Deathmatch 2015 Semifinals Round 6

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Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5

Deathmatch Moderator

R.-Daniel-Lester-Pic-300x225R. Daniel Lester reads, writes and lives in Vancouver, BC, aka Terminal City. Over the last 15 years, as a keen apprentice in the story trade, he’s consumed a lot of coffee (a mandatory requirement, according to the manual), written himself into and out of countless corners, added many words to blank pages (including “The Janitor Cometh,” a semi-finalist in last year’s Deathmatch), released a novel, Die, Famous! and made tens of dollars along the way. Most recently, his short story, “Some Say the World Will End in Fire,” was published in the Winter 2015 issue of Pulp Literature.

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.

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. VOTE AND COMMENT BELOW! By commenting you agree to be signed up for Broken Pencil’s newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Museum of Dead Presidents

By Roxanna Bennett

I am trending in my head ending where I began.
#throwbacktime Sci-fi saved me from the thousand deaths
of childhood. #SFF Bradbury in the out

field, #somethingwicked last in line, ducked under
to go unnoticed. #nerd4life It’s just that I’ve always hated
the stupid who rightly hate me

Read on...
vs

The Boogeyman

By Nikola Jajic

CHAPTER ONE:

The Ushers

Two plumes of smoke poured out of his leathery nostrils, as he rubbed his cigarette out on the bar. The man ordered another Glenlivet, and continued to wait. He was always waiting on that asshole, but at least he got to pick the place. It was the nature of their relationship.

Read on...
0vs0

124 Responses to “Deathmatch 2015 Semifinals Round 6”

  1. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    Congrats to you both, Roxanna and Nik! I know from experience that deathmatchin’ ain’t easy and you handled it with class and style. That was a round well played.

  2. Nikola Jajic says:

    Roxanna, regardless of what these last few hours bring in the way of votes, it was a pleasure deathmatching with you. I thought your poem was unique and I really enjoyed it. Best of luck with everything.

  3. mr. Invisible says:

    Nik, not all of us mr. Invisibles are assholes. we’re all writers here, commenting, i respect that. my smugness is half-pretend, my analogies are purposeful clouds. i care about careful expression, about the beautiful and toxic rubberiness of words.

    “The Boogeyman” just feels sad and derivative in its description, characters, action, and metaphors, like the answer to a question that nobody’s bothered to ask, like Robot Chicken or any NYT bestseller.

    Roxanna’s piece manipulates my face like a genuine discovery, like a question with no clear answer; it demonstrates the dangerous energy potentials of language, contains the same urgent life-plasma as Diane Williams or Axe Cop.

    PM me, Nik. let’s go for a beer one day, maybe something imported.

    • Nikola Jajic says:

      Hey, to each their own. It was nice to learn about your purposeful clouds and rubbery words. And I’m glad Roxanna’s poem manipulated your face. I’m guessing that’s good for the soul.

      Also, you had me at beer. Cheers.

  4. mr. Invisible says:

    Do u guys like bees? Once I swatted at a beehive to see what would happen, and then a few of them stung me. Now I can’t seem to shut the fuck up about bees.

  5. mr. Invisible says:

    hey, some prick’s using my name to comment. don’t listen to him… that’s not the real me! i’m not that smart. i’m just here to bitch about voting and stir shit.

  6. Djurissimo says:

    Just read museum of dead presidents to my dog. He crapped the floor; I think there may have even been a worm in there. After a good verbal shallacking, I composed myself enough to recite him the boogeyman. He immediately started mounting the ottoman. I’m counting that as a vote for boogeyman

  7. mr. Invisible says:

    so it turns out i’m very sorry. not sure what got into me, other than much, much Canadian beer. I guess I just strongly believe that Nik’s story is a one-trick-pony-express that relies on a single plot-twist and hollow celebrity references to assert a shady sense of superiority over pop culture that “average” readers can pretend to get, while Roxanna’s poem is a critical, honest, and complex celebration of identity/confession in an era of hyperbolic public spectacle, too-easy collective irony, and bottom-up language power. again, sorry.

    • Nikola Jajic says:

      Well, that’s just like your opinion, maaan. *Another shameful pop culture reference. My apologies.

      I wasn’t going for a “shady superiority over pop culture”, whatever that means. I was just trying to write a funny, slightly subversive story, while I was in the moment. No ulterior motive.

