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Mercedes
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.






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.

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Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


crabrock posted:

SHUT UP MOM AND DAD, I HATE YOU


...and you too, weird uncle

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.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


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.

:toxx: All in :toxx:
Requesting a punitive flash rule

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Entenzahn posted:

Requesting a punitive flash rule
Your party is a birthday party for a child under the age of five. The story is from their viewpoint.

Nethilia fucked around with this message at 22:01 on Apr 17, 2014

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


What do you mean, late?

crabrock posted:

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.

sebmojo posted:

Muffinbrawl

Method
882 words

My best friend Henry started experimenting on himself when we were 14. Not medical experiments, of course, but it was pretty scientific. He had notebooks, and procedures, and a hypothesis. Henry starting trait: Curious, risky, organized

He explained it to me one muggy Friday night, while we were eating slice after slice of slightly stale bread with Eta peanut butter on it in my mum's tiny kitchen not really sure what all these details are for. after a night arguing with Bible bashers in Manners Mall. Henry starting trait: argumentative, maybe arrogant?

"Everyone talks about people changing over time, right? do they? not really sure what Henry is referencing here. It almost sounds like evolution, but that's not people changing overtime, that's species changing over time. But what is it that changes?" His eyes, a little bulbous at the best of times, were almost popping out of his head. Henry starting trait: Intense

I waved my bread. "Well, you. Your personality."

He jumped on the word as though he'd been waiting for it "--ality, right. But your personality is whatever makes your decisions for you, right? depends on your school of thought. The sum of all the things that have happened to it. Whoever you change into, that's who you are. And that's who you were before as well!" well, there's such thing as brain trauma where the person changes personality completely, i wouldn't argue that that's who they were before, but your character is saying that, not you. still...

I think I smiled uncertainly and started talking about Duran Duran. But from then on he was committed. committed to WHAT? proving that his theory was correct? (i mean, there are whole fields of personality research that tackle these questions, i doubt he's going to come up with anything new without serious study.

narrator starting trait: unsure, wavering

"Henry," I asked one blustery spring morning a few weeks later as we were walking to school. "Why do you only have one shoe?"

He had made it down over the muddy field and was hobbling along the road. "Balance check; i'mtypo? taking notes. I'll swap sides after lunch." I like this part. A lot. It shows me all the sciencey stuff you've been talking about, shows how weird he is, and really hammers that poo poo home.

Mr typo? Murchison the guidance counsellor typo? called me in that afternoon. "So... . You're Henry's friend. Any thoughts?" just about the shoe thing? or what? i'm not really sure what the problem is, as it seems Henry's been like this for a while now.

I started to say 'no', because stuff narking, when something about his drooping hangdog face changed my mind. a little too ambiguous for me. what exactly? "I think he just likes being in charge of himself. Maybe he just doesn't want to end up like you, Mr. Murchison?" a bit confused. like why did he just insult this dude out of nowhere? i didn't get the impression that this guy was making the narrator too upset.

The conversation went downhill from there and I got detention. i like this

Over the next few years Henry and I drifted apart as his notebooks got thicker and experiments more elaborate. so far, henry hasn't changed. Also I started seeing girls; shouldn't previous sentence be WE started seeing girls? our one double date ended awkwardly when he began howling all his words. so far Henry seems the same, just kind of a weirdo.

We did have one conversation, when I found him on the upper field. He had copper rings on all his fingers and was hopping, slowly, on one leg. "Hi, how's it going?" he said.

"Henry, what are you aiming at, mate?" I said, offering him a cigarette. He took it with a nod of thanks and inserted it into his right ear, twisting it to get it all the way in. "Your mum's worried about you." She had sounded scared on the phone. i get that the narrator is "changing" relative to Henry, but I feel like the narrator is just developing normally, while Henry seems stuck.

"I talked to their psychiatrist, he thought it was interesting. 'Imaginative exploration of social norms', he called it. Man, I'm still me. Y'know?"

I sort of did. Narrator still seems really unsure of everything. We changed the subject and it was just like always again, even when he started eating leaves halfway through a conversation about Pink Floyd.

And the notebooks, always the notebooks.

He left school at sixteen. Got into university, don't like this comma splicewe'd see each other across the Quad and wave; he would sometimes have people sitting around him, crosslegged. I never joined them. After a while I started seeing flyers with his face on it; 'Circle of Light', they said.

I went to one, eventually, once I realised I was making up excuses why I shouldn't go. Henry waved me to the front, maybe 80 people.

