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  • Locked thread
angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

systran posted:

In with:

3 and 11

I think I got skipped. Please replace the 3 with whatever number you want.

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Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Entenzahn posted:

that would be 103 are you high

:mad: Duck cannot get fair trial in Mortadelladome. Duck demands brawl

10 + 3 equals 13 at least in the majority of the human world

I'll brawl the poo poo outta you after we post the results on Monday or whatever. Can't be letting personal vendettas get in the way of good/fast judging.

Your Sledgehammer posted:

And Martello, I'd be delighted to accept a flash rule if you'd be so kind as to crit my Clint Eastwood story. I intend to quench my thirst with the blood of lesser competitors one of these weeks, and to do that, I must get better.

lol, you'll accept whatever flash rule I give you regardless.

But yeah I'll crit your Clintstory.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Blade of Tyshalle, Blade of Tyshalle, Blade of Tyshalle, I know you're developing this picture of my in your head. I'm an old man, bent double, shaking his fist at the kids playing on his lawn. "He doesn't get it!" you say, "it's comedy!"

except you forgot one key thing: comedy is funny. What you wrote (and your folks incessantly spammed in every drat corner of the boards like they had pubic lice and wanted to make the world itch) was a bunch of friends sitting around smoking weed and saying "man they call them fingers but I've never seen them fing", then everybody laughs at it's pretty great. That's cool and you should have your good time. What you shouldn't do is write it down and stick a price tag on it, then run around throwing it in people's faces while dreaming of floating dollar signs.

Your poo poo is terrible and derivative and not that funny. Nobody understands or gives a poo poo about your injokes and certainly nobody wants to pay for them.

Why am I hanging onto a thing that's a couple of years old? Because I cannot remember a single goddam thing else you've written in all the years I've been here. Stop crying about how real writing is haaaaaaaaard and put some words to paper. You want to fling poo poo around in here? Earn it. Prove me loving wrong. If you ever win, you can drag me back to this post and rub my nose in it. Until then, shut up and write.

EDIT: let me play good cop here to my bad cop - if you've got something you've written recently that you want me to look at, I'll give it a full going over and try to be as genuinely helpful as I can. What I've seen of your writing tells me you're actually not poo poo at this at this at all, you just don't realise that your 'funny' jokes are either tepid and unoriginal, or completely inexplicable to anybody who isn't you. The prose itself is solid, and there's genuine laughs in there when you manage to pull your head out of your rear end.

This is beautiful and far past due, also please be the third judge

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


systran posted:

I think I got skipped. Please replace the 3 with whatever number you want.
Done, replaced 3 with 1, netting you a tale from Armenia:
MY SON ALI

quote:

Once upon a time there was a girl whose name was Fatima, who lived with her mother and brother, for her father was dead. Not far from the house there flowed a river. Twice each day, early in the morning and at evening, Fatima took a large copper vessel, and went to the river to bring fresh drinking water to the house. Early one beautiful morning she went as usual to bring her kettle of fresh water. She sat down under a great mulberry tree which overhung the river. It was full of ripe fruit which hung far above her head. As she sat there enjoying the beautiful early morning and looking up into the tree laden with fine fruit which she, being a girl, could not reach, since she could not climb the tree, she fell a-thinking.

She thought how some day perhaps she would be married and perhaps would have a little son and his name would be Ali, and after a time he would grow to be eight years old, and that then he could go to the river to bring fresh water in the morning. Then she thought how, when Ali had come to the mulberry tree, he would climb up into the tree to pluck the delicious berries, and how at last the poor little boy would fall from the tree into the river and be drowned.

Then Fatima sprang up crying, “Oh! Ali! Ali! My son! My son Ali!” and she ran home crying aloud, “My son Ali, my son Ali is dead!”

As she ran along the street the people came out calling to her and asking what was the matter. She did not stop, but ran on crying, “Ali! Ali! My son Ali! My son Ali is dead!” until she reached her own home.

Her mother, seeing the water vessel empty, and hearing her daughter crying aloud, said, “What is the matter? Why are you weeping? Why have you brought no freshwater this morning?”

Then the girl told her mother how she had sat under the mulberry tree, and had thought that perhaps some day she would be married and would have a little son and his name would be Ali, and when he had come to be eight years old he would go to draw the water for the family, and he would see the ripe mulberries hanging from the tree and would climb the tree to gather them, and he would fall into the river and be drowned, and again she burst out, “Oh! Ali! My son Ali! My son Ali is dead!”

Then the mother also burst out crying, and the two sat there all day lamenting and weeping over the poor, drowned Ali.

Late in the afternoon there came to the door begging bread a Chingana woman (gypsy). When she heard the great outcry and saw the two women weeping she asked, “What is the matter?”

The mother told her the story, how her daughter had gone to draw water from the river, had sat down under the mulberry tree, and all that she had imagined, how she came home crying, and how ever since they had been grieving over the lost Ali.

The gypsy said, “I can tell you about your son, for you know my people can not only read the past and the future, but can see into the other world and tell what is going on there.”

“Oh,” cried Fatima, springing up. “Can you give me some word of my son? Where is he? How is he? Is he happy? Is he well? How old is be?” And she stopped crying, and danced, laughing, about the room in expectation of hearing about her dear lost Ali.

Then the cunning old Chingana said, “I see your son. He is now about twelve years old. He is not well. He is very poor and hungry. If any one should give him one piece of bread, he would be so glad that he would jump ten times for joy. He is lying down, faint and weak, wanting food; but if you will give me food I will carry it to him, and soon he will be well and strong.”

Then the mother and daughter made themselves very busy preparing food to send by the Chingana woman to little Ali. Fatima hurried out to the shop to buy nuts and fruit. The mother brought some saddlebags, which they packed with bread and all kinds of delicacies. They also put in clothes that they thought a twelve-year-old boy could wear.

By the time that all was ready the saddlebags were so heavy that the Chingana said she could not carry them. She was very cunning, and as she had entered the house she had seen a fine horse standing in its stall at the side of the house. This horse belonged to Fatima’s brother. The old woman said, “Have you not a horse that you could lend me to ride upon to carry the saddlebags to your Ali, for he is suffering, and I should hasten to bear your presents to him?”

“Yes, yes,” cried Fatima and her mother. “We have a horse,” and they hurried to lead forth the horse to the front of the house. The saddlebags were placed on the horse, and the old woman mounted and rode away.
---
I took the middle ground between 3 and 5 (you dope) and re-assigned you to volume 4:
THE TIGER CHANGED INTO A WOMAN
National origin: Native American (Arawak - Caribbean)

quote:

There was a man justly noted for his skill in hunting bush-hog. Though his friends might be more than a match for him in hunting other game, with bush-hog he had hardly an equal, certainly no superior. He would always succeed in killing five or six, when the Tiger who invariably followed on the heels of the pack would catch only one or two.

The Tiger could not help noticing his success, and on the next occasion that our friend went into the bush changed himself into a woman, and spoke to him. She asked him how he managed to kill so many bush-hog, but all he could tell her was that he had been trained to it ever since the days of his early boyhood. She next expressed her desire to have him for a husband, but he, knowing her origin, was not too anxious to give a decided answer.

She overcame his scruples, however, by convincing him that if they lived together, they could kill ever so many more bush-hog than it was possible to do singly. And then he agreed. He lived with her for a long, long time, and she turned out to be an exceedingly good wife, for besides looking after the cooking and the barbecuing, she made an excellent huntress.

One day she asked him whether he had father or mother, and learning that his parents and other relatives were still alive, inquired whether he would not like to pay them a visit, because she felt sure that from not having seen him for so long the old people would think him dead.

And when he said, “All right! I would like to go home,” she offered to show him the road and to accompany him, but only on the condition that he never told his folk from what nation she was sprung. Before they started, she said they must go hunting for a few days, so as to be able to take plenty of bush-hog with them. This they did, finally arriving at the house of his parents, who were indeed glad to welcome him after so many years.

The first question his old mother asked him was, “Where did you get that beautiful woman?” He told her that he had p. 204 found her when out hunting one day in the bush, at the same time taking care to omit all mention of the fact that she was really a Tiger. While at his old home, the couple went out hunting again and again, invariably returning with an extraordinarily large bag. This, unfortunately, proved to be their undoing.

All his friends and family became suspicious of his luck, and made up their minds to discover to what nation his beautiful wife belonged. He was often asked, but always refused to divulge the secret. His mother, however, became so worried and upset that he at last did make a clean breast of it to her, strictly warning her not to tell anyone else, as his wife might leave him altogether.

And now trouble soon came. One day the husband’s people made plenty of cassiri, to get the old woman drunk, but when asked about her daughter-in-law she wouldn’t tell: they gave her more drink and still she held her tongue: a last they gave her so much drink, that out came the secret and all the friends now knew that the beautiful creature whom they had so envied was after all only a Tiger.

The woman, however, who had heard her mother-in-law exposing her origin, felt so ashamed that she fled into the bush growling, and that was the last that was ever seen or heard of her. Her husband, of course, upbraided his mother roundly for betraying him but she said she really could not help herself; they had made her so drunk. And the poor husband would often go into the bush and call his wife, but there never, never came a reply.
---

Morning Bell posted:

Please reinterpret my '3 and 7' as 'anything and anything else'
JUAN THE FOOL
National origin: Philippines

quote:

Juan was lazy, Juan was a fool, and his mother never tired of scolding him and emphasizing her words by a beating. When Juan went to school he made more noise at his study than anybody else, but his reading was only gibberish. His mother sent him to town to buy meat to eat with the boiled rice, and he bought a live crab which he set down in the road and told to go to his mother and be cooked for dinner. The crab promised, but as soon as Juan’s back was turned ran in the other direction.

Juan went home after a while and asked for the crab, but there was none, and they ate their rice without ulam [relish to be eaten with rice, meat especially]. His mother then went herself and left Juan to care for the baby. The baby cried and Juan examined it to find the cause, and found the soft spot on its head. “Aha! It has a boil. No wonder it cries!” And he stuck a knife into the soft spot, and the baby stopped crying. When his mother came back, Juan told her about the boil and that the baby was now asleep, but the mother said it was dead, and she beat Juan again.

Then she told Juan that if he could do nothing else he could at least cut firewood, so she gave him a bolo [machete] and sent him to the woods.

He found what looked to him like a good tree and prepared to cut it, but the tree was a magic tree and said to Juan, “Do not cut me and I will give you a goat that shakes silver money from its whiskers.” Juan agreed, and the bark of the tree opened and the goat came out, and when Juan told him to shake his whiskers, money dropped out. Juan was very glad, for at last he had something he would not be beaten for. On his way home he met a friend, and told him of his good fortune. The man made him dead drunk and substituted another goat which had not the ability to shake money from its whiskers, and when the new goat was tried at home poor Juan was beaten and scolded.

Back he went to the tree, which he threatened to cut down for lying to him, but the tree said, “No, do not kill me and I will give you a magic net which you may cast even on dry ground or into a treetop and it will return full of fish,” and the tree did even so.

Again he met the friend, again he drank tuba [fermented juice of cocoa, buri, or nipa palms] until he was dead drunk, and again a worthless thing was substituted, and on reaching home he was beaten and scolded.

Once more Juan went to the magic tree, and this time he received a magic pot, always full of rice; and spoons always full of whatever ulam might be wished, and these went the way of the other gifts, to the false friend.

The fourth time he asked of the tree he was given a magic stick that would without hands beat and kill anything that the owner wished. “Only say to it ‘Boombye, boomba,’ and it will obey your word,” said the tree.

When Juan met the false friend again, the false friend asked him what gift he had this time. “It is only a stick that if I say, ‘Boombye, boomba,’ will beat you to death,” said Juan, and with that the stick leaped from his hand and began to belabor the wicked man. “Stop it and I will give you everything I stole from you.” Juan ordered the stick to stop, but made the man, bruised and sore, carry the net, the pot, and the spoons, and lead the goat to Juan’s home. There the goat shook silver from his beard till Juan’s three brothers and his mother had all they could carry, and they dined from the pot and the magic spoons until they were full to their mouths.

