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by Paperback 

Posted: 25 March 2004
Word Count: 273
Summary: The promised 'B' needs a lot more work towards the end. As does the 'C'. They're also much longer than the others that have been posted up here. Here's the 'D', it's very, very, short but buys me a couple of days to try and rectify these. Hope you ebjoy, it'll only take you a couple of seconds to read.

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My friend DeMarco sure was ugly. His face was one whole mix up with all his distinguishing features like his eyes and nose and mouth squashed up and packed into a dark, knotted, corner just below his right cheekbone.
Whenever I asked DeMarco what it was like having such an unusual facial arrangement, he said that it made it difficult to see things and that he wished I wouldn’t always stand in his blind spot.
To add to this confusion DeMarco’s hair and eyebrows and moustache all sat on top of one another in the centre of his forehead. In a vain effort to stop this looking so slapdash, he styled his tower of locks and tresses into one huge, ginger, hair horn using a brand-name sticky pomade that would leave grease marks all over my walls and fabrics.

A lot of the time, when we went outside to buy food or look at the sky, people would stop us in the street to get a closer look. The old women and some of the taller children would sometimes laugh and poke DeMarco in his ugly face with their fingers and pens, thinking that he was wearing some kind of grotesquely sick mask. They would always apologise when they saw DeMarco’s cheeks turn red and his sunken, bloodshot, eyes emit a salty stream of tears that travelled uncomfortably down his hideous face.
As I led DeMarco away I always made sure that I told these people not to bother apologising, and that really, they shouldn’t worry. After all, I’d remember to mention, we were both extremely happy just the way we were.

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Comments by other Members

Nell at 14:32 on 25 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Matthew,

This is a really difficult piece to comment on, firstly because it's so short and I can't for the life of me imagine where you're going with it, but also because it makes an uncomfortable read. I think I'd need to read some more before deciding. The writing is confident although I noticed a couple of misplaced commas, and you could look at those places where you have more than one adjective.

I've just re-read your summary, and it appears to suggest that this is a complete piece. If this is so I can only repeat that I don't believe there's enough here to form a satisfying and complete short - it needs a twist in the tail, an overturning of expectations. The only ending I can imagine would be that the narrator turns out to be a child and that DeMarco is an ancient and much battered toy monkey. That would make the reader sigh with relief after the discomfort of the 'uglyism' of the piece, although I must admit it would be somewhat twee unless handled cleverly. Sorry I can't be more help.

Best, Nell.

Jumbo at 19:02 on 25 March 2004  Report this post
Very strange! Don't know what to make of this. It seems to sit on the very edge of being offensive, but in a sort of controlled, evenly paced manner.

Sorry, ( you did say 'I can take it!' ) but there's something very uncomfortable about this. It may be imaginative but the only emotion it touches is sadness, perhaps revulsion!


Paperback at 19:28 on 25 March 2004  Report this post
That's exactly the response i wanted! A world of social mis-fits and emotional hollows; you are meant to feel uncomfortable and uncertain about what you've read. I wanted people to question the point of it (if any). I also wanted to drop in a few really short peices every now and again, just simply to break things up. Maybe as the full collection takes shape, it may begin to make a little more sense.

Cheers for he comments though.

Fearless at 19:39 on 25 March 2004  Report this post
Reminds me of a Belgian film, 'Man Bites Dog'. Very funny, but at the same time, you feel rotten with yourself because of what you just laughed at. That reaction ultimately didn't detract from the film, or from this piece. Write on, and show me what else you can do!


SamMorris at 19:46 on 25 March 2004  Report this post
Weird, but in a way compelling. I only felt like a snapshot though, not a complete story, as if this was the start of something, or just a short section. Interesting all the same.

All the best


Becca at 20:35 on 25 March 2004  Report this post
Matt, it's a description. I think it interesting, it isn't a short story. I wonder whose writing you read? Can I turn you on to the early works of Tom (Corregesan) boyle.

roger at 11:15 on 26 March 2004  Report this post
Well I liked this. Okay, it's not a short story, but I think it's a bit more than a description. I could see DeMarco, I could see the mocking fingers, and I thought the fact that it was clear the writer also had problems without actually being told so, was clever. It said something about life, hence the 'more than a dfescription', and that 'something' was something worth saying. The writer has a voice, and it's an unusual voice, and therefore worthwhile. Yes, I liked it.

scottwil at 11:25 on 26 March 2004  Report this post
I liked it too. I agree with Nell though. It feels like the ending needs a twist through some kind of explicit relationship - child and toy, husband and wife etc.
I'm tickled by the idea of people prodding him with pens.


ShayBoston at 17:07 on 17 April 2004  Report this post
Matthew, I said I'd read in order, but was put off by length of B and C. This one doesn't say enough for me. What it does say is abstract. I know I've only read two, but my concern would be that your anthology would not be a 'pageturner'.


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