Subject: ìGUTSî by Chuck Palahniuk

From: El Queso <>
Date: Thu, Mar 18, 2004

"GUTS" by Chuck Palahniuk


Take in as much air as you can.

This story should last about as long as you can hold your breath, and
then just a little bit longer. So listen as fast as you can.

A friend of mine, when he was 13 years old he heard about "pegging."
This is when a guy gets banged up the butt with a dildo. Stimulate the
prostate gland hard enough, and the rumor is you can have explosive
hands-free orgasms. At that age, this friend's a little sex maniac. He's
always jonesing for a better way to get his rocks off. He goes out to
buy a carrot and some petroleum jelly. To conduct a little private
research. Then he pictures how it's going to look at the supermarket
checkout counter, the lonely carrot and petroleum jelly rolling down the
conveyer belt toward the grocery store cashier. All the shoppers waiting
in line, watching. Everyone seeing the big evening he has planned.

So my friend, he buys milk and eggs and sugar and a carrot, all the
ingredients for a carrot cake. And Vaseline.

Like he's going home to stick a carrot cake up his butt.

At home, he whittles the carrot into a blunt tool. He slathers it with
grease and grinds his ass down on it. Then, nothing. No orgasm. Nothing
happens except it hurts.

Then, this kid, his mom yells it's supper time. She says to come down,
right now.

He works the carrot out and stashes the slippery, filthy thing in the
dirty clothes under his bed.

After dinner, he goes to find the carrot, and it's gone. All his dirty
clothes, while he ate dinner, his mom grabbed them all to do laundry. No
way could she not find the carrot, carefully shaped with a paring knife
from her kitchen, still shiny with lube and stinky.

This friend of mine, he waits months under a black cloud, waiting for
his folks to confront him. And they nev-er do. Ever. Even now that he's
grown up, that invisible carrot hangs over every Christmas dinner, every
birthday party. Every Easter egg hunt with his kids, his parents'
grandkids, that ghost carrot is hovering over all of them. That
something too awful to name.

People in France have a phrase: "staircase wit." In French: esprit de
l'escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer, but it's too
late. Say you're at a par-ty and someone insults you. You have to say
something. So under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something
lame. But the moment you leave the party....

As you start down the stairway, then-magic. You come up with the perfect
thing you should've said. The perfect crippling put-down.

That's the spirit of the stairway.

The trouble is, even the French don't have a phrase for the stupid
things you actually do say under pressure. Those stupid, desperate
things you actually think or do.

Some deeds are too low to even get a name. Too low to even get talked about.

Looking back, kid-psych experts, school counselors now say that most of
the last peak in teen suicide was kids trying to choke while they beat
off. Their folks would find them, a towel twisted around their kid's
neck, the towel tied to the rod in their bedroom closet, the kid dead.
Dead sperm every-where. Of course the folks cleaned up. They put some
pants on their kid. They made it look ... better. Intentional at least.
The regular kind of sad teen suicide.

Another friend of mine, a kid from school, his older brother in the Navy
said how guys in the Middle East jack off different than we do here.
This brother was stationed in some camel country where the public market
sells what could be fancy letter openers. Each fancy tool is just a thin
rod of pol-ished brass or silver, maybe as long as your hand, with a big
tip at one end, ei-ther a big metal ball or the kind of fan-cy carved
handle you'd see on a sword. This Navy brother says how Arab guys get
their dick hard and then insert this metal rod inside the whole length
of their boner. They jack off with the rod inside, and it makes getting
off so much better. More intense.

It's this big brother who travels around the world, sending back French
phrases. Russian phrases. Helpful jack-off tips.

After this, the little brother, one day he doesn't show up at school.
That night, he calls to ask if I'll pick up his homework for the next
couple weeks. Because he's in the hospital.

He's got to share a room with old people getting their guts worked on.
He says how they all have to share the same television. All he's got for
privacy is a curtain. His folks don't come and visit. On the phone, he
says how right now his folks could just kill his big brother in the Navy.