"We are corks," he said. "Corks on the wave. Tossed. Sometimes we float together and sometimes apart. Always, we float." I feel like this is where you wanted me to be like "A Ha! he changed!" But i'm not totally sold on him being different. If anything, he's MORE of what he was before. He was a little eccentric before, now he's really crazy. He's still intense, still taking risks, still using himself as a test subject. only he's switched his external focus, not really changed himself. also, you didn't SHOW this change, you went from "kind of weird high schooler" to "cult leader" in the scene jump.

There was a lot more like that, I tuned out after a while, just watched him stalking up and down the stairs of the lecture theatre. Everyone else seemed to drink it right up, eyes shining. When he walked past me I could see Henry's fingers twitching, as though attached to strings.

He took me out for a beer afterwards. We smoked in the booth, you could smoke in bars back then. He leaned forward over the table. Touched my arm. "Henry, you need to come away with us to the Wairarapa this weekend. Special session; I think I'm closing in on something. Something important." reminds me of the conversation they had about personality

I made an excuse.

We didn't talk again for a long time, though I saw his pictures on the television when they had the trial. New Zealand is short on cults so there was a lot of media interest; I think his lawyer had the scent of a career-making boondoggle in her well-trained nostrils. She probably deserved whatever he was paying her, because five years seemed light for burning down a village hall and killing three people. would have liked a little detail on WHY he burned down the hall. was it on purpose, or was it some candle-based accident?

I visited him in prison when he moved into minimum security; it seemed the right thing to do. The meeting room was full of tattooed cons and their children and girlfriends, cartoon animals and prison rules on the walls. Henry's eyes were bright. He was wearing a worn rugby shirt and jandals. wtf are jandals? some kiwi thing?

"I'm glad you came. I've been fleshing out my work. I think I've cracked it. The world is like a spiderweb and we are all the spiders. We weave our webs and then get caught in them. But we are eternal. We are creatures of energy, you see. Luminous. Do you understand? Do you understand me?" so Henry seems the exact same, after this whole story.

I sort of did. I drove home the long way, because of the crying.

wait, wouldn't you want to get home asap? also, I don't care for this last line at all. Like, this dude has always been a little standoffish to Henry. Sure they were friends, but surely he knew Henry had been crazy for a long time. Your narrator didn't seem to change at all, just was always kind of passive and watching Henry do weird poo poo, but never really tried to help Henry other than a few half-hearted attempts to talk to him.

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.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Skin and Bone

It started with his ears: the sound of a circling fly was like a knife smashed across violin strings, louder and louder with each lazy revolution until Baron killed it. He didn't want to. Bad men hurt animals and he was-
well, he was OK. Baron starting trait: changing, simple?, humble He let the fly lie where it fell, as a warning to the others. Some ants tried to take his grisly message away, so he killed them too. Later, more came. Their little feet were loud on the damp wooden floor: tschoop tschoop tschoop.

The house had never seen better days, though it would be hard to imagine worse ones. The leak in the basement had gone critical months back and now the room was a well-caged swamp, complete with a yellowy fungus growing in the corners. Baron called it 'wall puke'. It tasted OK. this reminds me of infinite jest, where he eats fungus and then goes crazy. want to know what is up with this dude, and why are his sense getting better and why is he eating wall puke?

He'd been a bigshot grifter once. Well, that was a lie. He'd been a two-bit conman once, but he'd scratched out a living. Good smile: lotsa teeth, big eyes. The punters i had to look up what a punter was liked big wobbly eyes and a sad story to go with 'em, and all the better if that same grief could be their gain. a little confused on what you meant by this last clause Baron'd lost count of how many 'funerals' he'd had to attend, how many times he'd said no sir real diamond but you know the cost of plane tickets these days and I just have to say goodbye to my dear ole mum with very-nearly-real tears in his eyes, because his stomach was growling and so was his landlord. oh man, these people are all over the subway, and it's so annoying.

If he concentrated, Baron could swear he heard his nosehairs growing. He imagined them curling inwards, longer and longer, burrowing through the nose cartilage and nesting around his brain like seaweed strangling a jetty, or pubes smothering a limp prick. This para is a little bit much for me. I already know he's getting heightened senses, so this is just kind of a "look at the pretty things i wrote!"

