oh my god quote/edit
The one time I don't hit preview
|# ? Jul 4, 2013 00:53|
|# ? Nov 27, 2021 11:38|
Well, I just found out that I hosed up and booked my flight for 5 am instead of 5 pm. God dammit. There goes the editing time I planned. I hope I don't lose. Please somebody rescue me!
So I'm going to leave this pile of poo poo here. After posting in the fiction advice thread I decided to write a vignette without dialogue, because I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT.
Prompt: List five good things about a nervous cowboy who never, ever smiles.
No Reason To
Tom was a surly anachronism: cowhide boots crushed discarded TracFones as he ran through Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. He ducked into a T station and his dirty Wranglers coughed dust as he collapsed onto one of the train’s decrepit seats. His belt buckle glinted as the maglev accelerated out of the tunnel and bolted downtown on 23-megawatt magnetic bearings. A bolo tie rested on his plaid shirt, and the cowboy worried about what would happen if it got caught in any one of the sliding doors or escalators he would have to traverse to get topside again. Under the battered Stetson was a weary face that never, ever smiled.
Tom was good at appearing calm while he panicked.
He exited the train at Chinatown, unmolested by door, moving staircase, or vengeful posse. The Common bustled with the psychotic. Tom slipped into the Four Seasons to wash the blood from his trembling knuckles. He espied a flier for Tiffany’s Brothel glued to the wall. Real class-act girls; unafflicted; a guaranteed shoulder to cry on and melt your troubles away—so they had been. Tom had gone as far as dialing once, but stopped after 1-617. A lump formed in his throat at the thought of asking for a girl. A million what-ifs swirled in his head. He had never been with a woman, and now his anxiety focused on the fear of eternal abstinence.
Tom was unmired in the epidemic of multi-drug resistant Neurosyphilis.
He grabbed a bottle of whiskey out from behind the bar and watched the chaos outside through the broken windows. Streets filled with the insane and the desperate. He poured the alcohol over his wounds and wrapped them with a clean towel. The cowboy drained the rest of the bottle down his throat. He walked along Boylston, the Pru silhouetted against pink clouds. Beating the teeth out of some kids in the projects had taken its toll, but they were torturing a dog.
Tom always tried to do the right thing, even though all extrinsic motivations were gone.
Maybe they would think twice before picking on the helpless. Maybe they would find something else to hurt. He couldn’t fight them all, especially when bullets started flying. McDonald’s wrappers and Starbucks refuse littered his stoop. He kicked a cup and unlocked his door. Inside was cool and clean. Tom started the shower and took off his clothes. Scars from knives, bullets, and starving animals made his body look like a patchwork quilt. From when he was young and brave; these days he ran. After toweling dry, Tom went up to his roof garden and picked his dinner.
Tom was an amazing chef and a capable nutritionist.
He worried about his vitamin B12 intake. Without meat he would suffer hypocobalaminemia, and then he’d be just as deranged as the depraved souls out there. Tom rested and in the morning he pulled on his leathers, went down to the garage and started his motorcycle. He rode down Huntington Ave to Jamaica Plain. Stores that had peddled homeopathy and other quackery often stocked supplements. He slowed to a stop when he saw a familiar figure standing in the middle of the road. Doc Carrington was a traitorous bastard: a man of science seduced by co-eds. The mad doctor rolled his neck; it popped and cracked with stiffness.
Tom dismounted and stood opposite Carrington on the hot, shadowless asphalt. After he had gone crazy, the doctor became Tom’s nemesis, riding through the streets with his gang of postdocs, spreading disease and pestilence wherever they went. He mocked Tom’s lifestyle: he was wearing a cowboy hat, boots, a holster, and nothing else. Tom and The Doctor glared at each other. Plastic bags blew across the silent streets. Both men reached for their revolvers.
Tom was an excellent shot.
|# ? Jul 4, 2013 01:02|
A NOTE ON THIS: Since it is my birthday,and I am a judge, I expect all of your stories to be loving beautiful gifts or else.
|# ? Jul 4, 2013 03:01|
Thanks for the critique, Nikaer Drekin. It was very helpful and I honestly do appreciate it. If I can be a bit of nudge, though, I was hoping you could expand on what you think was rudimentary. I think I know what you're talking about (the plot/characters) but it seems like a good area to focus on improving, and I really do want to know you thought was lacking, especially if I'm wrong on my guess.
If not, no worries! I know I'm asking for a favor, and a favor is just that - something you don't have to do.
|# ? Jul 4, 2013 04:37|
Thanks for the critique, Nikaer Drekin. It was very helpful and I honestly do appreciate it. If I can be a bit of nudge, though, I was hoping you could expand on what you think was rudimentary. I think I know what you're talking about (the plot/characters) but it seems like a good area to focus on improving, and I really do want to know you thought was lacking, especially if I'm wrong on my guess.
I don't know if rudimentary was the right word, maybe just passive or a bit predictable? I mean, while I didn't figure out the exact details, I had a vague idea of the story arc that turned out to be pretty much true. And I don't think that's really a problem in and of itself, but contrast it with Sitting Here's piece- for me at least, even though I figured that something was going to go bad, I was still wrapped up in the drama and the characters. Yours didn't really grip me quite as much; it's sort of the difference between watching somebody go up on a ferris wheel, imagining the thrill and the vertigo, and actually being there experiencing it.
Anyways I hope this helps and isn't just me rambling. It's not a problem at all- examining what didn't go quite right about a piece might even be more helpful than looking at what worked, and it's definitely something I'll keep in mind for my own pieces.
|# ? Jul 4, 2013 17:59|
Some crits for my sins.
Deaths Come In Threes, 840 words
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 01:32 on Jul 5, 2013
|# ? Jul 4, 2013 23:25|
To Reach a Sun's Rays 946 Words.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:16 on Jul 6, 2013
|# ? Jul 5, 2013 00:03|
Flash rule was someone has to feel or know something they can't keep to themselves. A wedding makes a cameo, all my ideas featuring a wedding were terrible. (In one of them the president married a three-eyed alien)
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 00:24 on Jul 5, 2013
|# ? Jul 5, 2013 00:22|
Right then, I'm in.
Write a story about a sweating shapeshifter who builds the smartest computer in the universe.
|# ? Jul 5, 2013 08:54|
Right then, I'm in.
|# ? Jul 5, 2013 23:01|
[Write a funny story about][a jittery][game show host][who lands on a faraway planet]
I'll take a stab at this. Humor is not my strong suit, though, so who knows.
|# ? Jul 6, 2013 02:59|
Thank you for the crit, Seb.
|# ? Jul 6, 2013 04:00|
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:16 on Jul 6, 2013
|# ? Jul 6, 2013 06:25|
Alright class. You have about 37 hours to complete your assignment. Your academic future hangs in the balance.
|# ? Jul 6, 2013 18:00|
I won't be able to submit near the deadline, so here comes a hastily constructed entry a little early. BTW my thing was:
Adventure. Grade 3.
Describe a fun vacation with a disagreeable lemon who must walk across a rickety rope bridge.
Hufflepuffs are Particularly Good Finders A number of words that is probably fewer than whatever the prompt required.
Nepal is freaking rad. Of course, I wanted to go to Disneyland, but Cindy was into some kind of inner spirituality thing that apparently a plane ride to Nepal would help with. Also apparently they had some neat mountains or whatever. But it was cool, because she told me we could go to Nepalese Disneyland.
Except it turns out there isn't actually a Nepalese Disneyland. Apparently she was 'joking', which really means she lied. To my face. So I was angry for a bit, but then, as previously mentioned it turned out that Nepal was rad, so I was less angry, but didn't tell her that I wasn't angry because she had to feel my resentment for a little bit longer until she agreed that next time, we'd totally go to Disneyland.
So anyway, we were on a hiking trail which was apparently on some pilgrimage route or whatever, I don't know how this stuff works, but the views were cool. We were about to cross a massive bridge when we were verbally accosted.
"Hey. Hey, you!"
There was no one there, so I asked Cindy "Is this part of that whole inner peace thing you're on or whatever?"
"I dunno," she said. "I've never tried finding myself before. Maybe the disembodied voice is part of that."
"Down here, you mugs!" said the voice again, and we tried to look wherever down there was. "Yes, no, a little to your left, you're just about stepping on me, yes there you are!"
It was a rock with a lemon on it. "A talking rock?" asked Cindy.
"Don't be daft," the rock appeared to say, "rocks can't talk. I'm on top of the rock." Cindy picked up the lemon and turned it over. "Whoa. Hey. Seriously, I get vertigo real bad, knock that off."
"So." I said. "You're a lemon then."
"Really? Huh." The lemon sounded a little taken aback by this piece of news. "Is that a slang term for something? Wait, I think I know this one, and it's terribly offensive."
"No," said Cindy, "you are literally a lemon. A citrus fruit."
"Right," said the lemon. "This wasn't the deal at all. I am going to march right up to that wise man and demand my money back." Cindy and I both stared at the lemon and his distinct lack of legs rather pointedly. "Ah, I see you're staring at where my legs would be if lemons had legs, which they don't which is why I don't have legs," said the lemon. "A fair point. I should rephrase that to 'you're going to march me up to that wise man and demand my money back.'"
"Is it OK if we just walk?" I asked. "Marching is a bit too military for my liking."
"That is acceptable."
"So where is this wise man, anyway?" asked Cindy. "Can he help me find myself?"
"Just across this bridge," said the lemon.
"You know," I told Cindy, "I hate to appear shallow, but if, in finding inner peace, you were transformed into some kind of fruit, I'm not sure our relationship would survive. I just want to stress that I'm not saying that the fact you're not a lemon is the only reason I love you, but it is definitely a contributing factor. I feel I should put that out in the open now, before we meet this wise man."
"Thank you for being honest with me," said Cindy. "If, in finding myself, I discover that I am a lemon, or even a kumquat or some kind of melon, I will totally understand if you no longer desire me. Personally, I find myself also hoping I am none of those things."
We took a relationship course once, you see. Apparently honesty is very important. There were some other things as well, but I don't do so well with learning a bunch of different concepts all at once, so I just stuck with that one.
"All right, well if you two are finished getting in touch with your feelings, how about we cross this bridge so I can give this wise man a piece of my mind?" The lemon sounded a little bit disgruntled, so Cindy and I agreed that we would endeavour to get it to its destination as quickly as we could so that it might once again be gruntled. Cindy tucked the lemon into her handbag, and we crossed the bridge. There was a man with a beard sitting on a hill on the other side of the bridge.
"Hi," he said. "I'm a genuine wise man. Not like all these other charlatans you'll find on neighbouring hilltops. I can totes help you find yourself or get inner peace or whatever you're up here for. Only five hundred rupees."
Cindy reached into her handbag and pulled out our new friend. "Hey!" said the lemon. "I've got a bone to pick with you! Apparently, you turned me into a lemon! That's not what I paid for at all, and I want my money back!"
The wise man chuckled. "Twas but a harmless jape," he said. But he reached into his coin purse and he offered the lemon back his money.
"Uh." The lemon seemed uncertain. "Could you grab that for me?" he asked Cindy. Cindy obligingly took the rupees and stuffed them into her handbag. Then we agreed that given that he'd turned our new friend into a lemon as a prank, maybe we shouldn't entrust him with Cindy's inner peace.
So anyway, Cindy didn't really find herself in Nepal, but we did find our new travelling companion, who although occasionally a little disagreeable, was relatively easy to travel with as he didn't pack any luggage, and if Cindy and I needed a little privacy, we could just put him in the fridge for a bit. (It turned out the lemon was a dude. We couldn't really tell when we first met him, because lemons have kind of an androgynous voice.) And the best thing is, Cindy agreed that next time we went somewhere, we'd totally go to Disneyland.
|# ? Jul 7, 2013 13:47|
out of South Sea Solidarity, I'll post with Chairchucker.
Prompt: Write a futuristic story about an obnoxious shaman who is looking for an invisible door.
It has to be for really big kids like me and not little kids like 4th graders.
The door is a metaphor you pedantic assholes.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
The door to Dinsdale Pets swung open with a sad tinkle of bells. Self-Propelled Lunar Exploration Suite iK9 snapped its head to the sound and bustled over, bundles of spindly legs moving deftly together. As it saw the customer, its titanium features twisted into a smile. Its barrel chest chugged and clanked, then a yellowing punch card spat out from a slot in its stomach.
GREETING: HELLO JONAH.
“Morning 'moon,” said Jonah. He punched the robot on the shoulder, forcing it to totter and weave around the room.“You got my order yet?”
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE. INPUT: YOUR CLOTHING DIFFERS FROM THE MODE.
Jonah looked down at his grey hoodie and jeans. He felt naked without his bangles and bones. In deference to tradition, he'd kept his earrings in. “I'm incognito today,” he said.
JOKE: MY COGS ARE NEAT, ALSO. LAUGHTER: HA. HA. HA.
“Hah,” said Jonah. “Humour chip malfunctioning again?”
RESPONSE: I DO NOT HAVE A HUMOUR CHIP. THAT FUNCTION IS INTEGRATED.
“If we were going to talk about the things you lack 'moon, we'd be here all day,” he said. “Show me the freaks.”
RESPONSE: THEY ARE NOT FREAKS. THEY ARE MY FRIENDS.
“Whatever, Moon Unit.”
They moved in silence through the rows of fish tanks. The blue glow of the tanks gave way to cool greens and browns; a boa stared accusingly at them as they passed. At the end of the row was a rectangular cube, draped with a scrap of red fabric. Somebody had pinned a note to it: DO NOT TOUCH MANAGEMENT. Jonah put a meaty hand against the 'bot's face and gave it another shove, for luck.
Underneath the fabric was a single tank, empty but for ferns and stones. As the man and the robot stared, one piece of stone shifted infinitesimally. It was a lizard: slate green and craggy. There was something deeply old in the way it held itself: mad, patient, bored. It glared at them, then Jonah saw its face full on and exploded with rage, swinging real punches at moon this time, knocking the robot against an empty birdcage.
“Two eyes, 'moon! It's got two eyes! I said three,” he screamed, “for a mathematical construct, you can't count for poo poo!”
There was some more clanking. Some inchoate emotion crossed the 'bot's face, then it spat out another card. The paper was red.
RESPONSE: VESTIGIAL THIRD EYE. IT DOES NOT OPEN. YOU DID NOT SPECIFY. FACT: THIS SPECIES HAS EXISTED SINCE THE EARLY CRETACEOUS PERIOD. SPECIMENS ARE DIFFICULT TO ACQUIRE.
The anger vanished. Fervidly, Jonah swung over to the tank and pressed his nose against it. The lizard had a small lump on its forehead. Bisecting it was a single slit: an eyelid. Jonah tapped a bony finger on the glass. A second pair of eyes opened from further back in the tank. A larger specimen, more grey than green. Jonah took a deep breath and tried to stifle a laugh. “A breeding pair,” he said, “a breeding pair of dinosaurs.”
Moon Unit nodded; an upsettingly human gesture. It took the two lizards from their cage with two arms and produced a bright-pink plastic cat cage with the other. The Tuatara were placed lovingly inside, then the door was clamped shut. The lizards turned their heads slowly to Moon Unit, as if waving goodbye.
Jonah snatched the cage and was already halfway out the door. “Later 'moon,” he said, without looking around. Moon Unit clanked again. He hadn't asked for sentience, it had just happened one day, when he was barely paying attention. Leave something in a box long enough and it's bound to develop strong feelings about wood. As much as Moon Unit iK9 could miss something, it missed its two small friends already. It spat one more card out into the empty room.
