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  • Locked thread
Sep 22, 2005


crabrock posted:

For what it's worth: I thought your story was decent. Probably your best since the death helper one. You failed to really make me feel the motivation for why the lawyer was doing the killing (that's a huge step to make), but I understood it all and thought that your writing (especially your showing) was much improved. A few times it feels a little over-written in the descriptions and similis, but just barely. The main problem is that your main char doesn't really have a distinct voice. The call over the phone is a little bland and lacking in any punch. Just two dude's talkin. The warden has more character than your main.
Thanks. Great points.

I'm in with the grave of Mary Ellis.


Jan 7, 2014

by Lowtax

totes doin' the PAULI EFFECT

in honour of pauly D, coolest guy on earf:

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:The Quiddlest Rhinobrawl:siren:

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Hush, oh hush, my darling. Do your dreams worry you? weak line Come to father’s arms, and let his love bring you warmth. Father feels yearning in your trembling tears, and please permit this reads like a business letter sign off father’s words to calm your fears. This is way overwritten for what it is, a frame for the actual story.

In the old days, where when the land and sea were children as you are, and the lakes and the seas were one with the skies, Tama-rereti set sail on his canoe. Away from the lush green and blue of his rainforest home, he was the greatest navigator of his iwi, Muffin would know best, but iwi is an unlikely choice, it means all the tribes in a region - hapu would be a better choice here. or just say tribe. but none knew Tama-rereti’s intent, for his tales are recorded through only voices, and voices change and grow. with puberty, yes. if you refer to the mutability of the oral tradition sir i'm sure you could have put that better.

Night fell, and he found himself ugh just say 'was'blanketed by its darkness, for the sun left no light in the skies. The lake was the home of the Taniwha, and Tama-rereti grew frightened, for he knew they had no love for Man. They, of shapes and sizes in numbers as vast as the grass of our hills, of fish scales and gecko tails and shark teeth and tuatara spines, swam and trashed HOONS AND VANDALS in the depths of the lake, enraged by the intrusion of a violator this is v elevated wordage for a kids tale buddy. The chaos PROMPT WORD brought fear to Tama-rereti’s heart, and from the surface broke a great shape: a Taniwha built of a whale, the foam of the lake as it rose thunderous against Tama-rereti’s skin. When the leviathan fell back, the tremor made him fall across his canoe. His fishing basket, weighed down with gathered pebbles, rolled and lay beside his head.

Tama-rereti held his basket up to the heavens, and to Ranginui, He of our skies and whose tears bespoke of his yearning for Papatuanuku, he cried:

These humble stones may not be so fair
As the fine jewels which dress your skies maori really didn't have much in the way of jewels being a stone age people greenstone was p much it
Let them be as the sun and the moon
And light our path, small as they may be
this is terrible poetry

Dazzled with the spray of the black lake, what the man cast wide his basket and the pebbles scattered across, hanging on the sky. Ranginui, whose love for the people nurtured by beautiful Papatuanuku is only rivalled by his aroha of Great Her, smiled at Tama-rereti’s act, and so he sings: TENSE

You have called and I have heard
Let the dark night be lonely no more

And the shining lights of Tama-rereti’s basket blinked brighter and brighter, and they flew up high, and became the stars which made make, surely? our nights radiant. The Taniwha, calmed by the serenity of their glow, sunk down into the waters. Upon reaching shore, Tama-rereti’s waka rose gently to the skies, its body made the bridge of Orion and Scorpius, DUDE IT IS A PRETEND MAORI MYTH WHAT IS WITH ALL THIS PAKEHA NAMES FOR CONSTELLATIONS ETCits iron anchor the Southern Cross and its tangling rope the Pointers. In praise of life, Tama-rereti sang his wishes for the eternal embrace of Ranginui and Papatuanuku to bless our world, and these songs are now our lullabies to you. hmmm the trouble with this is that it's really not very mythical, because there's no moral and not much striving (dude goes for a paddle, sees a whale, flips out and throws his stones in the air) and is also not very maori because they were stone cold badasses who did things like beat the poo poo out of the sun until it stopped rising so fast

Now, lie back, my child. Let Tama-rereti’s courage and waka be your guide to the tranquillity of sleep, and may your dreams be of hope and peace.

As Our Boat Drifts I Let My Child Sleep; I Pray for Fresh Rain to Wet Our Lips

Putting the title at the end is lovely though.

(499 words)

E: Tama-rereti and the Milky Way is, on a quick google, an actual Maori myth, so ignore that part. But that means this was just a straight and not that interesting retelling of an existing myth, which I'm not a huge fan of either. So: judgment unchanged.

Quidnose posted:


What is up with the title? Is it his name? Wasted opportunity, unless I'm missing something?
495 words with title.

The monitoring panel was pushing the bottom of yellow. I am puzzled by this sentence is it some form of robot sexual harassment or what Smoke filled the engine room, reflecting the warning lights in snake like wisps that undulated for an instant before disappearing into the nothingness of the dark. Goodness me that's some purplage.Above him, footsteps resonated, clattered down the hallways towards the escape pods, or what was left of them. The engine sputtered and burned half of the fusion core in an instant. You flip between omniscient and protagonist PoV here.A screen appeared, a holographic lighthouse beacon: Meltdown imminent; evacuation required.

It had all gone to hell, far faster than they said it could at the Academy. Three quick blasts from the pirates and half the crew were probably dead, if the engine room was any indication. The Engineer’s Give people names unless there's a really good reason, imo legs were crushed under some sort of industrial pylon that had hastily dislodged itself. One of his hands still clung to his shipmate’s, a pretty girl whose name he hadn’t yet learned and who had vanished under a large pile of heating duct. this is faintly comical which I don't think is your intent The other hand had somehow managed to reach a control panel in the confusion, and as his world stopped spinning he slowly realized the sequence he was typing was for “self-destruct.” this is implausible - it's about to explode so he sets it to explode?

He hesitated, just for a second, the emotional part of his brain momentarily taking over tell/show as the faces of his commanding officers and the faceless bodies of the crew he had flown with for three days flashed before him. Half a second, really, a moment of an instant, bad grammar but it it? was too greedy, it was everything they had beaten out of him in the Academy. He took a sharp intake of breath as he desperately clawed toward the fail-safe key which does...?. The monitoring panel clicked to red.

All at once, everything went blue. I CAN SING A RAINBOW, SING A RAINBOW TOOOOO

He looked around, his breath pounding bad word choice in his lungs. The engine was still, tell/show: what noise was the engine making?the fire immediately extinguished as the air rushed from the room, diverted to the bridge, the barracks, the pod bay. One by one the lights in the room shut off like a row of candles in a sudden breeze 'one by one' implies it's methodical, 'candles in a sudden breeze' implies it's very quick. The holographic screen flickered, changed its readout: Engine room secured. CONFUSED. Then it vanished.

He turned the key once, twice, but no spark came in the vacuum. So is this like the starter key for the spaceship because that's hilarious. The gravity lock was released and the pylon floated off his legs. mass vs weight motherfucker do you SPEAK IT He clung to the key with his fingertips until the weightlessness and weariness won out. Then he floated. IS HE IN PAIN AT ALL OR IS THAT NOT A THING IN THE FUTURE

The silence was deafening, more suffocating than his final breath. Through the bay window, the stars shimmered, cold, innumerable. Watching them, he remembered the nights on his home planet, when he would wander home and lay his blanket under the endless sky. There was silence there, too, but broken by signs of life: the howl of a distant animal, the whispering of the crickets, the gentle song of the night winds. On those nights, he had plugged his ears, longing for the silence of freedom. Now, floating helplessly, the hammer of his heartbeat faded away into cold clarity. You're about halfway there with this, but it's too purple and consciously elegiac to really do the job

His eyes full of stars, he slowly exhaled. this really is a lovely last sentence, so yay

So these are both pretty fundamentally hosed-in-the-bone pieces of writing with pretty bits at the end. Stylistically you both messed up, to the point that I'm unwilling to split the difference; so I will decide on how well the prompt was implemented. Rhino gave us a dad telling a story to his child to make him/her sleep while hoping for rain, which is not really serenity in the midst of chaos. Quidnose had a final breath of memory in a blown up spaceship, which pretty much was.

Victory to Quidnose, by a zero-g whisker.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 07:25 on Jan 21, 2014

Mar 21, 2010

In, dibs on Conan the Librarian.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

I wasn't going to go in this week, since it is my birthday and my family will want to occupy my time, but this prompt is too fun to pass up.

I debated going in as Reality Checkpoint, then Dock Ellis, but I've decided on H'Angus.

See you fuckers at city hall.

J. Comrade
May 2, 2008

God Over Djinn posted:

:siren:FLASH RULE:siren: for passive-aggressive politeness: Your story must in some way incorporate unadulterated hatred.

Got it:
+ is a woman thing
+ unadulterated hatred
+ preview before submit
= < 900 words write now post later

Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!

In with - who doesn't like roller coasters?

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

Snagging, specifically being allergic to WiFi, as the page suggests.

Quidthulhu fucked around with this message at 06:46 on Jan 21, 2014

Nov 7, 2012

God Over Djinn posted:

:siren:INCREDIBLY INCONVENIENT FLASH RULE:siren:: Your story spans a period of at least 100 years.

I do believe you nailed it.

Jay O
Oct 9, 2012

being a zombie's not so bad
once you get used to it


First time in the Thunderdome, looking to improve my fiction writing through unrelenting pain. I submit my virgin keyboard to your torments.

Gonna go with this one, start off real simple.

e: Does "from the perspective of" limit us to 1st-person perspective, or is 3rd person with a biased perspective okay?

Jay O fucked around with this message at 11:35 on Jan 21, 2014

Jun 18, 2013

Completely deserved the loss this week. Didn't really have time due to work but didn't want to skip a week either.

In for this week. Based on this:

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

Jay O posted:

e: Does "from the perspective of" limit us to 1st-person perspective


Oct 9, 2011

Awww yeah, time to get my brawl on! Bring it on! Ain’t nobody got poo poo on me!

Wait, what? My challenger dropped out? Oh. Oh.

Well, have a brawl entry anyway.


Ignorance is Bliss
(457) words

Ezekiel bled, his life’s water flowing from his leg despite his efforts to staunch the wound. The barn began to fade into a misty, red haze as he leaned back against a bale of hay. He groaned in pain, then let out a soft sob. His hands were stained red.

“Ya shouldn’t have come looking after hours, Zeke,” said Jedediah. The other man stood tall, clad in his simple blacks. He cleaned the blood from his knife with a smooth motion of his handkerchief. “Wouldn’t have had to do this if ya had kept your nose clean.”

Ezekiel sobbed and applied some more pressure to the wound. “I didn’t mean to, I swear to God!” he said. Everything else seemed so distant, save for the pain and his pulsing heart mirrored by the throbbing in his head.

“Don’t matter none, now,” Jedediah said. He kneeled down next to Ezekiel, and allowed a moment to examine the boy’s wound. “Now it’s a time for cleaning things up. And as the good book teaches, nothin’ purges so well as fire.”

Ezekiel reached forward to grasp Jedediah by the collar. “You won’t!” Ezekiel said. “I gotta be buried! You can’t burn my body!” Another sob escaped from Ezekiel’s form as he fell back against the hay.

“Now look what ya did, Zeke,” Jedediah said. “I’ll have to get a new jacket thanks to your clumsiness. Not to mention a new harvest of stock.”

“Shouldn’t have been growing that stuff anyway,” Ezekiel said. But Jedediah didn’t hear. He was already in the process of starting a small fire by the entrance to the barn.

“Now I’m going to have to take back Samuel and Isaac’s cut. Now I’m going to have to explain to Elder Shrock that this month’s shipment isn’t going to be coming,” Jedediah said. He took a small burning stick and used it to light his pipe. “And I’m going to have to get a new jacket.”

He tossed the stick into a nearby bundle of hay.

“They’ll ask about me!” Ezekiel said. He coughed as a plume of smoke flooded his airways, the pain in his leg forgotten in the moment.

“I reckon they will. But fortunately, Samuel and Isaac and myself saw you head into the barn earlier tonight. With one of those cigarettes that the English like.” Jedediah said. He puffed on his own pipe as he walked towards the doors. “Must have fallen asleep while smokin’ it. A drat shame too. Such a promising youth.”

Jedediah’s form disappeared into the growing smoke. Ezekiel tried to scream, but the smoke filled his lungs completely and he could only hack and cough. Over the din, he vaguely heard Jedediah closing the barn’s doors.

Aug 15, 2006

In with

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

ReptileChillock posted:

My story fukken rocked, you rear end-turds

No it didn't. It was fukken terrible. More's the pity because it had great potential and I wanted it to be good.

ReptileChillock posted:

A Grand Mystery 999 turds

A knock at the conservatory door and Eleanor almost dropped the derringer.Split this into two sentences. "A knock at the conservatory door. Eleanor almost dropped the derringer. She slid the pistol just say "it." We already know she's fondling a handgun. into her purse, took a deep breath and lifted the oaken cask from under the still.

Mr. Chiu’s men were waiting, silently. Their faces were blank, but she could never read an Oriental anyway. This is cute for the noir feel I guess. She handed over the cask, the taller one smiled. Don't comma-splice. I used to do it all the time and only by repeated chastisement from Erik Shawn-Bohner did I learn to stop. Like with the first sentence, just split it into two sentences. "She handed over the cask. The taller one smiled."

