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"A palate's a crazy, mixed-up thing to base your life on," she said, tears smudging her mascara.

“Well, Diesel, it-it-it-it-it-it-it’s a crazy, mixed-up world, no doubt about that.”

Her bawling increased in volume and she fell into my arms screaming, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! You’re right! You’re right! You’re right! Sometimes the over-ripe pain and flabby, low-acid emptiness are too much for me to bear, b-b-b-b-b-boooooooo-hooooooHrrrrrupHrrrrrup-CACHONNKK.” She buried her face in my neck. I squeezed her tight. She smelled like expensive perfume. And cigarettes. Whadddabroad. This chick really got me. Down deep. Made me feel like a man. A man. A man. A man. A man. A man.

“For me too, kid. When the pain and anguish get to me I reach for an old, mature Barolo, usually Bartolo Mascarello. I ease into the moody terroir of the Langhe. Stick with me, kid, it’s all tannin-in-in-in-in-in and acid with this guy. I’m a tar-and-roses kinda guy. Kinda guy. I’m a guy. A guy. A g-g-g-g-g-g-guuuuuuuuuy-GHCHRCHRERKK. HWERRRNNNNNNNOT-NOTNOT-NOT a g-g-g-g-g-g-gay. I’m not gay. Not gay. Not gay. Not gay-gay-gay-gay-gay-gay-…”

Diesel hit the homophobic, macho, wine professional, Humphrey Bogart-impersonating private dick Robot in the head with a magnum of mature barolo and his poorly designed Robot head flew off in a fountain of sparks. The distraught, needy, confused independent/dependent infantalized woman/girl-'I-need-a-Man-with-big-manly-hands-
and-five-o'clock-shadow-and-a-tan-fedora-with-matching-dumb-trenchcoat-to-take-away-my-self-absorbed-fear-and-insecurity' Robot then activated her own self-destruct sequence since she was too traumatized to deal with the change in POV.

Anyway, they were malfunctioning, so who cares? It was time for them to die. To die. To die. To d-d-d-d-d-d-die. To die. Die, you dumb robots.

Date Written: February 15, 2005
Author: John Slocum
Average Vote: 3.2222

02/22/2005 The Rid: Thick.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow (2): Scoop, I guess you'll give this a negative five. Sorry author, but this one doesn't work for me.
02/22/2005 John Slocum (2): agreed. apologies.
02/22/2005 Dick Vomit (4): Liked it!
02/22/2005 The Rid (3): Neither liked nor disliked. Thick.
02/22/2005 John Slocum: yah, me too. Fuck you Snow, Fuck you Slocum. You're both cunts.
02/22/2005 TheBuyer: Feels unfinished, like it came up a day early.
02/22/2005 John Slocum: TheBuyer: what possible reason could you have for being so utterly, stupidly wrong, you festering little shit?
02/22/2005 anonymous: author, can you please put a line break in that long hyphenated series, so the page layout will go back to normal?
02/22/2005 Jon Matza (4): robot
02/22/2005 John Slocum: which one of the dumb hyphen. series? My page is fine.
02/22/2005 anonymous: woman/girl-'I-need-a-Man-with-big...
02/22/2005 Litcube: From 10 feet away, this looks like a Dick short.
02/22/2005 John Slocum: is that better?
02/22/2005 Phony Millions (3):
02/22/2005 Dick Vomit: Not guilty, Herr 'Cube.
02/22/2005 Mr. Pony: Litcube's right--There's a formal similarity to DV's work in the shape and physical density of the sentences--Something those of you who think in plain text might not understand or see.
02/22/2005 John Slocum: Nice work, Vomit!
02/22/2005 TheBuyer: Slocum, when Cooper Green made that comment, I was right. Utterly, stupidly right uh, etc.
02/22/2005 scoop: Hey Snow, I would give this -5 stars, but I'm scared the author's girlfriend/wife will get all mad and defensive.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: I like this a little better on second reading. Still, there are some issues. For instance, the surprise that they are robots doesn't add to the mouth feel of this one; I mean, it's okay that they're robots, but the fact that we only learn it near the end doesn't add much. Also, the sound effects were overplayed and distracting for this reader. Also also, the second graf would have benefited from an attribution; I wasn't sure if it was the narrator speaking or not at first. And finally, the self-conscious POV switch mention was sort of One.9 (Low Carb Merlot).
02/22/2005 John Slocum: No, Scoop, she's really sweet.
02/22/2005 John Slocum: Snow: Kind of Vin de Pays d'Oc.
02/22/2005 John Slocum: Where is Cooper Green? New name?
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: Scoop, I'll say only this: while I probably wouldn't have bothered posting my comments had you chosen to pick on somebody I didn't know, I still would have thought you were being stupid, pointlessly insulting, and mean-spirited for no reason. Also, I would have chuckled at your criticism of the writing, which was at the very least competent, considering yours generally isn't. If you choose to believe this reaction is caused only by my relation to Jimson, you are merely flattering yourself.
02/22/2005 qualcomm: so how many characters are there in this short?
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: Two, I think.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: Man and woman, both robots. The woman is named Diesel. Is that correct, author?
02/22/2005 TheBuyer: Slocum, he's out there.
02/22/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum (3): Taking out the long, hyphenated modifier would have done this a world of good. Also "because she couldn't deal with the change in pov" was a little too meta, perhaps. It seems like an apology for changing pov. I really like the beginning of this, though. I kinda wish it hadn't been robots. Maybe I'm alone in this. It's such a good first line.
02/22/2005 scoop: Ewan, I’ll only say this, and maybe some other stuff: I never insulted your wife big guy, I criticized her short. And since when is engaging text “picking” on somebody? Come on. Now I could see if the short's husband got all bent out of whack but not the author's. And who cares if the writing is competent if it fails accomplish anything but competency? My writing is incompetent? Okay. But my comments about that clunker-- pedestrian, boring, etc. -- none of which was "mean spirited,” are still dead-on. I've never met your wife. I'm sure she's a swell gal. Top of the line. And I'm sure she is a big enough girl (and by big I mean fat) to take care of herself. (See the difference? That was insulting!) For the record I’ll hold my body of workagainst 25squared any day of the week. So I think you meant to say I was the second worst writer on the site.
02/22/2005 Coleoptera King: Bros over Hos, Ewan!
02/22/2005 Mr. Pony: I'd just like to take this time to point out that 25squared is not under my protection.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: Scoop, don't play stupid. Giving a one star vote, and saying this thing sucks, is insulting and mean-spirited, even if the short does suck. It just is. If you want to argue that mean-spiritedness is part of the acme thing, and if you mind being insulted, you shouldn’t post on acme, then you’d have something to go with, and I could see your point. But don’t be such a douchebag as to pretend that giving one star and simply saying “this thing sucks” isn’t insulting to the author. Are you really so fucking out of touch as to not know this?

