No Rapture But Plenty of Freaks
Thanks to everyone who submitted something for a free copy of Freaks!
The winners, selected by Roxane Gay and Mike Young, are:
“Ain’t Saying She’s a Grave Digger” by “joe bloe”
“The West Coast” by “Frank Tas, the Raptor”
“VAG” by “barry”
“Pets” by “Tyler Gobble”
Get me your contact info (email me at jamieiredell [at] gmail [dot] com) and I’ll mail you a(some) book(s) and other bullshit.
All of the entries were awesome, awesomely funny and disturbed. They made my week. Below one can read the winners’ entries. These entries do not reflect the opinions of HTMLGIANT or of Jamie Iredell and remain the sole property of the authors. These are caveats. Caveats remain.
Read the winning entries after the jump:
VAG: VIXENS OF ALLIED GAMING
Left-right-left-right-B or down-down-down-up-Y. Once your opponent is stunned and staggering you shove one of Kitana’s Steel War Fans up his ass and pull out his intestines. The Inside Out. That was my submission to last month’s VAG contest for best two-person fighter finishing move. The month before I tried the Ice Hole. Up-up-up-up-X or right-down-left-down-X. A move where the younger Sub-Zero, Kuai, forces his Ice Scepter inside his opponent’s piss hole and freezes him, then pushes him hard to the ground causing him to crack in pieces when he hits. We all came up with our own fatalities and voted on the best one at the end of each month, then we sent our winner to Midway, then Warner Brothers after Midway went bankrupt. We. VAG. Vixens of Allied Gaming. We met nine years ago waiting in line for a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We were the last six in line and they ran out of seats before we got ours so we all bought tickets for the 3am show and waited together at a bar across the street. We talked about our kids and lovers and jobs and ex-husbands which naturally lead to brutally violent video games. The bloodier the better. All but Chrissy, an advertising executive for a major cable news network, a cliche lesbian poet and political idealist with no pets and no children. She needed converted. I put down five or six blended strawberry long islands before we headed back to watch Harry and friends in their second year at Hogwarts. I fed my sugar sweet lemons to Charity, a twenty something pro-ANA supporter, who licked the sour from my fingers when we finished. She had long brown hair and soft skin. She was thinner than the rest of us which meant we all had to like her, otherwise we would appear bitter and insecure. We all exchanged phone numbers and started meeting every week at the same bar, drinking too much and sharing secrets that should have stayed hidden. Chloe pushed her little sister out of a weeping willow when she was seven, leaving her physically and mentally disabled. Now she insists on being solely responsible for her personal and financial care. Guilt induced sisterly devotion. The decisive factor in breaking up her otherwise healthy marriage. Cheyenne, half Cherokee half Scotch-Irish, sleeps with all of her daughters’ boyfriends no matter how young, ugly, overweight, or unemployed they may be. She doesn’t know why. Her two daughters, Dakota, 16, and Savannah, 18, both fathered by the same Sioux Indian fancy dancer she fucked the first afternoon they met, in the bed of broke down pick up truck in the parking lot at a Pow Wow in Buffalo, both named after the cities they were conceived in. The girls have come to accept their mother’s promiscuity as a personal challenge. Seeking out the most repulsive, mutant half-wits they can find to bring home. Then scolding and ridiculing her relentlessly when she does the inevitable. Savannah showed up to the bar nine months ago with my only son.Only Chiara seemed normal. The worse she confessed to was kissing her ex-husband’s best friend a year and a half after their divorce. Two years later both men, both former telemarketers for a life insurance agency, now in business for themselves, were living together in an overpriced studio apartment in Southern California. Six weeks in and the story telling stopped. All we talked about were video games and starting an official National Gamers Association (NGA) team. We drafted a constitution and statement of purpose and voted on rules and membership and eventually a name; the Vixens of Allied Gaming. Then applied for an official NGA team membership ID under the acronym VAG.
Neither Midway, nor Warner Brothers, have returned our letters.
We feed these critters, but they don’t feed us. What’s up with that? PetSmart is a terrible instrument for not being sad, like how the vacuum fish in the aquarium make horrible housekeepers, hard as they try. After her leg got lopped off, I drew grandma a picture of our dog, Sugar, orbiting like a furry moon around her face to prove she was still a worthy planet. Truth is pets seem destined to either do us in, or make our arms so warm from cuddling that we can’t even stand it. As a child, I was obsessed with the torsos of cats, how if you squeezed them real tight, they hardly existed.
Ain’t Saying She’s a Gravedigger
You would like to know how the holes get there. Of course you would.
The holes are for the people who’re dead—people who died, dear. Like how your aunt died, for example, your aunt Carla. You remember your aunt Carla? My sister? Stop. It wasn’t sooo long ago. She wore white t-shirts and no make-up? Had the craggly voice and skin like leather? Cigarette smoke?
