August 13, 2009—The Emerald City debut of the Literary Death Match at Rendezvous' Jewel Box Theater was an instant classic, as the two remaining gladiators—Ryan Boudinot (representing Monkeybicycle) and HTMLGiant's Matthew Simmons—knifed it out in a LDM original: Stab a Hole in Nebraska!™. In the end, Simmons' blade-sized penetration through northeast Arkansas was closer to Omaha than Boudinot's "knife punch" through Nevada, making Simmons the first-ever northeastern Literary Death Match champ!
Much earlier, when the night kicked off in front of an appropriately rowdy but surprisingly undersized crowd, the night's first two combatants traded the stage, with Simmons leading off against New York Tyrant's Peter Gajdics. Simmons read a raucous piece that included these things: David Hasselhoff, a boom mic, democracy, Diff'rent Strokes. He was then followed by Gajdics who read a pair of heartbreaking pieces, starting with Opium8's 500-Word Memoir Contest winning story (video of this reading is in our Video section), and followed with a wrenching story about a concentration camp.
The mic was then turned over to the judges: Mary Guterson (Gone to the Dogs), The Stranger's Lindy West, and video-game master (and Bungie producer) Luke Smith. A tough decision ahead—Simmons' levity v. Gajdics weightiness—West declared war on Simmons' outfit, bashing the casualness of his pants/shoes versus the classiness of his tie/vest. And of Gajdics, Smith made a Legend of Zelda reference, saying, "You touched on the three things you can't make fun of, the Triforce of Safety. 1. A touching story about self-identity, 2. a brutal past, and 3. harsh family environment." In the end, humor won out, and Simmons was selected the night's first finalist.
After a brief intermission came Round 2. Boudinot led off the proceedings by reading a story with a recycled Whole Foods bag over his head—two eyeholes cut out—from the perspective of the bag (check out videos section for the entire story). Then up stepped Matt Briggs (Reading Local: Seattle), who struck back at the Boudinot buzzsaw by reading a crumbling and lewd relationship that showcased enough hilarity and flair to win the judges hearts. After the judges passed the mic around—Guterson relaying the oddity that she, too, wore a bag over her head earlier that night (though only for the rain), West speaking at length about porn that featured...wait for it...an intestine pulling, and Smith loving Boudinot for not getting moral—the judges selected Boudinot to advance as the night's second finalist.
Then came the return of an old LDM classic, Stab a Hole in Nebraska! After Simmons sliced a sliver into Arkansas, there was plenty of Nebraska for Boudinot to stab, but after his three dizzying spins, Boudinot buried the knife (and his fist) into the Rockies, winning Simmons the LDM crown, and Seattle immortality (see the final stabbing in our Videos section).