"What are you grinning at, have an erotic dream?" the wife asked.
"Nope, better," I said, sitting up in bed. "Was thinking about the clueless connoisseur who wrote the Review I showed you; the one who insisted I correct my spelling of 'Hunan' to human chicken."
"I remember," she snickered. "I can't believe there's two of 'em out there. Don't they know your story was about wacko-fruitcakes, not food? Tsk, that sounded silly, too, didn't it?"
"My point exactly. I'm getting up, but you go back to sleep. I've an idea for another item."
We've all heard it said: truth is stranger than fictionDon't know about you, but I'm convinced given the quirky reviews that manage to find their way into our ports. So for giggles and grins, how about a perky peek at the odd critique when tripping with these enlightening fantastics?
The Philosophical Types"I like the point it brings out, we are all human, but do we actually have to eat our own flesh or others to be considered human? Of course not!"
It brought out a point, alright. I'd pay a c-note to see the shape of your beret. Hmm, self-consumption, you say? Interesting. What if a guy's in love with himself? "Good ol' Harry; he just went and ate hisself all up." Sa-a-y, does that mean if an Italian baker ate his own cannoli's he'd be considered human... or a dang good contortionist? Never mind.
"I refer to: 'Mike Magee sat by the window idly sipping a beer...' shouldn't this be: "seeping" a beer? Perhaps this is just me."
I hope it's just you as most of us prefer "sipping", I'm sure. So, tell us: what happens when you drink beer? Do you get filled to the gills to where the amber suds simply "seep" out your ears? I'd hate to be seated next to you at a bar... because if you sneezed, foam would likely billow out your eyeballs while dousing everyone on either side of you.
"It is true that most of us judge food by what it is made of. Some food horrifies us especially if it is foreign."
Now you, Jasper, despite missing the point as well, could probably argue a point. I can see it all now: a visiting French dignitary ambles into a local Tap & Grill for a "taste" of America and is served an over-done, gristle-laden whopper dripping with mustard, relish, ketchup, pickles, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, horseradish, olives, and a slice of raw onion.
"SacrÃ© Bleu! These foreigners must think 'escargot' is a motorway!"
"I read You Are What You Eat, and eating is like a crapshoot. I have read six books on how America raises its food, even greens. Animals wait their turn for a hammer between the eyes once or twice. The rest of them see this and know what their fate will be soon. Sometimes a cow may die in the pen, but that's what a good old forklift is for."
Hmm, no taste for themes I take it? Ah well, no matter. But maybe I can help with the crap shoot. If per chance your attendants allow you out in public, I know where you can get a bellyful of "human chicken" or "chicken coyote". No forklift required; chopsticks will do fine. Sa-a-ay... I wonder if that dead cow in the pen saw what was happening and had a heart attack, y'think?
"There's nothing to criticize. Ghost are never easy to pin down. I think it has to do with magnetic fields. Think of the brain and how that can be effect by the magnetic field around the Earth. That's a natural explanation. Ghost are all around us and within us in the electric air."
Air within us, huh? So, that's the ghostly haze the wife complained of after I... oh, sorry. Shush. Wait, I hear another sound, this one off in the distance. Does anyone else hear it... that old familiar jingle from The Twilight Zone? Or is it just me?
"Super! Well done. Love it. Great job. I wouldn't change a thing. The only thing that kept me from giving a 5 [vs 4 stars] was the familiarity of the mini stories. But I for the life of me can't figure out how you could fix this."
Ooo-kay, seems another with nothing to criticize... but penalized this "super - well done - love it" historical fiction because of his "familiarity" with historical references? I wonder how he'd rate the Encyclopedia... burn it? As for his figuring out how to fix something "without changing a thing," what d'ya wanna bet if I put this dude in a round room and told him he can only pee in a corner, he'd wet himself... any takers?
"I've written myself about the lack of loos in England, and the law of course we all know is a complete ass."
So tell me, did "myself" ever write back? No, not yet? Well, be patient; it's in the mail, I'm sure. As for the law, be grateful. At least Brit lawmakers are "complete". In America, they're only half-assed. Prob'ly why they're unbalanced with lopsided views, ya think? Besides, what else is a "loo" gonna see? Don't answer that!
