked self-interest."

He peeled away the last bit of rind from a Papua New Guinean lemon and chewed a section, for his power and obscene level luxury had reached such an apogee that, Vito Corleone-like, he could find respite only in simple pleasures, his wealth and stature thereby having conferred on him an earthy humanity that was the envy even of the poor.

His shit stank, but it was different somehow. In him, the gentle power of Morgan Freeman glowed like a warm red sun of infinite benevolence.

Up ahead, traffic snarled the interesection of 38th and 2nd. An African-American bike messenger had collided with a latino Domino's deliveryman, and their argument was not only tying up traffic, it was coming dangerously close to violence.

Annan's door popped open with a chocolatey click.

The messenger was in the middle of saying, "I'm'a shove that muhfuckin' pizza box down yo--"

"It is a shame, sir," Annan interrupted, "That your business must suffer today."

"He is a pig," the deliveryman said in his native dialect.

"I can tell by your accent, you are from the Cotopaxi region of Ecuador, yes?" Annan returned in kind.

"I am."

"The jungle grapes that grow along the fringes of the forest are very good this time of year, especially towards evening, in the cooling shadow of the volcano," Annan rhapsodized.

"Yes," returned the pizza man, his eyes misting over at this concise, poetic evocation of all that was wonderful about his home, "Yes, they are sweet. Sweeter than mother's milk."

"And you," said Annan, turning his attention now to the messenger, "Welch's grape soda is a wonderful refreshment, don't you think? With fried chicken from Popeye's it is very good."

"Yeah, no doubt, boyeeeeeee, that shit da bomb!"

The two combatants hugged as Annan walked back to his car. The smell of the asphalt reminded him of his hometown of Kumasi, Ghana, where wild boar were roasted over bitumen fires. Yes, the meat was juicy and very good. eliza:

