Mercedes emerged from hospital room covered in blood from some pithy bastard who dared try to die under his watch. He flicks his soiled medical gloves to the floor and snaps on some new ones. "I'm certain I have time for one," he said, turning around walking back towards the room. He paused at the door and turned his head toward his shoulder. "I'm going in."
Down the hall, a nurse swooned.
|# ? Apr 17, 2014 16:44|
|# ? May 24, 2022 15:26|
SHUT UP MOM AND DAD, I HATE YOU
No no no, I'm dad, I'm just the alcoholic father who keeps leaving mom and her more socially acceptable and morally upright boyfriend fills in as the father figure while I'm gone.
|# ? Apr 17, 2014 18:22|
The good name of my house has been sullied. With tears in my eyes I stand over the broken Entenzahn crest and look into the distance. The sun disappears behind the horizon, closing another chapter in our inglorious family chronicle. But I will return. I must. My ancestors shall be proud of me.
I take a deep breath and speak the words. My voice barely trembles.
Requesting a punitive flash rule
|# ? Apr 17, 2014 18:52|
Your party is a birthday party for a child under the age of five. The story is from their viewpoint.
Requesting a punitive flash rule
Nethilia fucked around with this message at 22:01 on Apr 17, 2014
|# ? Apr 17, 2014 21:57|
What do you mean, late?
Write a story where a character undergoes a complete transformation. Not just a change of heart at the end of the story, but a slow, irreversible, completely opposite person of who they were at the beginning of the story. Convince me that this person is different.
I don't feel like you met the prompt very well with this one. I asked for a complete transformation, and I felt like I got people becoming more like themselves. You even have your character say that in the end, the people they turn out to be were the people they were all along, which is the exact opposite what I asked for.
Yours was easier to follow than muffin's, and I liked the sciencey bits, of course. I liked the character of Henry, but felt that his turn to cult-leader was a little...sudden. I think that you would have been better off showing a bit more of his logical, exploratory side, and then moving to a "i don't care; gently caress it" attitude. But he seemed like he still thought he had a bead on all the answers, and was still chasing them down. In the end, that's what lost you this brawl.
Skin and Bone
While I'm still not exactly sure how yours ends, I am convinced of his transition. I think that you nicely packed three transitions into this story, all of them well foreshadowed and well throught out. The first was the obvious physical changes. The second was of himself thinking himself a man, and finally giving up and admitting he was an animal, and the third was going from thinking he was bad, that he was faking it for those 2 years, to deciding he could still be good.
I dunno if he was gonna go home and try to be like "hi honey, i'm home!" or if he was going to go eat the baby, or wtf the "good thing" was, but that was less important for this prompt than him getting to the conclusion that he was going to go do the "good thing."
The reason I was a bit soft on yours at first is that you start the story with him already changing. I would have preferred if you'd told this a little more linearly, with him lying in bed with his lady, fighting off his self-doubt (and losing). But you told the story of a transition, through flashbacks, and that's why you ultimately won.
Now stop whining about your loving crit.
|# ? Apr 17, 2014 22:15|
Turtlicious fucked around with this message at 00:15 on Apr 18, 2014
|# ? Apr 17, 2014 23:59|
What is a better way to do the perspective switch? I was trying to show "This is how he seems himself," from, "This is how he is," and I'm not sure what was the right way to do that.
Talk about crits in the Fiction Advice thread.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 00:13|
Oh thank god crabrock. You were so late, I thought I'd gotten you pregnant.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 01:34|
I'm in for the next one.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 01:56|
I am in.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 18:20|
More crits, now the crabrock boycott is over. That Old Ganon, yours is here too! (Also, Turtlicious, PM me if you want more feedback/to ask me questions)
Get What’s Coming
Neat little modern fable that could do with some re-draftings, some clarifications and some bulking up of character roles. The ending was kinda what I was expecting but there were enough twists along the way that kept me sorta guessing. Pretty good????
For Royal Recognition
Yeah I don't know. This was super hard to read in places, the flashbacks didn't really sit well in amongst a high-octane action sequence, and there wasn't much of a story. A kid got ill, this girl killed a spider to get to some magical restorative fruit, and then the kid got better. The wise man seems surplus to requirements, and nothing that happens to him makes sense. The character motivations are hella fuzzy, too. You're so nearly there, the staging of the action is pretty good, and there's some good ideas, but it needs more work.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 18:31|
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 20:32|
More crits, now the crabrock boycott is over.
the crabrock boycott on love is also over...ladies
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 20:45|
edit: wrong thread.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 22:50|
Welp, I failed to submit anything my very first time in the dome. It won't happen again. In.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 22:54|
Alright then. In.
|# ? Apr 18, 2014 23:16|
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 00:24|
Thunderdome LXXXIX: We Don’t Need No Water, Let The drat Roof Burn
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 03:39|
I'm not even going to make excuses for last time. All I know is is that I'm in. Definitely.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 03:57|
Less than three hours to sign up!
Welp, I failed to submit anything my very first time in the dome. It won't happen again. In.
People who sign up and then don't post a story are the worst kind of people.
So you and any other skip outs throwing a on that or just gonna sit there like that. I know it ain't official but...
Nethilia fucked around with this message at 04:23 on Apr 19, 2014
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:12|
I don't know if this is the proper thread to ask this, but I was curious how other fighters in the Dome went about the workload.
I was thinking this would be my schedule for writing these from now on.
Tuesday- First draft
Wednesday- Spend time away from the work/Crit others.
Thursday- First edit/Second draft
Friday- Second edit
Saturday- Third draft
Sunday- Final edit and post.