“Now,” said Juan, “you have beaten me and called me a fool all my life, but you are not ashamed to take good things when I get them. I will show you something else. Boombye, boomba!” and the stick began to beat them all. Quickly they agreed that Juan was head of the house, and he ordered the beating to stop.

Juan now became rich and respected, but he never trusted himself far from his stick day or night. One night a hundred robbers came to break into the house, to take all his goods, and kill him, but he said to the stick, “Boombye, boomba!” and with the swiftness of lightning the stick flew around, and all those struck fell dead till there was not one left. Juan was never troubled again by robbers, and in the end married a princess and lived happily ever after.
---

JuniperCake posted:

In with 2 10. If that's taken then give me whatever. :toxx:
GINAS AND THE RAJAH
National origin: Malaysia/Borneo

quote:

Along time ago there was a man and his wife whose names were Rakian and Sumundok. On the day when they married many others also had married and each couple had at least two children, but Rakian and Sumundok had none, though Sumundok was expecting a child.

Rakian fell ill, and he said to his wife, “Perhaps I shall die before I see my child, but you must bring him up well, for we are not wanting in possessions.”

Then Rakian died and after a time Sumundok gave birth to a male child, and she said to it, “I will give you a name; your name is Ginas, but I will not bring you up, I will put you in a box.” So Sumundok put the child into a box, and after two or three months she went to look at it and found that it had grown and could walk. When the child had come out of the box it spent its time in hunting the pigs and its mother did not forbid it, “For,” thought she, “if it should kill a pig, I can replace it.” But the people of the kampong became angry because Sumundok’s child was always chasing their pigs.

One day Ginas went to the Rajah’s house, and for two days he hunted the pigs there below the house. Then the Rajah said to one of his men, “Go to Ginas’s house and tell his relations that he must not hunt pigs any more, for I have had no sleep from it for two nights. If he does not follow my orders I will make him my slave.” So three men went to Ginas’s house and told him that if he chased the Rajah’s pigs any more he would make him a slave. But Ginas paid no heed to the Rajah’s words, and going to the Rajah’s house he again hunted the pigs. Then said the Rajah, “All men follow my orders, this Ginas only, who is still small, does not obey me.” So the Rajah sent to Ginas saying, “For three nights I have not been able to sleep for the noise of the waves in the sea. Go and chase them and see if you can stop them.” When the Rajah’s men came to the house of Ginas they said to him that the Rajah wished him to stop the waves, and Ginas said, “You must stop here tonight and eat with me.” The three men stopped there; and when it was night Ginas went down to the sea-shore, and, taking sand, wrapped it in his handkerchief.

Then going back to the house, he woke the Rajah’s men and said to them, “Give this sand to the Rajah and tell him to have a rope made from it and when the rope is made I will use it to catch the waves with.” So the men went home and the Rajah asked them what Ginas had said to his order to stop the waves. Then the Rajah’s men told him that Ginas had said that he would catch the waves, only that as he was short of rope he was sending some sand to theRajah of which to make a cord, and that when the cord was made he would catch the waves with it. And the Rajah had to admit that he was beaten, and threw the sand away.

Then the Rajah had seven jars of Tapai made, and killed three cattle; then he sent three men to call Ginas to drink. The three men came to Ginas and he replied that he would come on the next day. On the morrow, Ginas brought out clothes all covered with gold, and, putting them on, set out. When he got to the Rajah’s house the Rajah asked him to sit down on his mattress, and all kinds of food and drink were brought to them, and there was a bowl there for washing the hands, seven punkals [hand spans] in circumference. After they had eaten, the Rajah said to Ginas, “Ginas, you shall wash your hands on my mattress, and if the mattress is not wetted you shall replace me as Rajah, and shall have all my property and my daughter for your wife; but if you wet the mattress you shall become my slave.”

So when Ginas was washing out his mouth he was afraid to spit the water out on to the mattress, so he sent it into the Rajah’s face instead, saying, “I was afraid to put it anywhere else, but your face does not matter, since you are blind in one eye, and thus your face is damaged. Take this looking-glass and look.” So the Rajah took the glass, and, seeing that one of his eyes was damaged, and that no one else had so ugly a face, was ashamed and ran away from the country, taking with him only one of his wives. As for Ginas, he took his place and became Rajah.

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Sep 18, 2014

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Your Sledgehammer posted:

And here's my riff on For a Few Dollars More.


He Will Delight in the Fear of the Lord
1,027 words

Less than six months in, and moving to Tucumcari was already the worst decision of his life. He could only imagine what his wrinkled old wretch of a father would say to him when he saw him. At least he was certain that whatever his father would say, he’d deserve every bit of it.

Solid start. I'm interested. Too many words, though. I'll get more into that as we go along.

quote:

Red Cavanagh sipped whisky as he played poker and tried to forget about the last five days. The dealer slid a fifth card his way, and Red cracked his first smile of the day. Straight flush, a fitting hand for a man who doesn’t believe in luck.

Is this guy some kinda fuckin amateur? You don't smile when you get a good card! It's called a poker face for a reason.

quote:

It had all started last April, when he’d quit his job at the bank in Boston. His father had been apoplectic; he was too old to use his fists now, but his words were enough. Quitting a banking job to make saddles out west is something only a fool would do, his father said. The only good opportunities out west are for bandits and railroad magnates, he said. And now, too late, Red believed him.

Italicized part is good. But I'd use a different word than "apoplectic" unless it's a voice thing for the protag, trying to make him sound stuffy and "educated."

I like this next section, but it needs some paring. That seems to be your overarching issue - too many words and too long sentences. This is flash fiction. I keep saying it, but economy of prose is everything.

quote:

Red’s father had raised him the way any good Irish Catholic would, and Red’s fear of the rod had instilled in him a sense of guilt from an early age. A deeply religious man, Red had no relationship to speak of with Christ the Redeemer. because As far as he was concerned, Christ was simply a pleasant myth. No, Red’s God was the God of the Old Testament. A God of locusts, creeping death snatching away firstborn, and bloody vengeance. All things – usually bad things – happened for a reason, Red knew.

Let's keep rolling (just like the 1890s):

quote:

As the 1890s had rolled along, the railroads were slowly and finally causing the west to develop, and Red began to sensed that his only opportunity to escape his father was rapidly closing. Or better yet, "Red knew he was about to lose his only opportunity to escape his father." Fewer words, and avoids the passive voice you have now. So he packed up his things and quit his job. His wife was too young and too stupid This seems too on-the-nose, something subtler would be better. to argue with him, so to Tucumcari they went.

It had started out fine. The saddle making business was going well enough for them to get by. Susan had met a few women to talk to. Red had met a few women, too.

You use way too many hads. I get that you're showing it's farther back in the past, but we get the picture already from context. One or two hads here and there for clarity are fine when you're jumping back and forth, but a lot of this is all in the "past" so you might as well just stick with regular past tense and avoid the clumsy hads.

Then Susan had come came down with typhoid. The medicine to treat it duh, what else would the medicine be for? was expensive, mostly No space in a flash piece for this kind of quibbling because it had to be sent by train from the east. Red knew he’d never make enough. He also knew that His father wasn’t the only one who thought that moving west was a bad decision; apparently God agreed thought it was, too.

It had been was (goddamn hads, brother) Tuesday afternoon when he’d stepped into Tucumcari’s only saloon and began unloading unloaded his guilt onto the bartender while he got drunk. Pretty soon How soon is this? Use, "after a couple hours" or something, he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into the eyes of a man who had that hazy, glazed over look that only people who don’t have any rules possess. What the gently caress does any of that mean? What's a person who has no rules? Why do they have that look? I have no clue what you're trying to say here, you need to majorly rework this. Is it glazed crazy eyes? Burning rage or violence? If so, say it. You're being vague and using too many words to do it. Don't end a sentence with "possess." It's clumsy and passive. "I think I can help you," the man said. Are you Cormac McCarthy? I didn't think so.

But first, Red had to help him. Later that night, Red learned that he is not a very good lookout, that you can be accused of murder even if you weren’t the one that pulled the trigger, and that bandits shouldn’t be trusted to hold up their end of the bargain. You change tenses here, and it would be nicer to know how he learned those things. With the other words I'm telling you to cut - and stuff you can find to cut that I didn't - plus your 180 or so word count surplus, you can at least summarize how he hosed it up instead of just telling us in the most boring way possible. By dawn, he’d gathered up Susan and they’d skipped town. You have a problem with run-on sentences. It's okay to cut them up., And the rest would be left up to God, which frankly barf, don't use words like this made Red feel even worse.

It was terrifying Find a better way to SHOW us this, instead of TELLING us to see his own wanted poster when they’d arrived at White Rocks a few hours later. He’d holy gently caress the hads fled to White Rocks for one reason – the sheriff, John, was a distant relative. ok at this point we're getting into some poo poo that's outside of the premise of the story, tmi, etc. You need to balance the backstory with the actual meat. So far there's no story here, just a summary. A need story. As soon as he got Susan settled in the hotel, Red went for a visit, and was relieved to find that the sheriff was on his side. He was also a little surprised to find how corrupt John was. John had cut a deal with the local bandits, and he was able to promise both medicine for Susan and protection until they could make it back east. Summary, summary, summary, barf, summary, fart

East. Red hated to even think of setting foot back in Boston, but it was the only way. Getting on a train would mean painting a target on his back even bigger than the one that already existed, so he knew he’d have to wait for the next covered wagon headed that way. The wait would be at least a week.

For the next three days, Red had consumed himself with worry over the inevitable spiritual retribution that was to come. He hadn’t killed anyone, but he might as well have. If by God’s mercy he managed to escape from the New Mexico Territory, his father’s wrath would be unimaginable.

And now he found himself playing poker, in the idle hope that the fate that God had laid out for him would change. The straight flush was the happiest he’d been in weeks. Maybe God was on his side after all. He gleefully raked in the stack of cash and took another sip of his whiskey.
more summary holy poo poo

And then a curious thing happened. Let us decide how curious it is, mon frer. A hand reached over Red’s shoulder and took the stack of cards, then began dealingNO ELLIPSES HOLY gently caress but just to Red and himself. And then Red knew; he could feel the angel of the Lord over his shoulder. This man had come to help him get home. Okay I'm not sure what the gently caress you're doing here again. Is the dude over his shoulder the angel of the Lord, or Red thinks so, or what the gently caress? Also, how do you play cards with a dude who's basically humping you from behind? What I'm saying is, you're trying to paint a picture here but it ain't comin out right.

Three Kings, a six, and a nine. Not a bad hand at all. Red asked for two, and got a Queen and a ten. A winning hand in five card draw if he’d ever saw one. He laid them down and smiled up at the man. Oh so he is a fuckin amateur, now I get it.

The man had a short cropped beard and he was wearing a poncho You really need to do this earlier. As a matter of fact, you could probably cut everything between the "didn't believe in lucl" and here. I really can't give a single gently caress about the character's backstory at this point. You could have summarized it in one or two sentences and it would have the same, if not more impact . Red had seen the type ever since he’d moved west. A wannabe, someone who acted like a bandit but would never be one. The Lord usually arrived in a way that is least expected. blah blah blah, boring introspection

The man laid his hand down; three Aces, a Jack, and a Queen. A winner. It all boiled down to one question, Red knew.

“Didn’t hear what the bet was,” Red said.

“Your life,” the man replied. Red stared up, into the eyes of the Almighty.

