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The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

crabrock posted:

assign me a fear please.

it will be hard to write, because i'm a man, and i'm not afraid of anything (except girls, and sittinghere)

Phobophobia: fear of not being afraid.

edit: i'm not assigning this to you

The Sean fucked around with this message at 22:11 on Sep 23, 2014


angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Some further advice for Benny's masturbrawlin'


How does dyslexia impact on the writing process?
It is often commented that the characteristics of dyslexic students’ written work might equally be found in the work of a non-dyslexic student. The problems with composition that students with dyslexia experience may be accompanied by difficulty with spelling and handwriting. Students may try to choose words they can spell rather than those they want to use. Those with short-term memory problems may have difficulty transcribing a mentally composed sentence, thus much backtracking is required which disrupts the flow of thought. When this is coupled with reading difficulties, it is easy to see why written tasks are laborious. The techniques of editing and refining demand extra stamina and time, and need to be done in separate stages. To be effective, this requires good pre-planning and time management. Paradoxically these may be the very skills that students with dyslexia may find particularly challenging.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

The Sean posted:

Phobophobia: fear of not being afraid.

are you a judge

have you even entered

Jan 27, 2006

For the first time, I'm in with Vaccinophobia- Fear of vaccination.

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


According to Plan (1899 words, for Mercedes' some-number-less-than-four man brawl.)

The emotions are gnawing at me. I did something dreadful, and I feel I must confess. Coming clean would be disastrous, so I shall write the truth of my story here, and I will hide it. Maybe after I finish the little man inside my head will relent. Or maybe I subconsciously want to be caught.

It was June 8, 1987, and I sat at The World's End, cursing my fortune and nursing my Beefeater. What felt like ages as an apprentice locksmith and I was still no closer to realizing my dreams.

Ever since I was young, I've had the ability to convince people of the truth as I perceived it. Sometimes this differed from the truth as others observed it, but the world is rarely so binary as black and white. With the right amount of candor and sincerity, even the toughest audience can be swayed. (If you ever read this, Gracie, I'm sorry.)

This talent, above any booksmarts or personal charm, is what decides a court. I'd been to enough trials that I was convinced of it. But the costs of becoming a barrister were far more than a man like me could afford, so despite what conventional wisdom would suggest, I spent most evenings back then at the pub.

Almost as if someone had called my name, I picked out a snippet of conversation from across the room. "But how are we going to open the lock boxes?" I don't know what possessed me to interrupt. Probably that Bailey's. I suppose I thought I could talk my way into a business relationship with a stranger. Next time I'm going to look before I leap.

"Sorry to interrupt, gents," I said, "but I couldn't help overhearing your lock troubles."

The man I addressed was young, clearly affluent, and would have been immediately likable had his features not been beveled in steel. His companion, a broad fellow with a square jaw and thick brows, was looking at him. He was looking at me. I'm afraid I began babbling.

I can't remember precisely what I said; something about his gaze bore a hole into my normally infallible memory. But just as the intractable tendrils of regret were snaking up my arteries, he broke into a smile.


Two days later, he brought the damaged unit to my shop. A few agile twists of the pick and I had the lock open. I must have impressed him, since he asked if I'd like to meet up for dinner and get to know each other better. I should have been suspicious when he insisted on picking me up at the shop, but I had already fallen victim to his charisma, and I was more naive than I care to admit.

Valerio Viccei was a force of nature. The man didn't live in a palace, but he may as well have been royalty with how others treated him. Businessmen deferred to him, women fawned on him, and luxurious cars materialized beneath him as if by divine providence. Merely coasting in the wake of his glory was more intoxicating than the alcohol ever was, although there was plenty of that as well.

We spent four weeks getting to know each other; falling under the sway of sorcery. He made me believe he trusted me completely, and for that I felt I would follow him anywhere. Or maybe that's how I rationalize it now.

I should mention that during this period I also grew fond of his common companion. David was all right, once you got past the stoicism, and I think in time I will miss him. Back then I thought of the three of us like the Three Musketeers. Now I know we were just a thief, a trickster, and a patsy.


Wednesday night, we met up at The World's End. Valerio had a proposition for me. David was there as usual, but at this point I'd grown accustomed to his silent presence.

"Richard," he said to me, "you're a good kid. But four years as an apprentice and what have you got to show for it? Swollen knuckles and a dingy flat. Meanwhile blokes like Gerald Grosvenor? They make more leeching three month's rent from your boss' shop than you make in a year toiling away there."

I kicked back another gin.

"It's criminal, I tell you, the way the incumbent upper class rests on their laurels and receive a king's ransom while honest folk like you work their way to an early grave."

I took a breath and formed my words carefully. "What are you suggesting?"

"I'm suggesting," Valerio replied, "that we claim a portion of what should rightfully be ours."

Lord help me, I was crazy and drunk and enthralled, but I heard him out. He wanted to rob Knightsbridge, the premiere bank of London. And he made it sound reasonable.


Sunday morning, Valerio, David, and I entered Knightsbridge and inquired about their safe deposit boxes. They were immaculate in their Armani suits. I'm not sure how I escaped notice in my drab slacks and overcoat. We were escorted into the vaults as the claviger explained their security procedures.

Sometimes a man can take stock of a situation, improvise, and get the desired results. Other times, he can scheme and plan until there's nothing left to predict, and things still go awry. Valerio had determined who would be working that shift, what their duties were, and when they would rotate. He even had contingencies for the extra guards that abandoned their normal posts to escort us. I worry that I attracted them with my conspicuous-by-comparison attire or some outward manifestation of my inner tension.

Valerio and David drifted surreptitiously to the rear of the group, their backs to the entrance. As casual as a conductor checking his timepiece, they pulled handguns on the two guards. One of them must have tried to resist, because it was the thump and the grunt that caught my attention.

I glanced over, not quite processing what I saw, then looked back at the claviger. He looked as shocked as I did. David closed the vault behind us just as my apparent opponent began to shout. Adrenaline took over, and I punched him in the throat. He fumbled for his baton as one of the guards entered my periphery.