“Many thanks from Mr. Chiu, he wishes to see you at the parlour tonight,” Another comma-splice. Even in dialogue, it's clumsy. he said, lifting the cask into a shipping crate. Come again? Is he holding the shipping crate or is one of the other Oriental goons holding it? This is very clumsy and I can't see it at all.

“Mr. Chiu can count on it,” she said. Yawn. For a short piece, especially this short, try to punch up the dialogue more. This isn't bad but it could be more interesting.

Her father beckoned for her no sooner than the door had shut. Is this the way you weird cold-weather rednecks talk up in Manitoba? It doesn't make no sense, I can tell you that much. How about "Her father beckoned for her as soon as the door closed. And where was her dad anyway? He just appears literally out of nowhere. Was he watching her suspicious meeting with the Orientals? She hurried off to his study. Was he beckoning from his study? Is it across the hall? Or is it across the house? I'm getting no sense of space here.

“Eleanor, child, we worry about you. You’ve hardly left the conservatory in a month! A woman of breeding should not be so involved in botany This made me chuckle. Not sure if botany would be looked down upon in the 1890s or whenver this happens, but it's funny., and these new friends of yours have people talking. Because they're Orientals. :japan:

“It’s this dreadful cold, father. Manitoban cold. Really brings a girl’s spirits down. I don’t care what people say,comma-splice Mr. Chiu and his fine restaurant enjoy my tomatoes and you can be sure they pay quite the out-of-season premium. You’ll be happy to know I shall be going out tonight with Arthur.” I know she's supposed to be talking upper-class twaddle, but you're wasting words in a short story. And it's kind of just obnoxious to read. With good word choice you can get the upper-class snobbery across without using so many words.
Her father groaned.And that's it? He didn't say anything meaningful? Wasted words and mouth-sounds.


"Honest to goodness, sir, that’s what ‘appened,” So is this in England? Up until this point I was imagining 1890s Canada or something (were there humans in Canada in the 1890s?) but who knows because you do a terrible job of setting this in time and space. Willy said. He was sweating and shivering, comma-splice he’d never been questioned before. His filthy sweater hardly kept him warm. This is a good detail, tells us a lot about him with a few words. Do that more.

“Explain again what exactly happened that night,” Investigator Serpinski Now I'm doubting England again, I can't see a Pollack inspector in 1890's London. asked, taking a long drag from a cheroot.Well, must be England...:confused:
The tobacco stirred Willy’s memories of the night at The Bell Hotel. He was suddenly thirsty.
“Me’n Eddie was jus’ horsin’ around. Now, mind you we was drunk, but it was all in good fun. I punched ‘im in the gut, real quick, jus’ for larks, I swear, Officer. That’s when somebody shot ‘im.”

“How many times did you hit him, exactly?”

“Once or twice, sir, I was blind drunk. I swear I didn’t kill ‘im,” Willy said.

“Do you remember what your brother was wearing that night?” Serpinksi asked.

“Just a brown suit, sir. Had some patches on, so I think he moved here to leave ‘em hard times out East,” Willy said. Holy gently caress, WHERE IS THIS?!?!

“What’d your brother do for a livin’?” I dunno, what did he do? Does it matter? If the answer is no, then don't have the Pollack Inspector ask the question. Have him say something that advances the story.


Eleanor locked the gardener’s shed behind her. The still was dribbling away, another carboy almost full. There was enough rot gut whiskey to keep Mr. Chiu off her back for a while, anyway.

She cut the day’s obituaries from the paper and circled the most suspect ones. She pinned the strip to the wall, next to the railway cargo manifests. There was a pattern: unmarked shipments from the East coast, another handful of dead men. The pieces were fitting together like gears in a watch. Mr. Chiu’s criminal empire was about to collapse, and her gambling debts would be erased.


“Eddie always told me he was in sales, selling catalogue stuff to farmers,” Willy said.

“Willy, your brother was a whiskey runner. You haven’t had anything to do with the Chinese, have you?” Serpinski asked.

“,” Willy was shell shocked. “Are you sure about Eddie?” he stammered.

“Positive. Say, Willy, for someone who says he doesn’t deal with the Chinese, you smell an awful lot like you spend time in Mr. Chiu’s restaurant.”

“No! No sir! The room Mr. Chiu rents me is right above the kitchen, honest to goodness. I ain’t afford to do laundry in weeks is why I smell like this! Honest!”
Blah blah blah, more boring bullshit that means nothing to me or the story. Get rid of this kid, or make him mean something!

Eleanor knocked twice at the hotel’s back door. Someone opened a peephole.

“It’s Elle, with a friend!” She said, pulling Arthur closer. She didn’t have to look at him to know he’d be wearing that self-satisfied smile that drove her up the wall. Blah...cut that part, it doesn't matter.
“Ah, Ms. Ashworth! Right this way!” The door opened up and the clatter of a Fan-Tan parlour filled the alley. This is where the potential shines through - it's simple but I get a very vivid picture from the sentence. She was led to her usual seat, drinks already waiting. Arthur looked around wild-eyed, everyone else seemed mesmerized by the games. Who the hell is Arthur? I never get a sense of what his part is. What's the point of the character?

“I’ll have my usual game, usual stakes, and teach Mr. Penner here how to play Pai-Gow. He’s really quite keen at cards,” she said to the server, one of Mr. Chiu’s countless nephews. Again, I guess this is London again.

“But first, I’ve got to go speak with Mr. Chin,” she smiled No, she didn't loving smile a sentence. You can't smile words. Just end her sentence, then start a new one. "...Mr. Chin.' She smiled and rose, taking her purse." and rose, taking her purse.

She walked over to the far end of the room. Men stood at either side of painted blinds, looking straight ahead. She pictured Mr. Chin sitting at a table behind the painted dragons. She breathed in, the smell was unmistakeable. Another comma splice. "She breathed in. The smell was unmistakeable."

The same one the night that man, Eddie, was shot outside the hotel. Very clumsy, hard to parse. "The same smell from that night. When Eddie (or that man) was shot outside the hotel." The same night she’d lost her inheritance twice over at the tables. She saw the tussle, the assassin running past with a sweater pulled over his head.Huh? Is it pulled up so he can't see? If so, why is he running? Why does he have a sweater pulled over his head anyway? What does it tell us? Nothing. A smell she couldn’t place until weeks after, when she’d gone to fetch her mother’s dresses at the Chiu Laundromat.

Spices, sesame oil, bamboo, rice and liquor. A smell so unmistakeable it could have only come from Mr. Chiu’s kitchen. She’d spent weeks piecing things together, trying to figure out the extent of his business dealings. She’d be a hero for bringing him in – she could always make up a story – he had, in any case, killed Eddie.Okay, now I'm even more confused. Who killed Eddie? Mr. Chiu? And does Eleanor even know Eddie? If not, why does she care? Is he just a Concerned Citizen?

She nodded at the men, they bowed slightly. She stepped behind the blind and sat down across from Mr. Chiu. Vitality still shone through his weathered face. She smiled as if to speak but drew the pistol from her purse instead. Three short cracks and she let it clatter to the floor.
She stood and announced, “You’re all under arrest” before the screaming started.What. So she just wasted Chiu? And now she's doing a citizen's arrest? What the gently caress is going on in this story?


I’m sorry to tell you this, Willy, but your brother’s death was an accident. I’m sorry I had to shake you down, but you were a witness. Y’see, when your brother came over, he’d been wearing a .44 under his shoulder. Except he didn’t quite get the holster right, caught a strap on the trigger. Our doctor figures that when you hit him it was enough to set the gun off. What's the point of this? Why do we give a gently caress about Willy? This story is too short for us to care about both Eleanor and Willy. You need to pick one. Not only that, but did Chiu kill Eddie or did Willy? Is Willy taking the rap for Chiu, or is it the other way around?

This isn't even a mystery, unless the mystery is why you decided this was a presentable story. You have a lot of good stuff going on here. There's a nice old-timey proto-noir feel, but it's ruined by bad dialogue and no concrete sense of place. You have all the pieces of a good mystery or at least crime story in that setting - rich girl losing money in a seedy gambling den, drunken kid taking the blame for something he didn't do (or did he?), inscrutable villainous Orientals. But you don't loving deliver, dude. This is a mess. I would really like to see what would come out if you take my feedback to heart, sit down, and re-write this thing. Write it with however many words you need, up to 2000. Post it in the Redemption Thread and I'll give you more feedback.

Only if you want to. But I'd really like to see it.

Nov 15, 2012

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

I'm in.

Aug 7, 2013




I'm in with Evil Clowns.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Behold my brain the golden throne of my consciousness. In here I am seated. Shackled. From here I police the land.

God Over Djinn posted:

However, I humbly request that you not deal with literal poo poo, you Freudian loving weirdos.

Tentatively in.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

For you, fine. But only if you don't describe a civet making GBS threads coffee beans.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I am in with thinking about the immortality of the crab.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Some crits. Working from the back this time.

V for Vegas posted:

The Dark Side of the Moon. 688

The giant wall screen on the side of the control room showed the Apollo 9 mission path up to the Moon and back to Earth in a looped figure eight. At the top of the loop, behind the Moon, a small white dot crept along the track, representing the command module travelling at 20,000 miles per hour.

“Telemetry about to come back on line as the Endeavour command pod emerges from the dark side of the moon in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Fred, it’s good to have you back.”

Static hissed into the control room.

“Fred? Are you there? Comms, what’s going on, is there a problem with the pod?”

“Negative chief, all lights green.”

“What do you mean they’re all green, why isn’t he answering?”

“Video coming on line now chief.”

A separate monitor to the side of the main screen turned on. Its grainy black and white footage showed the inside of the module; the instrumentation, the heat cladding and the notable absence of its former occupant, Captain Alfred Worden. I think you missed a trick with this first section; you're being all BEEP BOOP SITUATION NOMINAL and that is ultimately boring, especially at the top of the story, but you can rescue it with a cool counterpoint or image (say a pen spinning in zero g or something)- 'the notable absence of its former occupant' is terrible quasi-Victorian blibble. Creep us out a little and this opening could work much better.


Cigarette smoke wreathed around the fluorescent tubes in the conference room. It grew thicker as the three men seated around the table each lit up another cigarette this reads like they all do it in unison, which is comical and stared silently at the internal footage of the Endeavour before it went into the dead zone behind the Moon. The tape had stopped but the moment replayed over and over again in their minds, wait so they are staring at a blank screen replaying it in their minds? a brief smile and wave from Worden as he turned his head away and the feed cut out.

The Chief stubbed out his half smoked cigarette. “Alright, I have a meeting with the head of NASA in 15 minutes. What could have happened? Hans? You’re the rocket scientist.”

“Three possibilities,” said Hans. “First, the Captain was ejected from the module.“

“Telemetry shows there is no record of the hatch opening. Anyway, how would it close again after he was out?” said the Chief.

“You did not ask me for an answer Chief,” replied Hans. “I am outlining the possibilities only. Second, some outside interference may have vaporised the Captain. The pod may have passed through an intense, highly localised beam of radiation from a supernova that reacted with his organic matter.”

“And his non-organic suit but not the pod?”

“That is a problem with the theory, yes. Finally, there is the third possibility.”

“Which is?”

“I do not know Chief, but as the first two possibilities have been eliminated, there must be a third.” oh for gods sake get on with it

“Goddamnit you stupid kraut bastard, two men are stranded up there on the surface of the Moon while an empty command pod orbits around them. Where did he go and how do we get them all back safely?”

Hans drew in his cigarette, keeping eye contact with the Chief. He exhaled, the smoke blowing out over the table.

“I do not know. There is no equation that solves this puzzle.”

The Chief looked at the third man at the table. Dressed in a dark suit, he was looking down at his pale hands that were tapping a cigarette on the table. “What have you got to say Childs, have you told the President yet?” the Chief said to him.

“No,” said Childs. He looked at Hans. “You can think of no way to explain what happened to the Captain. This is important.”

Hans shook his head. “No.”

Childs sighed and looked back at his hands. “I was really hoping you wouldn’t say that. Well then, as they say in Hollywood, the show must go on.” this entire section could have been replaced with THEY WERE BAFFLED, NO MATTER HOW MANY CIGS THEY SMOKED


“Telemetry about to come back on line as the Endeavour command pod emerges from the dark side of the moon in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Fred, it’s good to have you back.”

“Hey there Chief, you’re interrupting my beauty sleep you know.”

“Yeah, yeah. Alright come on guys, let’s get the day’s metrics up and running.”

A separate monitor to the side of the main screen turned on. Its grainy black and white footage showed the inside of the module; the instrumentation, the heat cladding and grinning out at them, the figure of Captain Alfred Worden. wHAT.

J. Comrade posted:

Free Parking Mystery in 528 words
I drove her to work 10 hours ago free and easy, no cares in our world. Now I’m seeing the damage for the first time. Her burgundy paint flakes from a deep new crease high on the left. Lipstick traces of a strangers white paint parallel the dent for a yard ending in busted orange glass that was the front turn signal. My car has touched another car. I don’t know where it happened or when. I don’t know the other car but the damage is plain. I got the news from Paco. He really gave it to me, socked it right to me. having paco in the first para sets up an expectation of his involvement in the rest of the story that isn't ultimately met.

When the swing shift whistle blew me down towards the exit Paco the fink was waiting by the door. His eyes fixed on me like to say something and maybe walk out together. nice detail Unwelcome attention. His lips curled and twitched and barely kept the lid on a sleazy grin. I guessed he was chewing some rude blue punch line with my name on it.