On the phone, the kid says how-the day before-he was just a little
stoned. At home in his bedroom, he was flopped on the bed. He was
lighting a candle and flipping through some old porno magazines, getting
ready to beat off. This is after he's heard from his Navy brother. That
helpful hint about how Arabs beat off. The kid looks around for
something that might do the job. A ballpoint pen's too big. A pencil's
too big and rough. But dripped down the side of the candle, there's a
thin, smooth ridge of wax that just might work. With just the tip of one
finger, this kid snaps the long ridge of wax off the candle. He rolls it
smooth between the palms of his hands. Long and smooth and thin.

Stoned and horny, he slips it down inside, deeper and deeper into the
piss slit of his boner. With a good hank of the wax still poking out the
top, he gets to work.

Even now, he says those Arab guys are pretty damn smart. They've totally
reinvented jacking off. Flat on his back in bed, things are getting so
good, this kid can't keep track of the wax. He's one good squeeze from
shooting his wad when the wax isn't sticking out anymore.

The thin wax rod, it's slipped inside. All the way inside. So deep
inside he can't even feel the lump of it inside his piss tube.

From downstairs, his mom shouts it's supper time. She says to come
down, right now. This wax kid and the carrot kid are different people,
but we all live pretty much the same life.

It's after dinner when the kid's guts start to hurt. It's wax, so he
figured it would just melt inside him and he'd pee it out. Now his back
hurts. His kid-neys. He can't stand straight.

This kid talking on the phone from his hospital bed, in the background
you can hear bells ding, people scream-ing. Game shows.

The X-rays show the truth, some-thing long and thin, bent double inside
his bladder. This long, thin V inside him, it's collecting all the
minerals in his piss. It's getting bigger and rougher, coated with
crystals of calci-um, it's bumping around, ripping up the soft lining of
his bladder, blocking his piss from getting out. His kidneys are backed
up. What little that leaks out his dick is red with blood.

This kid and his folks, his whole fam-ily, them looking at the black
X-ray with the doctor and the nurses stand-ing there, the big V of wax
glowing white for everybody to see, he has to tell the truth. The way
Arabs get off. What his big brother wrote him from the Navy.

On the phone, right now, he starts to cry.

They paid for the bladder operation with his college fund. One stupid
mis-take, and now he'll never be a lawyer.

Sticking stuff inside yourself. Stick-ing yourself inside stuff. A
candle in your dick or your head in a noose, we knew it was going to be
big trouble.

What got me in trouble, I called it Pearl Diving. This meant whacking
off underwater, sitting on the bottom at the deep end of my parents'
swimming pool. With one deep breath, I'd kick my way to the bottom and
slip off my swim trucks. I'd sit down there for two, three, four minutes.

Just from jacking oft' I had huge lung capacity. If I had the house to
myself, I'd do this all afternoon. After I'd finally pump out my stuff,
my sperm, it would hang there in big, fat, milky gobs.

After that was more diving, to catch it all. To collect it and wipe each
hand-ful in a towel. That's why it was called Pearl Diving. Even with
chlorine, there was my sister to worry about. Or, Christ almighty, my mom.

That used to be my worst fear in the world: my teenage virgin sister,
think-ing she's just getting fat, then giving birth to a two-headed,
retard baby. Both heads looking just like me. Me, the father and the uncle.

In the end, it's never what you worry about that gets you.

The best part of Pearl Diving was the inlet port for the swimming pool
filter and the circulation pump. The best part was getting naked and
sit-ting on it.

As the French would say, Who doesn't like getting their butt sucked?
Still, one minute you're just a kid getting off, and the next minute
you'll never be a lawyer.

One minute I'm settling on the pool bottom and the sky is wavy, light
blue through eight feet of water above my head. The world is silent
except for the heartbeat in my ears. My yellow-striped swim trunks are
looped around my neck for safe keeping, just in case a friend, a
neighbor, anybody shows up to ask why I skipped foot-ball practice. The
steady suck of the pool inlet hole is lapping at me and I'm grinding my
skinny white ass around on that feeling.

One minute I've got enough air and my dick's in my hand. My folks are
gone at their work and my sister's got ballet. Nobody's supposed to be
home for hours.

My hand brings me right to getting off, and I stop. I swim up to catch
an-other big breath. I dive down and settle on the bottom.

I do this again and again.