Acting on instinct, I swung my empty briefcase at him. I used to be captain of the fencing team, so I'd like to think my judgment and reaction times are better than most, but Valerio continued toward me, and I clipped him on the knuckles hard enough to draw blood before I'd realized what happened. Murder was in his eyes, but he suspended my sentence and continued after the claviger instead. I sincerely regret that that man got such a beating because of me.

A few minutes later and we had them all subdued. David confined them in the far corner of the blessedly soundproof vaults while Valerio ushered in additional associates. I didn't pay them much heed, as I was focused like a fanatic on my task of picking locks. Somewhere inside me a lonely voice was crying out that this was armed robbery, but it was drowned out by the hammering of my heart.

It's a testament to the deftness of my hands that I was able to break into one hundred thirteen boxes during our operation. I was sweating like a choir boy in the vestry by the time we finished; it never occurred to me to take off my overcoat. Technically I opened one hundred fourteen, but one box was jammed. I had Valerio hold one end of it while I tried to pull, but it was to no avail. Some gentle shaking implied that it was nearly empty anyway, so I returned that container to the wall as it was of no further use to us.

After what felt like only minutes, Valerio announced that it was time to go. I ran my hands through my hair and they came back covered in sweat. Better than hands covered in blood, I suppose, although by that point Valerio had wiped himself clean. The three of us gathered our briefcases and slipped out of the vault while one of Valerio's associates kept customers out of our way and, more importantly, out of earshot.

We dispersed. Valerio left in his Testarossa while David and I took cabs. David clearly got the better driver, as I arrived at the rendezvous ten minutes behind him. The operation was a success, but you wouldn't have known it from the look in Valerio's eyes. At that moment he scared me more than any part of the heist had.

"What took you so long?" he asked. He wasn't loud, and his words came slowly, but he spoke with such deliberation that I felt like my destiny was being decided. Giving him the correct answer was crucial. Still, I grew up firmly believing in the power of sincerity, so the words were out of my mouth as quickly as if I'd rehearsed them.

"My cabbie took the scenic route."

It was the hardest thing I've ever done, maintaining eye contact with him right then. But eventually he relented.

"Fine, fine. Put the briefcase over there, then we're going to pat you down. Leave your coat. After that, you walk out the door, and we don't see each other for a week. Then go to Eliahu's. He'll give you your share."

That wasn't how we were supposed to divide the spoils, but I knew better than to object. In the grand scheme of things, the plan was a success.


That week passed in agonizing slowness, but nothing noteworthy transpired. Eliahu gave me far less than I expected, but I accepted it with a smile.

Valerio was nowhere to be found. I assumed he had fled the country. Something about the city lost its luster after that. The World's End no longer allured me, women were as scarce as platinum, and even the luxury cars (which I still couldn't quite afford) hardly tempted me. I still saw Eliahu from time to time, but Valerio and David had vanished from my life, leaving a strange sense of longing that I couldn't satisfy.

It was risky and foolish, but eventually I typed a letter to Valerio. I thanked him for all the good times we'd shared, and for taking me under his wing, and for all the rides in his Testarossa. I saw that car again, when I happened by one of his flats. There was something genuinely tragic about watching such a fine machine collect dust. I joked that if he sent me a copy of the keys I'd cut him a good deal on the value of the vehicle.

I gave the letter to Eliahu and trusted that he'd be able to forward it to its intended recipient. Then I went into my own form of hiding.

But as I was reading the paper today it all caught up with me, and I knew I had to say something. Thirty-four days is too long to remain entirely silent about what happened. You may consider it something small, but to me it is a victory. I have not lied in this account, but I plan for the truth of my story to remain hidden. Especially from The Wolf.


Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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

You have 7 hours to crank out that goddamn story, Thalamas. There's no punishment for losing, but you will be banned from future participation in Merc Brawls for failures.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 00:00 on Sep 24, 2014

The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

sebmojo posted:

are you a judge

have you even entered

I was just making a humorous suggestion to the poster. I know I don't have authority to assign poo poo.

The Sean fucked around with this message at 22:28 on Sep 23, 2014

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

aren't all ravens black anyway

Martello fucked around with this message at 01:10 on Sep 24, 2014

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.

Mercedes posted:


You bastards need proper motivation to get into the right mindset.

This is the prize list in where the winner get's to pick a game from.

Now, for the prompt.

A 2,500 word story about a heist or con-job set in any time period your rascally hearts desire. I'll allow this to be a 4-man-brawl. So with a baller prize (I think) on the line, you get two weeks to work on this poo poo. September 23, 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time. No loving extensions allowed.

Your stories better be polished, so get some help if you have to.

Fuschia tude, Posh Alligator, Hammer Bros and Thalamas; you better give me the best you got, you sons of bitches.

Here is my debut brawl entry, a story about a bizarre con-job:

The Lost Treasure of Captain Bowridge
(2479 words)

Sorry it's a Google Doc, but ideally I'd like to control what is searchable online or whatever.

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

I have missed TD. Looking forward to writing this week~

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014

Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

For the first time, I'm in with Vaccinophobia- Fear of vaccination.

drat, i was going to enter with this, guess i'll sit out this week

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

There are many other phobias to choose from :confused:

The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?

Cache Cab posted:

drat, i was going to enter with this, guess i'll sit out this week

Awesome post/custom title combo.

satsui no thankyou
Apr 23, 2011

I'd like to join again with a phobia chosen for me

Oct 16, 2013

satsui no thankyou posted:

I'd like to join again with a phobia chosen for me

which one is the phobia of good posting :twisted:

satsui no thankyou
Apr 23, 2011

WindmillSlayer posted:

which one is the phobia of good posting :twisted:


anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

satsui no thankyou posted:

I'd like to join again with a phobia chosen for me

Syngenesophobia- Fear of relatives.

also windy dont post here unless you're gonna write a story

same method was used only i did it twice because i ended up in the Gs again.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

The OP posted:

This thread is for

*Postin’ stories
*Judgin’ stories
*Crittin’ stories

If you want to talk smack on top of that, you'd better be 1.) an entrant and 2.) open to the probability of sebmojo spitting fire into your eyes.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012


Fanky Malloons posted:

This pleases me, even though things like this sometimes make me wonder if you are not, in fact, some kind of mad genius at trolling.
I think my writing has shown that I'm not that smart :v:

So I broke out my D&D dice and I rolled...