"Your offbeat stories are addictive. One book of you're deturaled books, "The book of survival of those who believe. I would like to be considered. If not, I will work extra hard to turn the place into a better enviorment. Maybe our ideas could help the greatest problem, Canned Hunting." The exotic animals will stand peacefully and become bewilderd and shocked that those who have bottle fed them and transfered them for lazy hunters."
'Shocked and bewildered,' she says? That's me alright... especially after this head-scratcher. But no worries, you can always find me at a local watering hole hunting for, um... shapely cans?
And May God Bless Papa's Little Helpers"This subject matter requires that you write it with a shotgun. And make us cry."
So that's what's wrong. Hmm, come to think of it, wife's been cryin' about me having no lead in my "pencil", too, but never said squat about my shotgun. I suppose I could give it a try despite it tearing the b'jesus out of my paper. Then again, it seems the only way I could accomplish what you're asking is if I shoot my readers in the knee. That otta make 'em cry plenty.
"Although this may be the style you espouse, I think those words can be replaced with simpler words, for example "your" for "yon".
Evidently, this 'medical doctor' doesn't like my use of archaic words and suggested I ditch a word that means: "distant, further, over there, yonder," for a possessive pronoun. I'd be more concerned about taking his prescriptions, wouldn't you?
"Feeling blue, Mr. Smith? Take two 'cyan-ide' tablets and call me in the morning."
"Good poem. It lacks something though, I do not know what that is! I do know it's missing something though! It will eventually get better and better though, and it's nothing to do with you, it's the inspiration!"
Though I'm relieved it ain't me, though... but since I'm just sittin' here sharpenin' shotguns, when that rogue Inspiration comes pokin' round my items again, he'd better put my name on it or I'll stick this 12 gauge up his nose and make 'im cry a river.
"I am probaly not that much of a help. All I want to say is actually This is great! Wait! Maybe you can change the last part? It sounded a little abrupt."
Abrupt? Sounds more like a Ronco ad: "but wait, there's more! Only $19.95 if you edit today!"
"Some parts i couldnt understand because im a blonde but i got most of it. your imagery was alittle off because i couldnt really picture most of the parts in my mind."
You say, "my imagery is a little off?" Let's see if I got this straight. My Mad Cow Disease is amiss because you're a: partially mindless... blonde? Hmm, I suggest you change shops from where buy your meat, and uh, I'll bet a double sawbuck your carpet don't match your drapes, either. Next!
"I just think this flows better, for example [if you rewrite]: 'filled up both his shoes' with 'filled up both his boots.'"
Now, why didn't I think of that? Dang! To stick with my rhyme and metered format, all I need do is change the previous verse from: "as steady stream effused," to something like: "as steady stream effoots." No, wait! How about: "as steady stream dis-spewts?" Yeah, that's more like it. Thanks.
"I don't think I need to point this out, but there were anachronisms. Modern day Mexicans who spoke Spanish didn't exist back when the ten commandments were written, and the same with the French guy."
Well I'll be. I'd never guessed it when writing this spoof, this lampoon, this satire, this parody. Amazing how you nabbed that phony French guy, too. Turns out he was an illegal from Acapulco. The wily rascal waxed his mustache to look like Poirot and stowed away with Marco Polo back to Europe. Thanks, and I'd better change his dialog, too. SacrÃ© Azul!
"Your story is flawless to me' maybe you can read it out loud to yourself to see where sounds wrong and correct it?"
Y'know, the wife says that all the time: "have you tried listening to yourself, for once!" So, maybe a good idea 'cause Lord knows how much I practice sub-stardardism. I can't help it. I'm cursed! I couldn't stand it if I'd be flawless. I need a Scarlet Letter... but will settle for a Johnny Walker Red and soda.
The 'Strangely' Confused, but Well-meaning Types"Strangely the grammar actually worked for me though it normally doesn't. I attribute that to good writing."
Strangely, I'm pleased it worked, too, though normally I'm not. Even so, I'd attribute it to air. Otherwise I'd not be able to breathe a word of it' much less write it.
"This was a good read and worth my while. Sometimes, we hear negative feedbacks from people. But in your case, I'll make an exception. [then gave the dual award item 1.5 stars]
Hey, I thought you made me the "exception"? Indian giver! Hate to think if I'd disappoint.
