Deathmatch 2014 Quarterfinals Round 5

Deathmatch Moderator

Emily Kendy: Emily spent the better part of 2013 recovering from wounds received during her Deathmatch battle round. Forced to flee underground she found herself deep inside a hopeless pit, where fellow prisoners eventually helped in her recovery. She persevered through a brutal physio regime to develop an eye-popping strength, and agility, that allowed her to traverse the pit’s sheer walls without a rope, and emerge into the daylight again. This is, she insists to Broken Pencil, her most up-to-date bio.


Step One: Read the stories.
Step Two: Vote for your favourite. Repeatedly. You can vote once every hour.
Step Three: Sound off in the comments.
Step Four: Blog, tweet, tell all your friends – help your favourite author win!
Step Five: Repeat until an Ultimate Winner is declared and all others lie bleeding in the dust.

Previous Results: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4

Click here for Deathmatch rules and regulations and for links to all the people and presses that have generously donated awesome prizes for our winner and runners-up.


By Andrea Wrobel

Pause for a second. My name is Samantha Able and I am currently choking on the little pink bit of eraser that used to be attached to my HB number 2 pencil. I liked the way the little pink prince squeaked against the edges of my teeth. Like it was shining my canines up real nice. In the precise moment the little jerk came loose I was fantasizing about scrubbing the two so white that people would think I was a vamp at first glance, just because they’d stand out more than the others. I could hear the squeaking in my head and wondered if it was as loud to anybody else. No one seemed interested. I was almost invisible. But I guess I got a little too into it. Squeak, squeak, squeak. It’s good to have goals. Squeak, squeak, I did, trying to see if anyone would turn around. Is the lecture that boring? Maybe they’re all asleep. Squeak, squeak. Like a symphony of a dollar store quartet. That’s probably where Aunt Nancy got these HBs from. Are they even real? I checked. They’re real. Aunt Nancy only ever shops at Value Plus (damn those discounts) and No Dollar Taller (and damn this little pink prince now wedged in my throat so stubbornly I might actually die).

Read on...

The Big Everything (r)

by James C. Strouse

It was Take Your Daughter to Work Day and I didn’t have a job so the girls and I slept in till noon, then went downtown to the Mexican grocery store for breakfast.

“It’s actually lunchtime now,” said the little one, a wise, chubby girl who I was pretty sure had me completely figured out.

“Don’t be so literal,” I told her.

“Why not?” she asked.

“It’s too limiting,” I said. “Doesn’t leave any room for the mysteries.”

“What mysteries?” she said.

“Exactly,” I said.

The little one turned to her sister and frowned.

Read on...

154 Responses to “Deathmatch 2014 Quarterfinals Round 5”

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  3. Chris P says:

    James, I was vote 1000 for you, and I really think you had the superior story whatever the votes say. At least your story will be published so people can shake their heads and wonder why it didn’t win.

    • Voice of Reason says:

      I don’t think people will wonder, Chris. Broken Pencil must be running this as a shameless way to stream traffic to their site for the voting… it doesn’t seem to be about literature.

  4. Gillian says:

    James, I’ve been quietly voting for your story as often as I can, and today, sent out a request to friends on Facebook to vote too. I hate this competition, I think it’s a stupid popularity competition, and as for what’s gone on before in previous matches? Shameful.

    But your story? It’s been worth my coming back to vote. It is so powerful. So well written. It’s beautiful. Thank you. I look forward to reading much more from you in the future. I’ll look for your films too.

    • Voice of Reason says:

      Could not agree more, Gillian. The obvious, obvious, OBVIOUS winner from a literary perspective is James. Whole thing is ridiculous. (This, coming from someone who doesn’t know either one of them.)

  5. Last day of competition winding up so let’s have it out with last words!

    James, how will you recover from the Deathmatch (ice cream? Adventure Time Marathon? Real running marathon?), and what writing projects do you have on the horizon?

    Andrea, how does it feel to be heading into the finals against “The Idiot Without A Coat On” or “The Janitor Cometh”? Which one would you prefer to duel it out with, be honest…?

    • Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      This competition has been a lot of fun and I feel lucky to have made it into the finals. Thanks to all who’ve read and voted and I hope we’ll see you in one week!!!

      As for which story Eraser is up against, it’ll be a good social-media showdown either way. Looking forward to getting some more feedback as well. Strategy-wise… This 7am gold medal hockey game after a Saturday night in the city has had me watching cartoons all day. I can’t get past road-runner style traps or using carrot bait to corner Ryan or Craig so watch out for hunting hats and anvils, you two.