GREETING: IT IS POSSIBLE. GOODBYE, JONAH.
Getting the tuatara to take the LSD was the easy part. Using an eyedropper, Jonah laced a slice of stale bread with acid, then dropped the thread into a tank of hungry cockroaches. He'd starved the roaches for three days beforehand and now they fell on the bread, little mouthparts working frantically. When they'd eaten their fill, he used a pair of tweezers to pick up the fattest roach, and dropped it into the lizards' cage. The male got to it first, moving like a tiny rockslide and swallowing the bug whole in two bites.
Sitting in a calfskin chair and wearing his full Shaman's regalia, Jonah smiled. “And now,” he said, using his remote to put on some Floyd, “we wait.”
Ten minutes passed without any reaction from the lizards. Jonah tried everything, from playing Dark Side of the Moon to reading them extracts from The Doors of Perception, but their third eyes remained resolutely shut. He shouted at them and shook the cage. They were dumb, small minded things- like Moon Unit. It frustrated him. They were last living dinosaur; a footlong lizard with three eyes. If that wasn't a sign from the spirits, nothing was. In theory the perfect familiar: spiritually gifted, patient and above all, obedient. In practice, they were just idiot animals.
With their help, he could shed his mortal shell and begin the true journey to enlightenment and universal one-ness, where he would fully understand the invisible web of love and fate that bound all things. “If only you could do your loving job, I'd be sucking on the wind spirit's titties by now,” he said, “loving dumbass lizards.”
He reached into the tank to pick one up, to shake it. As his hand closed around its stony skin, a sick bolt struck him. When he was a kid, he'd grabbed ahold of an electric fence- all the muscles in his hand had locked up while he screamed and screamed, unable to let go. This was the same but not: it wasn't a matter of muscles of bones holding him in place but something altogether more alien. His mouth flapped open. He could taste history and smell yellow. His mind unfolded, peeled away by the hands of a greasy giant with an inscrutably sense of humour. He was eating a Mars Bar, he was loving Claire-who-was-gone-now, he was sitting on a rock in the forest, all three eyes open for the ripples that the king lizard hunger fear child stone left behind. He pitched high into the clouds and saw the Earth in shapes he didn't recognise but dimly remembered.
The land split, great continents floating off and reforming. Lights came on, slowly at first, then an ineluctable tide, covering all the groundshapes with sickly luminescence. The lights were talking to him in a million languages, sobbing, whining, shouting for joy. A great hand grabbed him and threw him into the stars, where he stuck. He landed in a hallway, a hundred doors, doors within doors that all burst open, flooding him with light, filling him, tearing at him like a fat man in a small shirt. It was a good pain. He smiled as the light overcame him.
Back in their cage, the two tuatara came as close to smiles as their cold features would allow. For the robot they had been the perfect friends, and for Jonah they had been the perfect familiars. They had literally blown his mind: the boots on the carpet were smoking, as if the man had been pulled across his own consciousness so quickly, he'd gone nova. The roomed smelled lightly of strawberries and dust. One thought moved between the unfathomable ancient lizard minds, an echo of the words of their one true friend.
GREETING: GOODBYE, JONAH.
|# ? Jul 7, 2013 14:48|
I'm really excited to get my first Thunderdome "please don't write any more" critique
Prompt: Describe a day in the life of an old dentist who is always getting into trouble with her parents.
Scramble, 4-6th grade
Dental Plan 1,300 words
"You had three more cancellations, Dr Agnelli, and two were the Johnson twins' crown jobs. Your root canal at eight also cancelled, and asked to have his records transferred to Dr Martinez's practice." Pietra skimmed a calender on her phone and smiled. "We should finish early today; outside of that wisdom tooth extraction at two, everything is just fillings or cleaning and checkups."
Simone nodded absently, letting the gears in her head spin up to work speed. "I'm sorry, you said that Sandeep cancelled his root canal? A shame. I prepped the midazolam when I came in this morning. Anything else?"
Pietra indicated no, then excused herself and left to go to the front desk of Angelli Dental Associates. Simone looked at the folder she had carried into the back office of her practice and sighed. The morning huddle didn't seem as important when her only hygienist was also the receptionist. She rubbed her fingertips into the bags under her eyes and sighed. Despite spending most of her divorce settlement money refurbishing, Agnelli Dental Associates would always be a slightly retooled version of Simone's childhood home. She winced at a creaking sound overhead and hurried into the front office to meet the first of her daily patients.
"I told you to make me first for the day, angel. I can't be expected to put off my morning walk until you've dealt with the rabble." Vincenzo Agnelli waved his arm at a young woman hiding in a magazine before turning his attention back to his daughter. "You think she's more important than me? I don't have much time left!"
"Pa, please." Simone touched her father's arm. "Mrs. Kelly booked with me a month ago and is very important to my practice. She," Simone shot an apologetic look towards the young lady, "has very nice teeth and only needs a quick check up, then I will send her back out here to Pietra and I can bring you back with me. I can't be expected to neglect everybody else just because you had a toothache last night."
Vincenzo folded his arms. "You can be expected to respect your father. I can't have breakfast with Saul and the boys if I can't chew."
Simone sighed and escorted her father to a back room. She sat him in a chair, opened his mouth and hurriedly spun a dental mirror throughout his mouth. There was a minor obstruction between the second premolar and first molar on the left hand side. She probed it gently and, when her father didn't flinch, picked up some floss and quickly dislodged the piece of chewed grey steak. "You need to floss, pa."
Her father pushed his way upright and patted her on the cheek. He smacked his lips twice and walked out, nodding to Pietra as he left. Simone apologized to Mrs. Kelly and led her back to the actual patient treatment room.
"You know why they cancelled on you? It's because you changed your name back. They don't got any trust in you no more. A good dentist can hold on to her man, Simone Veronica Agnelli." Francesca Agnelli sipped from a demitasse cup, not breaking eye contact with her daughter.
Simone finished chewing her biscotti and swallowed. "I remember a time when you didn't want me to get rid of the family name, mother."
"Sure, before you turned David into a business for yourself. You know, that's why he left you."
You're why he left me, Simone thought bitterly, and he said so in as many words. "I have to go and prep some anesthetics, I just wanted you to know I will be finishing early, and I'll cook tonight."
"You're always leaving early these days. I thought you were going to be a serious doctor, not some lazy half-rear end bare minimum nothing. You're lucky little Roman's not even big enough to drive yet. You don't know the heartbreak."
Simone bit her tongue; her son's residency at St Helen's had been almost over when he dropped out to become a mechanic. It was a good sign, she thought, that Francesca was beginning to forget her grandson's age. It meant certain arguments would stop resurfacing. "You're right. I'll see you and Dad just after five."
"We'll eat too late, but sure. You're the big name dentist now."
Simone knew the patient in Treatment Room One could be difficult at times, and had dosed him with more marcaine than usual. She stepped out to collect some patient records and paused at the door before entering. This used to be her bedroom, once upon a time. She stepped back in to see John Chang patting his left cheek with a huge smile on the right side of his face. "I love dish part, Docton Nartinish."
She flashed him a professional smile. "I'm glad I could finally convince you to remove that wisdom tooth."
"Oh, it washn't jusht you. Ken condinshed ne it'd helt, and that he could afford it. I like the new tlace, it'sh real hon-ey. Shnall, dut hon-ey." John nodded as a string of drool fell directly into his shirt pocket. "Sho why the nove? Doesh Agnenny pay you nore?"
"That's me, Mr. Chang." Simone had told fifteen other people today, and each time was a minor knife twist to her navel. "I'm not Martinez anymore."
"Oh." He looked away, his cheeks mildly flushed. "poo poo."
Simone wiped the sweat from her palms before taking two plates of eggplant parmesan to her parents. She was nervous but excited; she wasn't following her mother's recipe, and it felt good. Simone carried a bottle of red wine to the table and corked it before getting her own plate. Her mother had already eaten a mouthful before Simone sat.
"Too bitter, Simone. Did you even salt this eggplant?"
"Yes, mother." Simone poured wine for everyone, filling her glass significantly higher than those of her parents. "I just can't find some of the ingredients your recipe asks for."
"Well, I think it's absolutely fine for a first try." Vincenzo smiled across the table, tomato sauce dirtying his chin.
"It's not her first try, she has been ruining this once a week for years. You know, Simone, your cooking is why David left." Francesca reached over and dabbed the sauce from her husband's mouth. "You want a good marriage, you don't go ruining your mother's food."
Simone smirked and nodded. She saluted lightly with her glass before draining it and pouring some more. Her eyes slowly swung from one parent to the other. "So, pa, what did you get up to after you saw me this morning?"
"I saw you? When did that happen?"
"This morning. You had some meat stuck in between two teeth and thought it was a toothache." Silence. Simone stifled a grin. "You remember? You said you were going to breakfast with Saul and the boys?"
Francesca stood up. "If he said he was going to breakfast with Saul and the boys, that's what he did. You want to disrespect your father like this? In his house? In my kitchen?" She put a hand to her temple and steadied herself on a chair. "Your father, of all people, deserved to be... to be..."
Simone watched as Francesca toppled, her arms not having the strength to keep her upright. Her father jumped to his feet and wobbled too; he caught himself from falling and lowered to his wife's side. Simone took a sip from her wine and peered over the edge of the table, standing only when she heard her mother moan.
"What did you do to your mother?" Vincenzo's face was red with anger. "What did you do?"
"Nothing," Simone lied. She glanced to the cap of the bottle of midazolam she'd left on the kitchen counter. "Nothing at all."
|# ? Jul 7, 2013 21:02|
Well, my power keeps going out today, so I better post this before I can't at all!
Write a to-do list for a depressed movie star who ages 20 years in one day.
Ever since he was a boy, Tom Cruise was a list-maker. The first he could remember was in letter form to Santa Claus at age 7. The wish-list included an Evel Knievel action figure, an air hockey table, a new bicycle, and The Game of Life. He did not receive any of those gifts that Christmas. When his father found him looking gloomy later Christmas afternoon he swatted Tom hard on the head and told him that real men didn’t pussy-cry about toys. Tom wrote another list that day, of gift requests in letter form to God, #1 of which was that God take his father far away. It took God a little while, but a couple years later Tom’s father was dead and Tom never stopped writing.
By 13, Tom had written many lists. Girls he wanted to kiss, athletes who were the best ever, ways to torment his teachers, etc. But most importantly, Tom perfected the template by which he lived the rest of his life, “Tom’s Perfect Day To-Do List.” This was the list:
4. Make connections
It was simple, but it did the trick, and he followed it without fail every day until he died.
January 15, 2021. 12:00 a.m.
The electronically-programmed shades in Tom’s bedroom window snapped open, letting in a wave of icy sunlight at the same time the morning news appeared on the wall across from his bed. President Davis going on about the war. Tom rolled over onto his face, but not before croaking “mute,” silencing the president.
There was a time when Tom breakfasted with enthusiasm— devouring egg whites, ham, bacon, protein shakes, even steak— at exactly 6:45 a.m. Lately though, once he managed to stagger into his kitchen, his breakfast consisted of a large mug half filled with black coffee and topped off with vanilla flavored vodka, two Hershey’s kisses, and a third of an orange, maybe.
Tom stared into his coffee-vodka. He felt even lousier than usual. Over the past two years, Tom had developed a tolerance for the morning hangover. Or at least for the morning hour of hangover before he pushed it out of himself with more booze. “Hair of the dog,” he joked into the empty apartment. Today he recoiled at the mug’s smell, choking back an acidic heave. With some hesitation, he sipped, then poked at the breakfast counter. It blipped aglow. “Good morning, Mr. Cruise,” the countertop sang. “Would you like headlines, weather, scores...” He poked it again and it went blank.
Drunk, Tom rolled out a yoga mat and plopped down to squeeze out some crunches, an abridged routine compared to the multiple-page spreadsheets he kept as a younger man. After three wobbling crunches, he collapsed onto his back, sore and sweating. Struggling with a fourth, he noticed that his knees were shaking. Grabbing them, he saw his hands. The skin was spotty and loose, like the bones in his fingers could break through at any moment. He shook his head and tried to rise, but instead fell backwards. A dizzying pain shot up from his tailbone.
Stumbling into the bathroom, Tom caught his reflection in the mirror above the sink. He looked wretched, wrinkled, sickly. His hair was completely gone. This is ridiculous, he thought. He’d just gotten his hair styled and dyed the day before.
“gently caress. Fucker! I’m Nathan Algren! I’m Maverick! I’m Ethan loving Hunt...”
Two years before, the Mission Impossible franchise had been rebooted. Hunky up-and-comer Rico Rodriquez was cast as the lead.
“This is Bruce.” Finally.
“Ah, uh. Hey Bruce, it’s Tom. How, mm, how are ya?”
“poo poo, Tom,” said Bruce Willis. His was the 17th number Tom called, not including Katie’s, which Tom dialed but hung up midway through the first ring. “What do you want?”
“Sorry to bother you, man,” Tom fumbled, “I’d have called Alan, but you know...” As the words escaped him, Tom knew they were foolish. He’d been blacklisted by Hollywood’s elite for no-showing Alan Arkin’s funeral. “Anyway Bruce, something weird is happening to me. Something really weird.”
“I’m busy, Tom. What do you want?”
“I think I’m losing it, Bruce. I need to get back in the game. I think being away’s got me all backwards. You wouldn’t believe— Well, I mean— I mean poo poo, man... Hey, let’s make a movie. I’ve got ideas...”
Tom Cruise kept a list of plots to imaginary films he’d like to star in.
1. Tom Cruise plays a super-genius backgammon master who uncovers a dark secret.
2. Tom Cruise plays a sexy detective on a time adventure to find the real William Shakespeare.
3. Tom Cruise plays the quirky love interest in a comedy romance between a woman addicted to cola and the man who restocks her office vending machine.
4. Tom Cruise plays Batman.
5. Tom Cruise plays LeBron James alongside The Muppets in Space Jam 2: Beyond the Arc.
And so on.
But the line was dead.
The safest refuge from the freeze outside Tom’s secret Queens apartment was an exclusive basement bar at, well, it’s really exclusive. Maintaining secrecy, for both Tom and the bar, which catered to rich and famous recluses like Tom, required a less than chic neighborhood.
Tom sat on his usual stool, rubbing his fingers hard over the loose skin on his bald head, trying to piece together what was happening. Who was responsible for this?
He’d had to stop to catch his breath no less than four times on the two-block walk to the bar, once coughing with such violence that a young couple steered their daughter across the street to avoid him, murmuring and shaking their heads. What’s more, convinced that his sudden deterioration was all in his head, upon entering the bar he’d immediately prowled over to a pair of middle-aged but done-up socialites and leveled lines from his list of ladykillers at them.
They’d reacted, Tom realized, squeezing the bridge of his nose, which felt like Play-Doh, with predictable revulsion.
“What’re we havin’?” asked Enrique, the bartender.
“The usual,” replied Tom.
“Ah, sir. Not sure I know what that is.” Tom looked up and Enrique jumped back, mortified. “Yeeeezus Christ. You look like that ni— you look like Voldemort!”
“Probably make it a double.”
If Tom Cruise had ever been this drunk, he couldn’t remember it. Actually, he didn’t remember much at all. After a few hours at the bar, he’d been reduced to barking “I’m Tom Cruise!” at anyone who came near him.