His head thrummed with blood. It made him want to touch his eyelids. They were leathery. There were bone nubs growing downwards from his brow, a little frill of horns. He couldn't see them, but he could feel them stretching his skin from beneath. The thing inside him wanted to burst out and dance naked in the rain of gore, body all slick and red: timeless, tailless, pristine. He shouted his name and heard the echo prang back. “Still here,” he said, then wondered who he was talking to. this is a good paragraph. it's progressing the story, progressing his change, progressing everything and well written.

He didn't miss Elle. Well, that was a lie. I like how much he is lying to himself. She'd made him want to be a better person, and goddam he'd tried. Sometimes, we strive for some greater ideal and we find the true measure of our potential. Unfortunately, potential -like bank balance- is best left unchecked. last 2 sentences read too much aphorisms, and not Baron's thoughts/feelings.

Tschoop tschoop tschoop. Bone nubs, wall puke and feet sounds; remnants of the man he'd once been that had lurked in his yellow belly for god knows how long and metastasizing at the worst moment. why is this the worst moment?

There had been picnics, and half-asleep drunk loving, and arguments over hairs in the drain: a domesticity that had been comforting in its all-nessmeh on the "comforting in allness." too vague.. For two endless years, Baron had believed with all his heart that he could be normal,'endless' doesn't fit well with this feeling that he could halt the twitching in his hands and the petty social violence that sat like a splinter through his eye. can you sit through an object? awkward phrasing.

It had actually begun to work, until the little voices bouncing around the cavern of his skull a little cliche pranged off the twisty nosehairs and found themselves front and center again. Three little words that made the gears lurch back into motion. not a fan of the '3 little words,' even when it's not "i love you" because it's purposeful misdirection that's been done to death.

“It's a boy,” the doctor had said.

He hadn't said I'm sorry Mister Baron, but you're a complete bastard. It's not terminal, but it should be, but it had the same effect. Baron got home calm-as-you-like, then packed a single small bag. Running was easy; animal. Total physical lockout: body said goodbye to brain and got the legs going mile on mile. Baron eventually found himself on his knees, on a twist of tarmac broken by puslike yellow roots. His mouth moaned, his eyes twitched and his nerves jangled, all trying to break away from a body that could barely hold them. It was then that Baron found the house. He did not come out for some time. this para is weak. it's a lot of stuff going on, which i think you could have been better served to spend a little bit more time on. this is really where we start to see the transition. him running away out of fear. i would have liked to see more internal thought here.

There was a pile of mirror dust what the poo poo is that? and splintered wood in the back yard. The wind wouldn't touch it, nor would Baron any more. Bad luck to smash a mirror, so he'd smashed them all. No point breaking the rules just a little bit. A is for Anarkee said the writing on the wall. Right on, man. weak para. doesn't really give me a sense of what this guy is going through.

Every day while he'd gone shopping for vegetables or run on the treadmill, Baron had told himself that he was becoming a good person. Every night while his wife lay asleep beside him, he'd fought with the fishhooks in his soul that wanted to breach him, to take him in godlike hands and tear his guts out. Bad man bad man bad man he'd told himself, as if dreaming the words hard enough would broadcast the warm inches between and she would know how much work it took him just to sit still, to quiet the violent whispers of his heart. break up this last sentence, but good para

We are what we tell ourselves we are, this sentiment is why you won. you have a clearer transition, because the Baron believes this, and he changes in what he thinks of himself as and Baron knew he was an animal wearing a man's skin. Well, that's a lie. He wanted to be better, but the world made it so hard. His fingernails were hardera little weird after you just said "so hard" now, and longer. He'd cut himself on them a few times before he'd figured it out. i like this He tried to chew them off, and screamed as a stiletto tooth tore the flesh of his finger.

His clothes kept snagging on the new bone that jutted from his angles, so he tore them apart and walked the house naked, spitting, slobbering, playing a game of good man bad man good man bad man and letting the sound of his voice get lost in the big corners. The sound bounced back, and he felt briefly like he wasn't alone.

“Good man,” he said, and touched the ring, which kept slipping off his too-long fingers. He'd had so much practice with fake rings, he had no idea how to treat a real one. “Bad man,” he said, then wept.

His stomach rumbled, as it had in the bad old days. He shuddered his way to the basement stairs, and took them one at a time, as if too heavy a tread would tear the rubber sheet of sanity. His feet went under the water. It was a relief not to see them any more. The toes stuck out at odd angles now, bones warped to fit a new frame.

He caught his reflection in the dark basement water, then tried to pretend he hadn't. Big eyes, lots of teeth. Just what the punters love. There's always profit in someone else's desperation. He tossed the word 'man' into the water. It did not echo back. “Well,” he said, “that's that then.”