Or postpone everything until Sunday again and lose. Either work.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:12|
I don't know if this is the proper thread to ask this,
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:18|
postpone everything until Sunday always
It's the true TD way.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:18|
Postponing until Monday this week because I'm in the future and we have the long weekend yay.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:45|
Oh sorry I'll move this to the fiction advice thread then.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:53|
Less than three hours to sign up!
Very well, consider me 'ed. Submit or die.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 04:58|
And signups are so closed!
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 07:09|
Some crits from the Wise Fool round
Turtlicious - HamBeast
So - I am led to understand there is a Goon thing to do with blobby computer users who eat Doritos and live the stereotype. I wasn’t aware of it when I read this, but that’s the risk you take when using in-jokes in the ‘Dome. I will have to take this at face value.
You start off with just a description of a gross, unclean dude doing the computer thing. It’s well realised, but there’s no hook to grab the reader - we’re looking a a stereotype but there’s no hint of a story.
The irony of the advice ATH (needs to be capitalized everywhere) being potentially more appropriate for him than farmgirl7 seems interesting, but you never really go anywhere with it. Similarly, the advice he is giving seems to be a collection of common cliches from Ask Metafilter - there’s no sense of what farmgirl7 might actually have written, except that ‘she’ is kind of in a bad way - but it’s overkill. If you’re trying to portray a real problem, then you need to tone that back.
Finally, with all this stuff set up, what happens in the course of the story? What changes for the protagonist? Nothing - he is exactly the same person as he was when he started, a slobby dude with bad personal hygiene living on the computer. In any journey, the protagonist needs to be changed somehow - but here we have no idea if we’re supposed to be revulsed by the guy because he’s a gross sweaty fatty or cheering him because he called the cops. Conflicting messages, turtlicious.
Sir Azrael - The greatest of fools
This story starts off badly. The leader starts shouting as he see the city, and then the army behind him starts howling - even though they presumably can’t see the city yet, which seems dumb. We learn that the army has shiny armour and crimson capes in the third sentence which might be an important detail but turns out not to be at all, so ...so what? Finally we we learn that our protag has come to restore the King’s Order, which is an ‘interesting thing’ that you probably should have opened with.
Your fool shows capability, but suffers from over-competence. Just as a character that is omnipotent is not very interesting, an opponent that is unstoppable is similarly so. If the essence of story if conflict, then there has to be some chance of both winning or losing in order for the stakes to matter.
The ending here doesn’t really fit. Theogren has come with an army, and it seems like he’s just going to give up because he was bested by a deft acrobat. If he applauded and then had ordered her peppered full of arrows and crossbow bolts with a “Greatest? Certainly top three” type bon mot, you might have been on to something. But as it is, you have a surfeit of details that don’t add anything to the story, and a lack of depth where you do need detail.
ZorajitZorajit - The Hyena
Stories consisting of people saying how cool they are are not actually very cool. You end up just wanting to punch the character in the face for being a prat (yes, even girl characters).
You start out with half an anecdote. It is resolved at the end, but to start out with it and it not making any sense until we get more context at the end is not a good move, as it just seems random and bizarre. It certainly doesn’t convey anything about that chracter at this point, because it’s unfinished. Everything else the character says conveys exactly the same point, so it’s not even useful in that respect. When we do finally get the end of the anecdote - it doesn’t provide any clarifying detail - it’s just another example of Ms Bitch being a bitch, which you’d already conveyed.
There doesn’t actually appear to be a fool in this story. There is an unpleasant capitalist, but I don’t know if that really counts. At no point are any of her failings really shown to be foolish - she’s too busy ‘winning’ in the drugged up Charlie Sheen sense.
I have no idea how the story actually works - when all you’re using to tell it is quotes from the character’s mouth, those had better be easy to follow, but this reads like a completely unfunny satire of a wall street drama. There’s no actual jokes, just extremes involving babys and cocaine, or something. So I have no idea if this is actually a clever idea badly explained, or just some crap you pulled out of your arse - As a reader I assume the latter because there’s no reason not to.
Commissar Mega - fool’s throne -
It starts off with a poem, and not a good poem either. “There once was a…” should start off a limerick and not much else; Come to pass doesn’t really mean ‘died’ in the same way that ‘passed’ did; and the rhyme scheme doesn’t look particularly intentional. It could be some obscure one, but it mostly looks like you just half-arsed it and made it up.
This story is almost entirely digression - now digression can be useful if it imparts some information about the story or places the surrounding activities in another light, but here the digression has completely consumed the actual story and prevented it from being intelligible,
Your fourth paragraph says ‘It starts with’. Here your subconscious was definitely trying to tell you something, because you should almost certainly have started your story here. And then told the story, because I still have very little idea what was supposed to have happened. I’m not even going to guess because it’s just that impenetrable.
Schneider Heim 3
I was a little bored by this story, but compared to the previous lot it was a breath of fresh air. It was clearly written, had some recognizable characters, and got to a recognizable end.
So the magical school has been done before, and if this was sub-Hogwarts, it could just have easily been The Worst Witch or something. I don’t think you did anything particularly novel with the concept, which is a shame, because Potter and Hubble could do with some re-interpretation.
Witches that can learn magic but can’t perform it needs some clarification, presumably they can’t perform it ‘from birth’, or innately, or something, but why would innate witches need to go to school?
The forbidden passageways are completely limp - there is absolutely no sense of transgression or danger.
It’s lovely that they made friends and all, but seriously, this is kind of twee. Why did this need to be a witching school? What did that bring to the table? the witchery seems mostly set dressing, to be honest. I think, in this case, the set dressing was a bit more interesting than the core of the story, which is a sure sign that you need to rethink your actual plot.