      Thanks for being such a good opponent, James!! Maybe I’ll see you around the industry at some point and we can reminisce about this whole experience (Surprise! I also work in film). All the best with your work to come.

    • James Strouse says:

      I’m going to continue revising my collection of stories, draw more cartoons and hopefully make a film this summer.

      Good luck on the next round, Andrea.

      Good luck on the rest of your lives, everybody else.

      This has been fun!

  6. Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Was thinking about James’ advice on taking breaks and how I don’t tend to subscribe to that. I feel that if you don’t know what to write, you should write anyway, even if you’re describing the colour white or describing the way you feel about your day. I think somethig good will come.

  7. Well, I can only speak from my experience in the competition. I came out swinging and got bludgeoned, but it was fun fending for my life with the help of my noble sidekicks (and mom!) in what felt like a video game style literary competition. It is a writing competition, despite what some suggest. The stories are selected out of dozens; chosen because they are unique and well written. Then this forum brings exposure for the writer who otherwise, as James mentioned, would be staring at it on their computer screen alone while eating crackers. Complaints about the DM are the same every year, and will be so in the future. If you choose to enter, you choose to be part of the game. It is what you make of it, you can bemoan the unfairness or enjoy the experience. But all the writers willing to volunteer themselves for the stocks in the town square deserve a pat on the back. Perhaps they are foolheartedly brave, but they are brave none the less.

  8. Mary Lee says:

    Jim —

    Anyone who doesn’t get that your story is about the pure, shameless love of a parent for his children has not had his/her heart broken enough. It scares me to remember how vulnerable my daughter was when she was younger, how I was afraid of that she understood what I couldn’t bring myself to tell her.

    The imperative of a child’s development is to make us take care of them — good care. It’s staggering how unprepared each one of us is, if we tell the truth. But is there anything that makes you feel more like a creative genius than those moments when you succeed in making your kid glow? Not trinket-glow, but soul-glow, the glow that let’s you know you have a soul.

    More stories! Keep on keeping on.


  9. Well. Embarrassing stories are often quite entertaining. Do you have any of those, pertaining to writing? Perhaps a memorable rejection, a real person in your life coming back to haunt you because of similarities to a fictitious character, reactions to your work from disapproving family members, any crazed critics or fans?

  10. James Strouse says:

    Oh, boy. This has become a little boring. Is there anyway to make this less boring without calling names or being mean? I started soliciting votes yesterday but apparently muttering to people on the sidewalk doesn’t work.

  11. Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh wait, wait, here we go. Huffington Post. “I was totally prepared to hate [that rewrite of Eraser]! Well the good news is… I was prepared.” Oh. Why do they hate [me]?

    Because they’re idiots! No… So much rage.

    But why? It’s just a little [short story].It’s not like I’m punching Elmo, it’s just a [story]! It’s light, it’s funny.

    Absolutely. I mean, it’s not brilliant, no. But is an “an all-too familiar formula?” Hmmm.

    Why d’you have to read that one?

    It’s like they can see into my soul. Maybe I am “an uninspired placeholder until something actually funny comes along.”

    You’ve started memorising them?

    Only the really, really bad ones. Why did I do this? Why didn’t I just stay at home?

  12. Librarian says:

    I’m on Team DM Moderator Emily, so that makes me a neutral party when it comes to James and Andrea. ERASER: I like quirky. I was a amused. But there’s too much unexplained. I wanted more back story. Based on what I read of yours so far, I think I would’ve liked it. OK, I get it…you don’t want to have to spoon feed everything to the readers, and the short story genre lends itself to more open-endedness, but still, it seemed incomplete to me. I’m not the writer, I don’t have all day to use my imagination to fill in all of the blanks. Had you given me more, you might’ve gotten my vote. The Big Everything: this is the one that I’ve been turning over in my head since reading it yesterday. An unlikeable character, but fully developed in a believable way. A guy that’s not all bad, but really not good. A touch of ridiculousness in there to keep it from being too boring and ernest. There you go, James, a vote from someone you don’t know.

    • Brian Cauley says:

      Sooooooo you didn’t even finish the story?? All day to use your imagination? You apparently couldn’t even take the time for 3,000 words!! Which is sad.

      I’m sorry using your imagination is so difficult, but this is a problem with our society. People want all the answers but don’t want to ask questions.