Okay, so the ending is cool but holy poo poo what a long boring road to walk just for that payoff. You really need to re-write this whole thing. Here's a suggestion: make the whole story about the card game. Have the background poo poo come out along the way, some in dialogue between Red and 'God,' some with Red's (MUCH MORE LIMITED) internal monologue. The way it is now, it's a loving slog to get to the clever punch line at the end. Make it fast, tight, and exciting. Give us a number of hands with the stakes seemingly rising, only the whole time you don't know what they're betting over.

Your writing is competent overall, but you need to pare the gently caress down some words, son. Seriously.

I'll be watching you this week. Your flash rule is that you have only 800 words to write your story. Economy of motherfucking prose.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Hey Fanky, just posting here to remind myself to ask you if you still wanted me to judge since I'll be at work all day. :toot:

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

so let me get this straight criticizing israel is an antisemitism the ok sign is an antisemitism the word hypnotized is an antisemitism but saying people with giant noses want us to die in a race war is just an idiom

...Uh, I think you skipped me too. I don't care if you assign me something random but the numbers I chose were 1 and 12.

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

Martello posted:

Your writing is competent overall, but you need to pare the gently caress down some words, son. Seriously.

I'll be watching you this week. Your flash rule is that you have only 800 words to write your story. Economy of motherfucking prose.

Many thanks.

I'm ready for more pain. *chews last nub of cigar left over from Clint Eastwood week*

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Some Guy TT posted:

...Uh, I think you skipped me too. I don't care if you assign me something random but the numbers I chose were 1 and 12.

For some reason when I posted earlier I was convinced I had already assigned you something but I guess I'm actually just crazy. My bad.

HOW TURTLE’S GREED BROUGHT HIM TO A SAD END
National origin: Cameroon (Bulu Fang)

quote:

It happened thus. Turtle left his village and went to see Leopard to beg of him one of his claws. When he had reached the palaver-house, he spoke thus to Leopard, “Ah, father mine! cut off one of your claws for me; I wish to be able to catch game.” So Leopard did as Turtle had requested of him, for there was a surpassing friendship between them. Turtle took it and put it on one of his fingers, then said, “Now I am going out to catch animals with my claw.” He returned home, and, taking his cutlass, went to the forest to set noose-traps. As he was setting one of them, he saw Okpweng coming along. So he called to Okpweng, “Come, help me set this trap!” Okpweng came over and set the trap for Turtle. “Now teach me how they get fast in these traps,” he begged.

To oblige him, Okpweng walked along as animals do when they are unaware of the presence of traps. Then he lightly placed one foot on the stick which held the noose in place, and, kpwing! Up snapped the sapling to which the noose was fastened, catching Okpweng by the neck and pulling him up into the air. He thus to Turtle, “Come quickly and take the noose from off my neck or I’ll die!”

Turtle thus, “No! Was it I that called you here?” Then he struck Okpweng on the head with a club and tore him with his claw, so that he died. Then he took the corpse and hid it. As he was about to again set the trap, he saw Mvin coming along the path, and repeated to him the same words he had used to Okpweng. Mvin was also caught around the neck by the noose and pulled up into the air. “Take me out of this!” he called.

“Not at all! Was it I that called you?” cried Turtle. Then he killed Mvin and also hid his body. Thus did Turtle to many of the forest beasts, Zip being the last to get caught and killed.

Mian, who happened along unnoticed by Turtle as he entrapped and killed Zip, saw and heard what Turtle was doing. Now, after a time Mian showed himself. Turtle tried the same words he had used to the others, but Mian pretended to be very stupid. “Ah, friend Turtle,” said he, “my stupidity is surpassingly great. Show me first how it is done, then all the days to come I can help you. Surely one as wise as you are, knows a bit about this sort of thing.”

“Is it that a beast puts its neck into the noose this way?” asked Turtle, as he cautiously stuck his head into it. “Let me see,” said Mian, as he came closer. Then he quickly touched the stick which held the noose in place with his foot, and up into the air went Turtle. Ne kpwek! did Mian bring down a club on his head, causing him to die. Thus perished Turtle because of his greed and deceit.

If anyone else got skipped or feels otherwise wronged, let me know.

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at 02:11 on Sep 18, 2014

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


write stories

The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?




I want to shirk away from joining the fray this week because of Excuses, but I'm in.

Numbers: 4 & 10

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Anomalous Blowout posted:

Hey Fanky, just posting here to remind myself to ask you if you still wanted me to judge since I'll be at work all day. :toot:

Perfect, I have added you to the prompt post as ESTEEMED JUDGE #3. Feel free to exercise judge privilege and wreck up the place.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


The Sean posted:

I want to shirk away from joining the fray this week because of Excuses, but I'm in.

Numbers: 4 & 10

Well, since your numbers are basically the same as Anomalous Blowout's, and she is now a judge, I'm going to assign you her story, regardless of whether or not it offends your delicate writer sensibilities to have someone's sloppy seconds:

THE BABRACOTE AND THE CAMUDI
National origin: Native American (Arawak - Caribbean)

quote:

There was a man living with his wife and mother-in-law in the same house: the wife’s father had been dead a long time. The man was always going out hunting, but, although he started early, and returned late, luck never seemed to attend his efforts.

This made the mother-in-law very angry, and one day she said to him, “You are a worthless son-in-law. Day after day, you go out hunting, and you bring back nothing. Day after day, you go out fishing, and bring back nothing.” The man made no reply to all this, but just laid himself quietly down in his hammock where he remained until next morning.

Next morning he called his wife and told her to pack the hammocks with sufficient cassava for two or three days, as he intended taking her out hunting with him. After they had traveled a long way, he killed her, cut her into pieces, and dried the flesh on a babracote [drying or cooking rack].

Next day he returned home with his victim’s liver, and handing it to his mother-in-law said, “Here’s the liver of a tapir for you. The wife is laden with the flesh and is slowly coming on behind.” The old woman, who was so hungry, spared no time in eating it, and when finished got into her hammock quite satisfied, anxiously looking down the pathway for her daughter. After watching for some hours in vain, she began to think that the alleged tapir’s liver must really have been her daughter’s. Turning to her son-in-law, she charged him with having killed her daughter, because it was then very late and still she had not returned.

He denied it and swore that she would soon be coming, but the woman would not believe him. She continued watching until late in the night, and then she knew that the liver she had eaten was indeed her own daughter’s. Of course she slept but little, and early next morning crept quietly out of the house, and made her way to her brother, the large camudi [anaconda], that lived at the head of the neighboring creek. She told him how her son-in-law had killed her child, and given her the liver to eat. She told him also that she would send the culprit along that very creek, and that as soon as he got within reach he was to catch and swallow him.

When she reached home again the old woman said nothing, but next day told her son-in-law that she was feeling very hungry, that he must go out hunting, and that if he went up to the head of the creek, he would find plenty of game to shoot. The son-in-law suspected something, so he went to a younger brother of his and told him to put in a day’s hunting at the head of that very same creek, while he took good care to take his bow and arrows in exactly the opposite direction.

That same evening, instead of returning to his own place, he came back to his younger brother’s house. No brother returned that night, nor the next day. Indeed, he never came back, because he had been killed and swallowed by the camudi, who had mistaken his man. The son-in-law, after waiting there a few days, then knew what had happened, and made his way to another settlement, far, far from the nagging old woman. On a clear night you can still see the babracote where he barbecued his wife, and close to its side you can just make out the camudi with its swollen belly, due to the younger brother being inside.

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

I'm pretty satisfied with it so what the hell:

Prompt: DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND
Martello Flash Rule: 800 words or less


Security Details
655 words

10 years ago

The blaring alarm crowded out all but the most urgent thought: Run. Silent alarms meant jail time. Scary loud gently caress off alarms meant you were probably going to die. Joel could tell that Brady had the same idea; the poor bastard was running as fast as his Vibrams would carry him. Even now, Joel had to suppress a chuckle. Makes his footsteps quieter my rear end.

A loving paperclip. He couldn’t believe it. They’d known going in that the metal detector was sensitive, but this poo poo was ridiculous. Everything went sideways as soon as they hit the vault. They knew they’d probably tripped the silent alarm, so they dumped the gold and focused on making it out without getting caught.

So late at night, you’ve broken into a vault full of precious metals and you suspect you’ve tripped the silent alarm, what’s your next move? Retrace your steps, right? Wrong. The best way to bail on a situation like that is to get out as quickly as possible, even if it means strolling right through the front door. They’d learned that in Salerno.

drat shame the front door was guarded by the Star Trek version of a metal detector. Joel strained his eyes for an alleyway or a nightclub, someplace they could just disappear. They were fifty yards from the intersection when the cop car screeched into view, nearly blowing a tire as it came to a stop. Contingency time. Joel pivoted to his right and took off on a new heading.

Brady was supposed to pivot left, but that’s not how it went down. At “FREEZE!” Joel glanced back.

Everybody knows the movies are full of poo poo when it comes to just about everything. Even still, it surprised Joel how quiet and pathetic it was. The gun sounded like a firecracker, and there was no blood. Brady didn’t even scream, he just sighed as his knees gave out. Joel was sure he was dead.

It bought him some time. At least there was that.


Now

“When I want somethin’, man, I don’ wanna pay for it!” Perry Farrell’s voice squealing out of his phone meant one thing: the silent alarm had tripped. Joel was out of bed and had his gun strapped on before the brain fog was clear.

He was out the door and halfway down the sidewalk to the vault where he headed up security when the main alarm sounded. Got the fucker.

Joel designed the system to account for clever things he would have done back in the day. The vault could only be opened with his fingerprints. The metal detector was sensitive enough to pick up ambient metals in the human body, and every morning, each employee had to pass through with their pockets empty so they could establish a base reading. If the metal detector went off, two sets of doors automatically locked, trapping the poor bastard in a five-by-five room.

That’s where he found the dude, curled up into the fetal position. This one was smarter than Joel was back in the day. He gave up. Joel cuffed him, turned off the alarms, and unlocked the metal doors.

A different alarm went off this time, a tiny one in the back of Joel’s consciousness. This kid didn’t fit the profile at all. He was a decoy.

That’s when Joel felt the cold steel on the back of his head. There was only one person on Earth who could get the drop on him like that.

“By my math, I’ve got another three and a half minutes before the police get here,” Brady said. “Which means you’ve got thirty seconds to get the vault unlocked before I blow your poo poo away.”

Joel sucked in a breath. “Let me just ask you one thing,” he said. “It was the Vibrams, wasn’t it?”

“Told you they’re quieter,” Brady said as he jammed the gun into Joel’s back.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


I linked this in IRC, but I only just realised I never put in the thread: half crits, literally written as I read your pieces.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/109wlpjH2HPevxuBD5Euz7dWfmpVq_h-IfNzU1SU6i5s/edit?usp=sharing

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014

heyHEYYYY!!!


2-7, 2-7, we're going in. Roger.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Exercising my judgely powers:

Check the list of signups in Fanky's prompt post.

Write me a poem about the person who is either above or below you on this list. Since this is TD you get bonus points if these poems are not nice. If you're a tender babby or have no idea who the posters adjacent to you are, make poo poo up or maybe just do some research in the thread idk man, your call.

You have an arbitrary amount of time until I feel like telling y'all to cool your jets.

Winners get word bonuses. Losers get gently caress all. (If you lose really hard you might actually lose words, too.)

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


i signed up but am not on the list :mad:

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


crabrock posted:

i signed up but am not on the list :mad:

Congrats, you can write your poem about anyone.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


crabrock posted:

i signed up but am not on the list :mad:

fanks is lazy but I will yell at her to rectumfy it

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


crabrock posted:

i signed up but am not on the list :mad:

that's what you get for being a lil bitch who wants to write about war babies or whatever

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Paladinus posted:

2-7, 2-7, we're going in. Roger.

THE STORY OF JUAN AND THE MONKEY
National origin: Philippines

quote:

Juan was a farmer, a farmer so poor that he had only one shirt and one pair of trousers. Juan was much annoyed by monkeys, who stole his corn. So he set a trap and caught several of them. These he killed with a club until he came to the last, which said to him, “Juan, don’t kill me and I will be your servant all your life.”

