Screams & Grumbles

“The Rejection Pile”

by Shaylen Maxwell


Dear Writer,

We regret to inform you that we cannot accept your manuscript for publication.  We receive over a hundred submissions every month and only accept three titles per year.  We also prefer to publish only published authors.  Unless you’ve published with us you’re shit out of luck.


Insiders Club Press



Attn: Writer

In these tough economic times, when publishing houses are finding it increasingly difficult to survive, we really appreciate your submission of recyclable paper that we can resell to the paper market to help us fund our daily operations.

We wish you the best of luck with your future pursuits and encourage you to submit again soon–preferably with works longer than a thousand pages.  We’re living scrap to scrap!

Keep writing!

The Editorial Team

Recycled Books


Dear Writer,

I read your manuscript to my dog and he didn’t like it. In fact, he thought so poorly of it, he defecated on it.  In an effort to prove your work was not in vain, please accept the excrement on your SASE as a token of his un-appreciation for your work.  May you cherish this literary criticism and please do take it as a reflection of its value: It stinks!


Editor and Canine Critic

Poop and Scoop Publishing Group



Dear Writer,

We loved your book and are accepting it for publication with us.  The paragraphs that directly follow include publication information on the media tour, the $100,000 advance we’re offering you, and the editorial director with whom you will polish your existing draft.  We’re also delighted to let you know that Hollywood thinks you have the next Twilight and has already offered to buy the film rights for a three picture deal.

Just kidding!  Your novel bites!

What’s that?  You don’t find this letter entertaining?  Well, we didn’t find your manuscript entertaining either. In fact, this rejection letter is as absurd as your novel was.  And FYI, you could only hope to aspire to the kind of tripe Stephenie Meyer writes.


Ruthless Publishing House


Dear Writer,

We apologize for taking over a year to get back to you.  We are inundated with manuscripts at this time. Please query us again in 2110.

Stay up,

Century Books


Attn: Writer

Thank you for your email submission.

This message is an automated rejection letter.  No human has any knowledge you even submitted to us.  Your work was placed into an automatic rejection pile set to wait precisely eight months and sixteen days before triggering a rejection reply (a delay period designed to make our rejections seem especially authentic and inflict maximum torture on aspiring writers.)


The Auto Rejection Robot

Autobot Books



Dear Writer,

Thanks for your submission but unfortunately we have to reject it at this time.

Please take solace in the fact that John Kennedy Toole won the Pulitzer Prize after committing suicide: you too could have your literary aspirations realized after death. If you do take that route, feel free to have a family member query us again, along with your obituary, as proof of death, so we know you’re not wasting our time.  We take dead writers far more seriously.

Best wishes,

The Suicide Press





“Christian Bell, Star of Police Blotter”

by Christian Bell


As part of a plea bargain deal, Christian Bell, a career criminal charged and convicted for numerous crimes, agreed to allow his name be used in police blotter text for crimes that don’t involve him.  In place of words such as “someone,” “a person,” or “a gunman:you will find the name “Christian Bell.”  Some recent entries include the following:


In the 100 block of Bentbrow Bridge Road, a man told police that Christian Bell, who was wearing a turquoise ski mask, approached his car and told him to get out. The victim said he tried to grab the gun and began driving away. The victim said Christian Bell appeared to stumble and subsequently lost his shoes. Christian Bell then stopped to put on his shoes and ran away eastbound.


A neighbor called 911 to complain that Christian Bell was throwing sweet potatoes through car windows.


The actual Christian Bell is male, though as part of the agreement, there is no distinction as to whether or not the perpetrator is male or female.  Some illogical if unsettling entries include


Christian Bell, a female, grabbed the hair of another female  and threw her on the ground in the 500 block of Northeast 37th Street. The girls were arguing about something that was posted on Web site Facebook and subsequently Twitter. No one was charged.


Christian Bell was charged with robbery after she reportedly bit a male clerk and stole jewelry from a Main Street business in the downtown district.


Likewise, there is no distinction in regards to the number of perpetrators, so there may be  multiple perpetrators named Christian Bell.  So, there has to be an implied suspension of disbelief to absorb the following (especially considering that minors are generally not named):


Two 14-year-olds named Christian Bell reported that they were robbed at knifepoint and that their skateboards were taken. It later was determined that both Christian Bells were lying. They recanted their statement and said that they left their skateboards in the bushes near a business on Broadway, but when they returned, the skates were gone.


Three youths named Christian Bell were spotted wrapping a car in plastic wrap.  When approached by police, the three Christian Bells fled.  One of the Christian Bells was apprehended.


The plea bargain deal requires that the name Christian Bell be used as substitution for a period of 18 months.  After that time, there will be a 90-day period where the name Christian Bell will be used to identify new entrants into the witness protection program.  After that period, the name returns to Christian Bell for him to use as he sees fit, pending violations of probation.


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