He coughed, “your car is hosed”.

I thought I got off easy, I thought he‘d choked on the line or spit too quick and queered the funny. Ok up to here I'm enjoying the control and noiresque patter.

Feeling relief I came back “nothings wrong with her a hundred dollars won‘t fix”.

He fell in behind and we walked through the door. Now we’re out in the lot and all that relief is gone. How I wish I could have it back.

Paco slides up for the shot “Hundred bucks won’t fix that. At least the turn signal bulb didn’t smash; it’s still a violation though. You gotta be careful driving like that. The pigs out here love to catch a guy driving like that. Were you drunk when it happened?” But now I'm wondering what the point of him is.

It’s a trick question. Was I driving when it happened?

Parked here all day, head in right next to Paco’s green sedan. Now here we are. No shards on the ground, the damage didn’t happen here.

“No. I don’t think so, I hope not…” my answer pleases the fink. Yuck.

Wheel in hand I’m sweating cold lead wee wee wee all the way home. Nope.

I slosh her up to the curb below the bungalows. We street park just North of the driveway, same spot we left this morning. Jump out, take two steps and my heel scratches glass into asphalt. Amber twinkles in the gutter turn me around. Pluck a shard put it next to her wound: it’s a match for the turn signal. I begin to imagine a sequence of events for which I could be blameless.

Up the driveway I dash past my bungalow out back to the carports. A fat white minivan lays diagonal inside her own port. She’s pricked, pocked and scratched all over. Still it’s a trick to get my good look at the part I want. Some pawing and peeking soon reveals the reciprocal gash of burgundy paint deep in her sick pale bumper.

Flush and throbbing with self-righteous indignation I’m back out into the street. She was hit while stationary and unoccupied, by a lousy neighbor turning into the driveway.

Sometimes bad things happen to good cars parked on the street. OK, no further line comments because your prose has a nice vaguely hard-boiled triptrap quality to it, but honestly - how are we supposed to care about what happens in this story? Dude has his car hit by a neighbour, is told about it by a co-worker. And?

Black Griffon posted:

'Nam Soliloquy - 748

The worst thing is the feeling that something irreplaceable have has been lost. The white bones jutting out of my hand is the first sign. I don't know much about medicine, I usually leave that too the medics, words in first para = gold dust but I know that a sufficiently serious wound will leave you with a permanently hosed up appendage 'serious wound' next to 'appendage' is weird, as one is general and one is specific., and that it's especially true for your hands. All those little bones. Nice last line, but this is a pretty drat messy first para.

I try to relate the feeling to something, and I remember all those awful moments when you're young and every mistake and poor decision feels like it'll stay with you for life. When that one time you broke a vase meant the end of the world. The difference is, all that fear was in? from? a child's mind, and at the end of the day, it meant nothing.

But this will stay with me until the end of my life, and it looks like that'll happen quite soon. The second shot has entered my thigh, just above the knee. That's another thing I know about medicine, a wound to the leg means you'll bleed out quick without attention. I could apply a tourniquet, but I don't really know how, and I'd probably need both hands. I if I'd known, maybe I'd be on a Chinook out of here. Jesus, Griffon, proofread you lazy bastard.

For some reason I think about the place where I'll die. Tables folded together, stacked against the wall, chairs against the other wall. The smell of lasagna still in the air. Brass decided the troops needed a good meal before Khe Sanh. Not the kind of thing I'd think of. Maybe if I did, I'd be on a Chinook out of here instead of the mess hall floor. The drone of the rotors have grown dimmer, steady like some great beast departing. As they leave one by one, I notice more and more. OK now you're settling into it. The repetition of the Chinook line is one of my favourite things about this, coming round like rotor blades.

The dull, orange light of a grill in the kitchen. If I found out who left that on, I would have yelled until I was hoarse. Maybe I'd be on a Chinook right now if I were nicer.

That's not the kind of thing they teach you. But I should have been taught more. Every single one of them were right, I didn't deserve this.

The promotion, I mean. This, I probably deserve.

A fork in a corner, under one of the chairs, gleaming silver with flecks of red and brown.

Moonlight, shutter-pattern on the gray floor, hazy now and then from passing clouds. I love details and you are feeding my fetish nicely.

A noise from the kitchen and I realize I'm falling asleep. I lift my head up, my neck aches, more than it should, black dots swim past my eyes, settle like falling leaves. Private McCullen appears, holding a steak knife. I don't think he was the one who fired the shots. He's sweating, fatigues damp. Scratches his neck and breathes heavily. He kneels down.

“I'm gonna leave this here,” he says, “ I don't know. Just, do what you want.”

“Kill myself?”

“I don't know, man.” We diss on meaningless dialogue a lot here, and that's exactly what this isn't.

I close my eyes for a moment. I try to smile, get on top of the situation, but it doesn't work, and I realize I can't open my eyes. That, or I can't see.

I don't know much about medicine, but if I were to guess, I'd say I'm dying pretty quick. Last steps of the journey.

“Did they tell you to finish me off?” I say.

“What?” I like that this implies he was mumbling, because of you know bleeding to death.

He's further away now, on the way out. I guess he thought the job was done.

“The others. Did they tell you to finish me off.”

Going by the buzz, there's a single Chinook remaining by the time he speaks.


“Why didn't you?”

“You hosed up sarge, but I never wanted this. You hosed us up, Stenson most of all, but I never wanted this.”

“So you leave it up to me?”


“You're a coward.”

“I know.”

The door closes. The beast departs.

If I'd known more about people, more about palm trees at odd angles and hidden nails packed in hidden charges. More about leading from the front and taking advice. If I'd known more about men burning from the inside, trapped in a wreck. About danger close. If I'd known more about cauterizing wounds and tourniquets and Stenson's last wishes. If I'd known more about Phillips and Jackson and Rourke before I let them die.

If I'd known more about hell before I sent them there, maybe I'd be on a Chinook out of here.

But now I'll know no more. I'm not convinced by the last line, feels a bit self consciously clever. But I liked this one a lot and it was one of my picks for winner - it probably wouldn't have been if I'd paid closer attention to all the sloppy bits though.

No Longer Flaky posted:

Gold in the Rough
800 Words

Plop. Plop. Ppfth. Plop. Luke stood up from the toilet to wipe. Then he saw it. His jaw dropped. It can’t be, he thought. He crouched to get a better look. Holy loving poo poo. Given how poo-centric this piece (lol) is, maybe pick another swear word. There’s a piece of corn in my poo poo. Impulsively he snatched the log out of the water.

There it was, a bright golden kernel shining bright against the light brown poo poo containing it. I would paint a, uh, picture wrt the smell and stuff too, and how he reacts to that. He snapped a photo with his phone, then dropped the poo poo back in the toilet. He washed his hands then walked back into the bedroom “I almost died yesterday! Can you believe it?” Haha, I like the passive aggression of this. But the bedroom was empty. Mary had left for the gym early today.

He had dodged a bullet for sure, Luke was deathly allergic to corn. When did I eat corn? Why didn’t I have a reaction? Even touching corn produced hives all over his body and causes his throat to close up. Eating it would kill him within minutes, an Epipen would only reduce symptoms for a few minutes, by the end of which he would have to be in a hospital or he’d be dead. good straightforward plot laying.

He opened his food-log for yesterday to check what he ate. Seven am- health smoothie at home. Ten am- granola and greek yogurt. Noon- salad. Three pm- veggies and fruits. Then for dinner at six thirty pm smoked salmon and rice pilaf for dinner. Was the tamper-proof seal of tape broken on his Tupperware at work? No, he would have remembered if it was. Plus who would poison him there? That weasel eyed midget John? It’s true he was upset that his hours had been cut, but he was too big of a pussy to poison anyone. Wasn’t he? But if not John then who? there's a nice progression of character revelation going on here, and you do a good job painting a picture with the details you choose.

Last night Mary had been really insistent about cooking dinner. Weirdly so. She said she was tired of all the health food. Luke suggested she bake some brownies, he even said she could put some icing on top. That had been a good compromise. Haha. He had always told her that those brownies were filled with sugars and fats and salts that would kill her someday. A despicable thought popped into his head, had she turned his words around on him? Stuffed some corn under the icing she laid on top of the brownies. He pictured her laughing to herself as she stuffed some secret corn underneath the icing on his piece. But she wouldn’t do that, would she? She had watched him intently as he ate it. The dawning realisation/showing this guy is a controlling douchebag strands are both working well.

Luke heard the door front door slam, Mary was already back from her workout.

Mary came through the bedroom door, a look of surprise on her face when she saw Luke. No - she came through the door, then looked surprised.

“Surprised to see me up and out of bed, honey?” Luke asked. Fuuck what a dick.

“No, just usually you’re getting ready for work, you have to be at the gym in twenty minutes don’t you?” Cheryl Mary asked.

“Come over here, I have to show you something that I found this morning. Maybe you can explain to me what it is,” Luke replied holding out his phone to show her the picture he took earlier.

Cheryl bent close and looked at the picture, “Ewww gross. Is that poop?”

“Yes it’s poop, what else would it be?” Luke asked, “See that yellow right there? See that?? It’s corn. Why would there be corn in my poo poo Cheryl?”

“How should I know? Did you eat corn yesterday?”

“No I didn’t eat any corn, I’m allergic remember? I’d die if I ate it, don’t play dumb with me.”

“You don’t need to raise your voice at me,” Cheryl said.

“Oh? I’m not allowed to be angry when someone tries to murder me? That’s not a suitable time to yell?” Luke asked, spittle flying with every syllable.

“You need to calm down,” Cheryl said. “You’re scaring me.”

“Just admit that you did it and I’ll think about whether or not I can forgive you,” Luke said. He had begun to pace the room.

“I’m leaving, you’re crazy,” Cheryl said. She gathered some clothes then left. “Only you could get so upset about some corn in their poo poo. rear end in a top hat.”

Good riddance you poisoning bitch, Luke thought. Don’t need you anyways. He pulled out his phone again to inspect the picture again, fuming. He zoomed the picture in close, then noticed something he hadn’t before. The “corn” shone oddly bright in the light. Brighter than a kernel of corn should after it had been passed through the digestive tract. It had some weird indentations in it also, cracks and juts in the bottom and smooth rounded sides. Then it hit him, he reached up and felt for the gold cap that the dentist had implanted a few years ago after a root canal. It was missing.

Oh gently caress, he thought. Even after like 15 terrible poo poo-related stories I liked this one; you hosed up the names, which is the sort of thing you should always proofread to catch, but apart from that I have very few criticisms.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

Paper Bag
1000 Words

“Kids,” Miss Early said with crossed arms, “I’m going to leave the classroom unlocked during lunch, so whoever took Eric’s valentines bag can return it. This kind of joke is never funny, and all you’re doing is hurting a friend.” Tight. Sets up the scenario, gives a push off to the next para.

Except, Eric White wasn’t a friend to any of us. In fact, I was the only friend he had, and I didn’t even like him. You know he once glued his own eyelids shut in art? If it weren’t for Miss Early helping him, he might have gone blind. It wasn’t that he was a bad guy, just weird. Eric was the kind of kid to eat sliced cucumbers for lunch instead of chips. Just yesterday while we were decorating our bags, he kept trying to make us laugh. “Orange you glad I didn’t say orange?” he’d ask nervously.

As we lined up in the classroom and held hands in a chain, I saw Miss Early take Sarah Burgess’s hand in hers. Her nails were painted like a summer peach and despite the coldness of her demeanor, sparked by this theft, I wanted to walk in her sunshine. I decided then to do it for her.

The cafeteria was a badlands of gossipers, pranksters, and fighters, and the kid I needed to see was a mixture of all three. Jeremy Griffib was a scruffy two-timer with a ringworm in his forehead, who spent most lunches trading away his snacks and always coming out with the better deal. If anything sketchy was happening at Plaza Elementary School, you can bet that Jeremy knew about it, if he didn’t have a hand in it from the get-go. After a quick scan, I found him in the back of the room, turning pretzel sticks into pixie sticks. I didn't think BRick was all that great actually. And while school noir is a p great genre, it feels weird starting it in the fourth para?

“Look,” he said while scooting next to a scrawny 2nd grader, “these pretzels are better for you than this garbage here. Don’t you know that candy stunts your growth? You’ll be little forever if you eat these.” As he talked, his fingers kicked the sweets in his direction, purple, red, purple, orange. I counted ten total.

“Jeremy,” I said. Both he and the boy seemed startled, but his busy fingers grabbed a handful more as he stood up.

“Rich, what’s up?” he asked.

As we walked toward the lunch line I gave him the pitch, “Well you know that jam I got you out of last week? I need a favor. I need to know who took Eric White’s bag of Valentines during the assembly earlier.”

Jeremy rubbed his head. “I heard about that. All that was left was a pile of glitter on the floor? Well, even with the candy inside, it’s not a good score.”


“Sorry, I don’t know anything.”

“Nothing?” I asked. “Can you at least give me any leads?”

“Sorry man. But here,” he said, “cheer up, have some pixie sticks.” Bit of dead dialogue here

I pocketed them, opening one for the moment. The next step was to try and find Eric and see if he made any enemies recently, but after checking high and low he seemed to be missing too. I opened another pixie stick and flicked the wrapper to the floor, then another. The sweet powder did a good job of momentarily staving off the despair, but the feeling returned after learning that all my other sources were as blind as I was. Keep it punchy.M aybe it was the candy, or maybe it was the failure, but I felt sick, so I went to the nurse. I didn’t expect so see Jess Readings there.