“But I will,” said Juan. “You are a thief and do not deserve to live.”

“Juan, let me live, and I will bring you good fortune, and if you kill me you will be poor all your life.” The monkey talked so eloquently that Juan let himself be persuaded, and took the monkey home with him. The monkey was true to his word, and served Juan faithfully, cooking, washing, and hunting food for him, and at night going to distant fields and stealing maize and palay [rice] which he added to Juan’s little store.

One day the monkey said to Juan, “Juan, why do you not marry?”

Said Juan, “How can I marry? I have nothing to keep a wife.”

“Take my advice,” said the monkey, “and you can marry the king’s daughter.” Juan took the monkey’s advice and they set out for the king’s palace. Juan remained behind while the monkey went up to the palace alone.

Outside he called, as the custom is, “Honorable people!” and the king said, “Come in.”

The king said, “Monkey, where do you walk?” and the monkey said, “Mr. King, I wish to borrow your salop. My master wishes to measure his money.”

The king lent him the salop (a measure of about two quarts), and the monkey returned to Juan. After a few hours he returned it with a large copper piece cunningly stuck to the bottom with paste. The king saw it and called the monkey’s attention to it, but the monkey haughtily waved his hand, and told the king that a single coin was of no consequence to his master.

Page 430 | Top of Article
The next day he borrowed the salop again and the coin stuck in the bottom was half a peso, and the third day the coin was a peso, but these he assured the king were of no more consequence to his master than the copper. Then the king told the monkey to bring his master to call, and the monkey promised that after a few days he would.

They went home, and as Juan’s clothes must be washed, Juan went to bed while the monkey washed and starched them, pulling, pressing, and smoothing them with his hands because he had no iron.

Then they went to call on the king, and the king told Juan that he should marry the princess as soon as he could show the king a large house, with a hundred head of cattle, carabao [domesticated water buffalo], horses, sheep, and goats. Juan was very despondent at this, though he was too brave to let the king know his thoughts. He told his troubles to the monkey, who assured him that the matter was very easy.

The next day they took a drum and a shovel and went into the mountains, where there was a great enchanter who was a very wealthy man and also an asuang. They dug a great hole and then Juan hid in the woods and began to beat his drum, and the monkey rushed up to the enchanter’s house and told him the soldiers were coming, and that he would hide him. So the enchanter went with the monkey to the hole and the monkey pushed him in and began with hands and feet to cover him up. Juan helped, and soon the enchanter was dead and buried. Then they went to the house and at the first door they opened they liberated fifty people who were being fattened for the enchanter’s table. These people were glad to help Juan convey all the money, cattle, and all the enchanter’s wealth to the town. Juan built a house on the plaza, married the princess, and lived happily ever after, but his friend the monkey, having so well earned his liberty, he sent back to the woods, and their friendship still continued.

PS: Signups are closed. GTFO and write something kthx.

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at 04:07 on Sep 20, 2014

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


In light of recent discussion in the Fiction Advice thread, I'm offering crits to those who lost/got DM'ed. If you feel dissatisfied with the level of crit you got, or want a second opinion (don't count on it, your story still probably sucks), then ask me for one.

I probably won't be doing a line-by-line because your story didn't lose because of a few lines, but I will cover the macro stuff (plot, characterization, etc).

I'll keep this up until I break down from all your poo poo, so hop on now!

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


:siren: MOJOBRAWL :siren:


Two old foes meet again for the last time.




The long game

It was a day early in March, when autumn was not sure whether it was just visiting or here for the long haul. No leaves on the ground, but a certain reddening around their edges. No true ice on the wind, but the taste of it. The chairs were cheap, and had worn the elements poorly. The park was empty but for the two men, and their game. Each the child of an empire, and each empire consigned to history. Each man, a soldier in a war long finished. As the sun rose, they played.

In the northern seat, tugging at strands of his beard, sat Vasiliy Koshkam; formerly of Leningrad, presently of Ponsonby East, playing white. The man playing black was clean shaven, in a jacket 30 years out of style and 10 years out of the drycleaner: William Bernard; formerly of Chelmsford, presently of Ponsonby West. Vasiliy raised his hand, moved it an inch towards his bishop, then shook his head. He looked up.

“Clever,” he said. He'd seen that defense before, back in East Berlin in '72: he'd invented the drat thing. It hadn't quite stuck then, either. There's a certain symmetry to all things, given time. He smiled. “Not quite clever enough, old friend.”

William looked up from the board, and shrugged. “Irony cannot be denied,” he said, “only pushed away. It's still your move.”

Clipped English tones. The man had been a schoolteacher, before the powers-that-be saw his talent, and made him a piece in their grand game. Vasiliy rocked back in his chair, and put his hands at his sides. “Something wrong?” he said.

William shuffled a little in his seat. “Your move,” he said.

Vasiliy looked at the board. He had William in a corner and there was no denying it. A little more pressure and the king would fall. He stared at the board for a few more minutes. The autumn chill made the tips of his fingers ache. The young birds sang to him from the trees. Then he saw it: Knight to G6. Put the king in check, and force him into a corner. May as well pack up the board. He thought for another minute. He took the piece between his fingers, and turned it over. White plastic with a little piece of velvet on the bottom. Nothing like the sets from the old days. He took a deep breath. Knight to H3. He saw Will's relief in the slump of his shoulders.

“You almost had me,” said William. His eyes flitted around the board, and he sighed. “You're getting old, old man.”

Oh, a joke? Better than nothing. “Almost,” said Vasiliy. The double meaning amused him. English was a funny language: a brute at times, and a scalpel at others. Prone to being direct, but turning on a dime. One word could mean a lot of things. The Russian language, much like their chess, was a quiet, powerful thing: developed by men who had nothing to do for half the year but stay inside and think slow, grand thoughts. The English played with fire: just when you seemed safe, they could change direction, change tack, strike you in the place you were least expecting.

William smiled. First time for everything. “We've been here before,” he said. “Chicago, '79.”

Well hell. He'd been so confident back then- a god at the table. A private game in a bar in Chicago had taught him otherwise. It had been a punishing, frustrating affair that ended in a total stalemate. Five hours where neither man gave an inch. Every time the game looked finished, the Englishman had pulled another damned trick. It was almost magical, though at the time Vasiliy had spoken of it with a lot less candour. They'd played until closing time, when the barman took the board back. Vasiliy had been so tired the next morning that he failed his professional game completely, and returned home in shame.

“No barman here to save you,” said Vasiliy. “No timer.”

He frowned as he considered his next move, and tugged at his beard. His wife had hated that. Said it would make him go bald. “It takes a razor to take the fur off a Koshka, my dear,” he'd said, every time. Ah, but what did they say in English? More than one way to skin a cat. Vasiliy had managed to keep his hair and his wits, but Nadhezda was ten years gone. William made his move: King to G8. Still backing himself into a corner, with or without the Knight's help. He leaned back.

“Vasiliy,” said William, “I'm dying.”

There was little ceremony to it. The man could've been speaking about a 10th Century emperor. That made it worse.

“Well,” said Vasiliy, “aren't we all?”

He didn't ask the obvious question. He wouldn't have asked for every drat dollar in the world.

“A month, give or take,” said William. “That's what you were thinking, wasn't it? I was at my son's house when I blacked out. I gave my head a nasty whack on the carpet, and when I woke up the doctor was talking about my heart. I forget whether it's cause or effect, but it hardly matters. The symptoms matter less than the diagnosis.”

Vasiliy bit his lip, then pushed his chair back from the board. “You win,” he said. “You should've beat me in Chicago, and you should take it now.”

“gently caress you,” said William, in impeccably proper Received Pronunciation, “you old pink son of a bitch. You'll not cheat me out of this. If I see you pulling another punch, I shall have to spend my last four weeks in jail. You'll regret it for longer than I do.”

The Russian laughed. He shuffled himself back into position, then leant over the board. There was a light in William's eyes that he hadn't seen in a long time. “Oh excellent,” said Vasiliy, “but I expect the same from you. What's this madness with the King? He's cornered. You never think ahead, William. You English never do.”

William took off his glasses and gave them a polish with his jacket sleeve. This only served to make them dirtier. He replaced them then put his clasped his hands together and nodded. “Well,” he said, “you're a very clever man. Let's see if you can figure it out before we're done.”

They played as soldiers, as kings sending their men to war. Each blow was returned in kind, each curse or joke returned with another. Five hours passed, then six. They took a break to smoke, then the war began anew. William was clever and swift, while Vasiliy was a glacier- slow to move, but utterly implacable. Another hour, then two. All that remained was the white King, and a single Knight, and the black King. Very difficult, but not impossible.

Vasiliy took the cross from around his neck, and kissed it. A gift from Nadhezda, the day after the Wall went down. The black King was pressed against the lefthand side of the board. He could win in two moves. No pulling punches. He looked at William, who was staring away into the distance. Knight to C6. He picked up the piece, and placed it down. The instant his fingers left it, he saw his mistake.

“gently caress,” he said.

The black King had nowhere to go. Absolutely nowhere, but he wasn't in check. A rookie mistake, but he'd been rushing towards victory and barely noticed.

Stalemate.

He realised he'd known it was coming for at least fifteen minutes, but he'd kept playing regardless. He didn't want to stop- to let the engine grind down.

William pulled out a cigarette, and lit it. He sucked it, his eyes screwed up in obvious pleasure. Vasiliy knew that expression too well: Why the hell not? If lung cancer wanted to take him, it would have to wait in line.

He took the black Rooks and reset them on his edges of the board. Each one perfectly in its square. A man with a ruler couldn't have done so good a job.The Knights came next, then the Bishops. Vasiliy did the same, moving the white pieces back into place.

He lined up the pawns, then finally, he put the King and Queen into place. His hands were shaking. It was only partly from the cold. They looked at each other, then Vasiliy took a Pawn and moved it forward.

There's a certain symmetry to things, given time.

It was a day early in March when autumn was not sure whether it was just visiting or here for the long haul. No true ice on the wind, but the taste of it. The park was empty but for the two men, and their game. Each the child of an empire, and each empire consigned to history. Each man, a soldier in a war long finished. As the sun set, they played on.






[1494 words]

satsui no thankyou
Apr 23, 2011


extreme liberties taken with religious doctrine, read at your own risk

Prompt: HOW RABBI JOSHUA WENT TO PARADISE ALIVE

Paradise Eternal

The Gates of Heaven are filled with the thronging masses of the dead, with poor beleaguered Peter attending to the ever growing congregation. The crowding souls of those departed rubbing and sliding against and past each other for millennia is close enough to the biblical purgatory as to make no difference; and it is a blessing that their consciousnesses are away on Earth, occupying themselves with meaningless, transient lives. Only the most intelligent and insightful of these earthen dreamers gain waking understanding of their plight – and among them, but a scant handful have dared to look backwards, past the flood of souls, to the first Gate. And there they meet eyes with their watchful shepherd Samael, the kindly Angel of Death tasked with retrieving the consciousness of the dreamers when their admittance to Paradise is nigh.

One such crafty young spirit was a great philosopher by the name of Joshua. A kind and noble man afflicted with a curious wasting sickness, he spent his time on Earth in and out of hospitals, barely clinging to life and often comatose. While this state would be a curse for most any human, Joshua was afforded an opportunity almost unique to the history of man. For Joshua could explore the Gates of Heaven to his mind's content, and gain an understanding of the soul unparalleled among humans. And young Joshua resolved that he would live forever, never passing out of Paradise to be reborn and eventually falling back into the great stream of grey dead.