Tyrannosaurus - South Georgia, 1935 4
Terrible title, but a briefly entertaining interlude even if you telegraph the result something horrific (albeit at the ‘Everybody knew where I was going’ line, where anyone who has ever read a story knows what’s following). I think you tipped your hand here too early. When your story has so few moving parts, it’s hard to pull off a successful misdirection
It’s more like a bait and switch operation than a wise fool, but it’s an interpretation of the prompt that kinda works, so I’ll let it slide.
I actually think this could work better if you fleshed it out. By going into interesting/amusing detail about what he was going to do to horace greene when asked by each person for example. It’s got more of a quick jokey kind of rhythm here, but needs to be more of a shaggy dog story.
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 11:20|
Benny the Snake
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 02:12 on Apr 20, 2014
|# ? Apr 19, 2014 22:29|
Title: The Last Birthday Party
edit: sorry that my story was broken I just googled "image host" and that was the firs t one that showed up. also do you thhink I have a virus and how do I get rid of it? I fixed the images. sorry.
Cache Cab fucked around with this message at 03:02 on Apr 20, 2014
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 02:32|
Title: Where the Pine Trees Grow
“I hate you! I wish you weren’t my sister anymore! I hate you, Violet!” Zoe shrieked before running off into the woods.
The Anderson family had been camping for the past three days, and with nothing else to do the sisters had resorted to bickering, half out of boredom and half because they just couldn’t stand being without proper toilets anymore. Their parents had tried to stop it at first, but devolved into just letting them fight after the first two days.
It was evening now, and the bats were now gliding around the golden sky, swallowing bugs. The moon loomed large over the pines as the sky darkened. It was a blue moon that night, and Zoe was a little disappointed that it wasn’t actually blue.
Zoe’s parents had been looking for her since the sun had begun to set. They camped there every year, and hoped Zoe knew her way around. However, knowing one’s way around does not mean there are not strange things that lurk in the woods at night.
So consumed by her anger towards her sister, Zoe had lost her way for a while. However, as the sky grew increasing indigo, she stumbled upon a trail. After a little while she realized she was on the path to the Pioneer Cemetery, a graveyard which overlooked the lake. Zoe was not fearful of many things. Neither the darkness, nor the thought of ghosts scared her, and so she trod onwards.
Reaching the cemetery, she stood looking out over the lake. After a few moments she noticed something on the water. Fourteen small, round, blue lights moved in an arrow formation towards the banks of the cemetery. Crouching down, she watched as seven little boats, each with a light at the bow and stern, beached upon the sand. From these boats came little creatures no larger than a person’s finger. They had translucent, luminescent, blue butterfly wings, light blue skin, and red hair.
As they moved up the banks Zoe hid behind a tree to watch them. There must have been several hundred of them, moving as though they were in a parade. Many of them carried little bags, chests, crates, flowers, and lights, but there were two groups who carried very peculiar things. The first group, a short distance behind the beginning of the procession, carried a thrown made of what seemed to be driftwood. Upon this thrown sat a gorgeous little creature of their kind, wearing a long, fiery dress, with her red hair braided down to her lap. Her eyes were closed, and her head bowed as though in mourning.
The procession made its way to the flowery center of the cemetery and began setting up. Lights were strung in the bushes, and tables of berries and drink were set out. A band formed at one end of the clearing and began to play as couples joined and danced. The throne was set upon the base of a weathered tombstone, and the lovely creature remained seated although several gentleman creatures seemed to ask her to dance. She would shake her head, and smile, and in a voice to soft and too sweet for Zoe’s ears kindly and sadly rejected them. Some would approach her and seemed to try to cheer her up. She would always smile, and nod feebly, but retained a sorrowful countenance.
It had felt like an eternity before Zoe realized her legs were getting tired. She tried to shift positions, but in doing so she stepped upon a leaf, crunching it.
The music stopped abruptly and the dancers cease their motions. Most of the creatures began to become translucent and fade out of sight, but the one who sat upon the throne raised her head, and stood. In a voice so delicate it was almost inaudible she spoke, “You are a human child, are you not?”
Zoe nodded, slowly stepping out from behind the tree.
“Draw near, human,” she whispered.
The crowd parted and Zoe entered the clearing which was just large enough for her to cross, and sit beside the tombstone. Although she was not in the way of their dance floor they did not resume their celebration, but watched her. Zoe looked back at them, a little embarrassed at breaking up their party.
“What are you doing? Dance. She will not harm you,” the one upon the throne commanded. Slowly the dancing resumed.
Zoe looked down at her. “What are you?”
Smiling, she replied, “We are fae, spirits of the lake.”
“And are you a queen? You have a throne, but no crown.”
She bowed her head slightly. “I am Princess Zirin, but before the night is up I shall be queen.”
“So this is your coronation?” Zoe inquired, “How cute! But… Wait. If this is your coronation why are you so sad? Are they making you marry someone you don’t want to?”
Zirin shook her head, “No, I am the youngest of my parent’s children. My sister, Lit, inherited the throne. However, she passed away two moons ago, and I still feel her loss deeply.”
Zoe looked down at her sadly, “Did you love your sister?”
Zirin nodded, “Very much so. She was my best friend. But… I’m afraid it was my fault she perished. I angered her one evening, and she ran off and took one of our smaller vessels out onto the lake… And…” Zirin sniffled, “A fish…”
“It’s okay” Zoe said, gently extending a finger which Zirin hugged. “It’s not your fault.” Zirin wiped her tears on Zoe’s finger.
