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Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

higgz posted:

I'd like to try my hand at this with white.
Hey there Higgens. How 'bout a flash rule.

So white is traditionally a pretty feelgood color. It's the color of purity and cleanliness, new beginnings and crisp winter mornings. To some people, however, it seems stark and alienating, lonely, and cold. Should you focus on the positive aspects of this color, I want a story dower and muted in tone. Alternatively, if you're feeling a bit more negative, I expect you to keep things optimistic and upbeat.


captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009


Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

higgz posted:

I'd like to try my hand at this with white.

Oh no! Did a Korean person die? :ohdear:

Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Besesoth posted:

Oh no! Did a Korean person die? :ohdear:

This post puzzles me, I have no idea what it's about at all. I resent being puzzled, so FLASH RULE: Your story will be set in Korea. North or South, I don't mind.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Flash rule me please. Periwinkle is failing to unfurl its mysteries to me, I am like this far away from writing Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings fanfic.

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

Chairchucker posted:

This post puzzles me, I have no idea what it's about at all. I resent being puzzled, so FLASH RULE: Your story will be set in Korea. North or South, I don't mind.

Here you go. Now you don't have to be puzzled anymore.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

sebmojo posted:

Flash rule me please. Periwinkle is failing to unfurl its mysteries to me, I am like this far away from writing Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings fanfic.

:siren: Flash Rule #1: :siren: Something your protagonist once desired must escape his or her control, much as Common Periwinkle can escape the home garden.

:siren: Flash Rule #2: :siren: Someone or something in the story must have wings.

captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009

Can we just ask for flash rules? If so, me me me.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

captain platypus posted:

Can we just ask for flash rules? If so, me me me.

Flash Rule: Lemons are sour. So are grapes if you don't want them. Your protagonist is denied something and handles the situation poorly.

Bad Seafood fucked around with this message at 17:05 on Jul 18, 2013

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.

Since I'm going to be gone this weekend I'm going to post my prose now.

Crayola Color: Black
Word Count 1189

Never to Return

When I said goodbye
I felt like crying
Then without your love
I wanted to scream

Miguel stands in front of the mirror as he makes last minute adjustments to his tie. He looks sharp in his black suit. The last time he wore it, it was only a few miserable months ago.

A movement in the corner of the room catches his attention. "Hey there Cash." Miguel calls out to his dog as he slaps his upper leg. "Come here boy."

The old Labrador hobbles his way towards his master with his head low and his tongue out. The heat too much for the old man.

Miguel kneels down and runs his fingers through Cash's coat. He lingers at the ears and makes sure he gets that sweet spot. "Why am I so nervous?" He presses his lips against Cash's head. "I'm being stupid, aren't I boy?"

Cash's tail wags briefly in response.

The cellphone on the desk lights up, vibrates and maneuvers itself into a u-turn. With a flick of his finger, Miguel snaps open the phone and places it to his ear. "Yo." He greets the caller.

"I'm outside." The phone says.

"Aight Francisco, be down in a minute." Miguel closes the phone and slides it into his pocket. With one last ear rub, he leaves the house.

All of the fantasies I've housed in my heart
All my illusions, they fall in pieces
"Soon, I'll return." You said to me as you left
Crazy, how I waited for you; so pitiful

“What the hell man?” Miguel tugs at Francisco's polo shirt. “You're way under-dressed!”

“Compared to you, yea.” He pats himself on the chest. “Business casual, baby. Polo and black slacks – they ain't never done me wrong, know what I'm sayin?”

“Casual? Dammit, why did I let you talk me into doing this?”

“You need to go out and relax for once. It'll be good for you.”

“Man, don't tell me to relax. Take me back home Francisco.”

“Come on son, it'll be fine. Astor's gonna be there. You know that suit's gonna do you some favors for sure.”

Miguel clicks his tongue and stares out the window at the passing scenery.

Francisco was growing uncomfortable with how quiet his friend became. He drums his thumbs on the steering wheel in an attempt to fill the air with some sound as he figures out how to approach this situation.

“I thought she was seeing that one music major.” Miguel breaks the silence.

“Oswald?” Francisco grins. “Months ago. You all in the clear, baby.”

Miguel laughs in an attempt to shake off his uneasiness. "God, how awkward would it be if I were to hit on her tonight?"

“It's only awkward if you mess up.”

And today, after so much time has past
I feel like I lost my love for you
Never to return again
My soul says in its solitude

Francisco walks ahead while Miguel lingers to finish his cigarette. There's so many people here tonight. It's a long walk since they had to park so far away. He pulls his phone halfway out of his pocket, just enough so he can read the time. Right on time to be fashionably late. He flicks his cigarette away as he climbs the steps.

Miguel smiles when he realizes he did not overdress for the occasion. All of the women look great, their gowns simple yet elegant with strong silhouettes. Most of their individual fashion comes in the form of colorful and extravagant shoes. Most of the men wear button up shirts and ties, with a few in suits.

A giant golden chandelier hangs in the middle of the spacious room. The Victorian windows reach the ceiling and the white drapes nearly touch the shiny wood floors. Each table has a short bouquet of flowers, adding color to the simple black covers. The table arrangement makes sense - they form a ring around the people that gather in the middle of the room.

The bright music comes from the corner with a three man orchestra on an elevated stage. Miguel notices the instruments; there's a classical guitar and a flute, but the strange mini-accordion that the seated singer is playing over his knee, he has no name for.

A soft touch on his elbow redirects his attention to an older woman standing behind him with a clipboard. "Oh! Hello."

"Hello there." She replies with a warm smile. "I see that you don't have a name tag yet. If you would please follow me, I can provide one for you straight away." She says.

"I'm so sorry, I was distracted by... everything. I didn't even notice the registration table."

"Oh, don't you worry about it, dear." She opens a box with organized papers sorted alphabetically. "What's your name?"

"It's Miguel Calo."

After a few seconds she plucks his pre-printed name tag from the box and hands it over. "There you go sweetie. You're all set."

Miguel thanks her and walks over to an empty chair. He sits and enjoys the music; taking in the ambiance. There are no percussive instruments, but the rhythm compels him to move so he taps his toes to the implied beat.

Across the room he notices a beautiful girl sitting alone. Her short black hair is slicked back and shimmering. Her earrings dazzle as it catches the light. With crossed legs, bright green and orange shoes act as a metronome as her foot swings back and forth by the ankle. She looks up and their eyes lock as they recognize each other.

Time slows down as Miguel's heart struggles to remembers what it's job was. "Hi Astor." He mouths from across the room with a shy smile. The corners of her lips pull upward and she returns the gesture.

He stands while maintaining eye contact, his brain remembering all of the missed opportunities with her. He is resolute in never allowing life to pass him by again, especially not with Astor. He moves towards her.

She stands as he approaches – her hand tugs at the edge of her dress smoothing out the wrinkles. “I would love to.” Astor answers the question that Miguel appears too scared to ask.

He can't help but laugh as he offers his hand. As she takes it, he slides the other arm around her, letting his finger tips rest gently on the edge of her shoulder blade.

Astor drapes her left arm around his shoulders. She gently nestles her face into the side of his neck and relaxes into him. A moment hangs - their hearts beat as one. The song washes over them like a rolling tide. The music becomes their world and the only way to express themselves is through each other.

The moment passes and they exhale, sliding into the dance floor.

And today I finally understand
The painful and cruel truth
I feel my life pass me by

The italics for this piece are translations of this song. Also, all the human names are names of Tango composers. The dog was just a riff off Tango & Cash.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 05:15 on Jul 21, 2013

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008


Cerise, please.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

Chairchucker posted:

This post puzzles me, I have no idea what it's about at all. I resent being puzzled, so FLASH RULE: Your story will be set in Korea. North or South, I don't mind.

In some far away barbaric lands that are nowhere near your native Australia, white is used to signify mourning.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Those whose blood is red and whose bellies aren't yellow may wish to note that approximately 24 hours remain before the sign-up deadline.

Mar 21, 2013


Grimey Drawer

I cannot ignore the fact that 'Neon Carrot' has been staring at me all week, saying "Pick Me, Pick Me!".

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Signups are now CLOSED. All combatants need to show their true colors within the next 48 hours.

captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009

The Unfortunate Incident on Catalaxes III
Crayola Color: "laser lemon"
:words:: 1192

The pale yellow glow of Catalaxes III cast underlights against the cold gunmetal of the Valkyria like sunlight in January, doing nothing to warm the bite—indulging in the kind of empty gesture of which only a massive, life-sustaining celestial body could be guilty.

Jane Castleton spat. This time it was a tooth.

Life-sustaining was an odd term to use to describe Catalaxes III. The third rock in the binary system Catalaxes hadn’t sustained a gods-damned thing since its core unexpectedly collapsed, turning the land into a muddy hellscape and the clouds into a yellow holocaust, scattering the few survivors to die a much slower death in the planet’s atmosphere.