      I also wasn’t trying to appeal to “average readers” whoever they are, just readers in general. Those that share a similar sense of humor as mine, and most likely a similar intelligence as well (Probably average).

      But I do find your comment interesting. You accuse me of “asserting a shady superiority” and appealing to “average readers”. If you look a little deeper into your comment (Like you would a poem, I suppose), it’s a nice way to pat yourself on the back.

      As if you’re above it all, and can weed out great art from trash. A typical humble-brag from a stereotypical, wannabe art snob. One who probably knows a lot less about art and writing than he thinks.

      It’s this sort of weird pseudo-intellectualism (Heavy on the pseudo) that always rubs me the wrong way.

      Judging solely from your recent comments, I suspect you might be an insecure fella of “average” intelligence as well. Just one of those guys who really feels the need to bullshit strangers into thinking he’s deeper than most wells.

      The type of person, who instead of having a constructive discussion, goes heavy on the assumptions, and insults, while alluding to his own own brilliance and deductive reasoning, and this was all within a couple of sentences. It’s just bad form.

      You should be careful with all that edge. You might cut yourself. #BeReal

      • mr. Invisible says:

        but aren’t we all above it all?

        i meant “average” as totally derogatory, as in “readers in general” … glad you caught that : )

        and using ideas and having words and being intellectual doesn’t equate being smug. being smug means judging people who unselfconsciously use phrases like “rubs me the wrong way” because they no good with creativeness.

        there is a difference between being an artist and being a worker bee. worker bees are highly valuable because they’re necessary to survival. thank you, Nik, for feeding the drone bees or for maybe being a mortuary bee… either way.

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        • Marta says:

          You’re like a freshmen at some art school, aren’t you? Did you browse Thoreau in cliff notes yet? Do you post his quotes on fb? Did you make your first student film yet? I bet there’s a suicide at the end of it. And no one “gets” the lead in it. Hee hee

        • Cagey Beast Queen says:

          Serious question Mr. Invisible, is english your first language? I don’t understand you. I can understand your pretentious , but it reads like it’s coming out of google translate software.

  8. Reelz says:

    I’ve been voting constantly, and if I remember correctly, Roxanna was down at leadt a couple hundred votes and came back in like an hour like two different times. what was that?

  9. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    Well, I step away for a moment and look at what happens. F bombs, Trailer Park Boys references and allegations of cheating. Though I’m going to dock you all points for lack of originality because (a) the ol’ Canada vs. U.S. thing has been done to death and (b) the cheating in the Deathmatch topic is beyond dead, a zombie corpse that just keeps crawling on the ground no matter how many limbs get sheared off.

    Okay, now back to House of Cards.

  10. mr. Invisible says:

    Brilliant, no one has ever maligned Canada for hockey and snow before. Are you his agent or his mom? Mass emails and advertising don’t drum up the same amount of votes as auto clicks and proxy servers.

    • John Popover says:

      Mr. Invisible, yes I’m his mother, and I’m about to give you a lesson in math. I’m several beers deep, but I can still do simple arithmetic. If you have 7 voters which vote over an entire 24 hour period for 6 days, you will have 1008 votes, correct? Correct. You have over 1800 votes at this point. Maybe I’m not as computer savvy as you are, but if I send 50-70 emails out a day (single message, but to good and faithful folks in my personal network), and they vote over a 12-16 hour period (because they have desk jobs and have to sleep eventually), our voting base ranges from 900-1680 votes over a 6 day period, granted 25% of the recipients actually aren’t dicks and votes. That’s just from 25% of my own network (e.g. not other supporters of Nikola). I’m a fucking civil engineer, not an agent, not some damn computer whiz, you insufferable prick. Maybe you should question your math before trying to troll this comment section. Do I have to spell this out to you further? Do I need to reinforce the idea that you got outvoted because of your weak salesmanship? No. Go stick your finger up your ass b/c you obviously suck at voting and/or marketing.

  11. John Popover says:

    Well I’ve been sending mass emails and advertising this repeatedly for this entire week! Do you understand how fucking tiring this is? Do you understand that tons of people are doing this as well? And for what? For some fucking complainer to shit all over these efforts? Suck it up. Also, the Maple Leafs suck. Nice to know that we are at least better at hockey.

  12. mr. Invisible says:

    I’m with 6 other people all voting for Roxanna Bennett’s poem and each time any person votes Jajic’s votes go up. At exactly the same time. By one. The first 10 times might have been coincidence but now it’s just fucking bullshit. Someone is cheating.

