Do you like dirty jokes? How about dirty and shocking stories? For many people, such topics are better left in the gutter, where (I’m told) they belong. But I’m here to take a stand on behalf of the “smut” some of us are reluctant to embrace. No, not all such stories are worth your time and money, but some of them are; some of them are powerful and provocative, and are important to tell. This week, I recommend Chuck Palahnuik’s short story, “Guts.”
For newcomers unfamiliar with this project, The ZS Roe Vlog is my place to share the best in storytelling. Every two weeks I’ll recommend a novel, short story, poem, or film, and bring you along to the places in which these stories have particular significance.
So, without further adieu, I give you:
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.”
…So begins Chuck Palahniuk’s infamous short story, “Guts,” which appears in his 2005 novel, Haunted. In Haunted, a group of seventeen people choose to participate in a secret writer’s retreat, which quickly becomes a hothouse of horror. The novel’s 23 short stories are the tales these seventeen people write.
In “Guts,” we hear three stories of horrible accidents involving teenage boys masturbating. The first story involves a lubricated carrot; the second, a thin stick of candle wax; and the third, the story from which “Guts” takes its name, involves the circulation pump at the bottom of a swimming pool.
Both shocking and captivating, “Guts” burrows deep and opens wide the horrible secrets families never dare talk about.
Vlog & Video is a rotating segment where I post a new Vlog for two weeks of every month; during the other two weeks, I post and comment on my favourite videos from around the web. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.