Yes. You remember. Correct: it was she who taught you how to check the oil level of a car before we drove to Arizona. And, yes, we did drive to Arizona for a funeral also. But that’s coincidental: if you’ll recall, we fed your aunt, your aunt Carla, into the casket, and then that casket into the hole in the grass.
So naturally you ask then, ‘how did that hole get there?’ Well come now. Do you think, after all, that holes dig themselves? Or that holes just are? that holes just wait around deep until we find them? And if so, if these pits just, are, do they even exist before we waltz in? Or perhaps all holes are just pre-dug, are born-digged, and if so, are limited in number, and if so, are selectively curated…
Point taken. I’m patronizing. Of course the holes are dug. And who digs them? The people themselves. There are no free lunches, after all. They’re the grave-diggers. The diggers. Of graves. You’ve seen them. You’ll recall: when we slipped your aunt, your aunt Carla, into the grave. Think back to behind the people gathered in black, a jumpsuit leaning on the tractor, framed small between their bodies, poking the dirt on the ground with the tip of his shoe. Leather all pock-marked and grainy. Cigarette all pointy in front. Gravedigger.
And the mound? Well after the digger digs the hole its the diggers job to pour the dirt back in. ‘Pick up one end of the stick and you get the other’—yes, I guess you could say ‘undig,’ dear but that’s just beside the point. Because really if you think about it an ‘undigged’ hole is never ‘undug.’ Like that grave there. It’s ‘undug,’ as you say, but it’s still there. The casket pushes up the dirt and makes a mound. And the mound is really a hole, an inverted hole, an unhole. Sticking up out of the ground not in it. We dig them but we can’t destroy them, and we don’t expect to. Your aunt’s. Had the gravedigger sweating, his tractor all steaming trying to get the bump flat with the grass but he couldn’t do it. He knew the dirt would never go flat. He knew that too. He knew it since the beginning.
THE WEST COAST
I just got back from my trip to the West Coast. Have you ever been? It was fascinating!
Hipsters and strippers. If I wasn’t getting change in vinyl from a hipster, a stripper was accosting me on the street, flinging her tits in my face before I could demur. The strippers are crafty hustlers, jack. The second your eyes fall on their chest they demand five dollars, and if you start giving them a hard time they scream something like “Rape!” or “I’m paying my way through med school!” and pepper spray you. The hipsters are much more listless. I saw quite a few of them get knocked over by strong gusts of Portlandian wind, and they’d never lift themselves back up. Instead, they’d stay there and wait until a bicycle ran them over or an ambulance came by. Sometimes two of them would start a band in the middle of major roads and cause traffic jams. You’d have to shout something like “There’ll never be another Beat Happening!” to get them to go on hiatus and get out of the way. But don’t get me wrong! I loved Portland! It was so interesting to see strippers and hipsters cohabitate so peacefully. You go into a pizza place, and at one table is a stripper eating a mushroom slice and touching her breasts incessantly to make sure that they’re still there, and at the other table is a hipster couple splitting a regular slice with extra cheese and having a whole conversation by uttering the words “Talulah” and “Gosh” in a variety of tones and pitches. I wish I could’ve stayed longer to learn more about this wonderful place! I told my friend Johnna about it. She graduated with an anthro minor from Tufts, and she got really excited and booked a flight to Portland for next week. I can’t wait to hear her thoughts!
The rain! It’s everywhere! It was so filthy! I couldn’t turn a corner without a meth head touching my jacket sleeve to say, “Hey, you got some rain on ya.” I mean, I had been familiar with Seattle before arriving, I used to watch Friends obsessively in high school, but I never thought’d it be that bad! At one point I was walking down the street and a young professional gave me two dollars to get a meal! Blessed me, even! How do people stay clean with all that rain! I couldn’t even get an answer because everyone I asked was either Australian, or an anarchist, or both! “No rules, just right” my patootie! Clearly Seattle is not a place for rain greenhorns! And if you go, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Your welcome!
In San Francisco, everyone smokes weed all the time, so that all San Franciscoans look like bobble-headed Buddhas strolling down the street without a care in the world. It startled me at first, but after a week or two there, I learned to embrace the lifestyle, the maximum 16 hour workweek, the enforced monthly drug tests, the passive aggressive bar fights (“Well maybe you should chill out, man!” “I don’t know why you’re being such a dick, man!”). Everyone smokes marijuana in San Francisco because it’s decriminalized. That’s what my Greyhound bus driver told me. The smell is embedded into every building and slab of concrete and tree and furniture store. There’s no police force, either. If you break a law in San Francisco whoever witnessed the crime will give a homeless Juggallo one dollar to hassle you for an hour, asking for change and food and gift certificates to FYE.
I wish I could’ve seen more places, but I ran out of time! I hope you found my thoughts on the West Coast interesting and informative!