This must be why girls want to sit on your face. The suction is like
taking a dump that never ends. My dick hard and getting my butt eaten
out, I do not need air. My heartbeat in my ears, I stay under until
bright stars of light start worming around in my eyes. My legs straight
out, the back of each knee rubbed raw against the concrete bot-tom. My
toes are turning blue, my toes and fingers wrinkled from being so long
in the water.

And then I let it happen. The big white gobs start spouting. The pearls.
It's then I need some air. But when I go to kick off against the bottom,
I can't. I can't get my feet under me. My ass is stuck.

Emergency paramedics will tell you that every year about 150 people get
stuck this way, sucked by a circulation pump. Get your long hair caught,
or your ass, and you're going to drown. Every year, tons of people do.
Most of them in Florida.

People just don't talk about it. Not even French people talk about
everything. Getting one knee up, getting one foot tucked under me, I get
to half standing when I feel the tug against my butt. Get-ting my other
foot under me, I kick off against the bottom. I'm kicking free, not
touching the concrete, but not getting to the air, either.

Still kicking water, thrashing with both arms, I'm maybe halfway to the
surface but not going higher. The heartbeat in-side my head getting loud
and fast.

The bright sparks of light crossing and crisscrossing my eyes, I turn
and look back ... but it doesn't make sense. This thick rope, some kind
of snake, blue-white and braided with veins, has come up out of the pool
drain and it's holding on to my butt. Some of the veins are leaking
blood, red blood that looks black underwater and drifts away from little
rips in the pale skin of the snake. The blood trails away, disappearing
in the water, and inside the snake's thin, blue-white skin you can see
lumps of some half-digested meal.

That's the only way this makes sense. Some horrible sea monster, a sea
serpent, something that's never seen the light of day, it's been hiding
in the dark bottom of the pool drain, waiting to eat me.

So ...I kick at it, at the slippery, rub-bery knotted skin and veins of
it, and more of it seems to pull out of the pool drain. It's maybe as
long as my leg now, but still holding tight around my butt-hole. With
another kick, I'm an inch closer to getting another breath. Still
feeling the snake tug at my ass, I'm an inch closer to my escape.

Knotted inside the snake, you can see corn and peanuts. You can see a
long bright-orange ball. It's the kind of horse-pill vitamin my dad
makes me take, to help put on weight. To get a football scholarship.
With extra iron and omega-three fatty acids.

It's seeing that vitamin pill that saves my life.

It's not a snake. It's my large intestine, my colon pulled out of me.
What doctors call prolapsed. It's my guts sucked into the drain.

Paramedics will tell you a swimming pool pump pulls 80 gallons of water
every minute. That's about 400 pounds of pressure. The big problem is
we're all connected together inside. Your ass is just the far end of
your mouth. If I let go, the pump keeps working-unravel-ing my
insides-until it's got my tongue. Imagine taking a 400-pound shit and
you can see how this might turn you inside out.

What I can tell you is your guts don't feel much pain. Not the way your
skin feels pain. The stuff you're digesting, doctors call it fecal
matter. Higher up is chyme, pockets of a thin, runny mess studded with
corn and peanuts and round green peas.

That's all this soup of blood and corn, shit and sperm and peanuts
floating around me. Even with my guts unravel-ing out my ass, me holding
on to what's left, even then my first want is to some-how get my
swimsuit back on.

God forbid my folks see my dick.

My one hand holding a fist around my ass, my other hand snags my
yellow-striped swim trunks and pulls them from around my neck. Still,
getting into them is impossible.

You want to feel your intestines, go buy a pack of those lambskin
condoms. Take one out and unroll it. Pack it with peanut butter. Smear
it with petroleum jelly and hold it under water. Then try to tear it.
Try to pull it in half. It's too tough and rubbery. It's so slimy you
can't hold on.

A lambskin condom, that's just plain old intestine.

You can see what I'm up against.

You let go for a second and you're gutted.

You swim for the surface, for a breath, and you're gutted.

You don't swim and you drown.

It's a choice between being dead right now or a minute from right now.