My comment about the writing being at the very least competent, was in response to your specific criticism of the “pedestrian language”, not a defense of the quality of the short overall, and meant merely as a comparison to your writing, which is incompetent. The writing in Jimson’s short, for instance, is significantly better than you are generally capable of; i.e. it is coherent and grammatical. I mean, for a very long time I (honestly) thought English was a second language for you, because your writing was so poor, and gave you the benefit of the doubt on many votes because of it. And my statement about you being the worst writer on the site was perhaps not clear; I meant that you are the worst Author on the site. There are certainly some guests who write worse than you. Then again, they’re probably not professional writers, like you are.

Of course, you shouldn’t have any problem with this assessment, because I am criticizing your writing and not you. Also, anything you say in response will just be defensiveness.
02/22/2005 Mr. Joshua (4): Initially thought the author was having a laugh at the expense of a stutterer, a novel conceit for Acme, I believe. Would have awarded a fiver if the conceit had been carried through.
02/22/2005 scoop: Snow you are so completely wrong about this whole argument I’m not even sure how to respond or if it’s even worth it. My comments were directed at the 477 words in yesterday’s short. It wasn’t an assessment of Jimson’s Writing capital W, for all times. It had to do with the short. As for your “it just is” argument, well what can I say? Not much, because it just is, apparently. Handing out a one star is not done enough on this site, IMHO. That thing was irritating as hell. I thought it was insulting to me. Where’s my apology?! Saying 477 words suck is not the same thing as, say, telling someone to hang himself by their key chain etc. That’s insulting a person. There’s a big giant fucking clear distinction, which you are readily ignoring to get on this self-righteous kick. I liked it less than other shorts I’ve doled out two-stars to. Your insistence on me being a half-wit with a tenuous hold on my native language has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that your wife’s short (which you vetted) SUCKS. The short does. Not her. Not you. Not your precious love, which you have done such an admirable job here to defend. Just that stinking short. I don’t know why you’ve contorted this thing into something it clearly is not. Maybe you were confronted with naked evidence of your own craven intellectual dishonesty and it sent you into a tailspin. I don’t know. I didn’t invoke the “acme thing” because that’s sort of obvious, as obvious as the fact that when someone doesn’t like a piece of writing, it’s not an indictment of someone’s character.
02/22/2005 Mr. Joshua: You two wanna know what's really funny? You guys wouldn't even be having this stupid fucking argument if you hadn't given short shrift to The Alliance. Now look where you are.
02/22/2005 Dylan Danko: After he finished reading the latest fight between Scoop and Ewan, Hagit leaned back in his chair and shook his head. He recalled with fondness his two starring of a Scoop short and his accompanying comment about it lacking creativity. He remembered how personally Scoop had taken the criticism. He shook his head some more.
02/22/2005 TheBuyer: ouch.
02/22/2005 qualcomm: why are you always defusing fights on acme, danko?
02/22/2005 Dylan Danko: Because they upset me.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: Various responses in no particular order: 1) The keychain thing has no bearing, because it was intended to be insulting, and certainly was. But just because it was insulting doesn’t mean that other kinds of statements can’t be. If you think that people aren’t insulted when their shorts are insulted then you’re kidding yourself. I mean that’s reality and it’s quite obvious, whether you think that’s how it should be or not. 2) I never said you were a halfwit, just a bad writer. Also, I’m not insisting it; I’m merely stating my honestly held opinion. Surely you don’t find that insulting. I mean, I’m just being brutally honest. I’m not even saying it rudely or saying it “obviously sucks”; just that it is incoherent, ungrammatical, generally weak, and was mistaken, over the course of more than a year, to be the writing of a non-native English speaker. I don’t know why I haven’t said this to you before; for some reason I thought you might take it personally. 