      I agree that the Dad in “The Big Everything” is believable, but that’s just the sad state of our society – we’re living amongst a lot of deadbeats. But believability doesn’t make a story good.

      • Librarian says:

        I read the whole story. I’m saying I liked what I read. But I think I would’ve like it more if there was more…more explanation/development of the character/the situation. As it is, I find it’s too many dots, not enough connecting them.

        • Brian Cauley says:

          Ohhhhhh, now I get what you meant. Well that’s good! Always leave them wanting more right??

          James, I’ve always thought you created a believable character (and thus I can have real emotions about him) which is good. But what about the rest? OK he’s a deadbeat. OK he’s clueless. OK he sort-of loathes his daughters. But what’s the point?

      • James Strouse says:

        What does make a good story? I would argue that if my protagonist is believable and my story reflects “the sad state of our society,” then I’ve done something right. I know the dad in my story is cracked. I’m interested in people with flaws. I’m interested in my flaws. Are you suggesting that distasteful characters and situations cannot make good stories? It seems that more than a couple of people read my story and were able to empathize with my broken father. And if he is at all reflective of the “deadbeats” living among us today then I would say this story is a success in that respect.

  13. mookie says:

    I know right, DM Moderator Emily? But, since there’s time on this contest (which appears already to be over): could you replace each of your expertly chosen GIFs with words? I feel like reaction shots are the only thing that makes Yann Martel’s prose seem otherwise brilliant.

  14. Archibald McLeech says:

    Both authors follow an all-too familiar formula– wind up broken, dysfunctional people and put them in a nasty little box. The biggest difference for me is that Samantha is unAble to do anything other than sputter. She may not even be doing that. Broken Dad, however, definitely moves from Point A to Point B thanks to some honest human interaction and more than a rudimentary knowledge of the main character’s inner life, territory Andrea is unwilling to visit. Which, having lurked through many, many Deathmatches, explains why Andrea is ahead.

    I’m pulling for you, James.

  15. Carmella says:

    James, What can I say? From the first two paragraphs of your story I hated your guy. What a loser! Unemployed and cannot remember his daughters names, ages or birthdays. Sleeps until noon? Eats at a grocery store? It was hard for me to muster up the desire to find out where this guy takes these two kids but like watching a trainwreck, I have to read on.

    You manage to take this guy from zero to hero in 3000 words or less. Leave me with a sweet taste in my mouth and an appreciation for a guy who obviously cannot support his children with much more than his heart.

    Although I have no desire to be tasered alongside him in the store, I do find muyself a bit mezmerized by the thought of sitting with him on the muddy banks of that river and contemplating the true meaning of life.

  16. Carmella says:

    Andrea, So many questions about your creative storyline, but I will start with these… Are you certain that a pink eraser from a number two pencil would actually get lodged in the throat of an adult? I once popped one of those mints into my mouth rather hastily, you know them…they are round and white with the red and white edging. It got stuck in my throat and it is considerably larger than this eraser. Erasers are about the same size as a capsule that is designed for easy swallowing. Even though it is not plastic and could be considered sticky on the sides, it would be too small to turn someone’s face blue in search of oxygen.

    Also, this character sitting in the classroom seems extremely immature for a middle-aged woman. She managed to get admitted to a college program so there must be some smarts involved yet her dialog with herself is so childish. I never imagined her to be an adult.

    And lastly, someone who is choking on something never sits there quietly and doodles away on a paper. First you try to get help, and if no one understands what is going on you quickly become humilated by your circumstances and try to resolve the situation by yourself. I remember running away and finding some water to drink in order to flush the candy down after my boss thought I was trying to be funny. I once saw a bartender who had a piece of steak lodged in her throat and as her obvious panic darted from her eyes, she quickly walked away from the bar area to hide her desperation. I don’t think anyone in this situation would simply sit there and write down mindless dribble.

    I like to get totally submerged in the fantasy when I read and when there are obvious flaws in the storyline that render it unbelieveable, I float to the top.

    • Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


      1> I never wrote that her face was the perfect shade of plum, I wrote that Samantha was worried that her face was PROBABLY the perfect shade of plum. It’s all probables. She’s neurotic. She doesn’t care about what’s ACTUALLY happening.

      2> There are a lot of adults in this world that act like children. I will not name names.

      3> Your last comment proves that you are well aware that Samantha isn’t choking. If Samantha isn’t choking, what is leading her to believe that she is? This is what my story is about.

      4> All animals pee. Rolf is one of them.

