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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




I'm starting to think Nubile Hillock's IRL name is Satoshi Nakamoto

Only Nubile will think this is funny*

Kaishai, you're always so good with the crits. I will add to mine; on a re-read I noticed that Jesse take's Ginny's hand, then Ginny takes Jesse's hand (that she is presumably already holding) just a few sentences later. And I even finished mine early and proofread and everything :saddowns:

I am really interested to see what threads people use as inspiration for this prompt.

*it's not really but srsly Nubile you love bitcoins so much why don't you marry them


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Capntastic posted:

In, and I will be using the next thread one of my SA buddies randomly links me.

It'll feel good to be back in the saddle.

Hi Capntastic!



Potentially Bad Things
The character designer being mostly known for porn and emphasis on the female characters in the marketing despite having an even number of male and female characters at best means slight harem vibes

Edit: :ohdear: I haven't picked a thread I guess I'll have to take whatever someone gives me.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 07:57 on Jul 24, 2013

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.

Here are my 'crits' in which I will mostly just tell you why I hated your story.

Mercedes: I hated that your story was mostly told in the present tense. Also at first I wasn't sure how your colour worked into the story and thought that maybe it was about how black the characters were acting, but aaaanyway.
Didn't hate the story as a whole though except that nothing much happened.

Captain Platypus: I hated that your six year old protagonist could've been an adult but for the fact that you specifically told us she was six. I hated that the entire story was 'the world's been destroyed and we're all dying' and then everyone dying, with no real events happening in between. I hated that instead of using the colour prompt, you made the story about a disease that occurs in the absence of one half of the prompt.
That being said, you were not in my loser pile either.

Besesoth: I didn't really hate anything about this story. Well researched, tied a whole lot of interesting things into the prompt, unveiled the mystery in an interesting and believable way. Good job. (Not in my favourites pile though, sorry.)

Umbilical Lotus: I didn't hate anything about this either, this was in my favourites pile. At first I was worried that the protagonist's inattentiveness was gonna lead to tragedy, but I really dig the direction your story went in.

Nubile Hillock: So is bro fiction a thing now or something? I don't really mind, I found this entertaining. It's cool.

Whalley: I hated the characters. Also, re this line: "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?" If that's really the reason he joined in beating them up, I'll assume he spent almost all his time beating up every single person he ever fought alongside. Well written though, it's just that it's filled with horrible people that kind of puts me off.

The Swinemaster: I really enjoyed this one and I think it's because 'Pinkbaby' as the name of one of the characters amused me more than it really should've. It was actually in my winner pile.

Symptomless Coma: I hated the ending. He served the food and, then what? The main focus of the story, his struggle to convince his daughter to eat something he's cooked, and you just kind of stop talking about it. The last paragraph doesn't seem to have a drat thing to do with the rest of the narrative.

Sitting Here: I didn't really like the closing dialogue. Good story for the most part. Not in my winner pile though.

Fumblemouse: I didn't mind this one, although I was similarly bemused about how somehow a carrot going out of a rabbit's mouth is totes inappropes or whatever, and I kinda felt like not much happened.

Anathema Device: I hated that at one point you referred to your protagonist as 'Same'. This was still my favourite though. It was just a really nice story well told, the contrasting of the protagonist's expectations of her brother with the reality, and her gradual shift of attitude was really good.

CantDecideOnAName: I hated the pointlessness of the whole magic thing. I hated "He wanted to be struck by lightning." I hated "He took it, and she pulled herself upright, and lightning struck." I hated "I'm the infamous Jenny." Over all, I did not like this story. Not in my pile of failure though. Oh also, I hate granny smith apples, so there's that too.

M. Propagandalf: I hated that you had the freaking audacity to write a vampire story that wasn't even set in space. I hated the pretentious tone of everything in the first three quarters or so of the story. I hated "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." I really hated this story. So much. Really.
Also I like the name Sylvie and you made a character named Sylvie who is just a terrible character and I hate you for that too. This story was in my pile of failure.

Sebmojo: Yeah it was a good story I guess, I just wasn't really feeling it for some reason. Liked the ending though.

Nikaer Drekin: Quite enjoyed this one, even though there was a fair amount of telling instead of showing, I think it kinda worked here.

Squilliam Fancyson: I hated that the story was basically "a guy goes to a cafe and orders something that relates to the prompt but, due to reminiscing doesn't eat it, then calls his mum." I hated the weird hyphen thing. I hated that it was only after going into a cafe that he SUDDENLY REMEMBERED that his dad had died or something, what the hell is that? I hated this story, and I didn't have a lot of hate left after that vampire thing. Pile of failure.

Jagermonster: I hated that the main character was so unbelievably pure and righteous to the point of making up a terrible song about Germany. I almost expected the sun to glint off of his immaculately shiny teeth next to his huge square jaw. I hated the heavy handedness of the message. I hated that you misspelled the colour of your crayon before you even started. I hated this story and it was in my pile of failure.

Higgz: I hate that your user name isn't capitalised, although that doesn't really relate to this story, I'm just sayin' is all. I hate that it's a little unclear at times what's happening. I hate that with your protagonist being brainwashed right away, there's no relatable characters. I hated that I couldn't tell what the heck the italics were supposed to represent exactly. Kinda still didn't mind the story though.

Noah: I mostly didn't mind this story, but I hate how, after eating the takeaway, Shelly suddenly teleports to her office with no warning. I hate how whiney she is in the opening conversation. I didn't really like either character come to think of it. Still a pretty decent story.

That's all the 'crits', woo. More indepth crits NEVER.

Mar 24, 2013


In. :toxx: to submit, that I may wipe away the shame of last week's failure.

Someone toss me a thread.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

Sitting Here posted:

*it's not really but srsly Nubile you love bitcoins so much why don't you marry them

As soon as I iron out the last few bugs in my bitcoin sex machine, I'm going to be Mr. Nubile Hillock-Bitcoin.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

sebmojo posted:

Edit: :ohdear: I haven't picked a thread I guess I'll have to take whatever someone gives me.

The GiP Drunk Thread. Preferably the last few pages.

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

This is clearly going to be an interesting week. I'll update the prompt post with a list of people who signed up and which threads were picked.

We still need a third judge! Who's going to volunteer?

May 7, 2005


Thanks for the crits, judges. I never want to disappoint you again, Mr. Chucker.

In for this week. Can someone please throw a thread at me? Thanks!

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

Auraboks posted:

In. :toxx: to submit, that I may wipe away the shame of last week's failure.

Someone toss me a thread.

Here you go: Florida Bans Mermaids

Dec 25, 2012

Thank you for the critique, much needed as everyone can see.
Let's see if I can wash away the shame with a story based on The InfoSec Megathread.

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008


In with Stuff you did as a kid that you're ashamed of

Umbilical Lotus
Nov 13, 2005


I have learned I need to stop talking and edit more. Regardless, I'm glad that people got some enjoyment out of the story - that, after all, is the point of the exercise.

Back for round two. And I choose the inimitable Weed Megathread.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


In, with the Political Cartoons 2013 thread.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

I'm in with Let me tell you about my boat.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

What's the turd limit for this week?

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

May 7, 2005


Jagermonster posted:

In for this week. Can someone please throw a thread at me? Thanks!

I was hoping to avoid getting sucked into the SA forums and wasting hours getting sidetracked reading through weird threads. Since no one has assigned anything yet, I'll go with The Triathlon Megathread 2: More Aerodynamic Than the First Thread

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

Nubile Hillock posted:

What's the turd limit for this week?

No turds.

1000 words.

Sign ups close tonight at midnight.

Seriously folks, who is going to volunteer as the third judge? Don't make me put a random person on the spot.

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

Anathema Device posted:

Seriously folks, who is going to volunteer as the third judge? Don't make me put a random person on the spot.

If no one steps up by 11:59 PM, I'll volunteer and withdraw my participation.

e: Saved by the beef!

SneezeOfTheDecade fucked around with this message at 22:09 on Jul 26, 2013

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Anathema Device posted:

Seriously folks, who is going to volunteer as the third judge? Don't make me put a random person on the spot.

