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Laura projected her self-hatred onto me and began to eat the filet. Just then the Zanex kicked in and she felt like having a conversation. “So, getting lots of pussy lately?” she whispered with simpering enmity. I raised my left eyebrow, said nothing, and continued reading about Malaysia in The Economist. We were on the red-eye from New York to Los Angeles.

An hour later, the lights were turned off and “You’ve Got Mail” started. Laura might have felt ridiculous, but began to rub my crotch under the blanket. I stifled a fart and tried to go with it. She persisted, unzipped my jeans, and felt my flaccid failure. A cool drift of nothingness washed over me and Laura cried.

As the plane started to descend, an idiot lust descended on me and I grabbed Laura’s hand pathetically. I worried that my breath was bad and felt a tickling feeling of inadequacy in my belly that spread into my groin. Although I didn’t want to, I pictured myself naked and lost my erection. Laura lay asleep and I kissed her with genuine tenderness, but then I had the thought that ‘genuine tenderness’ was either a mental construct that couldn’t exist for me, or, more achingly stupid, I had simply fallen into a habit over many wasted years of talking myself out of anything genuine; moreover, I now had to reckon with the disgust I felt at the predictable lack of originality to that latter more self-reflective thought, because that sort of second-tier irony was so 1994. The plane landed, and I felt general pity for both of us – a little more for me than Laura because I was quite self-involved.

We fucked, Laura and I, by the early morning mist of Los Angeles at the DoubleTree in Marina Del Rey. As I approached orgasm, banging my muddled, flabby sadness into Laura’s endless anger and pain, Raymond Chandler popped into my head, and I reflected that thinking of him just because I was in LA was a typical gambit - trying to romanticize the paltry, banal aspect of a situation by tricking it out in the hues of authenticity – but not just any authenticity, mind you; the authenticity of Chandler, a fellow traveler in failure who raised his own dissipated alcoholic gloom up into the magic light show of a novel and adorned it with street smart savvy. Needless to say, my erection subsided and we moved to the bathroom. Finally, we both came together in a fit of urolagnia after Laura released a pussy enema of apple juice onto my chest, but not before I struggled with the suspicion that even that randy episode was not original, that we were just riffing on something we had read together recently in John Updike’s novel, “Wifey”. At that point, it didn’t matter because we were exhausted, and as we fell asleep, I held her in my arms with genuine tenderness for the first time.

Date Written: January 24, 2005
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 4.5385