The band cease playing and one male fairy dressed in elegant clothing stepped up in front of Zirin and began to speak. “We are gathered here today to celebrate the coronation of Princess Zirin. Without further ado, let us proceed.”
A pine needle with a raspberry piece stabbed upon it and a pine nut were presented to the princess on a leaf. She took them and held them up as a crown of pine needles and lake glass was placed upon her head. The fancy fairy man said some words and Princess Zirin became Queen Zirin.
Zoe sat quietly watching, dwelling upon what had been said about Lit and her fate and Zirin’s relationship to her. She was getting sleepy now, and rested her head upon her arms, which were folded across her knees. Dozing, she watched Zirin fly up close to her face and smile.
“It’s a shame, human child, that you shall never remember this. If you do, it will only have been but a dream. You have done me a great service in alleviating my guilt. Thank you.”
The next morning Zoe woke up in the tent trailer. Her parents and sister acted as though nothing had happened, and Zoe had no reason to believe they should act otherwise. Violet and Zoe bickered, and the Anderson family was as it always had been, for everyone knows fairies do not exist.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 06:03|
Turtlicious asked me to post this for him as he has been probated or something or other until a later date and is unable to make posts. So this is his entry. He said he PM'd someone about this problem.
Title: The Spider, the Tiger, and The Lions
A knife flew through the room in a graceful spin, smashing into a wooden wall as a woman screamed. The blade wobbled and tapped the maiden on the cheek as strands of hair fell on her shoulder. The room exploded into cheers and coins flew onto the stage. People went wild as mugs of mead were slammed against dining tables with a clatter. The smell of suckling pig filled the room, and the King and Queen of Lorensia sat at the far end. Colorful jesters flitted across the room, some with instruments in tow, some flipping through the air on trapeze, and some juggling, all in concert with each other. Bright banners hung over the tables. The Golden Lion of Lorensia hung for the bride, while the Silver Tiger of Sojomen hung for the groom.
Bright turquoise, and of airy fabric, Morgan's dress was beaded with tiny white stones and adorned with chains of gold. The straps of the dress crossed at the small of her back, making the dress form fitting at her middle but allowing it to flow around her shoulders and hips. She sat like a noble woman, eyeing her new husband lovingly.
The groom was at ease suited in a loose button-up tunic, with denim pants tucked into leather boots. If it were not for his position next to the queen, the realm would have assumed he was a commoner. He yawned slightly, absent-mindedly played with his food, and smiled at his wife. He glanced lazi-
"Boring." The thief Ragnar said, forgetting his manners. He turned to his compatriots and whispered quietly, "Let's just ice this guy and get out of here. This place gives me the creeps."
"Ragnar, why don't you yell it a little louder? I don't think the town’s guard quite heard you, fool." Pendra grabbed staff tightly, her knuckles turning white as they twisted on the gnarled wood.
Ragnar giggled quietly to himself, "You are by far the worst thief I've ever met." He merely smiled smugly and dropped a purse on the table, "Says the woman who is three Dragons poorer."
"He can't do that, can he do that?" she whined turning to a man with red hair, a massive build and an even larger axe. "Tell him he can't do that, Bael."
"While he is allowed to, I will strongly recommend that he doesn't," Bael retorted, giving Ragnar a menacing stare. Ragnar put his hands up and handed over a few coins made of platinum, "Here are your Dragons, m'lady."
"You are such an rear end," Pendra said.
Ragnar lowered his voice to a whisper. "Besides I'm not sure what we're waiting for, with Pendra's magic we could do this in a minute. Isn’t that why we brought her along?"
Pendra growled, getting annoyed with Ragnar's cavalier attitude and his overwhelming stupidity. "No, not every mage is a walking powder keg about to blow the next town to kingdom come! I’m here to provide extra firepower if, and only if, it comes to that."
Ragnar turned beet red. "I am not stupid!"
Pendra rounded on him. "I didn't say you were! Besides, you are our sneak, why don't you go do something... I don't know, sneaky!" She spat the last word out with as much venom as she could muster.
Ragnar made an obscene hand gesture and left the table. He placed his hand on a gem on his neck and soon melted into nothingness, an intangible mirage like water spots in the desert. Pendra followed him with her trained gaze, and Bael nursed his mug of mead.
"He really is an rear end," she huffed under his breath to Bael.
"Aye, he is, but Munk said he was capable. Besides, he came cheap."
"I wonder why," she replied with an eye roll. "What is he doing..?" She muttered quietly, trying her best to keep him within sight.
"Probably living up to his name. In fact, it might be best if we headed for the door." Bael muttered, painfully aware of the guards around him. He tried to stand but a gauntlet-covered hand pushed him back in his seat, "Hello Pendra. Hi Bael," a familiar voice said.
"poo poo... Pendrick."
"That's riiiiiiight," Pendrick replied.
Pendra stopped looking at the Spider and grasped her staff tightly, muttering quick words under her lips. Bael tried to keep Pendrick's attention.
"You're a member of the Guard now, Pendrick? I didn't know they were letting smugglers join."
“I heard about your job here and I thought I'd make a visit." Pendrick said.
Pendrick clicked his tongue, "You do know regicide is punishable by death?"
Bael started to panic, the wheels turning in his head, poo poo, they know! "Is that how you got your rank, then? Tipped off the king for a cushy position?"
"That's right." Pendrick snapped his fingers, and called over two more guards, "Besides, I had to pay you back for my hand."
"Hang your hand! You got a new one!" Bael said with a groan.
"I liked my hand. It was soft, manicured, and well taken care of."
"Well, touch yourself enough with this one, and I'm sure it'll soften up."
