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Right then and there I made my decision: I was going to beat the shit out of that piñata donkey. The folksy, crooning Vicente Fernandez blared out of hidden speakers and filled the dimly lit back room at Tia Conchita restaurant as Consuela passed me the silver metal baton. It was like the shaft of a metal crutch with white plastic caps at either end and I held it aloft in one hand. My shoulder muscles rippled. Light from the many Posada candles glittered on its shiny surface. I narrowed my eyes as I looked along its length: in the dim light it appeared straight and sturdy. Good, good, I muttered to myself. I gripped it in both hands in front of me and shook it up and down to test its weight, like a batter getting ready to step up to the plate and face his inscrutable, canny pitching foe. The weight felt right in my hands, light but not too light, good balance, some mass that was going to help me smash this fucking thing to pieces. And then I was going to leap on the spoils and gorge myself! I looked around at the many eyes upon me, round brown eyes set atop strong, prominent cheekbones. The faces looked friendly and kind with smooth, light brown skin and warm smiles. Most had little ceramic tequila cups with painted flowers on the side and they were throwing back shot after shot and shouting and cheering me on. Only Gabriel, my brother, wasn’t looking at me. Fat fuck. This was my moment, mine, and here he was dipping his fat, stubby index finger into a Duvalín and licking the sugary pudding right off his finger! In fact, Gabriel’s face was so fat he could only part his lips a little and was getting splotches of Duvalín on his upper lip, on his nose even! God, what a pig. I started getting angry and became momentarily distracted by memories of Gabriel teasing me, locking me in closets, taking my toys, bruising my arms for fun; by years of feeling helpless and powerless against my older, larger and stronger brother. Adrenalin rushed my system and drowned out the sound of the rancheras music. I began to see red. My brother never gave me any respect and here he was not giving me any respect again!

I’m not sure how to end this short so I turn to my beloved Acme community for some assistance. Below is a series of possible endings. Please vote on which ending you like best. All votes will be tallied in a timely fashion and the ending that gets the most votes will be announced in due course.

1. The main character turns to smash his brother’s head and instead, accidentally strikes little, cute 6-year old Celina, crushing her skull and killing her instantly. Blood, sinew and brain spill from her cracked skull and he learns the importance of anger management, growing as a person.

2. The main character psychotically theorizes that his brother’s head is full of Duvalín and in an effort to test his theory, smashes open his brother’s head with the piñata baton. To his amazement he finds only blood, sinew and brain. He learns the importance of anger management, growing as a person.

3. Same as #2, but to his amazement, instead of blood, sinew and brain, Duvalín spills from his cracked skull. Realizing his brother is not human, main character feels good about his act of passion and decides to embrace his built up anger, harnessing it for both good and evil, growing as a person.

4. Same as #1 but Duvalín spills from poor little Celina’s cracked skull, which the main character leaps on and fucks. He does not grow as a person. No heroes, no one to believe in.

Thank you all very much for your time and consideration.

Date Written: December 07, 2004
Author: John Slocum
Average Vote: 3.4444

12/14/2004 scoop: Can I vote on a fifth choice? What if you end the short in this creaky, post-modernist way with a bunch of numbered choices for the reader to "vote" on, and then in a cute manner thank the reader for his time. That would be so daring.
12/14/2004 scoop (2): So there is no confusion the 2 is for the short, not in any way an endorsement of the second ending.
12/14/2004 qualcomm: #4, with this amendment: the narrator's lack of growth is most pronounced in the area of gastronomy. the potent mixture of duvalin, sex and violence ensures that the narrator forever favors homogenous foods, even becoming sick at the very sight of vegetables mingling with mashed potatoes.
12/14/2004 hagit mizrachy (3): This short reminds me of James Taylor's "Mexico", but is a little less funky. And it steals from my New Year short which is still in the queue.
12/14/2004 qualcomm (4):
12/14/2004 James K. Polk: You're welcome.
12/14/2004 James K. Polk: Not sure if I should give this a three or a four. Three seems a little bit low, but four seems a little bit high. Maybe there should be a way to give half stars.
12/14/2004 Dick Vomit: #4, but I don't like the idea of this fat fuck older brother getting away unscathed.
12/14/2004 The Rid: Gonna go with #3.
12/14/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs: Mr. President, let's split the difference - you four it, I'll three it.
12/14/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs (3): The President is a busy man.
12/14/2004 anonymous: So Sccop, you didn't like the ending?
12/14/2004 TheBuyer: he should scream at top vulume which shocks everyone, and silences the room. He should then remove the blindfold, or don it, whichever the case may be, wipe a tear from his eye and smash that club into his own balls again and again and again until he passes out. At this point, his immense, swollen balls are removed by an ambidextrous bus-girl with a hairlip who, using her well toned vulva snatches his testicles one at a time [reminiscent of a horse picking an apple off of a nail on a fencpost] and fire them one at a time into the pinata to the glorious crys of "Ole!", saving the party. The brother will get his one day, but not today. that or #4.
12/14/2004 qualcomm: you just set your own promotion back decades with that comment, buyer
12/14/2004 TheBuyer: i fear success.
12/14/2004 Phony Millions (4): Author, it appears you have our time, but not our complete consideration. For this is exactly what we must be to slog through several endings - considerate. And who among us even approaches that socialized state? We are a pack of baboons. The Clue-type multi-endings did not quite take for this not-so-gentle reader; he wishes Sir or Madam would have left out that trifle. The first paragraph was so entertaining, with the protagonist's enmity towards his fat brother, and the lowbrow Mexican setting...Shame! Still,I must counter Scoop's 2 with a four - it's creative and funny, the first paragraph; it's definietly not dog shit.
12/14/2004 anonymous: Thanks, Brad! I couldn't figure out how to end it and it was getting long. I didn't think it would stand on it's own as is, but maybe I was wrong about that.
12/14/2004 Jon Matza (3): Author: I'd give you a five if I was voting on good intentions. Sadly my conscience will not etc. (I hope this will not affect our friendship.) For me the messy multiple endings/appeal to the community amounted to a liability. I think you could've gotten away with omitting these and just ending with "I looked around at the many eyes upon me, round brown eyes set atop strong, prominent cheekbones." In my opinion the implication of forthcoming violence thus rendered would've been more menacing than any of the scenarios you "proffered".
12/14/2004 anonymous: I'm disowning you, Matza. Don't call me anymore.
12/14/2004 The Rid (3): Four stars minus one for Choose-Your-Own-Adventureness of the whole scenario.
12/14/2004 Mr. Pony (4): I'm not entirely sure that we are actually meant to pick an ending, and I found the progression of the content of the multiple endings kind of charming. I agree that the way the way the endings were introduced and concluded was pretty clunky, and for this, author, I punish you with a four. But yeah. I liked the ending.
12/14/2004 Jon Matza: Are you sure, Slocum? I have a lot more to tell you about what's wrong with this short...
12/14/2004 anonymous: beak it down, but i have to serve a '53 leroy la romanee right now.
12/14/2004 anonymous: quite right pony
12/14/2004 hagit mizrachy: Slocum, Matza just IM'd me on my cell from the medieval roll-playing conference he's at. He told me to tell you,"I wish you recanted half-as-well as you decanted. Take back this piece of filth whence the barrio from which it stumbled."
12/14/2004 Jon Matza: That's right, Slocum--and as long as you continue to boycott my phone calls I'll be forced to use Hagit as my intermediary. Now back to my joust.
12/15/2004 Dylan Danko: PLAY YOUR POSITION!!
03/17/2005 Mr. Joshua (5): This short is almost as delightful as that 1998 Haut Brion (blanc) that author bestowed upon me.