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The ocean was that aqua Club Med color, but he wasn't a tourist, and he sure as shit hadn't saved up money for this. He could barely make out the horizon anymore; his retinas were deteriorating from sun blindness. His face was like a catcher's mitt, except bloody. It was a bloody catcher's mitt. He had been treading water for what, six, seven days now? He was glad that the S.E.A.L.s had trained him hard. Maybe a little too hard. No, definitely not too hard, he now thought in restrospect. This was the moment he'd been trained for. But what if he died out here? He would have been training for death? Maybe there was valour in dying a death which was prepared for after much training. CAN'T THINK ABOUT THAT NOW - GOT TO KEEP TREADING. The sun was getting to his thoughts now too. If only his chopper hadn't nose dived after the anti-aircraft fire had nailed his CX-13 unit. One in a thousand - no, one in a hundred thousand chance. He'd once aimed a bottle rocket from his roof and hit Mr. Stanley's nose through an open car window. So he knew good aim. And that anti-aircraft fire could have been aimed by one man - and one man alone - Jim Thornski, his childhood friend, who was equally as ripped as he was, and just as competitive, but had dark hair and none of his guilty conscience.

Date Written: August 18, 2003
Author: Benny Maniacs
Average Vote: 3.8571

08/18/2003 anonymous (1):
08/18/2003 qualcomm (5): benjamin maniacs is a searing new voice in the american short-short. no, make that a tough, searing, new voice.
08/19/2003 Benny Maniacs (5): This is good. I'll give it five stars.
08/19/2003 anonymous (2): What?? No way. First of all, points off for unironically praising/5-starring your own short, a dishonorable & amateurish practice. Second, while the scenario is ok (if unremarkable), the prose draws attention to itself for no good reason--and is herky-jerky and tiring to read. Where's the pleasure in it?
08/19/2003 Will Disney (5): show your face, coward!
08/20/2003 Jon Matza: Re Disney's comment: What a load of shit. First of all, as you well know, I set off an exhausting hissy fit yesterday in another guest author precisely because I decided to reveal my name when critiquing his short (and those who praised it). More to the point, why don't you just 'out' me if you don't like it, since you administrate the site and know who I am? Who's the coward here? Second, isn't it a bit thick to put in an anonymous feature, supposedly to encourage people to speak their minds, then criticize/bait them for using it? All the while a) portraying yourself via your comments as a benevolent, "reasonable" middleman and b) making sure to assuage people's potential hurt feelings by defending/overpraising their mediocre work? This is a great site you created, but the quality is bound to suffer if such corrupt mutual backscratching and insider politics continue. In my opinion it's already starting to happen and the trend needs to be reversed... p.s. All the above notwithstanding, I liked this short better on rereading...I'd give it three stars if I could change my vote. p.p.s. Yes, yes, Finklestone. "Keep up the good work." There, there. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. It will get easier over time. p.p.p.s. Disney: please hurry up with the discussion board or whatever it's called so I can post material along these lines where it belongs.
08/21/2003 Benny Maniacs (5): I'm going to have to give this short another five stars.
08/22/2003 Mr. Pony (5): I tend to agree. This is a very good short--somewhere between four and five stars, but Maniacs gets a bonus half-star for watching my car while I'm on vacation. Which is actually worth like two stars. Is there any chance you guys could change the rating system, allowing half-stars, and bumping the maximum up to six and a half stars?
08/23/2003 Ewan Snow (4): What is a short short? Does it have to be laugh-out-loud funny? This one isnít. But it is an amusing sketch. Isnít that okay? As for Matzaís comments, arenít there a lot of good shorts whose prose calls attention to itself? Thatís well within the tradition. Maybe itís just that this isnít trying to be purple, so it comes off as a more sincere attempt at ďgoodĒ writing. In regards to the anonymous feature, I agree with Matza that the point of it is to (obviously) post anonymous comments you might not want to post under your name. Disneyís request for ID, however, seems more courteous than simply outing Matza, so Iím not sure what the complaint is there. And moreover, Iíd say the main point is this: who cares, anyway?
05/5/2004 Jon Matza: Er...only joking? Guys? Wait up!
05/5/2004 qualcomm: another matza misread, autothrown wholeheartedly.
05/5/2004 scoop (5): This may be Maniacs best work to date. I too have no conscience and none of the authors Kraut-designed laborotory-prefected golden hair. And as a new initiate as a Za crony, I must say that Za misreads no man and no text. All misread the Za.
05/5/2004 Ewan Snow: This is good, but Benny's best work, in my not very humble opinion, is this. Should have given it a five.
05/5/2004 Jon Matza: "okay, i accept your low rating on the short's merits. but your initial comment was misleading."
"another matza misread, autothrown wholeheartedly"
Lerpa: please get your story straight.
05/5/2004 qualcomm: just stop misinformed ratings is all. i'm trying to help you.
05/5/2004 Jon Matza: Misinformed? How? I didn't like it, for reasons stated below. Nor did I like your real estate short, for reasons stated in my comments. But if I understand you correctly, that's impossible without being misinformed, or an idiot. Correct?
05/5/2004 qualcomm: wait a second, wasn't your "only joking" comment below a repudiation of your criminal rating on this one?
05/5/2004 qualcomm: My "idiot" comment re the real estate short was, as i'm sure you are aware but have purposely, texxxishly misunderstood, had nothing to do with low ratings based on taste. It was in reference to your use of the phrase, "I don't get it." Coupled as that phrase was with a speculation that it was an inside short, I assumed you literally didn't "get" the joke. Then you cleared it up, etc. Now then, i'm very very angry that you've made me go through the trouble of typing all this.
05/5/2004 Jon Matza: Damn you, I'm trying to leave the house & get lunch and now I have to sit here and respond to this. The below ('wait up') comment wasn't repudiating the substance of what I said, it was s'pose to be a wryly self-deprecating comment on my abrasive tone, which I felt slightly embarrassed by upon rereading this. (You misread! You!) I'm still not wild about this short, though I usually enjoy--and over the last few months think I have praised many times--Maniacs' material & commentary. (And The Lerpa's, as you know.) To sum up: In the last two days--in response to my dislike of one short you wrote and one you liked--you've stated or implied that a) I long-standing tendency to wholeheartedly throw myself into 'grievous' misreadings (three times); b) that I'm misinformed; and c) I'm in need of your help!