Jess was always a quiet girl, and since she wore an insulin pump on her side, many of the kids thought she was weird. It wasn’t unusual for her to visit the nurse, but she normally didn’t go during lunch.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I feel anxious,” She said as she gingerly tapped her glucose monitor. “I’ve been in here all day,” she added with a huff as she blew , blowing a strand of her blonde hair upwards. “Great way to spend a Valentine’s Day.”

“So I guess you didn’t hear the news?” I asked.

“What happened?”

Eric had his valentines stolen?

Jess frowned. “That’s sad,” She said “Eric’s always been nice to me; I just don’t get why people have to pick on him. Well, at least I still have my valentine to give him.”

Nurse Garcia walked in. “Rich,” she said, “What are you doing here? Trouble with your asthma?”

“Not today.” I replied. “Just a stomach ache.”

“Well,” Nurse Garcia said “We better take your temperature. Just let me clean the glitter off this thermometer. I swear Jess, you are the sparkliest girl in the school. Must match your personality”

A beeping interrupted my thoughts.

“Jess, you’re low.” Nurse Garcia said.

“I’ve got some candy, Jess.” I handed her the straw and as she dumped its contents onto her tongue, I kept my hand out, offering to throw her trash away. The wrapper was covered in silver glitter, but was it the same glitter as from the floor under Eric’s desk?

“I got to go.” I said, running out the door.

I thought about my victory as I ran to the classroom. Richard, Miss Early would say. Thank you for helping me. You are my hero. Would you like to be line leader? She’d ask as she offered me her hand. All I needed to do was match the straw to the glitter on the floor through the window. I looked into the classroom. The floor was red.

Then I saw Eric. He was with Miss Early at her desk with a crumpled tissue in his hand. They both stood up, and he hugged her fiercely. Head nestled against her side; he made eye contact with me, gently mouthing “Go away,” and waving me off. As the two left the room, I hid behind the trash can.

“Will you walk me to lunch?” He asked with a sniffle.

“Sure,” she said, opening her soft hand. Nice. My only real problem with this is some slightly bland dialogue; keep it punchy when you're doing this kind of thing.

QuoProQuid posted:

Geriatrics - 590 words

Clara Lansbury disliked funerals and habitually avoided them out of habit 'out of habit' implies it is only motivated by habit, habitually implies she mostly avoids them because she didn't like them. 'As a rule' would also work. While her friends got enjoyment from knowing they had outlived their peers, Clara did not consider it healthy for the elderly to dwell on death. Today, however, was an exception. Hher doctor was dead and Clara wanted to see if anyone suspected she poisoned the poor bastard. Punch works better this way?

“I just can’t believe he’s gone,” said the widow, proving herself as useless as ever, “Hank and I were planning to move down to Florida. I don’t know what happened.”

“The police haven’t mentioned anything, dear?” said Clara, trying to be patient after enduring thirty minutes of rambling stories and incoherent sobbing. It's unclear whether this happens after or before the widow's line? 'Having endured' might work better.

The woman shook her head, “No, they haven’t told me anything. I don’t know what they are waiting for.”

Clara nodded in agreement and excused herself. She had already thought the scheduling of the funeral suspicious, most people wanted to have the service as soon as possible. Arranging the ceremony a week after death was pushing the limits of acceptability. It was obvious that the police suspected foul play and had tried holding the body. The stupid woman hadn’t put the facts together.

Clara mingled around yuck the room, collecting facts and snippets of idle chatter.

“Oh yeah, it took them forever to get back the body. It took so long that they seriously considered making the ceremony closed casket-.”

“Well, my brother plays golf with the city coroner on Sundays up at Lake Shore and according to him, Dr. Brenshac was given a lethal dose of his own medication! I could hardly believe-.”

“I guess you can’t say the family isn’t stingy. Look at all these hydrangeas, they aren’t even in season-!”

“…and the family just took out a life insurance policy too. My office is handling the case. It’s all mighty suspicious if you ask me.”

The room was a swirl of idle chatter. double yuck Everyone agreed that the doctor’s death was not natural, he had been far too young. The only person who suggested otherwise was the wife, which the guests found extremely suspicious. I know you're going for sort of Murder-she-wrote style archness, but this seems like an odd funeral.

“I bet she bumped him off,” Clara heard waiting in line for the viewing, “she’s got a big inheritance coming, you know.”

“Oh, don’t talk like that! Lana’s devoted to her husband. She would never,” someone whispered.

“I’m telling you. It’s all an act. She was sick and tired of his poo poo. You know he was messing around with his patients?”

Clara knew that fact firsthand.

“The cops are just waiting for confirmation that the doctor was poisoned. Then they’re going to lock her up. She’s the only person with a motive and access to the murder weapon. The house is filled with drugs.” A very odd funeral.

Clara didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because she was too busy with her own thoughts. Even if she didn’t fit the psychological profile of a killer, it would not be long before the widow was arrested. The insurance scheme was too juicy a motive to ignore. The media would devour her and the police would not stand in the way of an easy arrest. Clara estimated that the whole ordeal would be over in a few months. No one would question the old arthritic crone, let alone suspect her.

Clara reached the coffin and looked down at the man that she had killed. The mortician had done a wonderful job giving him the illusion of life. It seemed impossible that he was actually dead. She could almost see his eyes bulging open in surprise, his mouth widening to scream, nostrils flaring. It was a wonderful sight. Ehhhhh. So what actually happens? Woman kills evil doctor dude, listens to implausible funeral conversations. Challenge your protagonist more.

Aug 2, 2002

You realize it’s never smart to do anything on an empty stomach, except maybe swim, and scarf down the “taco.” It lands in your stomach with a thud. It doesn’t make you feel any better, but the rumbling stops and you figure it’s now or never to ask Molly to the dance.

You shuffle over to her holding your churning stomach. Halfway to her the quesiness returns, but further south. You stop, and don’t know whether to proceed or run away.

Unexpectedly Molly looks up at you. She sets her book on the grass and tilts her head. “Jake?”

Trapped. You have no choice but to go talk to her. You go over to her and try not to wince. “Oh, Hi Molly.”

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I think so. Just feel a little sick after eating the school lunch.”

She covers her mouth. “Oh no, you didn’t eat the taco did you?”


“That’s why I always bring my lunch from home,” she says, holding up a PB&J. “I’m Molly by the way.”

“Huh? Oh, uh, hi.” Your head swims and you try to focus on not making GBS threads yourself. Molly’s words are distant and confusing.

“Do you remember me?” she asks.

“Of course, you’re in my class,” you say, but your mind is racing with ways to excuse yourself and head to the nearest bathroom.

“You don’t look so good,” she says. “Do you want me to get the school nurse?”

“No, no, I’ll be fine,” you lie. “I think I’m going to go sit down though.”

“Yeah, that sounds like it might be good.”

You’re about to turn to leave when you hear somebody yell “heads!” You look up to see Gus running straight toward you. You realize too late that he doesn’t see you, instead he’s looking over his shoulder at a flying football, and he runs into you. Not only does he hit you, but his arms wrap around you as you both fall to the ground, and he lands on top of you, his bony hip pushing into your stomach.

You hit the ground and suddenly don’t feel bad anymore. The pain is gone and you feel relaxed. You figure the fright of Gus’ tackle must have made you forget about your nervousness in asking Molly to the dance. You sit up, ready to thank Gus when you feel the wetness in your pants.

Molly’s friend runs over from the lunch line. “I saw that crash, are you alright?”

“I”m fine,” says Molly.

Shannon looks over at you and scrunches her nose. “Oh my god, what is that smell?”

Gus jumps up and backs away slowly. “Oh man, I’m so sorry. Oh poo poo.”

Molly screams. “He crapped his pants!”

Shannon laughs and points at you. “You’re gross!” she yells. “You’re a disgusting boy. You’re filthy!”

Out of nowhere, Gus lands a solid blow with his fist against Shannon’s face. She falls to the ground and he helps you up for the second time in as many days. “Told you I’d clobber anybody that made fun of you.”

“Let’s just get out of here.”

You and Gus run for the fence away from the school. You look back one last time to see Molly crying and Shannon on the ground.

“I don’t like her that much anyway,” you say. You see Officer James running across the field, and you and Gus run through the gate, not knowing where to go, but knowing you can never show your face in that school again.

The End

crabrock fucked around with this message at 06:40 on Aug 4, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

crabrock posted:

oh god, where do i even begin

no u may not have reacharound

Apr 12, 2006

I'm in.

Apr 1, 2010



Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

God Over Djinn posted:

If you start an argument about gender, I will set you on fire.

Djinn may set you ablaze, but I will subject you to goddamn arc flash.

Yes, I agreed to help judge. Be afraid. (And channel that fear into writing decently, for once in your miserable little lives.)

Aug 10, 2011


I'm in! Thought I'd do a weird poo poo classic.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

JamieTheD posted:

Under an hour? BOOYAH!

A Simple Question

Sol Greenham was a mess. His office, Detective Peters reflected, was no better. The forensics team bustling about the place had naturally left everything untouched, so the deep blue carpet was stained with vomit and spilled coffee. Papers strewn from the hand of the late CEO of Greenham-Landers Chemicals further added to the disarray. Death was never tidy, but the condition of the body, twisted as it was, implied deliberation. This doesn't make any sense to me. Why does a twisted body imply deliberation?

Still, the forensics team were efficient, he noted with some satisfaction. The body, the office, the papers, were all being photographed, measurements were being made, and all Peters needed to do was flag down the team leader and ask what was what. Simple, tidy... Peters preferred things that way. Also, no ashtrays. Peters didn't get on with smoke and smokers, so that was another plus.

Sol Greenham had, it seemed, died of toxic shock, while looking over the latest reports from his head of research. Preliminary guess was between midnight and four AM, and interviews had established only three people on site at the time: The secretary, Carol Allen, the head of research, Peter Grenberg, and the VP, Michael Landers. All had been working late, all had visited Mr. Greenham before his estimated demise. Still, something felt off to Peters.

“So, what was the secretary doing here so late? I can understand the VP and the research guy, upper management tends to keep odd hours. But her?”

The forensics guy nodded. “She was helping to tidy up a presentation on their new rat-poison. Nasty stuff, but the formula's right there on his papers, and it seems like it'd work quick, and relatively safely for things that aren't rats, too.” Peters nodded, satisfied for the moment, and asked if the team were done with the papers. They were, so he flicked idly through the papers on the desk. Greenham, it seemed, was a tidy guy in life. Diary neatly pencilled in with his appointments, even little meetings he had off schedule. Just as noted, three little notes were pencilled into last night's page.

11:43PM – Carol. Presentation guidelines. Raise discussion. Raise denied.
11:52PM – Grenberg. Brief discussion on research. Possible flaws? Benefits?
12:03AM – Mike. Just checkin' in. Untidy as always, but does people well.
12:05AM – Read local papers. Protests continue.

The last one confused Peters a little, because it was off tone, but a quick flick through confirmed that nearly all the entries about his VP were less formal, more friendly. Gotta check into that.

* * *

Greenham's body wasn't what was annoying Detective Peters. It wasn't the cause of death (poison), it wasn't the coroner's mood (annoyingly rapturous). It was much more simple than that, and he placed his hand over his face before trying, once more, to engage Doctor Mayles on the subject.

“Okay, so this businessman, Sol Greenham, was killed by... tobacco?”

Doctor Mayles grinned. It was a morbid thing, and the delight in his voice pissed Peters off. “Nicotine, in fact,” he said “Nicotine, the main active ingredient in tobacco, and some pesticides, if I recall. Not easy for an amateur to get in its purest form, but then, you don't need the purest form, since cigarettes contain -” he went silent as Peters held up his hand.

“It comes from tobacco, or pesticides, and it kills you if you take enough, like any drug. This, I understand. I also understand it's really common, and can be extracted really easily. Messily, with lots of other poisons too, but easily.” Peters sighed. “What I want to know, Doc, is how this can lead to a conviction, since we know the guy wasn't a smoker, and he died alone.”

Mayles grin, if anything, grew even wider. “Anyone can get hold of tobacco! You repeat yourself a lot. But that's not the best part. The delivery method was through his coffee, enough... Well, he would have tasted it in his first swig, and it still wouldn't have mattered." Death was...” at this, Mayles hesitated. “...Ah, yes. You probably... think this is odd, don't you?”

Peters nodded. He didn't like talking to Mayles, because Mayles was a little too into mysteries. Mysteries were good, they passed time. But real mysteries were a headache, and often led to stupid, petty people walking away from stupid, petty things unpunished. “Doc, I appreciate that this is a brainteaser, but how... can we tell... who did this?”

Mayles, still excited, but more sober now, nodded. “Well,” he began “We'd start with the obvious: Who could put something in his drink between, say, 11:40 and ten past midnight? Any later, and somebody else would have noticed the warning signs.”

Peters explained about the three co-workers, and Mayles nodded. “So,
you've got three people. All I can say is that it was relatively quick, for a nicotine poisoning.” At this last, Peters perked up, and grinned almost as widely as the doc had before. “Doc... You wanna go over some stuff with me? I was never good at this sort of thing.”