...2 and 1.

May the 'dome have mercy on my soul :ohdear:

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.

In with Odynophobia - the fear of pain.

Also, I will have crits up for Week CIX tomorrow! Apologies for the tardiness.

Aug 2, 2002

Kaishai posted:

If you want to talk smack on top of that, you'd better be 1.) an entrant and 2.) open to the probability of sebmojo spitting fire into your eyes.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Kaishai posted:

If you want to talk smack on top of that, you'd better be 1.) an entrant and 2.) open to the probability of sebmojo spitting fire into your eyes.

or 0) a human

Aug 2, 2002

Martello posted:

or 0) a human

Don't AI shame

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

crabs are also allowed

that movie sucked though, stupid little robot boy

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


Dec 5, 2003


Mercedes' 4-man brawl extravaganza entry

Homecoming / A Chess Game 2081 words

The van doors opened and two men in black suits had hands on him before he could bolt. He socked the tall one right in the eye and then there was darkness and the dusty smell of burlap. They shoved him. He met the running board with his shins and face-planted onto carpet that stank of bleach all the way through the bag.

He flipped over and reached for the sack. His fumbling hands found the bottom drawn tight and secured. They dragged him back and shut the doors.

“Okay, let’s go.” Whoever spoke had no accent. The van accelerated. “You’re going to do something for us, friend.”


“You know, there’s something missing in my life,” Sonny said. He set down his 1911 on an old towel and picked up the next gun in line: an Uzi.

Alfonso turned back to the game board and moved his bishop. His fingers lingered on the piece, then lifted. “Check. Yeah, Sonny, what’s that?”

He watched as the kid took the Uzi down piece by piece, slow and methodical. “A bazooka.” Alfonso barked out a laugh. “Hey, gently caress you. I’ve always wanted one. Just think how satisfying it would be to blow up a car or something with one. Today’s the day, I can feel it. The day my life becomes complete.”

“Man, you wouldn’t be able to handle a bazooka. Probably blow your own drat car up.” He looked across the table at the old man. “You going to move, Pops?”

The old man still had black hair, a strong chin. He ignored the question and continued sizing up the board. He moved his king back. Alfonso slid his rook across the board. “Check again.” Pops whistled through his front teeth and shifted his own rook to protect the king.

Sonny finished ramming patches through the bore of the gun and reassembled it. The door opened Rodrigo walked in. His face was marked up, red scrapes stood out on his forehead and cheek. The kid looked up, eyes wide, and asked, “What happened to you?”

“They got rough, had to make some bodies.”

“Did you get it?” the old man said.

“No, but I brought it someone who does. You guys want to join me in the cooler?”

Alfonso moved his other bishop. “Check and mate. Let’s go.”


It was a kid, nineteen or twenty, maybe. Alfonso picked up a baseball bat and smiled at him. The four men stood around the kid, who was handcuffed to a wooden chair. The stink of urine filled the room as a dark patch grew on the boy’s jeans.

Rod said, “These are the friends I was telling you about.” Alfonso slammed the bat into the kid’s knee. The bone crunched and the screaming started.
They waited. When the screams turned into sobs, Rod continued. “So, how about you tell me when and where the sale is happening.”

The kid told them everything he knew.


The old man sat across from Alfonso and steepled his fingers. “We need those guns. Not just to rob those drat Cubans of their weapons, but so we can push them off the island entirely. Manhattan belongs to me.”

“Yes, boss. We’ll take care of it.”

“I’m sending Sonny with you. The men, they need to see he can lead, that he is not afraid. I expect you to take care of him.”

“So he’s in charge?”

“At least as long as he holds things together. Advise him, guide him. Don’t gently caress this up. This whole thing was your idea. I’m holding you responsible one way or another.”

“Everything will be fine. The kid didn’t hold anything back.”


He took the scrap of paper with the number out of his pocket and closed the phone booth door. There was still time to come clean, but then what would happen to his wife, his daughter? Now was the time for action, not confession. He crossed himself and dialed the number.

“Tuesday, eleven.”

A pause, and then, “Where?”

“Hudson River Park.”

“We’ll see you there.” Click.


Sonny kept fidgeting. “They should be here by now.”

They had waited in the car for hours. Alfonso checked his watch. “It’s three after, Sonny. Take it easy. They’ll be here.”

“I can’t take it easy. What do we do if they never show?”

“You’re the boss now, you decide that. You got to think ahead, like in chess. Not just right now, but all night. You need to be ready when things go wrong.” He laid a hand on Sonny’s shoulder. “They’re here.” A boat pulled up to the end of the pier and tied off. A dozen men swarmed out, unloading crates.

A truck stopped at the other end of the pier and four more men stepped out.


Alfonso squeezed the kid’s shoulder, then let go. He drew his Beretta M9. “Not yet. Let them get closer, grouped up.”

The four took off at a trot. Three of the ship’s crew broke away to meet them. “Now?”

“A little longer. Make sure you can get all of them.”

Sonny grabbed the bazooka and stepped out of the car. He leaned into the roof and aimed. Alfonso scooted across the seats, got out on the same side, and shut the door. “Hit it.”

The kid had a big smile on his face as he depressed the trigger. The explosion took all seven. He dropped the stovepipe.

Small arms fire lit up the night as the rest of the Cubans were mowed down.

Sonny’s head exploded in a welter of gore. The boom of the shot reached Alfonso a split-second later. He dove away, losing his gun, and saw dirt kick up into the air as a second boom sounded off. “gently caress!”

By the light of the streetlamps, he saw his men advancing along the pier, Rodrigo in the lead. They advanced on the crates, putting bullets into a few people on the ground and still moving. He heard Rod saying, “Quick, we got to get out of here before the cops show.”

The men picked up a crates then dropped it as his heart exploded out the back of his chest. Another rifle report came.