Jane heard a roar, a crash, a scream, and then silence. Barry Dalbrek, the refugee who had very recently made himself captain of the Valkyria—a merchant vessel-cum-lifeboat whose actual captain was swallowed in a gurgling death throe on the way out—had been awash in delusions of grandeur as they boarded the ship. “We’ll be out of here soon,” he told the mothers, the toddlers, the babes, the families, the workers, the merchants, and the sailors. Most members of the former categories had since died in spacesuits filled with their own pus and bile. Harder folk like Jane and the Captain had outlasted them, but for how much longer?

Jane walked onto the bridge softly, but she did not knock. Dalbrek was no captain at all, and had he been, the chain of command broke with the crew’s fevers. Captain Dalbrek—designated so by the gold stripes on his gray armor—hunched over the console, his back to Jane, shaking so bad that she could see it through his suit. On the other side of the room, the till was resting up against a limp pile of armor—cylindrical tin mask on top of a tin torso, tin gauntlets and boots, all Jane had seen for months—whose face mask had been shattered, apparently by the till, which had apparently been thrown at its victim. Through the shard gaps of the visor, she could make out the face. She looked back at Dalbrek huddling by the console. It appeared as though the till had been ripped off.

The finality of the situation had come upon Jane slowly. It was entirely absent for the hurried run across the Shieldport of Catalaxes III as the refugees played hopscotch while the planet swallowed their squares. Her brother had turned his eyes away from the Valkyria to make sure she was okay. “It’s just up ahead, se—” and the unfinished ee had turned into a scream as the platform gave way under him and a burst of mud and rock replaced him on the spaceport. Jane hadn’t even cried. The run to the lifeboat had been a fog, and it had not been until her mother was the first to die that the crack in Jane’s windshield began to expand.

Jane couldn’t see her mother through her suit, and the darkness of her visor spared Jane, at the time, from the sight of the swelling of her pallid face. “I love you,” she had managed through twenty-three bloody teeth.

Until that moment, Jane, like the Captain, had been confident they would make it out alive. Jane was so important, she had reasoned, and Jane had so much left to do. How could she die, only six years old, without her mom and without her brother and with only an angry captain and a bunch of dying people that got killed when the captain was angry and and and—

Jane spent the next month or so sullen and angry with the prospect, but one advantage to children is that they bore easily, so she had taken later to putting her ill-gained freedom to good use. There was no one aboard the Valkyria to tell her not to go here or to stay out of there, and no mother to tell her it was time for bed or a shower.

Jane left the captain on the bridge and walked back out onto the deck. Instead of returning to the edge of the port side, looking over Catalaxes III as she had been before she heard the scream, she walked over to a staircase on the starboard side. In the darkness between floors, as she descended below the deck, the double-edged sword of her new freedom cut her. A convulsion took her. Jane tumbled down a few steps, shaking uncontrollably and crying with no one there to hold her close and lie to her and tell her that it would all be alright. Jane heard a scream above her.

Six hellish minutes later, the convulsion had passed. Jane sat on the stairs in the darkness, catching her breath, recuperating. She wished that she could wipe the blood from the inside of her visor without compromising her suit and, well, dying, but everyone aboard the Valkyria had told Jane to never ever open her suit, ill-fitting as it was, for any reason. So the blood stayed. She could see past it alright.

The crew’s quarters was illuminated by hazy fluorescent tubes on the walls and ceiling. The quarters were seldom used now. As Jane walked down the corridor, she could see the lifeless spacesuits of the dead slumped up against beds, sinks, and toilets. Some of the early to die had their suits removed by the surviving: those lay on the beds, swollen and yellow. Jane didn’t like to look at them. One of them had been her mother.

Jane continued down the corridor, past the atrium and the meal hall into the interesting room. As she closed the door to the engine room, she heard a sound that may have just been the squeal of the door, or may have been the squeal of another person. She thought it best to stay below.

With two decks, the bottom of which led into the merchant vessel’s cargo hold, the scaffolding overlooked the beat and hum of the Valkyria’s nuclear core. Jane liked to walk in and out of the contraption, admiring the pretty lights within while taking care to avoid the moving parts. From beyond the door to the crew’s chambers, she could hear muffled voices.

“Come one more step, Barry—”

“I’m your captain, Lucy. I’m going to save you.”

Lucy had been a science officer in the service to the Valkyria when it land on Catalaxes III. She had shown the refugees around the ship and helped with their diseases before the same disease took her. She sounded tired.

“I swear to th—”

He grunted. She screamed. Jane scrambled out of the engine, on her way to hide in the cargo hold, when another convulsion started in. No, no, no, she thought, sobbing, as blood spilled from her gums up against the inside of her suit. She heard the door to the engine room open from the atrium. No, no, no. She tumbled down the steps to the cargo hold and, coughing so much blood and bile that she couldn’t see the door, slapped a metal hand against it.

The last thing Jane heard was a shuffling on steel, against the hum of the engine.

captain platypus fucked around with this message at 18:52 on Jul 21, 2013

captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009

Mercedes posted:

Since I'm going to be gone this weekend I'm going to post my prose now.

Crayola Color: Black
Word Count 1189

I was hoping they were at a funeral the whole time :smith:

I like it, though. What are the italics from?

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

I'm not sure what my internet is going to look like for the rest of the weekend, so I'm posting now to avoid missing the deadline!

Crayola color: Key Lime Pearl
Flash rule: Your story will be set in Korea. North or South, I don't mind.
Word count: My word processor (Scrivener) says 1,156; my plain-text editor says 1,200 on the nose. (I suspect it's counting dashes.)

Far Away

The American expats in the Republic of Korea who have moved out of the cities - the overwhelming minority - still tend to settle in clusters. There were five of us in my mountain village, a few miles outside of Cheongju.

Well, four of us, now.

The body of Judy Salvage was on its way to the tiny morgue in the nearby clinic, the victim of a stone courtyard wall to the head. She'd tripped coming down Grant Niequist's flagstone walk; the walkway being as uneven as it was, and her high heels as high, it felt almost inevitable. Niequist, another expat, had told the police he had seen her from the door, and come to help - but there had been nothing he could do.

News like this travels fast among us. Niequist had called the police, and then Dale Newell and his wife Myeong; Dale had mentioned it to Emily Norris, who'd been visiting at the time; and Emily, well, she'd called me right away. I got there just in time to see Judy's body loaded into the town's battered, second-hand ambulance. Judy had always reminded me of Audrey Hepburn, and the blood was garish on the side of her cultured face. Her eyes and lips were open, surprised. The inlaid brooch she always wore on her breast stood out in my moment's glance: its pearl was missing, surely knocked out as she'd hit the ground. Judy had never been the sort to wear damaged jewelry.

I stood outside Niequist's wall until the crowd had dispersed. Niequist himself had walked straight back up the path and gone inside as soon as the ambulance left. He was a quiet man, and reserved, but with a head for business. He said he'd come to Korea to get away from it all and get a fresh start, and he'd certainly done that. His house had been built on the strength of the land-reclamation business he'd founded, Niequist Jigu Haengbog - the sort of self-aggrandizement and overt language abuse that I wouldn't have expected from someone so introverted. Then again, he'd founded it when he first arrived, two decades earlier; maybe Korea had changed him in the intervening years.

I shook an Arirang out of its pack and lit it up. Seong Kwan, one of three police officers in our village and the one who'd stayed behind, shook his head and looked away, but said nothing. We'd had the conversation; the dust storms coming over from China were plenty for anyone's lungs in his eyes, especially with the unseasonably dry weather this year.

The gate was unlocked, and I nodded to it, raising my eyebrows. Kwan nodded slowly, and I went in. The splash of red on the inside corner caught my eye - it was dull now, not bright like you'd expect blood to be, but it still colored the grass around the base of the wall and the flagstone at the foot of the gate.

Judy had hit the side of her head on the wall, odd considering she'd been walking forward at the time. I took a few steps along the uneven path, but easily kept my footing, and looked around. The grass on either side was unhappy under the dry heat, and had turned a stiff yellow-green. I rarely visited Niequist - we were hardly friends, and in fact, I wasn't sure he actually had any, except maybe Judy - but I was always a little surprised that someone who was so into earthmoving didn't take better care of his yard or properly grade his walkway.

I crouched down and began to pick through the grass. "Dangsin-eun --" Kwan started, then caught himself. "What are you doing?"

"Looking for something." The grass near the wall was empty, so I started searching back. About ten feet and twenty minutes up the path I found what I was looking for, and beckoned Kwan over. He crouched too, and saw it immediately: a pearl, about half an inch across and perfectly round - and half-embedded in the dirt. I swore quietly (Kwan shook his head again); I'd scattered the grass so much looking for the pearl that there was no way to tell whether other feet had disturbed the blades before. But there was definitely a heel mark around the pearl, and it hadn't been there long.

"Hold your finger over it, for reference," Kwan said. He took a camera from his pocket and snapped a photograph of the pearl and my finger, then backed up and took another from a distance. He slipped the camera back into his pocket as he walked back over, and took out a pair of tweezers and a plastic bag. After a few tries, he managed to get the pearl out of the ground, slipped it into the bag, and sealed it up. We straightened just in time to hear Niequist's voice. "Stop that. What are you doing?"

"Judy's pearl was missing from its setting," I said, calmly. "I just wanted to see if I could find it."

"This is an illegal search," Niequist protested. "You can't be here."