What my folks will find after work is a big naked fetus, curled in on
itself. Floating in the cloudy water of their backyard pool. Tethered to
the bottom by a thick rope of veins and twisted guts. The opposite of a
kid hanging himself to death while he jacks off. This is the baby they
brought home from the hospital 13 years ago. Here's the kid they hoped
would snag a football schol-arship and get an MBA. Who'd care for them
in their old age. Here's all their hopes and dreams. Floating here,
naked and dead. All around him, big milky pearls of wasted sperm.

Either that or my folks will find me wrapped in a bloody towel,
collapsed halfway from the pool to the kitchen tele-phone, the ragged,
torn scrap of my guts still hanging out the leg of my yellow-striped
swim trunks.

What even the French won't talk about.

That big brother in the Navy, he taught us one other good phrase. A
Russian phrase. The way we say, "I need that like I need a hole in my
head...," Russian people say, "I need that like I need teeth in my

Mne eto nado kak zuby v zadnitse.

Those stories about how animals caught in a trap will chew off their
leg, well, any coyote would tell you a couple bites beats the hell out
of being dead.

Hell ... even if you're Russian, someday you just might want those teeth.

Otherwise, what you have to do is-you have to twist around. You hook one
elbow behind your knee and pull that leg up into your face. You bite and
snap at your own ass. You run out of air and you will chew through
anything to get that next breath.

It's not something you want to tell a girl on the first date. Not if you
expect a kiss good night.

If I told you how it tasted, you would never, ever again eat calamari.

It's hard to say what my parents were more disgusted by: how I'd got in
trou-ble or how I'd saved myself. After the hospital, my mom said, "You
didn't know what you were doing, honey. You were in shock." And she
learned how to cook poached eggs.

All those people grossed out or feeling sorry for me....

I need that like I need teeth in my asshole.

Nowadays, people always tell me I look too skinny. People at dinner
parties get all quiet and pissed off when I don't eat the pot roast they
cooked. Pot roast kills me. Baked ham. Anything that hangs around inside
my guts for longer than a couple of hours, it comes out still food.
Home-cooked lima beans or chunk light tuna fish, I'll stand up and find
it still sitting there in the toilet.

After you have a radical bowel resec-tioning, you don't digest meat so
great. Most people, you have five feet of large intestine. I'm lucky to
have my six inch-es. So I never got a football scholarship. Never got an
MBA. Both my friends, the wax kid and the carrot kid, they grew up, got
big, but I've never weighed a pound more than I did that day when I was 13.

Another big problem was my folks paid a lot of good money for that
swim-ming pool. In the end my dad just told the pool guy it was a dog.
The family dog fell in and drowned. The dead body got pulled into the
pump. Even when the pool guy cracked open the filter casing and fished
out a rubbery tube, a watery hank of intestine with a big orange
vita-min pill still inside, even then my dad just said, "That dog was
fucking nuts."

Even from my upstairs bedroom window, you could hear my dad say, "We
couldn't trust that dog alone for a second...."

Then my sister missed her period.

Even after they changed the pool water, after they sold the house and we
moved to another state, after my sister's abortion, even then my folks
never men-tioned it again.


That is our invisible carrot.

You. Now you can take a good, deep breath.

I still have not.


From: (HellPopeHuey)

Ah, good, Christian family stock, the foundation of our great nation,
which sprouts the Children Who Are Our Future. Hmph. Now you know why
pet rocks sold so well. If you're too goddamned stupid to buy a dildo,
you are ignoring both physics and capitalism and DESERVE to have your
guts sucked out by a pump. You'd think everyone but anorexic
cheerleaders had entirely forgotten what a cucumber was. Its more than
just a source of pickles, ho ho ho, Green Giant.


HellPope Huey
Darn, its the Apocalypse and I've nothing to wear

"You mean it took him 50 years
just to get his instructions right?"
"Heaven does not measure time as humans do."
- "The Spectre"

"Don't be afraid... here comes the air."
- "Signs"


From: "Rev. Ivan Stang" <>

El Queso <> wrote:

> "GUTS" by Chuck Palahniuk
> Inhale.
> Take in as much air as you can.



About halfway through that story I totally forgot that it was written
by somebody else and not YOU.

That has got to be the scariest fucking horror story I have EVER read.

