Sloppy Seconds

by Wrath James White


This collection is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2008 Wrath James White

Sloppy Seconds — In Retrospect

When I entered my first World Horror Convention Gross-Out Contest in Chicago back in 2002, I had very little idea of what to expect. I made it to the finals the year before in the now-defunct Delirium webzine's first and last online gross-out contest, but that didn't prepare me for the spectacle that is the WHC Gross-Out Contest. I was expecting some tiny room with maybe a couple dozen people. I walked into an auditorium that seemed to house half the convention's attendees. The list of competitors was nearly two pages long. The previous years had been dominated by such giants of the genre as Brian Keene, Mark McLaughlin, and Ed Lee. I was fully prepared to be out of my league but luckily, none of them entered that year.

I sat in the back, listening to the other competitors spin off their tales of gore and disgust while I continued to refine my own story, whittling it down further and further until little remained but the horrific descriptions as I prepared for my illustrious debut. Little did I know that the style I was developing, as I edited and re-edited, would become the style of gross-out readings to come.

Earlier that day, I received valuable advice from the previous 'King of the Gross-Out' Brian Keene on what the judges were looking for. I knew I had to grab them with the very first line and not waste too much time telling a story. I had to get right into the guts and grue as quickly as possible. So, I went to work cutting out all but the sickest lines. What I was doing was modeling the story after a joke; first the setup, then the punch line. The delivery would be one long rant of stomach-churning imagery. It begins with a one-liner that immediately grabs the audience's attention. Then it sucks them in — hopefully making them laugh — and builds up to the big punch line at the end.

Repeatedly, I left the auditorium to rehearse, more nervous than I had been in years (and I have read poetry on-stage in the nude). finished my last edit just as my name was called. I walked up to the podium and began my oration.

'Mary was a 500-lb contortionist who'd died with her titanic legs still wrapped around the back of her neck…'

The room exploded with laughter. I paused, waiting for it to die down before barreling forward with descriptions of the woman's putrefying girth, watching as the audience alternately laughed, winced, and wretched. I detailed the mortician's surprise as a beautiful blonde model slid out of the obese woman's snatch before hitting them with the punch line, 'They say that inside every fat woman is a skinny woman screaming to get out, and somehow, this one had just escaped.' The laughter reached a crescendo. I knew I had them.

There were some other great stories that night. Adam Pepper read a hilarious story about an infant resisting its mother's efforts to abort it, titled 'Super Fetus.' Brent Zirnheld read a deliciously nauseating story about a man with a fetish for sucking the pus out of pimples that I thought would definitely win if mine did not. And there were a few others that were pretty good as well, and still others that went from ridiculous to plain terrible. Many of you know what happened then, the first of a long series of bizarre controversies. Adam did not win. Brent did not win. And I took second place in what would become a string of second place wins in the gross-out contest. The winner read an esoteric poem and then threw a chicken. I had not even considered her in the running and, judging from the audience's reaction, neither had anyone else. But who are we to judge? She won fair and square, as bizarre as the whole episode was.

In the years that followed, I took second place three more times and then a fourth-place finish after being penalized for running overtime without getting to the punch line. It had become almost hilarious to me. One thing I did notice was that the style I developed that night in Chicago had begun to take over the contest. The next year in Kansas City, I took second place to Cullen Bunn who read a story in a style almost identical to the one I'd debuted the year before, beginning what has been a record four first-place wins for him.

I was quite flattered that he had chosen my style to emulate. There were a great many different approaches to the gross-out contest at the time, including bizarre props, full-length stories, poems, and true confessions. Cullen had taken what I started and elaborated on it, adding voices and sound effects. It was really good and has improved year after year. In 2007, I noticed something even more impressive: almost every entry that year (with the exception of the veteran participants) sounded — in pace, tone, description, and delivery — like the one I authored in Chicago of 2002. It was perhaps the best gross-out contest I have had the pleasure of participating in. The style had caught on. I had, evidently, started something.

The contest in 2007 was a shoot-out between some of the heavyweights of the grotesque and the comedic: Cullen Bunn, Mark McLaughlin, Jeff Strand, and me, with me once again taking second place.

In 2008, Cullen Bunn retired and instead judged the event. The lovely Rain Graves, another past winner, was the hostess of the evening. Jeff Strand and Cullen did a surprise gross-out duet that would have probably taken first place had they not been disqualified. Judges can't participate.

The rest of the evening was filled with one derivative rip-off of Cullen's style or mine, or some hybrid in- between. Every story involved analingus or cunnilingus with some elderly, overweight, dead, or diseased woman proving that sometimes imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Sometimes it's just silly. The winner, the lovely and talented Whitney Lakin, was by far the most original, doing a story about being stuck in a fat farm with nothing to eat but cum-soaked candy bars.

My story about a crackwhore in a leper colony once again took second place in what was my final performance at the gross-out contest.

To commemorate this event, I thought I'd compile this little literary retrospective of my five years in the WHC Gross-Out Contest. In addition, I've included one of the most grotesque and horrific murder/rape/revenge stories I have ever written entitled 'Hurting Him' which first appeared in an online webzine called Brutal Tales. This will likely be the last place this particular story will see print, so do enjoy.

Since many of these stories had to be greatly truncated in order to fit the contest's five-minute time limit, this is the first time most of them have been seen or heard in their entirety. You will notice certain scatological themes repeated throughout these stories, along with an almost obsessive recurring theme of analingus and diseased, unwashed female genitalia.

This repetition was not only unintentional, but I didn't even notice it until I put this little book together. I guess when I think of gross, putting my mouth on something covered in pus, feces, and disease is at the top of my list. That, and the fear that my own obsessive adoration of the female form might lead me to similar excesses of lust and perversion. Though, I honestly can't imagine being obsessed enough with anyone to try sucking their soul out of a dead dog's ass.

Still, you get my point. Or maybe you don't yet, but you will. What follows are some of the sickest, most vile, most despicable acts ever put into print.

Have fun!

Morbid Obesity

Second Place — 2002 Gross-Out Contest, Chicago
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