Alfonso turned over at Sonny, who no longer had a face. “Well, at least your life was complete, kid.” He took the keys out of the kid’s pocket, opened the car door, and crawled inside. Another shot spider-webbed the windshield as he started it up. He put the car into gear and stomped on the accelerator.

The car crashed through the park as shots continued rain down. He weaved through trees until the next bullet came through the back window. “Got you, you son of a bitch!” He dove out of the car, which drove another two-hundred feet before crashing into an oak.

Voices sounded behind him: “Did you get him?”

“I think so. Check out the car, make sure he’s dead.” No accents.

Alfonso crouched in a bush and drew a knife out of his boot. Footsteps came past. He leapt out and grabbed ahold of a man in a black suit. The blade went in between the ribs. He rode the body to the ground, then rolled forward. The turf tore behind him once, twice, as shots rang out.

He sat with his back to a tree to consider his options, then took off his shoes and shut his eyes. A minute went by, then another, and another.

Branches snapped as the other shooter ran for a new position. It was now or never. He followed the noise, moving from tree to tree on quiet sock feet. He kept his eyes near the ground and avoided looking at the light from the pier.

“Stu!” the other man hissed. He was close. “Stu, are you alright?” Alfonso got down and crawled. A dark shape took form. The man was tall and held a long rifle. He faced away, looking toward the lights of the pier.

Alfonso got up into a crouch and launched himself forward, tackling the man from the side and slamming him into the ground. The rifle flew away, landing in the dirt. Alfonso socked him in the same eye as the first time. “Hey there, friend.”

“You’re dead! You have no idea who you’re loving with.”

“Yeah?” He punched him in the eye again and heard the orbital socket break. “Tell me how I’m in big trouble again. Go ahead.” Shouting came from back near the pier. Alfonso patted the man down while he was busy yelling in pain and found an ankle holster. He took the pistol and stood up. “Let’s go,” he said with a kick for punctuation.


Rod stood over Sonny’s corpse and said, “Well poo poo.” They’d hidden behind the crates a while, but the shots had stopped coming. Then he’d opened the crates. They were full of wires and circuit boards and strange helmets, but no guns.

“You and you, come with me to find Alfonso.” He studied the park and the path of ruined foliage left by the car. “The rest of you, get the crates back to the boss. Take Sonny with you.”


Alfonso led the tall man north through the center of the park, then cut over onto the Greenway. He flagged a car down and took it from the owner, then kept north with his captive in the passenger seat. “Tell me where my family is.”

“You’ll kill me if I do.” His eye was swollen shut.

“I’m going to kill you either way, but if you take me to my family, I’ll just shoot you.”


He pushed the body out of the car near Riverside Park, cut east, and stopped at a phone booth.

“Hello?” The old man barely choked out the word.

“It’s Alfonso.”

“My boy is dead because of you. My sonny boy, my only son. And for garbage.”

He paused. Garbage? “I’m sorry, boss. They have my family. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

“You’re a dead man. Your family is dead. You cost me my son!”


Sirens carried from the south, getting closer. Time to go.

Alfonso abandoned the car and jogged east. He pictured the police finding the car, bringing in a K-9 unit. He only had to make it to the apartment where they had his family. Two miles on foot. He ran faster.


Rod followed a safe distance behind the cops and tuned into the police band.

“All units, all units, suspect is on foot heading east from Riverside and 113th. He is Hispanic, approximately thirty years old, wearing jeans and a black t-shirt.”

“Sounds like Alfonso. Let’s go.” He turned east.


The brownstone looked like any other. Apartment 409 was the one. He pressed each of the call buttons in turn and the door unlocked. No time to catch his breath, he took the steps two at a time.

On the fourth floor, he kept on running and slammed his shoulder into the door, busting the frame and falling to the ground inside the apartment. His shoulder was out of place, but he’d held onto the Beretta.

A man in a black suit looked up from the television. “poo poo!” He reached for a pistol sitting on the coffee table.

Alfonso steadied his left arm on the ground and drew a bead on the man’s center mass. Only time for one shot. He pulled the trigger and a small, red hole appeared in the suit. The man coughed up blood, then fell onto the coffee table, smashing the legs and the glass top. Alfonso stood, right arm hanging straight down, and put two more bullets in him to be sure.



They were safe. The sirens wailed outside. He drew his family close and thought about how to get out of the building.


Rod pulled up at the back of the building and shot open the emergency exit. “You, take the back stairwell. You, guard the exit. He’s not getting out of here alive.”

The fire alarm sounded and the sprinklers turned on. People came milling out of their apartments, headed for the front door in a stampede.


Alfonso took them down a crowded fire escape and they took a cab to the docks where there was a boat waiting for them. It was small, but the owner knew how to get in and out of places unseen.

“Where to, Alfonso?”


Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Market Makers (2207 for the foursome)

They were dirty and tired, their boots were cold and wet, and they were starting to lose the light. But Eleusine had a hunch. She was going to find this gold.

Calvin watched his daughter as she moved around the berm, poking and prodding the earth with a long stick. She was nine years old but she focused on the task with single-minded intensity. Sometimes he stopped and asked Eleusine where to go. Getting lost wasn't much of a worry; they were well equipped and provisioned, and carried enough supplies to last days more. But more often than not, her hunches panned out.

Calvin had started taking her with him on jobs when she was three, after her mother died. His Bessie hadn't wanted to leave Mississippi after the war, but he hated it there, and he had heard stories—long out of date, he eventually discovered—of the great wealth to be found in California, so they went. Bessie took ill and died soon after.

Sometimes there were dry spells, and that's when he put his horsemanship skills to use, taking odd jobs as farmhand or day laborer. They didn't live in any one place; they moved with the cattle and the bustle of energy and people following the arrival of the railroad and the telegraph lines. Most gold mining these days was done by syndicates with teams of miners; the land that was left was usually discarded by experienced miners for a reason, so the claim wasn't worth the paper it was written on. But the pair had had a lucky streak so far, as they'd taken on claims for those unwilling or unable to work them for themselves.