He ate some wall puke, then fell back on his haunches and screamed. It was easy; animal.

He did not stop for some time.

Baron drooled, and dragged his knuckles and knives-of-bone across the floor. Where the spurs snagged, he grunted and pushed forward, tearing at the walls and floor. Outside called to him, pregnant with possibility. Grand Guignol for most, but a playground the reckless and violent. His muscles were stretched so tight that the sun played harmonies across them, little shivering arpeggios. He was hungry.

He could not be a man, but he could still do the good thing.

Baron went home.


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.

Turtlicious
Sep 17, 2012

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


e: oops

Turtlicious fucked around with this message at 00:15 on Apr 18, 2014

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Turtlicious posted:

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.

e: Also thank you for the crit! I would do one for you, but I don't really know how.

Talk about crits in the Fiction Advice thread.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Oh thank god crabrock. You were so late, I thought I'd gotten you pregnant.

GlassLotus
Mar 16, 2014

I once got a fortune cookie that said "Ask your mom". I've also gotten several blank fortune cookies... I guess that explains why I'm broke.

I'm in for the next one.

itsgotmetoo
Oct 5, 2006

by zen death robot


I am in.

tenniseveryone
Feb 8, 2014


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)

crabrock posted:

Get What’s Coming
928 words


Tom’s wife and kids had laughed at him when he buried his money in the yard Good opening!. She left, took the kids and changed their last names back to hers Less good second sentence. Easily shortened to "They left and took her maiden name", takes less time and scans better to boot. His kids sneered at him on Skype and questioned his manliness Is that a thing that kids do? Sneering sure, but "questioning manliness" less so. There's a better way of putting that. The whole world laughed with them—until the trees started growing Good closing to this opener, though. You've got me hooked.

His wife piled the kids into the car and they showed up on his front porch with their alligator-skin bags overflowing with clothes and electronics Again, this could be way shorter. You don't need to tell us they got bundled into the car, just that they showed up on his porch. Also, electronics doesn't seem the right word. Also also, they've got all this fancy stuff but they've turned up at his house for money? That doesn't really make sense. He didn’t let them inside. No, Tom thought, I don’t think I’ll ever talk to them again No, tenniseveryone thought, I don't think you should ever use a person's thoughts unless you're writing in the first person, especially when we already know from him not being let in and the fact that his family were total dicks to him that he's rejecting them. His brain hurt after such a long period of cogitation. I'll bill crabrock for the aspirin, he thought again, wincing/

Instead he passed his days under his trees. Their bark shimmered like gold, giving way to twisting branches that reached out and drooped toward the ground. Buds glimmered on the tips of the branches, and dappled amongst the gold were green bills that unrolled in the early morning, wet with dew Way to bury the lede here. We're pretty sure it's gonna be a money tree, but maybe tell us that first. Also surely the family could've just come and picked the trees without having to get back into the house? How does he protect his money?

Tom took his usual early-morning stroll and plucked 10s, 20s, and 100s that hung low enough for him to reach. He trod over the withered bills on the ground: torn and ripped, serial numbers smudged, faces of the founding fathers contorted into unrecognizable horrors This is pretty good, but the last bit of description seems a little trite. It was a race to gather as many bills as he could before the desert sun baked the bills worthless The desert sun that allows trees to grow? Fantastical trees, sure, but c'mon.

He filled his bucket with the harvest until he could fit no more. With a few more people he could substantially raise his profits, but after they laughed at him Wait so other people laughed at his plans too? Other than his family? That's the first we've heard of that he’d never entertained the idea for longer than it took him to soak one bill in lemon water. In the middle of his money grove was a lone lemon tree. The citric acid stopped the aging process on the plucked bills, much like it stops the oxidation and browning of sliced apples I see Wikipedia ghost-wrote this last sentence, that's quite a get.

The only person Tom let into his orchard was Alex, the little boy from across the street, whose mother was too busy getting high to pay either of them much attention Yeah Alex needs to be introduced way earlier and be neglected for a much less melodramatic reason.

“I like you, kid,” said Tom. “You’re not some money-grubbing sycophant like everybody else.” This is not how people talk, especially not to children.

Alex looked up at him with confused eyes.