I got your back. PMs and IRC are the easiest ways to find me.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Anathema Device posted:

Don't make me put a random person on the spot.

You have much to learn about being a judge.

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

Erogenous Beef posted:

I got your back. PMs and IRC are the easiest ways to find me.


sebmojo posted:

You have much to learn about being a judge.


Sign ups closed. Submissions due in 48 hours.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

The Grapes of Math 1000 words

Quincy held his katana up to the lights. Hundreds of LEDs reflected off the Hanzo steel. A buzzing filled the room like angry locusts. His lips curled up in a smile. It was the sound of money.

Around him towered metal scaffolds overgrown with cable – data and power. “An apt metaphor,” he thought aloud.
He raised his sword. He was better, there, online. Corrected for weight and height by the sheer power of the Free Market. The girls loved him, online. The blade slashed the air.

He hit a hotkey. The screens went dark. Reams of data winked into existence. Digital stock-tickers, graphs, algorithmic language parsers dredging Twitter for news. It was like plugging the economy right into his aorta and living off pure information.
His sword arced above him.

“Quincy! You’ll be late again!” His mother yelled from upstairs.

Quincy groaned, he’d pulled another all nighter. He slapped the alarm clock from his desk before it went off. He’d have to skip showering, again.

He trudged up the stairs, his mom handed him a Poptart.

“Did you get any sleep last night?” she asked.

Quincy tried to talk but his brother cut in before he could even inhale.

“He was up all night doing karate. Right, fuckernaut?”

“It’s not karate. I was working again, my transaction just cleared and I’ll be getting a BFL rig by Monday or Friday at the latest, or two weeks from now if they do a round robin on the queue to let the Bitstarter funds clear,” Quincy said in a single breath.

“Whatever, turdhumper, as soon as Mount Gox gets its servers together all my bits are goin’ into an Avalon,” his brother said, halfway out the door. Quincy glared. Avalon miners were the fastest on the market, but if he could get his rig this week he’d be rolling in bits before his brother knew what was what.

He was two blocks away when the final school bell rang. He was already chafing. Three periods passed and no one spoke to him except for Gerald. At lunch he tried explaining Bitcoin to a group of girls, they pretended not to see him.

At home there was a pizza with a note from his brother: “Either leave the house or don’t leave the basement, dickslap. Cara’s coming over.”

Quincy pressed his headphones tighter, but the sound reverberated through the vents; rhythmic thumping and heavy breathing. He turned the volume as high as it would go. His thoughts turned to Cara and the way her jeans hugged her hips. Almost instinctively he tabbed a new window in his browser, sites that would never show up in history.

Unzipping his cargo pants, he wondered why Cara liked his brother when he was the real Captain of Industry. It’s not like she didn’t know it, she’d seen his mining rigs.

When everything went quiet he crept upstairs to finish off the pizza. His brother was already there.

“Didn’t I tell you to stay downstairs, cumwad?” He punched Quincy on the shoulder.

“If you’re looking for the rest of the pie, I ate it. Getting’ down is hard work but you wouldn’t know that. How’s your gay miner?”

“It shipped. For sure.” Quincy said.

“Right. Mine’s up and running in Shanghai. It’s almost got a full bitcoin. I’m gonna be filthy rich in a few years. Why do you think Cara hangs around?” Jason slid a USB hard wallet from his jacket and winked.

It finally clicked for Quincy. If only he hadn’t sold his hoard for stocks, he’d have a fortune. By all rights Cara should be his.
He started thinking of all the places they’d go, once Cara realized his brother was a bit-pauper. He counted the months he’d need to break even. Time that would pass quickly, no doubt. He opened his inbox, awaiting a shipping notice.

Instead, an apology. More delays. Another tooling mistake, missed shipments, funds vanished. Another four weeks at most.

The Free Market wasn’t supposed to work this way. Wealth, power, women – these things were his by birth right. He took the sword from the shelf. Tomorrow was another day.

Quincy got to school early and waited by on the steps.

“Don’t you have class, shitstain?” his brother asked.

Quincy drew his katana. Everyone froze.

“What…what the gently caress are you doing? Jason asked.

Quincy raised the blade, “Not advisable,” he spoke under his breath. The small crowd was silent with awe. He continued “but a demoralized opponent is a dead –”

A punch caught him in the gut. Quincy doubled over and slashed. The blade glanced Jason’s shoulder. He recoiled, briefly.

Another punch broke Quincy’s nose. Blood streamed down his face. It would add to his mystique, he thought.

The world shook when Jason’s hand connected with his ear, open-palm. Quincy felt white-hot pain of smashed nerve endings.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He looked up at Cara, still holding Jason’s bag. Anger exploded within him. He needed this. No, he deserved this.

He roared, thrusting the sword ahead. It scraped bone. Jason collapsed with a yelp. Quincy flicked the handle, spinning the blade through the air. He caught the hilt, blade down.

The tip shattered as it connected with the pavement. His brother spasmed.

Quincy slid his hand into his brother’s jacket. He held up the USB hardwallet, smiling at Cara.

Her face twitched and she broke down sobbing.

“What…What the gently caress? I’m calling the cops!”

He stood, one arm extended in a comforting yet heroic plea.

“M’lady, I have his bitcoins now. You can come with me.”

Cara was screaming into the phone.

“He lives at 284 Rocksburg Lane, YES I know him! Yes I’m loving sure he’s dead there’s a loving sword in him oh god just send help you assholes!” The phone slipped from her hands when she broke down into hysterics, shattering on impact.

“Caveat emptor,” Quincy mused. He turned to leave. The police could not detain a Free Man on the Land.

Feb 6, 2011

gettin' covid all
over your posts

Voyagers, 996 words

My phone rang in my pocket, and I let the "Reading Rainbow" ringtone go on before I picked it up, a little astonished that I even got reception out here at the dig site.

"Kristine!" Janet said through the speaker. She was laughing and her voice was higher-pitched than usual, and in the background I could hear more laughter. "He did it!"

"Who did what?" I asked, half-distracted by the bones on the table. I hadn't been the one to dig them up, so this was the first chance I'd had to really look at them.

"René built the machine, and it works!" There was a pop in the background, and then a hiss, and I realized they'd opened the bottle of champagne René had been saving since he started his project -- and then I realized what Janet was talking about.

"You're sure it works?" I turned away from the table, my attention entirely on the phone now.

"Of course I'm sure. We all took the first manned trip together. We're sorry you couldn't be here, Kris."

"When did you go?"

"About fifteen minutes ago. We just jumped forward a minute. The video camera caught the whole thing." She took a sip of something -- probably the champagne -- and laughed again. "The whole room went blue for a second and then back to normal, and it just felt like sitting in a chair."

"Can it go back?" I asked, feeling my heart pound against my ribs.

In the background I heard a faint hum, like a speaker getting too much volume with dead air. Then I heard Janet's voice, fainter, even though I could still hear her breathing and laughing close to the phone. "Tell him yes!"

"...yes, I guess?" the Janet who was still on the phone said. The one in the background said, "I remember the conversation!"

"So there are two of you in the room?"

"Yeah! I guess we all came back just to make sure!" I could hear a muted discussion, and then Janet got back on the phone. "Okay, I don't remember the conversation from this point, but listen, we're going to make a couple trips back to see famous events and stuff."

I love my job. I love my job. "Don't kill Hitler. And do come home."

"And don't step on any butterflies, I know." The hum again, and the voices in the background halved. "I'm sorry you can't be here with us. It sucks that you had to be out on a dig when he finally finished."

"It's the discovery that's important, not who's there for it," I said. "Besides, you're not going to the historical periods I'm really interested in."

As if on cue, I heard Thomas in the background. "Dinosaurs! Let's go see the dinosaurs!"

"gently caress you, Thomas, I'm on the phone with her. What the hell?" A pause, a sigh. "Look, I am sorry. We'll take you on the next trip, I swear."

("The really fun ones are down in Utah," I heard Thomas say. "Come on, just a peek -- we can take pictures for Kris.")

