Hey Chuck. Wow what an awesome surprise! It’s my birthday, so unbeknownst to you, you gave me a great birthday present! Thanks for all the feedback. I did struggle with using first person, second person, and third person in this one and can now see where I need to make some tweaks. I have a couple of questions here.

1. There were things I left out due to trying to meet the word limit. With what you’ve mentioned, there will for sure be a few cuts and changes, but I can only see it getting longer. Are you saying it’s ok to get a little long on this one to give it more depth/background as long as it works and is relevant?

2. It’s funny you ask how I met Naomi (Leah). We met on a dating app. Both of us had been ghosted by someone who we were supposed to meet that night (later it ended up she broke up with me over that same guy — who she made it sound like she wasn’t at all interested as they were “friends with benefits” — even though he had merely gotten a new girlfriend and that made her jealous — who knows if that was even the truth). On our first date I traded mushrooms for acid with Naomi, but I explained I’d never done acid before. Which led to our second date where we tripped at my house together and she ended up staying over. It’s funny you ask to particularize the acid, because I had no knowledge of acid and still don’t know a lot beyond using it, but maybe I can tie this in more. The blotter tabs were Super Mario, so maybe I can use that?

3. I’m still seeing Jamie (Josie). She actually wants to try acid. I know a lot of people who can get things, but Naomi is the only one who can get acid. It’s hard to find. I’d been no contact with Naomi and told Jamie that I’d have to talk to her to get her some — and she’s fine with that. Definitely no intentions of reconciling with Naomi. But the text conversations after months of no contact, then me asking for acid (after returning Naomi’s stuff — details below) have been … interesting. (Naomi: “If there’s no hard feelings, then why did you unfriend me on facebook. It seems like you just want an acid hookup.”) Re: “left behind objects” After months of no contact, I ended up leaving Naomi’s stuff and the hard drives on her doorstep without seeing her after she refused to make a decision on how she wanted me to return them. It’s gotten weird. After asking her for acid, she wanted me to re-add her on Facebook.

4. Are there any sections you think I should consider cutting entirely? I cut out a few parts later after initially posting it as they seemed to not be working.

It seems like some of what I’ve mentioned above may fit well into the story. Let me know whatever your thoughts might be. By the way — I have read Thom Jones’ Unchain My Heart. I’ll for sure go back and re-read that one! And I’ll check out the Dorothy Parker story as well.

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Loved reading this story and the edits. I struggle with tense sometimes and the deftness between past/present in that one paragraph, damn. Well done, Elliott!

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Bright writing and sharp critique. Dayam. Thanks both of you.

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The voice in this is great! I especially loved the "And today at the store you bought Wild Cherry Pepsi instead of Cherry Coke." line. In my experience, trying to write with a "light/breezy" voice takes a lot of skill and here I really think it sells the piece.

I would love to see you step on the name thing a bit more, just to see what comes out of it. I think it would really work if you went on to make this a cyclic story as well.

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Nice job, "Elliott" ;) And Happy Birthday!!

Here's a line I really could relate to: "You keep playing after she dumps you, even though she’s the one who got you into this dumbass game in the first place."

I think I once played like 4 million games or so of this weird version of handheld solitaire during/after a breakup, even though the person who taught me the game was the guy who dumped me's cousin or something. So yeah, that was the line for me.

Also this line: "Leah told you she loved you. But she didn’t say it first. Big mistake. "

I too, typically try to avoid dreams in stories, but along with Chuck, this one worked for me.

And I'm with Matt on the Wild Cherry Pepsi instead of Cherry Coke line. Call me cheesy, but you know that song Driver's License by Olivia Rodrigo? Well, I'm a total sucker for the childhood singsong part where the lyrics are: "Red lights, stop signs/I still see your face in the white cars, front yards/Can't drive past the places we used to go to"

And even though I have been out of breakup mode for a very long time, I can still come back to that feeling about not being able to drive the same route as you used to with someone you were so in love with. The choosing a different pop line reminds me of that feeling. Like can’t drink this anymore now, thanks to you.

I'm glad you took pain to the page.

Great work.

Thanks for sharing.

Here's to a new year.

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I loved the “Josie’s as hot as a microwave oven.” Especially because the heat is erratic, always leaves cold spots, and the microwave itself never heats up.

Fantastic metaphor.

I really enjoyed what you’ve done and I’m excited to see the next draft.

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Fun story! Don’t Friend again!

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Hey Chuck, is there a strategy to switching tenses within a story?

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Nice story! I liked the part with the bench and still playing Pokemon Go even though they broke up. I like the passage of time being mentioned when the app was downloaded. The end where she blots out his picture on the dating app. I imagine the kids on the That 70s Show couch yelling "Burn!!!!" Very brutal. Very good ending!

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Oh Chuck -- I just wanted to let you know I had to look up what the word ‘deft’ means. No joke. Figured you might get a laugh. Yep. Don’t know my words or what I’m doing!

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