Tom laid every soaked bill out on a wire rack to dry. “When I die, I’m leaving everything to you.” Okay so presumably Tom has known this kid for a while, but we've literally just met him, and have no context for their relationship, so him entrusting Alex as his sole heir rings kinda false. The boy shrugged and helped Tom flatten the dry bills with heavy objects. Tom fixed them PB&Js 1. Write the whole phrase 2. PB&J whats? Sandwiches? Tacos? 40s? for lunch and told his stories from the war Wait how old is this dude/when is this set/what war?, reminisced about the good ol’ days, and ranted about the liberal scourge that was ruining America Not necessary, doesn't tell us anything about the character that's important to the plot.

Alex nibbled on his sandwich and listened attentively.

They watched cartoons until the boy’s mom came home This didn't need to be two separate paragraphs.

Alex visited most days, and Tom, not needing to work anymore, welcomed somebody to talk with Yeah we already know this. The boy grew up and Tom paid for him to attend the best botany program, and bought him a house with its own small orchard. Tom insisted on giving Alex a money tree for himself, but Alex refused. Alex enjoyed flying back on weekends to help Tom flatten bills, even though the old man had more money piled in his basement than he knew what to do with So Tom just stayed in his old house despite having all this money? Did he do anything with the money? If not, why did he bother collecting it? Might've been nice to find out how he spent his wealth besides using it to fund a kid to go into botany. And did he do this because Alex is into botany - which has never been mentioned - or just to force him into being good at collecting from the money trees? And why would he need to be, when Tom grew them in the first place and doesn't have a botany degree, so far as we know?

“You should at least take a suitcase-full with you.”

“No, you’ve already give me more than enough.”

“I’d rather you have it, in the end.”

“Don’t talk like that.” Well he already told you this when you were a kid, sooooo

“Well, they’re sure as hell not getting it.”

The two men stacked the bills, ate sandwiches and debated politics Again, why the politics debating? It has no bearing on the story or the characters, unless it's foreshadowing some falling out between the two, which I just checked and it isn't.

Shortly after Alex returned to school, he received word that the old man had died. They said he’d fallen asleep with a lit cigarette and burned the whole house to the ground Okay that's pretty good.

Alex knew the old man never smoked, and smiled Wait he's happy that he burned himself to death? That's...weird.

Everybody Who? but Alex brought lawyers to the reading of the will. He winced under the glares shot at him when everything was left to him. There was screaming, and crying, and promises of drawn-out legal cases.

“There is precedence of overturning a will where the deceased had been conned.”

“Family comes first.”

“I don’t want your father’s possessions,” Alex said, quieting the room. “I am thankful for the time I spent with him, and for the gifts he has already given me Sandwiches, ranting about liberals and forcing him to study botany?. The money in my investments What investments?? already make me more than I can ever spend.”

The shouts of anger resumed, but Alex held up his hand and they quieted.

“I only want one item of your father’s Is it gonna be the lemon tree, and that is his old lemon tree CALLED IT.” Alex paused, but the shouting did not resume. None of them had ever been present to watch Tom process the bills We get it, you don't need to point that out.

“Whatever, let the bastard have the stupid tree,” said Tom’s eldest son. The rest of the siblings laughed and sneered at Alex.

“What an idiot to give up a fortune.”

“Why settle for some measly investments when you could grow billions?”

“Figures that dad would take in a stray just as stupid as he was.” Who is talking here? Is it just the family? Or other people? I don't have any sense of who has come to fight over Tom's possessions, just that it's "everybody". Everybody in his family? Everybody in town?

Alex took a taxi straight to the charred remains of Tom’s house. He retrieved a shovel from the tool shed that still clung to life That phrase doesn't mean anything, and dug the small lemon tree out of the grove. The tree was short compared to the giant, golden trunks that surrounded it. It’s Its growth had been stunted by the copper and nickel in the soil, which imbued the tree’s unique fruits with special preservative properties Wait whut.

Tom’s children arrived by limo Right so again, they seem well off, why do they want his money? Idgi and rushed into the orchard, shoving their pockets full of wilted bills and drunkenly congratulating each other. They threw the keys to Tom’s old pickup at Alex. “Take that piece of garbage with you, idiot.” YOU ARE THE ONES WHO ARE THE IDIOTS

Alex nodded and loaded the lemon tree into the back of the pickup, gave the taxi driver a sizable tip, and drove back home.

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????

That Old Ganon posted:

For Royal Recognition
(935 words)


Donning the finest armor in the duchy Uh-oh, swinging a sword polished to a mirror shine down on the necks of her enemies—or wearing the plushest gown which would shimmer like morning dew as she was paraded to the Duchess’ side This is not a complete sentence. These are some phrases which add up to nothing. I don't know what's going on and I am angry.