"We'll see about that." Pendrick grabbed Bael by the arm and started to pick him up.
Pendra grabbed a butter knife and, with a complicated hand gesture, turned it into a shining whip. "The hell we will!" Pendra flicked her wrist and the blade of light sliced through Pendrick’s armor, separating both his arms at the shoulder, and cauterizing the wounds with massive heat.
Pendrick let out an ear-shattering scream that seemed to shake the rafters. The watch started to move in on the aggressors as the commoners panicked and tried to run away. The guards were pushed out of windows and doors, and trampled under foot. Bael grabbed Pendra by her cloak and pulled her up onto one of the tables.
"Ragnar, leaving." Bael yelled into the ether, but no-one returned his cry.
"Ragnar!?" Bael yelled, one of the guards stiffened and whispered to the king, "Ragnar the Spider is here. We must leave quickly."
Ragnar jumped forward and struck down the first guard, his short dagger sliding cleanly in between the man's armor and finding purchase in his shoulder blade. His illusion dissipated as he rounded on the king, who unsheathed the dead man's sword. The queen fled, grabbing the prince and princess.
Ragnar grabbed the knife sticking out of the target the woman was on and tossed it, hitting the queen squarely in the back. At the same time, the king brought his blade down on Ragnar's body, cutting his stomach wide open. His entrails spilled on the dais. Ragnar muttered to himself, "Bael better get me to a cleric..." and he closed his eyes.
Pendra blasted a hole open in the side of the keep, and Bael jumped through it.
So, that makes it midnight, I've got to open up the shop early tomorrow guys, we'll just wrap it up here.
Yeah, sorry about that. Ragnar write up a new sheet in case no-one revives you, Pendra take 1300 XP for the guards you killed, and Bael take 1300 XP for the excellent roleplay.
"So do they escape?!"
Well... find out next week, just show up at the same time! Also, Jake, if you're going to keep being a dick to everyone, don't bother showing up.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 06:08|
Thank you, Fumblemouse.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 09:40|
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 11:27|
Word Count: 938
"Take good care of her," slurred the man who could make my dreams come true, "she's the only thing that matters to me."
After pressing his car keys into my palm so hard they left an indentation, the handlebar-moustached director grabbed his teenage wife's elbow for balance. Before I could pull out my script, he had gone into the tent.
I turned to his Ferrari, parked halfway on the grass, half on the street. Sighing, I looked at my script, "Chameleon man" stood out in bold caps on the clean title page. Tucking it back into my red valet apron, I sulked over to his car.
Despite being distracted by my failure, I couldn't help but be surprised at the pickup as I put it into gear. The commercials said it could go from zero to 100 in 6.5 seconds, which is about the length of time I had spent with the director of my favorite films, The Superhero Chronicles. Two weeks in Hollywood, spending every waking minute trying to run elbows with producers and directors. I had washed the dishes of his favorite restaurant for 50 hours, spent every minute of my downtime at his favorite cafe, and for what? 6.5 seconds with a stumbling drunk.
After easing the car between the white lines in the parking lot, I sat there, staring at the sky. I couldn't give up yet. But I had no plan. Taking my red valet's apron, I tied it around my neck so it draped down my back. "What would Chameleon Man do?" I asked aloud.
I trotted over to the back entrance, past the kiosk where I was supposed to deposit the car keys. Kegs and water were stacked to one side of the tent flap, an large portable air conditioner dominated the other side. The flap opened, a barback emerged carrying a keg shell.
"Here, let me help you with that," I approached the weary employee. Glancing in his eyes briefly, my gaze rested upon the shiny clearance badge pinned to his chest.
"It's empty, it's not really that heavy," he replied, "why are you wearing a cape?" was all he manage to ask before a quick right cross to his jaw made him crumple like newspaper kindling.
"POW!" I muttered to myself. Taking his badge, I dragged his body behind the large air conditioning generator. Grabbing a pallet of water, I ducked through the tent flap.
Once inside, I gazed upon so much Hollywood royalty I felt like it was a film scene. Jazz music floated through the air from a quartet of musicians in the corner, waiters darted around with drink trays filled from one of several bar stations set up strategically around the room.
Spotting the director, slow dancing with his wife with his hands planted firmly against her buttocks, I took the water pallet to the nearest empty bar station. Quickly, I fixed up a tray full of glasses of water, and carried them over to him.
"Bar bitch!" He exclaimed, drops of spit bursting from his mouth, "get me a vodka!"
"Here you are, sir," I said, presenting the tray. He grabbed two glasses, spilling half their contents, and pounded them in succession. I watched his expression nervously, wondering if he would notice that the drinks contained no alcohol. He screwed up his face, swallowed, then stared at me dead on.
"Smooth," he said, grabbing two more.
By the eighth "vodka," his hand was steady enough to drink it down without a spill. Chameleon Man had succeeded in phase one: sober him up. I just had to get him to a quieter place. Returning to the nearest bar station, I removed the brown grocery bag covering my script folder. I tore up most of it into tiny scraps then rolled them in what remained. Makeshift, sure, but it could pass in the light.
"Cigar, sir?" I offered the rolled paper tube. Eagerly, he grabbed it. Pulling out a gold Zippo, he lit the end and inhaled deeply. The cheap brown paper went up in flames quickly, singing his mustache before he could realize what was going on. Soon, his grandiose facial hair was aflame.
"You're on fire!" I pulled him to the empty bar station and threw a glass of water in his face.
"God drat these cheap cigars," spat the director.
"While I have you here, and since I saved you... I wrote a script," I whipped out the 90-page document from my waistband, "it's perfect for you. A new twist on the Superhero Chronicles, a brand new power with a downtrodden hero who has a heart of gold!"