3) I like your distinction between saying somebody’s writing “obviously sucks”, etc., etc. in relation to a particular short and saying their writing sucks “for all times” [sic]. Is that how you rationalize finding my criticism of your writing more insulting than your criticism on Jimson’s? 4) Your abilities as a writer are very relevant when you throw around criticisms of “pedestrian language”. 5) You’re just being defensive. 6) You didn’t like the short, and I get that. That wasn’t a point of confusion for me. So if you decide to respond to this, don’t bother arguing that point yet again; I’ll concede it. 7) I’m sorry for being nasty here and previously. Really, I am. But I’ve really grown sick of certain traditional Acme pretenses, such as the pretense that nobody cares what people say about their shorts or their writing, that nobody cares about one star votes thrown out with an nasty comment, that everybody has a really thick skin so why not be routinely mean, etc. Sure, it was fun for a while, but it really wears thin. At this point we all “know” each other, so it’s not like we’re wandering into some random chatroom and anonymously saying “fuck you”. And it’s not like it’s funny or witty or something. It’s just obnoxious.
02/22/2005 Dylan Danko: But what about my total flaming of Scoop below, Ewan? What about that?
To be serious, I agree with much of what Ewan is saying here. The incessant meanness for its own sake is kind of adolescent and much more importantly, boring. I say that knowing I'm about to get pilloried.
02/22/2005 TheBuyer: I think you're sweet.
02/22/2005 qualcomm: yeah, but snow, look how even when a fella, say a guy like me, gives a non-insulting two-star vote (the "fu" in my comment was quite obviously meant lightheartedly, i think, "fu" having been as drained of vitriol as "nigga" among the mochoid classes), then goes through the trouble of a reasonable, two-graf explanation of why he didn't like it, he still gets accused of making a personal attack. i think you're attacking the wrong acme hobgoblin/bogey -- tiptoeing around authors' sensitivities is a much bigger problem here than brutal honesty.

i really would prefer a site where we're free to tell each other, 'hey that thing you created? it's poo.' as abrasive as that environment would be, it wouldn't be half as annoying (not to mention counter-productive) as a workshop scenario where you can't say what you think for fear of insulting people. as long as you can support your argument, there really is no reason for the author to take it personally. i mean, these shorts are like beer shits, right? can't we just shit them out, dissect them and move on?

now, i know i'm known to explode on people for perceived lowballs. i'm not saying i'm perfect with respect to this, but i think i generally only get mad when someone makes what i think is a wrongheaded criticism.

also, i understand you're being extra insulting to scoop's writing to prove a point about how insulting it is. i also understand how scoop's initial comment was worded in harsher than necessary terms. but i still maintain that such abrasiveness hasn't done nearly the disservice to acme that niceness/regard-for-author's-feelings has. if this were a group therapy website, i'd totally agree that regard for feelings is more important. but one of the reasons i like to write for acme is that i get to have stuff judged by an audience whose honesty i (largely) respect. i don't want my feelings respected. hurt me. i require and deserve pain truncheons. and if i write something that someone thinks is so bad it makes him angry, i really want to hear about that. i mean, if that was scoop's genuine emotional response to jimson's short, and not some piece of curmudgeonly performance art, i think it has a place here. withholding one's opinion that an author produced a piece of crap is like doing said author the "favor" of not mentioning the spinach stuck between his teeth.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: Didn't read it, Dylan, until after I posted. I think you're terrific, by the way.
02/22/2005 Dylan Danko: Say it to my face asshole!! BOTH OF YOU!! Fucking faggots!
02/22/2005 qualcomm: **(in last graf, i meant to say "whose intelligence i (largely) respect"**
02/22/2005 John Slocum: guys, you're distracting from Vomit's SHORT.
02/22/2005 Ewan Snow: QC, my response is on the message board. Author, I apologize for the reckless use of your short for this dispute.
02/22/2005 Mr. Pony (3): Frankly, I didn't mind this short's "pedestrian language" or its ESL roots. I didn't think it was super-funny, though, and I think I didn't like its self-consciousness that much at all. Two-five. P.S. I also think Dylan is sweet.
02/23/2005 TheBuyer (3):
02/23/2005 John Slocum: all in all, alot better than I expected from this dumb robot short.