By Ex Fabula Blogger, Steph Kilen

It was cozy, close quarters at Stonefly Brewery for the “Close Call” event. A packed house cheered on the nine storytellers of the night as they regaled us with tales of things that could have really, really sucked, but only just sucked in varying milder degrees. Most every storyteller got to walk away from their ordeal with only an audible “whew,” though poor Matt Brown did end up covered in the exploded contents of moose stomach.

The night packed more gasps and breath-holding than an action blockbuster. Jason Statham has nothing on these folks. There was plenty of flashy handling of automobiles,   battles with nature, narrow escapes from death, a weapon and even the kind of sexual content that will get you a PG-13 rating. (More than one F-bomb, however, pushed the night into “R” territory.)

The close calls in automobiles included Matt Brown hitting the aforementioned moose. He survived the collision, and almost as importantly to him, got out of playing a 90-song-set-list gig because of it. Fellow warrior of quadrupeds, Krista Lanphier was “mesmerized by this beautiful creature” just before she hit it. Like a true MacGyver, she fixed her window with  some plastic, duct tape and one very well placed obscenity and carried on. In homage to the deer she feels sacrificed its life to save hers, she keeps a few of its hairs plucked from the hood of her car to remind her “whatever the situation, I’m really OK.”

Heather Hingston, with her friend and both of their lives packed into a Ford Escort set off on a 26-hour journey.  They broke the monotony of a long road trip by hydroplaning in circles on the highway. They came out shaken, but like Jason Bourne, without a scratch. Krista Wildflower, though pulled over by a cop for speeding, came out with only a warning because she was dressed as an elf, and who could give someone with “a smile and a sense of humor like that” a ticket.

The difference between a close call and something much worse often depends on quick, level-headed thinking and amazing physical feats. Judi Zaferos-Pylant told of the daring rescue of a SCUBA diver by his instructor who also happened to be her husband. Professional dance critic, Tom Strini, who is not a dancer himself, modestly performed “the greatest air turn in the entire history of the art” to avoid the bite of a rattle snake. Jean Claude Van Damme crosses the street when he sees Tom coming.

Moni Bee took a camping trip and took on an evil deer, a porcupine, the wrong trail, the wrong lake and walked away with a twisted ankle, but also the memory of “a million lovely things.” Noah Sumner took on wild life of a different variety. He told the story of one of those nights (you know the ones) where he was in the position where he could have got shot, beat up or arrested, but just walked away with the story of several close calls.

Dasha Kelly won the Audience Favorite Award for her story about “Living La Vita 23-Years Old and Living La Vita Broke.” Looking to make some cash, she took her charm and her 23-year old body to apply for a job as a scantily clad hostess. She was told that she wouldn’t get the job because she was “bigger on the bottom than they typically hire.” Seeing that the scantily clad hostess job, she later realized, would also involve a pole, she quipped, “Most of the stories tonight have been how people had their ass saved. This is a story about how my ass saved me.”

Like all good action movies, this recap has an “at home viewing extra”:

I am taking the liberty of crowning a winning Ultra Short of the night, and it is this: Katie says, “This one time I almost fell in love, but then found out he was a douchebag.”

Whew, indeed, Katie.