They were a common sight in the towns along the mountains. A novelty at first, the colored father and daughter gold-panners, they soon became something of local celebrities, and the stories grew. There were whispers that the girl was possessed by spirits, cursed by God or the devil, even fairy-touched. If asked, he only called her his "good luck charm," and laughed away any more pointed questions with a grimace. But sometimes, when she went quiet out in the field, when she got that look in her eyes, he wondered...

They came to a ridge overlooking a slow-moving river, cut through rock maybe twenty feet high.

"Down there," he said. She leaned forward over the edge, craning her neck, then took two steps back and sat down on the grass.

A narrow trail led down to the riverbank and Calvin had already started down it. "You're not coming?" he asked.

She was breathing quickly. "Naw," she said. "I'm tired. You can go check it." She leaned back as if she was going to sleep. He shook his head and continued down.

Within an hour they had a confirmed strike and enough to meet the terms of their contract and more.


Calvin completed the transaction in town the next morning, as Eleusine watched with rapt attention over his shoulder. He spent half his earnings to pay off debts, resupply and prepare for the next site. There was usually a period of feeling-out when he reached a new town, picking up on someone who might know someone who might have a claim; Eleusine was a good eye there, too. But they were setting off this time with a place and claim already in mind, thanks to a tip from the innkeeper Zacharias.

"Headed out?" the old codger asked, after they had packed.

Calvin nodded.

"Well, good luck out there. Hope you stop on by if you're ever in these parts again."

"We'll be seeing you, Zacharias."

"And you, little lady," the old man said to the girl standing behind Calvin's arm. He came around the side of the counter and leaned down to look her in the face. "You be strong and make sure your daddy stay outta trouble."

"Yessir I will," she said, gripping her father's hand tight.

"Let's get going, Ellie," Calvin said. He picked up his shoulder bag with a grunt, and they both walked out the door. A minute later, Zacharias heard a horse gallup away.

"They gone now," he yelled up the dark staircase in front of him. Heavy footsteps came down the stairs, with an uneven rhythm. The railing creaked in protest.

The man in the red-feathered hat reached the bottom of the stairs and took in the innkeeper coolly, his face an implacable stone. "You sent them where I asked?" he asked in a voice cracked and dry like drought-baked earth.

"Yes, yes I did, I gave him the map and tole him about that there claim, just like you said."

"Good." The man in the feathered hat drew his gun and shot the innkeeper, too fast for him to react, once in the chest, once again in the neck as he was falling. Then he turned and walked out, one leg stiff and almost dragging behind him, and the rising heat of the morning enveloped him like a coffin.


"We getting close?" the girl asked. She hugged her father tightly, despite having half of the saddle to herself.

"We got two days a travel to reach this ranch, Eleusine. Best get yourself comfortable."

She looked around. The trail here wound around the foothills, as the mountain range rose above them to the east. Brush clung to the sides of the trail and up the hill, and tree branches peeked up over the escarpment to their left, waving in the breeze.

"C'mon now!" Calvin tugged impatiently at the reins.

Ellie looked up at this. The horse chafed and bit at the reins, waving a front foot in the air, like it didn't want to go forward. "Hold on, Daddy," she said. "Something ain't right." The horse had never refused to obey like this.

Calvin hopped down. "You take the reins, darling," he said, and started to walk ahead along the trail.

Then she realized there was no wind.

The bushes ahead exploded in fire and smoke and shouting. Men rushed over the lip, out of the brush, still firing, most not even trying to aim in the chaos. But what did hit home was enough. And as he began to lose consciousness and stumbled over the side, he heard the horse fall heavily behind him, and Ellie's terrified screams.


He was slowly able to piece together what happened next. Apparently, a traveling schoolteacher stopping at the dead horse spotted Calvin lying by a tree halfway down the ravine. Her two sons carried him up to the wagon and they rushed to the next town.

The local doctor was overwhelmed but managed to pull off an impromptu surgery. After five days, Calvin's fever subsided; within two weeks he was back on his feet—if briefly, gingerly, before vertigo took over and he had to lie down again—and lucid enough to talk.

No one had see Ellie.

By a month in, he was going crazy. He couldn't stand any more sitting around and the Doc's endless "therapies". He had to find her.

"You'll agitate the lesions," Doc Branson warned, and "You need much more bed rest, not exertion." Calvin sold his mother of pearl cufflinks to pay the doctor for his time (despite his protests.) But he couldn't change Calvin's mind, and at last he relented.


The rope was thick and long and it hung heavy in Calvin's hands. He tested its strength, crouching in the shadow of the water tower by the hotel. It would hold.

He had tracked the gang here, to a mining town nestled at the mouth of a valley. Apparently they wanted her for her talent, her mining talent. The company seemed to be little more than a glorified press gang. It owned most of what passed for businesses there—and, according to travelers who knew the place, the local sheriff. He would have to do this alone.

Calvin threw the loop with a slow flourish, and on the first try it caught hold of the wooden post above him. With a initial burst of speed, followed by a jolt of pain and a swallowed curse, he pulled himself to the top and climbed over the railing.

It was a busy night. Miners came to unwind after a long day's work. Shouts and roaring laughter drifted up on the cool night air from the floor below. Men yearning for release and some way to spend their meager pay, more money than they had seen in their lives.

Calvin crept along the outside wall of the structure, trying not to make a sound on the dubious wood of the deck. Most windows were dark by now, or they might be unoccupied. Others had their curtains drawn. But the open, candlelit windows were his biggest threat, and opportunity. He tried to look inside while avoiding catching of the light spilling out from it.

Then, past the second corner, he stopped.

Eleusine was there, lying on a bed with her face turned away from the window, in a room illuminated by a single candle on the ledge. The door was open part way, but he could see nothing but darkness through it.

"Eleusine," he said, half-whispered. She jumped and looked around, eyes darting wildly. A dozen emotions flashed across her face as she saw her father at the window. She backed up to the door, pushed it nearly shut, then rushed to the window. She almost knocked over the candle in her rush to climb out.

"I knew it! I knew you would come!" she said, but he slapped a hand over her mouth.