Joshua's sickness wore on, and he knew he had little time left to bring his body to Heaven. One particularly bad day, as he closed his eyes in the hospital bed and opened them to the Gates, he enacted his plan – he would trick Samael into bringing his earthly shell to the Gates. Taking possession of it he would flee into Paradise and live forever, escaping death. So Joshua moved his flickering form back along the stream of dead, past the grey empty souls that craved birth and fluorescent, bulbous spirits engorged on dreams of Earth. The distance was infinite and unreachable, but ancient Samael took notice of the precocious dreamer and in a moment Joshua stood before Death.

Samael's form was two-fold – he was everpresent, and yet always coming and going, performing the monumental task God had set him at the birth of the universe. To witness the contradictory movements of Death was quite disconcerting for human eyes, even dreaming ones, and Joshua trembled slightly as he beheld Samael and the Gate through which the new souls flowed – each one bright and large as they dreamed their first dreams of Earth.

'Why do you come before me?' came the voice of Samael, and Joshua trembled again, this time at the echoing power from the deep hood of the angel.

'Oh Great Samael, I come before you to beg of you a boon.' and with this Joshua threw himself down in supplication.

Never before had the angel been entreated thus, and it pondered momentarily before deciding to hear the request of the rogue spirit. Upon the command of the angel, the words tumbled from Joshua, and he nearly betrayed himself. Only his great mental fortitude prevented him from revealing his designs to the angel.

'Lord Samael, my body on Earth is dying. The pain is unbearable. My dream has become a nightmare, and I long for my admittance to Paradise. But I cannot commit suicide, lest I fall from the Gates and into the grip of Belial and his master Lucifer.'

Here he paused, fearing he had said too much – knowledge of the second stream of life was obscured to most – but forged on, determined to at least attempt his plot.

'Great Samael, please sever the ties to my body completely so that I may complete my journey through the Gates. The life I live is no life at all, and I ask for the gift of Death.'

Here he gambled, for he had only a suspicion that the body and soul had to be fully enmeshed to be severed, but Samael's words relieved him.

'Return your mind to Earth, and I will attend to you when your time comes. You will not dream again afterwards.'

'Lord Samael, I cannot face the pain of return. The medicines of modern man will keep me alive for years longer than is natural and good. Can you not bring my body here, so that you may end my suffering?'

The silence from the angel was interminable. But a faint inclination of the great hood of Death finally signalled acceptance of the request, and floating before Joshua appeared himself. The body was sickly and weak, and upon observation of it he fought a brief moment of revulsion. Reaching out to touch it, he found himself awakening again and opened his eyes. But instead of the hospital he viewed still the infinite gates of Heaven, and looked over to see the angel raising his apocryphal scythe. He quickly cast himself down again and cried out.

'Oh Lord Samael, one last boon!' the scythe halted. 'Before death, I am supposed to see the last Gate, and Peter. Please do not end me here, before the first Gate – I am no stillborn babe, and must wash myself of sin before crossing into Paradise.'

The scythe halted, and Joshua found himself standing before the fabled last Gate, wrought all of ethereal pearl and gold, and Saint Peter towering over him ready to take stock of his sins. But the Gate stood open, and gathering the strength usually saved for last goodbyes he propelled himself through the gate and into Paradise before the scythe could destroy his body. And standing in the garden of life he laughed, and felt himself grow strong, basking in the eternal glow of God. Samael was enraged at this deception, and went before God to complain. But God rebuffed him, saying that escaping death was the right of all humanity and honored Joshua. Peter cared not, for he knew that their was no true sin in the young spirit. And Joshua lived forever, happy and healthy, among the merry host of Paradise, serving God as an angel of good health.

~1k words

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


i am nice and took 2 seconds to copy paste that into word, thats 1038 words (excluding title)

satsui no thankyou
Apr 23, 2011


Does that actually matter. did I gently caress up

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

PROMPT: The Rat Princess and the Greedy Man

I Know Just What You Need 935 Words

(Removed for possible future use)

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=2572&title=I+Know+Just+What+You+Need

Guiness13 fucked around with this message at 17:38 on Dec 15, 2014

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


satsui no thankyou posted:

Does that actually matter. did I gently caress up

The OP posted:

Your job is to read the prompt, sign up for the prompt, and then give your very best shot at writing a real nice story within the word limit and in time for the deadline.

no sense in playing tennis with the net down

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


satsui no thankyou posted:

Does that actually matter. did I gently caress up

It does matter, and you did gently caress up, but you also have a Snufkin avatar so now I am conflicted about how much I hate you for it.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Just wanted to let everyone know that my crits for week 100 are completely done. There are still a couple crits in there that are relatively sparse, so if you want me to elaborate on anything, PLEASE feel free to PM me, bug me on IRC, or quote this post in the thread and ask me to elaborate. Running into Walls, if you're around, I expanded your crit quite a lot, since I felt bad that I said almost nothing about it first time around.

Anyway, sorry about the long wait on that. Here's the link again:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19nP-Kwg_E30F2nR3IIwpDyEd5PZ_X8p2zWRjuQzV-98/edit?usp=sharing

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week CX: Every Which Way but Good

I kid, I kid. All but two of the stories from this round were on the higher side of all right. I only loved one, but most of the others had something about them to admire. Weird how seldom that thing was the ending, though.

Extended crits for Week 108 are still in the works; for now, these are your stars in the dust.


Martello, "Dead Eyes"

The Sadie reveal brought everything together and gave a charge to a story that had spent over half its length being a set of well-written cliches. Rephrasing the movie's tagline for your first line is a choice you might reconsider; it's so stock Western that it's stale. The mysterious gunslinger is a Western staple, natch, and so are the lynch mob and the idiots who talk tough to the stranger and get shot for it. None of it was badly done, but nothing had enough originality to hold my attention until that stranger turned out to be a dead woman. That was great. Suddenly things were interesting. Not only that, but some of the cliches had a possible reason to be there: maybe a gunslinger was the shape vigilante justice had in the minds of those men, and Sadie's ghost adapted to fit. One of those common-belief-influences-the-supernatural things. I don't know whether that was your intention, but it's cool, so let's go with it.

Your formatting bugged me. Without apostrophes to mark them, the dropped letters looked like sloppy writing. Keep the dialect, it adds flavor and isn't too thick, but tighten the presentation. Of course you hit the prompt--you stuck too close to your film if anything, if Wikipedia's much to go by. I'd be much more impressed if your twist weren't a copy of the movie's twist.

It's still a pretty good piece, but when even the best thing about it is copied from another source, well.... More creativity would have gotten more points. Gender-swapping the protagonist doesn't make a story new.

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Entenzahn, "Untitled"

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde retold as a police interview, untitled. Interesting choice. The interpretation of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a decent one, but knowing your title, how it would end became obvious at the line 'So somebody entirely and totally like you, but not you.' That worked against you some since Daniel's part of the interview felt long as a consequence. I was just waiting for the Ugly to show up.

For what this is, it's not bad, but you left a lot of tools in your toolbox in order to tell the story entirely through dialogue--and why? Is it stronger as a transcript? I don't think so. It's impressive that you delivered a full story and made the lines credible, the voices distinct, the whole thing worth the read even after I knew what was coming, but you won't convince me it's better this way. Did you run out of time and choose the format because it let you rattle off something quickly? That's my guess. You did a much better job of covering the rush than you did in Ghost Week if so, but it couldn't land you on the high tier.

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Amused Frog, "And I Just Want"

I'm not familiar with your movie, so it's off to the Wikimobile. I see points of influence: your hobo isn't a veteran like Walt, but he claims to be; Walt interferes in a gang beatdown and is killed by them later, a death partially of his own devising and intended to protect a young person from the consequences of revenge. Good, good. The inspiration is clear, but this is its own story, distinct from the original.

Two things stuck out to me as problems, three if you count the question of whether or not the protag is a vet--he mentions he never was in the army, but he tells a kid war stories. I can think of explanations, but it's a point of confusion I'm not sure you need. More nagging is the puzzle of how he knows May's name. The largest issue is that despite coming in under the word limit, you went on a long time about the protagonist's life in the park. Until May screams, the story is a recitation of events in his days. The idea's to build his character, I think, and it mostly works, but if you clipped a few sentences you wouldn't lose much and the story would flow faster. I'd consider nixing 'They unscrew its base and haul it off in the back of a van' and the whole paragraph that starts with 'Every night they stay until the sun’s up'--you don't need to establish that the punks have knives. If they mug and steal and shoplift, that's enough to tell me they're dangerous, and if the protagonist is humiliated when he hides from them, that tells me he has pride.

Not a whole lot happens before the climactic moment, but I still like this one more every time I look at it. The main character carries the whole thing. The work you did in developing him wasn't wasted.

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Some Guy TT, "A Gift For Mother"

Things that are bad about this story: the dull, needless infodump of an intro; the interrogator's broken English; the questionable physics; the humor; the twist; the last line.

Things that are good about this story: ....

Okay, I'm exaggerating. I didn't like this much. It suffered as most stories that try for humor do when they don't make the reader laugh. There wasn't anything on offer here but the humor, so I was left without a lot to appreciate. I can see though how it could be funny--some of the ideas weren't far off--and if you fine-tuned the hell out of it, maybe it would work. Maybe!

First, if I were you, I'd lop those first three paragraphs. What's the point? They're boring, they tell instead of show, and none of it matters the least little bit. Start off with Larry tied up and blindfolded and you've immediately got a better hook. Clean up your mechanics: 'an almost gingerly touch' got a wince. Some of your sentences are awkward, bloated, or both. 'Larry felt another violent shock as the interrogator smacked him hard with a backhand'--why not 'The interrogator backhanded Larry'? 'Larry gave out a violent cough'--'Larry coughed violently' is shorter and more active to boot. Etc.

Describe actions more clearly. Check out this line: 'And then another violent attack, this time a kick to the seat of the chair, knocking Larry straight upward and falling right on his head.' It's a sentence fragment, and on top of that, I can't picture it. What is falling on Larry's head? The kick? The chair? How did he 'fall' upward? What the hell is going on? I'd guess the ceiling is low enough that his helmeted head banged against it, but that's only a guess.

The prose is really hammy. You know what I mean? It's mugging for the reader, elbowing me in the ribs all the time to make sure I've noticed it's trying to be funny. That, I think, is why it's not funny. The premise of a guy being interrogated for the title of a Clint Eastwood movie, all part of a misunderstanding, has an absurd appeal. The delivery just isn't there. Streamlining the sentences as I mentioned before would help; I'd also look for places where you point at the joke and consider cutting at least a few of them.

I assume you accept that your cultural angles are going to alienate some readers and are going with it; that's fine, but the Afghani's dialogue makes him sound like an idiot, and I don't think that was your idea.

As for the last line, really not sure what you were going for with that.

Things don't look good for you. If you get through with only a DM, it'll be because somebody else did so badly that the loser is hard to choose.

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crabrock, "A Thunder in the Canyon"

What I think you were trying to do with your hopping about in the chronology sort of worked, sort of didn't. When I reached the end, I could look back at the story and appreciate the way you fueled my curiosity by delaying details, yet answered my questions before I got frustrated by what I didn't know. I didn't have every piece of the puzzle until the very end; that moment when it all came together was satisfying. But keeping track of the sequence of events, making the mental shift from one tense to another with the past tense sometimes used to describe a scene that had already happened and sometimes used for reflection in the present (as in the paragraph starting with 'Martha wanted kids'), was distracting. Significantly so. I only appreciated the narrative tricks in hindsight. On my first read, I kept pausing to sort out the time and wasn't able to sink into the story.

You could probably keep the time shifts but make them less of a hassle by rearranging some of the scenes. Did the standoff with the sheriff--a word you weren't consistent about capitalizing, by the way--need to be split in two? You could move the paragraph that starts with the protag leaning on his cane down by one if you then dropped 'Thinking of the rain makes me thirsty.' That one change would help a bunch. I'm not sure there's a better place to put the paragraph that starts with 'I rode into town to get kerosene, nothing more, when I stopped at the saloon for a drink,' but you could put it in the correct tense: either 'I'd ridden ... when' etc. or 'I rode ... but' etc. I suggest the latter.