      Since you read my story so literally, I understand why it doesn’t make sense to you. Not everyone is a literal being (meta…) and Samantha is a reflection of those people.

      • Carmella says:

        Andrea!!! I re-read your story for a third time! It still doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps I am a bit too literal for your broken pencil. I get it now, broken pencil, number two eraser. The connection, the neurotic crazy woman who isn’t really turning purple while she chokes on an eraser she is just being weird because……

        1.> She has a dog that she has to bark at in order to call him into dinner
        2.> She stalks middle aged women who go to college and wear their hair in hip styles
        3.> She has nothing better to do than write her own obituary and nothing to say in it except that she is gluten-free. ( she did say that, did’t she?)
        4.> She ran out of whitening toothpaste

        I get it, sort of, sorry. I like James’ story better. No offense, cute glasses, you look good in bangs.

    • Carmella says:

      My bad, I re-read your story and realized that the middle-aged woman is not enrolled in the college. I hate when I miss something though she still doesn’t sound like she is older than maybe eight.

      The plot is not explained anywhere, she has a grudge against this woman but why? She has a plan and an accomplice but that is also a mystery. This woman seems hellbent on dying whether it be by suffocation or poisoning, but neither scenario is feasible based on the culprit.

      You waste valuable words on her indignation that the teacher would assume her to be friends with the other woman beause of her age when it was her own response that she was there with the woman that prompted the opinion. Obviously if you say you are with someone it is assumed that you know them.

      And lastly, your story is hijacked at the end by a dog needing to pee. I don’t get it.

        • Carmella says:

          Brian, I love your passion but do think it is more directed towards Andrea and less towards Samantha. Surely you cannot find this character to be interesting or fascinating as she is written here. Perhaps you know more of her from another story because she is too one-dimensional to conjure up any imagines of anyone’s perspective. I love your opinion that creative writing expands our abilities to be tolerate and imaginative but there need be a rock from which to leap off that cliff and here there is nothing but air.

        • Brian Cauley says:

          Carmella, I understand and share your desire to be swept away by a great story. I also love how stories can help you understand things from a different perspective. Yes, the protagonist may handle things differently than you would, but that doesn’t make them unbelievable.

          I don’t want to state any of the conclusions I drew from reading ERASER because that is the best part of the story and a part I think that challenges reader’s imagination. What I will say about this story, and many of the great-short stories, is trusting that there is a plausible motivation in the author’s characters, trusting the writer and entering in to this beautiful relationship as reader, does bring colour and depth to the characters.

          I think Samantha is so interesting and fascinating because she is so different from me. I think reading about someone’s actions and saying, “I wouldn’t do that,” and then asking, “but why would they?” lets readers expand their ability to be tolerant and imaginative people. It’s the beauty of creative writing.

  17. Cpt Obvious says:

    Andrea is a humourous person with zero humour in her story.

    James seems rather dry as a person but his story is hilarious.

    Funniest part of this all is that the stories don’t even matter, it’s just an online popularity contest from the way the votes have gone just about every round. Joke is on those of us who even bother to vote for the better story.

    Broken Pencil, thanks for fostering a contest that pretends to be about literature but is really about which person can use social media better. Lame.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Interesting to read the re-writes, Andrea and James. I don’t know either one of you but will be following the round as it seems like an interesting match– two very different stories.

    Andrea, you convey a very frantic tone with your narrator’s voice, bordering on panic at times, and that fits well with her belief that she is choking and about to die. Maybe it’s just my personal preference, but I like the narrator to be a somewhat sympathetic character on at least some level, or I just don’t care about his/her plight. At no point do I feel any sympathy for Samantha or even really understand her. Why is she writing that she eats gluten free if she’s about to die? I dunno. It doesn’t work for me, although you definitely have a strong wit that comes through at times. It just feels heavy and wordy reading through it and the little one or two words between clunky paragraphs to break it up don’t do much to redirect my attention. In terms of the comment board, you come across as an interesting person and it seems like you have an army of supporters on here.

    With The Big Everything, I feel that the dialogue is spot on and the characters do things that seem realistic. I laughed out loud at the dialogue so many times. James, I think you do an amazing job of characterization. I can really see the action and understand where the story is going and why. The father is at once humorous and heartbreaking. The only issue I have is the last line. It doesn’t really resonate with the rest of the story for me. I can’t see the father saying this… seems very tinged with hope and that’s probably what you’re attempting, but it seems to jar a bit. I like the ending otherwise.