"Mr. Wells here was the only one searching," said Kwan, slipping the baggied pearl back into his pocket. "Can you tell me what you and Ms. Salvage were talking about today?"

Niequist paused and stared at Kwan. "The business. She wanted to invest in the business."

"I thought you were doing quite well, Grant. Why do you need investment?"

Niequist shot a poisonous look at me. I smiled. "We need more equipment," he said. "We're expanding operations."

"I see," Kwan said. "Can you tell me why Ms. Salvage lost her pearl?"

"It must have fallen out when she tripped."

"It was a very long way from the wall, Mr. Niequist. Are you sure?" Kwan frowned, just a little.

Niequist swallowed. "I must have kicked it when I walked back inside."

"You didn't stray from the path when you walked up, Grant."

"No." Niequist shook his head. "I don't like to walk on the grass."

"So why was the pearl stomped into the ground?"

Niequist's face paled. "No, Nick. I didn't -- you have to believe I didn't --"

"Didn't what, Mr. Niequist?" Kwan's arms were crossed, his frown deepening.

The silence felt longer than it actually was.

"I didn't mean to," Niequist said, his face falling. "She knew everything. She was going to go to Immigration - tell them who I was. I just wanted her to stop and talk to me."

"And who are you, Grant?" I asked, as gently as I could.

Niequist shook his head. "Deportable, if they find out."

I swallowed. Niequist had been in this little village longer than anyone but Dale.

Kwan took out a pair of metal handcuffs, and Niequist sagged. "Nick, I just wanted a fresh start. It's been twenty years. To have what I did thrown in my face again..."

The cuffs snapped into place. "I just wanted a fresh start."

SneezeOfTheDecade fucked around with this message at 22:31 on Jul 21, 2013

captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009

Besesoth posted:

I'm not sure what my internet is going to look like for the rest of the weekend, so I'm posting now to avoid missing the deadline!

Crayola color: Key Lime Pearl
This is excellent. How much did you know about Korean culture before you got your flash rule?

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

captain platypus posted:

This is excellent. How much did you know about Korean culture before you got your flash rule?

Not much at all - I feel like I spent about twice as much time researching for this as I did actually writing.

Your entry is great too; I wasn't sure what you were going to do with "Laser Lemon", but the scurvy angle was great (and really distressing!), and you captured the "doomed ship" feeling very well.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

You don't chat in the Thunderdome. You can discuss stuff in the Fiction Advice thread or join IRC.

captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009

systran posted:

You don't chat in the Thunderdome. You can discuss stuff in the Fiction Advice thread or join IRC.
Sorry, I'll do that.

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

systran posted:

You don't chat in the Thunderdome. You can discuss stuff in the Fiction Advice thread or join IRC.

Information request: #thunderdome on SynIRC has seemed to be dead every time I've checked it. Is there another channel I should be looking for?

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

Nope. It's really hit or miss as a channel.

Umbilical Lotus
Nov 13, 2005


Hell with it, it's as done as it's going to get. THUNDERDOME CHERRY BREACHED!

Crayola color: Wild Blue Yonder
Word count: 1,074
Genre: I don't even know.

Make Believe

I swear I was gonna pitch the phone against the wall. I had gotten the thing only two months ago and already the battery was eating itself. I had only charged it, like, three hours ago at home, and already the battery was in the red. And worse, it was only 7:47 - a good three hours before Declan's parents got home. Of course I couldn't get on their wifi, and of course I didn't bring my charger with me. That's why I'm babysitting instead of splitting atoms or something. Three hours with nothing but basic cable and homework - I could die. I could have actually died.

Come to think of it, though, the kid had been outside for a long time now. He had rattled off his usual list of crazy demands once his parents had gone (after hugging me - he was a cute little booger, had to give him that) and then run right into the backyard. The cruel reality of my neverending responsibilities descended on me like the shroud of death, and I could do nothing but accept, shut my goddamn Made in Fuckyoustan piece of poo poo phone off, put the chicken nuggets on, and check on Declan's backyard modern art.

Today's resources were: the refridgerator box, a laundry hamper, washable markers, his blue spaceman footy pajamas, kid scissors, and duct tape. I'd caught him scrounging out of the recycling, which I figure is okay so long as he washes off after. Keeps him busy, right? Better than having to watch kid TV all afternoon. By the time the oven dinged and I had the nuggets plated, he was taping an empty apple juice can to the side of a completely junk-encrusted once-box. I called out to him and he just stood beside the thing, smiling his fly-eating gap-toothed squee-worthy smile.

"Shelly, no!" he yelled, "I gotta get ready for the rocket launch!" And I guess it did sort of look like a spaceship, with the cardboard fins and laundry hamper dome. A dead spaceship. A dead, deformed, cardboard spaceship. I tried my Serious Grown-Up Voice, but that doesn't even work when his parents do it. I had to agree to help him with the 'rocket launch' first. Kid's got a bright future in politics, I swear to God.

He grabbed my hand and led me over to his creation. "We gotta get the missile cannons on, or we won't be able to fight!" I supposed that's what the juice can was for, but, "No! That's the biorganic reactor!" He tore up a handful of lawn and deposited it inside by means of explanation. The missile cannons, it turned out, were paper towel rolls that he had helpfully written 'missel' on. The laser cannons were mustard bottles, and the shield generator was, of course, his plastic knight shield from last Halloween. Of course, what he REALLY needed my help with was to push the thing upright, and surprisingly nothing fell off when I did. And then he wanted to eat his 'dinner rations' inside the 'spaceship'. With the cat.

You'd be surprised what kids can get away with when they hug you and say they love you. I wonder if I knew that, at his age?

He actually ran inside for seconds, which he then put in his lunchbox and ran back outside with. "Biomass," was his explanation. Except by then it was past eight, and the light was beginning to leak out of the sky. I told him he shouldn't be playing outside alone, so he grabbed the end of my shirt and dragged me out with him. Mom, apparently, let him play until the streetlights were on. I checked. 4% battery life. Only God alone could have saved me.

He opened up a Declan-sized door in the side and tried to push me inside, and y'now? I was curious. He had a flashlight taped to the wall and all sorts of controls and displays drawn onto the interior, or represented via tape bundles and bottlecaps. He taped the door shut, stuck his head into the cat-inhabited laundrydome and began counting loudly down from twelve.

"Where are we going, Declan?"

"Seven! It's CAPTAIN Declan! Six! And because I'm the captain, you can be the scientist. Five! We're going to fight the Neptune spiders before they blow up the Earth!"

"Well, that makes a lot of sense. Dangerous things, Neptune spiders. I can't wait to, uh, dissect their little spidery bodies."

"Eww. Four. Threetwoone LIFTOFF!"

And that's when it all went horribly right.

There was a sudden electricity in the air, like a thousand old TVs turning on at once, and a smell of ozone and boiling lettuce. There was the crack of air igniting and a blast of heat and pressure that pinned me to the floor of the box with a terrified cat in my lap. There was Declan in the laundrydome smiling wide to greet the evening, and the clouds were growing very close, very fast. It was working. It was working.

I'm pretty sure I screamed.

The clouds blew past us in a moment, followed swiftly by the last high tatters of the fading day. I began to drift away from the cardboard hull. We had broken into the night, and just as crazy, neither of us were dead. The cat, rapidly attempting to burrow into my stomach, seemed as surprised as I was - the only one who seemed to know exactly what he was doing was the seven-year-old kid in blue footy pajamas.

"There they are! Just past the moon!" he yelled. I drifted. There, indeed, was the moon, vast and white and close. And Earth, home and whole, below us. Growing smaller. I could fit my palm overtop. I very definitely screamed. So did Declan, at that - in a very different way, as he viciously prodded a duct-taped Snapple cap and sent a streamer of lemon-yellow laser across the impossible field of space.

Numbly, I turned on my phone. Who would I call? His parents? My parents? NASA? And as I floated, staring, the battery slid from 4% to 2% to dead. The kid must have seen me crying.

"Don't worry, Shelly. You're the scientist. You can just invent a new wire, right? You can invent an entire new phone!" His tiny, happy face as he fired self-guided fusion torpedoes out of paper towel tubes. The flutter of arachnoid movement against the lunar surface.

I found the tape and scissors, and began to braid my hair.

Ed: Also, I'm an idiot.

Umbilical Lotus fucked around with this message at 08:04 on Jul 22, 2013

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Noone cares about context. Post your story, back the gently caress away.

Mar 21, 2010

I've been spending tons of time getting my dragon-thing writing done and I haven't got any time left for TD. I'm gonna have to drop out this week, sorry. I may still be able to knock something together before bed but I'm disqualifying myself for the win/runner-up. No promises re a submission.

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

systran posted:

You don't chat in the Thunderdome. You can discuss stuff in the Fiction Advice thread or join IRC.

sebmojo posted:

Noone cares about context. Post your story, back the gently caress away.

Just checking - do we actually believe either of these? I don't see them in the rules. I've also seen plenty of non-story stuff in here, from everyone, and as long as it's in the minority who cares?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Symptomless Coma posted:

Just checking - do we actually believe either of these? I don't see them in the rules. I've also seen plenty of non-story stuff in here, from everyone, and as long as it's in the minority who cares?