"It's really okay. You go have fun. I have bones to box," I said.

I heard René and Thomas calling for Janet in the background. "Go, seriously. I'll be here when you get back."

"...all right, Kris, if you insist. I promise I won't kill Hitler."

"Bye, Janet." I hung up before she could apologize again, and turned back to the table. My heart was still going fast, but I had actual work to do.


It had taken me fourteen years to finagle this dig -- fourteen years during which they could have shown back up and hadn't. When Janet, René, and Thomas hadn't returned with the machine, I knew in my gut that they'd done what Thomas wanted. Separately, we were all forces of nature, but together, we ended up doing what Thomas wanted to do. It had always been thus. And Thomas had wanted to see the loving dinosaurs.

When he'd mentioned Utah, it was obvious where he wanted to go. He'd visited Dinosaur National Monument with his family as a child, and brought it up whenever dinosaurs were mentioned. I had no doubt at all that if they'd traveled back that far, they'd have gone to the Monument. It was possible that they'd gone somewhen else, or somewhere else, and been lost; but even if I didn't find what I was looking for, at least I'd be able to say I'd dug at Carnegie Quarry.

I realized that I was in the same position I'd been in when I'd taken that phone call -- sitting in a folding chair under a canopy, looking at bones arrayed on a camp table, waiting to be crated up. This time, it was my students doing the crating; I was just taking a break from the summer heat. "Professor?" one of them asked, gesturing to a humerus the size of my entire leg, and I pointed her to the large crate to the side of the tent, already packed with straw and waiting for its occupant. She smiled and looked down. "No, I meant -- can you help?"

I laughed and got up, stretching my back and legs. She got one end and I got the other, and together we hefted the bone into its crate. As I stood back up, one of the other students called down from the hillside. "Professor Kwan? I think you'd better come take a look at this."

My heart shot into my throat, and I scrambled out of the tent and up the marked pathway. Kennedy was crouching under an outcropping, brush and pick in her hand. "I thought this was a juvenile, so I was being extra careful -- but it's not. It almost looks like a hominid, but it's not even close to the right stratum. Any ideas?"

I sighed, and ran my finger along the long-fossilized skull's eye socket, down its cheek. "Not a hominid, Kendy. A human."

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Inspiration courtesy of the Political Cartoons 2013 thread.

Garry Malloy Stands his Ground
(957 Words)

"You posted our address? On Facebook of all places? What the hell are you thinking, Garry?"

"Dear, this isn't a problem. Just some limp-wrist on the internet thinks he's a big man, that's all."

"I don't care, delete it. I don't want this going any further."

"That isn't going to happen. I take that post down now, and you know who wins? The pansy-rear end liberals, that's who. If I cave, then they get the message that going after us and our way of life works, and that's not something I can allow."

"I'm not having this conversation again, Garry. Sure, probably nothing will happen, but you can bet your rear end I'll hold you responsible if it does."

She marched out of the room, and Garry sighed. Women, he thought. They just don't get the idea of obligation, of duty. A man, on the other hand, needs to defend the things and ideas he loves.

He walked up the steps and turned right, to the master bedroom. A carved wooden lockbox sat on the table by the window, moonlight streaming down on it like a finger from Heaven. Garry fished the key out of his wallet, unlocked the box, and picked up its contents. His hands cradled the Glock handgun and its magazine full of ammo. He pushed the clip in, smacking the bottom like they did in the TV cop shows so it would lock tight, and chambered a round.

After glancing around a moment, his eyes rested on the bureau. He slid out the top drawer, dropped the gun on a cushion of balled-up socks, then slammed it shut and jogged back downstairs to see if his wife's temper had cooled.

That night Garry dreamt he was entertaining company, chit-chatting and serving them drinks in the parlor, when all of a sudden a dark figure careened through the picture window. This intruder, who looked remarkably like the internet limp-wrist, wore a black turtleneck over his muscular frame. His cue-ball head shone in the light of the chandelier. He swung around a thick lead pipe, at least a foot and a half long, and smashed it through the coffee table before turning to Garry.

"Bow down, Garry Malloy," he bellowed, "for I claim this house and all the lives within as an offering to Socialist America. King Obama just finished roasting the Constitution in the fires of Hell, meaning your rights are hereby dissolved!"

"My rights? Dissolved?" Garry asked with a smirk. "I don't think so, bitch. I think you'll find something else has been dissolved."

He whipped the Glock out of its holster and fired seven shots, practically in unison; a nice, tight grouping, too. The intruder's head liquefied, and his beefy carcass flopped backward onto the floor. Malloy's alarm clock buzzed, pulling him out of the dream, but he woke up smiling.

Garry felt especially vigorous at work that morning. At the top of the sheet he'd sketched, "Standing your Ground: The Liberal Way" in big block letters and now penciled out the cartoon's subject. He drew the man bald, like the one in his dream, but with arms more like noodles than tree trunks. Now, on to the face. Garry knew it merited the most liberal expression he could muster: mouth spreading wide in a helpless wail, brow knotted with impotent anguish, nose wrinkled up, unable to smell the sweet musk of liberty without recoiling. This man sat in a corner, hands pressed to his ears, as a duo of thugs menaced him with crowbars. My God, Garry thought. It's a masterpiece.

It was only hours later, after he'd sent his work off to the syndicate, that Garry's stomach dropped. He'd based the man in the cartoon on the home invader in his dream, the one his brain had conjured up to match the prissy whiner's Facebook picture. When that sad excuse for a man saw the caricature, he wouldn't be able to contain his fury, Garry knew. He had to prepare, before it was too late.

He bounded up the stairs and found his wife reading a magazine on the bed. Wordlessly, he crossed to the bureau, opened his sock drawer and snatched up the Glock. Turning around, he said, "Honey, I want you to stay in here with the door and the windows locked. I'm expecting some unpleasant company, and I need you to be safe while I handle it."

"What are you talking about, Garry?"

"Just push the dresser against the door to barricade it. Oh, of course, I have to let you know when it's safe. All right, here's our signal: three knocks in quick succession, a pause, then one more knock. That'll be me, saying the coast is clear."

Mrs. Malloy started to say something, but just shook her head instead. "Fine. You have fun, dear."

"Oh, I will. Don't worry about that." He racked the gun, one round flipping out of the side and plunking to the carpet. Oh, poo poo, right, I cocked it yesterday, he thought. Well, not a problem, plenty more just like that one.

He kept watch in the living room all that night and into the next day, practicing his quick-draw to pass the time. After a few hours he was pretty good at it. In the morning, despite his protests, his wife went off to work. Garry set up a makeshift studio in the living room, to keep a close eye out for any strange cars. He sat bolt upright whenever a Prius drove by, but nobody turned into the driveway until his wife returned home.

One quiet week later, Garry unloaded the gun and locked it back in its box. He felt like weeping over the state of political discourse in America.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"

Cocked his glock, you say?

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Cocked his glock, you say?

Yep, the one stored with socks

and maybe a smock

also the imagined intruder was Doc Ock

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Nikaer Drekin posted:

Yep, the one stored with socks

and maybe a smock

also the imagined intruder was Doc Ock

Don't knock my smock or I'll clean your clock.

Noah posted:

Want to remind Erogenous Beef and Sitting Here that they've got a brawl due this Sunday.

:siren: Thunderbrawl Entry v. Sitting "Blood Queen" Here :siren:

Prompt: Kudzu is an unstoppable force of nature. Tell me a story about something (anything) growing out of control.
Genre: American Gothic
Theme: An overwhelming feeling of being out of place.
Word count: 1500-2000
Due date: July 28th 11:59 PST.

Mirrors (1998 words)

A tiny black hand clamps my shoulder as I clutch the sink with both hands, staring wide-eyed at my sweat-bedewed face in a clean circle I’ve made on the lavatory mirror. The hand scrabbles over my twenty-dollar blazer - why did I ever think that would impress her? - and wraps around my neck. I pull out a flask, unscrew it and tip liquid calm into my face.