These thoughts fueled her legs as she lunged toward the irate Widow Who? What? Why didn't you start your story with somebody lunging at an irate Widow instead of a bunch of non-sequiturs? The fiend Wait which one if the fiend untangled her envenomed Promise me you will never use this word again maws and two screams split the air before she rushed to meet the insolent challenger. She roared when one sapling-sized leg was lopped off with a primitive farming tool, then again when she lost two, then three.

Nuri’s ears rang as she ducked from the dripping fangs champing down at the space she just occupied Oh okay she's fighting a spider. This is more exciting than either of the previous two paragraphs made it out to be. Also introduce Nuri by name earlier thanks She swung again, taking out about half Just make it half. Although, hadn't she already taken off half its legs? the creature’s pale legs while getting spattered with bitter ichor If I have to look up a word you use guess what? I'm taken out of the story and I stop caring. Again The monster still had surprising mobility despite old wounds and new, but now snapped at her back with one maw as the other threatened to deafen her.

She expected to get atop the creature when she was snatched out the air, hanging from the Widow’s heaving maw Hey I came up with a That Old Ganon drinking game, every time you read the word "maw" take a shot oh wait everyone's dead and choking on her fetid breath.

The voice of the ragged man that tasked her this in the first place came to mind, drowning out the fury of the fiend holding her. Even in memory, she could feel the fool’s low voice in her chest Okay so she's in the middle of a battle for her life but her mind keeps wandering to other poo poo? Guess what, that makes my mind wander from your story. If your protagonist can barely hold her concentration on the action at hand why should I?

“So there’re mighty among the uninitiated!” The man’s spryness had defied his age when he flipped from the dusty rail So a crazy old pole dancer tasked her with killing this spider, interesting with enviable deftness ness ness ness. “Were I thirty years younger I would be at your side, if nothing but to see the legendary trees!” Maybe you should've mentioned these trees at some point. Come to think of it I have no idea where this story is taking place. It took me three read-throughs of the opening handful of paragraphs to get that she was fighting a big spider thing

Once performing and prophesizing Boy is that ever not a word for the Duchess, he escaped with his head intact at Her mercy and resorted to busking in a country inn Wait why are we getting his back story? Why do we care? Why did he fall out of favour with the Duchess? Iunno. His uncanny wisdom became obscene babble once it soured like milk, becoming unfavorable to Her rule Okay maybe mention this earlier. At Nuri’s request, he once repeated his obscenities: the Duchess’ son shall fall ill, and no healer in the duchy would cure him.

But Nuri’s no healer Oh cool a trip to the present tense. She bellowed as she felt force crinkling her stolen armor And we're back again. “For the Duchess! For my sword!” I have no idea what's happening

She was back in the moment and drove her sickle I thought she had a sword, is she a Communist, is this a political allegory, is the Widow America into the Widow’s complex Stop using words mandibles. The girl dropped to the ground and hooked her remaining sickle Wait she has a collection of sickles instead of a sword? I guess she represents all the former USSR's states, not just Russia, let me adjust my notes accordingly into the underbelly of the Widow, running to her behind Hur hur. The scalding heat of the Widow’s insides flattened the girl’s fiery hair.

The Widow tried turning, but teetered over before she could take a final look at her slayer. Her remaining legs gave way and she dropped into the oozing pile beneath her, using her fading strength to try and pull herself together Considering that phrase tends to be used in a pejorative/metaphorical sense - "Pull yourself together!" - it doesn't work here.

Nuri backed away, then moved further through the narrow valley. The fool’s faith in her was well-placed—or did he foresee her victory? So either way he's...not a fool Once past the cocoons and corpses, she found the means to her prizes: the alluring green of a grove the Widow must’ve used to lure victims So a giant spider killed a bunch of people? That wasn't clear. I also have no idea how killing a big spider relates to a crazy dude saying a Duchess' son will die. And we're near the end of the story.

No webs blocked the blessed sunlight here I didn't realise they were doing that before. Few trees basked in the warmth, their slender branches heavy with fruit with bright rinds. Nuri reached for a not-quite ripe one, taking her travel time into account. Citrus oil eked out as she tugged it from the tree, the perfume overpowering the rotten odor about her and coaxing a series of sneezes from her. She held onto the fruit with a grimy hand, set on meeting the fool back at his old home, and perhaps her new one Whut.