Date Written: September 26, 2004
Author: qualcomm
Average Vote: 4.78571

09/28/2004 anonymous (5):
09/28/2004 Will Disney (5): jees!
09/28/2004 Mr. Pony (5): Got a little choked up there.
09/28/2004 John Slocum: Excellent!
09/28/2004 Will Disney: Eliza: what do you think of this one?
09/28/2004 Eliza: Does that question interest you?
09/28/2004 Jon Matza (5): most vintage oss short in many a fucking moon
09/28/2004 TheBuyer (5): I'm hungry.
09/28/2004 scoop (5): It has an economy of language and a Kosher-like attention to detail I have come to expect from this hooked nose Jew author.
09/28/2004 Litcube (5): 4.496. I'm also hungry.
09/28/2004 Joe Frankenstone: I've tried several times to write that I think this short, while beautifully written and a good concept, is legitimately racist and part of a bad trend over the past few days at Acme, but I can't do it without seeming like a dick.
09/28/2004 Will Disney: Eliza: Is this short racist?
09/28/2004 Eliza: What does that suggest to you?
09/28/2004 Will Disney: Jesus christ you're stupid, Eliza.
09/28/2004 anonymous: Joe are you referring to the hip-hop use of the N word from yesterday? 'Numenor' is a place not an epithet.
09/28/2004 Litcube: Has that stopped you before, Jackenbone?
09/28/2004 anonymous: frankenstone, are you referring only to the welch's and fried chicken bit, or something else as well?
09/28/2004 scoop: Hey Dylan Danko on a scale of 1 to 10 -- 1 being Brown Bunny Boring, 10 being "Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" boring, how boring would you rate this latest offering?
Dying to know,
09/28/2004 Litcube: Scoop, I take offence to your brown bunny reference.
09/28/2004 Dylan Danko (5): 5 star short. 1 star Frankencoon comment. Scoop, you have the wrong scale. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being Hurly Burly boring and 10 being Guided By Voices boring this short is a Krugman, baby! Pure gold!
09/28/2004 Cuntbreath: Frankenstone: Fuck You
09/28/2004 Cuntbreath: By the way, Frankenstone, there's no point in you worrying about "seeming like a dick". I've looked over your back catalogue of mewlings disguised as commentary, and it's quite clear that you are, in fact, a dick.
09/28/2004 Joe Frankenstone: Look, I get the point of the short that Popeye's and grape soda is as much an inaccurate generalization as jungle grapes and wild boar. But this, and "Tyrone" in today's Guest shorts and the abysmal gangsta rap yesterday, all strike me as jokes by good-hearted snickering white boys who think they can make racist jokes because they have black friends. The problem isn't even so much that it's racist (though it is), but that it's vaguely pathetic.
09/28/2004 Joe Frankenstone: And therefore not funny.
09/28/2004 Dylan Danko: Dude, none of us would ever have black friends. What do you take us for, nigger lovers???!!!
09/28/2004 Joe Frankenstone: Author: Exclusively that bit. A different cultural reference there would have improved this short tremendously.
09/28/2004 John Slocum (5): Yah, no black friends, only hook-nosed, heeby friends.
09/28/2004 Mr. Pony: Just a second, Joe, are you suggesting that we're all white?
09/28/2004 Joe Frankenstone: No, how would I know that? I'm saying that's how it reads.
09/28/2004 Ewan Snow: While I don't think anybody would disagree that Frankenstone is a moron, I do think that joke was the weakest part of the short. The reason being it is an obvious rather than obscure cliche, and therefore not funny. It seems the author sensed this, and so made it even more caricatured with the bike messenger's dialect. But that doesn't make it much funnier. Compare the wit of this, with that of the short in general, and you will find the former to be be rather non-dairy. All in all a light-sweet-crude short, however. PS. Pony, I think Frankenstone just called you a honkey. I'd kick the shit out of him if I were you.
09/28/2004 Mr. Pony: I've been called worse, but I'm just surprised (and a little disappoined) that Joe, who is clearly less racist than all of us put together would make the assumption that I'm a white guy because my name is "Mr." Pony and not "Seņior" Pony or Pony "san" or "G PonyLuv".
09/28/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan (5): Eloquent and sweet. It is reminiscent of overripe mangoes hanging tremulously on fat leafed trees, hunched over with such turgid bearing. Shouldn't that be St. Morgan Freeman?
09/28/2004 Joe Frankenstone: Actually that's the opposite of what I said.
09/28/2004 scoop: Enough about this stupid racist short. Snow, I need some more goddamn Easy Street Bars over here. ASAP dude. Those little fuckers are good.
09/28/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan: I think it's interesting that "Tyrone" is so oviously a black name, like Mr. Pony is so clearly a "white name". That's some nice profiling going on.
09/28/2004 Ewan Snow: scoop, you shall be granted what you request in good time. a new batch of the delicious Easy $treet(TM) brand handmade truffle bars should be ready soon and they will be available for sale online. But for you I don't see why I can't offer a few "comp" bars in the meantime (assuming OSS doesn't eat them all before passing them around).
09/28/2004 Ewan Snow: Pony san, I've been trying to learn Karate based on my copy of "Karate Kid". However, I seem to get off course when Mr. Miagi "wax off". Any suggestions?
09/28/2004 Ewan Snow: ...maybe I'll write a short one of these days
09/28/2004 Dylan Danko: Um..I'm sorry but for some reason I haven't received any Easy Street Bars!!! Snow, why do you hurt me? I wish the pain would stop. Curtain.
09/28/2004 Mr. Pony: That's Karate Kid I, which is total bullshit. You should do yourself a favor and rent (or buy, even) Karate Kid II, or even the incomparable No Retreat, No Surrender, which is fully endorsed by both my Dojo and my House. Doo Itashimashite!!
09/28/2004 Dylan Danko: Also, i have it on good authority (Scoops own boyfriend!) that he too finds this short racist. Speak!
09/28/2004 Mr. Pony: I had to grow a new organ to fully process my first Easy $treet.
09/28/2004 anonymous: Snow - I thought the cliche of the racist joke was funny because of where it was -- coming just after an obscure (actually, completely made-up) reference to some jungle grapes, which one could sort of see the actual Kofi saying, at least in the context of this short. The welch's joke is not just beneath the short, but the quality of that soda (and popeye's chicken) is beneath the refined taste of the character of Annan as described therein. Basically, I thought a reader would find it kind of surprising and funnily out of character.
09/28/2004 Mr. Pony: I did, anon_user_b!! (By the way snow, that organ thing--I meant it was the sweetest thing I've ever eaten by a factor of three. You are a monster to loose such a creation upon the populace of Earth.)
09/28/2004 anonymous: That last comment was mine. I was accidentally signed in as my fake "joe frankenstone" character. oops.
09/28/2004 Ewan Snow: True, author, true. I did find that funny, however the cliche of it was still a little non-dairy. Perhaps an obscure low-rent food aesthetic would have been best. Actually, Welch's grape soda was fine, it was the fried chicken thing that was non-dairy.
09/28/2004 scoop: Comp, dude, comp. If that doesn't work out maybe I can eat some on spec, spec. How'd that be? Man, those things are sweet.
09/28/2004 Jon Matza: That first line is heavy hwhipping cream, though. Laden with lactose. Top of the pail. Goat, even.
09/28/2004 anonymous: do you mean G.O.A.T.?
09/28/2004 Jon Matza: Please provide a link for my and others's edification
09/28/2004 anonymous: goat
09/28/2004 Jon Matza: Funny you'd make a disparaging reference to a rap album. You are the worst kind of racist.
09/28/2004 Tyrone: I feel very insulted by all of you.
09/29/2004 qualcomm: I commend your spelling and grammar, Tyrone.
10/25/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum (5): This is really brilliant. Some of your best work, I think, OSS.
10/25/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Enterring the argument a month too late. I have to admit that I did cringe at the Welch's grape soda/Pop Eye's joke, too. But I pushed past my white man's guilt and gave it 5 stars, partially because of what OSS said below, but also because I think that the broader point that was being made was kind of worth this dirty little detail. It kind of forces you to re-program a little--move past an image that is heavily laden with cultural baggage.
11/3/2004 Jon Matza: This is in my top 5. Plus everyone's wrong about the fried chicken joke. It's hysterical, for reasons the author cited and others I can't seem to identify.
02/18/2005 Front (5): tasty.
07/15/2005 TheBuyer: I love this fucking thing.
04/26/2006 Master Bates (5): awesome, 'possum!
12/27/2007 Joseph Keith: what do you do with jungle grapes? Make grape soda. Sour grapes? Gripe.
08/16/2010 Marvin_Bernstein (2): suckfest