02/3/2005 Streifenbeuteldachs: I didn't understand this one, so it must have been good.
02/3/2005 anonymous: I chipped away at this fucker to get it under 500 words! Not sure what happened.
02/3/2005 Mr. Pony: Maybe it's counting the warning.
02/3/2005 The Rid: I really like this one. Don't know whether to four or five.
02/3/2005 qualcomm: author, the fucking webitecture only counts the number of words when you first submit a short. any subsequent edits are not word-counted. i've asked disney to rectify this error, but his response, not just to me, but to the entire acme community, was, i believe, "suck it."
02/3/2005 qualcomm (4): how's your marriage, by the way (guy)? i liked this, but its energy petered out in the second half, like a dribbly orgasm from an overly prolonged masturbation session.
02/3/2005 Dick Vomit: Zanex?
02/3/2005 Jon Matza (5): Enough jolly laughs here to render a few tiny objections irrelevant. Esp enjoyed the timing of the "Needless to say, my erection subsided..." line. YOU suck it, Disney!
02/3/2005 The Rid: QC, I must disagree. I found the long, dragged-out ending appropriate in terms of tone and true, re: the unfortunate circumstances of some long-term relationships.
02/3/2005 Shane Mahoney: No, YOU suck it, Matza! FU, Qualcomm.
02/3/2005 The Rid (5): Therefore: Finski.
02/3/2005 Jon Matza: ME suck it, Mahoney? I have a better idea. Why don't YOU SUCK IT, YOU JERK?
02/3/2005 Jawbreaker (5): I liked the tone and the execution.
02/3/2005 John Slocum (4):
02/3/2005 Dylan Danko (5): Genuine tenderness? Are you sure you weren't just tired? I object to the 1994 reference because it seems out of tone somehow but overall I really liked this.
02/3/2005 anonymous: Zanex also spelled 'Xanex', Vomit - the high is somewhere between valium and vicadin. I was sort of picturing them as maybe two people who work together, Qualcomm. The wife was understandably unsettled when I let her preview this one.
02/3/2005 Dick Vomit: Xanax.
02/3/2005 Litcube (4): I really enjoyed the first three quarters of this one.
02/3/2005 Mr. Pony (4): I'm with Litcube & qualcomm on the ending of this one. I'm always astounded at how uncomfortable and horrible your characters' lives are, Author. Maybe if they didn't over-think everything, they might find themselves happier!
02/3/2005 John Slocum: This reminds me of the same world as the two in Snow's short 'prelude to regret.' the 'all fund raising all the time,' one, is that right? What did you all see in hartford?
02/3/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum (5): Quick, one of you experts, what other short does this remind me of? Probably something by Evans, but maybe something by Scoop.
02/3/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: Huh. I definitely thought they were coworkers, not spouses. I think it was the "So, getting a lot of pussy lately?"
02/3/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: After reading this whole thread, I really want to read a thorough argument--with appropriate references where necessary--as to why 1994 doesn't "fit" in "tone." Come on, Danko. Lay it on me.
02/3/2005 TheBuyer (5): Anyone not currently sucking it can suck it.
02/3/2005 Jon Matza: Second time today I agreed with Danko but for diff reasons. I've just heard the "so 1994" construction one too many times. Though it could be argued this reflects well on me, as opposed to poorly on the short.
02/3/2005 Dylan Danko: How come you put fit and tone in quotes, Jimson? Perhaps I should have said narrator's tone. The "so 1994" construction seems too VH1 for our hapless protag.
02/3/2005 Dick Vomit (3): Hello! Controversial vote here! Hey, it's great there was urine, finally, but halfway through this short I felt like a psychiatrist who was really starting to think about giving up his practice in favor of fly fishing. If I catch this character typing in his diary at my local cafe, I plan to smash his laptop over his head, figuratively speaking. Lovely writing, though.
02/3/2005 Ewan Snow (5): I thought this was funny/interesting all the way through. I like the ending, the way it cuts to later in the last paragraph with "We fucked". I also like how the handjob doesn’t work, then the fucking doesn't quite turn out to work, so they have to go with a pissing scheme, but that didn't quite work so they used a fake juice enema pissing scheme. Nice story arc as character portrait.
02/3/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: Danko: The quotes on "fit" were because I assumed I remembered your wording correctly, when in fact, I did not (except for the "tone" part).

Your clarification makes a lot more sense. I thought you meant that he picked the wrong year or something.
02/3/2005 anonymous: It seems that Vomit is consistently turned off by characters that are a bit troubled.
02/3/2005 Benny Maniacs (5): I didn't think there was such a thing as "purely jaded" until the extreme flatness of "genuine affection" in the last line. Five stars for purity of jade.
02/4/2005 Dick Vomit: Totally.
02/4/2005 Ewan Snow: Here's another example, DV. "Totally"? You call that a post? What do you mean? Are you responding ironically to Brad's post? If so, maybe you would be so kind as to explain why/how he is wrong.
02/4/2005 Phony Millions: Yeah I must admit I didn't get what Vomit meant by 'totally' either.
02/4/2005 Mr. Pony: I thought that he was saying that he was "totally" turned off by characters that are a bit troubled. I think he was agreeing with the assertion.
02/5/2005 Phony Millions: I thought, maybe that's what he meant, what you said, Pony. But then one would expect, maybe, a follow-up reason for why that's the case: after all, I was being ironic, Pony: just about every character that sees the light of day here is at least on his her way to being cracked in one manner or another. Ewan was pointing towards a random element to Dick Vomit's criticism: what he doesn't like in a particular short he might find just find in another, and he has not explained why.
02/5/2005 Ewan Snow: I thought it was more liely that DV was being ironic, saying that Brad was way off the mark with his "Vomit is consistently turned off by characters that are a bit troubled" theory. DV, please explain.
02/5/2005 Mr. Pony: Yeah, DV, you'd better get over here. I'm getting pre-tty tried of covering your ass.
02/5/2005 Phony Millions: Pony, you are the resident ass-coverer.
02/5/2005 Ewan Snow: Yeah, pony, let his ass show. It's okay.