So apparently someone took the time last night to sort through what must have been thousands of search results to find my little blog based on the search term "Olive Garden." I saw in my analytics that someone had arrrived at my site by searching for "Olive Garden" and I thought "jeez, wouldn't you find what you're looking for a little sooner than like search result number 4,583 where a guy name-checked them like twice?"
But hey, she felt compelled to post a comment. A little bit on the obsessive/creepy/gross/unstable/off-the-ol'-meds side but whatever stuffs your chicken, as they say at the garden. But who would I be not to offer some constructive criticism on her little piece? Here's the text of her post. Anonymous, of course. You can't always hang out in the back. Welcome to center stage.
Howard, I don't even have any idea who you are...found this post by some strange mistake, I was just looking for a job at the Olive Garden and I thought this was pretty funny except...we all know that Olive Garden is where Jesus would choose to have his last supper these days, but there are just the little things that could be improved upon...the little things...the little things that drove my buddy Charlie to kill that bitch Sharon, that night up in the Hills...would have been fine without all the Peyote...but after we smeared her blood on the walls and ate the unborn fetus out of that blonde bitches womb...it was a bit too much you know...and then Charlie went away and he's still there...but there are still a few of us out here and I used to work at an Olive Garden in Menlo Park, when I would drive down to Corchran, that's Fresno, you know, to visit Charlie...and he always would say, Olive Garden, that's Italian, ain't it...he...he...that's Charlie, that's how he talks...Olive Garden, that's Italian ain't it...he...he...and that's how I found this post because I'm looking for another job. But then I realized you were making fun of Olive Garden and Charlie always laughed when I said where I was working...so now I'm not looking for a job anymore, I know what I have to do, it's what Charlie wants me to do, and what Charlie wants is what Charlie gets, that's another thing he always said...what Charlie wants is what Charlie gets...and then he'd go off and fuck that bitch Suzy, Suzy Atkins...but this time he'll fuck me, because I'm going to bring him a present, I'm going to bring him your breadstick and your olives in my purse, and that always turns Charlie on...and he's always laughed when I said I worked at the Olive Garden...He says, Olive Garden, that's Italian...he...he...so I know he's going to laugh when I bring him your breadstick and your olives...What was your name again, oh yes, Howard, that's a nice name...we partied with a Doctor named Howard...out in the Desert by Coachilla...and then Charlie got sooo mad, because he caught him kissing that bitch Suzy, and that's why I'm so sure he's going to be happy when I bring him parts of you Howard, because he's always laughed when I said where I worked...
3:24 AM ( 12:24 PST)"
Yeah. Where to even start with this one. Here are some thoughts to at least get a second draft started. But let me say, we're a ways from something approaching "readable."
- Ease up on the ellipses. Step back a little and look at the piece. Let your eyes unfocus. It looks like a rabbit ran through it, dropping droppings as he went. Or Peter Cottontail left some eggs. Or that a submarine was sending out Morse code messges as it went. Any of those is not good.
- On the same note, think about periods. Even better, use them.
- Things like "peyote", "desert" and "doctor" are not proper nouns and don't need to be capitalized unless they're modifying people or places. It just confuses the reader when you capitlize stuff all willy-nilly like you do. And that's no good.
- The eating of unborn fetuses, while making for some pretty shocking and awesome reading (that's rad!) to be sure, is just kinda gross. It just kinda turns you off right off the bat. Avoid if possible.
- It's clear here that the protagonist has some self-worth issues. If this "Charlie" guy (who sounds really stable and like a stand-up guy by the way) is so into Suzy or whoever then why not leave him? Is she emotionally fragile? Is that in an effort to make the reader sympathize with her? Also, she's in love with a murderer. Something to think about. Hard to sympathize with for most people.
- I get confused about the relationship between the protagonist and this "Charlie." He's initially referred to as a "buddy" yet by story's end is the object of her desire. So much so that she wants to castrate a man to please him. Unclear at best. I'm not buying it. And again, I'm not buying why she'd be attracted to a man who wants genitals as a gift. Yuck.
- Also, your locations are scattered six ways from Fresno. A "blonde bitch" is killed in the hills then you say there are "still a few of us out here" yet it's unclear where that "here" is or even where the protagonist is currently. Someone else is in Cochran, Fresno, Menlo Park...zzzzzzzzzzzz, your reader doesn't care and is now asleep.
- And this "Charlie." The protagonist says he "likes a good joke" and always laughed when she said where she worked yet she somehow feels he'll be pleased when she arrives to present him with an unkown man's genitalia in her purse. There are some logic issues there. Moreover, a purse seems woefully small to do the job. At least in my case. I'd budget in for extra baggage charges.
- Speaking of "your breadstick and your olives." I really wanted to like this euphemism for male genetalia. Honestly. But somehow it's not working for me. Sounds more cute than scary. Like "I wouldn't mind a little unlimited breadstick and olives tonight" or something equally unimaginative. It sounds more like a pet name than something you're gonna cut off. Think about some other word choices. Again, be scary. Ooooo.
- Oh and out of curiosity, Charlie's last name isn't Manson by any chance, is it? 'Cause alot of it kind of sounds like this guy I've read about. California, deserts, dead blonde bitches, Sharon, "going away for a while"—they sound familiar. Like maybe someone is working on a criminal justic degree at a community college and wanted to impress us with what they learned during Thursday evening's class. Dig deeper for something a little less obvious. My two cents, anyway.
- Lastly, try not to take things you read in blogs so terribly seriously. I mean, seriously, that was easily 10-15 minutes you could have spent doing something else way more fun than telling some stranger you aim to gut him.
Now get back out there and make it sing!