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The only one left to call

62 thoughts on “The only one left to call

  1. Can’t help but wonder if this will ever pivot away from ‘man what a heinous bitch Quinn is’, I hope she gets smacked around some more. Because lately? It’s been scenting of a bash fanficfion in terms of characterization. The storytelling was interesting and funny initially, when all of the characters had some redeeming attributes but at this point it’s getting strange.

    1. Hmm, I disagree with you. This whole situation has been escalating; we didn’t get here suddenly or gratuitously.

      Quinn’s defining characteristic is the shell she has built around herself, and mere words from Ellie failed to get past the shell. Given this shell, Quinn’s actions and words match up with her personality IMHO.

      At this point, an introspective person might be contemplating how much of the situation is her own fault, but that’s not Quinn. None of this could possibly be Quinn’s fault; it’s almost an axiom. (This is not the same thing as “Quinn’s just a bitch pure and simple.”)

      I am not able to predict where this is going. If Eagan were to tell Quinn “it sounds like this is almost completely your fault” that might rock her back on her heels enough to think about it for a moment. But he is laconic and passive, and I’m not sure he would make that comment. He might, though, if he has decided he wants to stay away from the crazy person, and he would explain why.

      After this, Ellie must be thinking “I want to be somewhere else far away from Quinn” but she’s kind of trapped. She had great trouble finding a room in the first place, and if she tried to find another one now she would have to do it when she isn’t working a shift. (Or double shift even!) On the other hand, Ellie must have had fights with her sisters and she might be willing to let bygones be bygones if Quinn makes any sort of sincere apology… but I’m not betting on Quinn to apologize. (And Quinn won’t have had any experience with this sort of fight and is probably in shock.) So as I said I really don’t know where this is going.

      Quinn might come home and find all of Ellie’s stuff gone, plus a check for pro-rated rent (but none for the future and nothing for repairing damage from the fight). Ellie might come home and find Quinn evicted. Ellie might end up rooming with Tired Guy’s granddaughter/niece/whatever if she really exists (maybe she is “Pika-you” girl?). Ellie and Quinn might end up mending fences, maybe even becoming friends. And I’m not even going to guess about Quinn’s future with Alex and/or Eagan.

      If you really think this is just fan-fiction level writing, place a bet on what you think the outcome will be, and see if the story really is as predictable as you think. (Rusche has even given us hints as to what the story is doing and where it is going.)

    2. So, you would just fast forward past Quinn being a bitch? Not a fan of conflict or something?

      Quinn’s being a terrible person at the moment. A “moment” in an ongoing, story-driven comic strip like this one can be weeks. Therefore Quinn has to be terrible for weeks. I’m sure some day, long before it all ends, she will redeem herself. Honestly, if this were a bash fanfic, Quinn could be made to look a lot worse than she has been lately.

    3. I appreciate you expressing your concerns over the storyline. As anyone who’s gotten a response to an email from me will tell you, I always encourage reader inquiries. Good or bad. My following comment is “explanatory” only. Do not read into any words as criticism directed towards you, from me.
      I think what the underlining problem is with your reading experiencing with the story right now is ‘update fatigue.’ I got alot of this during the Star Wars/Gump parody. There’s just a certain amount of strips we have to wade through to tell the story… and 2-3 weeks of being stuck in one argument can be grueling. But if it’s what’s necessary, it’s what’s necessary. I always view the comics in the long run, as in: How will it read if someone plowed through the entire archive? How would it read in book format? The “Quinn and Ellie just can’t get along” plot will be a passing glance 5 to 6 storyarcs from now. This is like one episode of a TV show to me.

      There’s also the building tension, which has now hit its breaking point. I was, at first, puzzled by the idea I was writing fanfiction about my own main storyline that wasn’t even published yet. If this were an attempt at bad fan fiction, there’d be alot more kissing.

      You had written on the previous comic:
      “It’s always baffling to me when people pull the ‘it’s OK to lay hands on someone if they insult you enough’. Words should be met with words or, if someone wants to actually maintain some dignity when thugs get really acrimonious, a turned back and walking away. That’s not some pacifistic stance, either, it’s just basic civilization.”

