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The things R. Daniel Lester and Craig Calhoun carried when they stormed onto the  battlefield for Death Match Round 6:

R. Daniel (aka “RDL”, “Ryan”):  an inept cadre of superheroes, a well-hung janitor with a thing for blow-up dolls and a predilection for the obscure ‘reverse cowgirl’ position (edited out in version 2 but well worth a mention, in this Moderator’s opinion), the collected works of Grace Paley (currently gracing the live blog with her presence), and a numchuk wielding, lovestruck office drone named Lady Carnage. Super strength: humour, sharp dialogue, world weary sarcasm. Memorable blog quote: “After I’m done work at Misogynist Monthly, I post oil spill porn on efftheenvironment. com.” Kryptonite: accusations of sexism/misogyny continue to crouch on RDL like a life-sucking superpowered succubus. Can he fight them off to rescue “The Janitor Cometh” from the bucket room of oblivion?

Craig Calhoun (aka “Craig”): a violent love triangle endlessly caught in the claustrophobia of a room thick with blood, skinned knuckles, punched walls,  existential anxiety, identity confusion,  and endlessly repeated mistakes — a gut punch of a story with a tighter structure than his previous version. Craig also carries comparisons to “The Outsider”  and “Groundhog Day” — only in Death Match can Camus and Ramis stand proudly side by side! Memorable blog quote: “I wrote this story for the Death Match, built off a discarded concept that had been in the garbage for a couple of years.” Super strength: An overarching  sense of existential fear/hopeless love that seems to say both something about the human condition, and a radiator powered ending that beats out his original version by a chain-length. Kryptonite: mildly susceptible to accusations of sexism due to murderous finale, but seems to be deflecting them possibly due to some heretofore hidden superpower only revealed through his secret origin story. At this writing, “The Idiot without a Coat On” strides ahead  by 1,000 votes — but can it maintain its solid lead?

Both stories have touched a nerve in terms of their portrayal of women, but to quote Emily (aka “Emily”)  — “If characters aren’t ever supposed to be assholes, where would we be?” Indeed.

After 48 hours of hand-to-hand combat, the arena grows quiet, the votes are slowing, the blog becoming muted. Ryan, Craig and their minions of mayhem seem have shrugged off the oft-quoted advice to sleep when they’re dead and instead hunkered down to gather strength for the battle ahead — the great  gotterdammerung when one of these ministers of metaphor is destined to meet the final challenge that  peoples their nightmares: will they be erased from the scoreboard by Andrea Wrobel in the final round?

War is hell.