I think mostly that's to keep critique from taking up the whole thread, since we have two threads for shop talk. I recommend that people go over to the writing discussion thread and link to whatever TD post you want to reply to/get more explanation on.

Sebmojo has a point about posting story context. Your purpose here is to create a complete story that speaks for itself. The judges aren't going to look any more kindly on your story because of the spoilered block of explanation at the end. Just post your story, and if the judges just don't get it :cry: take the piece over to the fiction farm and ask how to better convey what you were trying to convey.

These things will not only keep the Thunderdome free of clutter, but will help your writing!

edit: Generic 'you' not you in particular, SC

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 16:38 on Jul 21, 2013

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

Excerpt from the Rad Chad memoire [part 3] 975 words

One hand brought the bone whistle to his lips, the other drew sweeping half-circles by his side. The air was dry, clinical and crisp but tinged with a lingering sweetness – formaldehyde and death. Silence, save for the rhythmic thumping of steam cylinders and the scrape of shovel on coal.

He blew the whistle. A few black-clad heads looked up before dropping back down to silent revery or quiet hymn. Train doors slid open. He stood at attention now, watching as the slow processions of coffin and kin disappeared behind him and into the train. He read the sign on the station, paying mind to the faultless brushwork “New Necropolis Railway”.

His cellphone went off. He fumbled through the soggy couch cushions as the last of his daydream faded. He found it, finally, underneath a bag of mouldy chips on the ottoman. There was a text from Jen again.

Chad! You’re supposed to be here already. Don’t gently caress this up again.

Fifteen minutes, three smokes and a quick bump of cocaine later he was in the driver’s seat of Cordusa s9000LX. It was the fastest car on the market. The steering wheel said so.

He didn’t bother shifting it out of neutral before mashing the gas pedal down. The transmission screamed as he nudged it into drive. Like hitting warpdrive; he was out of the driveway and down the street before he could smell the rubber. Working for the feds had its advantages.

His cellphone rang. The Cordusa patched the phone to the in-car computer seamlessly.

“Hello, Mr. Chad? This is Maurice from Broke & Poorer, I’m calling regarding your case.”

“Oh yeah? Do I get to keep half the stuff or what?” Chad asked. He’d been in divorce proceedings for over a year now. Sometimes he would almost regret having called the law firm of Broke, Poorer and Associates but then he remembered their advertisement: “WE’LL LET YOU KEEP HALF YOUR STUFF”. At the very least, they had the most respectable ad in the yellow pages discount law section.

“Well, you see there have been some complications…” Maurice continued. Chad hung up, cranked the radio and let off the gas pedal just so he could mash it down again.

The adrenaline faded the second he walked into the school. It was a maze of brick, tile and grime. A constant murmur pervaded the place, broken up by the uneven cadence of shoe on floor. Neon colours exploded off the walls – posters for his show. He winced at the orange starburst logo on the lime green backdrop. This was it. This was him.

Rad Chad “verses” Drugs! See the Lord’s “number one homie” lay the “smackdown” on drugs through hip-hop raps with a biblical theme!

Admission $5

He cringed at the picture, the one they’d make him take. He was leaning back on a photoshop cross wearing a hat and bandana, showing off his rings that spelled LORD. It was part of the plea bargain. Ten years community service in the Midwest or death row. A bizarre sentence for aggravated assault he was told, but then again the judge had been on a sherm binge the week prior.
He stepped into the dressing room and Jen was on him at once.

Jen set a pitcher down and wiped the glass with chilled silk. Only the best when you were workin’ for the feds.

“Remember Chad, wieners don’t do drugs! Now get your best smile on and get out there!”

Chad slid a flask from his hip and took a deep swig. Jen glared at him, or at least she tried. She was a sweetheart and it was her job to take care of their newest mascot. If he tanked her career went with him. He almost felt bad.

“I sent in my application today,” he said.

“Application to what?” Jen asked.

“The Necropolis railway. Y’know kind of like the one they had in London but more like shipping people off to purgatory. I think,” he answered.

“Oh, stop it! You’re off your pills again aren’t you? You could at least try to make an effort, you know? We’re all pretty sick of it. Besides, they need you.” Jen was probably an intern, Chad wasn’t even sure that was her name.

“gently caress them.”

“You’re on in five,” Jen said, leaving.

He walked on stage, dressed like an extra in a bad teen comedy. He was met by a thousand young and bored faces. A sea of porcine features and greasy fingers tapping iPhones. Some of the kids too dumb to be placated by even the finest technology simply stared off into space. Chad tried to picture the amount of corn syrup this room consumed per annum but quickly bumped into the limits of his mathematical faculties.

He tapped the mic, hard. Feedback filled the room and kids cringed before the sound tech killed the loop. Chad cleared his throat.
“Now listen, you little fucks, I’ve got something to say.” He flipped the room off while he emptied his flask. Dead silence. Everyone was transfixed.

“You’re all going to die and I’m gonna be the one shipping you off to whatever hell you’re going to.”

The tech shut the system down, but Chad was ready. He took the bullhorn from the podium.

“Now I got like thirty seconds before I get my rear end hauled out of here, but lemme say this: You’re all shitheads. Each and every last one of you is an entitled fuckwit that would loving die if the internet crashed or McDonald’s ran out of nuggets. You can’t go ten feet without asking somebody a question, you can’t live a single loving day of your terrible loving lives without suckling the teat of some corporation.

Chad was tackled to the floor and tasered until he stopped moving.

Mar 5, 2004

865-ish words, color: Robin Egg Blue. I kind of wish I'd picked something myself, because that was a really hard color for me to develop a story from. Who cares though Thunderdome ain't supposed to be easy :unsmigghh:

Return To The Nest

Don't Ask, Don't Tell suited me just fine. It's a lesson I learned when I was fourteen when Saheed got real close to me and I tried to hold his hand. He got five friends and I got thirty stitches and my nose bent like this. Of course, my first day in Iraq, we get the word that it's been repealed. Three soldiers came out in support, thinking that this is the time to make a statement.

The Army isn't something you join because you really want to find some cute guys to gently caress. I enlisted because sometimes things happen and you just need to kill people legally. There's no way I'm the only one. These three guys, three goddamn soldiers, they want to take time out of protecting our country, out of sweating in the fuckin' sand and that light blue haze of a sky to talk about who they want to gently caress? They weren't never asked, they didn't have to tell, and I joined in beating the poo poo out of those little faggots. We never enlisted to gently caress.

Outside of one drunken makeout session in eleventh grade, I never touched another guy. I'm not ashamed or anything like that, I'm queer as poo poo and happy with it. I just never had reason to act on anything after Saheed got his friends to make their point. I went to war a gay virgin, came back a goddamned American hero. Parents threw a party and everything. My sister told me that Saheed came out the day I shipped off. Funny how poo poo happens.

I'd been back six months when my therapist tells me I've gotta get out there. Make a human connection, be true to myself. I put on a ball cap and walked into Sexxperts, asked where gays in this little drat town hang out. Learned a few things, went to a rack of handkerchiefs. Grabbed this little robin egg blue piece, saw a tag saying you wear that in your back pocket when you want someone to perform a 69 with. It's fitting, you know? I always thought you should really give back as good as you get.

My second time at Al's, I got brave. Took the handkerchief out of my American bison leather jacket pocket and slipped it into the back of my jeans. Stood against the wall for two hours after that. This fake blue Tiffany logo wasn't the color for a soldier, but I hadn't been one of them for a while. Not after what I did when I killed my first Arab. Sent me home, gave me a doctor and a big stack of pills. I finally got brave when I saw someone with the same flag hanging from his rear end as I had on mine.

I didn't even see what he looked like at first, I just stared at his pocket and his rear end and beelined right through that club. When I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and I almost shat at how much he looked like my first victim. He smiled, his cute-as-poo poo brown skin covered in stubble and sweat. I took my handkerchief out of my pocket and wiped his face. We left together.

He'd been drinking, so I drove to my parent's lake house. White chipped paint, dusty air, the whole stereotype in one house. He had his hand around my cock half the drive back. We didn't really talk much in the car and when we got out, it was go time. He pinned me up against the car at first, his tongue fighting mine, both our dicks hard in our jeans. I chuckled when I realized mine was bigger.

I led him up to the house, pulling at his belt. We got to the door and I pinned him against it, getting stubble rash on my lips from his neck. He chuckled this time, and pointed out how quiet it was. He started to crouch down to blow me right there, when I stopped him and unlocked the door.

"I like to give as good as I get, you know?"

He smiled and blocked the doorway. He wanted to know my name. I had changed a lot over six years; I put on muscle, cut my hair, got a tan and a few tattoos; I'm changed. I lied to him and said my name's David. I didn't bother to ask him his, he never told.

We hosed and drank that night. I woke up before him and looked outside; the sky was the same blue as the two handkerchiefs tying his wrists to the bed. I got up and pulled on a pair of jeans - real, American 501s, not his European Diesel prefaded things laying on the floor. I lit a cigarette and blew the smoke in his face to wake him up, but it didn't work. No matter. I put the fag out on the fag, right there on his left nipple. I've got a similar scar. He woke up swearing at me and in the anger looked just like he did when he broke my nose so many years ago.