In your latest comment you admit I cleared yesterday's dispute up, yet you come at me here with insulting, mocking & condescendingly phrased accusations about these supposedly habitual misreadings. (I enjoyed the inflammatoriness of this even as I got annoyed by it) Therefore I am forced to ask: who's wasting who's time here? Answer: you are wasting mine! While we're at it, I suspect you of reflexively overrating war/violence shorts!
05/5/2004 qualcomm: why won't you just let me help you?
05/5/2004 Jon Matza: So we're different colours and we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me though I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done?
I can't understand what makes a man hate another man
Help me understand
05/5/2004 scoop: Well Matza, since you asked, hatred among men has something to do with the juice in our wieners wanting to go in to girls' bellies. The sea monkeys in the juice want to be the only ones who gets to go in to girls' bellies, and when they can't the juice turns sour and makes men mean and hateful. So clearly The Lerpa is suffering from a batch of sour wiener juice.
05/5/2004 Jon Matza: ...sea monkeys...bellies...sour weiner juice...Lerpa...computer friends...guilty feelings...losing sense of smell...dinner theater...loss of identity...ATP producing powerhouse of cell...catcher's mitt...blinking sensors...can't reach lever...
05/5/2004 Will Disney: speaking of sea monkeys...
05/6/2004 Mr. Pony: And if you liked that short about sea-monkeys, you'll love...oh, never mind.
05/6/2004 Benny Maniacs: ...you'll love this short about Captain Kirk. Pony? Can you set me up with a link to "When I was a child, I had a fever"? I still can't figure outthat html shit.
05/6/2004 Mr. Pony:
Benny: Click here.
Everyone else: Click here.