But even though I realized afterwards that you, El Queso, beloved
creator of many "Bob"ly songs, had just REPRINTED that story, still,
it was so vividly set up that I will ALWAYS feel sorry for you when I
think of you and your poor anus. Then I'll remember. But this tragedy
will be forever tied in my mind to my mental image of El Queso Narteen

Speaking of which, I mailed you a VHS a month ago or so, addressed to
El Queso Marteen... it never came back, so I'm hoping you got it. Had
"music videos" of recent Dobbs songs inc. the revised Planet X or Bust,
and also the all-Queso Hour of Slack on CD. Well, Much-Queso.

And I TOTALLY SPACED on Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. TOTALLY spaced. It
was on my calendar right there behind me but I didn't look at the
fucking calendar for like 4 days. Kicking myself. It was only a few
blocks away! Fuckety fuck fuck.

But better than jack-off-related crippling injuries. Sheesh. I'm still
SHAKING from reading that. God damn you. Like autopsy photos suddenly
sprung on you in email... something I DON'T NEED RATTLING AROUND IN MY

I knew a guy that would jack off at the bottom of his swimming pool...
he would "fuck" the deflated rubber pool raft. My brother and I
happened to jump into his pool while he was doing it and saw, clearly,
through our divers' masks, those barbells of sperm slowly rotating
through the water -- RIGHT TOWARDS US!! You never saw two poebuckers
jump out of a swimming pool so fast. Like a reverse-motion film of
somebody jumping in.

The medical literature, and weekly enterment magazine columns, are full
of reports of guys injured by fucking belt sanders, tank tread chains,
etc. I must be some kind of homo by comparison. The sickest thing I
ever did was to majorly lust after a very weird-looking crippled blind
girl who sat near me in a music class in college. And I kept that
secret until just now. You bastard.

But I still think of that crippled weird looking blind girl now and
then. Thank god I never asked her out. She was probably a jerk.

"My only vice." -- Pretorious


now realized HOW EASILY I could have STALKED her. You know, secretly
taking Super 8 movies of her as she wheeled herself home, etc. I knew a
guy who did that sort of thing in real life. He showed his footage to
the stalkee one day IN FILM CLASS -- and she SCREAMED and FLED THE
ROOM. May have pressed charges or at least got a restraining order put
on the guy.

Anyway, shit, I blew it. I could be jacking off to pictures of that
weird looking crippled blind girl RIGHT NOW if I'd only THOUGHT!!
Instead I'm sitting here typing alt.slack.fuk, and waiting for my
GORGEOUS LONG LEGGED BLONDE WIFE to come home. Oh the irony!

And believe me, alt.binaries.disabled-devo JUST ISN'T THE SAME.

But maybe as I watch more of that old Woodstock movie tonight, more
memories of youthful sickness will surface! OH BOY!

Hmm I do remember, not that long ago in Portland, I trailed behind an
Inuit looking girl for an inordinate extra couple of blocks because I
was FASCINATED by how... BEAUTIFULLY UGLY she was. She looked like an
honest-to-god Neanderthal or something, really Stone Age. REALLY Stone
Age. With a body that wouldn't quit -- if you don't mind the effects of
rickets. I was in quite a tizzy over her. I don't think she was JUST a
full-blood "Eskimo" -- I think she was a half-breed YETI.

But is musing lustfully over really weird looking chicks as sick as
wanting to get your asshole sucked by a machine while you whap your
frapper? I think not. Ahh. That makes me feel ever so much more
regular. I guess it's all relative, but, gosh, it seems like being kind
of a square has got to be the easier road than full-on hedonism that
might have NO END... LITERALLY. It might LITERALLY leave you with... no
actual HIND END. What's a spurt worth, if in so spurting a man loses
his butt?

4th Stangian Orthodox MegaFisTemple Lodge of the Wrath of Dobbs Yeti,
Resurrected (Rev. Ivan Stang, prop.)