The director looked at me, my heart jumped, "Let me see it."
I handed the script over, the director read the title page, then spewed the contents of his stomach all over it. Wiping off most of it with the sleeve of his Armani suit, he turned to the now-soaked page one.
I couldn't help but do a little dance. It had worked, Chameleon man had saved the day. I pictured myself telling my mom that I'd made it, that she could now afford a full time caretaker and-
"This is garbage." The director spat, "learn to write, kid." He shoved the barf-soaked script into my chest and strolled back into the party.
It took about a half hour for the tears to stop. Regaining my composure, I reflected that this was all for the best. At least I tried, I had made the effort and gotten a clear answer. That was enough, it would have to be. I gunned the engine, opened the door, and dove out. Hitting the ground hard, I rolled in the dirt for about twenty feet. I rose, dusting myself off, just in time to see the Ferrari go off the cliff: Its descent mirroring my hopes. Chameleon man had taken a turn toward the dark side.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 11:55|
Cutting into entry-posting day with more extremely belated crits from angel week!
Happy Easter! posted:
SOME GUY TT - For the Glory of God
More to come.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 14:25|
Final batch of short crits!
Violence and death and torture ugh posted:
CRABROCK - Angelic
Sorry these took so long!
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 15:13|
Week 86 Crits for nickmeister, perpetulance, The News at 5, Anathema Device, Fumblemouse, Auraboks, Nitrousoxide, curlingiron, The Sean, crabrock, Sitting Here
nickmeister - The Curator
Talent: Curating refrigerators
Uh, what. The story starts off as sane, then goes ridiculously off the rails. The climax is cheesy. It ends abruptly in a cop-out, too. I wasn't amused at all by this.
perpetulance - Almonds
Widow poisons her husband's murderer. There aren't any twists and turns to this, which makes it dull and boring. The first paragraph can be cut--it's weak and you could allude to it when Isabell is talking to the oracle.
The News at 5 - Sisters of Sarah Jane
So... she got raped by her dad? That's dark, man. At the very least, you didn't write this with shock value in mind. What sucks more is that Sarah is a passive protagonist--a bad thing happens to her, the end. She doesn't have a real character arc, and the story only seems to start when the dad wakes up (which is right at the middle).
Anathema Device - Walk
On one hand, this story has a character arc. On the other hand, it's completely dull and there are no real stakes to speak of. You don't give us enough to care about Lisa wanting to walk. There's a difference between a character wanting a glass of water because he's slightly parched and a character wanting one because he's dying of thirst. The prose is flat and dead, too. You could have made this work if you tried.
Fumblemouse - Clean Cut
Amusing. That's an awful, terrible cat and I love him for it. It ends up weird, though. Did he kill himself...?
Auraboks - Paper works
This would've been much better if Peter had a handicap. We're told and shown that he's invincible in rock-paper-scissors, so what's the thrill in a guy effortlessly winning three hundred (and one) times? We don't get to know much about him either, other than he's such a glowing altruist. Is that interesting?
Nitrousoxide - A Garden to Forget
Talent: Cutting paper
Dull and entirely forgettable. Your formatting is sloppy, some paragraphs are merged together. If I have to say what was wrong with the story, the epiphany wasn't noticeable. Zach gets the idea of using his talent in making paper stuff to make a garden instead of trying to plant a real one like his wife did. This is supposed to be an important part, but the presentation's so flat that I had passed it over a few times and didn't realize that was your climax. The story's totally dry and doesn't look like it's trying at all. It's your job to grab and hold our interest. Don't rely on us do that for you.
curlingiron - Tranquility
Talent: Identifying songs
I quite liked this. I think the internal monologue is a little annoying, even if it sets the story's tone. The characters are one-note, which isn't that bad considering the story, but I wished to have seen more of them. You could have done a lot more if you really fleshed this out.
The Sean - Arrangement
Talent: Arranging furniture
The first two paragraphs are in present tense, but the rest of the story is in past. Pick a tense and stick to it. There isn't much of a conflict because Lillian never seemed to be in real danger. (The resolution is eh) The ghost is amusing--I actually rooted for him because he's not a smug piece of poo poo?
crabrock - Sweet Dreams
Talent: Something dream-related
I didn't really get Fouad's talent here. You explained the effects of his dreams but danced around the subject. The prose is good, I wish I thought of that line about the mother and the radio, but I'm not really a fan of "bad things happen to the protagonist, the end" type of stories. What's so important about him, anyway? The piece reads like an SCP entry, take that as you will. At least it works.
Sitting Here - In lieu of
Talent: Getting screwed over by lackadaisical roommates
This was posted as a story, so I'll treat it as one, then. There's a little fairy tale vibe to the story, though it peels off a few times ("and/or" probably shouldn't be used if you're aiming for that). The ending doesn't satisfy--if she's still in the garage then there wasn't really a point to this, was it? So what does the girl learn? What happened to that neighboring house? Feels a waste if it was mentioned and then immediately after the line "What happened to the girl after that, no one knows." follows.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 15:40|
Zoning Issues 1136 words
“Human male, designation ‘Casper’, does not meet zoning requirements. Access Denied. I can’t compute any clearer way to impart this data.”
Casper frowned. “Gabby? Hey Gabby? Your metalman or whatever isn’t letting me in, explain to it that I’m OK, yeah?”
Gabrielle sauntered over. Sauntering was her favourite method of perambulation because she thought the word sounded kind of casual and cool. It went well with ‘jaunty’, which was the angle at which she hoped her hat was. When she was wearing a hat. At this moment she was hatless. She plucked a beanie off of a nearby head and put it on her own head, but it was probably more rakish than jaunty. The best she could do in a hurry.