The sheriff's death isn't the clearest thing in the world. I had to look up manzanita. It certainly helps to know that's a tree: now I can piece together that the sheriff shot at the protagonist as he fell. Though--did he fall because of the recoil of his shot? Did he start to fall and shot by reflex? Did one bullet make a whole tree explode? Not loving the blocking. As I look at this I realize that most of the confusion comes from those first five paragraphs. Maybe sorting those out would let the rest run smoothly, or at least smoothly enough.

Poor Martha. She got the worst deal of anyone.

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Cache Cab, "Space Cowboys"

Oh, Cache Cab. Not for the first time, I can't tell how much you expect me to take your work seriously. Did you fail to notice when Jannick turned to Yannick for a while? Do you know that parsecs measure distance, not time? Are you aware of the massive cliche in Jannick and Jeter's friendship? Just how cool is Mr. Tebaldi?

But you know what? This story is dumb. God bless if you were in earnest. As a serious attempt, it's terrible. But rather like some of the bro stories of Thunderdome past, this wears its stupidity on its sleeve, doesn't apologize for it, and makes me grin. It runs gleefully away with the concept of space cowboys, and... I actually wouldn't mind reading "Space Cowboys II." That's how far you've come!

I hope it doesn't surprise you that you're not the winner, though.

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Schneider Heim, "A Private Operation"

A historical treasure hunt could have, should have led to an an exciting story, so it's a drat shame the first half or so of this one is a yawn. A Nancy Drew-flavored yawn, no less: even though the mood is ultimately grim and the plot based on real and unpleasant events, the start of this entry gave me the impression that it would be something straight out of Drew or the Hardy Boys. I blame the line '"Did we find the treasure?"' 'Treasure' sounds juvenile, although I'd be hard pressed to say why. 'Gold' or 'stash' or 'loot' might have worked better, and maybe you could have dropped the Golden Buddha since when I got to that point I could just see the cover Russel H. Tandy would paint. The start might have been more lively if you had opened with Jimmy leading the Sarge to the young Filipino and filled in the backstory on Yamashita's gold as they talked.

The second half is better. I will confess difficulty in picturing one Jeep bursting through mine tunnels, much less four, but otherwise it's a good action sequence with an effective and horrible detail in the golden hairs on Jimmy's severed hand. The ending works--the Sarge comes across as a man in shock, trying to hold the map in his head, then burning it and himself. If the whole story had been as strong as the close, you would have been in the running for an HM.

I go back and forth on whether 'his bare arms covered in lashes' is technically incorrect or not--a lash can be a whip strike, but I don't think it describes the wound left by a whip strike, if that makes sense--but even if it's right, 'his bare arms covered in lashes' made me picture a guy with eyelashes all over his biceps. A distracting visual, let me just say. Also distracting: the temporary presence of the present tense in 'We've been toiling away in this abandoned mine for hours.'

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Fumblemouse, "The Worm"

More chronology jumping, this time attached to a character sketch. It's good as such things go. Intriguing layers of detail are uncovered by the motions back and forth through time, with Jenna's million-dollar check being the critical example: after the reader knows about her past with the Worm, it's more significant that she accepted his offer than it would have seemed if that information had been given in sequence. These are two people locked in a twisted synergy, and whether the Worm is the Beguiled with Jenna the subject or Jenna is beguiled by her own guilt is up for argument. I have a feeling there's a lot more to their story than you've told me.

That's the weakness. What's here catches my attention and holds it, but it doesn't do anything with it: the story is all back story with no climax or resolution. Most of its ambiguities suit it, but I'm left wondering how the Worm's relationship to Jenna changed after she slept with him, from his end--that her perspective didn't change is only half of what I want to know. The Worm is the main character, and there's no closing beat for him. It all ended up closer to cotton candy than steak in terms of satisfaction.

One other element I'm not sure about is the part in which you describe why Jenna's friends call him the Worm. My interpretation of his behavior with Jenna's boyfriend is that he's fixated on her and sabotaged her relationship, but if he acts that way with everyone, shares everyone's secrets because that's how he is, then maybe I'm wrong and it means nothing special--in which case, why is it there? It's a small stumble in the otherwise graceful unveiling.

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LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE, "Cops and Robbers"

'Dust crackled at the windshield' has a decent sound but doesn't mean anything. What were you trying to say? That dust blew against the windshield? That a cracked patina of dust covered the windshield? That dust aggressively ate Rice Krispies in the windshield's face, thus arguably crackling (and snapping, and popping) at it? The clause 'the motor hummed a tune I didn’t know the lyrics to' works a lot better: it doesn't just put the thrum of a motor in my head, it implies the PoV character doesn't know jack about its workings. Your early text is full of this mishmash of good lines and WTFery. WTF: 'My lungs filled with the richest feeling I’d had in decades, what was once worth two cases of Top Ramen.' The richest feeling he's had in decades is worth maybe five bucks? The idea is probably that in prison he traded ramen for cigarettes, and I don't know enough about prison to be sure you couldn't get ahold of whole cases of it in there, but if he had a noodle/tobacco connection going then why hadn't he smoked in decades? WTF: 'We made it through the fine town of wherever we were between Mexico.' Between Mexico and what? Good: 'We slipped into a city of husks and stalks along the way.' Gorgeous metaphor.

I didn't intend to start out picking apart your sentences, but so it goes. Out-of-whack prose can distract from the story at hand. Your comma usage isn't too hot either. The comma in 'David said from the back seat, a yawn followed' should be a semicolon. The one after 'I need some cigarettes anyway' should be a period, since 'I kept my eyes firmly on the road' is its own sentence and not a dialogue tag. Ditto after 'smoking is bad' and 'put it on,' and 'the' should be capitalized in 'the buckle snapped.' This link may be of use. In the sentence starting with '12 years for some real hosed up poo poo,' 'twelve' should be spelled out: never begin a sentence with a numeral.

On to the meat. I like your main character. He's not a great man, obviously, but there are limits to what he'll do and allow. His narrative voice was good, and his laughter at the end almost made that end worthwhile. Not quite, though. Unless David knew the cops were coming--called them and/or shot Butch to alert them (from miles away?)--his actions were idiotic. Yes, kid, shoot the admittedly bad man while you're in the middle of nowhere, even though he's been protecting you until now! Have your epiphany that he's bad not days ago, when he shot a guy in front of you, but after he explains why he killed someone else for your sake! David's blank, possibly curious (curious?) stare supports the 'this boy is too dumb to live' reading. I don't know, though. That makes so little sense, I think you did mean to imply David somehow arranged his rescue, but I needed a hint of how the heck he did that. There's connective tissue missing, and that hurt the work.

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Sitting Here, "Attack of the Thing From the Basement"

Another entry that's good for what it is, which is another character study and a prelude to the story proper. What Clem's about to do with those toys in Joe's 'basement' is where my interest lies. Joe's wife-mistreating, self-deluding life to date is drawn with great skill and given bite; the murder of the cat is especially sinister since I doubt alcohol had much to do with it--but the concept is familiar and has no plot to call its own. I enjoyed your writing rather more than I did the situation it described. As such, I wasn't as enthusiastic about this piece as I wanted to be, although it was the unquestionably the best until Fanky's came along.

I don't know whether you should change much, though. If you were out to sketch a man as seen by his own subconscious/self-awareness, you did that beautifully. Maybe you could put a new spin on the scenario. What if the other figure in Joe's life weren't a wife? What if Helen's place were taken by a best friend, a daughter, a mother? I could be wrong, but I think that would be different enough from the shape this story usually takes to make it interesting again.

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Fanky Malloons, "Chicken"

Other than a punctuation misstep or two and an uncertainty about how much time has passed since Marieke's death, I have nothing to complain about. You could have done more with the prompt, I suppose, but there are possible subtle echoes of the movie present: along with the car as a central symbol, both have a man saving a child who is not his own, but who (if I'm reading the Wiki summary right) stands in for the child he doesn't have--or no longer has. Could be coincidence, but it works in your favor anyway. And a Gran Torino was really all you needed.

The phrase 'the absence of emotion that settles into the very corners of his soul every year as this unwelcome anniversary arrives' is the one that confuses me regarding time. How long ago did Marieke die? Two years? Three? But he sold the car right after her death, and the girl who drives it is young. Maybe it's odd of me to assume that the girl's father bought her that car in another parallel to Marieke. I still pause, trying to work out the time frame. Another hint would be welcome.

But that's the tiniest rough spot in a story that's otherwise just about perfect. I love everything about it. The present tense works, Greg's emotions come through, the ending is poignant, the symbols of car and candle keep everything tied together--the feelings and the symbols are the really good stuff, though the feeling wouldn't shine so without strong characterization for Greg. He panics for Emma, rescues her, and then rages at her as though she were his child and because she isn't. It's wonderful that he's so angry when it's inappropriate and unfair to Emma. That's what makes him real. Of your entries that I've read, this is my favorite by quite a ways, and it's no wonder that it won without any argument.

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Your Sledgehammer, "He Will Delight in the Fear of the Lord"

Everything before 'And now he found himself playing poker' is decent. Dropping the frame and telling it as it happened rather than as a lengthy flashback would have improved it threefold. Most of the time your handling of the past perfect was solid, with 'Later that night, Red learned that he is not a very good lookout' standing out as a horrible exception, but that much past perfect makes for tedious reading. About seventy percent of your story is back story!

Worse, everything after that poker line is awful! Oh, how I dislike your ending. I want to like this story; I want to sympathize with Red and be sorry that everything he ever did turned to crap despite all his efforts, but I can't forget or forgive that bit where he plays cards with God. I just don't even know. I guess the idea's that Red gambled foolishly all his life and his debts finally came due? Taking someone's life in a poker hand sounds more like the Devil's gig. God shouldn't have to. Unless... oh. Ooh. Did he lose his life to God not in the sense of death but in the sense of becoming a priest or a born-again believer? That would be interesting, but there's not enough support for it in the text. Red's view of God as the Old Testament plague-sender is a lot more supportive of the God-kills-him-for-no-reason interpretation. Maybe you indeed meant to convey that God struck Red down for his sins after playing a hand of poker with him for reasons only He knew, in which case I'm back to hating that scene for being so dumb that it ruined everything.

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Phobia, "Trust Me"

DAMMIT PHOBIA.

Did I do you a disservice in rethinking your Dewey Decimal DM at the last minute? Would a brand of shame have caused you to reconsider submitting sloppy, unproofed work? Would you have flinched away from storylines that hang together only with some mental gymnastics from the reader, and would I come now to praise Phobia, not to bury him in venom and bile?

Probably not. You've been courting the losertar, and it was beyond any mortal power to keep you from its embrace. I hope that yours is a brief affair and that you realize soon that he's been negging you, baby, and he's got a lot of targets on his list, and even if he were willing to stay with you, you wouldn't want him to.

Anyway. Your first line is the stuff of a Thunderdome classic. 'Annie and Hedayat was working on their game in his parent’s basement.when Jake stormed in.' Stare at that sentence, Phobia. Gaze upon it until the full stop in the middle of the line sears itself into your eye. Then let yourself see the singular verb for plural subjects; perhaps you will convulse, perhaps vomit, but only through such purging may you be cleansed. Then consider whether the apostrophe in 'parent's' is in fact where it needed to go. When you've taken it all in, move on to 'it’ll like taking money from a baby'--we shan't dwell there; it is too painful, but we needs must linger on 'Kickstarter. Wave of the future' since you were so determined to express that idea that you repeated it three lines later. Except that you forgot to capitalize 'Kickstarter' the second time, of course.