* * *

Peter Grenberg sat in the interrogation room, and in front of Peters was sitting calmly, with , who had a sheaf of papers in one hand, and a coffee in the other. Grenberg also had a coffee, but it was untouched. Peters laid the papers down, sipped his coffee, and smiled at the sweating chemist. A statement lay between them, a conclusion. A victory.

“Mr. Grenberg,” said Peters “Your idea was brilliant. Nicotine is a common toxin, and you could have gotten away. If”, and he leaned forward now, predatory, “you hadn't been the focus of Mr. Greenham's ire. Your poisons weren't working safely enough, you'd gotten some protestors' backs up, and you wanted to keep your job. That was unlikely with Greenham alive, and Landers was more of a people guy than a chemist. Thank you for your help, and putting it down to a simple question.” Shproing, you leap to the solution just like that. This really doesn't work, as Grenberg isn't actually a character. Peters is sketched out ok, but it's still very rote and while there is probably a clever idea behind it, it doesn't have any room to breathe.

Fumblemouse posted:

Combined Mystery entry and Bad Seafood homework

Formerly of The Yard

Inspector Daggins, formerly of The Yard, nodded at the constable beside him and flung open the doors to the drawing room where the suspects were gathered. He strode purposefully general adverb principle: cut unless they change the meaning of the sentence inside, hangover pounding in his head like the guns of Passchendaele while this overblown simile sets the tone/period, I am not a fan. Every eye turned to him as he announced, “Madame Guillinot is dead, and you, Miss Wilder, are the murderer!”

The room collectively gasped. Lady Boilingstoke clutched at her South Sea Pearls, Miss Tavisham collapsed dramatically onto a nearby chaise longue and Cribbens the butler almost rattled the tray from which the tea was being served.

Miss Wilder, however, remained calm, drawing her cigarette holder to her vivid, red lips. “Inspector Daggins, you preposterous little man,” she drawled in a heavy american accent. “Have you been at the Wild Grouse again? I would have thought your recent suspension from The Yard would have been a shot across the bow of HMS Plastered.” What she's saying is fine, but it's terribly clunky as dialogue. Rephrase.

Daggins ignored the jibe and stepped toward Miss Wilder, eyes never dropping from hers. I think my overall problem with this piece is it veers between parodic and almost serious, and this is the latter. “You thought you could cover your tracks with your attempts on Father Torrington’s honour, making sure Miss Tavisham saw you kiss him on the balcony, but that pillar of the community did not rise to your lascivious ploys.”

Miss Wilder waved her hand between Daggin’s mouth and her own delicate nose. “This is nonsense, flavoured with halitosis.” she said, arching a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “For one thing, Father Torrington is merely a man, and could never resist my feminine wiles. Isn’t that right, Father T?”

Father Torrington looked as if he would rather walk the stations of the cross before answering the question, but he did, ultimately, emit a sheepish response to the affirmative nodded, sheepishly. The deliberate overwriting works better when it has space to breathe.

“And yet,” said Daggins, swallowing back a wave of nausea, “we know he’s lying, because Mrs Bulgar in the laundry remarked this morning on how preternaturally clean his underwear was. So what could cause a priest to lie? Only one thing - the threat of a greater transgression being uncovered. Isn’t that right, Miss Wilder? Or should I say - Mister Wilder?”

If the room collectively gasped before, this time it inhaled so hard it stole the very breath from the nearby village. Miss Tavisham even fainted but thankfully was already well arranged.

Daggins pressed on, sweating a tad now that the moment of truth had arrived. “Confronted and confused by both his and your arousal of manly parts, Father Torrington locked himself away in his room between nine and eleven. Then, while the rest of the party thought the two of you to be scurrilously alone, you appropriated the leaf of the Evalva plant from the Nativity diorama, mixed it with the Tinghams Earl Grey, knowing full well that the chemical compounds that make it England’s favourite tea would combine unfavourably. A relaxant in small doses, but an entire cup of tea would create a poison so insidious that it would seem as if Madame Guillinot had passed away in her sleep. A fact unknown to most, but not to an accomplished Chemical Engineer from MIT, such as Mister Everett Wilder, founder of Wilder Chemical, itself an ex-member of the Guillinot armaments empire after the recent human testing exposé in The Times of New York. Constable, if you would be so kind as to divest Mister Wilder of his handbag, I believe you’ll find the remains of the Evalva plant.” okay, this is all pretty clever.

The constable attempted to retrieve the handbag, but found Mister Wilder hanging on to it for grim life. A quick tussle ensued with the constable eventually wrenching it away. “She’s a strong one,” he said as he opened it, and turned it upside down upon the coffee table. There, amongst the illusory are they phantasmal, then cosmetics of womanhood, lay a crumpled collection of fern-like plants. Satisfied, the constable produced a set of handcuffs and snapped them about Mister Wilder’s wrists.

“Well done, Inspector,” said Lady Boilingstoke. “To think that it happened under the Boilingstoke roof. I have to admit, we were none too impressed when we heard you’d been assigned to our Parish, after the Lewisham shenanigans, but you have redeemed yourself in the eyes of this house at least.”

“Thank you, ma’am. That means a great deal. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a mountain of paperwork yet to be done.” And a mountain of aspirin to swallow, he thought.

Daggins and the constable left the drawing room with Mister Wilder in tow. On a whim, Daggins paused for a moment, allowing policeman and perpetrator to continue past him and through the front door. He made his way up mounted the stairs to the bedroom where Madame Guillinot lay, the continued discussion that could be heard in the drawing room growing softer as he ascended.

Daggins peered around the bedroom door and saw Madame Guillinot, her face pale as a tombstone, the half-drunk tea cup beside the cosied teapot on her nightstand. He watched her for a moment, rubbing his pained temples, considering the case. It would look good on his record, he decided, this murder solved for one of the most prestigious families in the district. It could even be his ticket back to The Yard. A word in the right ears from Mrs Boilingstoke could do wonders.

“Inspector Daggins,” mumbled Madame Guillinot. “What on earth? Oh, I feel so very tired.”

Daggins raced leapt to her side. “Madame Guillinot? My word, are you all right? There’s been a terrible fuss. A murd...I mean, I suppose, an attempted murder.” drat it, he thought. Solving an attempted murder is hardly the kind of thing upon which to rebuild a shattered reputation. Completely different class of case.

“Sacré bleu! I feel as if the Hun had decided to invade me,” said Madame Guillinot. “Is there any tea?”

The pounding in Daggins head increased. His hand reached for the teapot. And this ending is fairly clever too. However I feel like this one is not quite arch enough. If you're going parodic murder mystery, parody harder. Also, you make a huge deal of the hangover but it doesn't really pay off in any meaningful way. But you just about get away with it via clever words, you clever-word-guy.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

The Gator
400 words

Mississippi men don’t always know how to talk about their feelings. Even when they want to, the words have a way of catching in the throat. Of settling down in the heart. Amos had lost his wife and so Carl had come to comfort him.

The two men sipped their coffee and waited for the other to start up the conversation. I think the transition from tell to show might work better in a separate para?

“Alligator, huh?” Carl said finally, already knowing full well what had happened. I'm of two minds about this - it hints he knows it wasn't an alligator, but if Amos either killed her or she ran away this reads very oddly. I'd keep it more ambiguous.


“That’s awful,” Carl said, “I’m sorry.”

Amos scratched his stubble. He hadn’t shaved in a week. He hadn’t been to work either. He could barely get out of bed each morning.

“I ain’t,” Amos said, “Good riddance as far as I’m concerned.”

“That’s an ugly thing to say, Amos.”

Amos spat off his front porch and his spit glistened in the grass with the morning dew.

“She was an ugly woman,” he replied.

“That’s your wife,” Carl said.

Was my wife. She’s good and gone now.”

Amos liked to imagine it was a record breaker. Fifteen feet long and eight hundred pounds. It was easier to imagine it like that. That that’s what took her.

“It ain’t your fault,” Carl said.

“I didn’t think it was.”

“I’m just saying in case you blame yourself.”

“I don’t.”

Amos stared emotionlessly into his coffee.

“It ain’t your fault,” Carl repeated to the silence.

Carl finished his cup and left his friend with his thoughts. He walked into the house, into the living room, and stood in front of the wedding portrait. It was discolored and torn and stank of stale beer. There were bits of broken glasses embedded in it. Carl looked down and noticed a wedding ring sitting on the mantle.

He sighed.

Amos was still staring at into his coffee when Carl came back outside.

“You wanna come to work today?” Carl asked softly, “I’ll drive.”

Amos shook his head.

“Well,” Carl said, “Take care, buddy.”

Amos didn’t look up. He sat there for the rest of the morning. It was difficult to move. It was difficult to live in his house. Everywhere he looked there was a reminder of his wife. A coach I am enjoying the image of the NZ rugby coach sitting on a chair in the living room. He would like to leave at some point, but he doesn't want to make a fuss.they’d got from her mother. Silverware be specific they’d picked out together. Even the closet was filled with her clothes. The clothes that didn’t fit in a suitcase.

It was so difficult to think about her.

So he thought about an alligator instead. I quite like this, but I feel like it doesn't quite commit to the flat/low affect male relationship it's describing, which is what my edits are aimed at. Trust your characters. Plus you hint at him killing her/her running away, but with only 400 words you could probably have fleshed that out a bit more

Kaishai posted:

The Song of My Mother
(941 words)

"Are you after something particular?"

I looked up from the sheet music and into the curious eyes of the lady who would have liked to sell it to me. I slid the thin, brown-edged pages back into their plastic envelope, the envelope back into her box of songs for sale, and I told her, "I'm afraid so."

She shifted her weight on her metal folding chair. "What, darlin'? I've got a few more pieces in the house. Might be something I could part with."

One of the baby's heels pushed hard at my abdomen. I put a hand on my belly, tapping it twice: settle down, you. "I don't know exactly. It's something my mother used to play when I was little." I took as deep a breath as I could manage and sang, "The road is golden and full of bends that lead to Forever, where Time itself ends. Life takes us far, but this is still true: more than my life is how much I love you."

After twenty-three years I didn't even have the full tune anymore, just that chorus and the memory of pressing close to my mother's side on the piano bench. Her long hair had tickled my face; we'd laughed together.

The woman shook her head. "I've never heard that before, hon. I'm sorry."

"Me, too," I said. I bought a bag of Michener paperbacks from her and left, telling myself as I pulled out of the drive not to bother searching at any more yard sales. Knowing full well that I would.


Whenever I talked to Ken about the song, he was infuriatingly reasonable. "I can't be ready without it!" I would say.

He always had the same answer: "We are ready. As ready as we're going to get." He'd take my hand and lead me to the nursery to point out the cheerful yellow walls, the waiting crib, as though I hadn't helped build and paint them. But his calmness soothed me, so it was all right.

Not that time. I came home from the latest failed hunt and sank deep into our recliner, ignoring his attempts to coax me up, humming the scrap of melody until it must have driven him half insane. I think maintaining her self=absorption works better here? I'd been five when my mother had died, and her song was the only thing of hers I had to share with my child. No quantity of diapers purchased or mobiles hung would make me prepared for his birth while this one, critical thing was missing.

Ken broke my fugue by waving a phone in front of my face. "It's Ruth," he said.

My great-great-aunt Ruth had the thin, reedy voice of an eighty-year-old woman, which was impressive given she was ninety-seven. "Deborah, my grandsons have been going through my things," she said when I took the handset. "They found Billy's old home videos in the attic. I forgot all about those, but your daddy says you've been asking questions about your ma and would probably like to see them." Probly cut? It fits the picture you paint that she's been bending everyone's ear about it for ages.

"Oh--" My breath caught. "Aunt Ruth! Yes!"

"Bring your daddy when you come by. You can watch them on my TV, and you can all sort out who gets to keep them after I'm gone."

So my father and I made the long trip to Aunt Ruth's farmhouse, with Dad holding my hand some of the way. Sometimes, it was me holding his.

We sat on Aunt Ruth's battered couch and started the first tape. A family Christmas. As soon as my mother appeared on the screen, I forgot about songs. She had the long hair of my memory. She sat on the edge of the celebration, quiet, mostly, except when the camera caught her stuffing fruitcake in Dad's mouth. Beside me, he laughed at that. Her smiles had an edge I hadn't recognized as a little girl, which went away when they were turned on him. That sharpness had softened, faded almost to nothing on the third tape, when she had a baby in her arms.

I hugged my middle; my father put his arm around my shoulders.

During a video of one of Aunt Ruth's birthday parties, the cameraman abandoned the crowded dining room. He stood behind the screen door leading out to the porch, where my mother sat with me, singing. I turned the volume up.

"The road isn't lonely, and it never ends. Love is forever, and time always mends. Life's full of lies, but this one is true: more than the world is how much I love you."

Her song. But not as I'd remembered it.

"I thought it had different words," I said softly. "Those are so... cynical. Sad." As this is the (pivot) point of the story, it's a problem that you don't really sell it as different.

"She could be both. She'd be glad you don't remember her that way, honey. I think--" My father searched for the right words. "Whatever she sang, it was a happy song when it was for you."

He got up and took the tape from the VCR. He held it out to me. "I'll square this with Ruth. It's yours."

I bought an old VCR of my own at Goodwill on the way home. Ken sat with me as I watched the tape the second time. I glanced at him at one point and saw he held a pen and paper, was writing the lyrics down for me. I caught his hand and held it still.