“Yeah, the sauce, that’ll help.” Its voice is steel going through a wood chipper. I’ve never seen its face. It usually just taps on my shoulder, whispers in my ear. I’ve only ever seen a hand before.

I know it’s madness, I know it’s not there, but I still feel its weight clinging to my back.

I plunk down atop a toilet seat in a doorless stall and slam back more whiskey. It’s too rough to neck straight, but cheap enough that I don’t care.

Another man comes in, middle-aged, in a proper suit. He meets my eyes; the loving stall faces the exit. He gawps for a moment at this poor, disheveled, moptopped, sweaty kid perched pants-up on a filthy toilet, then turns and takes a loud piss, urine percussing brown porcelain. He rinses and leaves without another look.

I’ve been in here too long. Nine minutes. She thinks either I’m taking a dump or I’ve left and she’s already calling up her friends and telling them about this loser who took her to Barrelin’ Stan’s Porkhouse for salmonella-grade ribs on the first date and then ran out before the first beer showed up. A loathsome boy with the conversational acumen of a deaf-mute orangutan whose least deplorable accomplishment is brushing his teeth while making GBS threads.

I plunge back out into the crowded diner. She’s sitting there flicking at her cell phone, doesn’t even look at me when I slide back into my chair. The drinks are here, we clink glasses. Beer should keep the whiskey off my breath.

She’s saying stuff, chatting, first-date small talk. I nod along, study her face. She’s perfect, a glowing angel in the middle of this greasy hell, and she’s keeping a straight face while talking to a half-drunk flop-sweating Satan. She’s not even slouching, her boredom’s perfectly concealed. It’s almost like she wants to be here.

She’s looking at me again. Quiet now. She’s waiting for me to say something. poo poo, what did I miss?

“Uh, yeah, pretty much anything I guess.”

A little black hand swats my head. “Nice going, douche. She was asking about your family.” The thing is still clinging to my throat.

I crack a grin and make a hippie joke about everyone being my family, y’know? I barf up an anecdote to round out the joke.

She chuckles.

“At you, not with you,” says the darkness.

Our ribs arrive. I chew on mine, she talks about something or other. I sit there, water rolling down my face as I mull over the failed joke. This always happens. I gotta listen, focus, get back in the conversation’s flow. I nod along, grab my glass and gulp.

Burning! My throat’s ablaze. I spit, drop the hot sauce bottle, chug beer. It’s a brief respite, and my date sits speechless, flecked with red spatters like she’s been to a slaughter.

“Good going, rear end in a top hat. How long’s your dry spell so far, four months? Hope you’re ready for two more weeks!” The darkness hauls itself up and sits on my shoulder. It’s a fat, squat black glob with its face inset in its blobby torso, arms and legs springing out of the slime like whiskers from a hairball.

I apologize to her and the waiter and empty my wallet. It’s enough for a ten-percent tip. I smile at my date. She’s barely even touched her meal. I jet for the door without looking back.

Man, I can’t even imagine the blog post she’s gonna write about me.


What a loving disaster. I don’t know how this even happened. I get home and go back to trawling an online dating site while the darkness lounges on the couch, reciting my failures. Hello, rear end in a top hat, I’m trying to contact every chick in the area, anything with a pulse. I’m down in the three-percent match range, mass-mailing a letter I specially composed. It’s the perfect blend of self-effacing, ironic and flirty.

“Actually, it’s all needy, desperate bullshit,” says the darkness.

My finger hovers above “Send” for an extra second, then hits it. Gotta try again after that last debacle.

My phone buzzes. Lisanne, from the rib joint. She wants another date. What the gently caress?

“Clearly you’ve found someone as hosed up and desperate as you. Enjoy your broken-home clingwhore, Romeo.”

After two nights and a bunch of fouled socks, I’m standing at the eighth hole of the Putt-Putt Palace. She suggested it. I haven’t played minigolf since I was six. What’s worse, she’s actually pretty good and I’m ten strokes behind and there’s no loving way I can win.

“Heh, you’re gonna get beat by a girl.” The darkness hangs on me like a lead backpack.

This wasn’t the plan. I gotta make up for that hot sauce incident, impress this chick somehow. I mean, right now I’m some Tabasco-chugging moron, but after this I’m a total loser who can’t even play a kid’s game right. Without a good gambit, I’ll be playing one-man sock hockey again. Forever.

She sinks her ball, grins, flips her putter up in the air like a baton, and catches it on the way down. Smooth.

I can top that.

I scoop up my ball, walk back down to the tee. It’s one of those split-level holes, with the ball supposed to go up a long curved ramp, drop down a tube and squirt out onto the green. I tee up and turn way way off to the side.

Quick glance. She’s watching me now, frowning, eyebrow cocked. I got her attention. Good. I point at the decorative windmill behind her, wind up and whack my ball like Tiger Woods. It shoots past her head, caroms off the windmill, bounces off the green and plunks into the lake.

poo poo.

She’s laughing.

“Laughing at you. At. You.” I want to punch the darkness in the face. I want to punch myself in the face. What a stupid idea that was.

I shuck off my shoes, roll up my jeans and wade into the little pond. Pond mud squishes between my toes. I step on the ball, lean over. Wait, better idea.

I steady myself and prod around in the murk until I’ve got a fix on the ball, line up and whack! A brown orb flies up, whacks off a stone and rolls onto the green. Plunk. It’s in the hole!

She laughs the whole time, whooping like a soccer-game air horn.

“Hope you’re proud of yourself. Splashing around like a kiddie in a wading pool. Man, you look like a chump now, pants wet and rolled up, mud up to your ankles. Who are you, loving Tom Sawyer?”

Grinding my teeth, I snatch my ball from the hole. It’s the wrong color. gently caress, I can’t even find the right ball. She sniggers all the way through the final hole.

At the clubhouse, the pimply kid behind the counter glances at my soaked jeans and muddy feet. He says nothing, but a smirk breaks across his face. He’s laughing, inside.

Lisanne prods me as we pay. “You know you could’ve just asked for another ball, right?” Both she and the cashier kid burst out laughing again. I throw down my last twenty and stomp to the bus stop, alone.


I’m browsing the dating website again. Five hundred women looked at my profile after I sent out those letters yesterday. Not a single reply. Scrolling through the portraits is like getting rejected half a thousand times all at once, one grinning face after another, a regiment of judgmental strangers smirking as you ride past on a digital people-mover.

“Just have another wank,” says the darkness. It has engulfed the couch. In the bin next to my desk, there’s a mound of used tissues. Those two slimy heaps, one midnight-black, one pearl-white, they feed on one another.

My phone buzzes.

“And that’s the sound of you getting dumped for good,” says the darkness.

I sent Lisanne a text a couple hours ago, apologized for the golf game, asked if she wanted to get a coffee. She said she was “too busy”. We all know what that means. So I had a few beers with lunch and sent her another text. Same offer.

I glance at the phone for a second. It’s her number. I toss the thing back on the desk.

“Wow, too much of a wuss to even read your dump. You’re a real charmer, John. A lady killer.” It licks wet lips. “The kind with knives.”

I close the browser. gently caress it. I open the phone.

“Hey, can we talk? 6 PM.” Address of a coffee shop.

“She cares enough to give you the friend speech in person. Sweet girl. You know how to pick ‘em.” The darkness kisses its fingers. “Just think. You, her, a table in the middle of a crowded java joint.”

I can see it. No matter how loud or soft she speaks, every single person there will know what’s up. It’ll be written all over her pinched face, my slumped shoulders and downcast eyes. I’ll sit there staring at the little heart the barista will have drawn in my latte. Just pour more insults onto my injury, thanks.

And then she’s gonna say how nice I am and the usual scripted bullshit but that we don’t really “click” but it’d be cool if we could just maybe see each other now and then, as friends, and then I’ll nod and mumble something contrite, and then text her once a week for like a month, and she’ll always be too busy but we’ll manage an awkward drink a few times, the interval growing longer and longer until we finally give up the loving charade and stop doing it.

“Yeah, that’s how it’ll roll out.” The darkness breathes a hot foul stink near my ear. “There’s a way out, you know.”

