‘Guts’ by Chuck Palahniuk

I think it was Mike Harrison who nudged me in Palahniuk’s direction. He’d read ‘grow and grow and grow‘, a short story I wrote for Barbara Campbell’s durational performance 1001 nights cast. In an email, he’d said something about it having traces of splatterpunk and suggested I might like ‘Guts’. He was right: I love it. It’s outrageous. “Grody to the max,” to borrow from Moon Zappa in the 1982 hit single, ‘Valley Girl’. And I like it even more having discovered, via Wikipedia, that over 70 people have fainted in response to it. Although I don’t know whether they fainted in response to the subject of the story or because they obeyed the commands of the first four sentences:
Inhale.
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.
From here, my fifth story should probably be taken from Harry Mathews’ Singular Pleasures, but I think one reference to masturbating is enough for this anthology. Less is more etc.
Available online here and forms part of Haunted (Doubleday, 2005) but originally published in Playboy, March 2004

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