"Shush, girl," he said. "We're not out yet. I'm sure there's men from the gang crawling all over, inside?"

She nodded. "Some in the hall. Most in the game room."

"Right. So we gonna have to go some way different."

He led her to the corner by the water tower, looked around to make sure there was still no one in sight, and swung one leg and then the other out over the railing. With that came a blinding pain in his ribs and he stood there with his eyes closed, breathing heavily for a moment, two, three. Then he started to climb down, fully occupied in his exertion.

Halfway down, he noticed Eleusine hadn't moved from the corner. She stared down from behind the railing, eyes wide.

"Come on!" He looked up at her, eyes pleading. But she just shook her head, and took a step back. He cursed, then pulled himself back up and grabbed the railing. "Climb onto my back."

She did, wrapping her arms around his neck, and squeezed her eyes tight. He began lowering himself back down again, slower this time with the added weight.

And not a moment too soon, as wooden banging and shouts of "El!" started to ring out from above them.

Someone leaned out of a window on the ground floor and started shooting. But he was drunk and nearly fell out. The two took this opportunity and ran to the water tower where Calvin's horse was tied up beside the low side fence.

They climbed on, and he kicked off immediately. They made it out of the town only to find they were being followed by several members of the gang on horseback. Any time he tried to veer to one side or another, the pursuers would press in, firing pistols, and Calvin had to turn back.

Eleusine realized what was happening. "They're pushing us up to the mines!" she shouted. She obviously knew this terrain better than he did, even in the dark. Had he gotten so turned around?

"Well then," he said, trying not to sound terrified. "Guess we gonna pay your supervisor a visit."


They rode hard into the encampment, and Eleusine pointed out the supervisor's building. They stopped on the far side of the structure, out of view of the road, and Calvin climbed down. He waited for the pursuers to approach, tried the door, then ran to hit it with all his weight. The door burst open with a spray of splinters.

And he met a full shotgun blast in the chest. As he lay bleeding out on the floor of the office, the man in the red-feathered cap limped forward to stand over him. "Did you really think you could make all that noise and still surprise me?"

"Yeah... you got me..." Calvin managed. His eyes rolled around in their sockets for a moment, then fixed on the window behind the man. Ellie fired at the supervisor through the window, twice, a third time. Then she shook the reins and disappeared in a cloud of dust. Calvin felt the man fall beside him, heard the surprised shouts from outside, heard that it was a long time before they were able to give chase again on their own horses. "...but you don't got her."

Eleusine rode on through the night. Every time she turned around, the riders were farther back or fewer in number. Soon she lost them in zigzagging trails along the mountain. The gold from her father was heavy in a string around her neck. Tomorrow she could cry. Tonight, she could only ride.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?

Benny the Snake posted:

I think my writing has shown that I'm not that smart :v:

So I broke out my D&D dice and I rolled...

Indeed. I actually meant for you to choose a folk tale from last week that was assigned to someone else in the thread, but maybe that wasn't super clear. Anyway, since no-one decided to take up Blade of Tyshalle's rejected folk tale, you can use that one:


National origin: San (Southern Africa)

Hunger and want forced Monkey one day to forsake his land and to seek elsewhere among strangers for much-needed work. Bulbs, earth beans, scorpions, insects, and such things were completely exhausted in his own land. But fortunately he received, for the time being, shelter with a great uncle of his who lived in another part of the country.

When he had worked for quite a while he wanted to return home, and as recompense his great uncle gave him a fiddle and a bow and arrow and told him that with the bow and arrow he could hit and kill anything he desired, and with the fiddle he could force anything to dance.

The first he met upon his return to his own land was Brer Wolf. This old fellow told him all the news and also that he had since early morning been attempting to stalk a deer, but all in vain.

Then Monkey laid before him all the wonders of the bow and arrow that he carried on his back and assured him if he could but see the deer he would bring it down for him. When Wolf showed him the deer, Monkey was ready and down fell the deer. They made a good meal together, but instead of Wolf being thankful, jealousy overmastered him and he begged for the bow and arrow. When Monkey refused to give it to him, he thereupon began to threaten him with his greater strength, and so when Jackal passed by, Wolf told him that Monkey had stolen his bow and arrow. After Jackal had heard both of them, he declared himself unqualified to settle the case alone, and he proposed that they bring the matter to the court of Lion, Tiger, Leopard, and the other animals. In the
meantime, he declared he would take possession of what had been the cause of their quarrel, so that it would be safe, as he said. But he immediately brought to earth all that was eatable, so there was a long time of slaughter before Monkey and Wolf agreed to have the affair in court.

Monkey’s evidence was weak, and to make it worse, Jackal’s testimony was against him. Jackal thought that in this way it would be easier to obtain the bow and arrow from Wolf for himself.

And so fell the sentence against Monkey. Theft was looked upon as a great wrong; he must hang.

The fiddle was still at his side, and he received as a last favor from the court the right to play a tune on it.

He was a master player of his time, and in addition to this came the wonderful power of his charmed fiddle. Thus, when he struck the first note of “Cockcrow” upon it, the court began at once to show an unusual and spontaneous liveliness, and before he came to the first waltzing turn of the old tune the whole court was dancing like a whirlwind.

Over and over, quicker and quicker, sounded the tune of “Cockcrow” on the charmed fiddle, until some of the dancers, exhausted, fell down, although still keeping their feet in motion. But Monkey, musician as he was, heard and saw nothing of what had happened around him. With his head placed lovingly against the instrument, and his eyes half closed, he played on, keeping time ever with his foot.

Wolf was the first to cry out in pleading tones breathlessly, “Please stop, Cousin Monkey! For love’s sake, please stop!”

But Monkey did not even hear him. Over and over sounded the resistless waltz of “Cockcrow.”

After a while Lion showed signs of fatigue, and when he had gone the round once more with his young lion wife, he growled as he passed Monkey, “My whole kingdom is yours, ape, if you just stop playing.”

“I do not want it,” answered Monkey, “but withdraw the sentence and give me my bow and arrow, and you, Wolf, acknowledge that you stole it from me.”