"Hey, Saheed."

I gave him as good as I got.

captain platypus
Aug 30, 2009

Sitting Here posted:

Sebmojo has a point about posting story context. Your purpose here is to create a complete story that speaks for itself. The judges aren't going to look any more kindly on your story because of the spoilered block of explanation at the end.
Good point. I'll remove my "context" (it's not really but) and make the point later if need be.

The Swinemaster
Dec 28, 2005

Color: piggy pink
Words: ~930

Oh What a Sunburned Baby

In Dan's dream a Siamese cat kept screaming. It yowled and shrieked and barely stopped to breathe. It sat and meowed atonally until Dan woke. The screaming continued.

The baby was burned. The baby glowed pink.

On the sandy expanse of Bellparks beach, the three of them were alone. The Tuesday afternoon sun hung quivering overhead, well beyond the reach of the cluster of trees they lay near. Jen was beside him, still asleep face down with her iPod headphones in. White gobs of sunscreen glistened where they had caught at the base of her ponytail.

“Oh poo poo. Jen.” He shook her by the shoulder.

“Mmm?” She looked to Dan, then to the source of the noise. “Oh gently caress.”

She jackknifed her arms behind her to retie her bikini top, then plucked out the earbuds. “How long were we asleep?”

“I don't know. I guess the shade moved?” Dan spun his Mets cap bill forward.

“gently caress. drat,” she said.

“Here, let me just-” Dan stood and spread his muscular back to the sun to cast a long Danshadow over the baby.

“God, you just kicked sand in its face.”


She threw their towels and bottles and books into canvas shopping bags. He knelt before the baby and reached out to pick him up.

“Don't touch the burned bits,” said Jen over her shoulder.

“There are no unburned bits. Look at him,” said Dan.

“Scoop. Scoop!”

Dan made flat paddles of his hands and gently scooped up Pinkbaby from its blissfully cool underside. Like an eager shoe salesman, Dan carried the baby perched in his hands ahead of him to the car.

“We gotta blast the AC,” said Dan.

They blasted the AC. Their Jetta left skid marks in the parking lot.

“M and M are going to kill us,” said Jen from behind the wheel.

“Uh, yeah. They are not gonna be happy,” said Dan. He held the baby in his hands up to a vent. The AC blew grains of sand clear to the back window. “They left us a baby and are coming home to a lobster.”

“Jeeeesus christ.”


They had razed their aloe plant to a hopeless oozing stump. The smell of cut vegetation filled the cool fan-blown air of their apartment. In the dimmed bedroom Pinkbaby kept kicking.

“They won't stay on, Jen,” Dan said.

“I got it!” she said from the kitchen, and then entered the room holding a handful of rubber bands. She smiled. “I knew we kept these for a reason.”

“Awesome! Brains and beauty.”

“Aw yeah!” She tried to wink but blinked.

In a few moments Pinkbaby was rubberbanded from head to toe with seeping aloe slices. His crying faded.

“Perfect. Drink?”

“God yes.”

A wine bottle appeared, and they reclined on either side of the now green Pinkbaby. Dan fanned it periodically with an old Maxim magazine.

“Do you think it will be back to normal by tomorrow?” Dan said, and his brow furrowed as he looked at the baby.

She bit her lip. “If M and M find him like this, they are seriously going to lose their poo poo. I don't think they would even hang out with us after this. What else can we do?”

Dan Googled 'Fixing a Sunburn.'

“It says baking soda, apple cider vinegar, apricots, tea bags, and something called callendular cream can work.”

“OK. I don't think we have any apricots, but we have some peaches.”

“Couldn't hurt,” said Dan.


A little while later Dan lay on the couch, resting his legs on Jen's lap. The muted TV rolled unseen credits down the screen.

“Stir fry for dinner?” Dan said to the ceiling.

“I'll make it.” Jen half rose from the couch, Dan's ankles in her hands.

“Guess I'm on dishes then,” said Dan.

“Mm. Check on the kid?”

Dan stepped to the bedroom and froze. Sugar ants move fast in the summer. And when there's a slightly fizzy, vegetation covered infant left alone to nap during the length of CSI Miami, sugar ants waste no time at all.




Dan and Jen rushed to the blissfully sleeping baby and brushed at the ants, which had become welded to the baby in a paste of poorly combined home remedies.

“They're not coming off!” hissed Jen. “I told you you used too much baking soda.”

“And I told you not to use that nasty-rear end old moisturizer. Bring it to the kitchen, I'll fill up the sink.” Dan went out of the room.

Jen grimaced. She picked up the green and spotted black Pinkbaby.

“Oh come on,” Dan groaned from the kitchen.

“Sorry,” she said quietly, following.

“You never do dishes on your night.” Dan was clattering dirty pots and plates from the sink to the countertop. He filled the sink and scooped out a few bobbing bits of sliced carrot.

As Jen held the baby in the cool water, Dan carefully snipped the rubber bands. He massaged the lumpy carapace until it softened, and eventually fell off in two halves. They formed a passable baby mold.

“Jen look!”

She smiled. Dan stared. The baby woke and laughed. The violent pink had faded: Pinkbaby was no more.


“How was your flight,” said Dan and Jen in tandem. They looked at one another and laughed.

The standing four and the sleeping one were awkwardly crowded around the jettisoned tickets, bags, and passports.

“Fine,” said the parents. “We're looking forward to getting our little man back. Hope he wasn't any trouble.”

“No problem,” said Jen. “He was great.”

“Yeah,” said Dan. “And he's got a bitchin' tan.”

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

From Chairchucker:


a story that significantly involves food.
From the crayon box:


A Love And Beef Story (1097w)

It was that Billy Bear ham that started it. That ham where chemicals are used to make the red-pink flesh turn various shades so that a happy bear-face is impressed on each slice. Meat with feelings.
They market it to kids, you know, as if kids need any help eating this kind of poo poo. As if potato needs to be shaped like a letter. I'm no censor, but that's asking for trouble; you serve a four year-old those Alphabite things and within five seconds they'll be spelling out 'POO' in processed carbohydrates across their plate. Or, knowing Eloise, 'UNCONSCIONABLE'.

She waved the piece of ham at me, held it so close that I could only hear her and see it.
"Daddy, it's un-conshible."
"What's unconscionable?"
Billy Bear's dumb meat-face grinned at mine.
"Eating animals!" Eloise whipped the slice away, threw it at the window, where it stuck like a shameful badge for all the Saturday shoppers to see.
"But honey, you never felt that way before."
"I DIDN'T KNOOOOOW!" She screamed. She's only mastered two volumes so far. She huffed, tears erupting to flow down her cheeks, and then returned to her inside voice.
"I didn't know they were animals," she murmured like a penitent thief, "but then I saw the face..."
I glared at the slice. Billy sodding Bear, I thought, you have ruined my weekend visits.
"Is that all, honey-bundle?"
"Well, mummy said-"
Her words merged into a high-pitched whine. Of course mummy said. Mummy and well-meaning, lovely Kevin, vegan Kevin with five days in every week to fill her head with ideas, her stomach with delicious lentils and dahl. None of which I could compete with. When I handed her back to Kevin on Sunday night, she was irritable and starving. He did the only thing worse than blaming me, which was forgiving me.

Each time he forgave me, every week for a month, it cut me deeper. Each time Eloise ran to him, I prayed it was only starvation that quickened her pace. It hurt to watch her each weekend, 48 hours of not eating. I don't know if she'd ever heard of a hunger strike, but she did something I wasn't capable of. Every time she rebuffed my efforts with cheese, with pizza - even, goddammit, when I suggested we buy a pet rabbit - I was torn between hating her stubbornness and loving her principles. I gnawed on cocktail sticks until they broke, as though I could somehow eat for her. I considered my only remaining option, and it terrified me.
As Kevin's Prius crunched off up the road one more time, I turned to my bookshelf. My bookshelf is a cardboard box, heavy with John Grisham novels, with the word 'bookshelf' written in black Sharpie, but it has never failed to deliver what I ask of it, like a magic lamp for a mid-thirties new bachelor. I opened my copy of Gordon's Meals In Minutes for the first time, sat down on the couch with a beer, and started to read.

"Uhm, I think it's just a name," said the attendant. She squinted once more at the beef tomato and I reminded myself that the badge on her blouse said 'Cecile: here to help', rather than 'able to help'.
"I'm sure it's okay. I'll take two, thanks." A part of me hoped that there was something sustaining, something beefy about them. Their blood-redness made them look vital, like little multi-chambered vegetable hearts. The young woman gave the shining organs the gentlest squeeze and I caught myself thinking, another time, Cecile, another place, and maybe-
"So, can you cook?"
"I cook." I tried to sound nonchalant. Here to cook, not able to cook.
"That's awesome," she beamed. "Not many people do any more, you know?"
I told her I did, and wondered when Eloise would let me rejoin the wisdom of the masses.