"Hon, time to get up! Shutter the windows and bar the doors after I post this item!"
"For example I think tingle word used in your article had very much less effect due to lack of explanation. Thank you for the pleasure you provided me from your few lines."
Out of 5000 words, don't know which "few" were so "pleasurable," but maybe we can tease that titillating tingle a tad. What if I define every word with a vocabulary rating of "tingle" or higher? Uh, on second thought, maybe I could simply mirror Dick and Jane, you know, toss in a bunch of pictures if that'll help?
"I found it really confusing... the 'big' words made it hard for me, words such as tutelege and tenets to mention a few."
Another with a ten-word vocabulary... and your profile says you're a "journalist" by profession? Hmm, for who; an Elementary School Gazette? Well, no matter, but next time you're at Barnes & Noble, ask the clerk for a: D-I-C-T-I-O-N-A-R-Y (dick shun arry).
"I really like the way this story builds up to an anticlimax."
I can imagine this dude's sex life... he's lying in bed, smoking a cigarette: "ahh, what a let-down! God, you're good!"
"What do you get when you cross a crooked politician with a crooked lawyer?"
"Uh... Chelsea?" my barber said.
Well, that too, I 'spose, but was thinking more like argumentative BS that's useless...
kind o' like the next group.
"Could I find something; could I hell! A little more description regarding 'pork chops' and 'water' would make this quite perfect, in my view."
Tell it like it is, why doncha. If you're having trouble grasping those brain twisters, I hope no one ever sends you on an errand to the market. "I said 'bok choy,' you dufus! Not, 'dog chow!'"
"I was struggling with the description. It's not that i dont like your description, but felt that you could of taken some of it out without upsetting the story. Ive only just learnt flash fiction exists' but its difficult to get that balence between characters, plot and description. Theres nothing wrong with the decription, but are these descriptions his thoughts?"
Um, let me describe it this way. How would you like to meet the fellow above? Something tells me you two would mesh like "Push" and "Pull."
"I think you're selling yourself/us short. This is a powerful piece with a moving subject, but since it is THE LAST LINE IN THE PIECE, I believe it should pack more punch than that. Go get it."
Uh, the "moving subject" is dead, SIR! But whatever you say, I think I got it!
Try this for size: "Ok, you lout, if you insist. Protect that snout, 'cause here's my fist!"
"The faculty is full of Marist Brothers? I am unfamiliar with this term. It was not in my dictionary. Did you mean Marxist? And if so, what did you mean by it?"
Achtung! I see your problem, comrade. You have Marxist dictionary written by atheistic communist revolutionary! But trust me, Marist Brothers exist. They're a Catholic order wearing monk robes tied at the waist by rosary belts made of wooden beads the size of kumquats that'll leave welts on your noggin for days if you tick them off.
In a League of Their Own"The bards knows they place in the world of writing. Many has written about bards but they has never tells of mostly their names."
Hands up! I'm stumped. Even ee cummings would have to step aside on this one. So, I think I'll end them here.
Now, before any armchair PC Referee pulls a yellow card on me, I didn't write them; merely compiled them. So let's be honest. You've likely seen your share, perhaps even penned a wayward taradiddle or two yourself. Yet entertainment aside, sometimes we can even learn from such gaffes... like a year ago when a UK graduate working on his Masters, mind you, and part-time waiter who came from the kitchen with a tray of entrees and seriously asked: "who ordered the chicken coyote?"
"Oh no," I whispered and lowered my head. I knew right then I was in trouble. I should have gone with pizza like everybody else, but chicken cacciatore was too tempting a gamble, one of my favorite dishes rarely seen on Kentucky menus. So you see, Jasper's review was spot-on after all: it was a "horrifying foreign" goulash of diced chicken chunks, carrots, peas smothered in ketchup, and "sounds good, toss it in"... "it" being anything Igor had left over in the bloody kitchen.
Italian joint, my foot; their chef was likely hired from the corner of Broadway and Main; "am hungry, will work for food," the sign said. Anyway, washed down with a bucket of brewskis, I managed to eat about half of it. So, there ya go kids, "I am what I eat: a half-assed, beer-bellied, pooter-tootin', lilly-livered chicken coyote. Cluck - cluck; YOWL-OOOOOO!"