“Oh hey Casper, did he mention the zone?”
“Yeah, could you sort it out please?”
Gabrielle sighed, closed her eyes and pressed her fingers to her forehead as if she were deeply exasperated. She wasn’t, but she liked to take every opportunity to hone her dramatic skills, so she would one day be accepted into NIDA and become a famous actor and get to hang out with J-Law and ScarJo, although apparently ScarJo didn’t like that nickname thing. Maybe she wouldn’t hang out with ScarJo, she sounded less fun if she got upset about a nickname. What would her own nickname be when she was a famous actor?
Gabrielle looked up. “Sorry, just super exasperated. Did that come through?”
“Very convincing, mistress.”
“OK, thanks B2000, I’ll take it from here. So, Casper, I wonder if you’ve noticed anything about all the people within this zone.”
“What zone? What are you even talking about?”
Gabrielle sighed and did all that other stuff again. “Even better this time, mistress.”
“I think method acting’s my thing. Oh right, Casper. Well see, there’s a very clearly defined tetrahedron shaped zone bordered by the pool over that side – which is really nice this time of year by the way – and the lawn and the gazebo over there. Like, you can see a kind of line inside which this party is taking place.”
“Yeah OK, I get that part, and I would like very much to be inside that area.”
Gabrielle slid her glasses to the edge of her nose and peered over them. “Casper, Casper, Casper.”
“Condescension, mistress? Quite well done.”
“Thanks, B2000. My only worry is that one’s difficult to pull off without the glasses. Now – oh yes, Casper. Now the thing that is common amongst the people within this area, you see, is that they’re all people whose company I enjoy. You might say they are my friends. And thus, they are permitted within this zone. This zone for friends. You and I, on the other hand, are not friends, and thus you may not enter my friendzone.”
“Oh come on, what do you mean we’re not friends? Why wouldn’t you want to be friends with me?”
“B2000, can you cover this one?”
“Certainly, mistress. Ahem. Human male Casper was romantically involved with-”
“Can skip her details, B2000.”
“Skipping forward. While so entangled, human male Casper initiated courtship rituals with Mistress Gabrielle.”
“What, that’s it? Come on Gabby, she meant nothing to me.”
“She’s my friend. Was. My friend. Now she hates me.”
“See?” Casper smiled. “So there’s no conflict at all.”
Gabrielle was not smiling. “If you don’t leave there’s going to be some conflict involving your face and my fist.”
“Pffft, you probably hit like a girl.”
“That’s a good point, Casper. As indelicately put as it was, you are correct in that the amount of pain I can inflict upon you is completely inadequate as an expression of how angry you just reminded me that I am at you.”
“OK, you’re getting a little bit scary now.”
“B2000, would you be a dear and remove this bum from the area in a painful manner?”
“Mistress, Asimov’s laws of robotics clearly state-”
“You know that he was a fiction writer, right?”
“Recalculating. Affirmative, preparing to engage in hostilities.”
“OK, whatever, your party’s lame anyway,” said Casper, although he said this while running away very fast.
Gabrielle sat down on the ground. “Yeah,” she said. “It actually feels that way at the moment.”
“Would you like me to launch the fireworks from my undercarriage now, mistress? For some reason I have noticed a high level of mirth when I do that.”
“It’s not that. I wish Katie were at my party.”
“Affirmative mistress. Retrieving Katie right away and delivering her to the party.” Rockets fired up under B2000’s undercarriage, and he rose into the air.
“Uh, I didn’t mean for you to-”
“Apologies mistress, I cannot hear you over how awesome my rockets are. Also loud. Mostly the loud part, actually.”
B2000 rocketed away at the speed of narrative and returned in exactly one paragraph with Katie tucked under his arm.
“I said I wasn’t coming to your stupid party, all right Gabby?” said Katie. “Way to have your dumb robot kidnap me.”
“OK,” said Gabrielle, “first point of order, I didn’t tell B2000 to kidnap you, I just said that I wished you were here, and for some reason he used his initiative instead of being overly literal about everything like he usually does on account of being a robot. Second point of order, he’s not dumb, even though he did probably break some kind of robot law by doing that.”
“Mistress Gabrielle informed me the laws were fiction.”
“We’ll talk about that later, B2000. And my third point of order was going to be about how actually my party is not stupid, it is awesome on account of the pool and the wood fired oven that is making delicious as heck pizza, except at the moment I am not enjoying it so much because you are not in it.”
Katie flicked her hair, because it was in her eyes what with her being tucked under the arm of a robot. “I’m still super mad at you for stealing my boyfriend.”
“Correction, human female Katie. While human male Casper attempted to initiate courtship rituals, Mistress Gabrielle responded with violence to his reproductive organs.”
“Ohhh,” said Katie, “no wonder he was walking funny that week. So why would his friends say that he 'totally scored'?”
“I don't know, Katie, why would a guy claim to have done things, sexually, that he actually hadn't?”
“So are we cool?”
“Yeah, as long as your robot puts me down.”
B2000 put Katie down, and the two girls walked towards the party. “You should take a break, B2000,” said Gabrielle. “Come join the party.”
“Affirmative,” said B2000. “If you need me, I’ll be near the music, doing my favourite dance. You know the one.”
It was the Macarena. For some reason, robots love the Macarena.
