In the words of a memorable Grade 6 Graduation song: “the time now has come to say Shalom, we all must depart and move on.” As Andrea Wrobel’s oddball Eraser will likely move into the Grand Slam Finale, her team of second and third cousins cheering her on, we will have to say goodbye to The Big Everything. Weirdly charming though it was, James C. Strouse’s story has been unable to close the gap set by a dominating rival, despite his mid-week change of tactic to half-heartedly solicit votes by talking to himself about the contest in public. So, barring some wildly remarkable unforeseen comeback, we will bid Andrea the best of luck in her pursuit of Gold. To James, we leave him with a few words from physicist Tom Hirshfield: “If you hit the target every time it’s too near or too big.”
And now let us look back with tears of fondness on 10 Top Highlights from the Week:
10.) The continued spotlight on Rolf the dog, arguably the breakout star of Eraser.
9.) Sparks fly when commenter Carmella becomes clearly enamoured with the flawed main character in The Big Everything (don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Hello, Eric Northman). Carmella wistfully indicates her desire to sit on a river bank with the protagonist, at which point James hesitantly offers to meet her there himself. Is this a Deathmatch or Lovematch, know what I’m saying?
8.) The return of Momma Bear, and her quick smackdown on the negativity towards Andrea with its nice rhetorical question finishing off a roundhouse kick of positivity: “It seems to me that you are a very boring person yourself. It’s the thrill of the game that keeps one’s interest and TEAM WORK!!! Friends and Family come together to support a loved one in a challenge they wish to participate in. What’s wrong with that.”
7.) Frustration is de rigueur for the deathmatch, and this round of comments express disgruntlement with Broken Pencil for being uninterested in literature and fostering social media popularity contests. “Joke is on us who even bother to vote for the better story,” says Cpt. Obvious. We’ve offered the Captain a consoling Kleenex and a warm cup of milk. He has refused both.
6.) No round would be complete without random acts of rage. Both Danielle Fishel and Time To Grow Up vie for the title of whatever is opposite to MVP with, “Crooked-ass Broken Pencil dickbags!” and “Honestly, you are more annoying than your character,” respectively.
5.) The blaze of glory that is a comment from David Emery: “The alternative to not having fun with this is believing that it’s one big black hole of anti-community in which burgeoning writers are devoured piece by piece by anonymous, ill-mannered pricks one click at a time until they throw their laptops aside, stitch their eyes shut and burn the entire place down like they’re Sam Neill in “Event Horizon.””
4.) Mookie and Archibald McLeech continue to pop up like Statler and Waldorf with their two cents, despite a unified distaste for the contest.
3.) James comes out of nowhere with a gentlemanly glove slap to pro-Eraser commenter Brian Cauley, unpacking Cauley’s argument with offensive musings: “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.”
2.) James and Andrea also find relative success in side projects. Andrea shows a natural flair for politics. Her campaign platform includes a Care Bear image akin to the Obama “Hope” poster, and leverages paid advertising from the sudden development of a Deathmatch Quarterfinals Round 5 Winner Committee. Meanwhile, James discovers slightly more popularity with his posted cartoons than his short story, and considers moving to Canada.
1.) The best quote of the week is delivered by the Eraser author. In a Broken Pencil Q&A, Andrea describes her writing life as “a bad internet date that keeps asking me out. And I keep saying yes.” Well, looks like you’re giving that nitwit yet another chance, Wrobel. He’ll see you in March!