A little box drops into my lap. A ten pack of the double-edged razor blades like my dad shaved with. Last time I saw one, I was helping him jam his poo poo into a Hyundai before he drove off with my mother standing stonefaced at the door. He never even wrote. gently caress him.

I draw out a blade. It sparkles like a steel diamond.

“That’s right. Just up the wrists.”

I run some warm water and stare at the burnished blade as the tub fills. Once it’s full, I climb in clothed.

The dark thing peeks in through the bathroom door. “Go on, it’s easy.”

I press blade to skin. It tickles. A bloody bead pops up.

My phone buzzes.

I drop the blade, leap out of the water. It’s Lisanne again. “Really hoping you can make it. :)

“Man, she’s laying it on thick. A regular black widow, eh?”

“You know what? gently caress you.” I drop the blades and lunge at the bloated thing. My fist slams its beady, puckered face. Volcanic, inchoate rage erupts from my lungs. I kick and punch and tear and bite and chew and claw, its sponginess giving in to the blows and it squeals like a half-slaughtered pig and I hit and hit until I’m numb.

I’m laying on my couch. Alone. It’s just me and my soaked clothes. I open the curtains. Late summer sun streams in, mops all the darkness out of the room.

I shoot her an affirmative, change, head down to the shop early and get a coffee. She walks in, smiles.

I smile back.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Hey E-Beef, I'm still gonna take ya down, but I won't be able to post til tomorrow. Stuff and things came up this past week, and my piece isn't quite done. Hope that doesn't besmirch my Thunderdome honor too much.

The rest of y'all better be using these last hours to impress the gently caress out of me.

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

Sitting Here posted:

Hey E-Beef, I'm still gonna take ya down, but I won't be able to post til tomorrow. Stuff and things came up this past week, and my piece isn't quite done. Hope that doesn't besmirch my Thunderdome honor too much.

The rest of y'all better be using these last hours to impress the gently caress out of me.

Yep, submissions close in four hours. I only see three. Ya'all better be typing away frantically right now.

Side note: if anyone needs to contact me, email me at:

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008


Small Game
1000 Words
Based on the thread: Stuff you did as a kid that you're ashamed of

Alex tiptoed through the grass as he cradled his rifle. With his pith hat tilted against the sun, he looked at the cat ahead of him, lazily sprawled out and unaware of him. He pumped his rifle, aimed, and fired.

A stream of water blasted out, followed by a shrieking sound that pierced the neighbourhood.

“Gotcha!” Alex shouted triumphantly.

The cat shot up and darted across the lawn. As Alex twirled around to follow the cat, his pith hat, which had belonged to his grandfather, slipped over his eyes. When he tilted it back up, the cat was gone.

Alex sighed. As much as he loved the Super Soaker that he got for his birthday, it was so boring not having anyone close by to have water gun fights with. The next best thing was “water hunting,” which was beginning to feel less and less fun. His got yelled at when the old witch lady two houses away complained to his father after he sprayed her poodle dog, which never shut up. From then on, his father ordered him not to shoot anything outside of their backyard, or else.

Alex decided to check out their backyard apple tree, thinking that he might shoot an apple off with his water gun. As he was crossing the lawn, he saw a flash of brown flit into the tree. He began pressurizing his water gun as he made his way towards the tree. Under the canopy, he looked up and saw two sparrows hopping from branch to branch, chirping rapidly. One seemed to be slightly larger than the other. Alex gradually raised his Super Soaker as he waited for a lull in their frenetic movement. Seeing them pause, Alex aimed and pulled the trigger.

As the Super Soaker blasted another round of water, Alex strafed his rifle side to side, catching both sparrows in one stream. At the first touch of water, the larger one took flight. The smaller one gave its body a brisk shrug, but stayed perched on the branch. Alex looked at it quizzically. He pumped his water gun again, expecting the sparrow to make a break for it. He fired at the sparrow again. The sparrow shrugged itself again.

“Why won’t you fly away?” Alex wondered out loud.

Pressurizing what water was left, Alex emptied the remainder of the Super Soaker at the sparrow.

“Come on. Fly!”

The sparrow gave a flutter, jumping off the branch, then down onto the grass. Alex put his Super Soaker down, then knelt down by the sparrow. Hesitantly, Alex brought his fingers close to it. Seeing that it didn’t flinch, he gently stroked its feathers. He brought his fingers down to the sparrow’s feet, and excitedly gasped as the sparrow latched onto to his thumb finger. He held it up to his face.

“You’re still learning to fly, aren’t you?” Alex whispered. “I didn’t know. I didn’t think a water gun would… I’m so sorry!”

Back from his house, Alex heard his father calling out for him. He looked up at the apple tree again. If he could get the sparrow back up there again, maybe everything would be okay. He had never climbed a tree before though, and with a bird on his finger, he didn’t want to risk getting himself, or the sparrow hurt. If he could somehow launch it back up…

“Listen,” Alex whispered, “I’m going to swing my hand up to give you a boost. You’re going to have to jump off and get back up. After that, all you have to is wait for your mom or dad to come back, then everything will be fine!”

Alex stood up, causing the sparrow to flare out its wings for balance. He stretched his arm out and began swinging it up and down, gradually widening the depth of each swing. Finally, he lowered his hand down as low as he could, then threw his hand up. The sparrow fluttered its wings, but kept its grip on Alex’s thumb.

“You’ve got to do this!” Alex whispered, “I would you take you back to my house if I could, but if my dad found out... No, you’ll make it.”

Alex tried again. This time, the sparrow jumped off, but came nowhere near any of the branches, before landing back on the ground.

“Okay, that was better. You just need to keep trying and then you’ll—“


Alex turned around just as his father was swinging open the door of their house.

“I’m sick and tired of having to call you in for dinner. What are you doing anyway?

Alex shuffled slightly, putting himself between his father and the sparrow.

“I… I was trying to pick off an apple with the water gun”

“That’s stupid. The apples aren’t even ripe! Leave them alone, and get inside!”

His father slammed the door. Letting out a deep breath, Alex turned back to the sparrow, which was still standing on the grass. With a worried look, Alex took off his pith hat and balanced it
upside-down against the trunk of the tree. He had the sparrow grasp his thumb again, before softly nudging it into the hat.

“I have to go for dinner, but I’ll be back, okay?” assured Alex, “I’ll get you something to eat when I come back!”

Alex rushed back home for dinner. At the supper table, he tried to eat as fast as he could, but was scolded into eating slower. Finishing his meal, Alex grabbed a box of crackers from the kitchen cupboard before making his way out of the house. Opening the door to the backyard, he saw the hat by the tree where he had placed it. Standing over it was the cat he had previously soaked.

“NO!” Alex screamed.

Hearing his scream, the cat darted away. Alex rushed towards the apple tree. With a feeling of intense dread, he looked into the hat. It was empty.

Alex dropped down against the apple tree and began to cry.

Mar 5, 2004

I've spent the last week frantically moving apartments, now I'll post my embarrassingly terrible story and sleep for days.

660 words, thread: Do You Like Rollercoasters?

Mona liked rollercoasters. She didn't like riding them; truth be told, she had never actually sat in one long enough to have the safety harness locked in place. What Mona liked was the concept: paying a small entrance fee to be locked into a chair (or dangled from a harness) and rocketed through a thrilling course of twists, turns, loops and spirals at, in some cases, over a hundred miles an hour. She had followed the development of fifty different rides and would spend hours on message boards arguing upside down harnesses over seated, wooden over steel, speed over theme. She could quote safety guidelines and occupancy limits in thirty five states in her sleep; Mona liked rollercoasters.

She just preferred to like from a distance.

The Texas Giant was something of a recent focus of Mona. It went into repairs in 2011, upping its speed and capacity from average numbers to record breaking highs for a wooden coaster. Mona had flown from Seattle to Dallas to see the ride in action. She was petrified of actually riding the thing; despite safety regulations being as familiar as air, she couldn't help but fear that one in a thousand chance of becoming a statistic.