Now he couldn’t even remember the way to his apartment. He snaked around the cold, dark streets, stumbling and breaking into coughing fits that left him all but paralyzed.
Rounding a corner, he spotted a pair of thuggish looking guys approaching him. Wheeling around, two more appeared behind him. Losing track of his feet, he tripped. It only took one boot knock him onto his front on the sidewalk.
“Get the old gently caress's poo poo! Quick!” The group rifled through Tom’s pockets and gave him one more kick for good measure before running off.
Tom struggled to his knees, looked up, and a glowing figure stood before him.
“I gave you plenty of chances, Tom. America gave you plenty of chances.”
“That’s right. Some selfishness is grown out of, or learned from. But you? Well. You’ll have plenty of time to think about it.”
And then he was gone. Tom’s eyelids fluttered. He tried to speak to the Supreme Being but nothing came. He tried to come up with a list of things that dying felt like. “loving lousy,” he hacked.
Bachelard Ass fucked around with this message at 22:07 on Jul 7, 2013
|# ? Jul 7, 2013 21:58|
Ratan, The Night God 1,493 Words. EDIT: Apparently seeing 1,500 for Nikaer confused me so I hosed up and thought I had 1,500 words.
Prompt: Write a story about a jittery vampire who lands on a faraway planet
As the ship expended its last antiprotons, it transfused the first milliliters of blood to Ratan’s shriveled form. Still emaciated and corpse-like, he lunged toward the body at the other end of the IV, but was stopped by the thick glass of the sustube. After giving Ratan just enough strength and sense to carry out his assignment, the flow of blood ceased. The computer confirmed the ship was in the Gliese 581 system and in Sansara’s orbit.
“Computer, broadcast to Earth,” Ratan floated above the sustube’s glass case and stared at his prey. The red dwarf’s light shone through the windows, nearly blinding him. “It’s Ratan. As soon as I get some real loving food I will land and report from the ground. Ratan out.” The computer confirmed the message had begun its twenty-two year journey and siphoned the remaining blood to Ratan. The blood from the brain-dead corpse tasted stale and lifeless, but it would be enough to get him to the surface for some good food.
Ratan landed the shuttle several kilometers outside of the settlement. The shuttle burrowed itself underneath Sansara’s dry soil and spared Ratan, briefly, from the red dwarf’s rays. After consulting the computer and sending another update to Earth, Ratan deployed the exit shaft and climbed to the surface.
Ratan walked under a sun for first time in three-hundred years, and it felt like poo poo. Gliese 581 did not kill him as Earth’s Sun would have, but it made him feel weak enough that he considered just going back in the shuttle and waiting until nightfall. He resisted the temptation; he needed to arrive in the settlement the moment night fell.
As the sun descended behind a distant mountain, Ratan walked past the barren dirt fields and dying crops of Sansara’s only settlement. Lights shone onto dozens of scattered plastic huts. The settlers stood outside, awaiting Ratan.
“I am the Night God,” said Ratan, arms raised.
The settlers bowed.
“Do you know why I have come?”
An older woman rose and approached Ratan. “Jensa and his friends killed the Mom Voice, but I punish them. I’m Sendra. I am one of the firstborn and nineteenth daughter of the Mom Voice. The Mom Voice make me leader.”
“When was the Mom Voice destroyed?” The computer had stopped broadcasting to Earth in the first few years, but it had warned them that its antenna was failing and that it would still be able to teach if it malfunctioned.
“She died in year twenty-nine. Are you here to punish us? We killed Jensa and all his friends. Please go away. We will be good.”
“How many people are there?”
“561. Most of the babies die. We’re always hungry.” said Sendra.
No. There were too few to sustain him while he rebuilt the settlement. Ratan knew he needed to be cautious and think of a plan, but he couldn’t concentrate with 561 hearts beating like a drum circle around him.
Ratan located a twenty-something man in the crowd, one that looked strong, then leapt several meters through the air. Ratan landed face to face with the man. The crowd gaped as Ratan bit into the man’s neck and started to drain him. Some settlers tried to pry Ratan away, but his full strength was returning to him and they could do nothing to stop him.
Ratan dropped the drained body to the ground and shouted, “I am the Night God!”
Ratan returned to the shuttle and made another broadcast, “The test tube babies are in the third generation...” Ratan updated Earth with the relevant details and spent the rest of the night and the remainder of the following day in the shuttle. The next night he returned to the settlement to speak to Sendra in her hut.
Sendra talked into the floor, not daring to look Ratan in the eyes. “The Mom Voice showed us how to grow food. The firstborn, we all really good at farming, but then our kids don’t like it. They don’t want want to farm or work so they race the tractors and break them. Now our kids having kids and they really, really bad. Maybe you punish them and not us good ones?”
“Sendra, I can tell you’re smart so I will be honest with you. The Mom Voice was for people who should not be punished. She wanted nothing more than to help you and to be good to you, but you killed her. I am for people who should be punished, and I cannot help but punish you.”
Sendra kept her head pointed down, but looked up with her eyes. “What do we do to get punished less?”
“I only need to punish one person every month.” Ratan had never waited so long between feedings, but the shuttle’s computer had assured him this was the most he could feed if he wanted the population to grow. “Sendra, it is your job to get the farms working again and to tell me who I must punish each month. Once the settlement is put back into order and everyone is behaving, I will leave and the Mom Voice will return.”
Ratan posted cameras throughout Sansara so he could monitor the settlement’s progress during the day from the darkness of the shuttle.
Sendra and her thirty-two remaining siblings were skilled farmers. With the looming threat of the Night God, the second and third generation learned from Sendra and her siblings how to plow the fields and plant the seeds that would allow for a population large enough to indefinitely sustain Ratan.
During the second week, Ratan awoke trembling. His eyelids had fallen away, exposing yellowed eyeballs protruding from their sockets. Two or three small patches of hair remained on his bone-white scalp; he tore out the tufts of hair as he writhed in agony. He slammed his head against the console and tore strips of flesh from his back. Unable to steady himself, Ratan threw on his black robe and left the shuttle.
Sendra was sorting seeds in one of the workhouses when Ratan appeared in front of her.
Ratan’s voice gurgled out of his rotting mouth, “Sendra!”
Sendra dropped a handful of seeds and backed herself into the wall. “Why you here now? We being good! What happening to you?”
“Will leafff tuh--” Black blood and bile spurted out of Ratan’s mouth, “nightt... need punish someone, NOW.”
“Everyone is being good. Even the little ones help a lot.”
Sendra’s heartbeat deafened Ratan, he saw her wrists and neck bulge with each thundering pulse. He slammed her into the wall and hissed, coating her face with blood and puss. “YOU?”
“No! Not me! Masuk sleep too long and doesn’t work very hard.”
Ratan used the last of his willpower to pry himself from Sendra and ask, “WHERE?”
Ratan found Masuk, a young teenager, in his hut with his hand down the pants of an older girl. Ratan let out a roar as he uprooted the plastic hut and threw it several meters across the dirt. Settlers exited their huts to see Ratan guzzling blood from Masuk’s dismembered arm. He swung the arm at Masuk’s girlfriend, knocking her out.
With the attention of most of the settlers, Ratan tore off both of Masuk’s legs and his remaining arm. With quick slurps, he drained each limb one at a time. Drenched in Masuk’s blood and coated in chunks of his skin, he lifted the limbless body to his mouth and sucked it dry from the neck.
Ratan’s flesh regrew as he hoisted Masuk’s girlfriend over his shoulder and spoke to the settlers, “This was your final warning. Sendra will lead you and the Mom Voice will be restored, but if you disobey the Mom Voice and her assigned leaders, I will return. This girl will come with me as final payment for your disobedience.”
Once in the shuttle, Ratan stuffed the unconscious girl into the shuttle’s sustube and activated it. She would be a vegetable within ten years, but her blood would revive Ratan. He ordered the computer to activate the node he had planted in the settlement which would act as the new Mom Voice.
Ratan set the shuttle to revive him in one-hundred years. He disabled all automation beyond the restraining and resuscitation protocols before destroying the shuttle’s antennae. He laid down in the suspension chamber and the shuttle sealed the hydraulic locks. Having just fed, Ratan could rip the chamber door from its hinges, but in a few weeks he would be too weak to escape and forced to wither. By two months he would lose consciousness.
Assuming Earth developed sustubes that could last the hundred-year journey to Sansara, they still wouldn’t send live colonists until Ratan’s first broadcasts reached Earth in twenty-two years. Colonists from Earth would come one day with knowledge of how to destroy him, but until then Sansara would fear the Night God.
angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 04:03 on Jul 8, 2013
|# ? Jul 7, 2013 22:35|
In. I chose the Scrambler and it tossed me these Grade 4-6 eggs:
Lies. Twice scrapped other concepts, written entirely during a 2-hour flight and edited in a bar. gently caress you.
Beer for the Beer Gods (1265 words)
“A lost island with enough gold to drown criminals. Well, we found it, for all the good it’ll do,” said Karl as a pool cue prodded him towards a caldera filled with a billion gallons of glowing-hot ice beer. “We wouldn’t’ve ended up here if you’d rented a decent boat, not the Suplex Biceps.”
“‘Ey, like the Dainty Lady? You think that sea-god would’ve hated it less?” Dyspepito del Norte scratched his mask. “You gringos, a zodiac is a fine boat.”
“For smuggling, maybe!”
Seven days drifting in the sun and Karl’s beer had all dried up. The beach patrol had taken one look at the canned white powder and hauled them before a judge. A thirty-minute trial later and they stood atop a brocano, hands cuffed in six-pack rings behind their backs, about to be boiled alive.
Wind whipped a black hockey jersey against the judge’s burly frame. Flanking him were two officers, one in red, one in blue. The ocean sun had bleached both Karl and Dyspepito’s clothes pastel; that alone was a capital offense, but with the Games on, the judge explained, not wearing team colors was grounds for instant execution.
That and possession of dried, powdered beer. Dyspepito being a luchador didn’t exactly help their case; Norwegian passports or not, the judge denounced them as smugglers from the island’s narco-enemy, Brolivia.
The masked wrestler stood at the end of a diving board, chest thrust proudly into the air.
An officer poked him in the neck with a pool cue. “Last words?”
“gently caress the brolice,” said Dyspepito.
Another poke. The cue caught on the wrestler’s mask, tore it off. The first light it’d seen in decades fried Dyspepito’s long-shielded skin instantly. He yelped, tore the stick from the officer’s hand and suplexed him over the edge. Teeth and face bared, he turned on the judge.
The men in red, blue and black dropped to their knees in supplication. “The mark! He’s come from the north to judge the Games!”
The sudden sun had burned on the wrestler’s forehead the legendary eight-kegged steed, Sleipbier.
The officers cloaked Dyspepito in a red bathrobe. “Chosen of Brodin, your box seat awaits.”
“Hey, what about me?” asked Karl.
All eyes went to the beatified luchador. He shrugged. “Let him chill.”
Hands seized Karl and dragged him to a cooler. A red-shirted officer shoved him in and a blue-shirted officer slammed the lid closed. Karl relaxed in the icewater; being Norwegian, this was a jacuzzi.
Karl bashed the lid. “All good. Let me out.”
“Sorry, Brodin’s dude said to put you on ice. Only another divine can lift the order.”
“Uh, I’m chosen too.”
“You got no mark.”
Think fast. “But the sea god sent me here!”
The lid opened. The officers peered at him, at each other.
“Let’s settle this rationally,” said the red one.
“I agree,” said the blue one and punched Red’s jaw. Red toppled and Blue hauled Karl from the ice. “The Reds have Brodin’s champion. My team also needs a champion in the Games, but you must prove you’re worthy.”
Karl nodded. “No problem. Got spray paint and a football?”
Karl waded into the sea, football in hand, the undersides of his arms painted sparkling gold. He palmed the ball, fidgeted. On the shore, a dozen blue-shirted men stood with arms crossed, baseball caps shading their eyes. They sipped from sweaty cans of Natty Light.
It took some convincing, but Karl had gotten six cheap beers, a pot and an hour with a stove to cook the Natty into fine, white powder. He impregnated the pigskin with it, creating a potent pill of brocaine.
He hoisted the hand-egg and threw, keeping his arms aloft, his golden triceps completing the improvised summoning.
The ball hit the water and a foam-bearded god with impeccable abs erupted from the waves, a three-hosed beer bong in one hand.
“‘Sup?” Broseidon lifted his shutter-shades, studied the blue team and grinned. “Oh poo poo, time for the Games? Dude, I fuckin’ blanked.” He extended a fist to Karl. “Man, that was a righteous throw. Brodin’s gonna get hosed up.”
They bumped knuckles. The blue team cheered, hoisted Karl on their shoulders, and carried him stadiumward.
“The score is sixty-nine, sixty-nine!” The announcer’s voice boomed through the arena. Thousands of men lined the bleachers, giant foam shockers entrenched on fists. “And so, to close the Brolympic Games, our champions will play the ultimate sport in the ultimate arena!”
Karl sat hunched in his dugout. His skates were too small and the beer helmet on his head was heavy with bad lager.
“What are the rules?” bellowed the announcer.
The crowd roared: “Two men enter, one man leaves!”
A bit of sweat trickled down Karl’s cheek. He was just a PI, and a bad one at that. The only cases he cracked were twenty-packs of PBR. Dyspepito was a champion luchador in his prime. Two weeks ago, when the wrestler forced him onto a zodiac at gunpoint to find long-lost Brodesta, he thought it a kind of bad joke, but now, here, in the hot sweat of the dugout, it was all too real.
A vuvuzela buzzed and a ref tossed him onto the field.
Dyspepito rocketed from his own dugout, unmasked face gleaming in the sun. Karl broke away, skating hard around the arena. The crowd booed, jeered, tossed bottles at him. Broller derby was blood-sport, and they shouted their thirst.
The luchador cut him off and suplexed. Karl’s skull cracked on the earth. He rolled away, jumped and skated for the ringside bar.
The brotender obliged.
Karl grabbed the red cup and sidestepped, arm outstretched. He caught Dyspepito’s throat and the big luchador toppled. The crowd cheered. Karl poured the drink over the wrestler’s lips.
Dyspepito coughed, swallowed. His eyes widened, shock spreading over his face, and then doubled over. “drat you, Karl. My lactose intolerance!” He writhed, groaning.
Karl turned to the crowd, arms wide. They booed.
“Only one man leaves, contestant,” said the announcer. “That is the law of Thunderbrome!”
The wrestler was his opponent, but not his enemy. Karl shook his head.
A gate ejaculated a horde of polo-shirted, football-helmeted apes. Their fangs glinted in the sun.
Karl scooped up Dyspepito, skated to the sidelines and tore a surfboard from a spectator’s hands. He crouched before the crowd, then rose, flipping his hands overhead. He did it twice, three times and then crowd also rose, flipped their hands, sat. It rippled through the stands; Karl tossed the board atop the crowd and leapt aboard, riding the Wave.
He crowd-surfed around the stadium, then banked towards the shore. Screaming bloodthirsty brorillas chased his wake.
On the beach, Broseidon reclined between palm trees, sipping milk from half a hard, brown shell. He raised his shades at Karl and held out his drink. “Broconut?”
“Thanks dude, but I need to get the gently caress outta Dodge.”
Broseiden grinned. “Just wade out past the waterline. Out there it’s the law of the sea, and I can gently caress with that.”
Karl hoisted the groaning Dyspepito to his feet, dragged him into the surf, nodded at the god. Broseidon snapped his fingers and, in a tachyonic flash, they were home.