Mary - not babe, not love, Mary - was carrying a tupperware box and a sheepish expression as she dropped our daughter off.
"...just in case?" She smiled, weakly.
I looked at the tub of risotto. A ricey trojan horse, about to enter my gates.
"I'm sure I won't need it," I said. I took it.
Inside, Gordon's instructions merged and mixed on the page; chop this, stir that, mash your dessicated other; a twisting puzzle. Meals in minutes? Verbs for days, more like. Something to my left started spitting, then blackening. I swore, then swore at myself for swearing in presence of The Human Parrot, but she was watching TV. I turned back as a huge column of smoke erupted into the air, making the fire alarm sing.
I flapped a scraggy tea-towel at the little white unit and imagined Cecile and I laughing about it all, and deciding to get takeout instead. When the alarm stopped, Eloise was talking at the same volume, and pitch.
"-ilding blocks of life, Dad. Kevin says fruit and vegetables are the bricks that your body is built from. Isn't that interesting?"
I looked at the pile of rubble that was my kitchen counter; shards and offcuts littered the marble, barely resembling the produce they'd come from. Juices and seeds mingled in the grouting. In the middle of it all, my two beef tomatoes sat, untouched and glistening. I started to gnaw on another cocktail stick, thinking of temper tantrums, another argument, Kevin's pitying smile. The tupperware box of risotto sat on the counter, like a suicide pill. Then the stick fell out of my mouth, as the bricks came together.

"Dinner, hun-bun!"
Eloise trooped to the table, expectantly. My heart gave a little tug as I realised that this girl, for precociousness, never gave up on me. She saw what was on each plate, and grinned in imitation of it.
"He just needs a name, love."
"Brian!" she said immediately. "Brian the, uh, tomato."
"Very well," I said, and addressed the plate. "Nice to eat you, Brian."
Grinning back at me was a beef tomato, red grape eyes pinned on with cocktail sticks, above a green pepper smile.
On a bed of risotto.

After dinner, we watched The Princess And The Frog again. We rode bikes again, my heart crying for relief like it had been chopped and mashed. We sat on the old bench in the park again, tucked between our trees, watching mums pushing prams in the last fingers of orange light, and we guessed what each baby would be when they grew up. Eloise had fairly specific futures plotted for each of them.
"And you?" I said. "What will you be?"
"A bear."
I overestimate her sometimes.


autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe


The name and color immediately summons a theme of exploration, which was why I picked it in the first place. I proceeded to complete a long, maudlin piece about four people being scuttled in a lifeboat at the edge of the world. No. I like this better. The thing is, I love the idea of exploration, and all of my writing about it in the past has been exceptionally positive - I usually can't help but express my excitement about the unknown in anything I write that even scrapes the theme. The decision to set the babysitter as the perspective character turns the cardboard space adventure into something ultimately terrifying and unwanted.

This is also the second piece I've ever submitted in CC, and the second one to feature both a child and a cat.

Liike, I know rite? It's just so crazy. I feel totally positive about stuff I do too, ya know? I mean rilly, life's like this big plane of energy and like, if we like, put positive energy into it, y'know? We'll just get this positive energy back out. It's like, science, right? I mean, I had this like one rilly bad relationship but like I was all negative so it was y'know all my fault, right? Anyway, I love how you, like, talk like you're a b-list frontman for an indie band totally on the charts, mann


Edit: since we can add things to our story after the fact, I'd like to mention I got too messed up before I wrote mine and forgot to include the colour (his car was that colour) and his tagline was supposed to include the nonsense word razzamataz, which is what finally drove him over the edge. Just FYI, nbd or anything

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at 22:16 on Jul 21, 2013

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007





Color: Vivid Tangerine
Longitude 124
1199 words

"It's peach," said Ginny over the muttering of the surf.

"What's wrong with calling it orange?" said Jesse.

They were talking about the sky which had, some days before, undergone an impossible metamorphosis, shifting through a litany of colors that were decidedly not blue until it settled on a warm color not unlike the skin of the orange fruit.

"Why settle on orange though?"

"Dude, who cares?"

It was a poignant question. Jesse and Ginny were alone on a beach at Cape Alava and for several thousand miles in every direction. The rest of the western world had gone east, to where the sky was rumored to be blue. But there they were, at the end of west. The sky out past the horizon, where the occidental met the orient in the watery curvature of the earth, was no bluer.

"It's too complex to be just orange," Ginny said. "Orange is just red and yellow but this," she gestured at the ocean panorama, "is also pink and coral and maybe like the aftertaste of purple. In the whole human lexicon, there's got to be something better than orange."

"Man are you serious? This is the apocalypse and we're doing the end-of-world version of sitting at a Dennys talking about the weather. We're that couple."

"We don't know it's the apocalypse."

"This isn't wine tasting, this is it. The End."

"You're so set on this being the end. What if things are just changing?"

"Change is always the end of something," Jesse said. "That's why it's change."

They carried on like that, while the tide stayed low and the sun sat unmoving on the cusp of the horizon, its mane of evening hues muted by the thick, ambiguously orange sky. Only the steady regression of the couple's conversation into one or two or three-word sentences marked the time.

"Orange," said Jesse.

"Muted Highlighter," said Ginny.

"Orange," said Jesse.

"Neon Bifurcated Infrared," said Ginny.

"You're just saying words now!"

"Vivid Tangerine."

"You stole that from the place in Tampa-a-a," Jesse trailed off, remembering too late that Ginny wouldn't know the Vivid Tangerine because the Vivid Tangerine had been a quote-unquote dance club that Jesse hadn't been entirely forthcoming about patronizing, so the word Tampa came out more like 'Tampuuh-aah?', all dragged out with the upward inflection at the end.

"There's no place called that," Ginny said, picking at a ragged bit of cuticle.

"Mm," Jesse said diplomatically. But at any other time he would have balked at her dismissal and this fact didn't escape Ginny, who turned to him and said "what?"

"What what?"

"Come on, what is it? There's something."

"Dude, it was like three years ago we went to Tampa. I thought I remembered someplace called something stupid like Vivid Tangerine. It could have been The Vibrant Apricot for all I know. You know Florida, Florida's probably the half the reason things are hosed. This is like penance for allowing Florida to be so Flo-ri-da-a where are you going?"

Ginny dusted sand off her jeans and turned inland. "I've very abruptly lost interest in what you're saying and I have to leave the situation." She turned and flopped off in the sandals she'd found left in one of the rental yurts, which had become a sort of pyrrhic treasure trove of left cell phones, car keys, wallets and clothing when the world went east chasing blue skies.

Jeremy watched her go to quote-unquote their yurt, watched her disappear into a small rectangle of black, into what he knew was a dim, musty interior crowded with creaking bunks that smelled of sea salt and were never totally free of sand.

The sun stayed on its perch; the ocean muttered at the low tide mark. Jesse thought of Ginny in the yurt, but then it was much easier to think about the itchy sand and the smell, and why was it so comfortable to sleep on the beach, but sand-in-the-bed was the sort of thing that made first-worlders recount their trips abroad to each other in that low, somber you don't know what it's like over there tone. And then he thought of Ginny in the yurt again, but it was like trying to get two magnets to stick together at the same pole. The idea simply slipped out of the reticle of his frontal lobe and was immediately replaced by an easier thought, usually one he could be sort of detachedly angry about.

Then he was walking toward the yurt, because going to the yurt was easy, it was going to the yurt and not going to Ginny. And it was his yurt too, wasn't it? Jesse cast no shadow on the sand, and what tide pools were left reflected orange--just orange--and gave the marinescape a photo-filtered hyper-realistic edge. He was going to the yurt.

The yurt was waiting for him with Ginny inside, the bunks a one-of-these-things-are-not-like-the-other tableau where the idiosyncratic element was Ginny's pale and petit body on one of them, prone and artfully half-covered by stale white sheets.

"I thought we should," Ginny said. "Just in case."

"Does it really matter what color the sky is?" Jesse asked, still framed in the doorway by the neon-bifurcated-infrared-highlighter-vivid-tangerine-orange schism above and behind him.

It didn't matter, and they made love quietly and with the nervous urgency of people who are far too aware that they are their bodies.

Afterward, they stood and dressed together and walked out onto the beach to watch the world stay the same.

"Do you think anyone is out there asking why?" Jesse said after a while.

"What, hanging around sending probes and balloons up there? And maybe missing the last ticket to where there's still blue sky?"

"What about the sun? And the wind? And the tides? The sun can't be in two places at once. I don't think there is blue sky anymore."

They were quiet for a long time after that, or perhaps no time. It was Ginny that broke the silence.

"Oh," was all she said. Jesse saw it too, and took her hand. Something long strained broke, and time and distance swirled into a fissure on the horizon, broiling non-stuff spewing out like trapped air bubbles.

"It's over," said Jesse.

"Well no poo poo," Ginny said.

"No I mean--now that we're really doomed, I have to tell you that even though I know that you know that I don't love you anymore, you're the only person I want to tell anything to right now, because even if I don't love you, you're still here, and are the most important person on Earth, and that's why I can't let us die with this big stupid lie between us. In Tampa I---"

"It's ok, me too," she said, and took Jesse's hand. "It's funny, now that I don't love you, I love you. I guess there isn't anything else to do now but that, is there?"