Her two nephews rode the first, third and fourth runs once the ride was open to public. Mona sat nearby, dissolving cotton candy over her tongue and balancing the sugar with cigarettes. She watched run after run of people leave the exit, elation marking their faces with the shaky glee that comes from quickly grazing the farce of danger that trademarks the entire rollercoaster industry.

With a one-in-one-point-five-billion chance of a fatal accident, Mona knew that a theme park was one of the safest places she would ever exist in her life. She'd spent months of her life watching carriages clank up and shoot down twisted, turning pipes, filling her stomach with all manner of knock-off candies and imitation hotdogs. Still, when her nephews grabbed her hands and dragged her towards the entrance gate, Six Flags seemed like a coffin waiting for her corpse.

She wiped her brow from the sweat that usually builds from walking quickly. The speakers above the passenger line blared 90s pop hits - this one, Alanis Morrisette's Ironic - as she winced at the oncoming sign declaring she had to be this tall to ride. Darryl and Tony knew their aunt knew everything about rollercoasters; Mona didn't have the strength to protest that this was her first time.

The safety restraints slapped against Mona's stomach. She gestured to the attendant and tried to lift the bar, but he just smiled and nodded. Mona gulped - she hadn't ever read anything online about harness bars not fitting right. Still, this was just a wooden coaster, and they never did anything really dangerous.

The first drop sent Mona's stomach up into her oesophagus then plunged down into the top of her bladder. She grabbed the harness with both hands and screamed as two quick turns shook her carriage; the voices that had been present around her at launch had disappeared. She saw her nephews ahead raise their hands as the train rose slightly over a hill - they were seasoned veterans, they clearly knew how to enjoy a coaster. Mona let go of her harness and raised her hands.

The carriage dropped and accellerated, sending Mona's head shaking. She saw another corner coming ahead; every person who hit it started laughing. Mona's nephews in front still had their hands raised, so she did too. She closed her eyes; inside her mind, she could just pretend she was watching the opening title to the sitcom Step By Step. The coaster jerked to the side and she heard screams die away. It was relaxing, until she opened her eyes and realized when the coaster flew to the left, she had launched to the right. Mona turned her head and screamed as the parking lot closed in.

Wungus fucked around with this message at 02:15 on Jul 29, 2013

Aug 2, 2002

crabrock posted:

TWO ENORMOUS FAT MEN gently caress AN AMPUTEE pics inside

Two Enourmous Fat Men gently caress Me
887 words

In high school the boys used to drive by in their and throw soda cans at my head. At least then they paid attention to me. Now on the subway people will look up and read the same advertisements for twenty minutes rather than talk to me.

My stump itches, and I scratch it. I can feel it rubbing raw, but I continue to scratch it anyway. When it bleeds it doesn’t itch anymore.

My craigslist posting is in all caps. Only old people and idiots post in all caps. It’s better if people think you’re stupid because then they treat you like garbage. There’s something inherently creepy about somebody who treats a cripple with respect.

I’m damaged goods; at any point in our species’ evolutionary past I wouldn’t be alive. There is nothing in human nature that compels people to treat me as anything other than an cancerous anomaly. I need to be used. I know Bud won’t need to be coached.

The knock at my door is loud and authoritative. I hear laughing. My wheelchair is folded away because it takes up too much room in my studio apartment; I drag myself to the door and reach up to turn the doorknob.

The man looks like he did in his picture: tiny eyes hiding behind glasses, a goatee that is being swallowed up by his chin, and ears that connect to his neck. The younger man next to him adjusts his dick through his pants.

“This is my son. It’s his birthday,” he says to me. He swoops down and picks me up without me asking him to, and he carries me to my bed. His son closes the door and I hear the latch lock. I am trembling, but I am not scared.

“Hi, I’m Dorothy,” I say.

They don’t care. Nobody cares who I am. His son joins us on the bed.

When I was a Disability Advocate we’d travel to elementary schools and talk to kids. The goal was to make them less afraid of us, and therefore enable us to feel better about ourselves. Tina and Amy were conjoined at the kneecaps; the children made faces at me behind their parents’ back. I saw Tina and Amy and the others at a mall booth at Christmas time. They didn’t tell me.

Bud’s son’s breath smells like he eats a lot of meat and doesn’t floss.

The first time I held my nephew he cried so much that my brother was worried he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. “He just has to get to know you,” he said, and took back his baby. He’s seven now, and he still cries when he sees me. They invite me over to dinner because they think it makes me feel included, but I spend most of my time in the bathroom: hiding.

Bud’s hands run up under my shirt. His fingers snag on my belly. He has to backtrack slightly and it flops back down.

My family sat in the back pews of church in the little three-quarter pew where there was enough room for my wheelchair to slide in next to them. My little brothers had coloring books with scenes from the Bible in them and leaned their heads on my mother’s shoulder pads. My chair squeaked if I moved too much; my dad would mouth “stop it” at me with his eyebrows forming an almost perfect “V”. I mumbled during the hymns.

It feels like I thought it would. Like imagine somebody asks you to think how it would feel to be weightless. If you think about it for a while and then actually go to space, I bet it wouldn’t feel that much different. Fun, maybe, but nothing revelatory.

I had to have a single room in college because my sleep apnea machine was too loud. I got a C+ in Chemistry because you can’t charity your way through redox equations. Our dorm floor went to a football game together and somebody put a green shirt on me and gave me an inflatable hatchet. I waved it around and smiled for pictures. If somebody takes a picture of me it’s to boost their diversity image; there is a picture of me waving that hatchet on the front page of my school’s website. I probably could have gone to the afterparty if I had enough courage to ask for a ride. Nobody offered me one.

Their grunting sounds animalistic; for a moment they have forgotten what I am and thrust amnesicly. I’m thirsty, and I wonder how long this usually takes.

I’m on disability and food stamps; the government has said it’s ok for me to contribute nothing. Politicians won’t come right out and say I should think about dying, but they’ll stand on stage and complain about my parasitic nature. I think about dying sometimes, when it rains outside.

Bud throws me my own dirty shirt and I put it between my legs. He takes the camera off the dresser and zips it up in the backpack. Bud’s son fumbles to put his pants on; he missed a beltloop in the back.

Bud puts a small roll of bills on the dresser and leaves. I never asked for money, but I don’t mind. For the first time in my life, I am useful.

Umbilical Lotus
Nov 13, 2005


I wish I had more time to edit this. But, no.

Know Better
758 words, based on WMv7

Mrs. Mulgrough must have noticed the change in the light. "Are we going outside?" she asked, just as I wheeled her onto the stony path and answered her question for her. Mrs. Mulgrough was almost blind, but sharp as a sharkbite at 96 and very aware of changes in her surroundings. I would have only expected the best from her. "Yes ma'am," I answered, "Your friends are sitting by the gazebo, and they've been asking about you." She brightened visibly as I spoke, inclining her ear down the remembered walkway to pick at the scraps of words on the wind. It was a good thing, when the residents made friends easily. My job so often put the injustice of life on display: the decay, the decline, the neglect. The simple affirmations of human decency can feel like lifebuoys on a churning ocean.

They waved as she approached, three smiling faces and upraised hands - and that alone gave me one more reason to celebrate. Carl Donner was out. Mr. Donner was a sweet old thing in the early stages of Alzheimer's - courteous, self-effacing, and a relentless hoarder. He almost never left his suite. I sent a quick text to Tim in Janitorial as I wheeled Mrs. Mulgrough into place beside the new-sprouted spring roses. After making sure the wheel-locks were in place and she knew where to find her internal pager, I left her to her friends. Peaceful Glen is all about privacy, respect and decency, unlike other nursing homes. I've always taken that very personally. I suppose that's how good people like me get taken advantage of.

I left them to their chatter, to the twitter of birds and the loam, skunk and new grass smells that mark the onset of spring. They were, after all, supposed to be responsible adults. Believe it or not, it took us months to find out - that and one rough awakening.