Karl Karlsson currently resides on the Brolearic Archipelago, still cracking cases of PBR. Dyspepito del Norte entered an intensive debrogramming clinic and has since returned to wrestling. The authorities of the island of Brodesta could not be reached for comment.
|# ? Jul 7, 2013 23:29|
Scrambler. Year 2.
A fantasy story about a pickled princess who lives on a mountain.
Hi, my name’s Gwendolin, and I’m an alcoholic.
I had my first drink when I was 14. It was a big fancy dinner and ball that my father held to celebrate his victory over some other king somewhere. I don’t really remember the details. But I was allowed to sit up on the big table and was served wine along with everyone else. I think I threw up in the moat afterwards.
But this was back before the interregnum so it was galas and balls like there was no tomorrow. Since I was ‘of age’ it was expected that I would attend and I did. It was fun you know, fitting out new dresses, dancing with hot young guys. And there was alcohol. Always alcohol, as much as you wanted. I learnt to take it easy after the first disaster, but by the time I was 16 I guess I was drinking heavily 4 or 5 nights a week. Then it went from drinking at parties to drinking by myself. It was always easy to get a page to run down to the kitchens and bring up a bottle of wine or even some spirits that I could drink in my chambers. It wasn’t long before I was drinking everyday.
I guess I was what you would call a ‘functional alcoholic’. I didn’t really have much to do around the castle except wait to be married off one day to a prince from a neighbouring kingdom. The only time I was in public was at whatever ball was being held, and let me tell you, once you’ve danced the foxtrot with the Ambassador of Whereverthefuckistan while talking about the weather for the thousandth time, it takes very little effort to present a calm and demure front to the world, even if you’re completely blitzed inside. Which I generally was every time.
Of course the time came when I was introduced to my husband to be, Jojo. He was nice enough, but we only met once before we got married. And of course, we had a big fairytale wedding. I was drawn up to the cathedral in a white carriage drawn by a dozen white horses. My dress cost sizeable portion of the royal treasury and had a train thirty foot long. After saying our vows, a hundred white doves were released from a window. It was, reportedly, the most beautiful and elaborate wedding ever held in the capital.
I don’t remember a single second of it. I had a flagon of vodka snuck into the carriage and I necked most of it while we were waiting to get the horses all hitched up. But, by all accounts I was a resplendent bride so, there’s that I guess.
Then the fights started. It caught me off guard to find out that Jojo actually cared about me. He would beg me to stop drinking. I mean, my parents never took an interest in what I did, and all of my ‘friends’ either didn’t know, or were too scared to say anything about it. But Jojo was someone on my own level who wanted to help me. So of course I rejected his help. I had been living my own life this way on my own terms and I had become so dependent on drinking that I hated being told my life was a mistake. I was a goddamn loving Princess, alright? The daughter of the loving King! Living in a loving CASTLE on top of a loving MAGIC MOUNTAIN. And you, you jumped up son of sheepherder king who was the self declared lord of three-fifths of gently caress all are going to tell ME what to do? I don’t think so, sonny.
So we would fight on and on and on. But on the outside we were the ‘perfect couple’, always happy, always content. I think what helped a lot in those early years were my pregnancies. I cut back when I was pregnant, which led to Jojo being happier with me and I wasn’t as angry with Jojo. For a few years there, we did have a fairly normal life. But after Gertruda, our third child, I had become pregnant with our fourth. I guess something went wrong and I had a miscarriage and was told I would not be able to have any more children.
Well, that tipped something off. I got in a carriage and went to our country estate without telling anyone and proceeded to write myself off for the next two weeks. When they finally dragged me back to the castle, Jojo and I had one hell of a fight. He blamed me for the miscarriage, I blamed him for it. It was bad. We eventually settled down into a cold war. He gave up on me, stopped trying to fight my drinking. And I kept drinking. And drinking.
Most alcoholics have a moment of clarity when they realise they have to stop. Mine was a little more vivid than most. You all know about the Night of the Red Knives and the coup. Well, what you don’t know is that after they had cut off the king’s head, they came for his family. I had been drinking of course. I was so dead drunk that I had passed out in the privy, covered in my own poo poo and they never found me. It was only the next morning when I woke up, oblivious to what had happened and saw the bodies laid out in the courtyard...
So here I am. Queen Gwendolin de Rhohindera, first of her name, Guardian of the Moonlit Isles and Warden of the Northern Reaches. It has now been 3,542 days since I last had a drink and everyday is a new challenge.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 00:03|
It's getting really late here and I went a bit mental at the end and
a sweating shapeshifter who builds the smartest computer in the universe
The blade bent under the weight of the two squabbling insects. It was strong grass, sun-hardened, but these two had nudged and scuffled each other to the very tip, and they still rubbed their legs and barked barbs at each other. A poorly-rendered man-thing leant down over them, beaming.
"And you two shall be called grasshoppers!"
"gently caress off," said the larger grasshopper.
"We're busy," qualified the smaller.
The man-thing's grin faltered, then he strode off into the garden, inanely waving at some trees. The grasshoppers squared off against each other.
"It's very simple," said the larger. "You stay on your side of the field, and I'll stay on mine!"
The blade of grass sagged further in support of this notion.
"If you don't, I'll-"
"You'll what, you sick-makingly pathetic insect?"
As it had done so many times before and after, on so many scales and in so many forms, a red button materialised in front of the larger grasshopper. It rubbed its legs together, sending a menacing sound round the field, the tickticktick of a bomb near its detonation.
The smaller grasshopper shook its head sarcastically. "So desperately dramatic. You'll never really do it."
The larger one, the male one, had indeed never done it, but he felt sure that this time, some condition had been irreversably broken. The breeze shifted the grass around them, and he decided it had to be last breeze they felt.
The fact was now undeniable. He and she - for they'd discovered the terms in an amusing Urth book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and then spent many fruitful eons as Mars and Venus, perverting their orbits until they collided, killing the nascent bacterial life that continually struggled on the two planets - were bored. Bored of sharing a furtive glance across a crowded party in order to tenderly fall in love again, of her playing the black hole and him playing the dispersed cloud of matter that found wholeness inside her maw, and the reverse; of forming covalent and noncovalent molecular bonds in order to make pathetic puns about "having chemistry" in the afterglow, of leading two warring intergalctic emprires that only found peace through their stolen tryst; of, simply, loving. Bored of rutting and sweating together as dogs, proteins, stars, octopi, jelaphi, machines, phenozoa, soundwaves, apes.
They'd both experienced that same turning point, holding hands in the light of an energy-vomiting supernova that they'd caused. Not created - even that no longer held pleasure - just called up from the files. She'd looked at him, looked at the light, looked back to him, said:
"Bit pointless, this, isn't it?"
He'd thought about the four trillion simulated beings in the path of the star, screaming, clutching each other with claws and fronds and tentacles, then having their ones changed to zeroes, and said:
For there was a second undeniable truth; they'd run out of things to say.
What bothered him most about the stolid silence of their conversation was that he couldn't be sure if they'd said everything they could think of, or if the computer had some unknown limitation, like a short-term memory that'd they filled with platitudes and tedious questions and, finally, barbs. It worried him deeply that they'd spent so long inside, there was no way for him to know for sure. Even this scene had been played out so many times in different skins that he couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't slot neatly into this doomsday scenario subroutine, and so he stroked the button and tried his favourite thought experiment.
"You're doing it again," she said. "You're trying to remember your body."
"No," he said, and wished he were some kind of grasshopper-eating predator, though that too would doubtless be some equally contemptable beast. Not like the forms they'd originally plugged into this great system. They'd been... they'd been...
"Nobody in this whole world but us, for an uncountable age," she said, "and you still think that you're an impenetrable mystery to me. Like anything you do is so unique."
"Oh, go on then," he said, and moved his chitinous leg from the button, still pulsating with the need to be pushed. "What do you remember?"
"Well, you were fat for a start."
He laughed, or some equivalent, for they both knew that fat was a quaint relativism where they came from. They talked through the binary day-night cycles and gradually assembled a memory. They remembered abundant raw materials but scarce little time and the two of them, whatever form they had originally been, piecing together this system with volcanoes and magnetic fields and singularities as the hardware, and the collected knowledge of the all intelligence as the software, a perfect matryoshka universe that would last for ever, eternally stretching out the last gasp of its parent. He remembered them hauling an asteroid into a certain orbit to start the system, on the eve of the end of everything, and she remembered telling him that the software was missing one last thing.
And then they both knew they were the x and y of this particular graph, that if they could ever truly get outside the graph there would no longer be anything there, that what they'd built was now all there was and all there is: each other, two loving grasshoppers, scratching each others legs, the tictictic of animal friction falling on nobody's ears but a simulated man whose eyes now rest upon some wiggling line with no correlation to truth and whose mouth says you, you shall be called a serpent.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 00:11|
Ah, Thunderdome, where three human people are forced to read stuff that I write.
A day in the life of a sunburned police officer who rides comets 1275~ words
The shuttle wove through the asteroid field with the casual grace of a pigeon in a carnival crowd. On each side of the hull the words 'Tibee System PD' were manifest. Beneath the hatch Comet was printed smaller on the white and neon-blue paint job that all Tibee police shuttles, jumpers and patrol vehicles wore.
There was a major asteroid, an oblong lump of iron and rock nicknamed "Daddy" by the residents of Tibee Earth. Comet clung close to Daddy's dark side as it patrolled. Pearsons could see the surface boulders from the cockpit.
"Sun's coming," Claude warned from the control sticks.
"Huh... gently caress," Pearson said as the horizon of Daddy submitted to the fiery magnitude of brightness from the Tibee system's star. The air-conditioning kicked in with extra power, but not before both constables were washed with sweat.
"I'm melting my balls off," said Pearson.
Claude raised a silver eyebrow at her.
"Ain't so bad," said Claude, a bead of sweat sliding through the broomhead that was his upper-lip. "You got to realise the bosses did you a favor sending you up here."
"Tell that to my skin."
Pearson looked at her arms, already stained pink after six months. The UV shielding only did so much. Claude turned Comet along the ridge of Daddy and Pearson monitored the automated drillers below as they hewed deeper into their pit.
"All quiet below," she said. "As usual."
The shuttle's communications beeped, "Tibee Base to Asteroid Unit."
Claude tapped the communicator, "This is J9, go 'head."
"Sixty-35 reported, small craft smashing up the rocks."
"What's the location, Tibee base?"
"Ten-four, we're responding. Five minutes."
Comet was small, the size of a studio apartment, and she moved nimbly through the asteroid field towards the Alpha-West sector. The perpetrator was easy to find here where the asteroid field was sparse. Pearson spotted scatterings of pebbles and ice tracing a path to a rock hanging below them. The map identified it as A726. Claude piloted closer until the skyscraper sized asteroid filled their vision. An explosion of geological sharpnel caught their attention and Comet zeroed in.
They located the ship, a jumper painted glitzy like an ice-cream van, attached to the rock face. There was even a big, fake ice-cream cone attached to the roof which shot green lightning outwards against the surrounding rock canvas.
Claude whistled. "You might want to avert your eyes, ma'am."
"Shut it Claude, I've seen cocks before."
A fifty-metre long penis was what the arcing green energy was carving into the face of A726. It was immaculately detailed, the chiseled veins almost glowing as the rock's spin took it around to face the omnipresent sun.
"He hasn't seen us," Pearson said as Comet approached from behind the jumper.
Claude flicked the comms, "Unknown craft, identify yourself."
Silence. Then a response, "Oh crap."
The laser etching ceased and the jumper's stand retracted.
"He's running," said Claude.
"He can try," said Pearson, already lining the jumper's engine up on the EMP.
The shuttle's computer announced in a friendly voice that the EMP firing had been logged. The glitzy jumper hung dead in the air, waiting to be docked. The sun beat down on it all.
As Comet towed the disabled jumper to the spaceport in orbit above Teebi Earth the children inside the terminal crowded around the windows, watching.
After landing, the airlock opened and Claude emerged into the corridor to chants of, "Ice-Cream!"
Pearson followed. She pushed the shackled vandal ahead of her, aware that his clown costume was not going to win her any fans among the spaceports youngest residents. When they saw his bulbous red nose, painted on smile and steel restraints they became a harmony of boos.
"Don't dawdle," Pearson commanded the clown.
"Wait 'til my mother hears about this... this brutality," he replied.
Claude led them to the station and took the vandal away to be processed. Pearson passed through security and headed to her desk to record their report. When she arrived she found Detective Miller leaning against her cubicle wall flicking through his communicator.
"Szj'lorksd," she said.
Miller looked up. "You look like poo poo, Sally."
"It's the sunburn."
"Yeah. Asteroid Unit? With your skin? That's a 180."
"Guess I asked the wrong questions. Or the right questions, to the wrong captain."
"I heard about it," said Miller.
"You here to shoot the poo poo with me, Szj'lorksd, or did you want something?"
"You got time for a drink?"
"No," said Pearson. "Writing case notes on a bored carbon heir who thinks giant dongs are some kind of grand artistic statement is my number one priority in life."
The light in the spaceport bar were dim. The bartender pulled two syrups and brought them over with Miller's jelly pastry. The pair sat along the bar that faced the wide window open to the Teebi system, the distant stars twinkling.
"I'm looking for one of your old cave girls, Sally. Jag. You think you might know where we can find her?
Pearson sipped the warm syrup before replying. "Jag. What do you want with her?"
"We know she runs with Brick Daddy's crew. We're trying to run up on one of his lieutenants. She's a known POI, we're hoping we can flip her."
"Good luck with that. She hopped a cruiser to New Bombay a year ago. That was last I heard from her. She's light years gone by now.
"Ah. poo poo," said Miller.
Pearson nodded, and sipped again. Miller took a bite of his pastry and felt with his teeth the ejection of jelly out the back end. They both watched as the purple goop shot into his lap.
"Ah, poo poo!" said Miller. "Sally, can you pass me a loving napkin here?"
Sally sat frozen, watching the dark jelly seep into the neon-blue slacks.
"Teebi base to Pearson, hello, are you on this space station anymore? Help me out here."
Sally looked out the window at the starscape and the looming sun. She stared, but her eyes didn't see.
That morning a year ago the smell hit her the moment the bulkhead door slid open. Bodies didn't really decompose, not that far below the surface, but decay had it's own signature in the caves and it had overwhelmed Pearson. She adjusted her ventilator and switched on her torch.
It wasn't clear who had started the fight, but no one had won it. Corpses were scattered throughout the living quarters, both humans and the white, hairless shapes of the cave's native Klixli. Moles. Most of them had been reduced to piles of body parts by the laser fire. One human body sat on a sofa facing into the room. Everything above his waist was gone, vaporised save for a forearm a metre away. He was wearing gore-splattered neon-blue slacks. Sally crossed her eyes as she approached, not wanting any definition of the scene to be etched in her mind. It took a steel stomach for her to free the wallet from his back pocket and check the ID, a stronger stomach still for what it confirmed. The cage in the corner of the room had four lifeless children in it, three boys and a girl. Each was naked, brushed with makeup and their lacquered nails filed smooth.
For a while each of those children's faces had haunted her dreams. Now, as she remembered, they all blurred into one face and even that face fuzzed when she tried to concentrate on any of the details.
"I heard your dong-lover drives a Mr Whippy jumper," Miller tried to change the subject, wiping his lap with his own sourced napkins. "Sally? How do you stand the sun up there?"