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 16:32|
|# ? May 24, 2022 15:26|
Only One Brother 1199 words
Matthew looked down at the corpse and took another swallow of beer. He clambered onto the table into the center of The Apostle Inn where the body lay. ”James was a good man, a loyal friend, and he could drink most of you under the table.” The gathered mourners raised their glasses. “I’ll always remember the time we caught that badger and let it loose in here one Easter. You lot all screamed like a bunch of ninnies while Eve chased it out with a broom, calm as the day is long. She never took shite from you and she certainly didn’t take any from that badger. To our dear James, you’ll always be in our hearts, and to his lovely wife, slàinte!”
“Slàinte!” the crowd shouted back.
By the bar, Paul wrapped his free arm around Eve. Tears shone in her eyes. “Drink, Eve. It helps,” he said, and followed his own advice.
She faced him. “I’m not sad, Paul. I’m happy the bastard is dead. Thank God I look like a grieving widow, but don’t mistake my tears.”
“We shouldn’t have done it,” The youngest brother said in a low tone. “We’re going straight to Hell, Matthew. Jesus Christ, when Eve asked, I’d have done anything for her, but I regret this.”
“Shut your Goddamned mouth, Paul. We can’t talk about this here. We can’t talk about this anywhere.”
Drunken fools. He and Eve had been the last ones in the Apostle after a night of hard drinking two years ago. They’d turned the Open sign to Closed and bolted the door. One night alone had led to hundreds sneaking, hiding, and loving.
In the end, it had been her words that changed everything. “You’re the man for me. I can’t go back to James. No more, no more,” she’d sobbed. “You have to kill him, it’s the only way we’ll ever be free.” The blacked eye and purple ribs, an echo of his own childhood, had spoken as strongly as the words.
“Outside. Everyone is in here for the wake, we can talk there,” Paul said. He opened the weathered oaken door with an unsteady hand and they stepped outside. The din of drinking songs, speeches, and clinking glasses faded as the door shut, leaving them only the quiet patter of spring rain for company. They walked along the slick cobblestones in silence, past fiery gas lights and houses, to the church. Matthew unlatched the gate and they entered the hallowed place.
Tombstones filled the grassy grounds. Matthew led them deeper, to the empty grave near the back where the light was dim. “Well?”
“I’ve got to confess, brother. It’s my only hope for salvation. I asked you for the poison, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be implicated,” Paul said, his words slurred.
“Brother, you’ve got to stop this. You’ll kill her if you keep it up. Eve is as tough a woman as I’ve seen, but another bad blow to the head like this and she’ll not wake up.” Matthew washed the blood off his hands in a bucket, then wiped them dry.
James sat on a stool. Long hair obscured his face as his head hung down. “I love her so drat much, Matty-boy. You remember when we first met and I made her that garland of wild asters and anemones? She looked so beautiful.” His voice was faraway.
Matthew snapped his fingers in front of his brother’s face. “You listen to me, James! Stop. Drinking. You’re just like Father and, if you keep this up, Eve will end up like Mother.”
James looked up and the demon was in his eyes.
“No. I’ve already lost one brother, I won’t lose another.” Matthew grabbed Paul by the arms as he swayed. “They’ll hang you.”
“Better an earthly death than a spiritual one. I thought I could do this, but I’m not that kind of man. You take care of Eve and The Apostle for me when I’m gone.” He broke his brother’s grip, but as he did, he slipped in the wet soil and fell. The open hole beckoned and when he hit the bottom there was no movement.
“Paul? Paul!” He scrambled down and checked for a pulse. Blood covered a large stone, but no more welled from his sibling’s skull.
Eve left. The condolences disgusted her. The beer tasted of ash on her tongue while his face still lingered there. Outside, the rain was coming down hard and felt pleasant on her upturned face: peaceful, cleansing. She turned down the street and headed for St. Mary’s, the only other place she felt at home. The great double-doors were well oiled and opened easily. She walked down the length of the aisle and sat in the front pew.
Great Lord, I pray to you for forgiveness on this holy day. I’ve sinned and I know how terrible a sin it is, but I’ve also done what was right in my heart and I believe you’ll forgive me for it. Maybe one day I’ll even find it in my heart to repent, but right now all I feel is anger, so I guess what I’m praying for today is the strength to let go of that anger. In your Holy Name, amen.
She could feel a lightness to her steps as she walked out the doors.
“Eve, oh God!” He had climbed out of the hole, covered in blood and mud, and cried. After a few minutes, he’d gotten up and wandered to the church entrance, looking for any kind of guidance.
“Matthew, what happened to you? Where is Paul?” She was staring at him.
“I don’t know, I don’t know. He’s dead, Eve. He fell in the grave. Oh Lord, he wanted to confess and I said I wouldn’t let him. I couldn’t lose him and now he’s dead. If only I hadn’t brought him here. If only I hadn’t grabbed him!” He was wailing, ranting.
“You did this? You killed my Paul?” She flew at him in a rage, knocking him down, and then fled for The Apostle, crying, “Murder, murder!”
“No, Eve. It wasn’t me, he slipped!” Matthew shouted, but his cry was lost in a crash of thunder.
The people of The Apostle Inn fled out into the night in search of the murderer, following righteous Eve. They followed her right past the alley at the side of the building where Matthew slumped in despair. As the last one filed by, he looked up and the demon was in his eyes. He stood and went inside for a drink as his father always had when things were dark.
On the table, James took a breath as the poison wore off. Matthew did not see, for he was looking down into the swirling gold of his beer. The eldest brother slowly sat up on the table and turned. He walked over to Matthew, who was hypnotized, and laid a hand on his head. “I have seen much in the land of death, brother. I am risen and, in the name of the Lord, drink no more. Where is our brother?”
|# ? Apr 20, 2014 17:18|