A Lost Cause Part 2 by Adam Kluger


“Hey Rudy-toot-tootie–How’s your kazootie?
It’s your ol’ pal Alfred Klumpner from across the pond just checking in again to see if you had any time to read over that short piece of fiction I sent you, “The Rain Washed His Underwear Clean.” I know that Pushing Down The Daisies only publishes poetry but I thought I should explain that the story is really what I would call a “poetic parable” and that the stain in his underwear represents his shame at being a loser and the shark that wants to eat him is really society wanting to kill him…pretty deep, poetic stuff, y’know, mate?

hi alfred
i think you and i are on different poetic wavelengths, im sorry.
i want the language to be something other than your content and stories. Too far afield for my taste.
sorry to disappoint.
best wishes

“No worries, Rudolfo –with your nose so bright– one door closes– and another window opens… I’ve sent “Underwear” to a couple other lit-mags and I’ve got a good feeling on this one–will keep you in the loop as always. Later, pal. Alf!

goodluck, alfred

Dear Alfred Klupner,

Thank you for submitting to Olive Garden Explosion. We have decided not to publish your piece, “The Rain Washed His Underwear Clean.” Some Editorial Board comments:

“I wanted to like this but was confused throughout… the dirty underwear description was pretty gross and completely unnecessary in my opinion”

“I wasn’t drawn in by the overly-hypenated first paragraph, and the setup didn’t really spark my interest- This feels derivative but not of anything good… ”

“I found the writing stiff and awkward.”

” The overuse of hyphenation also makes that paragraph weighty. If I’d been glancing over this, I probably wouldn’t have read on. Also, what was the deal with the underwear?”

“I had trouble with specifics. I gather Azure De Columbus is a fictitious island, but if Madagascar refers to the city in Honduras, there aren’t going to be any islands just south of it, fictitious or not. (Also, my understanding of Columbus is that he never made it south of Madagascar, if it matters.) Roboskowitz also isn’t believably a Spanish name to me (Roboskowitz is Jewish and Tulli sounds Italian?). All that aside, this story was too sentimental for my taste, though it does seem to have sweet aspirations. I felt the characterizations were rather flat, and the wife seemed like a strawman. I’m definitely not a fan of showing non-Caucasian people as simple-minded and superstitious. Overall, this comes across to me as a pretty straightforward religious parable (not my personal cup of tea, and not really what Olive Garden Explosion publishes). Also, lose the paragraph on the underwear. Burn it- like I would like to burn it permanently from my memory if I could.”

“Slight confusion at the beginning, thinking that Tulli and Roboskowitz were 2 different people. The ending, where Tulli is enlightened was confusing as well–it was too abrupt and I didn’t really get the narrative point of it. This piece has a fable-like quality, with an emphasis on the stupid poor man (why must he be stupid?) and God. The man’s character could be better developed. I do like how he throws his dirty underwear into the shark’s mouth.”

“Dear Editors of Olive Garden Explosion:
Thanks so much for your terrific feedback on The Rain Washed his Underwear Clean as Ernest Hemingway once said, the key to being a great writer is having a fail-safe bullshit detector. You guys can be my copy-editors whenever I sell this puppy to Hollywood as a feature film script.
Thanks again!
Alfred Klumpner –spelled with an “M” by the way

Dear Mr. Alfred Klumpner:

Thank you for providing the opportunity to read “The Rain Washes His Underwear Clean” After careful consideration I have decided that it is not quite right for The Eyesocket Express Weeps Over Beethoven.

I am also declining the three submissions you sent minutes after this one, because as the guidelines clearly state, “Please send only one submission at a time. Please wait a week before submitting something else after you get a response.” You obviously knew this and decided to ignore it, so I will kindly ask that you do not submit anything here again in the future as they will be rejected without reading.

Sultan Charnow

“Dear Sultan:
What an appropriate name you have— I feel I should probably bow down at the ground you walk on and thank you profusely for first, taking the time to actually read my short story and then to reject it so carelessly, (which, incidentally, another literary outlet much more well regarded than yours, Olive Garden Explosion, just raved about–as in specific regards to the dramatic, climactic scene between the protagonist and antagonist. In fact, we are in current discussions and correspondence about adapting “Underwear” into a screenplay for the big-screen) —- and then you banish me completely from your literary kingdom forever –right after I unknowingly broke one of your silly submission rules. Booooo… boooo on you… Sultan. You are not a fair and wise king you are a petty tyrant –a paper tiger who has been corrupted absolutely. I hope that The Eyesocket Express Weeps Over Beethoven folds in ignominy under your incompetent stewardship. So glad you are able to read other people’s minds and intentions—-you must be a psychic as well as a sultan. In fact, I think I will write a story about you one day–if I ever get really bored.
Alfred Klumpner, published author of works too numerous to list

Actually, Mr. Klumpner– thanks for the kind reminder. You were already told less than four weeks ago that any further submissions you make would be rejected without reading. Consider this your final rejection and our final correspondence.

“Hey Sully:
Thanks for the “kind” explanation of your arbitrary and capricious submission and acceptance guidelines– I know that one day “The Rain Washed His Underwear Clean” will be a story title on everybody’s lips–but until then– enjoy your lofty position atop the literary universe.
When people are no good at anything else they become writers.-W. Somerset Maugham
That’s my excuse, pal.
Alfred Klumpner

“Hey Rudy:
A message to you….
Just thought up a whizz-banger of a new poem for Pushing Down the Daisies–It’s called The Sultan Banished Me From His Kingdom… Here it is:

the Sultan Banished me from his Kingdom
The Sultan Banished me from his kingdom
He took away my pens and paper
The Sultan banished me from his kingdom
I broke his rules and he could not abide
He reached for my words and he grabbed for my tongue
but all he got was spit.
The Sultan cried, “off with his head” but it was way too late
for any of that.
Cause Ruprecht the Rat had chewed through my hat
So that Sultan can just go roll around in Leaves of Grass
… and I cordially invite him to kiss my ass.

Ruper-Duper: I really like the end of this poem it has a lot of flow and power, if you know what I mean. I also subtly referenced American poet Walt Whitman to class things up a little. A little trick of mine. Anyhoo-hope you like this new one. Lemmeno Geronimo!

hi alfred, ‘fraid we dont publish individual poems.
hope yre well


Adam Kluger


Header photograph: By Jcbutler at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

4 thoughts on “A Lost Cause Part 2 by Adam Kluger

  1. Hi Adam, you do sequels very well!!
    Based on what we are all trying to achieve, your understanding of this process and the humanising of it leaves us with a very amusing and perceptive piece of work wrapped up in some delightful nonsense!
    As good, if not better than your first outing.
    All the very best my friend.


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