PS: Because I am in a nice mood I am offering a no-strings attached crit to the next story posted below me
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 00:54|
Schneider Heim posted:
Not all spiders are recluses (1298 words)
"Now we're in," I whispered.
Security didn't spare a second glance at Isaac. After all, there were stranger sights in campus. No one would suspect that the metallic tarantula clinging to my arm was alive and sentient.
"I didn't realize there would be so much people," Isaac replied. He passed off as a fancy portable music player, my earphones connected to a jack in his crimson body.
"It's lunchtime right now, so everyone's down and running around," I said. Isaac angled his head to look everywhere, observing human activity everywhere.
"This will really help my writing. I can't thank you enough, Mel." Because he wasn't human, Isaac could be very naive about things that we took for granted. On the other hand, his outsider status meant that he could also be very insightful about the human condition.
"This is what friends do for each other, right?" I went to the cafeteria building. It was going to be packed, but it should be the best place for Isaac to observe people.
"I must confess, I'm in a bit of a slump with my second novel."
"You're kidding. The great S. Isaac Brown, whose debut novel got shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula?"
"I asked my father for advice, and he only laughed. 'Son, don't let the expectations get to you. Just write and revise as you always have,' my father said." He played the recording of his father's voice for that. Isaac's "father" was a human scientist. In an experiment gone wrong, he had caused Isaac's gigantism and constructed him a metal body to keep him alive.
"It feels like..."
"Banging your head on a brick wall?"
"That's exactly it."
I entered the cafeteria and sighed in relief. The queue wasn't bad. After a short wait, I claimed my cup of coffee and grabbed a handful of sugar packets on the counter. I found a table by the window, so that Isaac could look outside, too.
"A lot of my readers think that I've written myself into a corner at the end of my first book. I'm beginning to agree. I've wracked my brain for days, but nothing interesting comes out."
"Days? Isaac, some novelists struggle for years." Sometimes he forgot that he was way smarter than us humans. Sometimes I wonder why he hasn't tried to take over the world yet. "When was the last time you took a break, anyway?"
Isaac hesitated before answering. "This would be the first."
"Isaac, my dear friend. If nothing works, you go outside and take a breather. I'm not a writer, but everyone needs to distract themselves sometimes. Outdoor walks are a wonderful thing."
"I can't casually take a stroll outside. Father doesn't want me. I sneaked out for this occasion."
"Isn't that a bit unfair for you?" I said.
"I'm a cyborg, Mel. My father even provided me with weapons for self-defense. He doesn't trust anyone to take to my real identity kindly. No offense, but you know humans are with these sorts of things."
"I know." And even if I did, I was still his friend.
"It's why I love fiction so much. After all, if I can never be human, then at least I can have a good approximation of the experience."
I nodded, drinking my coffee.
"Is that kissing?" He jabbed a leg to a couple sitting on a bench outside.
I looked for a second and turned away. "Whoa, they're making out."
"So that's how it's actually done. Why are you blushing?"
"Jesus, Isaac. How'd you end up writing a novel if you don't even know what making out looks like?"
"In the stories my father gave me to read, 'making out' is usually implied. This is raw. Authentic."
"Please don't tell me you're putting that in your book."
"Most probably not, but--" Suddenly, Isaac froze, his arms tightening up on my skin. "Oh no."
I winced. "What happened to you?"
"My agent's here," Isaac said.
"My agent. Quick, hide me!"
I put my arm under the table. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched a woman strode purposely around, as if she had every right to be here.
"Whatever you do, don't make eye contact."
I pretended to sip my cup as she passed by. Then she double-backed and stood before us, blocking our exit.
"Hi. I have business with Mr. S. Isaac Brown." Her words had venom underneath her smile. "Please don't give me that look. I can see him around your arm."
"Hello, Bernadette." Isaac used his speakers to reply.
Bernadette leaned on the table. "Isaac, the editor called again. I can't delay him any longer. I need your draft. Now."
"I'm sorry, Bernadette. I need more time."
"No can do. Pass me that last draft you made, then."
"I can't, on my reputation as a writer. It's terrible. My series will be a wreck."
"You won't even show it to me!"
"There is nothing in it worth showing."
"Then let's go over it! I'm not your enemy here, Isaac."
"Point your arm at her," Isaac whispered through my earphones.
Slowly and deliberately, I lifted my arm. A stream of web shot at Bernadette's face, blinding her.
I pushed her away and bolted. There was a frightful snarl and a tearing sound as Bernadette ripped the webbing away, running after me. I dashed out of the building and headed for the science hall, for a lack of good options.
"Maybe you could hide in the male restroom," Isaac said.
"The hell I'm doing that! And judging her, she'll kick the door down anyway!"
"You have a point."
"Help me here, Isaac! Why did you shoot her at all if you didn't have a plan?"
"This is the plan. Please buy me more time, Mel."
I went up and up the stairs, Bernadette hot on my heels. Before I knew it, I reached the top floor, an open space with no escape.
"Can you shoot web at the nearby building? You know, like--"
"My web isn't that strong. You'll get hurt."
"I think I'm going to get hurt very soon." I glanced back, and Bernadette cornered us.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked, more exasperated than angry. We were equally exhausted.
"Because he's my friend."
"Ah, so you're that girl Isaac keeps telling me about!"
I glared at the spider on my arm. "What do you mean?"
Isaac disengaged my earphones and leaped on the ground. "I needed the time to write a new draft, Bernadette. That's why we ran."
"You could have told me so."
"I didn't think you would listen. Here." He opened a port on his back.
Bernadette frowned. "I hope this isn't one of your tricks."
"No tricks. Go download it from me."
Bernadette squatted down, connecting her a phone to Isaac. Her face brightened as she scrolled down.
"Oh? This is interesting."
Isaac's eyes twitched. I squatted next to Bernadette, reading the outline as it streamed into her phone. "I would read that," I said.
"I think this could work." Bernadette yanked the cable off and picked Isaac up. "Why did you take this long to put this out?"
Isaac twitched. "I was in a rut. I may be a spider, but I'm also a writer!"
"I'll talk to Mr. Brown about this. And--" Bernadette clapped a hand on my shoulder. "Thanks for helping us out. Sorry for chasing you around, too."
"No problem," I said. "Will you be fine, Isaac?"
Isaac regarded me with all his eyes. "I will. Can you drive me home, Bernadette?"
Bernadette sighed at me. "See, I'm the nanny of a cyborg mutant spider. When you graduate, don't be a literary agent. There's no good in it."
I waved them goodbye. "I think you're wrong," I whispered.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 01:51|
Snowed Under - 1200 Words
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”
“What does it sound like? Don’t jerk me around Jerry alright? Not tonight.”
Jerry acquiesced with the serene disapproval that only barmen can manage and poured another stinted measure of bourbon.
Alexei managed one whole sip before the glass tumbled from his paw and shattered.
Jerry shot him a pitying look before heading behind the bar to find a broom. Alexei called after him:
“Hey! It isn’t as easy as all that when you don’t have opposable thumbs.”
“Just go home Alex.”
Not interested in pushing his luck, Alexei sloughed off the barstool like a liquid and padded towards the exit, managing to bump into only one doorframe in the process.
Outside, New York was seized up like an old boiler by the worst winter in decades. Already into the negative fahrenheit and with things looking grimmer to come, there was little hope for a reprieve. As a snow leopard the weather didn’t bother him, but as a detective it was about as frustrating as it came. Especially at a time like this when it wasn’t just the cold the city found itself in the grip of. An elusive killer was stalking the streets of Manhattan. It didn’t look like there was going to be a reprieve in that case any time soon either.
Statistically speaking, cold winters like this drive crime indoors. Even criminals aren’t fond of freezing their balls off waiting for a mark. But their killer wasn’t subscribing to that general rule. Indeed, there weren’t many general rules he (or she, he chastised himself) wasn’t breaking.
No connection between victims, no obvious area of operation, no noticeable theft from the victims or sexual assault. Just some schmuck with a knife who didn’t mind the cold and made a hobby of vicious knife attacks. Pathology was no use - the temperature plays havoc with their usual magic tricks. Time of death stretches from a matter of minutes to ‘probably yesterday, maybe the day before’. Forensics have a torrid time of it as well. Ever tried to do blood splatter analysis or find DNA evidence after three inches of snow has covered everything up? It’s no picnic.
Throw on top a distinct lack of patrolmen wanting to do foot patrols or pedestrians, they weren’t like to have a lucky witness and rapid response. All in all, it was a loving mess. There were already six dead, and more than probably a few more lying in wait beneath the white blanket, all lying patiently in wait to thaw out and stink in a few weeks time - just ready to catch him some more flak for not closing this case out sooner
Alexei was sick of it. A couple of cubs waiting at home who he hardly saw, a remedial course of suspect pacification looming and he was already at his breaking point. And what did he do when he finally had a little time to himself? Wasn’t it obvious? Problems always seem a little warmer, a little more distant through the backwards telescope lens of a bottle bottom.
His ears flattened in anger unconsciously through the little slits in his hat. The chief’s mocking words seemed carried on the stinging wind. I’m tired of getting complaints about you Detective. Either you change your spots or I’ll take your stripes. He could have leapt on the smug bastard then and there. Probably that was part of the problem.
He stalked past the steaming and cavernous Subway. He wasn’t ready to face going home quite yet, especially not if his wife was still awake. There was another thing he couldn’t face right now.
Two hours later, he sauntered in a giddy zig-zag through the red light district. He’d found a bar willing to serve him and amazingly managed three more drinks before getting into a fight and getting thrown out. Like a pinball he bounced from neon sign to neon sign, tempted but not quite tempted enough to stumble into any of the clubs.
Then he heard a muffled scream. Instantly, his liquored muscles tensed into readiness. Even drunk, his senses were keener than any human’s. He followed the noise to a nearby alleyway. Further in, there was a woman pressed up against a wall. Doing the pressing was an shadowy figure, and in his hand the unmistakable glint of a knife.
The figure cursed and broke into a sprint. Incensed by the alcohol in his veins and the prospect of the hunt, Alexei bounded after him. At a sharp corner he scrabbled for purchase to make the turn but found none. He careened straight into a trashcan with metallic smash. Dazed, he staggered upright. Already the man was scrambling up a fire escape.
And it hit him with startling clarity - this was his man. Who else could it be? His prayers had been answered; the solution to his problems was dangling before his eyes. No more overtime, no more whispers of a transferral. Crack this now and he might even grab some paid leave, patch things up with Eleanor.
His second wind was fiery. Cats on hot tin roofs had nothing him as he flew up the fire escape. The wrought iron structure shuddered from the slamming of his paws on every step. The man, clearly unfit, was losing ground to him rapidly. Alexei was close enough that he could taste him.
Cresting onto the rooftop, he came face to face the panting man, who had stopped and turned. He was standing the other side of ventilation duct, holding his knife forward.
“Get the hell away from me you crazy animal!”
“Put the weapon down and put your hands on your head.”
“gently caress you! Stay back!”
Alexei bared his fangs. It was better this way. It always was. This way the bastard would get a taste of all the suffering he’d put him and all of those victims through. Every step forward he took, the other man matched backwards. Alexei lowered his head and his muscles rippled in anticipation. His claws unsheathed into the cool traction of the icy rooftop.
There was a pause.
Then he pounced. His body made a graceful arc over the vent, hat and velcro shield flying off in the process. He looked like a wild animal from a documentary. And at that moment, he was.
The man backed away even more, hastened by the sudden movement, but there wasn’t any more building left to back away onto. His left foot stepped confidently onto empty air and kept on going.
The losing of balance can be quite a beautiful thing to watch. The sheer geometric inevitability of it, along with the whole spectrum of emotions on display: dawning realisation; then the futile attempts to counteract gravity pressing down hard atop you, trying to topple you; and of course, the look in your eyes when you know it has succeeded.
Surprise; panic; fear. All intoxicants to a predator like Alexei’s mind. They narrow the thoughts and focus the concentration, all to ensure a kill is secured. It doesn’t matter which prey. During the harsh winter season, when times are tough, any kill will do.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 01:58|
You had five hours to go, fifteen minutes ago.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 02:20 on Jul 8, 2013
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 02:14|
Thursday in Purgatory, 1298 words
Describe the secret wish of a million-year-old game show host who discovers a secret city.
"Welcome, welcome, one and all, to the hottest game show in Purgatory! Whooooooooo Wants To Be Saved!!" The announcer's voice boomed out across the coliseum, as the crowds roared. Virgil stood there quietly in the wings, waiting half a beat. His face was lined with doubts and worries, but he was nothing if not a professional. With barely perceptible shudder, he shook off the gloomy look and took on the look of beatific splendor, and stepped out before the crowd. His young, handsome features were beaming with happiness, pride, and optimism.
"Hello, hello, good evening to you all! Yes, it's time for another quest for salvation with I, your host - the great poet Virgil! As most of you know, I personally led Dante through Hell - yes, literal Hell - and back. Today, one lucky contestant has a chance to move out of endless Purgatory, and on to the Great Heavens Above. But it won't be easy of course, as tonight they'll have to face obstacles and challenges. After all, eternal salvation isn't something that happens overnight. So come on, let's meet our guest. Turnus, come on down!"
The crowd was deafening as the Roman youth came out on stage, waving. Virgil put on his well-practiced smile of benign patience. "Come here, Turnus. Now, I understand you were a soldier in life before you died tragically at Antiem. Well, now you've got to fight for a chance at eternal paradise. But before we start, is there anything you'd like to say to the crowd?"
The youth smiled, bursting with pride. "I love you Mom and Dad! I'll be smiling down on you from Heaven!"
Virgil waited for the crowd to quiet down, and gave his best 'mock stern' look. "Pretty optimistic, but don't count your graces before they've been blessed. Now, for your first challenge - notice that pit of Lemures before you? Well..."
"I'm sorry to say, Turnus, your love of earthly pleasures proved to be your downfall. But while you might not be going to Heaven, it looks like you've found a lovely little soul mate there, and quite a few nice little trinkets for your honeymoon. Alright, everybody, let's give Turnus a big round of applause, and remember! Every Wednesday from now to the Apocalypse, come down to the Coliseum for the greatest game show in all the afterlife! Have a good evening, and don't forget to spay and neuter your soulkins!"
Virgil kept the performance up until he was safely in the wings. Once behind the curtain, though, his smile shattered into a pessimistic mess of wrinkles and lines around his mouth and eyes. The crew all knew better than to get in his way after a show. He didn't slow down for a moment until he was inside his dressing room. There, he collapsed onto his soft velvet couch, hand draped across his face. He was the very picture of melancholy and despair.
"If only, if only!" He said melodramatically.
"If only what?" A gravely voice asked.
The poet's eyes flew open, startled. Nobody was ever in his dressing room, and he had been so intent on his couch, he hadn't noticed the visitor. He was a strange looking man. Jolly was the best word to describe him, with a round belly, dropping ear lobes, and an easy smile. He was wearing a simple robe, and he sat cross-legged on the floor.
"How did you get in here?" Virgil asked, his surprise turning into anger.
"Tch! It's rude to answer a question with a question."
"Get out, or I'll call the guard!"
"Fine," the man replied, slowly getting up. "But you already know the answer to your question, and I already know the answer to mine. I came in through the door, and if only this..." he held up his hands, as if holding the entire coliseum in front of him, "Wasn't."
Virgil stared at the man, with his easy smile and calm nature. He motioned for the man to sit.