“I acknowledge, I acknowledge!” cried Wolf, while Lion cried, at the same instant, that he withdrew the sentence.

Monkey gave them just a few more turns of the “Cockcrow,” gathered up his bow and arrow, and seated himself high up in the nearest camel thorn tree.

The court and other animals were so afraid that he might begin again that they hastily disbanded to new parts of the world.

I wrote up your crit in a Google Doc, which you can find here. You have 72 hours from now to post your story. Please try and use them all - I'm giving you a lot of time, so that you can write something, walk away, and then go back to it later with fresh eyes and make it better. Don't just post the first version that you crap out, or I'll be really pissed.

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


Everyone submitted

I'll have judgement tomorrow when I get back from work.

Nov 11, 2010

Entenzahn posted:

:siren: Thunderdome CXII - Attack of the Graphophobes :siren:

I'd like to give this a shot, and please choose a weird phobia for me.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

Bauxite posted:

I'd like to give this a shot, and please choose a weird phobia for me.


Nephophobia- Fear of clouds.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Aren't we supposed to brawl or somethin?

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

Martello posted:

Aren't we supposed to brawl or somethin?

Sorry, can't be letting personal vendettas get in the way of fast judghahahahahahaha yeah we brawl

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


There is a door in the wall and a hole in the ground. Why is it that everyone wants to know what's through one, and noone wants to know what's in the other?

Give me 1000 words telling me why, High Noon PST 8 October. No extensions.

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

First few:

Your Sledgehammer - Security Details

You pretty much fixed everything I didn’t like about your Red Cavanaugh story, so that’s cool. Fairly tight prose, good terse dialogue, and a nice ending. Overall solid piece, nothing mind-blowing but definite improvement from last time.

Like my sisters-in-arms, I liked the Vibrams thing. I honestly don't have much to say that they haven't already. Not bad, but not a winner.

Score: Boar’s Head Genoa salami

satsui no thankyou - Paradise Eternal

Reading through the first paragraph is like running uphill through mud. I get the tone you’re attempting, but it ain’t workin. You use five words where you should use one. If someone was telling this as an oral folktale, the audience would be falling asleep. “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.” Holy gently caress. Try saying that out loud and tell me if you want to punch yourself in the jaw or go to sleep. Maybe both. How about “There, they met Samael, the kindly Angel of Death who gathered the souls of the dead to Paradise.” Or loving something. Your prose sinks like a stone. ECONOMY OF PROSE. EVERYONE TATTOO THAT ON YOUR FOREHEADS.

Paragraph after paragraph, your overblown prose just keeps making me want to scroll down to the next story and just give you a lovely score on principle. But I’ll keep slogging.

Barf. It’s all the same poo poo. Not only is your prose boring and slow, but you really hosed up the mythology. I know you warned us and all that, but why didn’t you just do a tiny bit of research how do you not already know* that Peter is Christian, Rabbis named Joshua are Jews, and reincarnation is Hindu and Buddhist and so on? If this was a different story for a different prompt, I’d have no problem with your religion mashup, but here it just seems off.
Overall, you did nail the folktale feel and the way the protag wins in the end. But again, if a storyteller used your style, he’d get a tomato in the face. And you went over the word count. You hosed up, and on something really easy not to gently caress up.

*because systran pointed out "no research" was in the prompt

Score: Healthy Choice Ham

Guiness13 - I Know Just What You Need
PROMPT: The Rat Princess and the Greedy Man

I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say I loved the opening sentence and the rest of the first paragraph. I also like the name Lita.
Reed’s jump in logic from “hot magical girl naked in my bedroom” to “sell her to the highest bidder so they can torture her” is reaching. You need to get into his motivation more before she appears. As it is it seemed random as gently caress and didn’t follow.
Fanky and Blowout read this first so they got most of the pointers I would have given you. Work on your prose, it’s half-dead and you need to make it fully alive and erect. You have some good characters here, you really make all the dudes horrendous and make me feel bad for poor Lita. What’s up with the name Undara? It’s too random and wacky for a name that’s only used once and really doesn’t matter much.
You hosed up when you said “It was all she had said since she appeared that morning” because she says things when she appears. Unless you meant the only thing she said since the first thing she said, in which case you should be a little more clear. “It was all she had said since their first conversation” or something. Or just leave that line out, I don’t see what it does for the story.
Good ending, comeuppence and so on. But you really need to work on your craft. You have some odd word and sentence structure choices. Read more, and work that living prose.

Score: Columbus peppered salami

Morning Bell - Boombye Boomba
PROMPT: Juan the Fool

Eight beers is p good for a kid.
Why are all Filipina girls named Cassandra? Juan sucks really bad so far, total sadsack. Good
I’m guessing they’re actually Australian or some poo poo cuz that dumb baseball game thing with the square bats, and Holden. lovely off-brand rebadge shop, lol.
The gently caress is a “slab” of beer?
It’s “Filipino.”
I like better/worse than soccer. It really gets into this poor shitbird’s head.
Okay so Cassandra isn’t Filipina, now I feel troubled.
Hurt and anger - weak, bro, come up with some better feelwords please.
Oh man I hope he killed that other little fucker!
Nice that he doesn’t actually get the beautiful princess in the end like the folktale, because this is COLD HARD REALITY MOTHERFUCKERS. Confused about the GameBoy at the end. Does Cassandra have it? Or is he just saying he wants it back and that’s one of the reasons he just smashed Sam’s head in with a square baseball bat?
Overall this ain’t bad at all. The ending is a little unsatisfying though. Like I said it’s good he doesn’t get the girl, but I need just a tad more closure. Is he gonna be a tough guy now or is it only when holding the magic square baseball bat? Good job tying it into the folktale but still writing an original story.