You get the idea. Mechanically, the writing is terrible. On the sentence level, it is terrible. I know you can do better. And so I'm more annoyed with you than with Some Guy TT, whose story was as bad, but whose errors seemed to be those of someone still finding his way.

The problems go deeper. Either I have no concept of how Kickstarter works, or the section in which the pledged money goes from $500 to $480 to $10,000 within ten minutes is weird. I want to know who threw $9,000 at an indie game coded entirely by one dude in his basement. One dude whose last game tanked. The story of that crazy backer is the one I'd like to read. Hedayat spends the whole story typing, and Jake may be a dillweed, but he's got a point about Hedi being unable to make his own decisions apparently. Hedi sees the project through to the end and then doesn't check out the results? Is the money irrelevant to him? Did he seriously do all that work just because some guy told him to? The last paragraph makes me think there's supposed to be a happy ending, but darned if I see it. Not even the characters give a drat. I certainly don't.

You didn't actually get my vote to lose. I know, right? Despite everything, I thought there might be a story worth telling somewhere in this mess. I told the other judges, however, that I'd be fine with you taking the fall. I'll go beyond fine and into happy if this loss shakes you out of your slump.

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newtestleper, "Grace is Gone"

Formatting! Put a blank line between each of your paragraphs, two lines or a symbol between separate sections. Running your paragraphs together makes for less-pleasant on-screen reading. If you're going to handicap yourself, do it in a way that could possibly lead to good things.

One thing I've noticed about this one is that it's the most forgettable of the bunch. I can't remember what you wrote this week unless I'm looking straight at it. To be honest, I'm not sure why that is. The ending is limp, but so were several others, and you started off well with the character and situation of Grace. She sounded fun. She took to her life as an arranged wife, and the hint of tension between her and the protagonist could have gone somewhere. Dean was more of a cliche abusive husband--is it just me or did this week feature a lot of stock characters? His actions kept the story going, regardless, and by having Dad and the protagonist conspire to send Grace away, you took things down an unexpected and welcome route. Maybe the format and the rough mechanics ('“We’d better go”.'--ugh, no, not even British English does this) just left that bad of an impression.

Plus, as I said, your ending sucks. It was a bummer not to see more of Grace since she was the most interesting character, but the bullet in your foot is that last paragraph. Good grief. He shot the dog? Not the brother who'd abused the woman he was sweet on and threatened him with a gun, but the dog? And left Dean lying around in the dirt? Oh, yeah, I'm sure that won't come back to bite him. I'm sure the angry murderous rear end in a top hat won't remember he helped Grace get away and get another shotgun. I'm sure Dean won't go after Dad either. I don't know what you were thinking, but you made Dean too much of a villain for me to be glad he survived, you didn't play up the brotherly bond enough for me to feel relieved the protagonist didn't kill him, and you turned your main character into a royal fool in the eleventh hour. Boooo!

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Walamor, "Welcome Back"

Another judge pointed out that your writing clunks in places, and he was right. '“Look --” started Conrad, interrupted by a loud knock on the door' is not graceful. '“But… but…” said Conrad, his final words' is worth a facepalm. However! You offered up a complete package that took cues from Mystic River but spun them until the story was your own, and the events of that story both surprised me and made sense. I hoped Markus wouldn't betray Conrad; I never thought Amanda would be at risk, but Markus knew, and they were toast all along. The low number of plots and satisfying endings in this round contributed to your honorable mention, no doubt. The entry is nevertheless solid. You've improved since Oscar Wilde Week, even since Contagion Week, and probably since Humanity Week, although it's hard to compare the superpenis story to anything else.

Above and beyond that you submitted a full story, I like Conrad, and I like that Markus didn't kill him just because he was an rear end in a top hat. You can imagine they were friends once, that Conrad wasn't being a total fool and doormat to take the rap those years ago. You can imagine too that Conrad's betrayal hurt Markus. He was sympathetic himself for a guy who stabbed the protagonist in the gut. Or heart. Or wherever; you were vague about that. Nobody was a complete sinner or saint. It was cool.

Keep up with the writing, but next time make sure you spell all your characters' names consistently, hmm?

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Grizzled Patriarch, "Beneath a Blood Red Sun"

In my judging notes I called this a 'so what?' story. The deft execution doesn't cover up how little there is to it. A man hunts an elephant; he wounds it; it kills a porter; his hired guide kills the animal and will for some reason be punished; the man is sorry he hunted an elephant. Okay. So what? I didn't get to know Jake or Richard well enough to be concerned about what happened to them. I don't understand why it mattered that Richard killed the elephant, considering the purpose of the trip was presumably for the elephant to die. The loss of his license only bemuses me. Or will he lose it because the elephant trampled a man? This isn't clear. The dead porter doesn't even have a name. I think this is supposed to be a melancholy and grim piece about... I don't know, big game hunting as a pointless waste of life or some such? It doesn't work in that regard because it fails to engage me.

I do like your writing, but I can't stop thinking that you missed conveying some integral idea you had in mind--something to do with Jake's unloaded gun, maybe. Jake counting his cartridges felt intended to be Significant, as did the hyenas' laughs and glowing eyes, but perhaps because the characters themselves seemed so emotionless, these images lacked strength.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 05:21 on Oct 10, 2014

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


hey look, a poem




Benny the Dragon

Come hither holmes, and hear the snake's tale -
of a bungler, a coward; a man born to fail.
Mom threw out his comics, then he ran to E/N
to find scorn, and dishonour, and the laughter of men.

Benny, undeterred, found a vent for his agony;
stories for the 'dome where he killed his whole family
Silver eyed dames and pendejos and holmes -
Benny's dick was so soft that his pelvis lost bones.

“Mañana,” said Benny, “I'll fix it tomorrow.”
The 'dome waited, but no fixes did follow.
But Benny struck back, and he threw his glove down
“Sebmojo,” he said “I think you're a clown!”

All the 'dome was afire with mocking and shock
until Benny the dragon, he whipped out his cock.
And said “fight me, you coward, I'll show you the moves!”
thus Benny the Snake fought the coolest of dudes.

The brawled and they clashed, with wit and with words -
Benny spread his wings – Icarus with the birds
and yet, in his failing, we speak of him well.
For Benny the Dragon, he gave the king hell.

Hold judgment on Benny, for although he lacks skill
he is brave; his heart true, and his swag hella ill.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006



Illegal Hen

Boombye Boomba 965 words prompt - JUAN THE FOOL

All the boys had their shirts off in the scorching sun except for Juan, pools of sweat blooming under his armpits. He was eight beers in, but still keenly aware of his size, sitting mute in the backyard, peeling the label off a bottle of pale ale and sneaking glances at Cassandra. The air was filled with the crackling of the radio and the chatter of his classmates. No-one talked to him. No-one even looked at him, except for the occasional glance back from Cassandra that made him both glad to be noticed by her and saddened by the look of pity in her eyes. The beer was almost all gone. Juan had paid for all of it himself. As the only eighteen year old in the group, he hoped to get some respect now that he was an adult, thought that repeating a year of high-school might not turn out so bad. He was a fool.

“Let’s play some cricket then, boys” Sam said, adjusting his hat - Juan’s hat, really. Juan had turned up to the barbeque early, wearing a new hat his mother bought him, a black trucker cap emblazoned with the Holden logo. Holdens were cool - thanks mum! When he arrived at the doorstep, slabs of beer in hand, Sam simply lifted the hat from Juan’s head and set it down on his own. “Aw for me, mate? Cheers!” he said and grinned. Sam was the leader. You couldn’t say no to the leader.

Last week was worse. Sam had asked to borrow his GameBoy at lunchtime. When Juan asked for it the next day, Sam told him it was going to be a gift and he was keeping it. Never again would someone push him around like that, Juan told himself. Now the hat was gone, too, and he didn’t know what to do.

The boys were up now, assembling the wickets. The girls rolled their eyes and remained at the table. Maybe if Juan stuck around, Cassandra would talk to him.

“Hey Phillipino, you comin’ or what?” Sam called, and he was up.

They picked teams. Juan knew he’d be the last pick, expected it, but it still stung when it happened. He stood silent in the heat as the game commenced. Cricket was better than soccer because you didn’t have to run very much and no-one could push you. Cricket was worse than soccer because when you were up to bat, you were the centre of attention and everybody could laugh at you.

He kept looking at Cassandra but she was engrossed in a conversation with the other girls, not returning his glances anymore. Maybe they’d get a chance to talk after the game. Cassandra’s parents were Malaysian, and although he was from Manila, he immediately felt an affinity to her. They had music class together and he liked the way she played clarinet. She was only being nice to him because she felt sorry for him, though. Juan wasn’t smart, but he wasn’t that dumb.

“Juan, you’re up!” somebody called. He lumbered up to the wickets, took up the bat. Sam was bowling.

The ball flew fast, bouncing once and curving up towards his head. He dodged it, not even taking a swing. Somebody laughed.

The ball sailed back to Sam, and Sam bowled again. This time it didn’t even bounce, but flew straight at his face. He ducked, heard it whizz right past his ear.

“Hey Juan, don’t be such a pussy.” Sam barked, retrieving the ball. He jogged towards Juan, violently jerked his hand upwards and back in a throwing motion. Juan instinctively flinched. The ball remained in Sam’s hand, and the boys erupted in laughter. Juan fixed Sam with glazed eyes, hurt and anger welling up inside him, hoping he’d had enough. Sam hadn’t, and threw the ball hard, striking him in the chest.

He felt his heart pounding. The sun made his head spin. He raised the bat, held it in front of him like a sword, and stepped towards Sam. Sam face went dark.

Everybody was watching them now, silent. Some nonsensical pop song blared over the radio. “Boombye booma”, the chorus sang. “Boombyebye boomba.”

Juan felt like he was watching himself TV, like nothing was real. He took a step forward towards Sam, another, raised the bat and swung fast at his head. There was a sickening crunch, and Sam dropped to the grass. “Boombye boomba”, the song insisted.

One of the boys yelled something, and broke into a jog towards Juan. On the ground, Sam moaned. Nobody else moved.

The boy drew back his fist as he neared, and Juan thrust the bat hard into his gut. He bent over with a cry of pain, and Juan brought the bat down on his head. The boy fell. Unlike Sam, he lay still and didn’t make a sound.

Everybody else stared, transfixed. Juan looked down at the bat. He was dimly aware of something being very wrong. The hat had flown off Sam’s head when he had struck it, and he bent down to retrieve it, adjusted the strap, put it on. He felt beer on the edge of his throat, swallowed.

Juan marched over to the table where Cassandra sat, bat still clenched tight. They looked at each other, their faces cold. Her gaze was different now - instead of pity her eyes held fright, revulsion, disgust. Self-loathing enveloped him like the arms of an old friend.

“I wanted my hat back” he said to her, although he wasn’t sure why. She nodded.

“I want my GameBoy back” he said again. She nodded, quicker.

The radio was still playing the same song. “Boombye boomba”, it washed over the backyard. Juan dropped the bat.

“Boombye boomba”, he said.

Saint Drogo
Dec 26, 2011



Unworthy (prompt: The Ghost Penitente), 998 words

Nothing had changed. Houses stood where houses had always stood, and what did it matter if many were concrete and painted metal now instead of wood and stone? The carts that were the town's blood had no mules pulling them now, and leaked stale smoke instead of ripe manure, but people still drove them, and people remained people as the world remained the world. God had shared this truth with him upon his death. He caught sight of his reflection in the window of a shop selling palm-sized squares of metal and glass. The face that looked back was a dear, ugly friend he had almost forgotten.