It's not like there weren't any clues. Mr. Donner was shriveled and thin when he came into our care, but soon plumped under what we assumed were our ministrations and the company of newfound friends. One does tend towards positive assumptions. Mr. Andrade was a big man with a big personality. He moved, flirted, and exercised as if he didn't know how heart disease worked. Perhaps he didn't. I don't know what that stuff does to your brain. When you see good people die (ignobly, painfully, weekly), you don't question when the opposite occurs. You must assume you're good at your job, that you're doing the right thing.

There was the odd vase in Mrs. Mulgrough's hope chest. There was Allison Berry's Zig-Zag tatters. There was the constant presence of skunks around the rose-rimmed gazebo. Mr. Andrade was on two different medications with appetite suppressing side-effects. Did you know that marijuana is better than commercially-available medications for halting the progression of Alzheimer's disease?

I didn't. I found out on the Facebook page. There was a Facebook page.

The other nurses found it to be the funniest thing in the universe, that website. Maybe to a certain sort of person it is, but I spent nursing school studying and working hard for my future. There they were, brazen in pixels, four spry old souls laughing under the shade of the gazebo, the biggest gosh-darned joint you ever saw dangling from their no-longer-shaking fingertips. Dear, sweet Ms. Berry, mother of four and romance writer, laughing under the halo of our own sun, the almost-phrase pasted indelibly beneath her denture smile: "somke a weed everybody". She would have reached her centennial that October. Her daughter gave her that smartphone. Probably the marijuana, at that. I suppose that's for the police to find out.

It was at the amber end of summer when the nursing home drug ring came to a close. They were where they always were, under the fading green, flaunting the law. I locked Mrs. Mulgrough into place and tread down the stony path - and stopped when I saw the blue in the distance. I waited, not long, but long enough. When I returned, they weren't afraid even for a second. Mr. Donner patted the bench next to them and brandished Mrs. Mulgrough's intricate, upraised bong. "Sandra!" he called to me, "I was wondering when you'd come and join us." He remembered my name. Very good. Uncommon progress.

I stood there until the police arrived and took my place. One year for possession in the state of Florida, one year for paraphernalia. You must assume you're good at your job. That you're doing the right thing.

May 7, 2005


The Finish Line
Word Count: 760
Thread: The Triathlon Megathread

Scott’s legs pumped at his pedals as he clenched his teeth, smiling. He didn’t feel the least bit fatigued. Energy coursed through him, from his chest down his torso, bursting through his legs, powering his bike. He’d been so scared he wouldn’t be able to finish this triathlon when he started training. He felt so good now he laughed, a big dumb loud guffaw that fell away behind him as he sped forward.

Scott marveled at his vigor. The mile swim hadn’t even winded him. Ten miles of biking done. And it wasn’t adrenaline. This stamina came from preparation, training. He earned this. Scott hoped his adrenaline, that magic mysterious natural jet fuel, would kick in during the run so that he could finish strong.
He thumbed his gear shift on his used hybrid bike. His quadriceps tightened against the higher resistance. The wind pressed harder against him. He hunched down like he’d read online to increase his aerodynamics.

Scott squinted into the thickening surge of air. Tears streamed down his cheeks. Brown and green foliage rushed past him. Grey road unfurled below him. A jolt, his handlebars jerked, twisted from his hands. He plunged into the grey.

He heard the thwack of his helmet slamming into the ground. Metal, rubber, aluminum, and pavement hammered against one another as his bike flipped end to end. Then, only the light rattling of leaves in the breeze.

He pushed up, detached his face up from the road. He felt no pain at first when he stood. Something thicker than sweat trickled down his forearms and shins. His gait felt crooked and stiff as he stumbled half a dozen quick steps to his bike and then collapsed onto rear end.

He gave his front wheel a spin. Agony danced down his black and red forearm from elbow to his wrist. A gash in the thick rubber caused the tire to sag and wobble as it spun, flat.

Deflated, Scott slumped down onto his back. He stared at the leaves dancing in the wind above him. He watched one bob and sway, no longer a verdant blur. He closed his eyes, considered staying like that for a while.

Scott rolled onto his side. He scanned the road for culprits. He dragged his hand along the rough asphalt around his bike.

Scott imagined himself chuckling when asked how his triathlon went. He’d reach into his pocket and produce the shard of glass, a sharp pebble, some jagged piece of metal. “This little guy sabotaged the whole shebang,” he’d say.

Another triathlete shot past. “The gently caress out of the road!”

Scott glared at the thin road bike tire as it shrank into the distance. The guy hadn’t even stopped to see if Scott was alright.

Scott abandoned his hunt for the perpetrator. Using his bike’s handlebars, he pushed himself to his feet. His swollen left knee resembled a cantaloupe more than a human joint. His hands trembled. He close his eyes and drew a slow, deep breath through his nose.

Brakes squealed. Rubber scraped against the road. “Hey, man. You alright?”

“Not really.”

“Move. To the side. I’ll tell the next emergency crew I see. To come getcha.”

“Thank you.”

Scott stared at the ditch along the road. He had a fleeting notion he’d walk the rest of the bike portion. Then he would walk the run portion. Throngs of inspired athletes and onlookers would cheer him as he staggered across the finish line.

His first painful step shattered the fantasy. The only finish line he’d cross lay a dozen steps before him.

A small voice in him whined. “It’s not fair!”

He didn’t feel like arguing with it.

“Life’s not fair,” retorted internalized parents, teachers, a hundred obnoxious strangers.

A tiny tantrum bubbled in his chest.

gently caress triathlons.

gently caress triathletes. gently caress these spandexed assholes and super-fit ultracompetitive weirdos. gently caress their thousand dollar road bikes.

gently caress him for trying to enter their world. gently caress his hubris. gently caress the last three years of post-college binge drinking, unchecked eating, and sedentary living. gently caress the last six months of endless swimming, biking, and running. There are other ways to get in shape.

He sighed, tried to expel it all.

He limped his hobbled bike to the ditch. Big stride, quick painful hop. Spin, thump, spin, thump. He crossed his finish line.

As he waited for an emergency crew to retrieve him, he could still feel energy streaming through him, crashing against a dam of misfortune and disappointment. "I would have finished it,” he said the ditch, his bike, himself.

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 02:49 on Jul 29, 2013

Mar 24, 2013


Florida Bans Mermaids

It's persecution, that's what it is (739 words)

Phil wished, for the thousandth time that day, that it would rain. The pool closed when it rained, and if the pool was closed he wouldn't have to check the visitors. He could go inside, wait out his shift there, instead of soaking his uniform in gallons of sweat.

Two hours, fifteen minutes until closing time.

They just had to insist on the uniform. No, Phil had said when they brought it up. Wearing a heavy uniform in the middle of summer, in loving Florida, was crazy. But they had insisted. Can't have a security guard without a uniform. Have to look intimidating.

Any port in a storm, any job in a recession. Phil sure hadn't expected to end up as a security guard at a pool, but then again, he hadn't known pools had those. The uniform was really just the lovely icing on the surprise cake of employment. He could live with it.

There was a steady trickle of people entering and leaving the pool area, mostly groups of children accompanied by a guardian of some sort. Nobody suspicious, as always. It was Phil's third day on the job, and so far the only interesting thing that had happened was some kid who couldn't swim getting pushed into the deep end of the pool. The parents had handled that; not like Phil could swim while wearing the goddrat uniform.

Gleeful, childish shouts—louder than usual—brought Phil's attention away from the entrance and to the pool itself. The cause of the commotion was easily spotted.

There was a mermaid in there. A genuine half-fish, half-woman. With an actual seashell bikini, to boot. It took a few seconds for Phil's heat-addled brain to realize it was just a costume. He must have missed her when she came in, though she likely wasn't wearing the tail then. A few more seconds before he realized this was as good an excuse as he was going to get to actually do something today.

"Hey! Mermaid girl!" he shouted, walking over to the edge of the pool. The kids and parents moved aside as he approached, but didn't otherwise bother to acknowledge him. "Mermaid! I need to talk to you!"

Phil had gotten her attention. She swam over to where he was standing, undulating like a fish. That had to be hard on her legs.

"Mermaid isn't my name, silly," she said, in an affected, sing-song voice. "It's Ariella Swimfin!"