----------

Leaning against the wall was the second luxury afforded to Nuri since washing her hands moments ago. The sound of the Duchess’ son retching made her own stomach curl. She prayed he was, in fact, “purging the poison” and she didn’t Hadn't pushed him into a violent death by making him drink the “panacea’s” Eh juice.

Being forced to connect a face to the title made her feel for his situation, and not well. A boy about her age was on the other side of the door. His emaciated frame wilted into his sweat-soaked bed clothes, which made it impossible to know where he ended and the sheets started. He wouldn’t, or couldn’t, speak. It was Nuri’s first time seeing someone so ill, and she never wanted to see anything like it again So let me get this straight: an old dude said this kid would get ill, he was exiled for suggesting such a thing, except it was true, but nobody will take him seriously still, but this one girl does, and then the old dude only tells her the way to fix the kid? I don't get it.

Pessimism took her over. So much doubt clouded her mind, and she wanted more than anything to be proven wrong, to know that the boy will survive Woah now we're mixing our tense mid-sentence, EXCITING.

The heavy door opened, and the fool was followed by the scent of something bitterer Good Lord no. MORE BITTER than bile. He looked as terrible as Nuri felt, but he smiled nonetheless.

“Is he still alive?”

“He rests.”

“I'm going to see him.”

“By all means!” Hey, by all means! This exclamation mark makes it look as if I talk like a game show host!

She was past him before the fool finished speaking Wait so the old dude is still here after all? So how is he a fool? I thought he was in exile? What's happening?. Rinsed bedpans and basins lined her path to the boy’s bedside. The odor made her eyes water, but she was still able to see his drenched figure when she kneeled at his side. He breathed much easier now.

The low voice came from behind her. “The Duchess will know of your deeds, I promise you.” So...the old dude send the girl out, but the old dude was exiled, but now he's not exiled and Nuri did this secretly for no reason?

“I,” Nuri paused. When she spoke again, her voice did not raise higher than a murmur. “I didn’t do this for the Duchess. I just wanna know when he gets better so I can talk to him.”

“To get to know Marcus. Excellent.” I don't buy this as a motivation. Why does she want to help this kid? To be mates? There are way easier ways to make friends.

That sounded a little too confident to be a guess He didn't guess, she just told him that's what he wanted to do. His comment brought up a memory from when she first met the fool A sentence told by an idiot, full of sound and pomposity, signifying nothing. “Did you already know that I would help the b—Marcus?”

“Perhaps.” His jovial attitude reappeared since Nuri rendezvoused with him on the outskirts of the city. “Nonetheless, I may rest easy for now.”

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.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


tenniseveryone posted:

More crits, now the crabrock boycott is over.

the crabrock boycott on love is also over...ladies :stare:

Bikini Quilt
Jul 28, 2013


edit: wrong thread.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





Welp, I failed to submit anything my very first time in the dome. It won't happen again. In.

Maultaschen
Jan 19, 2004



Alright then. In.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

I'm in.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


Nethilia posted:

Thunderdome LXXXIX: We Don’t Need No Water, Let The drat Roof Burn :toot:

I'm in!

Phobia
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
MIAMI MUTILATOR
and the deranged degenerates who only want their
15 MINUTES OF FAME.


OCK.


I'm not even going to make excuses for last time. All I know is is that I'm in. Definitely.

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Less than three hours to sign up!

ETA:

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Welp, I failed to submit anything my very first time in the dome. It won't happen again. In.

THUNDERDOME posted:

People who sign up and then don't post a story are the worst kind of people.

IF YOU DON'T SUBMIT A STORY AFTER SIGNING UP YOU BEST BE TOXXING YOURSELF

do it twice in a row and you don't even gotta worry about ever showing your face in the 'dome again.

So you and any other skip outs throwing a :toxx: 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

leekster
Jun 20, 2013


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.

Monday- Outlining
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.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







leekster posted:

I don't know if this is the proper thread to ask this,

It isnt.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


leekster posted:

postpone everything until Sunday always

It's the true TD way.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



Postponing until Monday this week because I'm in the future and we have the long weekend yay.

leekster
Jun 20, 2013


sebmojo posted:

It isnt.


Oh sorry I'll move this to the fiction advice thread then.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





Nethilia posted:

Less than three hours to sign up!

ETA:



So you and any other skip outs throwing a :toxx: on that or just gonna sit there like that. I know it ain't official but...

Very well, consider me :toxx:'ed. Submit or die.

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


And signups are so closed!

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

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.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









quote:

Final Thoughts?