When the tape ran out, I sang to my husband and child. My mother's song, but my variation, born out of remembered love and the happy life she had given me. I believe she would have heard the truth in it. This is sweet, and well-enough written I guess, but I feel like it's missing a central element. Conflict?

Anathema Device posted:

Zero Tolerance
954 Words

“I'm not a wimp, Mr. Flanagan. I can't keep letting him think that,” John says. Other than his voice my office is quiet; I can hear the administrative business of the school going on outside. John is moving stiffly. He won't say who's been beating him up.

An abrupt knock on the door interrupts us. I call out, “I'm in a session right now. Please come back in twenty minutes.”

Shirley, the assistant principal, sticks her head around the door in a halo of over-bleached curls and perfume. “I'm sorry to interrupt, but something important has come up that needs your attention as school counselor.”

John's face closes right up. Something important. Something other than him. “I'll be just a moment, Ms. Grimm.” I pack as much rebuke as I can into the polite sentence. I freeze, holding the door open for John, when I see the kid sitting outside.

His face is slowly swelling up, his eyes blackening. Important indeed. I turn to see John out, but he's already gone.

“This is Greg,” Shirley says. “Someone beat him up, and he's too scared to tell anyone who did it.” Greg glowers.

“I'm not a snitch,” Greg looks at Shirley for encouragement as he talks. “They told me what they'd do if I snitched.” She pats his shoulder.

“Come on into my office,” I offer. “We don't have to talk about who hurt you-” He frowns, eyebrows drawing together, “-but it's a nice safe place to sit and calm down.” His shoulder bumps me as he pushes into my office.

“Can you tell me what happened?” I ask, when we're seated. “You don't have to tell me who. Just what you remember happening.”

“Well it was in the back stairway, during class. I had a hall pass for the bathroom, but when I tried to go to the one upstairs they were there.” He speaks in a quick monotone. “They started saying poo poo, ya' know? And I didn't want to go with them there, so I went downstairs. But they must've followed.”

Finally he meets my eye, his voice coming alive with anger. “Right when I went around the landing, one of 'em jumps down off the railing and lands on me. Just starts hitting me on the back of the head. And my face goes into the stairs, that's where I got the bruise, see?” He waves a hand at his eye.

- - -

Julia's sitting with her feet propped up on her desk when I slip into the nurse's office. She gestures at the exam table. “Have a seat.”

I do, leaning back against the pillows. “So what do you think happened to Greg?”

“I think some kid jumped him when he had his back turned. He's lucky they didn't crack his skull open.” She taps a finger on her desk, lost in thought.

“He said someone followed him from the bathroom into the stairway and jumped off the stairs onto him.” I watch her graceful finger hit the wood. Tap. Tap tap.

“And he's not talking?”


“Whoever it was seems to have been lighter and smaller. Got him by surprise. I bet it's one of the kids he's always picking on. They won't turn him in, of course. drat stupid zero tolerance policy means they'll get in trouble too. But I know who does it.”

And as simple as that, I know who it was. Jumping off a railing will make a body sore and stiff. I'm not a wimp. “So if he's such a bully, why hasn't he been caught? You know it's him.”

“Every time I report it to Shirley it just vanishes. You know how she is...”

I do know how Shirley is. It was odd to see her so solicitous of Greg. “Julia, can you do some poking around? See if she's connected to Greg at all. I'm going to talk to someone.”

- - -

John looks guilty the second I pull him out of class. When we're seated in my office I wait him out. It doesn't take long.

“I didn't mean to,” he says. “I was coming down for my appointment. He followed me. I didn't want him to catch me alone. Again. So I hid behind the door when he came into the stairway, and jumped on him. I didn't mean- I didn't mean for his face to hit the stairs. I just wanted to make him stop loving with me.” The words tumble out all in a rush.

My phone chirps. The text reads: Greg is Shirley's nephew. She's been covering for him. Bitch.

“This is a serious assault, John. You could have really hurt him.”

“I know. Should I turn myself in?”

If I can bring the perpetrator forward on something like this, it will go above Shirley's head. “John, if you admit that you did this and tell someone why, you'll get suspended. So will Greg. The school has a zero tolerance policy to fighting for any reason.” I pause for a moment. “And if either of you is caught fighting again it will be even worse.” It's his choice. I'm bound by confidentiality.

“So if I turn him in, I get suspended for a few days. And then the next time he beats someone up, he gets in worse trouble? And everyone in the school will know what I do to bullies. And I'm not snitching, because I'm turning myself in. Seriously?” John grins.

I don't bother to hide my answering smile, unprofessional though it is. “Come with me. We're taking this to the principal.” This is actually pretty tight so I don't have any line comments. A sense that it stops short of actually showing any of the interesting conflicts it refers to is probably what keeps it out of HM territory, but solid work.

Noah posted:

Running the House
Words: 976

One of the boys had defecated I would use an earthier term like 'shat' here, makes the hook work better on the carpet, and Xander was going to find out which of the hellions did itone. The three brothers sat with their backs to the shameful thing; it stood out on the carpet like an L.A. smog cloud on a Pacific Northwest morning. No one said anything, but the youngest, Charlie, verged no - 'was nearly crying' on tears.

“One of you is going to admit it,” Xander said.

“You’ve got nothing on us, babysitter,” Drew, the middle child, said. The boy had been playing ‘innocently’ with a toy fighter jet at the scene of the crime when Xander walked in. Prior to the happening, he had been fruitlessly looking for a cheese-stick, or some kind of snack for himself.

Xander smiled. “I have this,” he said. Plunked down in front of the boys was a large carafe of oily black coffee. Rattling after, came three white mugs. "Drink."

“The hell is this,” Alex, the oldest said.


“Get fuc—“

“I said drink!” Xander slammed his hands palm down on the countertop, causing the mugs to skip. Drew scowled and stared at the babysitter. Xander poured three mugs and leaned against the counter, checking the clock. The innocent shall reveal themselves, he thought.

“Ech,” Alex said, sticking his tongue out. The other two boys still had their lips to the mugs.

“It’s hot,” Charlie said. Xander felt sorry for the youngest, but he had to be sure.

“Keep drinking.”

Every time the boys would get half way through their mugs, Xander would top them off again. He worried that the 12 cups he brewed might not be enough time before their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, got home. Does coffee actually work as a laxative. Don't answer that.

“That’s it, I’m out,” Alex said, slipping gingerly off the counter stool. He made his way to the bathroom.

“Don’t flush, I want evidence,” Xander called through the door. The sink turned on and off, and Alex finally came out.

“Am I done here?” Alex said. Xander flicked his head towards the stairs leading to the bedrooms. Alex shook the water from his hands and sneered at the babysitter, but obeyed.

“And then there were two.” Xander shifted his eyes to look at the two children still left. Back and forth his gaze drifted. The baby of them looked nigh catatonic, staring at the empty mug of coffee he had been drinking from. Drew stared down the babysitter, a bead of sweat forming at his brow.

“Man at least give us some milk or something,” Drew said. Xander shrugged and opened the fridge. Shoving items out of the way, Xander pulled out a quart box of almond milk. On it was a post-it that said, “Dad” on it. Searching again, he found a half-gallon carton of milk and set in front of the boys. Then he refilled their mugs halfway.

Drew poured nearly a third of a cup into his, before letting out a deep breath. More sweat. He must be feeling the pressure now, Xander thought. I’m going to get you, you little twerp. Charlie shivered randomly, despite it being a warm 72 in the living room. Xander looked at the clock again and felt the temperature rise a few degrees. What?

He patted the half-empty pack of cigarettes in his front pocket thoughtfully. No, he thought ultimately, that would be too much.

“Oh god,” Drew said, doubling over. “Gotta go, gotta go.” Xander was taken aback, but the obscene noises coming from the bathroom squashed any suspicion of tomfoolery.

Xander sighed in disapproval at Charlie. He was so sure that the middle bastard was the culprit, but in the end, even he must have been too old and mature to have done such an act. He walked around to the jittery child, stopping in his tracks when he hovered over. Xander sniffed once, and then twice, while squinting in confusion. He hooked his index finger and made a quick check in the back of the boy’s pants.

“Charlie?! What did you do?”

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Charlie said. Round, red ringed eyes stared up at Xander, Charlie’s mouth slack-jawed opened, and slowly sank. He picked the boy up from under the arms, intent to carry him to the bathroom when the sound of car doors slamming came from outside. Stuck in frozen horror Xander tried to formulate a plan. He dropped the boy with a wet plop and tore after the crime on the carpet. Christ. So they all shat, one of them on the floor, one in his pants. Peachy. I hate that you are making me think about this.

Xander slipped on a toy fighter jet as he ran. He shot the toy a menacing glance, realizing it belonged to Drew. Crawling on his hands and knees, he came face to face with the ur-mess right as the front door unlocked. Xander splayed out and scooped the crime in his hands.

“What the hell is going on here?” Mrs. Williams shouted. Xander rose to his knees, saying nothing. Charlie sat crying in a mess spreading faster than an oil spill. Alex leaned atop the staircase with a smirk on his face. Only Drew, standing outside the bathroom door, seemed unaffected by the scene. The listing of the children's status really slows things down at this bit.

“Xander, I think you should go to the car,” Mr. Williams said.

“Can—” Xander paused, “I wash my…?” Still clutched firmly in his hand was the fecal product. WHO SHAT ON THE CARPET NOAH

“Yes, that would be best.”

Xander sat in the front passenger side of the sedan staring at his clean hands. He imagined them still stained with waste, that despite at least 10 minutes of furious scrubbing and soaping, that they were still filthy. But he's so obsessed and insane, why is this such a big deal to him. I'm a little surprised he didn't eat it.

“I’m lactose intolerant.”

“But, but.”

“I guess you could say, it runs in the family.” Who is speaking?

Mr. Williams got into the driver’s seat and cranked the engine. Slowly the sedan pulled away, Xander’s face pressed firmly against the window. Drew maintained the icy stare as they backed out of the driveway and drove away, leaving the boy standing alone, unsmiling, unflinching. this is sort of nonsensical, dude, and doesn't even work on its own weird and fetid terms. Also: this story marks the point at which I had officially Had Enough of Poo. Writing is mostly competent, on the plus side.

Meinberg posted:


The Mystery of the Milk Carton
(1000 words)

Nigel slammed the milk carton down onto the countertop, and a spray of frothy, golden liquid splashed out. “Who the hell pissed in the milk!?” Nigel said.

Harry, Ernie, and Tyler stared at Nigel after the declaration. The silence hung in the air, until Harry broke it with a clearing of his throat. “Are you sure it was one of us?” he said.

The other three were arranged on the other side of the counter, perched in stools. Nigel searched their expressions for guilt, but found only blank states slates or stares, dude. “Who else could have it have been?” Nigel said.

“We did have that party last night,” Tyler said. The scent of spilt booze and vomit mixed were reminders of the party’s intensity. Rephrase, this is pretty terrible, and maybe put it earlier in the story to set the scene.

“No,” said Ernie. “You know I have to have a white russian before I can go to sleep.”

Harry said, “And I assume you noticed the milk situation when you came to make your breakfast, am I right?” After Nigel nodded, Harry continued, this can be assumed I think “Which means we have a rough timeline. Sometime between when Ernie had his white russian and Nigel woke up, one of us four pissed in the milk carton.”

“But why? I mean seriously, we all drink that milk,” Nigel said.

“Motive, yes,” Harry said. He began to pace around the cramped living dining room.

“Well, it’s pretty funny, right?” said Tyler.

The four murmured in agreement. Haha (unironic) “And it would have seemed even funnier if the person was intoxicated,” Harry said. Once you've written your dialogue go back and cut out the the duplications and joining phrases

“And all of us were really drunk last night,” Ernie said.

Nigel slammed his fist down onto the countertop. “Well, it wasn’t me! I would have just emptied it out when I woke up. And I’m the one who always pays for the milk, why would I ruin it?” he said.

“That’s valid enough. But that leaves us three,” Harry said.

“Did anyone hear anyone going to the fridge in the middle of the night?” Nigel said.

“I didn’t, and I was passed out on the couch,” Tyler said.

“Yeah, but you were so drunk that an elephant could have marched passed and it wouldn’t have woken you,” Ernie said.

“We were all so drunk, gentlemen,” Harry said. “And so you can see that not only did all three of us have a motive, all three of us had the opportunity to piss in the carton. Which leaves only the means.”

“What do you mean?” Nigel said.

“I mean the means,” Harry said. “The opening to that carton is a very narrow space, and it would have taken some distinct skill to piss into it properly, and without leaving a trace.”

Tyler’s face suddenly brightened. “Does this mean what I think it means?” he said.

“Yes it does, Tyler,” Harry said. “Time for a pissing contest.”

Harry, Ernie, and Tyler lined up in the kitchen, facing the milk carton. Nigel hopped up onto the counter so that he could judge the contest from a proper vantage point.

Harry’s stream shot out in a strong arc, but burst too wide in the air. As the stream hit the carton, only a small percentage actually entered; the remainder splashed over the tile of the floor. As the acrid odor began to fill the room, Nigel waved a hand. “Next!” he said.

Ernie had to press down on the folds of fat around his dick to give the shrivelled, flaccid length enough room to piss without getting all over him. Even still, and the stream sprayed randomly, mostly ending up in a puddle by his feet. Ernie did not even wait for Nigel, and slinked off to the dining room with Harry.

Tyler’s stream flowed forth straight and true. After getting the aim set, Tyler moved his hands to the back of his head. A smirk graced his lips as he glanced over towards Harry and Ernie in the room. The pair gave thumbs-up in return, their faces twisted into awkward grins.