      It’s basic civilization to those of us that AREN’T these two immature girls. I can’t at this point envision Ellie saying “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, Quinn.” That’s not what the story has culminated to. You have Quinn’s selfish, insecure attitude and projectionist anger pitted against Ellie’s sheltered ignorance, and juvenile impatience. One’s borderline complete-narcissist, and one’s a potential altruist. They’re just plain sick of each other.

      As the title suggested in the last update, diplomacy fails sometimes. Sometimes people resort to just knocking sense into someone else. Not everyone. But in the case of this story, Ellie did. She has 6 other sisters I’m sure she’s come close to doing the same with. It’s not my fantasy. It’s the probable scenario we’ve come to in the story. Ellie is not Quinn’s doormat. And she’s not a sponge for all of Quinn’s bad past experiences.

      Quinn does infact have redeeming qualities. But the story-flow has to allow for them first. I have to get there. Stay with me on this. The end of this chapter is already written, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. It’s not abnormal to have a story with a character everyone hates. Quinn is a mini-boss compared to what the story will have in the future. I will ALSO say, that my webcomic is very typical of most. It’s reality: exaggerated. It flirts with real life, but it’s here to entertain. If you think it’s strange now… God help you in 3-4 years. =)

      1. Then there are fans like me who could smell the impending weirdness last fall and are anxiously awaiting it.

      2. I completely agree that words should be answered by more words. And I wouldn’t have hit Quinn had I somehow been in Ellie’s shoes.

        But it is perfectly in character for Ellie to lose her composure and slap Quinn. And no one should think that this comic is making light of the consequences… Quinn looks pretty beat up and unhappy already and I am sure there is more to come.

      3. HOT DAMN. Four more years. This is one time that I’m definitely happy to say that about something that is not political.

  2. Man, but Ellie’s gotta be scrappy. On the one hand, I gotta think that Quinn’s been trained in fighting by the military father. However, on the other hand, he is a military man, an older military man, and may be of the thinking that fighting should be left to the men. Additionally, pampering his daughter would seem to coincide with the successfully and likely often absent father figure that a military man would present.

    Also, I love that you show Eagan at a DJ event. Because of my tendency to read quickly, it took me a moment to catch. Kudos!

    1. Quinn shed blood from something other than a lip or orifice. With Ellie’s seemingly-short nails, that’s an accomplishment, especially since the broken glass that’s visible in-shot doesn’t have any blood on it.

  3. That could be Happy 21st birthday and that track would till be played. Disney has the best musics evah, just ask the catsphere.

    1. Maybe backwards at 156 rpm. And being scratched to death at a DJ contest. That’s when you know you’re getting your entertainment dollars worth at best.

  4. I wonder if tired guy’s heart was able to survive the cat fight?

    I also wonder if the room mate event horizon has been crossed.

    I also wonder if Eagen is seeing “DANGER: CRAZY BITCH” red flashing lights as he’s listening to Quinn. Looking forward to Tuesday. Where honestly I’m expecting to see that Quinn fared the worst in this altercation.

      1. I’m sure he was kicking back, listening to Wham, eating popcorn, watching the cat fight. I’m sure somewhere in there he used the kitty defibrillator on Tired Guy. A usual evening for the fat kitty…

  5. Seriously, Ellie told her point blank how many sisters she has, and Quinn STILL tried to fight her? Really? Looks like Quinn isnt so bright after all. Honestly I think Ellie probably dominated that fight, with Quinn getting a few good hits in.

    Still, not sure what I am looking foward to more, seeing the epic cat fight that caused this, or the aftermath. I get this sneaking suspicion that Quinn cheated and called the Po-po on Ellie and she’s spending the night in the slammer for it.

    Though were in me in that case I would simply state ‘Totally worth it’.

    Keep up the great work dude!

    Oh, and question of the curious, where might one find a Disney LP such as DJ Cornbread has in panel 2?

  6. Gah…Get that punchbowl away from the Turntable!!!

    Nice work, looking forward to the next installment!

