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Mommacrit March 2008


Mister Lucky



"Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States."


       After perfunctory opening statements, President Jimmy Carter,

in his slow, Georgia Piedmont accent, announced, "I have given notice

that the United States will not attend the Moscow Olympics unless the

Soviet Union forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan before February



       Robert Rochmann, watching the flickering image on the small

television screen in his hospital room, clicked the remote control.

"Well, that's that.  The bastard.  You know the Ruskies aren't going

to leave in a month."


       "It could be worse.  You could've made the team."  Bill

Chappell, Rochmann's best friend, roommate, and all-around expert on

the good things in life, could be counted on to put matters in



       "Screw you," Rochmann said.


       Chappell laughed.  "Think about it.  Suppose you hadn't torn

your knee.  You're doing your lifetime best lifts, maybe even looking

at a national record at the Olympic trials this spring, and President

Peanut pulls this.  You'd be another Lee Harvey Oswald."


       "Just shut the fuck up, will you!"  But it was true.  If

Rochmann wanted to feel even worse, he could imagine rounding into

peak condition only to have the Olympic rug jerked out from under him

by this sanctimonious peanut farmer.  He didn't want to think about

it, but Chappell was relentless.


       "This actually works to your advantage, you know, Rocko my

boy.  The '84 Olympics are going to be in Los Angeles, right?  You

know the Commies aren't going to turn the other cheek.  They'll

boycott us right back, and . . . " he shot his right fist into the

air in a triumphal gesture, "it'll leave the medals available for

mere mortals who weren't born in the Baltic."


       "You don't know that."


       "C'mon Rocky.  You don't have to be Jeanne Dixon to know the

Soviets aren't going to let this slide.  Wouldn't it be great to

actually think about winning a medal instead of getting your ass

kicked by a bunch of guys whose names look like a rack of Scrabble



       Rochmann had to smile despite his ill humor.  "Bill, I can't

even think about next week, much less 1984.  I've dropped out of grad

school twice now to train for Olympic trials.  Maxed out my student

loans.  I don't know how I'm going to pay for this . . ."  He waved

his hand at the Spartan hospital room.  "I might have to go out to

Seattle and stay with my sister, get some shit job, I don't know, a

waiter or something, 'til I pay off some debts."


       "Yeah, you could take up bodybuilding.  Be a cocktail waiter

in a gay bar out there.  Rake in the tips."


       Rochmann glared at his tormenter but said nothing.  The funny

man seemed determined to have the last word.


Reaction from Mommacrit


First off, has R.Poppen followed the guidelines?


“Send Mommacrit the first page of your story or novel. It must be less than 501 words. Label it clearly with its title, your name or a nom-de-plume, and its genre.”


Not only does R.Poppen have a name or nom-de-plume that would make a great Popcorn Product, but also R.Poppen has not supplied the genre. Quelle Surprise! as the French would say.


Mommacrit believes one of the most important pre-requisites for a writer is to be able to read. Strange how few writers who’ve submitted their five hundred words have been able to follow the Momma’s guidelines. Is this a new trend perhaps, part of a global conspiracy to remove the reading gene from writers so some crazed monomaniac can corner the market with off-the-wall books? Mommacrit doesn’t know, but she fears, oh yes, she fears.


Has R.Poppen sent Mommacrit a hook, a page to lure a reader into buying the book?

Allure is the Momma’s second name. However, there was not much lure to this hook.


At first glance, this story beginning reads well. The dialogue gives a good sense of both characters. The writing is clean and as tight as a Huggies Newborn. There are no spelling errors and only one punctuation nit. Come on, Momma, what’s the problem?


Maybe it’s because the Momma is just not that into weight-lifting since she put her back out in the Great 2005 Naked Limbo Contest. Maybe it’s because the first paragraph reads like a parade of proper nouns. Maybe it’s because there is no sensory detail to hook the Momma into the characters. Or because James Swain has already won the Momma’s heart with his novel, Mr Lucky: A Novel of High Stakes.


Whatever the reason, after Mommacrit finished this excerpt from R. Poppen’s Mr Lucky, she found herself thinking, “So what?” and “Why should I care?”


That is not the way to hook a reader. There should be impatience for more, not ho hum accompanied by some mild admiration for technical correctness.


Besides, the Momma prefers peanuts to popcorn.