"It is natural for all souls lost in Purgatory to wish for the presence of divine grace. That is our purpose here. The show is just... an extension of that."
"And yet, you don't wish for pearly gates, do you? Salvation holds no appeal. To you, it looks like mangy dogs fighting to be let into the kennel. And you are the referee."
"You speak of heresy," Virgil said hesitantly.
The man simply shrugged his shoulder. "You could still tell me to get out, if you wish. If only, if only."
Virgil didn't reply.
The journey had been long and difficult. Purgatory was infinite and eternal, but it wasn't featureless. Some parts, therefore, would be harder to travel than others. The place, however, seemed to push that logical conclusion to the point of absurdity. Every step felt like the ground was trying to swallow him up, and it was a struggle to free his feet from the loose but heavy sand. The incline was steep enough to make walking difficult, but just shallow enough that scampering on all fours was impossible. Dry bushes covered the landscape, covered with thin sharp needles. He felt bloody and irritable.
Bodhi, on the other hand, seemed to be on a pleasant stroll through a garden. He was just as sweaty and scratched as Virgil, but his calm smile never left his face. Virgil cursed himself for following his new 'teacher' out of the city. At the time it had seemed like the answer to an unspoken prayer, but now he was full of doubts. His guide seemed only to speak in vague riddles, and Virgil had started to resent his lack of response towards the hellish journey.
"Teacher, tell me again where we're going." He had asked the question countless times. Never once did Bodhi show a single sign of annoyance.
"We are leaving the dense forest of the three fires."
Virgil nodded his head wearily. Last time he had asked the question, they had been going to a place to wash away the stench the world. The time before that, they were meeting the great weavers who would unknot him. The time before that, they were leaving the trail of birth and death. None of the answers made any sense to him. He had said so the first few times Bodhi answered. His guide had simply laughed and replied, "Yes, which is why we're going there."
Virgil had stopped saying it after the third day.
"We're here," Bodhi said, shaking Virgil out of his thoughts. 'Here' turned out to be a small town full of various men and women, most of them clothed in the same simple robe as Bodhi. Some were stretching, some were exercising, and some seemed to be doing nothing but staring into space. Quite frankly, it didn't look like much.
"This is it? This is what I've been looking for?" Virgil asked, trying to hide his disappointment.
Bodhi smiled. "No. What you seek is Nirvana, the eternal happiness. This is simply a good place to look for it."
Virgil wanted to scream, cry, strangle the man. Instead, he simply collapsed on the ground and laid there quietly for a while. Finally, he lifted up his head. "You took me all the way out here just to find another place obsessed with finding Salvation?" He made no effort to hide the bitterness in his voice.
"No," Bodhi replied. "I took you to a place where everyone is obsessed with not wanting to find anything. Come along, it's not safe here. You've seen what happens to heretics in the city."
Virgil stared at the sand shifting through his fingers, and asked, "Teacher, does sand seek a Buddhist nature?"
Bodhi pointed at him and said, "Dust!" and Virgil was enlightened.
A small disclaimer, I'm not really happy with this one, and fully expect to be in the bottom tier. I feel like the idea has potential, but the execution... basically, don't pull any punches. I need to be punished for my failures
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 02:25|
(Story starter: Write a fantasy story about a brainy octopus who lives in a museum.)
The octopus pulses through the water with a shark's jaw held in one tentacle, a scrap of silver chain in another. The limited light reveals a massive hulk ahead of him, and he tastes wood and rust amidst the ocean salt: he is almost home.
A few glass balls filled with fire lie in the nooks and crannies of his shipwreck. He gathers one and sweeps it about to cast its glow on his gallery of teeth, there in the first room. Dozens gleam on the sandy floor, shark, whale, and eel; more stud the walls, making a proper viewing of this gallery somewhat perilous. The octopus sets the jaw on the sand. The shark it belonged to was old, he thinks. A dangerous fighter. Even its sharpest teeth are worn.
He swims through the gallery of empty shells and the gallery of human teeth, the long and metallic kind, to his room for unclassifiable salvage, where he drops the chain too close to a tiny porcelain face with hollow eyes. He fumbles at the items until they're separated to his satisfaction. Several cracked mirrors in here reflect his image, but he's too absorbed by objects owned by the dead to pay much attention to himself.
The ancient octopus studies what he hopes someday to understand.
Restless--the chain tells him little--he slides out of the wreck through a porthole and jets north toward the shoals and the shallows. But something unexpected drifts past him in the mid-blue sea, heading back the way he came, and the familiar shape draws him in: he recognizes the tentacles made of filaments on the head, the stiff limbs, the second skin. He's prodded at humans before. This one is different, though. It's alive.
And it leads him back to his own ship, paying him no attention until he swims in front to guard his dwelling. Then hard fingers reach for him. They try to push him away. He seizes them, gives the creature a shove, but electricity shocks his tentacle that holds the human hand. He tears free and rushes the creature; his beak tangles in its outer skin.
It grabs his head. Stop that, it says.
So he does. He is by now most curious.
I need something that's in this ship, the female human says. She treads water on the wreck's threshold, proof that she has magic: she breathes and moves despite the pressure constricting them both.
The octopus doesn't know how she speaks to him. The grey tendrils of her hair don't wave in meaningful patterns, but he comprehends her as though they did. He's aware too, now, that she is a she, though the point is of minimal interest.
He wriggles three tentacles in a request for more information.
I've tracked it here. My daughter had it with her when she died at sea.
He has no children, but he would never doubt their worth. He stretches his arms in sympathy.
If I could hold it, the female says in her invisible way, I could speak with her again.
The octopus pulls himself vertical; excitement tingles in his every limb. He shoots through the entrance to the wreck and is back again before she has much chance to move, holding two lights; he presses one on her. In the glow, her eyes are narrow slits of blue and black, and he studies them so long that she tries to swim ahead of him.
He retakes the lead with ease and shows her his displays. She hurries him past the teeth and shells, and past the teeth of metal too, though at least she pauses for a look at those. The unsorted gallery receives her full attention at last--she lingers before several of his treasures, then picks up, finally, the porcelain doll's face. She stares at it. Her hair drifts in lines of nonsense.
The empty eyes fill with a pale glow, and a second human shape coalesces in front of the female, longer but thinner, colorless. The octopus jets in circles around them, trying to see the dead daughter from every possible angle. He taps delicately at her with a tentacle. Rather, he tries to be delicate. His limb swings through her shoulder and feels a deeper chill than the darkest waters hold.
The mother and her magic seize the ghost's wrist. He can't read her body--she isn't talking to him any longer--but the daughter's thoughts crackle through the water. No! I got away from you! With her arm and now her throat in her mother's hands, the octopus senses an untruth. Let me go! The bubbles of the mother's laughter break against the ceiling.
The ghost's glow dims. Her shape diffuses. Enough light remains for the octopus to see how she thrashes, and that requires no translation. Nor does the crack splitting a white porcelain cheek, abandoned and forgotten on the floor.
He wraps two tentacles across the mother's mouth and four around her throat. He tries to pull her back. Weak lightning crackles along his nerves, her teeth bite through his flesh, and he squeezes, squeezes until old bones give way and all the fight is gone. Dead, she is a heavy weight. The octopus lets her fall.
The daughter, still and quiet now, stares at him with white eyes. The magic is fading; she fades with it. Whatever she thinks as she goes, she doesn't share it with him.
The octopus may never understand death.
Until he does, he'll continue to gather enamel and nacre, metal and glass. He has lost his tiny, hollow face in trade for a greater exhibit: a human corpse, whole, to study as long as it lasts.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 02:49|
Write a birthday party invitation for a thousand-year-old rhinoceros who is a tour guide in your neighborhood
My name is Johnny Beemer and I would be very happy if you could come to my birthday party on 17 Augustt 2013 at 2.00pm at my house. It will be a garden party and I will be eight years of age. it Would be my pressure for you to grace us with your presence. The theme of the party is superheroes and you can dress up if you like. you can even be a super villain but if you are affended you can choose not to. I would per-sonally like it if you come as an iron man.
maybe you should change your job! tour guide is so boring and anyway you do not even come from england, how could anybody expect you to do your duty effyshunly. maybe you should open a toy store. or maybe you can be a story teller about africa! people in england do not know much about africa. well we have the nigeria restaurent but that is diff deef not the same. daddy says they are an " " english abombination of culturel imperielisem and nothing like actual down into earth nigeria food" mummy would then hush and say maybe he would prefer nieglla lawson. she's pretty do you have a wife? you should bring your wife but it is ok if she has been dead for a long time since you are so old.
anyway if you come i would be very happy! also bobby (who is my brother and 10 year old and a big moronious jerk) say you once ate the mom and dad of a neighbur and he got so dipresssed he went to the sea and tried to ride a peach to haiti. you should use your horn on bobby maybe up his bottom that would be highlarius!!!!!
Daddy helped me with my invitation i would be very delighted and hope you will come!
Age 8 (in 10 days!)
The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 03:28 on Jul 8, 2013
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 03:19|
Just Shapes in Glass
(Grade 2 Story Starter: Write a short legend about a famous stallion whose mirror can see into the future.)
Sir Chauncey returned to his mansion when the war was over. He thought his most trying times were over and done with, simply fodder for his various medals and decorations. He wiped his hooves on the mat and pressed his snout against the heavy oak door, not knowing that a new trouble lay just past the threshold.
"Hey, Byron," he whinnied to his butler. "What the gently caress's been going on around here, poo poo-head?"
"Pardon, Master Chauncey?" Byron inquired.
"It's dusty as poo poo in here, I mean, what the gently caress? I go to war, trample about a billion of those goblin motherfuckers, and these are the goddamn thanks I get? Motherfucking dusty shelves?
Byron bowed and said, "I shall deal with them presently, Master Chauncey."
Chauncey snorted, began to trot up the grand staircase before calling back, "Oh, and send up a little bourbon or some poo poo. Something strong, you know what I like."
"Right away, sir. Oh, before I forget, a gift arrived for you two days ago. I set it in the parlor upstairs."
"Sweet! If you peeked at that poo poo, Byron, I'll bash your loving brains in, all right?"
Chauncey trotted to the top of the stairs and clapped his hooves with glee. "I fuckin' love presents!" he said. When he reached the door to his suite, he whipped around and gave the doors a burro-kick with his hind legs. He let his anticipation grow, lighting the candles to give parlor a more homey feel. Soon the amber glow spread to every corner of the room, and Chauncey said, "Time to bust this fucker open."
He walked to the center of the room. A thin, rectangular box stood in the center, much taller than it was wide. A bolt of purple velvet hung over it, with a knotted cord dangling over one side. Chauncey leaned in and caught the rope with his teeth. He tugged until he heard a soft snap; the velvet sunk to the floor.
Chauncey stepped back a few paces to admire his gift. It looked like a hand-crafted mirror, the frame pocked with exotic runes and etchings. The silver glass shone with an ethereal glisten like none the horse had ever seen.
"loving sweet!" said Chauncey. "Now I can rest and regain my strength while looking at my awesome bod all fuckin' day." Suddenly, a thin sheet of parchment dropped from the top of the mirror. Chauncey hadn't noticed it before. He stretched his long, white head down to the carpet and read its message:
My name is Daphne the witch.
You killed me, you son of a bitch!
You are the worst
So now you are cursed.
I'm thinking revenge is my niche!
"Wow," said Chauncey after a moment. "What a oval office. Still, I bet I look fuckin' swole after all that charging into battle and poo poo. A quick peek couldn't hurt, and I can have Byron burn the motherfucker right after.
His heart rendered light once more, Chauncey paced back a step or two so that his whole magnificent figure would be in view. He grinned and lifted a hoof in the air as if posing for a statue. However, his eyes grew wide when his image melted away in the glass, rippling and pulsing until all that remained was an assortment of loose, grotesque forms. All the candles snuffed out simultaneously, but Chauncey was too hypnotized by the mirror to notice. Now the wretched masses contorted once more, white blotches flushing red, fusing together, stretching taut before resting in the familiar shape of a man.
Chauncey's man, in fact; the mirror showed Byron sprawled on the stone floor of the entryway. Chauncey sensed that something was amiss but could not divine exactly what. The servant's sleek silk trousers still shone and his sleeves retained a healthy puff. Realization crept up Chauncey's mane as he looked to Byron's head and saw what was unusual.
It was missing. The head, that is, though perhaps "missing" is a less appropriate descriptor than "present, but in the form of a red, gooey slush." The bloody fricassee still attached to the man's neck by a few sticky tendrils was marked by two curved indents.
Hoof-prints, Chauncey realized.
He ralphed his morning oats onto the rug.
"What the gently caress?" he brayed. "That witch has to be sick in the goddamn head!" He trotted around the room, forcing his eyes to stare at the wall, the smoking candles, anything but the wretched mirror.
"It must be a prank or some poo poo," he mused. "Yeah, something to freak me the gently caress out. Guess she was too pussy to put a real curse on me, turn all the fuckin' water I drink into sand when it hits my tongue, or make me poo poo rocks, or what the gently caress ever. God, what a freaky bitch!"
He glanced back at the mirror for an instant, recoiling when he saw that it still displayed Byron casserole. "I better warn him about this poo poo," Chauncey said. "Poor fucker'd probably have a heart attack if I don't prepare him to see it first."
Chauncey clambered down the stairs, Byron standing at the bottom with a parcel that had arrived for the war hero. The servant started to explain who had sent it, but Chauncey cut him off and shouted, "FUCKIN' WONDERFUL, Byron, but you shouldn't go look at that present. It'll freak you the gently caress out." Well, truthfully, he only got as far as "FUCKIN' WO-" before getting his front left hoof caught on the wool rug resting on one of the steps. He toppled end over end, conking his head a few times in the process, but by the end he managed to regain his balance and thrust himself forward for a clean landing.
His front hooves hit smack in the middle of Byron's head, knocking it back. It promptly exploded when it hit the ground.
Chunks of bone and brain flew outward, splattering the entryway floor. Chauncey skittered back, staring wide-eyed at his gore-stained hooves. He scrubbed them across the rug, letting out a startled whinny as he saw the pool of blood expand toward him. He sprang up and backed away into the living room.
"Oh gently caress. Oh gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress gently caress," Chauncey said. He noticed that he was hyperventilating, and plopped down beside the couch to catch his breath. Once he felt the shock of the accident had passed, he walked back into the entryway, nudged the body to one side, and picked up the package by his teeth. The bottom of the brown wrapping paper dripped blood.
Chauncey yanked off the string and let the paper fall to the floor. Underneath was a smooth wooden box, the top of which was emblazoned with a lion arching its back and roaring with splendor; the seal of the kingdom. Opening the box, Chauncey found a fine silk neckerchief stitched with flaxen thread. It was pinned through the center with an ivory brooch studded with gems. When Chauncey saw it he knew what he had to do.
"I'm a knight of the highest order," he said, "and knights are supposed to protect their countrymen at any fuckin' cost! I can't see the loving freaky future that the mirror shows me without running the risk of turning it real. Knights are motherfucking heroes." He took a deep breath. "And sometimes heroes have to make motherfucking sacrifices."
He swallowed his doubts, forced them down to his gut, and picked up the brooch. He chucked it aside and snatched up the neckerchief, tying it across his head with a flourish.
