Despite dire advance warnings out of Seattle, last night's Literary Death Match was fun. The judges were witty (Scott Poole's reaction to one story: "It made me feel like a hobo reading Vanity Fair in a dumpster and getting a hard-on from smelling the perfume ad") and/or entertainingly wasted (Zia McCabe: props for demanding—and getting—tequila shots from the audience. And for smoking weed onstage. You're still rock 'n' roll). The readers were invested and animated (although, Kerry Cohen, if you're going to flash the judges, you really oughta throw the audience a bone as well). The crowd was drunk and affable, and were good sports about the fact that by night's end, the host was too drunk to complete a sentence, and things had gotten pretty fucking ridiculous.
For the promised "absurdly comical climax to decide the winner," Arthur Bradford and Riley Parker faced off in a smoothie-making contest. (I volunteered to be a judge and was given fruit-slicing duties that included cutting a mango in half. Seriously, that is how drunk people lose fingers.)
Future Tense's Riley Michael Parker won the night, and deservedly so, with a precise, mordant piece that judge Chelsea Cain described as a cross between Bukowski and Judy Blume. That kid can write. Never read his stuff? Want to? Why it just so happens that I have copies of his first three chapbooks, which I will happily send to whomever can do the best Bukowski-meets-Blume impression in the comments. By 3 pm on Monday, please.