Two men in that crowded street were untouched by the bustle; the eyes of the shoppers passed over them, scampering children swerved around them. Jacob was one. The other stood across the road outside a coffee shop window. His feet were bare and his hair was long and his clothes were rags; if the men and women in the shop had been able to see him, he would have been chased away.
When Jacob drew close, he saw the object of the other dead man's attention. "She looks so much like my sister," said the man. "You remember Maria?" His voice had the numb lilt of someone who was speaking for the first time after a long sleep. "I wish I had seen her mother. Or her father. I should have followed my family all these years instead of...wandering." The man sighed. "Hello, Jacob."
"Hector," Jacob said. "How long has it been?"
At last, Hector turned to face him. Jacob knew his friend could not have changed since his death, but he could swear there were lines in Hector's face that hadn't been there before. "You know."
Jacob shrugged. "Time is not the same where I have been. There are no hours or years. There is only now. Only now, forever."
"Isn't that true here, too?"
Jacob looked around, really looked for the first time since he returned. "No," he said.
"It's been four hundred years, Jacob. Not long ago they celebrated the new millenium. Two thousand years since the birth of Christ. Four hundred years since I died."

Hector took off down the street, the crowd parting around him. Jacob followed. "How long do you think you can stay here?" When they had gone half a street with no reply, he continued. "Four hundred years. It has been maddening for you, hasn't it?"
"Yes," Hector said.
Jacob paused, wrong-footed. "Then know that this time has been as nothing to us. No more than the blink of an eye. You cannot outwait Heaven, my friend. You must know this."
"I know," Hector said.
"Then you know what you must do." They came to a stop. The bustle of the center was behind them now; there were only a few flat-roofed houses and a church. The church Jacob remembered had retained only its basic shape. A fire had scarred it. Walls had cracked and crumbled and been rebuilt.
"No," Hector said.

The church doors opened and out filed a congregation of mostly old women. The two dead men watched in silence until they were gone. "Why do you do this, Hector?" said Jacob. A quiver in his own voice surprised him. In Heaven, he always spoke with the deep clarity of his thoughts. "It cannot be pride, or spite. I know you better than that."
Hector snorted. "There are times when I think I know why. I think about it a lot. I can't tell you why, Jacob. If you had felt it, you'd know. Rising so high, feeling His light, then falling again. Being told I wasn't ready. I wasn't worthy." Hector turned to him, and Jacob saw more bitterness in his friend's face than he had ever known. "I am ready for Heaven. He knows that. He only needs to reach down and take me."
"Why do you think you can argue with God?" Jacob said. "He asks nothing that you have not done before. Nothing he did not ask of the rest of us. One more penance, Hector. What is that, against eternity?"
"One more penance." Hector looked ready to collapse. "I can still feel it, sometimes. I know there's nothing there, but my back...it's on fire. Every lash is still fresh. I can still feel the blood dripping there. It feels so sweet and wet. It's not an echo, Jacob, it's still happening. How many times did I do this for God? And he asks for one more? No."
Beyond 'I don't understand', Jacob could think of nothing to say. By the time he opened his mouth Hector was walking away. Jacob felt the dampness of tears on his face for the first time in four hundred years as he watched that broad back disappear into the church.

Inside, Hector found some peace. The bespectacled vicar was staring into space as was his wont - as had been his father's wont. He left the priest and ascended towards the choir. The wooden seats up there had not been replaced for eighty years, or thereabouts. He knelt on the floor and pulled up a loose plank. This was the only place Hector had the power to touch. Beneath the plank was a many-tailed whip, blackened all over by age and dirt. A shock ran through Hector as he picked it up at arms length. Trembling, he turned it over in his hands, feeling every inch. He imagined he could still feel the crusted blood on its tails. One more penance, Hector. What is that, against eternity?

When he emerged from the church it was dark and he was not holding the flail. There was only one other figure in the street. "You're still here," Hector said. "Go. Give God my answer."
"God knows," Jacob said. "I want to know why. I want to understand."
Slowly, Hector smiled. Then, he walked off into the night. Jacob walked with him.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

hey look, a poem




Benny the Dragon

Come hither holmes, and hear the snake's tale -
of a bungler, a coward; a man born to fail.
Mom threw out his comics, then he ran to E/N
to find scorn, and dishonour, and the laughter of men.

Benny, undeterred, found a vent for his agony;
stories for the 'dome where he killed his whole family
Silver eyed dames and pendejos and holmes -
Benny's dick was so soft that his pelvis lost bones.

“Mañana,” said Benny, “I'll fix it tomorrow.”
The 'dome waited, but no fixes did follow.
But Benny struck back, and he threw his glove down
“Sebmojo,” he said “I think you're a clown!”

All the 'dome was afire with mocking and shock
until Benny the dragon, he whipped out his cock.
And said “fight me, you coward, I'll show you the moves!”
thus Benny the Snake fought the coolest of dudes.

The brawled and they clashed, with wit and with words -
Benny spread his wings – Icarus with the birds
and yet, in his failing, we speak of him well.
For Benny the Dragon, he gave the king hell.

Hold judgment on Benny, for although he lacks skill
he is brave; his heart true, and his swag hella ill.
Aw, shucks! Thanks, Muffin! I like you. That's why I'm going to brawl you last.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YMPAH67f4o

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 20:07 on Sep 21, 2014

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Not gonna make deadline. Sorry Fanky. Next entry will be with a Toxx.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


The Bravest Woman in Quitman, Mississippi (1492 words - 1000 from word count, 492 from Week 100 word prize)

Their Mama went to Jamaica with her parents when she was fifteen years old, and there - sticky with rum and jazz-club sweat - she made love to a black man named Augustus White. She hid the pregnancy under baggy cardigans, and by the time her own Mama noticed, it was too late to do anything.

The first baby had curly blonde hair and eyes as blue as the Caribbean sea. Its grandmother snatched it up the moment it arrived. Even red-faced and squalling, it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. The war was over, and the world needed nothing so badly as beautiful babies. "Faith," she said, and so it was named.

The second baby came so quietly, and Faith's screaming was so ferocious, that only its Mama noticed it at first. Its hair was a tangle of kelp. Its eyes were two obsidian worry-stones. Its skin was as dark as a palm tree's shadow at midnight.

Its grandmother took one look at it and burst into tears, then left the delivery room, clinging to shrieking Faith like a life preserver. Its grandfather gave a look that might have been pity and might have been disgust, and followed her out. Not even the nurses noticed when the new Mama put her lips to her pitch-black baby's ear and whispered its name: "Hope."

Their grandmother said that if something wasn't done about those girls - just what she wanted done, she never would say - she would die of a broken heart. And so she did, by the time they were three years old. Nobody lived to be old in that family. It was almost as if the Mama knew, when she let Augustus White make love to her in a hammock outside of the Constant Springs hotel, that she wouldn't have many more chances.

When her girls were six and the letter came assigning Hope to the black school and Faith to the white one, she marched down to the superintendant's office and told him this: she didn't give one good Goddamn about segregation, integration, or any -ation, but her two babies would not be separated. She knew that her girls would need each other like a fern needs water. "You should have thought about that before..." said the superintendent, and he gestured towards the girls, as if to indicate whatever accident had caused them.

On what should have been their first day of school, Hope cried blubbery tears, and Faith got so mad that she smashed her glass of orange juice on the floor. Sitting in the doctor's office with Faith's bleeding foot wrapped up in a towel, their Mama decided that enough was enough. So she taught her twins in her cottage outside of Biloxi, and the two of them grew thick as thieves. Although she said until the day she died that she didn't trust a Negro - Augustus White had been more than enough for her - she never once said such a thing with bitterness, and never, ever when Hope was listening.

Faith, though, was always listening. And Faith didn't like what she heard: not from her Mama, and not from the world. When men called Hope friend of the family, Hope would stare straight ahead as if she hadn't even heard. But Faith would snarl at them like a little animal. And that was more or less the one difference between them.

When the girls were twelve, the schools in Little Rock were integrated, and Faith pasted the newspaper photo of Ruby Bridges into her diary. "Look how brave she is," she said. "Look at her. She ain't even crying."

"I don't think it's right, her parents doing that to her," said Hope. "She don't understand."

"Don't be a baby," said Faith. "She's changing the whole world."

Hope shook her head, black curls bobbing. "If you had to wake up in the morning and be that little girl, you couldn't help but think that this whole world ain't worth it."

When they were fourteen, twenty-five thousand teenagers marched on Washington, asking Eisenhower to integrate the schools. Their Mama had influenza for the second time that year. Faith hopped on a Greyhound bus nonetheless, while Hope stayed home to nurse her Mama. It was the first time the twins had ever been apart, and Hope could barely sleep at all: at home, they shared a bed, one dark head and one light one on a single pillow. When Faith got back, glowing as if she'd been on vacation, her Mama and her sister were sitting in front of the fire, each darning one of a pair of socks. Faith didn't realize it then, but many years later, she'd remember it as the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen.

When they were fifteen, ten black men were shot in Biloxi for standing on the sand beach, protesting. Faith raged at her Mama for not letting her out of the house that day. Hope just looked at their pictures in the black newspaper and cried and cried.

When they were eighteen, their Mama died.

When the crying was finished, Hope was the first to speak. "Now we can move to New York," she said. "Or Massachusetts."

Faith looked at her sister like she'd lost her head. "There's still so much to do down here," she said. Faith herself, the year before, had taken the hand of the little black boy who was the first to go to the white school in Biloxi. She never made it to school, but she wasn't finished with Mississippi. And she knew that Hope could no more flee without her than her left hand could leave her right.

The first time Hope walked down the street in Quitman County, a pack of boys threw half-full beer cans out the windows of their Mustang and soaked her dress. She didn't leave the house so much after that. Yet Faith was determined to make enough trouble for the both of them. She petitioned the Mayor's office, and the White Citizens' Council mailed her death threats. She led a picket outside of St. Mary Elementary, and they hung her in effigy in the town park. She planned one more trip to Washington, quietly, this time for a hopeful appeal to President Johnson. Fearing that she'd find her bus ticket voided or her car torched outside of the Greyhound station, she told nobody but Hope.

"I'm almost scared to leave you here," she said. "This place ain't like Biloxi. They're crazy. Stick your neck out, and your head gets chopped off." She sighed. "I guess I'm saying this because I know you'll ask me not to go, and then I'll have a good reason to stay."

Hope glanced down at the sock she was darning. "You should go," she said. "Don't be a baby. What you're doing, it's important."

"What changed your mind? I thought you wanted us to run away to New York."

Hope just smiled, in the clever way that clever women sometimes do. Faith, alone, left in the morning. It was the second - and last - time those girls were ever apart for a day.

It only would have taken one man. Faith was a small and slender woman, in the way that twins usually are. Yet the White Citizens' Council was not known for its courage. They sent seven men: as many as there are bullets in a Colt M1911. Even then, they had to draw straws to decide who would knock down the door.

When they finally did, here is what they found: not the woman activist who had given them so much trouble these few months, but someone else. A woman with Faith's body, and her face, but skin as black as the shadow in a wicked man's heart. She sat in a rocking chair with her knitting in one hand and her grandfather's pistol in the other. Smiling.

She got four shots off before the other men remembered what their guns were for. She managed three more before a bullet caught her in the chest. And the bravest woman in Quitman County lasted half an hour before she bled to death. They say she wanted to make sure nobody would live to hurt her sister.

There's a school in Quitman County called Hope Beasley Elementary. If Hope had known, she would have just smiled and said "Ain't that sweet?". Faith named it more for herself than for her sister, I think. But here's what Hope did get, in exchange for her life, and here's what Hope would have been happy to hear: despite the centuries of ill luck that ran through her veins, Faith Beasley lived to be a hundred and ten years old. She married a black man named Calvin Walker, and they had seven girls, each of us the same warm woody brown. And she loved every one of us the same, until the very day she died.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Welp Muffin's poem is way better than what any of you other schmucks are gonna submit.

Muffin: +150 words. :toot:

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Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014

heyHEYYYY!!!


I am a poopy brain and there's no story in my brain, only poop. Next time I'll enter with toxx to be a failure in a more spectacular way.

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