    And FUCK YOU for being Canada’s shitty downstairs neighbour. Why is there even an American allowed in this contest?

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      • John Popover says:

        I just watched an episode of the Bangarang Theory, and both MIT and Stanford just called and said they are giving me PhDs in theoretical psychics. I declined Stanford’s PhD b/c it’s a plebeian-tier degree. Did u get your free PhD yet? Better watch more eps of WhiteFang Fury.

  13. Djurissimo says:

    Just answered the CAPTCHA problem at the bottom in record time so feeling kinda Stephen hawking cerebral right now. So according to my calculations, hashtags are lame even when used ironically, and this nonfiction piece by Jajic really hit home on some poignant socioeconomic themes so I gotta give boogeyman 3 thumbs up (middle thumb is the longest)

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  14. MonnieTheManMofo says:

    Good stuff on here. I can honestly say that both writers are super talented, but Nik is real stupid. He’s got a stupid face. He’s like and awkward viking/Sasquatch mix and probably tells a lot of dick jokes. What a lousy human being, if he can be called one. Totally voting for that scumbag.

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  15. Nikola Jajic says:

    John and CBQ, your story is done and up on my blog. You can read it here: nikolawashere.com (links don’t work for me, use a keyboard).

    It’s shorter than the last one (I’m sick, and I hate gg allin), and it’s not very funny, but right now, it’s all I got.

    Now, keep your end of the deal… Vote till your fingertips blister.

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  16. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Ah! I misunderstood you Sara, sorry. Maybe the trolls got bored because all the pieces are “weird” and there isn’t anything to nitpick like the torrent of insults Ryan got last year?

  17. Nikola Jajic says:

    Wowzers, voting was bonkers yesterday. Between monitoring the back and forth craziness here, and the dose of Nyquil I took to battle this damn headcold, I felt like an strung out abacus.

  18. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Sara I think online shaming and anonymous trolling are alive and well and mean people hide behind anonymity to say terrible things that perhaps they wouldn’t say out loud. Maybe people just aren’t passionately worked up about a long poem about sadz and a nifty story about actors to bother leaving comments?

  19. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    Whoa, down to only an 11 vote difference, as I write this! That’s a fifty-ish vote swing for Roxanna since this morning.

    As the great poet, Nelly, once said, “It’s gettin’ hot in here.”

  20. sara ( User Karma: 416 ) says:

    Roxanna, your thoughts about comment sections reminded me of something that I’ve been thinking: maybe the subdued nature of the comment boards this year shows a growing fatigue with online shaming and anonymous trolling. What do others think about that possibility?

  21. Roxanna Bennett says:

    My friends have been very supportive (shout out to the Ottawa and Montreal poets) and it’s been Mostly Harmless. I am not at all into being a jerk in the comments section because I try to avoid comment sections just in general, as harm reduction. My only real begging for votes is on twitter but I hope people vote for the work they like the best and not the writer.

    I really really fucking hate G. G. Allin AND Santa but am a big fan of the apocalypse.

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    • Nikola Jajic says:

      Yeah, I’m not a fun of him, but then again I’m not a fan of the four horsemen either. I guess it should make for an interesting writing exercise. I knew I was in for it when CBQ and John went that route.

      Santa though? Come on. That outfit, that beard… solid.

  22. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    Wow, it’s calm out here. I think by this time, in the semi-final round I was in last year, I had been called a misogynist, a racist and a lazy writer too reliant on pop culture for inspiration. Ah, the memories.

    So, writers, thanks for the answers about your inspiration. Now, how about a glimpse inside the Roxanna and Nik campaigns…tell us about your experience so far in this deathmatch. Good, bad, ugly? Would you do it again? And are your friends and family even paying attention to your emails and tweets and texts and phone calls anymore?

    • Nikola Jajic says:

      Yeah, the comments section seemed a lot rougher last year. Thankfully, I haven’t really been blasted yet. It’s actually been quite a bit of fun. But I’m still prepared for the worst.

      Family and friends have been really supportive (HI MOM!). I’ve tried to keep the pleading for votes to a minimum, but then the heat of the battle kicks in and you find yourself soliciting for votes without realizing it. So it goes, I guess.

      I think I would do it again. It is a bit time consuming, but fun as well. I don’t know if I would submit again next year, but I’ll certainly be following along.