  7. I can only assume that Ellie pulled a knife and Quinn pulled a bat’leth and they circled each other to tribal drums and blaring trumpets. The old man didn’t survive.

  8. DJ Cornbread: “No, I mean tell me every detail. And be thorough.”

    Also, am wondering how badly bruised Ellie is. Ellie may have more experience than Quinn, but Quinn had blinding rage. While blinding rage doesn’t always win, it usually gets a few shots in.

    However, a statement like “We beat the crap outta each other” seems like damage control for her self-image, like Quinn’s still holding on to the idea that she wasn’t completely losing the fight from the start; by that, I’m guessing Ellie walked away entirely unscathed.

  9. cornbread seems more interested in whats hes holding then what quinn is saying
    and that looks like ketchup on her arm. i’d like some fries with that

  10. Holy…

    I just wanna say “kudos”. Quinn? She doesn’t look like she was in some sort of ‘sexy cat fight’, or even just a casual tussle. This was very obviously a brawl, all-out, which she’ll be feeling for days. While not pleasant, it’s a helluva lot more realistic than how many authors would’ve portrayed it.

    1. If they were guys, it might end up patching over the differences. I know I have a few friends where we started this way. Well, two anyhow, so couple not few. You get it all in the open, you unload, and there’s nothing left stuffed down inside so you can do a clean start emotionally but with all the experience.

      Not so sure it’ll work for them the same. I also have had experiences (thankfully not with roommates) that devolved to this point, then we just never had anything to do with each other again.

  11. Yikes… I knew it was only a matter of time, before they finally had it out… but… yikes.

    I hope Ellie is alright. And that Tired Old Guy didn’t have a heart attack. O_o

    1. And if word of this gets out on camps, and Quinn does not get expelled from school for breaking the student code of conduct, then more than likely, I can only see Tired Guy’s Granddaughter/neice moving in. I don’t think that Alex is going to keep barking up Quinn’s tree, and he still faces possible expulsion. And perhaps the only person that Quinn may be able to rely on is the one that she has a crush on. Richard would back off, and I don’t think that he was interested in first. Blackford on the other hand would not worry. But I think that the situation would reverse the tables on the girl/dirty hippie relationship and put Blackford into Quinn’s position and Quinn into Alex’s position, in terms of how we were introduced into the Quinn/Alex relationship status during the evolution of the strip.

  12. I have to admit despite Quinn being completely in the wrong for saying such vile things to Ellie, t if someone slapped me in the face my response would also be blind aggressive anger. I bet Trent…I mean Ian is quite happy for the distraction from whatever mental castration Disney has unleashed has of late.

      1. I absolutely love Daria and have probably watched the series about a myriad of times. No dark secret it just adds to your awesome.

  13. Took out the bitch fight… nice…
    I’m hoping no one wins (and that Ellie got it worse). Sorry, but I still believe that she’s a tease who uses men

    1. Been burned before, have you? It shows.

      Anyway, she seems a bit too oblivious to be that – see Hanlon’s Razor.

        1. That bad, was it?

          Buncha savages, on this internet. No respect for fiction, it seems.

    2. Have we ever seen her actually ‘tease’ anyone? I’ll admit that Ellie’s a mooch–she’ll get by on the lowest level of reciprocation to get what she wants.

      However, being a tease means actually suggesting you’re going to do something, and then not doing it. The closest–the absolute closest–we’ve seen to Ellie doing that is when she lets a bunch of guys help her move into Quinn’s place. And we at no point saw her say anything to any of them; they assumed, she let it happen.

      I have no sympathy for any guy who thinks that a girl is giving out sex for favors, but then receives no payoff, and thinks that that somehow is the girl’s fault.

      1. I just don’t like how some women use men for some means and then men get blamed for it in some reserve-anti-feminism-complex… PERIOD. It is beyond unfair justice to prosecute all men if women are at the same fault.
        Besides, as we’ve seen her lifestyle, it seems Ellie “mooches” off everyone like her mother and sibling so there’s no telling what extend she’s “mooched” off in her past. Unless I see a traumatic experience through flashback or story-telling (legit) then I’m not inclined to feel bad for anyone.