    Much like Round 4, I imagine fortune is tipped in Andrea’s favour with her network, but the quieter, more interesting story (at least for me) is most definitely The Big Everything. That’s the one I’ll be voting for.

    Andrea and James, can we find other stories you’ve written anywhere online?


    • Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Allot J. Thanks for reading. It’s weird but I like what you said – that you don’t understand Samantha. That was my intention. I like to understand my characters, too, but for this piece I wanted Samantha to be in charge and I wanted you to learn about her solely from her own frantic state. She’s sharing her insights from this fast-forward state of mind and so not all details can be spared here. If I were to spare more details, the story would have to be a lot longer and possibly in third person (which I think would be boring!).

    • James Strouse says:

      Thanks for these comments, Jennifer. I didn’t mean the last line to be tinged with hope. I think the father in my story is a bumbling man. He doesn’t know what he’s going to say or do before he does it. I meant the last line of the story to have symmetry with the beginning of the story. If you remember in the beginning the father tells his youngest daughter not to be so literal because it “doesn’t leave room for the mysteries.” At the moment he says that he’s just trying to pacify his daughters but by the end of the story he kind of bumbles into the idea that life is one big inscrutable mystery and he has no idea what the answer is. It’s not meant to be hopeful. It’s not meant to be despairing either.

      Here is another story I’ve written. It’s called Goodbye, Blue Thunder. It’s about a teenage boy who wants a guitar. It was published in Open City a thousand years ago…

  19. James, nice – a little reverse psychology. *wink wink*

    I very much enjoyed your story the first time and did so the second time. Not entirely sure what you changed, but a sigh of relief was breathed in that whatever has been rewritten appears imperceptible.

    Andrea, I really enjoyed your re-write. The story does seem to have more sense of itself. I think you still have a few tense issues, present tense like “I write” rather than “I wrote.” But overall, the middle-aged woman in college didn’t totally come out of left field this time around. Overall, an entertaining read, so golf claps for you!

    Curious how the rewrite process went for you both – what comments from the previous round rang in your ears, as you hovered over the story typing and deleting in anxiety. Or maybe there was no anxiety, we don’t know your lives.

    • Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hiya, thanks for the input. I did get a little cross-eyed trying to sort out my tenses in this story so I can see why you’d question it. Maybe I’m thinking too literally but I’m happy with the choices I made.

      The re-write process for me was fun. I got a lot of great feedback and interesting opinions, although most of what I paid attention to came from people who read my story and didn’t comment. The fact that this competition generated a conversation about writing and perception is great, though, and I’m happy people were reading both stories.

      On the advice of friends (and a few commentators) I paid attention to Samantha’s age, the daughter’s role, and Rolf. Tried to give them more of a defined presence. I’m liking it a lot better this way.

      There was no way I was ever going to write about the plan. No one needs to know the plan.

      • DM Moderator Chase Baird ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Andrea, I too really enjoyed your rewrite, you made some great changes. I can’t erase anything without thinking about your neurotic narrator and contemplating how deadly a pencil can be. I think you need a different last line though, something more neurotic than ending on the dog – you’ve already touched on that in the paragraph right before it. Maybe she should accidentally stab herself with the lead, make both ends of that cheap pencil haunt her.

        • Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          OooOoOOoooh a double edged sword. Lead poising. I haven’t thought about lead poisoning since elementary school when we used to chew on the lead pencils til the teacher would yell at us. Maybe Samantha could be chewing on the pencil the entire time til her mouth turns black. But a stabbing is more dramatic. Ooooh, what could have been.

          I bet a lot of people would love to see Samantha die at the end. I was going to go for spectacle but I ended up thinking it would be neat to show that she has all these neuroses and thoughts flying around in her head, but she still has a to-do list… possibly the only ‘normal’ thought she has throughout. Not sure if that came through. Choosing the right ending for a short can be hard.

          Glad you liked the re-write, though! 😀

    • James Strouse says:

      I rephrased some things and changed the dialogue in a few key places. (I can’t believe I misspelled brooch. How tacky!) I also changed the sex of the protagonist’s temp manager in response to the claim that my story gives a distorted view of women in the workplace, although I don’t totally agree with that criticism. I wasn’t filled with anxiety during the revision. I was excited to change some things and put it out there again. I’m less excited now that I see that it’s just me and parents voting for my side.

      I’m glad you liked the story and found the revisions imperceptible. I like this story, too. And I’m happy to have it out in the world.