Sure it was.

"Right, Ms... Swimfin," Phil said. "I'm gonna need to know what the deal is with your tail."

"Deal? Why, it's my tail. I use it to swim among the fishes in the sea!"

So she was either crazy, or loving with him. Phil was willing to bet on the latter, and he wasn't in the mood for it. He made something up.

"I need to know what it's made of. Could be a health hazard," he said. The mermaid's smile faltered a little in the face of his attitude.

"It's all... my natural scales!" she chirped. Her voice was grating.

"Really, miss?" said Phil, "That's what you're going with?"

Some of the bystanders were watching them, but kept their distance. The uniform at work, Phil hoped. He was practically melting in there, it would be good if there was some upside to it.

"Look, it's silicone, all right? Totally safe." The mermaid's smile was practically gone now. Her voice was down to a normal level, with none of the fake melody in it.

They used silicone in children's toys, Phil remembered. Harmless.

"I don't know, miss, that could be dangerous," he said.

"Just let me have this, please?" the mermaid pleaded, speaking quietly enough that the bystanders probably couldn't overhear. "I've had a poo poo week, and this is kind of a way to unwind. I know it's weird, but..."

Phil shook his head, approximating a regretful expression.

"Come on, the kids love it."

He hated kids. The best part of his job was never having to interact with them, except to chide.

"Sorry, miss," Phil said. "I have to ask you to vacate the pool area."

She left without making trouble, though she did let loose with the profanity first. Phil didn't care. He just went back to his spot by the entrance, watching people come and go, sweltering in the sun.

Two hours, five minutes until closing. Phil's best day at work, so far.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Sounds and Silences
(909 words)
Thread: Let me tell you about my boat

David nailed the first planks of the boat together when the hum of mosquitoes on the water, the biting chiggers, and the sweat soaking the waistband of his jeans were more bearable than the silence that lived in his house. His hammer cracked against wood as often as nails, and the noise flew far across the lake and echoed back to him. The report was clean of grief or anger, and he would stop to listen, trying to inhale the sound. He turned fifteen that year.

He forged his father's name on the enrollment forms for vocational classes; he brought everything he learned back to the lake shore. Some of his materials he got in trade for work, some he bought, and some he found. He stood once in front of a construction site in pouring rain, watching water darken the two-by-fours. One of them tumbled down into the mud. David took it--it would have been ruined anyway.

He tried to hide it in the boat's floor, but he always remembered which board was stolen.

The boat took on a box-like shape. It developed glass-paned windows. It picked up a second story along the way, complete with stairs to climb. David slept on the roof until he scrounged up a mattress, and he imagined that the summer stars watched him build his floating home and whispered to each other about his progress.

At twenty-two, David cut the line tying him to shore. The engine's growl filled the world. He sat cross-legged on the back deck as night's shadows folded around his father's house. Then he stood and cut the power, and he went to the port side, where he'd stashed his fishing pole.

He cast his hook into the pool formed by the light of the moon. And the surface broke around the head, then the shoulders of a woman. She held his hook; she pulled the line, and she pulled him to his feet, so he was standing when her fingers curled around the first rung of the ladder that brought her to him.

She was naked. It took him time to notice anything but that. "You built this house," she said. Each word was a clean slap, water against water.

"...Yes," David eventually remembered to agree.

Her lips parted in a crooked smile that sank into him past skin and muscle and bone. "It's wonderful. Show it to me?"

So he did: he sat on his couch with her, poured her lemonade from his fridge, and took her to the roof to see the Pleiades, though he studied her footprints while she studied the stars. She left a piece of the lake behind in every step. David knelt to trail a finger through the droplets. When he looked up again, he met her fish-silver eyes. He held his hand out to her in wonder, in offering.

Her lips were water, too, without a trace of salt.

In his twin-sized bed, with her gauzy red hair spread out on his chest like a fin, she said, "I can give you a week. If you want me here." It was the stupidest question he'd ever heard, and he told her so with no further words spoken.

They didn't often speak, or need to. David didn't dare ask too much about her. She felt the same, he hoped; he wanted that to be the reason they could sit or play chess or fish or dance or love in absolute silence. He couldn't believe her to be uncaring. Easier to believe in her at all than that.

And when her week was up, the quiet between them was different and horrible, closer kin to that which had driven him from the shore. He pressed his lips to each of her eyelids. He tasted salt, then. "Stay."

"You know I can't, not out of the water."

"I love you," he said. "I've loved you as long as I've known you."

"David." Just that. Just his name. Then she wriggled out of his arms, slipped away and was gone. The water rippled away from the place she'd sank to kiss the boat again and again.

He paced through his house, his refuge, stomping on boards for the sake of sound. But this silence was inside of him; he would have to do more than make noise to break it. Even her footprints had disappeared, except for a last one, slow to dry, still wet on the stolen board.

David kept plenty of tools around for maintenance. His hammer broke the board in four wild strikes. It took more effort to put holes in his steel pontoons, but the lake echoed each blow back to him as the clap of a bell. The water flooded up slowly--too slowly--he reeled out to look at the setting moon. But the house had brought her to him; he would bring it whole to her, as much as he could.

Staying inside as it sank was the easiest thing he'd ever done. The lake reached the first-floor ceiling, closed over his head. David swam down to wait at the door.

Pale fingers curled around his. Lips met his and breathed air into his lungs. "You idiot," she said; he heard the warmth in it. He heard her.

"Do you still like the house?" he asked.

"I love you," she answered, then kissed him again, and they held each other in exquisite silence.

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet

One Hour Left

Sebmojo, Capntastic, higgz where are you?

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I'm outie.

In accordance with the customs of my people I will need to Toxx to enter next time.


Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

The New Stuff
(500 Words, thread is Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet)

"It's totally amazing. Check out the architecture." Dan typed.

He'd sent the link to his friend whose name appeared as "CriminalInTense" on the screen. The link, once clicked, would show CriminalIntense the bright screenshots, and, further along, a brief synopsis of the show. Dan was content that he'd done his due diligence in showing this new treasure to his friend. He smiled as the chat window indicated an oncoming reply was in the works. The response was heralded by two chirpy tones.

"Fuuuuck that guy." Criminal had typed. "This looks just as bad as his other poo poo. Look at that quarter-skirt or whatever."

Dan slid his hands off of his keyboard, considered the trajectory of his counter-argument, and then went to get reinforcements. Using Wikipedia, he quickly acquired a list of the artist's last productions. Some boring slice-of-life trash; not at all the genre-mating carnival this new show was going to be like.

"I dunno man, the last stuff may have been bad but he was just playing to his audience, you know? This looks totally different, and if you look at the character designs, it seems sort of self aware."

Criminal didn't respond immediately. Dan was looking up screenshots on Google Image Search to bolster his credibility; any awful image of the old stuff he could find and snag a favorable comparison for would do. The grid of pastels and skin tones was dire, and he found something particularly risque to link. Following it up with something relatively tame from the new show, Dan felt confident to press his attack. Dan typed.

"See? It seems like he's got his head on straight, this time."

Criminal responded within a handful of heavy seconds.

"Yeah, that old poo poo just proves my point. Their design guy is lovely as gently caress. Why give the show the benefit of the doubt? There's always better stuff."

"We could watch the first episode; I can torrent the sub and stream it for you so you don't have to download anything." Dan typed. "It's what, like twenty-four minutes? You can spare that."

Dan scrolled up and down the page as he waited for the olive-branch he'd offered to be gripped. Not a big fan of the hard sell, this sort of mollification was almost always required. It was a good deal, all around, for sure.

"You haven't even seen it? I thought it was your new favorite or whatever. I dunno, I think I'll sit this one out."

"When was the last time there was something as unique as this? Did you see the ships? They're like concrete housing blocks, it's awesome. Sea slums. That's cool as heck and you know it."

Criminal responded. "I can look at those pictures and imagine a lot cooler stuff than whatever the show has, and it won't have hosed up costumes."

Dan began typing, thought better of his current trajectory, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then one more try.

"Wanna just watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain?"

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