  14. Awful lot of pink in that Happy Birthday banner. With that and the mouse ears I’m guessing DJ Cornbread is playing the High School Musical Soundtrack.

  15. Tried and lost… Annnd speaking of Disney situation kind of reminds me of the original ‘Parent Trap’ interaction at the Girls camp between the ‘Twins’.

  16. The seas boiled, the skies darkened and blood dripped from the moon such is the battle between these two warriors.

  17. I think it’s important to remember that Quinn sparked this by saying that Ellie is fated to be an unemployed single mother of several bastards and lives on wellfare. I’m a pacifist, but I’d clench a fist and use at least one expletive if that were directed at me.

    Kudos for the use of realistic dialogue and response. I’ve seen situations in webcomics and other online writing where a girl calls another a whore and they fight to the death. You’ve got some pretty awesome author skills man.

  18. May I just say, that I’ve been reading all of your comics over the past few days, and let me say, what a great roller-coaster that’s been!

    I was reading an Awkward zombie comic at work, when I saw a funny ad for your comic on the side (it was the “Hot Girl 180 strip). It looked like a standard “sexy thumbnail” at first, but when I saw Alex’s ridiculous looking face, I HAD to see the whole story. Or… well, that’s what I’ll say to prevent myself from thinking that I surrendered to the basest instinct that all men have, for better or worse.

    What I saw was pretty damn funny, and I began reading the series from the beginning. It began somewhat slowly, but I began to like Ellie at first because she looked cute, then I liked her because she acted cute, and then I liked her because I saw something relate-able in a comic about all the ups and downs of life. From the first comic I saw, though, I thought that Quinn was the main character. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t see her until several strips in.

    Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough, and I really don’t want to make this longer than it already is, but I’ve been trying to come up with trying to word this correctly- that this is the first story based web-comic I’ve ever read, and I’ve just been blown away. It’s funny, cute, and covers everyday life, with all the myriad emotions of young adulthood. I plan on commenting on all the past comics, just to let you know how much I like this stuff.

    Peace, amigo.

    1. It’s hard to come up with more than “thanks” sometimes. But you taking the time to say all that, along with everyone else that has complimented the comic, really does mean alot to me. So, indeed… thanks.

      With sprinkles on top.

      1. I actually lost a pretty long reply to you (because, for some reason, my computer can’t stay on your site without telling me ShotgunShuffle doesn’t exist) which is kinda sad, because I articulated it quite well, but here’s what I remember…
        Hey, no prob! I really wanted to properly convey how much I liked the comic.
        I think the part that won me over was the comic where Ellie met the blind man, and he confronted her with some uncomfortable truths that she didn’t want to hear, but needed to. It made me think of some of the decisions I’ve made- the good and the bad.
        But more than any of that, thinking back on my own life, I think about all the stuff I never did. I was a responsible guy, and even as a teenager, I was more of an adult than most people my age now. Thinking back on it all, I kinda feel like acting as an adult when I was a kid really made me miss out on a lot. There were more than a few comics about Ellie and her coworkers and even some tense moments with Quinn that make me think, “I wish I had that.”
        It’s a difficult feeling to describe… regretting something you haven’t done, and you only know you haven’t done it because of a vague, nebulous feeling you got when you read something that sparked the whole thing to begin with.
        Basically, what I’m trying to get at, is that reading Shotgun Shuffle has had an odd… impact (I think is the most appropriate word) on me. I just want you to know that I’m not reading this just for “teh lulz,” but I feel more of a connection with the characters… or perhaps, just the simple notion of growing up, and getting past all of life’s problems, all the while discovering who you are. That notion alone, sells the comic to me. And the fact that you’re very connected with your readers says volumes more about you than the comic alone.
        Sorry for the long rant… again. I hope I didn’t come off as being TOO cheesy or maudlin (I sincerely hope not!), but I gotta say what I feel about this- and I think any and all artists need to know when they’ve touched someone.
        Peace, amigo!

  19. Tired Old Guy detaches his tank and hands it to Ellie. ‘It’s dangerous to swing with fists alone. Take this.’

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