It was a question that didn't need an answer. Hand in hand, friends, Jesse and Ginny watched east and west collapse into nothing, and were perhaps the only people who didn't die reaching for a blue sky that would never be again.

Mar 21, 2013


Grimey Drawer

wordcount: 1183

Rabbit's Delight

Old Les Henderson, three sheets to the wind at half two in the afternoon and the sole customer at the Rabbit’s Repast for three days running, laid the coins for a pint on the counter and broached the subject directly. “C’mon Jack, yer’ve been grinning like a mad bloody monkey that’s just discovered his balls ever since you got back. What’s up wi’yer?”

Jack Roberson, pulling him a lager behind the bar, touched the side of his nose and shook his head. “I’d love to tell you, Les, but you’d never believe it.”

“Well, give us a hint then, yer bastard,” said Les, coughing a little on his sleeve to indicate he might not have much time left to hang around waiting for clues. “Not that it’s a bad thing to see ye smilin’, but ye can’t just spend a year moping about and then get better overnight and not tell a soul for why!” He gestured around him at the empty bar. “It’s not like t’Rabbit’s been doing so well. If yer go under and I have to start drinking at the George there’ll be hell to pay. I didn’t fight in three wars to drink at the bloody George.”

“Just a hint, eh?” Jack looked around surreptitiously, then leaned across the bar. “It’s a sign of the times.” He pulled himself back and then mimed locking his lips and throwing away the key.

That night a package arrived, special delivery. Sam, the delivery man of the parish, struggled to carry a large, sealed packing crate inside the Rabbit’s Repast and then hung around waiting to see what was inside. Jack shooed him off and closed the place half an hour early, much to the disgruntlement of Old Man Henderson and a couple of busybodies who had followed the van down the village streets, eager for gossip. Once the establishment was cleared he invited Lula, the barmaid and only remaining staff member, to stand beside him by the box.

“I know it’s tough ‘round here since Belinda passed away,” said Jack, “and if I’ve been a bit of a miserable bastard, let me apologise again. But I am confident we’re about to turn a corner. What’s in this box will be the first of its kind in those good parts of Christendom where they don’t speak Frog. People will come from miles around to see this, and hopefully also have a drink, so they can say they’ve quaffed at the Rabbit’s Repast.”

“Well, don’t leave a girl hanging, open it up!”

Jack pried the lid open with a crowbar and started pulling out the wadding that lay inside. He reached an object enclosed in wrapping paper, and pulled it up by one corner, revealing a large rectangular shape. Lula drew closer. “What is it?” she asked.

“Behold!” said Jack, ripping away the paper with a flourish. Beneath lay a second rectangular box. “Oops,” said Jack, and opened it. Inside, beneath further wadding, was a curious contraption made entirely of tubes, affixed to a large, solid board. A single, long cable emerged from the back of it.

“Is it some kind of science experiment?” asked Lula, taking a step back as her mind went to the laboratories she saw at the cinema matinees and their inevitably debilitating results.

“No, no,” said Jack. “It’s a sign! It glows! It moves! It’s fiendishly clever. They had them being demonstrated at a barber’s in Paris when I went for my christmas break, and they’re fantastic. It’s like liquid fire, like nothing you’ve ever seen! It’s just not plugged in yet.”

Lula took another look from a different angle. “Ah - I see. This squiggle says ‘Rabbits’ and this one says ‘Repast’. But what’s in the middle?”

“That’s the clever bit, see. There’s a circuit that turns on part of it at a time. Sometimes it’s just this bit, and sometimes it’s these parts and the rest of the time it’s all these bits here.”

“And it’s a bunny and a carrot!” said Lula, catching on and clapping in delight. ”Can we see it go?”

“Not yet - I’ve got to do some tinkering with the electrics first to wire it up. But there’ll be an unveiling tomorrow at twilight. Tell everyone! They’ll want to be here, not at the bloody George.”

As dusk approached the next day, a small crowd had gathered round the outside the Rabbit’s Repast. A sheet with a pull rope hung over its sign above the front door. Jack saw many of the faces he hadn’t served recently, or at all since Belinda had passed. He couldn’t blame them; a death by pneumatic complications from scarlet fever isn’t the kind of thing that makes you want to return to a local pub, but perhaps this would turn the tide.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said. “I give you the sign of the Rabbit’s Repast Reborn - in Neon!” He tugged at the pull rope and there was a gasp from the crowd as they saw the orange letters burning in the dusk, and then a louder one as the image in the center of the sign changed according to its timed switches.

To Jack’s surprise, one of the younger ladies in the crowd fainted, and then another joined suit. A couple of older women looked like they couldn’t decide whether to faint or not, the road not being particularly soft. There were mumbles amongst the menfolk as the women were attended to, and the parish vicar looked like he was about to say a few very strong words. Lula grabbed Jack and hurried him into the pub.

“Can you turn it off?” she asked

“Why would I turn it off?” asked Jack, bewildered.

“Have you looked at the sign, now it’s up and going?”

“Well, no - there wasn’t time - some of the wiring is a bit fiddly. But what’s the problem with a rabbit eating a carrot?”

“It’s not eating it, Jack. It’s in reverse.”

Jack stepped outside and took another look at the sign. The stylised Happy Rabbit face appeared, then bent down and extruded from its mouth a long, cylindrical neon carrot. Piece by piece the carrot grew until, after the body of the carrot was fully revealed, its leafy top ejaculated in glowing lines across the returned rabbit’s beaming face.

“Oh. poo poo,” said Jack before going inside and switching it off. Lula poked her head round the door. “It’s Constable Higgins - he’d like a word.”

Higgins, who thankfully had a sense of humour about the entire affair, let Jack off with a caution, and with a small switch setting, the propriety of the signage was restored. Sure enough, both the locals and people for miles around did come to see the sign made of ‘liquid fire’ and to have a drink at the Rabbit’s Repast. Even the most delicate of village ladies could sometimes be found watching the ever-changing glow in the darkness, albiet from a respectable distance, perhaps musing on how the Rabbit’s Repast had acquired its scandalous new nickname, Rabbit’s Delight.

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

Color: Bittersweet Shimmer
Word Count: 1085


One day in September, Sam's brother caught her sneaking a bottle of Miller Lite into her room and said, “That's no good.” Jim snatched the bottle from her hand and scowled. “Warm, too? Come on.” She hadn't followed him anywhere since she'd been six and he sixteen. Then, he'd told her to leave him the gently caress alone. Ten years later she followed because he might be rear end in a top hat enough to turn her in otherwise.

He pulled a six-pack from the back of the fridge on the way to the back door. “I was savin' this to drink alone, but I think you need some educating.” Jim had been home for two years now, and this was the longest interaction they'd had without yelling. Come to think of it, they hadn't talked at all for almost a year. Sam, thoroughly confused, followed him across the back yard as he urged, “This way. Don't tell me you haven't found it yet?”

“Found what?” Her voice sounded high and sharp to her own ears, and more scared than she'd have liked. Resentful.

“What've you been doing all this time?”

“Taking care of the poo poo you left behind!” Now she was snapping at him, voice climbing up the register with each word. She winced. He didn't say anything, just pushed his way between two of the dense hemlocks bordering the yard. She followed, feeling the snag of branches in her hair.

Twenty feet into the woods, they stumbled onto an old logging road that led them to the top of the small mountain behind the house. “poo poo,” Jim said as he settled down on the rocky peak. “I haven't been up here in ten years.”

Sam perched on the edge of a rock and looked westward. Fall foliage, orange and yellow and red, spilled across the hills. There was a pop and a hiss behind her, and Same turned quickly, out of her depth. He smiled winningly, holding out a bottle. Moisture beaded and sparkled, dripping down across the label, slippery against her palm as she grabbed it.

“Careful,” he said, opening a second. “It's strong and bitter. Good stuff, actual flavor. Friend of mine brewed it. Not like the diet piss you've been drinking.”

“I haven't, actually. I was going to, but you threw it out.” She knew she sounded sulky. She just couldn't help it.

“Ah.” The teasing she expected never came. Eventually she took a sip, barely letting the liquid touch her lips. It was bitter and strange, but it couldn't hurt to sit a bit longer. He could still turn her in if she annoyed him. And she hadn't sat in such easy silence with anyone in a long time.

She took another sip, bigger. It was still bitter, but it was cool against the back of her tongue as she swallowed. Not so unpleasant. Maybe she hadn't sat like this, ever. Another sip, because the setting sun was hot and intense.

A thin film of clouds slid up the horizon towards the lowering sun. They drank in silence while the clouds covered the sun in a thin haze of orange and pink. High-up, above the wispy high clouds, the sun caught passing airplanes and turned them into glowing specs. Eventually she heard him open another bottle. She looked at her own, surprised to see it mostly gone.

The light and heat leached out of the air until only the thin, glowing clouds lit the world like a great, distant fire. She was relaxed in a new and interesting way. Her tongue must have been looser than normal, too, because she asked, “Why?” Another sip. “Why bring me up here?”

“I don't figure Mom's gonna teach you how to drink like an adult.” She tipped her head back flat against the rock and watched upside down as he turned the bottle in his hands. “I'm not dumb, ya'know?”