Sir Chauncey, now sightless and stylish, trotted toward the kitchen; he needed a carrot to munch on. He was thinking he would have to express his gratitude to the queen for her gift. He started composing his thank-you letter in his head when he slipped on the pool of Byron's blood. He fell to one side, bashed his head on the bottom step, and sunk out of consciousness. He was only out for thirty minutes or so, but he had a dream about a witch gleefully butchering him and roasting him up for the royal family. He woke up and didn't forget it and never loving would.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 03:22|
Another loving week where I have surprise double shifts at work with no time for writing. Couldn't make the 1200 word limit, so I ended it early.
Make up a conversation you might have with a scatterbrained artist who finds a strange package by the door. Grade 4-6.
Word count: 803
You park your Fedex van at the corner of the street and honk the horn, announcing your arrival. With a groan you duck into the back area where you keep the packages. You run your finger across all the addresses; your lips moving silently as your tongue juggles the nicotine gum you've been chewing, until you find the one that's going to the house across the street.
You whistle some made-up tune as you carry the hefty box up the porch and set it down on the welcome mat. An old-timey bell chime sings out a three note tune when you press the doorbell. You hear the faint sound of racing footsteps so you take a step back and pull out your electronic signer from your holster.
“Feeeeeh...” Your greeting dies off as a woman painted silver with nothing but a flimsy silk robe snaps the door open. It's not even tied at the waist, and you feel the magnetic pull of her naked body pulling on your eyes with an unrelenting force.
“Oh meu Deus, esta finalmente aqui!” She exclaims happily, that much you can make of it. She reaches down to tug at the box and your eyes follow. After an unsuccessful try to lift the box on her own, she looks up at you with a smile and with a heavily accented English she says, “Can you bring the box inside for me?”
Possibly taking your stunned silence as a cue that you will do her bidding, she holds your face in her hands and plants a brief kiss on your cheek and then slips away inside the house. You feel a warmth spreading in your body as you catch a glimpse of the top of her thighs as she disappears around a corner. You look around desperately trying to find cameras, strange vehicles or an inkling that this might be a trap.
Standing there for a moment you weigh your options. It doesn't take long. “gently caress it.” you say as you walk into the house with the package in your arms.
You walk aimlessly, images of implausible pornographic story lines of delivery men getting laid flashing through your mind. The girl re-entered the room and upon seeing you standing there with a dumb look on your face, she points at the coffee table. “Coloque-o lá.” She says.
You knew what she meant before she repeated herself in English, you were just transfixed by her silver breast. You've never seen silver breasts before. You notice how she's beginning to notice you staring at her breasts. “What do you do?” you say.
She takes a moment to mentally translate what you said. “Ah, I do art. Artist.”
Nice. Distract her with fluff talk. “Is that why you're painted silver?” As soon as the words escaped, you mentally punched your mouth in the mouth for drawing attention back to the girl's body.
She looks down at herself and shrugs. “Yes. Doing photo shoot. Had hard time doing it myself, so I order something so I get help.” Her eyes smolder as they burn into you.
Your brain shuts down the speech center in your brain. You want to say something, but all you can focus is on how the room got a little bit warmer.
“So will you help me with photo shoot?” She bites her lip.
Why did she do that thing with her lip? You brain is going haywire. You're in an implausible pornography storyline. “I... ah... I can...”. Speech is too much for you at the moment so you just nod your head.
She slides her robe off her shoulders and sits back on the sofa. “Open the box and get the camera.” she commands.
Your hands fumble with the tape, but you eventually get the box open and pull out the camera. You hold it to your eye and start snapping off photos of her as her hands begin to explore her body and-
“Hold the gently caress up.” Jake exclaims. “No loving way. You're lying. poo poo like that doesn't happen.”
“I swear on a stack of virgin bibles man, I took those pictures and afterward we started-” You insert your finger into the side of your fist.
“You are so full of poo poo.” Your boss leans back in his chair and looks at you with his head tilted to the side. “You're telling me the reason why you didn't finish your route yesterday was because a," Jake utilized the finger quotations as he continued sardonically "naked Brazilian ordered a camera so a delivery man, such as yourself, would stop by and have sex with her?”
“Well..” You kind of shrug your shoulders helplessly. “Yea.”
“You're fired. Get the hell out of my office.”
Mercedes fucked around with this message at 04:04 on Jul 8, 2013
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 03:59|
gently caress me, where did the week go?! Oh well, balls deep and all that. I regret everything!
Prompt: Describe the secret wish of a sneaky lawyer who wins the lottery.
Defective (1251 words)
The law firm of Perry, Potters & Reynald is rarely quiet; every moment is marked by the trill of phones and the whir of copy machines and the drone of a lawyer’s voice.
I scurry down the hall- walking leisurely to complete one’s task is a luxury not afforded to interns. My arms are full of pages upon pages of legalese which I am doomed to spend the next few hours examining; I’m already calculating the damage my latest assignment will do to my break time when the door I’ve just passed bangs open and the portly figure of Potters appears in it.
“Davis! C’mere!” calls the man, and I come before him obediently; if he’d asked me to roll over or play dead I would. Potters looks at the pile in my arms and delicately places another sheaf on top. “Get that looked over by the one o'clock meeting, will ya?” he says, in the same bored tone as the other two partners who’d given me their work.
I smile and say “Yes, sir!” as brightly as I manage. Lunch is at noon- if I skip it, I’ll just barely manage to finish in time.
Potters grins and flops a chubby hand on my shoulder a few times, murmuring “Good man,” before turning away and shutting the office door too fast. My smile stays frozen on my face as I scurry on down the rest of the hall.
The unoccupied office is a favorite haunt for interns on their breaks- it’s empty at the moment, which I guess is a small blessing. As I collapse into the desk chair, my hand automatically goes to my pocket, and though I know no one is around I still glance about nervously before pulling out the card.
Its bright colors and pictures look garish compared to the dull legal documents I’ve been poring over for hours. The old arguments start again- I shouldn’t be doing this, it’s beneath me, if the other people in the firm found out I’d be a laughingstock.
I hesitate a moment more, then pull out the coin and start scratching.
Arthur Davis, Jr. has always had a bright future before him, I’ve been told. When I graduated college, when I got my law degree, when I got the internship at P. P. & R, there was always a smiling old man telling me that I was headed for great things. By all accounts, I’ve been doing everything right.
Yet everywhere I look, it seems there’s another person who’s done it wrong- artists and rock stars and actors and supermodels- people with lifestyles that would make my role models shudder if they ever acknowledged their existence.
This card is another dud- I sigh and carefully scoop the shavings off the desk and into the trash.
My apartment resembles the law firm in its décor in that there is none. The furniture is perfectly spare and innocuous, the space remarkably clean for a solitary bachelor.
As I shed my coat and bag I grab a fistful of fresh scratch cards from a pocket. The guy behind the liquor store counter knows me by sight now, though I’ve taken care to pay in cash and never tell him my name. The drug addict parallels are obvious even to me, and more than once I’ve thrown away the cards after purchasing them- only to end up fishing them out moments later.
It’s only when I sit down at my desk and open the drawer to my small shrine that I feel a moment of peace. A collage of photos, clippings and advertisements rustles as I handle them softly. People at the beach, smiling and aglow with sun. People hiking what the ad boasts are the most beautiful peaks in North America. I press at the pictures as if they were a wall made out of glass, and if only I could break through I could be smiling and laughing and living too.
I’m defective, I know it. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have graduated from a good college and with a stable career ahead of them. If I just keep working and doing everything I’m told I’ll make partner at a big law firm in twenty, thirty years. Then I’ll go to the beach and order margaritas, pay cute server girls to stay near me and cover up their disgust because I’m old enough to be their father. I’ll go to beautiful national parks and play golf with the other big fish, puttering around an artificial lawn on a cart. That’s how people who aren’t marketable enough to be megastars are supposed to do things. It’s delusion and selfishness to want more.
Yet I pull out the coin and start scratching all the same. This particular set is my favorite poison, a gaudy red and yellow affair covered with stacks of coins and boasting a jackpot of $50,000. I’ve played so many of them that I’m basically on autopilot, uncovering number after number, dud after dud- all the while entertaining myself by imagining the disappointment of my peers if they could see me now.
Then my brain fails to process what I’m seeing, and I come back to reality.
Three identical black symbols stare up at me from the scratcher, three pots of gold with a large “J” in the middle. My breath catches as I look over the card again and again, sure that I must have done something incorrectly. Then I lean back and look around for the candid camera, the group of people about to tumble out of my closet and shout “Surprise!” Nothing happens.
“Holy poo poo,” I whisper.
My glance falls on the open drawer, and I start going through it, pulling out every ad and brochure I’ve squirreled away. Cabo, Paris, Cancun, Rome, Miami, Yellowstone. I can go anywhere. I can do anything- maybe move to the beach and start a t-shirt business. Become a trail guide in the parks. It’s too much to take in.
Then the phone rings and I start, the clippings fluttering out of my hands.
It’s going to be the liquor store, telling me I paid with a fake bill and they’re calling the police- or something like that. I let the phone ring twice before I summon the courage to pick up the receiver.
“Davis!” Potter’s voice crackles over the landline. “Good job today taking on all that doc review. She’s a bitch, but someone’s got to do her, right? Ha!” He chuckles a bit at his own wit, then continues, “I hate to load more onto your plate, but tomorrow’s going to be a real pain in the rear end- do you think you could come in an hour early?”
This is it- I can do it like in the movies, tell my boss to go gently caress himself and set my JD on fire. Run away to Mexico and never look back. “Yes, sir. Not a problem at all.” I say.
“Knew I could count on you, son! See you tomorrow.” The phone clicks.
I stand there for an eternity before finally laying the receiver back in its cradle. Carefully I scoop the clippings back into the drawer, then I pick up the card and look at it a moment before putting it in as well.
It’s not like it’s going to grow wings and fly away, I reason as I shut the drawer. I can leave tomorrow. Or next week.
Maybe I’m not as defective as I thought.
SpudCat fucked around with this message at 05:14 on Jul 8, 2013
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 05:07|
Prompt: [Describe the secret wish][of a brainy][carnival clown][who rides comets].
Tips and All
Harry pressed the needle against the thick of his penis. Sweat slicked the cold metal, making it hard to hold steady. He shook and closed his eyes. Biting his lower lip, he pushed.
When he opened his eyes, the needle was through, poking out the other end like a confused groundhog. Eyes wide as dinner plates, Harry stretched his penis out, ogling himself in the mirror. His cartoonish overalls crumpled around his ankles, red denim shackles. Sweat ran streaks through his clown make up, cutting deep lines through the perfectly circled blush cheeks.
A knock came at this trailer door. Showtime. Harry gulped and grabbed the point of the needle, pulling it out the way it wanted to go, not the way it came. Spittle shot through his open mouth, closed tooth grit and he felt himself breathe for the first time in minutes.
Hiking up his dirty overalls, he tucked his penis in his pants and ran out the trailer into the muggy night air. Dirty hay crunched under his feet as he ran through the fair grounds to the rodeo ring. Giant floodlights illuminated the ring as he joined several other clowns inside. Loud speakers started blaring and Harry tuned out, waving to the crowd. Just another night.
The rodeo clowns sat at the break room table eating re-heated lasagna and leftover French fries, watching the clean up crew pick trash outside. They were silent, tired and wanting to be paid. Jeff Melons, the head clown, walked in with a stack of envelopes in one hand, something else in the other. He slapped the envelopes down and a needle rolled on the table. All eyes looked at the needle, and then looked at Harry.
“Do that thing, do that thing, Harry,” Jeff Melons said. The table looked at him eagerly.
“Are you absolutely sure?” Harry said. Some nods, some looks of hesitation followed. That was what Harry lived for. If he could make a grown man’s rear end in a top hat pucker in numb fear, he was doing it right.
Harry shook out his arms, slapping the skin on his forearms. He took several deep breaths for show, just to make it seem like an ordeal. He squared up and looked Jeff Melons in the eyes, beckoning him over. Jeff knew what he had been conscripted to do.
Stretching his skin out on his forearm, he nodded to Jeff, who took the lump between his thumb and first knuckle of his index finger. Harry’s free hand took the needle, and worked it through, twisting it and sneering, as he got it all the way through the bulk of pulled skin. When it came out the other side his eyes lit up.
“Ahhh!” He pulled it back and forth through the skin like a violin bow, and screamed at the men at the table. Some of them hid their eyes with their hands, stamping the linoleum floor with their boots.
“I’m just loving with ya,” Harry said, relaxing in an instant. “Doesn’t hurt at all.”
“Jesus, Harry, how the hell do ya do that?” one of the clowns asked. Harry shrugged.
“Just extra stretchy skin, I guess,” Harry lied. “I’ve done it a couple of times to know it doesn’t hurt,” that was partly true.
“Alright, alright, get your cash and get the hell out,” Jeff said. “I gotta lock up this dump.”
They all started to file out, but Jeff put his hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“I got a surprise, and I don’t want to tell the boys yet, it might freak ‘em,” Jeff said.
“I don’t know why you’re telling me,” Harry said.
“I trust you.” Jeff looked away. “You see the big picture.”
Harry wasn’t convinced. “Go on.”
“They’re shipping in some big fucker, from Spain.”
Harry caught his breath.
“That loving idiot Billy Graham, he’s gonna ride it.”
“Tips and all,” Harry said, looking at his feet.
“Tips and all.”
Harry’s tongue wrapped around the cool metal needle in his mouth. Each click of his mouse flipped through pictures of matador accidents. The needle went in one cheek and out the other, forcing Harry to keep his mouth relaxed and open. Drool started to pool and dribble out of his mouth. He stared at their horns. He kept clicking.
The images were still in his eyes when that bell rang. Harry looked around, startled. Big, black, the Spanish Bull came charging out of the gate, his name was Comet. That loving idiot Billy Graham riding on top of him, holding on for dear life.
Comet’s horns had been polished while he was sedated. Glinting with lacquer under the flood lights, they whirled about in the air as Comet bucked, leaving tracer images in Harry’s mind. The other clowns kept their distance, their eyes locked on the horns as well. They all had seen a rider who was in over his head, and eight seconds can seem like an eternity. Billy was one of those riders. But then the buzzer went, Billy Graham had done it, he had ridden a Comet. The crowd exploded, but Harry knew it was too soon to cheer.
Billy bailed on a bad bounce, his leg getting a nasty kick that sent him spinning into the dirt. Harry saw the other clowns freeze, their eyes fixed on the horns. Comet wheeled around, lowering his head toward Billy. Harry sucked in as much as air as he could and sprinted toward the melee.
“Hey, hey you big gently caress!”
Comet jerked his head up, surprised. Billy crawled through the dirt, scrambling to his feet as Comet let him go. Harry smiled at the beast, sweat pouring from his brow. Harry sidestepped, pretending to juke back and forth, drawing Comet closer.
Comet came in for the first charge, Harry managed to spin sideways and backpedal. The enormous bulk of the bull brushed past Harry, its scent overpowering his nose. Hay, sweat and dirt, the distinct smell of power overwhelmed Harry. Sweat dripped into his eyes, the clown paint stinging him, and he backed up further and further. The others had long jumped the fences, he was out there all alone. The urge to escape swelled in his chest, and he backed away from the bull, never losing sight of the horns.
Backed against the splintery wood, Harry relaxed. Comet snorted, stamping the ground, this was it. A deep breath exited Harry’s nose and he closed his eyes. Hooves driving into the dirt filled his ears and he smiled. One stride, and then another; in four Comet would gore him, pierce him, and feel the deepest part of his insides.
