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Scranton. Son of a bitch. I was back in Scranton. The chafed and burnished aperture at the center of Pennsylvania’s mine littered buttock. Lonely. Clenched. Sour. Steaming. What was I doing here? And why was I so hungry? Scranton. Salt of the Earth. Bare hands and grime. Blue eyes and soot.

I surveyed the steaming field. Grey skies. Litter. Sinkholes. Tall grass and washing machines. A stray cat peeking out from inside a gutted old dryer. “Mew?” it asked, while making the cat-shitting face. Vacant. Serious. “Mew?” Feline. It was crapping in there. Crapping.

The pit in my stomach turned, gurgling, wheezing, as I stepped over hubcaps and bottles, weaved among shopping carts and smashed DVD players. The air on my face was damp. Alive. Natal. Had a WalMart exploded in the sky? Littered this field in shattered consumer goods? Whose tan suit was I wearing? And waders? Cabelas? Had I been fly fishing? I was lost! And so hungry. The acids in my belly churned anew.

Inclement weather. Wind buffeting the flaps of my hat. Rain lashing me. Staring down at the ripping puddles here at the door to Ponderosa. Sweet lord alive: Ponderosa. Had I walked all the way here? Was I wearing this hat before when I described my clothing? I pulled my gaze up from the sopping pavement. Water beads on glass. Steam. Neon. Signage. “Open.” “All You Can Eat.”

“Just one today?” Becky.

“I’m alone.”

“Hope yer hungry!” Her nametag said Becky.

“I am. Very.”

“You sure?” Becky?

“I’m famished, Becky. I assure you.”

“Righty roo! You have yerself a seat! You havin’ the BUFFay tonight? It’s all yew kin eat.” The name Becky began to irritate me, becoming less of a name than an arrangement of stupid sounds.

“Definitely. Yes, definitely.” Becky!


Becky placed a styrofoam plate with irregularly shaped compartments before me. And a napkin. And utensils. And then she walked away. I watched her go, a plump little nurse of a girl, and studied her meaty bottom swishing in the white polyester. There was brown there, I coud discern, soaking through the skirt. An anal seepage appeared to be filling her white hose, pouring down into her therapeutic shoes. I rubbed at my eyes to fight off a wave of panic. Then, before she disappeared into the kitchen, I watched Becky pass long lines of blue collar workers, unemployed miners, elderly people, truckers, fat children, hideous teens, stork-looking chain smokers, college kids, hunters, NASCAR fans and cops, even the becankled high school Coal Queen, all of whom arranged their bodies in various contortions, doing an interpretive dance of gastric grotesquerie, the preflatulent foxtrot, clutching their guts, braiding their legs, grimmacing, fidgeting and breathing heavily, bending in half, lying on the floor, sitting indian style, hands up their ass cracks, hands shoved in their pockets, as they waited their turn at the Ponderosa’s one functioning toilet.


Date Written: January 12, 2005
Author: Dick Vomit
Average Vote: 4.6364

01/25/2005 Will Disney: 499 words! you just made it, buddy.
01/25/2005 Cyrus: I think he(?) should skip the "BUFFay"
01/25/2005 TheBuyer: I like how this starts. No idea where it is going, I'll hold off.
01/25/2005 Jacob Starfish: I think this is a good beginning too. But you bring up an interesting point, Buyer--how should serial shorts be rated? I think many folks feel like they should wait until the end so they can rate the effect of each part on the whole, but most people forget or decide not to go back and evaluate the parts. I think others try to rate each as an individual short, but that usually feels weird in those parts near the end that are obviously (and maybe necessarily) just there to set up stuff. Does it makes sense to rate as you go, basing your rating on the overall story so far, and whether the current chapter made the thing dumber or cooler? Or wait until the end, and give all the parts the rating of the whole story? These are important questions, maybe. Also, you could just not rate them. People do that, too. Thoughts?
01/25/2005 qualcomm: one must rate these as standalones. they are submitted as such.
01/25/2005 The Rid: Agree w/ QC. Will vote after re-reading.
01/25/2005 TheBuyer (4): Hey D, do us a link for the next one at the bottom of this one?
01/25/2005 anonymous: Ponderoda's changed to Ponderosa's.


01/25/2005 qualcomm (5): 5, minus 0.5 for the easy target, but fuck it. let's hope parts II-IX do not "Starfish"
01/25/2005 anonymous: Let me ask Starfish for guidance on this. Just add links and they will remain inactive until the following short is published?


01/25/2005 Mr. Pony: I'll field this one. Yeah, that linking thing will work just fine, I think, unless you make all kinds of careless and mean declarations in the link, in which case they will '"qualcomm".
01/25/2005 qualcomm: i am not careless.
01/25/2005 The Rid (4): Interesting. I hope the stylistic musings add up to something other than stylistic musings. But at this point, I'm looking forward to part 2. Is it necessary, btw, to have all 9 parts published back to back?
01/25/2005 Jon Matza (5): Enjoyed this...Schrafts writing & mood. ("Righty roo!" graf was particularly Vlasic.) I predict the narrator will find himself in Wilkes-Barre shortly.
01/25/2005 Dick Vomit: The Rid: I was considering deleting and reposting in groups of three. Still a possibility. If it proves intolerable for the readership to digest it in one large chunk.


01/25/2005 Dick Vomit: Not that you didn't know it was me.

01/25/2005 Mr. Pony: I am looking forward to part two. That, and the writing, which is "fun" gets you this shiny five.
01/25/2005 Jon Matza: The weird thing about this short is how there's no solution. Most Apocalypse Brown stories explain how he outwitted Bugs Meany.
01/25/2005 Mr. Pony (5): No, this shiny five.
01/25/2005 anonymous: Pony: I do not see the shiny 5 of which you speak. 'Za: Do you not mean A-POO-calypse?


01/25/2005 Ewan Snow: Okay, so I just figured out this is by Dick Vomit. The trick is reading the signature on the last author comment. From there it's pretty easy to connect the dots. I further deduce that this fine piece of writing is an attempt by said author to display his talents, perhaps a bid for the FULL AUTHORSHIP he is widely rumored to covet. Will his little literary gambit payoff? Who knows? But one thing’s for sure, if he doesn’t complete his full application, he is unlikely to ever find out!
01/25/2005 Jon Matza: !!!
01/25/2005 Mr. Pony: What application?
01/25/2005 Ewan Snow: duh!
01/25/2005 Pusher Robot: PAK CHOOIE UNF
01/25/2005 anonymous: Attention.


01/25/2005 Phony Millions (5): This is fresh shit; really cool vernacular. I took it as a stand alone actually - didn't even read the title. It could easily be a fragmentary stream of consciousness observation of Scranton that wouldn't continue further.
01/25/2005 Litcube: Dick, I read this, liked it, looking forward -- yadda, yadda. I'll rate them individually when the last is posted. Serious, I enjoyed your writing here (lineup). For serious.
01/25/2005 The Rid: A reliable source told me this is an accurate description of Scranton.
01/25/2005 Streifenbeuteldachs (4): An auspicious beginning.
01/26/2005 Jawbreaker (4): This is an accurate description of Scranton.
01/26/2005 Dick Vomit: POOP PART 2
01/26/2005 scoop (5):
01/28/2005 John Slocum (5): 8 stars. I was laughing throughout. Great staccato.
02/2/2005 port jervis (5): What's worse than Scranton? THE ALLIANCE.