Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Everyone's a winner!

Sorry, I'm warming up my carny pitch for my stint in the booth at Oakdale Summerfest this weekend. In reality, the judging went something like this.

Bane: Good writing as always and an insane tale, well-told. I think I was at that party, or one just like it, but don't remember much past the point when Jerry demonstrated he could chug an entire quart of Mad Dog 20/20 and then unintentionally demonstrated to all the girls what a grape-colored vomit cannon looked like. Congrats on surviving your teenage years, and here's to those we knew who didn't.

Rigel Kent: There's a good story in there, but it needs more development. Also for some reason I kept reading "Rivendell" as "Riverdale" and waiting for Archie and Jughead to show up. You've got a good idea that really gets the 15-year-old psyche — high-school as a combination prison/nuthouse/indoctrination camp — but as I said, it needs to be longer and more fully developed.

Sean: Good stories, both of 'em, and now I feel I understand you a bit better. Sales, huh? That's where I started. There is still hope for you.

KTown: "Kylie Mathis had large breasts..."

Huh? Oh, sorry, I'm a guy, so my brain shut off for a moment there. Uh, cute story; sweet, poignant, loaded with that awful teenage awkwardness and wistful "what might have been" and "if only I knew then what I know now" that every one of us (except Bane, apparently) suffered through.

It helps if, when you wonder what Kylie is doing now, you envision her living in a trailer park with three kids, all by different fathers, and sitting on the couch watching "Judge Judy" while she eats an entire fudge cake and washes it down with a 40-oz malt liquor.

Snowdog: That is a nightmare, dude... and the sort of thing Philip K. Dick could get an entire novel out of. I'd like to see you develop it further.

Vidad: So of course Vidad did develop it further, and produced another bit of inspired madness that cracked me up. Oh, and thanks for the tip on the minions; I'll get to work on that. Good henchmen are so hard to find these days. I'm more concerned by the ducks, though. They've never let me down before. You must be made of stern stuff — for a hoo-man. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha....

Passing Through: I don't know why this one appeals to me so, but it's probably because it seems so alien and idyllic compared to my childhood. I know; as every farmer's kid I've ever known has said, "Idyllic? Are you nuts?" Hey, I'll trade you a summer of working in the garden and chasing sheep around for a summer of race riots, looting, burning, and wondering if your dad's going to come home alive.

Henry: Karen lobbied long and hard for yours to win, because it's such a great love story. It made me laugh, too, and I definitely could relate — except that the first time I met Karen's father, he was sitting at the kitchen table, in uniform, cleaning his service revolver. ("And you'll have my daughter home by when?") Wonderful story you've got there, and congratulations on the happy ending.

Mick: But in the end, I had to go with "Orange Crush." I can't tell if this one is truth or fiction, but whatever it is, it's a great story, wonderfully told. Reading it really put me in that time and place, and inside the narrator's head. Great job. Ergo Mick, you're last week's winner, so come on down and claim your prize.

Now, as for this week: well, here's an early reminder that the deadline is midnight central time, tomorrow night. But tonight, of course, is the night of the full moon, so anything might happen...