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by Jason Torchinsky
Writing sure is hard. Believe me, I know. I've given up on writing lots of things because it was so damn hard. And, as any writer will tell you, one of the hardest parts about good writing is coming up with really good characters. Then they'll probably hit you up for a few bucks.

Now, I may not be much of a writer, but I love coming up with characters. I just can't write well enough to use them for anything. But they always appear, popping into my head like it was some sort of pretentious coffee house where they can just sit down and shoot the shit with me and the other ideas in my head, which are usually playing the old outdated arcade machine in there or trying to clumsily hit on one of my sexual fantasies hanging out in the back.

My other problem with these chartacters I create is that they are almost invariably really improbable dipshits. Dorks. Loons, morons, freaks. I don't know what to do with them. So, in the hopes that my problem will become a solution for you, dear web browsers, I rounded up 10 of these freaks and am offering them to all writers out there, to use any way you want. Kill them off, make them a hero, have sex with them, throw them from a train, put them in an experimental undersea colony, I don't care. Use 'em at no charge. Just get them out of my head. Here they are:

* Guy who comes in 5 minutes late to work, which he blames on a '2 Lowenbrau morning'; always wears a partially-zipped windbreaker, which he has many of; really into the music of some group he doesn't realize is a Christian rock group; desparately wants people to think he's cool.
* Guy who sobs uncontrollably whenever the conversation turns to coins or coin collecting.
* Woman who says "okay, check it out" before responding to anything; also, she has a "favorite pen" she's constantly referring to and blaming people for stealing it everytime she misplaces it.
* Guy who wants everyone to think he's very spiritual, so he makes a big production out of unrolling a mat every day at work and "metitatively praying" which involves him chanting things in a made-up language he thinks sounds like arabic. Also, he openly laughs at anyone he sees drinking cola.
* Guy who's sure someone's tapping his phone; also, has an erotic fascination with canteloupe.
* Woman who starts every sentence with "You know what your problem is?"; for lunch every day she eats an entire can of cranberry sauce, which she removes from the can and slices like a roast.
* Guy who gets a visible erection any time a woman mentions something about laundry or dry cleaning; has a really expensive car that he insists on abusing so you'll know how little all that kind of show of wealth means to him, really; also, he smokes a long clay pipe.
* Elderly man who wears his thinning hair in a ponytail and always carries around a pair of swimming flippers, "just in case".
* Guy who fancies himself the ultimate condiment conniseur, talking at great length about the history of mustard and snorting in derision whenever he sees anyone placing condiments on anything, because they're all such amateurs. Also, he wears pants several sizes too tight with thong underwear obviously visible beneath.
* Woman who takes as many self defense classes as possible, to the point where she is an extremely potent weapon; she seeks out any possible reason to use her training on her coworkers or friends. At last count, she's broken over 14 ribs, two clavicles, 11 teeth, and one sternum. She wants to go camping with you this weekend.

© copyright 2001 The Van Gogh-Goghs