Subject: Re: ìGUTSî by Chuck Palahniuk

"Rev. Ivan Stang" <> wrote:
> I knew a guy that would jack off at the bottom of his swimming pool...
> he would "fuck" the deflated rubber pool raft. My brother and I
> happened to jump into his pool while he was doing it and saw, clearly,
> through our divers' masks, those barbells of sperm slowly rotating
> through the water -- RIGHT TOWARDS US!! You never saw two poebuckers
> jump out of a swimming pool so fast. Like a reverse-motion film of
> somebody jumping in.

Arkansas has a lot of weird pollution going on and MANY jackoffs, so
those sperm get to be about 4-5 foot long, I reckon. You'd BETTER
reverse-jump really well. I dunno exactly what might happen if one of
them GOT you, but it would for sure be like the Rover from "The
Prisoner" doing its thing, just for starters. Think "Eraserhead,"
except instead of raining DOWN, they're coming at you FRONTALLY. Okay,
now its lunchtime.


HellPope Huey
Crouching HellPope, Hidden PillMonkey

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb
voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
- Benjamin Franklin 1759

"The Law is mighty stupid in its implementation
and slower than a Special Olympics medal winner
playing chess with a Simpsons set.
- HellPope Huey


From: nenslo <>

I tried to read a book by that guy once. It was the one that he starts
out by explaining that I really shouldn't read it and I won't like it if
I do, so I said okay, that's good enough for me, this guy is obviously
writing for dumbasses who are going to say oh that's so cool, this guy
writing a story that starts off with him telling you not to read it,
this guy must be some kind of real cool dude and totally great, well I
personally say fuck that shit. There are too many good books I haven't
read for me to waste my time on some Mister Hip Attitude crap.


From: El Queso <>

nenslo wrote:
> I tried to read a book by that guy once. It was the one that he starts
> out by explaining that I really shouldn't read it and I won't like it if
> I do, so I said okay, that's good enough for me, this guy is obviously
> writing for dumbasses who are going to say oh that's so cool, this guy
> writing a story that starts off with him telling you not to read it,
> this guy must be some kind of real cool dude and totally great, well I
> personally say fuck that shit. There are too many good books I haven't
> read for me to waste my time on some Mister Hip Attitude crap.

His books are a riot, but I thought his new one "Diary" was proof that
he is recycling a LOT of his best bits and trying to call it a style.


From: nenslo <>

Yeah well ... you jerk.


From: (MRvDC)

Queso was the first bastard to alert me to the existence of BUBBA HO

In addition. The vibe I get from alt.slack is that he and I are the
only ones here that can appreciate the beautiful childhood blasphemy
of "Meet the Feebles."

If he's ever in L.A. again. He can swing by my place. There's a
Scientology Center about a 5 minute drive away. And I'll perform a
spooky noodle diseased hemophiliac hate dance in front of it in broad
daylight. Let them harrass me. Far as I'm concerned. Forcing me to
breath this air is torture enough. And I'll look ridiculous doing it.
Since I have no external groove. In homage. To Queso.

And I really couldn't give a fuck about Scientology. John Travolta
orders off the menu. Tom Cruise means well but isn't very bright. And
ALL organized religions suck. Except one. And that one isn't very
organized at all FOR GOOD REASON.

What'd YOU ever do for ME! huh! Besides thoroughly CONVINCE ME that

And I have thanked you for that on a previous occasion. Bastard.

*SAY* *IT*!

My fan. It almost seems alien. In the apartment. "Did it come with
this?" Of course not.


From: El Queso <>

I'll let you know the next time I'm gonna be in LA. I want to go sit
through some of the Scientology movies they show at the center there. I
want to sit there and howl with laughter at all the wrong times and tell
them how cool their parody religion is.


From: polar bear <>

nenslo <> wrote:
> I tried to read a book by that guy once. It was the one that he starts
> out by explaining that I really shouldn't read it and I won't like it if
> I do, so I said okay, that's good enough for me, this guy is obviously
> writing for dumbasses who are going to say oh that's so cool, this guy
> writing a story that starts off with him telling you not to read it,
> this guy must be some kind of real cool dude and totally great, well I
> personally say fuck that shit. There are too many good books I haven't
> read for me to waste my time on some Mister Hip Attitude crap.

Man, you are so cool! I bet you didn't steal "Steal This Book" either.



From: nenslo <>

I deny this scurrilous accusation.

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