September Shocks #11 – Andrew Paul Grell

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By Andrew Paul Grell

“Some submission call, ey? Usually they just want email or Submittable, maybe post.  Never had ta shows up me own self,” the Newfoundlander observed.

“Consider the medium, sailor.  Otherwise people would just photoshop.

“Nice ink, by the way.  Sure you had enough room for a story?”

“No problem.  Girls have more skin to play with.  So to speak.  Imelda,” the athletic-looking woman stated, extending her hand.

“Willet Shea, Seaman, in that and all t’other things first class.  Pleasin’ t’meetcha, Miladyship. Gobsmacked there’s nay more here could use two thousand greenbacks.”

Imelda flashed a brief look of disbelief at her interlocutor’s name, deciding it must be a coincidence; Queens, New York might not be the only place with a Willet.

“The call had some pretty strict rules.  How many people have photos of themselves, naked, pre-ink?  Maybe the five of us are it.”

“I’s the one’d bet narry a one save me, never been known fer me smarts.  But what else ta’ do on such a mausey day, good bein’ inside.  But gutfounded I am, one’d think they’d a knacked some o’ yer New York bagels, maybe with smoked fish I mighta caught me own self.”

They were in a non-descript space in a midtown building known for short term rentals of such spaces.  Holiday Inn paintings, plastic flowers.  The receptionist called the submitters up one by one to collect photos and cover letters.  Two men wheeled in what looked like strip club pole-dance platforms.  Each author was asked to strip sufficiently to display their literary merit.  Every writer was put in B&D cuffs.  Finally, the Editor made an appearance, followed by three cloaked submission committee members, and began judging the submissions.

“Let’s see.  H. H. Fallon.”  The micro-flash writer presented his butt.  “I am Taylor Meade. This is my ass.  Andy Warhol can kiss it,” the editor read out loud.  “Derivative,” he observed, turning to the committee.  “Hmm.  They like it.”

“Rhonda Montaigne. I’m ridden hard and – put up wet again again – Enough for this horse.  Very nice.  You’re in.”  The men released her, and the receptionist handed her a check.

“Willet Shea.  Let’s see.  Out on the rioling sea, arctic char come to me. Quinaniche and cod, this fishing’s much too odd.  Typo.” A committee member power-sanded the offending word, correcting it much too close to a vital external part. “Thank you, you may go.“  Imelda and the remaining hopeful shared a worried look.

“Elinor White?  Really? My little horse must think it queer between the woods.  No! Redaction! Poems!”  Imelda watched in horror while a committee member flayed the entirety of Elinor’s flesh containing the monstrosity.

She steeled herself.  The editor got five words into “Ode to a Real Pretzel” before a man uncloaked revealing a Tom Seaver uniform.

“Gary, what the fuck are you doing here?”

Imelda’s ex-husband seared the cheese steak and square pretzel poem from her back and tarred the Philly Phanatic tattoo.  Then pulled a rope, causing $2,000 in coins to bury his disloyal wife.

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