      • DM Moderator Chase Baird ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Hi James. I enjoyed your story too and I really like the re-write. I think changing the temp job manager to a woman works to the story’s advantage, though not becuase of the whole women in the workplace thing. It’s effective because then it draws the reader’s attention to how the protagonist watches all the employed men with their daughters at work (and even a grandfather!) and this makes him more sympathetic, likeable and believable. Now he’s simply noticing the other Dads and the reader can’t help start comparing too. The interaction you had between the male manager’s daughters and the protagonist’s in the original draft threw me out of the story somewhat. This time the scene works to the story’s advantage. I really like the protagonist and his daughters. I’m not even sure I’m supposed to be commenting, lol. I haven’t noticed any of the other mods commenting on other rounds but I’ll comment on Andrea’s too and remain impartial 😉 The only thing I’m still not satified with in your story is the ending. Still needs some tweaking perhaps…

        • DM Moderator Chase Baird ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Hi James. Yes, name calling and slander can get disheartening, especially since Sean was such a great guy and really put his all into the critiques and comments. Then again, this is Deathmatch and some nastiness is to be expected. You’re going to get vile anonymous comments as well as helpful ones. You should read some of the previous comment boards from past years! Round 4 was pretty civil overall. As a competitor, I think you have to be prepared for some personal attacks, take them in stride with a dash of humor, fight back and stay focused on the comments that help your story / writing. It wouldn’t be Deathmatch without some bloodshed 😉

          Hopefully all the finalists, whether they move forward or not, are getting some comments that will help make their stories better. You and Andrea are proof of that so far! Have fun.

        • James Strouse says:

          Thanks, Chase. I’m curious, now that it’s over how did you feel about the round you moderated? I like Sean’s writing a lot. And I got a little down hearted when things devolved into slander and name calling during his round. I think the writing is all that matters but somehow it becomes about other things so quickly.

  20. James Strouse says:

    Hi everyone. Emily you seem fun. I like you. As an experiment in humiliation I’ve decided not to solicit votes this round. I’d rather have ten votes from people I don’t know than thousands from my friends and family. I’ve already exhausted all my resources. Everyone I know read my story during the first round and voted many times. I don’t want to put those people out again. So. This might be a boring one sided round. (To be fair my dear, sweet mom and dad keep up on everything in my life and know about this round. I assume they are my four votes so far.)

    Good luck, Andrea. May the best story win.

    • Dave Currie says:

      Playing the expectations game is a smart strategy.

      Also, people in previous rounds have shown somewhat fanatical comment and occasionally vote support for the author who is the most humble. You have been paying attention.

      • James Strouse says:

        Thanks! I’ve never been complimented on my strategy skills before. But the truth is I am happy to just be part of this competition. Prior to the deathmatch the Big Everything was just another unread story on my computer.

  21. Andrea Wrobel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If I could be friends with Suzanne forever, I feel I’d win a lot.

    But either way the Love Tutor versus The Pacifist is a pretty hilarious way to start. On that note… ASK ME ANYTHING. I dare you.

    To add to Ms. Emily’s rules: NOTE #1: FEBRUARY 17TH IS A HOLIDAY IN CANADA. HOW FAR.

  22. In the left corner we have Andrea “Love Tutor” Wrobel, whose quirky story “Eraser” won out, despite finger pokes and elbow jabs that Andrea’s story was underwritten, lacking character development and italics. She fought back with care bear stares, and a little help from mom (yeah Brenda, you minx!), charmingly thanking her critics and disarming them with the stalwart power of her happy thoughts. The writer sweet-talked her rival at the outset, as the two staged a sit-in for the week to BFF each other, Deathmatch be damned.

    In the right corner we have James “The Pacifist” C. Strouse, whose amusing sad sack story “The Big Everything” finally went somewhere; bringing its writer to the semi-final knockout round. James dodged the poison darts of critics who called his story sexist, lacking evolution and all-capped a damning indictment of his inability to differentiate between “brooch” and “broach.” In true peacenik style the writer managed to gently ignore several clumsy air punches by a berzerk moderator, proving that sometimes not fighting with words is the best way to defeat a one-sided argument.

    Now the stories have been re-written and it’s time for the battle to wage on, so let’s squeeze ourselves a few mouthfuls of Gatorade and see what these writers have thrown down in the Mighty Revision Round! [insert dramatic echo.]

    * Rule #1: No touching of the writers’ hands. Rule #2: There are no rules except that as well as rule #1, tridents are also forbidden. All other weapons brought forth into the ring to be used at the wielders’ discretion.

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