April 22, 2010 — An epic night at Cambridge's Enormous Room served up genius judging, genius readings, and a literary Hockey-Baseball Book-Knock-Over Shootout that saw Beacon Press reader-rep Jay Wexler outsnipe Quick Fiction reader-representative Christen Enos 3-2 in overtime, making Wexler Boston's latest Literary Death Match Champion.
But before hockey sticks and foam baseballs were brandished, the 10th stop of Opium100's Monster Fundraising Tour (support Opium: subscribe now!) kicked off with Edmond Caldwell (of the Contra James Woods blog) going word-for-word against Enos. Caldwell started off with a perfectly-performed methane-rich tale that had the audience in titters, followed by Enos, who was steady in delivering four fantastic short-shorts.
The mic was then turned over to the night's trio of all-star judges, led by author extraordinaire Pagan Kennedy (Confessions of a Memory Eater), Gretel's Reva Williams, and comedian Rob Crean. The threesome whirred through a string of brilliant comments, highlighted by Crean's curiosity over exactly what the fart in Caldwell's story smelled like. Then, host Todd Zuniga asked for their decision. After a long deliberation, they elected to announce Enos as the night's first finalist.
After a boozy intermission, round two kicked off with Wexler taking the mic first against idiosyncratic scribe Karyn Polewaczyk. Wexler wowed with a pair of stories that started with work being "Too Fu" about Chinese poet Du Fu, and followed by a story about a black and white animal zoo featuring animals that were only black and white. A tough act to follow, Polewaczyk was stunning with a story that dealt with the repercussions of break-up make-outs and the fear of near-pregnancy.
The judges again took to the mic, with Kennedy announcing that the CVS Pharmacy and sex go hand-in-hand for women, while Williams admired both Polewaczyk's dynamite shoe choice, and Wexler's Harry Potter-glassed look. But after a discussion, the trio narrowly decided Wexler deserved to advance to the finals.
Then came a Boston-specific finale that highlighted the start of the MLB season, the Boston Bruins playoff run, and literature. Enos and Wexler were tasked with using child-sized hockey sticks to fire foam baseballs at a stand of six books — the first to knock down three would be the victor. After Wexler raced to an early 2-0 lead, the finale seemed decided, but Enos struck back with a "double play" knocking down two books with one shot. Only hardcovers remained and it was Wexler who wrist-shotted a strike first, knocking down the decisive book, and becoming a literary immortal with his LDM victory.