Score: Boar’s Head hard salami

Saint Drogo - Unworthy
PROMPT: The Ghost Penitente

Opening is pretty good but starts to drag after a bit. It’s got the folktale opening thing down, but just needs a little trimming.
Why would people swerve around a ghost instead of walking right through? Do they subconsciously know he’s there and they’re avoiding him out of instinct?
The interaction between the two ghosts is odd and off-kilter and stiff. Maybe that’s what you were going for but it doesn’t work for me. You also need to use line breaks for dialogue when posting on SA. Otherwise it makes it hard to tell who’s talking.
Why does he say “four hundred years” twice? It’s redundant and though repetition can be okay for a certain flavor, you’re wasting three words (or six if you just cut that whole sentence) that you could be using for something that matters.
Jeez. Four hundred years AGAIN. We loving get it, 400 years. The dialogue is getting very confusing here, I’m having a hard time knowing who’s talking. Line breaks would help, but also dialogue tags and even a slight attempt to differentiate their speaking styles.
Okay, wait a second, I thought Jacob and Hector were friends? Wouldn’t that mean both of them have been ghosts for 400 years? You’re starting to lose me here.
Oh did Jacob come down from heaven? Hmm.
So Hector’s a penitent ghost, and Jacob is down from heaven to save him or whatever? It should have been fairly obvious, but some muddy description and the two characters running together made it tough for me to puzzle out. You need to streamline some of this and make it more clear who’s who.
Holy gently caress line breaks.
The ending is weak. What’s Jacob’s motivation to stay down there with another ghost? It seems miserable and I don’t get enough of their friendship (partly because I can’t tell them apart) to convince me that Jacob would give up heaven just to help his friend flog himself. Lol, masturbation. Overall, this whole story has potential but falls majorly flat because of a confusing mess of motivations and plotline.

Score: Some bullshit "artisan" non-nitrate cured salami. Who the gently caress uses celery juice to cure meat instead of pink salt? People who love botulism I guess.

God Over Djinn - The Bravest Woman in Quitman, Mississippi
PROMPT: Origin of the Ja-Luo

His name should have been Augustus Hill.
Why are these babies all “it?” It reads pretty clumsy. Just say “her” or whatever.
I like the yin/yang contrast of the twins. It tells me this is a folktale if I didn’t already know.
Again with the “its!” barf
Oh it’s a segregation story.
The simile “like a fern needs water” is cool, but nonsensical in context. The relationship between the twins is clearly symbiotic, unlike a fern and water. You need something stronger here that makes more sense in context.
Blubbery tears? Were they fatty? Was seal blubber literally falling out of Hope’s eyes?
Thick as thieves - barf, come up with your own metaphor. If you did a good one instead of the fern thing, you could bring it back around with the second one. Tie em together, like.
Yeah, seriously, who the gently caress lets a six-year old drink out of a grown-up glass? Makin me question your parenting skills.
So Faith, the WHITE twin, protects Hope, the BLACK twin. Interesting. I’ll get into that at the end.
Like Fanky said, 12 year-olds are mighty savvy in this story.
I’m not really getting the point of the sock-darning here.
Here we are again, the WHITE twin doing all the work and campaigning and fighting while the BLACK twin just stays inside like a scared, weak, submissive little thing.
I want to dislike “smiled in the clever way that clever women sometimes do” because I want you to show it, but it sounds folksy so I’ll give it a thumbs-up.
Twins are usually small and slender? You’ll have to explain that one to me.
I like “as many as there are bullets in a Colt 1911.” Great gun. That Mormon dude did some fantastic work.
Okay, so finally the BLACK twin does something for herself. But she still dies, sacrificing herself for the WHITE twin.
Ooh, so Faith married a black dude and her daughter (or son) is telling the story. Heartwarming, but a very trite Poisonwood Bible ripoff.

Okay, so as you probably figured from my earlier comments, I’m going to do something I almost never do in crits period and especially the dome. I’m going to talk about what your story is about instead of just what it is. If you weren’t so obviously trying to tell some sort of civil-rights, anti-racist parable, I would just leave it alone. As it is, this is some of the worst White Woman’s Burden drivel I’ve seen in a long time. Unfortunately, it’s decent writing, which makes it even worse. Here’s the problem: up until the very end, the black twin is completely passive, hiding out with her mom and then by herself, while the white twin does all the work and all the fighting. That’s pretty loving bad. Who won civil rights for black folks in this country? Certainly not white people. They fought for it themselves. Marched, bled, worked for it themselves. Faith being the active one cheapens that, especially given the context of the story. And Hope doing the heroic sacrifice thing at the end doesn’t help things, at all. It makes her the old trope of the Negro Sidekick, who ultimately is sacrificed for the white protagonist. You really hosed this one up.

I also don't see the connection to the folktale.

Score: Venison summer sausage that’s rotten inside.

Edit: For GoD - in no way do I think you did all that on purpose. That's just the way it reads. I hate Barthes and everything, but sometimes that's just the way it is.

Martello fucked around with this message at 19:20 on Sep 24, 2014

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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

:siren::siren::siren:MERC-BRAWL I RESULTS!!!:siren::siren::siren:

If the winner would be so kind to message me their prize choice, I would be so glad.

:siren::siren::byodood:AND NOW FOR MERC-BRAWL III, THE MERCONING!:byodood::siren::siren:

This one is a blind sign up. I need three victims willing to write a story due October 8th with a word count of 2,500 words.

Oct 30, 2003

Okay, I'm ready to be a victim. I'm in for merc-brawl III

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their



:siren::siren::byodood:AND NOW FOR MERC-BRAWL III, THE MERCONING!:byodood::siren::siren:

Well since Benny let me down, I'm down for this.

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Mercedes posted:

:siren::siren::byodood:AND NOW FOR MERC-BRAWL III, THE MERCONING!:byodood::siren::siren:

This one is a blind sign up. I need three victims willing to write a story due October 8th with a word count of 2,500 words.

So shall it be.


Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


So I'm really digging what appears to be an in-depth crit of the stories as you go along, but the video's skipping worse than my Taiwanese turntable and I'm really struggling to hear any of it. I don't think that's just a my-computer thing, either. Anything that can be done so that I can properly bask in the resonant, audible glow of your wisdom?

Also the event the narrator is gloating about is not the heist. I may want to hit you up via alternate channels if you're willing to spare a little extra time on me; I'm curious as to how much exists solely in my head versus how much could be engendered in others.

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