Intense pressure, forcing him against the fence, and the sound of splintering wood behind him was all he felt. The overwhelming sense of being immobile made him urinate uncontrollably. Wetness, in his pants, and seeping through his gut was the next sensation. Comet tried to twist away, but the horns jammed in the wood.
Harry opened his mouth and blood dribbled out. He felt his organs contort around the horn, embracing it, making it apart of his own body. Running his hands over the horn, he marveled at how he couldn’t even wrap his hand around the thickest part. More blood came out of his mouth now, spilling onto the horn, smearing it where he ran his hands. The blood was black.
He put a hand on Comet’s face, feeling the bull shudder in frustration. Harry’s head lolled back, knocking against the wood wall. Everyone on the fence looked down in horror; Harry smiled up at them. He heard the unmistakable sounds of rifles being cocked. He put his other hand Comet’s head, shielding the bull’s eyes. Both he and the bull relaxed, and waited.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 06:11|
I was attending the front desk, trying to chat up one of the housemaids, when he burst into the lobby, soaked and bedraggled. The storm whipped at his long, tattered coat as he forced the hotel entrance doors shut again. The wind fought him every inch until they snapped together and he leaned his head against them, breathing heavily.
When he didn’t move for a few seconds I called out “Good evening, sir. Would you be after a room?” He looked over one shoulder and stared at me, long, wet strands of hair falling over his eyes. “Sir?” I asked again, indicating Theresa to go and get a towel. Some establishments might have turned him away as riff-raff, but I’ve met enough eccentric billionaires to always provide potential customers the basic courtesies.
Using whatever magic housemaids have for finding things quickly Theresa obtained a towel and approached the man. He grabbed it out of her hands, opened it with rapid movements as if checking for scorpions, then rubbed at his dripping hair and face. As he did he gazed at the staircase, the front desk, and spent a long time looking at our crystal chandelier. Theresa tried to take his coat, but he moved away, clutching it possessively.
“Now, sir, about that room?“ I said, using my least obviously yet still quite insistent tone.
He came up to the desk, face very close to mine, his eyes wide and staring. “What year?” he asked. I was taken aback, but at least he didn’t smell of booze. “What year is it?”
Theresa and I shared a glance. “This year, sir? It’s 2013.”
He began mumbling to himself, while rummaging through the pockets of his coat. Eventually he pulled out three items and laid them out on the desk. There was a crystal of some kind, from which emanated a curious glow, a small coin stamped with an unfeasibly large number, and a wad of twenties. “2013?” he asked. “Never been here before. One of these do? I’d like to stay a night at least.”
I picked up the twenties and counted out seven, which didn’t make much of a dent. I placed his key on the desk, alongside the other objects and the rest of the cash. “Room 41. And would Sir be after a meal? The restaurant closed at nine, but the bar the should still have…”
He interrupted me while pocketing his belongings. “Bar? You have ale? Sweet Jesus, I would kill a man for ale.”
“I’m sure that won’t be necessary. Theresa - perhaps you could show the gentleman to the bar.”
Theresa escorted the man through the swinging doors. She emerged minutes later and came over. “What do you make of him?” she asked.
“Seems a perfectly normal mental patient.” I said. She smiled. She had a cute smile. I’d been intending to ask her out after work some time but had never really figured if she would be amenable. There was something deliciously unfathomable about her.
“Well,” she said, “if he gives you any trouble, just yell. I’ve got a couple of floors to visit before I can knock off. You finishing soon?”
“Half an hour. Not soon enough.” She smiled again, and left with a wave, climbing the staircase to the upper floors.
I busied myself at the desk, checking schedules for the morning and leaving instructions for the fellow on the next shift. I heard the soft squeak of the Bar’s saloon doors and looked up. There he was again, coming to the desk with a full beer in his hand. He put it down on the desk.
“It’s just for appearances,” he said. “I can’t drink it while she’s still here; I need my wits about me.” He had a pained expression on his face that actually made me feel sorry for him. This man clearly needed that beer.
“Can’t drink it while who is still here?” I inquired.
He started rummaging in his coat again. “Titania. She’s been after me ever since I stole this coat.”
“Right. I can see why.” I blinked, but the coat still looked like a ragged collection of scraps held together by good will.
“Can you? “ he asked. “I always thought it wasn’t much to look at. No - this is the Tatterdemalion, its pockets are always full of what is needed and two other things besides. I stole it from the Queen’s own wardrobe. Almost died in her labyrinth making my escape., The coat provided a map, but also a furry hat and a Minotaur.”
“Wearing the furry hat?” I asked. He gave me a look and continued.
“Anyhow - I’ve been trying to get back home ever since, but she’s had me cursed. Every time I go outside I’m trapped in a storm and blown to some other place. Or time. My family is currently dead a thousand years, but I’m hoping to find out a way to get back to them. Eventually I’ll be blown far enough into the future that they’ll be able to control the weather.
“Really? That happens?”
“I don’t know - it was in a comic I read in the 1970s. I figure it’s my best shot. But she’s here. I couldn’t tell for sure because the rain washed the ointment off my eyes, but after three lifetimes I can feel it in my bones. She’s here and she knows.”
He pulled a handful of stuff out of the coat and put it on the desk.. There was necklace made of dried ears, a pipe billowing purple smoke and a jar of ointment that read ‘Thaumoptrix.’ “Here,” he said, opening the jar and putting some sparkling goo on his finger. “Rub this on your eyelids.”
Curious, I dipped a finger in the gunk. It made my fingertip tingle. For no reason that I can ever adequately explain, I applied it to my right eye, just as Theresa came down the stairs.
I blinked a couple of times. There was a kind of double vision going on - first there was Theresa, cute smile, frumpy housemaid’s uniform, but there was also a towering woman wearing wisps of gossamer stitched together with spiderwebs. She was terrifying. And beautiful, in ways that made me feel I’d regret having noticed.
“Thomas,” she said, at once girlish and commanding. “Leave the the mortal alone. There are things he is not permitted to see.”
“Titania. Have I not suffered enough? Can you not let me return to the family you stole me from?”
“Suffered? You feel harshly done by? I welcomed you to the court everlasting, cleansed the stink of death from you, took you to my own bed. And you repaid me with theft and abandonment. Me? Queen of the Fae? My subjects mocked my humiliation, and hid you in Time with their petty curses, but I have found you at last, and my vengeance will not be so weak. Tatterdemalion, you may feed!”
The bedraggled man collapsed inwards like burst balloon, blood erupting from the holes in his coat. Every single crystal in the lobby chandelier exploded in singing, blinding light - for a moment I could have sworn I saw a million tiny winged figures streaming down toward the bloody pile of clothing, laughing like children, but then I could see nothing at all.
Eventually the light dimmed, and there was only Theresa, alone in the lobby, looking strangely flat. It took me a moment to notice that the lump to the left of my field of vision was my nose. I reached toward my right eye, but touched nothing. I didn’t dare reach any further back.
“Shift’s over,” said Theresa, with her cute smile and tattered coat. “You know, the Cyclopean look suits you. Fancy coming for a drink?”
prompt (at the bottom, because spoilers) : An amazing story about a bitter maid who is leader of the fairies.
Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 06:30 on Jul 8, 2013
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 06:27|
A funny story about a game show host trapped on an alien planet
The Fall of Dan Fischer (1248 words)
“Who is Dan Fischer?”
“Yes, right.” The man in question realized his mistake before the sentence had finished. “Er, no, wait, that’s me.” For the third time that hour, he rubbed his eyebrows. “Look, I was on my way to Earth to record new episodes of Answer and Question.”
“Our apologies,” the attendant said. Dan’s frustration escaped it, as two of its six eyes were focused on paperwork, three kept track of the gates, and the last was saved for that cloaca Col-Thurggh, who’d stolen its dessert from the warming pods in the break room three times in the last week. “Your transport was knocked off course by pirates. We have to ensure the craft’s safety before you can board again. It will take two cycles.”
“What does that mean? Two hours? Two days?”
It drew up one of its tentacles in a halfhearted shrug. “Whatever you wish it to mean.”
But for two reasons, Dan would have reached across the counter and strangled the lanky cephalopod. The first, a disintegration barrier, would’ve removed his right hand within a second. At that moment, it had been undergoing repairs, so Dan could’ve punched if he wanted to. But that led into the second reason, a frequent answer in the Rhyme Time category to the question “What’s the saying against using aggression against them?”
Not five minutes earlier, he’d discovered why. He preferred their purple state.
So as to avoid having a million spikes driven into his skin, he plopped onto a nearby bench. Dan thanked his sponsors for the creation of the translator chip, but reintegrating bureaucratic language back in the newest patch defied all common sense. The sterile hallways weren’t worthy of merit in architecture or art categories, either.
“Excuse me, Mister Fischer?”
He turned to see a woman, a silk robe covering most of her body. The robe was tight, and she knew his name –he didn’t need to know anything else. He cleared his throat, and the game show persona turned on.
“Yes, that’s me,” he said, fixing his tie. “I see you’re a big fan!”
She held a hand to her mouth area and giggled. “But of course. Who else could know the answers to all those questions? My goodness, it’s like you’re a walking encyclopedia!”
“Ah, well, it’s very difficult being as smart as I am,” he said. “Sometimes I need my staff on hand to make sure the contestants will be able to answer the questions.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be on Earth right now? You’ll miss today’s episode.”
He laughed. “No, no, we actually record the episodes far in advance. I recorded yesterday’s show last Earth year, actually. In fact,” he added, gesturing to his suit, “I was supposed to start recording again tomorrow. But, as you can see, that’s probably not happening.”
“Oh, that’s terrible!” Her eyes opened wide, and she snapped two of her four fingers together. “Actually, you would know all about repairing a ship, right?”
“Absolutely!” Dan exclaimed.
“Well, if you can give us some help, I might be able to get you home sooner!”
A beautiful woman, telling him exactly what he needed to hear, left nothing to be debated. Silly thoughts about betrayal or whatnot were tossed away. She motioned a finger to follow him, and he followed, thoughts on additional perks.
She led him to a hangar, separate from where he’d been. The sky outside was orange with dust blocking the radiation from the system’s star – he forgot the name of the process, but eh, he could do without it for now.
“So, what goes in the hyperdrive core that causes it to break light speed?”
A softball for Dan. “Coridium-234, of course.”
“How do you put it in the core?”
“Well, you need a radiation suit, and a heavy one at that.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. “Thankfully, we just obtained one the other day. Lastly, do you know the placement within the core itself?”
His face paled. “Well, uh, I’m sure with a little trial and error, we can figure it out.”
The ship itself was rusted in patches, and one of its windows appeared to be shot out too. Dan certainly wouldn’t know if it was spaceworthy or not, he was just helping with the conversation.
She smiled and lowered the cover on her mouth. “I’m glad you know how to do these things, Mister Fischer. After all, you’ll be our volunteer today.”
He blinked. “Excuse me?”
Something prodded him in the back.
“What, did you think you were going to help me and I’d have sex with you as your reward?”
Yes… he thought.
“Hah, you take me for a fool,” she said, revealing blue lips set against a green-yellow frame.
Wait, did I say that out loud? He asked himself.
“No, your face said it,” she answered.
She motioned to a spot behind him, and a man brought out a radiation suit, exactly the one he had in mind when she asked the question.
“Question: how long does it take the human body to succumb to radiation poisoning?” she asked.
“As little as a few seconds,” he said.
“Good. That’s why we have the suit.” She waved her four fingers as if to shoo a fly away.
He entered the suit, and was handed the core, gripping it with a pair of tongs. Barely five feet had elapsed, and sweat already clogged his pores. Drop the core, and he would die now; misplace the core, and he would die later. The flavor of death a person chooses is bitter no matter what, and Dan really wanted to avoid the choice.
When he inserted the core, the entire machine creaked. He ran, screaming, out of the ship. In fact, his screams were so loud, they could be heard from outside the building. Which, considering that the building was supposed to be abandoned, was not the best idea. As he touched down on the floor, fifty men pointed guns at him. The woman in particular could have strangled him with one of the sashes on her robe – Dan wouldn’t have minded that, actually.
“Seems you’ve been uncooperative, Mister Fischer,” the woman said.
“What? I’ve been helping the whole time!”
That’s what he sincerely thought, but fifty guns aimed at his torso forced him to reconsider.
“Fool! The police will be here-”
Before she could say “any second,” the police mic boomed its standard warnings in that one second. All fifty guns fired towards the door immediately, and Dan hid behind a crane’s control box. Lasers and bullets alike pierced the air, until at last all the guns in the vicinity had been silenced. He emerged from his hiding place, and ran to the police.
“Thank you so much!” he exclaimed “I’m safe!”
The police, however, were already examining the bodies. On the woman’s, they found a picture of him, with the words “Chief Engineer” scribbled at the bottom.
Dan couldn’t even protest before he was cuffed and flung into a prison transport. The charge? Aiding and abetting piracy, as well as being a high-ranking member of a major syndicate.
Upon hearing of his crimes, the studio promptly fired him and hired little-known actor Felix Henderson. Henderson would catapult Answers and Questions to even greater galactic fame. By contrast, Fischer spent the rest of his days on an alien prison, barely able to eat the food there. All told, it wasn’t so bad. He could’ve been on an Earth prison.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 06:58|
The Cage (385 words)
This is a world born without time. There is no past here, and there is no future. From atop the rocks on my throne I see all, and all that I see is all there has been.
A body washes a shore. A man. A woman. There is always a body. An adult. A child. I see it struggle and cling to its life. I see it flounder and lust in my heart. On broken wings bent I sweep down to the sea, my lover and jailer, my mistress and key. I do not know from whence they wash. There is fire off the horizon and it is comparable to the sun. But wherever they come from matters little to me. Wherever they come from, they always come here.
I am given my life and a copy of the King James. “Good enough for Jesus,” whoever that is. Tonight it rains, and every night after. I tear out the pages to construct a tent. I rip out the scriptures to furnish a nest. The Old Testament exhausted, I’ve no use for the New. I cut out the gospel and fold paper birds.
I live and breathe in my own waking memories. I see myself kill a man and know I have killed him, that I have always killed him, that I will never not kill him. I see myself reflected in the eyes of woman. Eyes that I close, have always closed, will always close. Where the sea meets the sand lays rock sharp and jagged. When I saw it for the first time, and the last time, I knew what it was for.
The body twitches softly. The parent’s. The child’s. They whisper in song that is foreign to me. With no time to lose, I cut out their throat. With no time to spare, I cave in their head. The bloods at my feet and I drink until drunk, the flesh cooked in the sun as I rip into the carcass. The meat is sweet. It has always been sweet. There is always a body provided, a meal.
The rain comes early. It always comes early. I curse as I scuttle back up the rocks. In a cradle of paper, from my fortress, I wait. Today is tomorrow, and tomorrow is today.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 07:00|
ah there is the bell for playtime. or recess as you might term it if you are from foreign.
think on what you have done.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 09:04|
It's clear that we have some bright young futures here at Thunderdome Elementary, and some people who clearly only made it to their respective grade levels by winning a sort of war of attrition against their previous teachers.
Results later today (hopefully, we have to coordinate wildly different time zones); depending on how grumpy you make me, everyone might get graded on a curve....
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 15:14|
Toanoradian, Steriletom, Nubile Hillock, Perpetulance, and Voliun all get detention for not completing their assignments. Those punk-rear end jerks.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 16:07|
|# ? Nov 27, 2021 11:38|
hey, I was the first to submit you jerk!
It's okay if you missed it, you're old as heck and your eyes are probs starting to go.
|# ? Jul 8, 2013 22:24|