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And so, we enter the final six hours of semi-final deathmatching action!

To the victor: at midnight, the door opens to the final arena,  packed with well-rested, rabid Wrobel supporters, baying for her opponent’s blood, wanting to flay open his still twitching carcass and pull out all the tasty bits, and ready to click the VOTE button all day and all night if that what it takes to get their champion that all-important Indie Writers’ Makeover! (And who would not want a facial, wardrobe update and media training at the hands of a Hotshot Literary Agent and Famous Writer?)

To the vanquished: it’s time to nurse wounds, bind-up skinned egos and remind yourself that you were one of the last four standing. As that old disco song goes: Everyone’s a winner, baby.

At this writing, Craig Calhoun’s “Idiot” appears to have an insurmountable lead on R. Daniel Lester (RDL)’s “Janitor” — insurmountable in a mathematical sense, rather than any lack of ability in the mounting of inflatable dolls (one of the Janitor’s undisputed talents). But if the lead flips at the last second, and the expected result goes all fiddle-faddle-foo, and RDL finds himself facing Wrobel with a surprised look on his face and nothing but a numchuk-wielding office administrator at his side, well, all this Moderator can do is smile knowingly, pour herself another classic cocktail (check the comment board for recipes) and remind you that when it comes to Death Match, shit happens.

The second half of round 6 saw Wrobel herself  as ‘agent provocateur’, brazenly striding into the arena and attempting to rally  support for RDL, the putative ‘underdog’, which in turn unleashed a blast of invective from now famous comment board campers What the Shit, Freezappa, Brian and Dave.  Grace Paley’s ghost grew fainter (possibly due to a necrophilic booty call from Freezappa — what can the Moderator say but that the heart wants what the heart wants?) We can only hope she’ll be back on the comment board for the final gotterdammerungian round.

Meanwhile RDL’s troops rallied (but possibly too late?) and Calhoun decamped to New York where he was almost hit by a cab while checking up  the comment board, and nearly sat in a puddle of urine.

And so the words of the greatest of all cage match moderators, Jerry Springer: “What have we learned?”

That writers will disembowel themselves in public in order to gain a readership? That even dead famous writers can fall in love, or something close enough to love to make it all worthwhile, even if you know it’s going to end with you sitting, alone, in a bar, staring at the melting ice in your double vodka glass? All that, and more.

I’m outta here.