“Well, I guess this settles it,” Nigel said. Tyler zipped back up and returned to the dining room with Harry and Ernie, a triumphant grin plastered onto his face.

“I think we have our culprit,” Harry said. “Tyler, you have been found guilty of pissing in the milk carton.”

Tyler’s grin disappeared abruptly. Tyler is p chill about being falsely accused (unless he thinks he might have been to drunk to remember, I guess).


Nigel and Harry clinked their glasses together, and tossed back the tequila. The kitchen smelled faintly of lime polish thanks to Tyler’s efforts, and a fresh carton of milk was waiting for Ernie’s late night white russian.

“I’ve been thinking,” said Harry. “That there is another option.”

“And what is that?” said Nigel. He smirked just a bit as he leaned back against the counter.

“What was this really all about? What is about a prank? Or was it something more?” Harry said.

Nigel studied the inside of his shot glass.

“We were almost out of milk. I talked to Ernie, and it turns out that he didn’t think we had enough left for another white russian. And I know you hate how Ernie is always drinking the milk and never buying any,” Harry said.

Nigel tore his gaze up and stared at Harry for a long moment, before walking over to the sink, starting up the water. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Blocking.

I mean that You set up a frame job,” Harry said. He walked over to stand behind Nigel. “I think that you thought that Ernie was going to take the rap. You didn’t think that Tyler would win the pissing contest and take the fall!”

“So you got me,” Nigel said. His shoulders slumped in resignation. “I was just so tired of everyone drinking my milk!”

The pair were silent for a moment.then, until Harry put his shot glass down next to Nigel’s “What are we going to do now?” Nigel said.

“Now, we are going to keep quiet, not pass along the blame. And you’re going to do my laundry for a week,” Harry said. “Oh, and don’t piss in the milk again.” Kind of blah ending. I quite liked this overall, though o god pee and poo no more. It's enjoyably ridiculous with Harry going all Hercules Pee-rot over the Mystery of the Midnight Pisser, but the end just sort of uh trickles out. Nice straightforward prose.

Amused Frog posted:

A Dirty Job - 909 words

Detective Davies had called in sick. I’ve cleaned that man’s vomit off walls and his diarrhea out of cubicles. Oh spiffy more faeces. The man never calls in sick. Norovirus, blood poisoning, swine flu, he’s on duty. If he was calling in sick then I knew something was wrong, and I was the man to find out what. I finished cleaning the locker room and went to see my supervisor.

“I need to head out and check on Davies. He called in sick.”
“I’ve cleaned that man’s vomit off walls and his diarrhea out of cubicles. The man never calls in sick. Norovirus, blood poisoning-” I'm giving you a pass on this repetition because it's a funny insight into his character.
“I get the picture George. You’re not leaving.”
“What if something’s happened?”
“Not your problem, George, and it sure as hell ain’t mine.”
“So that’s how it is, chief? What happened to looking out for each other? What happened to never leaving a man behind?”
“Don’t give me that crap, George. I’ve got to order in more stock today. We’re nearly out of bleach and the detectives complained they saw another rat in their break room.”
“Damnit, Chief!”
“And don’t call me Chief, George. It’s Barry. Can you get out of here and check the toilets on floor three? They’re out of order again.”
“You’re out of order, Chief!” Haha.

I’d had it with this guy’s crap. The whole drat department was full of half-job Harrys, men who’d wipe a urinal once and call it clean. The whole drat place was getting a foul stink.

The last thing on my mind was fixing those toilets. I went straight to the fifth floor and into the personnel files. One perk of the job is getting keys to every room in the building. Ten minutes later I had Davies’ address. Five minutes after that I was on a bus to his apartment.

Nobody answered the buzzer, and when I jimmied my way in I found what I’d known would be there all along. Davies’ body was lying crumpled at the bottom of the stairs, a knife in his back and a puddle of blood on the linoleum.

Blood on the linoleum. None on the walls. None on the carpeted stairs (a nightmare to get out). Just the linoleum. Easy, wipe-clean linoleum. Anybody else would think that was a coincidence, but I’ve been working this beat long enough to know professional work when I see it.

A rummage through his pockets netted me his wallet and I spread its contents over the kitchen table. Loose change, picture of his girl, receipt for a bar, stamp book. Stamp book? Who uses stamps nowadays?

I flipped it open. One was gone. The laptop on his kitchen counter was giving me the eye. I opened it up and soon found what I was looking for.

It was sitting in the Recycle Bin. Somebody had tried to get rid of the evidence but not gone far enough to outwit an old bloodhound like me. Just a single document titled “Letter of Complaint - Kitchen Rat”. I printed it out and headed back to the department. I’d got my man. I needed to confront the Chief.

It was just past noon when I got back and the Chief’s office was deserted. I swore and ran to the break room. “Where’s the Chief?” I yelled to the two other members of cleaning staff in there.
“Sure. Barry.”
“I think he went to get lunch.”
“Lunch! Of course!”

Lunch for the Chief meant one thing: a sandwich from Eduardo’s. The slimy jerk would get a sub and then head to the bar across the road to eat it. Unfortunately for him, the only bar he’d see today would be in a jail cell. Which he’d be inside. After being arrested for murder. The murder of Detective Davies. I'm really enjoying his clipped Dragnet internal monologue (which is clearly prone to becoming an external dialogue at the drop of a mop).

I caught sight of him just as he was crossing the road. “Freeze, Chief!” I yelled. He turned just in time for my fist to slam into his fat, sloppy gut. He went down like the sack of poo poo he was.
“Jesus Christ, George!” he wheezed as he lay on the floor, “what the gently caress is wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with me, Chief? What’s wrong with you? I know you killed Davies.”
“I don’t know what the gently caress you’re talking about.”
“Oh yeah, Chief? And I suppose you don’t know anything about this either?”

I shoved the letter in his face. It was from Detective Davies to the company the PD’s cleaning is outsourced to, complaining about the rats, the constantly blocked toilets and the open hostility of the staff. I was referred to numerous times, but this was bigger than just me.

The Chief’s face dropped. “Hardly proof,” he said, “we get dozens of complaints like that every month.”
“Oh sure. We do. But does head office?”
“You still can’t prove it was me!”
“Can’t I, Chief? No blood on the walls? No blood on the carpet? Just on the linoleum? It was perfect, Chief. Too perfect.” I had him now and he knew it.
“You son of a bitch!” he screamed, still lying at my feet, “do you realise what you’ve done? I was keeping this department safe! I was keeping this department clean!”
“Then it’s too bad you got your hands so dirty, Chief.”

Three days later, the cleaning company had been shut down and I was unemployed. It didn’t matter though. I was the Janitor, and keeping this city clean was a full time job. ... Actually that was pretty drat good. Hot Fuzz style OTT janitors is an underserved comedic niche. The merest swipe of a Jiffy cloth away from an honourable mention.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 02:38 on Jan 24, 2014

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)

I'm in with Moe anthropomorphism.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Quidnose posted:

The Weight Of Things
954 words w/ title

My mother had been dead for three months when I found the glove. Pristinely white but obviously worn and loved, it was tucked away with some papers in the drawer of the roll top desk in her bedroom. It was an odd catalogue: a grocery list, a chain e-mail with an amusing anecdote, a half-scrawled short story idea that never turned into anything, a poem ripped out of Readers Digest, a newspaper article she must have meant to have shown me. One glove. Good details.

It bothered me immensely, lead up to this, i think more than it should have. My mother’s mind had been like a steel trap, and she always had to have everything in order; if I casually made reference to wanting a recipe or an editorial from one of the numerous publications to which she subscribed, she would beeline out of the room and return with the exact volume and issue in question, page open and ready for my perusal.

But I was stuck with this glove, this lonely, single glove that seemed to have been tossed into a drawer and discarded in a fashion so unlike what I knew her to be, and for the first time in my life I wasn’t able to ask her “what the gently caress, Mom?” No longer would she laugh and explain the logic to me, why the glove needed to be there, specifically, waiting for something only she knew about?. At night she wandered the halls of my dreams, the distance between her departure and my pursuit increasing to nearly insurmountable lengths, but in the dusty daylight of her New England townhouse I was left with the silence of not understanding. Kinda purple.

I moved from room to room, drawer to drawer, pocket to pocket, and the questions gnawed at my chest, like a glove that had no partner. Which is fine given the character, but I think this is probably enough.


“Are you still going on about that stupid glove?” Nice contrast between the sisters.

My sister and I were packing another box. No matter how many we stuffed, we didn’t seem to make a dent in the clutter of having lived. Our packing had moved through the stages of grief, from reverent sadness to shattering anger to a period where we would look at things for hours on end without touching them. Currently we were in a state of unceremonious automation, shoving plates and napkins and tax returns into any open container we could find. I had hoped this was something akin to acceptance.

“I mean, look around you, Shar.” Carrie gestured with a commemorative plate and I had to resist the urge to snatch it from her before she accidentally threw it like a Frisbee. “We’re three yard sales away from a Hoarders episode. A random glove is completely within Mom’s character.”

I finished wrapping a teapot and placed it in the box before I looked at her. “What are you talking about? Mom was a stickler. She was eccentric, sure, but she had an order to things.”

“This isn’t order.” She put the plate down in the box, unwrapped. “Stacks of literary journals, unread newspapers like she was potty training a puppy, too much furniture everywhere. Three mattresses in the guest room, Sharon. It’s like the Princess and the Pea in there. That’s not eccentric, that’s crazy.”

I picked up the plate and started to wrap it in a dishtowel. “But she knew where everything was. And the mattresses need to be flat because otherwise they—

“Seriously, stop.” She reached out and touched my hand. “We’ve been packing up mom’s poo poo for a week and we haven’t even gotten out of the living room. This isn’t normal, Sharon. It just seems like it to you because you never left. But I’m telling you, Mom was nuts. In the real world, people let go, constantly, and without thought. Things, people.” She squeezed my hand gently before letting go. “Dead mothers.” This is great byplay/dialogue.

She picked up a sterling silver pitcher and tried to rub a mark out with her sleeve. I held the plate in my hands for a moment. Half of a rustic cottage peered out at me, hidden by green firs and blue fibercloth. Half a word announced the emotion the scene should have elicited for the brik a brak connoisseur: Sola-. I felt the emptiness of a single glove.

“I’m furious at her for leaving all this, you know.” Carrie tossed the pitcher into the box. “She wrote five novels and didn’t leave a loving will. What are we supposed to do?”

I stared at the plate in my hands, feeling the weight between my fingertips. “I don’t know.”


Two months later I found the second glove in the January edition of her favorite literary catalogue. The volume was buried in a stack next to her bed, one of many, many stacks I had meticulously collected from throughout all corners of the house. Carried rolled her eyes, shot a terse snort and a “does that answer your question” before throwing her hands up and walking out of the room, shaking her head.

I sat on the bed for a long time. The things that made up my mother’s life lay around me, seen and unseen, packed and unpacked, waiting for an owner, any owner, to love them again: a dog-eared novel, a glass topped hatpin, jury duty for next week, a Christmas card from 1987, a 48-record that nothing in the house would play. One glove.

And all the things the glove was: A memory. A message. A beacon. A secret. A bookmark, to a poem she had had published, entitled The Weight Of Things, which I had never read. I think you made the right decision to just tell us the name of the poem.

And so I read, and I wept, and I understood where she had left her will. And tomorrow, I would begin to unpack. Yeah, this is lovely. Nice work. I think you oversell the fussiness of the narrator a bit at the beginning; you could get the same effect with fewer words and make it easier for the reader to get into the story, but this is a really nice piece.

Nikaer Drekin posted:

Occupational Hazards
(999 Words)

The Lotus took a drag on her cigarette as Mrs. Berkowitz wept in front of her.

"Could there have been a worse time?" Mrs. Berkowitz wailed. "Things were looking up! Benny'd finally found a stable job, he kept talking about how good it felt to be providing for us, to do real work with his hands." She dabbed at her face with a stained handkerchief. "I'm sorry, you need the facts, not my grief. All this isn't important."

The Lotus exhaled, let out a tendril of smoke. "Everything's important. Mrs. Berkowitz, I can't promise that I can bring your husband back. It's a possibility, of course, but all I can promise you this: I will do absolutely everything in my power to find out what happened to him." See, if you're doing cool noir badass then don't have them rabbit on about crap.

* * *

An hour later she stood outside the Hammond Inn, a rickety three-story shack outside the factory district of Prospero. Mrs. Berkowitz had said Benny often stayed there when a shift ran too late or the next one started too early. She walked in and found a few ruddy laborers drinking and milling around. this sounds like she turned over a rock A squat bald man stood behind the bar. The Lotus sidled perfectly wrong word, pick another up to him.

"Are you Mick Hammond?"

"The one and only, Missy. Anything I can getcha?"

"No, thanks. I'm The Lotus, private detective. I'd like to ask you about a patron of yours. Benny Berkowitz?"

"Ah. Yes. Look, why don't we, ah..." He gestured toward a corner with two high-backed chairs.

The two walked over and Mick began fiddling with the furniture. A corner of the carpet was bent up, so he kicked it down. He shuffled the chairs around so they faced each other more directly. The Lotus put a hand on his shoulder.

"Let's just get down to it, Mick. The chairs can wait till later, I'm not picky."