      I like how the rules have evolved over the years. This year it was a styles match up, maybe next year they could up the stakes and have the writers present a new story, poem, whatever, for each round?

      I know they had rewrites before, but something different could be cool. Although, that would probably be a total pain in the ass for all the writers involved. Okay, maybe just allow Santa stories instead.

  23. Roxanna Bennett says:

    I had to google hanging chads bc it’s American for the Timbits of voter cards apparently. Plus fraud? Was the issue with voting in the last round resolved yet?

  24. Nikola Jajic says:

    Bring it on CBQ.

    I’ll give you one subject/trope/motive/theme/whatever. Anyone else casting votes my way gets the same deal. I’ll try to have it finished and up by the end of next week (I’ll need at least that much time. I don’t know how cruel you’ll be).

    *If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, go to nikolawashere.com
    Too tired too explain. Goodnight, Deathmatch.

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        • Nikola Jajic says:

          Jesus, John. That’s a bit specific… but why the hell not, your pick matches nicely with CBQ’s picks. We now have a short with punk rock, GG Allin as one of the four horsemen, and of course the apocalypse. This thing’s starting to write itself.

  25. Cagey Beast Queen says:

    Tune it to punk then. I read that story you posted on your site last week. If your friends got a jam like that for their votes, does the same apply for strangers with itchy voting fingers? Are you still taking requests Nikola???

  26. Nikola Jajic says:

    Enough already with the hanging chads.

    S’up, everyone? If you ask me, it’s a little too quiet in here… bad for the nerves.

    Someone turn up that stereo! Yeaaaaaaah!

    *air guitar* followed by *air drums* followed by *air clarinet*

    …don’t judge me.

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      • Gita says:

        I am voting for Nik now but if the system is not accurate or fair, why should this be ignored? The idea is for the best writing to win and the writers are not being respected here. If one round is ruined by flaws in the system, what kind of contest is this?

  27. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Thanks so much Sara!

    I was taking notes on my phone on the subway for things I wanted to tweet when I got above ground and could get a cell signal. Then I transcribed the notes and they turned into a long tweetable poem.

  28. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    So, Roxanna, Nik, if you’re up for it, it’s “question of the day” time.

    I’m curious about the story/idea seed that first produced life in these creations of yours currently battling to the literary death. What made you put pen to paper or fingers to keys?

    • Nikola Jajic says:

      I was stalling on one script, and hit a dead end with another project. This was the same day that I read Nicolas Cage was starring in a reboot of sorts to the “Left Behind” series.

      That night, I wrote a story starring Nicolas Cage as the antichrist. And, as is often the case when I’ve been drinking, I buried my lead. Hence his only, and quite lonely, paragraph at the end of my silly little tale.

  29. sara ( User Karma: 416 ) says:

    I am so torn! These were each my pick in their respective first rounds. I love “The Boogeyman”…but I think I need to vote for the one and only poem in the Deathmatch. Go Roxanna!

  30. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    Well, it’s fairly quiet out here on the deathmatch front so far. Just the distant rumbling of each writer’s armies moving into formation, preparing for the battle ahead. Roxanna is blending coffee/tums smoothies in her command tent, while Nik has found high ground, surveyed the opposing army and complimented their uniforms.

    One wonders how long the peace will last…

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  31. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Ryan Daniel Lester, do you prefer R or Daniel or Dan or Lester or Lestie or RDL? I loved your story in last year’s Deathmatch.

    Daniel, I liked and voted for your story a bunch of times because I am not very good at strategy. I shan’t make that mistake this round.

    I like to grind up antacids and dump them in my coffee to make shit more efficient.

  32. Nikola Jajic says:

    Hi Daniel and Roxanna! Don’t know about the wit part, but you did guess my stomach tattoo ‘Cast Iron’ (in ye olde English). So, It would probably be wise if I followed your advice, and hit the store for some tums and coffee.

    Roxanna, I really liked your poem.

    Grrr. Deathmatch on.

  33. Ryan Daniel Lester says:

    Hello, hello? Is this thing on?

    Well, semi-finalists, here we go. The Sad vs. Weirdo matchup the audience voted for. So, Roxanna and Nikola. I congratulate you for getting this far and wish you both the luck of champions, wit of sharpened steel and stomachs of cast iron.

    And I hope you stocked up on coffee and antacids. Something tells me you will need both in ample supply.

    Let the madness begin!

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