“Since when?” Sam kinda wished she could take it back, but mostly didn't. Hurt bubbled up like bitter amber liquid.

“Since I grew up.” She could hear the soft glug-glug of the bottle. “I used to hate you because they loved you. I was just the castoff, the mistake. Mom resented me because she never wanted me, and Frank resented me 'cause I wasn't his, right? But you were theirs.”

“Lot of good that's done me.” Sam looked away, feeling the sting in her eyes and throat.

“I know,” he said. “I came back, and yeah, I was a mess. The army ain't a breeze. But I wasn't so hosed up I couldn't see how she treated you. And then I'm thinking, did it start as soon as I left? Or was it the first time she didn't get her pills? And then I think, maybe it doesn't matter so much when, because I remember what it was like. But I was used to it, you know? You were their pampered little girl until you weren't any more.”

Sam closed her eyes, trying to ignore him. She hugged her knees to her chest, but it did nothing to stop the chill or the memories. She wanted to shout at him. She wanted to tell him it was all his fault. But those words had always been Mom's, and the little part of her that was bitter and angry and mean, the part she hid away, knew exactly how Mom talked about her.

“It's not all the time.” Sam felt guilt rising through her, and adrenaline. She'd never, ever talked about this. She'd never told anyone, because Sam wasn't dumb, either. She had some idea what would happen if anyone found out how many pills Mom took. “Just when she doesn't get her...medicine.”

“Yeah. Medicine.” Glug, glug. “You drive now. Does she send you out to buy it off the street when the prescriptions dry up?” Sam felt herself starting to shake. It had only been a few months since she'd got her license She'd known when she found herself meeting a strange man in a parking lot, alone, that she'd lost her mother.

It seemed she'd found her brother. Silently, she reached back towards him. There was a pop and a hiss and another cold bottle slid into her hand. The beer flowed over her tongue, still bitter. But there was someone behind her now, drinking with her. Being nice to her. Overhead, the first bright stars twinkled through the pale orange veil of clouds.

Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?

Color: Granny Smith Apple
352 words


Jenny had green lightning.

Nothing big, but she would break it out during parties and get-togethers, drawing shapes in the air with her fingertips and leaving shimmering half-second sparks behind. She liked to draw apples, because the sparks were the same color as a granny smith, but she would try and draw whatever people requested.

Derek was shy.

Nothing big, but his heart would race during parties and get-togethers. It would skip a beat whenever Jenny entered the room, too. He liked that his eyes were green like her sparks, but he wasn’t sure if she even noticed him. She was lightning, all energy and sound. He was a mole, underground, where she would never strike him.

He wanted to be struck by lightning.

One night he was helping clean up after the party, and stumbled across Jenny sitting behind the couch where no one would see her.

“H-hey,” he stammered. “What are you doing back there?”

She rearranged the skirt of her lemon yellow dress. “Hiding. I’m tired.”

“I thought you left. Everyone did. Have you been back there the whole time?”

She nodded. “I’m starting to get sick of going to parties. Do you have any idea how many dicks I draw every time? I drew five today.” She sighed. “I want to try something different, you know?”

His heart was pounding in his chest. “L-like what?”

She shrugged. “Like maybe a little film or something. Tell a story in light. That would be cool.”

Derek smiled. “Yeah, it would be. I, um, I could help if you want.”

“Could you?” Her eyes were bright. “That would be amazing. None of my friends can seem to figure out how to hold a camera steady.”

“Yeah!” His heart leapt. Amateur film was one of his hobbies. “I’ve got my own camera and everything.”

“Awesome!” She thought for a moment, then said, “You’re really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever met you before. What’s your name?”


“Nice to meet you, Derek. I’m the infamous Jenny.” She extended her hand.

He took it, and she pulled herself upright, and lightning struck.


M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008


Color: Cerise
Noyaux de cerise
Word Count: 1112

Kristoff had held out long enough. He would drink this night.

He had been keeping tabs on the news. Media attention on the city’s missing women had started to quiet down. It would have been easier to go after the vagrants – the city certainly didn’t lack them. City didn’t care much for them either. He had a go at a homeless man before – the taste was repugnant. Kristoff swore he would never drink from another.

For him, it was the blood of teenage girls that filled him, although the occasional nubile twenty-something sufficed. The cliché of his drinking habits were a perennial source of derision during Society gatherings, but over four centuries of the same prey had long drowned out any embarrassment he might otherwise feel about his drinking disposition. A young girl’s blood had that nuance, a kind of terroir that he couldn’t be find in anything else. The taste of innocence was ambrosia to him, and it was futile to fight against taste.

It was half past two. A few minutes into scouring the streets, he found sustenance: a girl walked the street alone. In spite of the moonless night and dim streetlamps, Kristoff saw her as though she was lit by daylight. He was relieved to see that the girl was neither disreputable nor drunk – qualities which polluted flavor. She was either in her last year of a high school, or possibly a freshman. It struck Kristoff as odd that a girl her age was walking alone at this time of night. Wasn’t she even wary of the unsavory mortals of this hour? Even worse, she was engrossed in her smartphone, barely paying any heed to the streets. No matter. She would be grateful that he would make her end painless.

The girl wore a tartan cap, a pea coat, and jeans. All of them in dark, muted hues, save her scarf. It was a vivid violet, tinged with a hint of red. There was something deliciously alluring about the scarf. In the night breeze, it waved invitingly at Kristoff, as though beckoning him to peel it off and expose the lithe neck that awaited him.

The thought sent Kristoff into a frenzy. In a span of second, he swept a span of three blocks, before seizing the girl from behind. His left hand clamped over the girl’s mouth, while his right snaked above her waist and over her arms, trapping them. Kristoff bit down on the scarf. Jerking his head in a way would have afflicted whiplash on the living, he tore it off, then sank his fangs into the girl’s neck.

After a prolonged fast, blood always seems to taste sweeter, but what now flowed into Kristoff was unlike anything he had dared to imagine. A feeling of warmth and euphoria swept over him. He felt his eyes roll back and lost himself in a flourish of gratifying dreams that flooded his consciousness. When the reverie ended, he forgot how many dreams he had dreamt, let alone what the dreams were. Except for the last one. The last one was a nightmare.

The nightmare made him to come to, and he immediately sensed a chill, numbing sensation seeping into his fangs. He willed his fangs to retract, but they remained adamantly embedded in the girl’s neck. More disconcerting to him was the awareness that he was no longer trying to drain the girl, yet his fangs involuntarily continued to draw fluid.

Panicking, Kristoff shoved the girl away from him. A spurt of blood jutted out as he wrenched his fangs free from her neck. The girl dropped, but caught herself with her hands as she hit the ground. Kristoff stumbled back, then touched his blood soaked fangs. He still could not retract them, and he began to feel his entire jaw stiffening. He looked at the blood that his fingers had wiped off. The color was not the red of human blood. It was the color of the scarf.

Kristoff looked at the girl, who groggily collected her smartphone, and what remained of her scarf. He took a step towards her, and felt his muscles stiffen. Upon his next step, he collapsed. The girl was now standing over Kristoff. With considerable effort, he twisted his increasingly stiffening body to look up at her. She held a strip of her scarf against the spot where Kristoff had bitten, silently staring down at him with unblinking eyes of contempt.

Kristoff writhed in fury. He attempted to yell at the girl, but with his mouth locked agape, he only managed a pathetic hissing noise, and it was not long before he was unable to muster even that. Gradually, his writhing diminished until he was finally still. The girl continued to stare at him for a minute before kneeling down and bringing her smartphone up to Kristoff’s eyes. A bright light shone out, and she confirmed that his pupils constricted. She stood up and walked a few steps away. Although no longer in his sight, Kristoff could hear the soft taps of the girl’s fingers as she dialed a number on her smartphone. Kristoff heard the ringtone, and then an answer.


“Bring the van. I’ve got him. Pick up point at Keefe and Seventh.”


Sylvie pocketed her smartphone. A few minutes passed before a white van swung by, parking beside Sylvie and the paralyzed vampire. From the side, the van bore the sign: WALTZ MOBILE DENTISTRY LTD. On its license plate were the characters “VNHL5NG.” A heavy set man stepped out, and walked over to Sylvie.

“Well, poo poo! Didn’t think we’d catch the fucker this soon. Nice work! You okay? I’ve got the IV dip ready if you need it.”

“I’ll get back to you on that. Let’s chuck this douchebag into the van first.”

“Douchebag, eh? He pissed you off that bad?”

“Didn’t even have the decency to try and seduce me. Wrecked my scarf as well.”

“The cerise one?”


“What a dick.”

“I know.”

“Hey, take it easy and head into the van. I’ll get him secured in the restraints. I picked up bubble tea for you as well.”

“Thanks! Wait. There’s a place that sells bubble tea after two in the morning?”

“Yeah. It’s that twenty-four café that opened up last week. They do bubble tea as well. I’ll show you where it is as we head back.”

Sylvie made her way into the van, while the man hauled the limp vampire and restrained him into the back cell of the van. When he was finished, he made his way back to the driver seat, and drove off while Sylvie sipped on cherry bubble tea.

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