"Sure, yeah." He gave his chair one final nudge and then plunked down in it. The Lotus sat in hers. This is a lot more chair chat than you find in most stories. I know you're dropping hints, but they need not be so anvilicious.

"So, Mr. Berkowitz often stayed here?"

"Yeah, he'd come here for lunch or after work for drinks. Occasionally he'd stay overnight. You know, I'd had this feeling. He hadn't popped in for a week or two, and that isn't like him, you know?"


"He was in here practically every day for a while. Of course, that was before the Blue Gibbon opened up down the road."

"Blue Gibbon? Is that a..."

"A bar, yeah. Or a gaming club, I don't know. I don't fraternize with the competition. You know, far be it from me to spread gossip, but I've heard the place might be mob-run. Sketchy Italian types, you know."


"Once Prohibition ended, a lot of those mafiosos had to go straight, or straight enough anyway. I think Benny mentioned he was spending some time there."

"Hmm. Thanks, Mick. I'll look into it."

Mick nodded sagely. "No problem. Anything to help out a friend." This is suuuuuuper ploddy dialogue. Read some classic noir, The Big Sleep or whatever, and practice writing dialogue like Raymond Chandler.

* * *

At the Blue Gibbon, The Lotus was invited in back and offered a cigar. She couldn't help but accept. The manager, Larry Spica, was a near-bald guy with a long, drawn face and soulful eyes that lit up when she mentioned Benny Berkowitz.

"Benny! How the hell is that sonovagun?"

"Missing, unfortunately, Mr. Spica. Tell me, what was your general impression of him?"

"Great guy. Straight and narrow, you know? But not in a dull way."

"How was he with money? Any outstanding debts?"

"Not that I can recall. I'm not intimately aware of individual tabs, but from what I gather he kept on top of things, you know."

"Mind if I take a quick look at your finances? I don't mean to intrude, but..." YOU FUCKIN WHAT

"If it helps Benny out? Sure, sure. Just a sec." He got up and leaned out the doorway. "HEY, JIMMY!" he bellowed. "GIMME YOUR TAB BOOK A SEC, ALL RIGHT?" This is implausible, out of genre, and really badly conveyed as well. Make your PI's life hard or it is dull to read their adventures.

The Lotus pawed terrible word choice through Benny's records and found that he did keep remarkably on top of things. He spent some dough DOUGH ON PALOOKAS AND DAMES AS WELL AS GATS, but never in excess. He never kept an outstanding amount on his tab.

The Lotus closed the book. "You're right, Mr. Spica, everything seems in order here. Just one more question: do you know exactly what Mr. Berkowitz did for a living?" PIs are not cops.

The man scrunched up his face in thought. "You know, he never said. Something rough-and-tumble, though. One time he came in with bruises all over his face, a real mess. I asked him what had happened and he just shrugged, said it was an occupational hazard."

* * *

The Lotus went back to the Hammond Inn just around closing time. The bar area was empty, and Mick Hammond sat in one of his high-backed chairs reading the paper. He looked up at her.

"Hey, Miss Lotus. You talk to those mob guys? I bet anything they knocked Benny off."

"Actually, Mick, they seemed just about ready to marry the guy." She gestured towards the floor. "So why don't we just see what's underneath that carpet, huh?"

Mick's face darkened. "Hey, Missy, this is my joint. You don't get to bark orders at me."

"It'll only take a second, Mick. Unless you've got something to hide?"

He grimaced for a moment, and then shoved the two chairs off of the carpet. He pulled the rug away, and The Lotus saw a wide trapdoor where it once was.

Mick's face had gone white. "It's the liquor cellar. Where I keep the, uh..."

"...liquor?" The Lotus smiled. "Well then let's go see it."

The Lotus climbed down the ladder after Mitch and flicked on the lights. A dusty boxing ring stood in the middle of the cellar, beer bottles and cigarette butts strewn all around it.

Mick sighed. "It was one bad blow to the head. Three minutes passed before I realized he wasn't just knocked out."

The Lotus kept quiet, stared at the dried blood ground into the white floor of the ring. She traced the rim of the stain with her finger and wondered what she would tell the widow of Benny Berkowitz. This is rather dull because everyone gives the PI exactly what he wants. Also the dialogue is too wordy and a little autistic. The Lotus, who I believe you want to seem cool and sassy, comes across as a bored cop. And everyone else speaks in terrible cliché 20s speak.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 03:16 on Jan 24, 2014

J. Comrade
May 2, 2008

sebmojo posted:

Some crits. Working from the back this time.

Thanks for the crit. Well noted yucky lines. I'm thinking to work the thing out in another thread, perhaps by adding a middle and end and a story.

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.

Why did I agree to judge!!?? gently caress MEEEEEeeeee....

Rainbow Unicorn

Big improvement from last week. Your story started out a bit rough but you pulled it together by the end and even topped it off using a red herring.

Mr Wolf

The first of the poo poo stories. Like nearly all the other poo poo stories, I hated it. It was eye rolly all the way through. Best fitted for a visual medium if you ask me (you didn’t, but I’m telling you anyways, gently caress you.)


gently caress yes, this poo poo made me laugh out loud. I love the noirish poo poo you got going on here with some random dude trying to find out who took his sandwich. One of my top votes.


And back to the poop. Not a fan. If you’re gonna use poo poo, the tone of the story has to be funny, and your delivery needs to be tighter than your rear end in a top hat. This semi-serious cock-smuggling poo poo needs to stop.


What the hell man. What is up with the << poo poo. Your grammar and usage of grammar thingies is atrocious. Use or something. And no criminal is stupid enough to just spurt everything just because the investigator has proof. This isn’t Bones.


I don’t like your protag. He’s a doucheface. Emily adds absolutely nothing to the story. She’s basically there as a device to make us feel sorry for doucehtag. You’re telling a slapstick story straight faced, and it didn’t work. Your mystery need work and it needs closure. He ain’t solved poo poo. Why couldn’t anyone call the police? No one is acting rational here.


I think you got robbed. You didn’t deserve a DM, but at the same time I didn’t like your story either. I think the constant scene breaks took away from your story, It would have worked better if you had twice the word count, but instead of just made it staccato, and not in a good way.


This deserved the loss, or at least a DM. Not only was this not a mystery, but we requested you not write fantastique type of stories. I was annoyed the whole way though cause your stupid protag didn’t have a goddamn name. AND you were over the word limit.

All you needed was some poop and you’d be set.


You started off alright, but then halfway through your drat story you blew your loving load and then kept on uselessly thrusting yourself towards some kind of finish line. The end of your story should have been the end of the mystery.

Schneider Heim

Your story left all the questions unanswered. And there really was only one question. WTF did mom do to get all these cray cray people decapitating people with ninja flips and cool runnings. Your writing is fine, your mystery sucks.


Your story is good, except for one thing. Your use of hypoxia and cyanosis. This is the reason why I cannot enjoy medical tv shows. How the gently caress did he wake up? No seriously. Hypoxia is death by lack of oxygen, and cyanosis in the finger bed is what happens when there’s no oxygen in the blood, but you describe it as robin’s-egg blue. That’s loving blue! There’s no loving way he could have woken up from that unless some miraculous reason someone administered oxygen to him, even then, he’d be too loving groggy to even move. I just.. I just… whatever.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Mercedes posted:


This deserved the loss, or at least a DM. Not only was this not a mystery, but we requested you not write fantastique type of stories. I was annoyed the whole way though cause your stupid protag didn’t have a goddamn name. AND you were over the word limit.

All you needed was some poop and you’d be set.

Djeser posted:

Dung seeped up through freshly torn earth.


don't ever accuse me of not being a pooplord

edit for serious: Titles actually count toward your word count? Wasn't aware of that.

Djeser fucked around with this message at 03:17 on Jan 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.

Djeser posted:


don't ever accuse me of not being a pooplord

edit for serious: Titles actually count toward your word count? Wasn't aware of that.

Ah, it shouldn't count, but still, you were over the word count.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Anime avatar and an anime topic. Nice try, jerk. For your courage, you live. For your insolence:

:siren: Flash Rule :siren:

Story may not involve anyone under the age of 40. Bonus points if you include a surly bartender.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Behold my brain the golden throne of my consciousness. In here I am seated. Shackled. From here I police the land.

God Over Djinn posted:

For you, fine. But only if you don't describe a civet making GBS threads coffee beans.

Fine General No-Fun it's not like I'm also judging this week too.

Also just to make judges' lives easier:

Ensure you include a link to the Internet Nerd Encyclopaedia article you are referring to in your submission.

- - -

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 02:14 on Jul 1, 2014

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Kaishai posted:

:siren: Sitting Here vs. SurreptitiousMuffin Thunderbrawl: John William Waterhouse :siren:

Turn the picture you've been given into a story of no more than 1,000 words by Saturday, January 25, 11:59pm US Eastern.

On request, I'm extending the deadline for this to Wednesday, January 29, 11:59pm US Eastern.

Jun 18, 2013

Tonight- 972 words.

I died a thousand times last night.

I woke up to a blurred world. I ran my fingers across my belly, feeling the hundreds of scars deep on my body's landscape. Each one telling a cruel story; a swipe with a poison-tipped knife, broken bottles tearing at my flesh and a hundred other vile full-stops to that current life, a punishment to a deed I had long forgotten

It once told me that it hurt when I was breathing. My every breath was a dull ache in its stomach, my every blink was a crashing symbol inside its head. That's why it killed me. That's why it will always kill me. “It's not personal.”

I got up and stumbled into a damp wall. It felt smooth to the touch and was covered with a cloudy liquid that smelled like copper. I looked to where I had woken and noticed a dark stain marking my last end. I had to keep moving otherwise it'd find me again.

Every one of my deaths is carefully etched onto my memory, the pain sings a song I can't ignore. Sometimes I can remember things from my past life; the sun on my neck on a Summer's day, my baby's fingers wrapped round my index finger or biting the bottom of my boyfriend's ice-cream cone and laughing as the contents ran down his hand.

I heard a patter of feet scurry past behind me. A cacophony of noise began to clatter in my head. I held my head in my hands and began to scrunch my long hair as the noise increased. I needed to find it, I needed silence.

Running quickly between the narrow walls, my feet splashing through the shallow water, I didn't need to look where I was going: these walls felt like home.

It was shivering in the corner when I first saw it. It had a long robe on with a large hood covering its face. I felt like every time it breathed I could feel my blood begin to boil inside, my heart beginning to sizzle and burn.

I ripped its hood off and looked into its eyes. I felt as though I tumbled into them, spiralling into the dark. Then I saw the faces of a million people scream out of the darkness as I continued to fall. They all looked at me with despair, their eyes filled with tears and I remembered them all. I had killed them. I held their life in my hands and after ignoring their pathetic pleas I crushed them.

It pleaded with me to let it go, to let it scurry off into the dark again like a rat. Before I could respond I was digging into its back with my hands. I was tearing the flesh away from the bone, my nails began to scratch against its spine. I wrenched part of the lower spine out, the nerve endings flopped between my fingers, it felt like cold spaghetti.

The screams entered my head and I sang along with them. A song to score my beautiful act, a gift for a job well done.

“It's not personal” I said

I sat next to the corpse for a while and waited. My lower back began to burn, I tried to stand but my legs couldn't help me any more. A dull pain pulsated through them as the burning in my back intensified.

A light began to emit from the corpse's eyes. I looked into them and felt myself lifted away. I saw a blonde woman lying on a bed. She was sleeping and I sat next to her and smiled. I looked down and saw I was wearing dark bloody overalls. I was holding a large knife.

I was violently dragged backwards out of that place. A million memories began to flick through my head; in handcuffs on a warm Summer's day as screams rang out, holding my baby's hands before I dropped him in the bath and beating my girlfriend for making me spill ice-cream on myself.

I was back sat on the cold floor, the pain in my back had spread up my back. I couldn't feel my legs, my arms began to tingle and I felt the dark trying to seduce me, trying to make me go into it, never to come back.

Lying there I felt someone's presence in the room. I heard them drag the man's corpse away, fearing I would be next I let out a noise I thought would be “Who's there?”

“Don't worry dear. This one is finished, he's going to pay his dues now.”

I tried to lift my head to see who this person was but that proved impossible: my whole body was limp.

“Lie still, another one will be along soon. You're not done just yet”

With that my body fell through the floor. I hurtled backwards through the air as I watch the ceiling disappear at a rapid pace. Freezing cold air whipped through my bloody clothes as I continued to fall.

I wondered where I was going. I began to wonder if the scars weren't inflicted on me, maybe my body had to take some of their pain. The suffering I gave them had to be paid back to me, my body a canvass for a painting centuries old.

The dark took me into its arms and held me for a while. I woke up on a damp floor, I looked at the walls and they were covered in a cloudy liquid. I had to leave before it got me again.

I saw a shadow flit past to the side of me. A voice deep in me told me what had to be done.

“It's not personal” I repeated to myself.

I died a thousand times last night and tonight i'll die a thousand more.

Jun 18, 2013

Ah poo poo. I forgot to link the article in the post and i'm not sure on how strict the "no edit" rule is.

I will be sick on myself as punishment.


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



I'm in. Decided to take the Halitosis Bomb. Wanted to make a joke but this is my first post here and that would make for a bad first impression. Gender is part of the prompt though so I can't see how this will go wrong holy poo poo I totally didn't preview my post here this is going to be a trainwreck.

Phobia fucked around with this message at 17:17 on Jan 26, 2014

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