Chris’s mind was muddled as he walked out of the examination hall, sure that his GPA was doomed, his academic future in shambles. Sets scene but in a really dull way He stopped as he reached the steps down to the sidewalk, turned around, and scanned the remnants of the crowd leaving the building. This is televisionitis; don't describe what the camera sees, give us the important details. Penny caught his eye and grinning widely, waved to him. With a false smile, Chris managed a twitch of his fingertips and watched as she, along with two other classmates - he thought their names were Diana and Jacqueline, made her way up to his side.

“That was really a difficult test, wasn’t it?” Penny asked, still smiling. “Thought my brain would just die right there in the examination hall and float away, leaving my body behind.”

Chris groaned. “I think that’s exactly what happened to me, to be honest. I couldn’t answer all the questions, and -”

“Well, being late couldn’t have helped,” Diana chirped. “I mean, I thought that you of all people would show up on time.”

“Did you just forget to set the alarm?” Jacqueline asked.
“Well, not really. Erm, I stayed up to like two in the morning studying and covering some stuff, so I just slept right through it.”

“Yowch.”

“I know.” Chris almost wailed. “I probably completely bombed it and my parents are going to kill me and they’re going to take away all my games and…”. This is terrible dialogue. Don't write like people talk; write like people talk in good books.

As he continued venting (in this rather theatrical fashion), never ever write a parenthetical like this again. Serious. I have tasked a unit of sniper drones to enforce this so if you ever do your death will come swift and silent like lightning in the night Diana raised an eyebrow as she looked at Penny, who just laughed. They continued walking back, and as Diana and Jacqueline left for the dining hall, Chris asked Penny how she did. Upon hearing “Erm, I’m pretty sure I did pretty well, you know” (along with the giggles at the joke she thought she made), Chris turned on Penny and spat out: this whole para is dreadful enough to make me hate you. We don't care who is glancing at whom.

“What? But you never get any of the questions right in discussion! I mean, it’s practically a running joke in the class! How can somebody who can’t even remember what Avogadro’s number is for possibly think that she did ‘pretty well’?”

Penny laughed again, and Chris’ face became even stormier, and she finally said, “Silly! Didn’t you notice why I always answered wrong?” Upon seeing Chris’ confused expression, she said primly, “Think about it for a while, and we’ll meet up for dinner, okay?”

Chris nodded slowly, and asked, “Same time, right?”

“Right!”

---

Chris was still gloomy when Penny walked up to him, greeted him, and dragged him into Oceano, the local dining hall. Only when they had received and paid for their meals did she ask him about the question she asked earlier.

Sitting down into the wobbly chair, Chris answered slowly, “I think I might have an answer.”

She clapped her hands together, and said, “Tell me!”

“Well, you always - always - answer the question wrong, but you’re generally the first person to answer the question. I wasn’t joking about the ‘running joke’ thing - it’s almost a comedy routine in the class at this point. Johnson asks a question, you give an outlandish answer, the whole class laughs, and we continue on.” He looked up at her, and upon seeing her nod, continued. “You used to get the really basic answers wrong, but you never answered a question twice. So I guess you were just trying out trial and error? Learning from your mistakes?” Ok so i was all set to rip on this but there is a speck of interesting character insight there.

Penny shook her head. “Think again. Why did I always answer first?”

“...nobody else raised their hands?” Chris mumbled more to himself than anything, looking down at his plate - a slice of pizza along with an orange. “Uh, I think on the first day after we finally dealt with all the stupid admin stuff, nobody really wanted to answer any of Johnson’s questions even if they knew the answer.” Like me. “So you got sick of the silence and tried to throw something out there?”

“Not really. Why did everybody keep quiet? At the very least, why did you keep quiet?” Is a socratic q/a format the best way to present this? If you're gonna do that you might as well bust out the powerpoint and bullets

“Well, I was afraid…” of getting the question wrong. Oh. Chris looked up. “Wait, are you seriously telling me that you were just trying to get everybody else to participate?”

Penny giggled. “It worked, didn’t it? And everybody’s happier. Johnson doesn’t have to ask a question and wait thirty seconds for a response, and people can actually learn instead of falling asleep. And most people would know the correct answer afterwords, mostly because -”

“- because your answers were always really… eccentric.” Like calling HCl the divine nectar the Greek Gods drank, and that's why it neutralized "that nasty base" to form water. “Okay. I think I get it.” She sounds p insufferable but then so does he they are made for each other

They ate, and after they finished, Penny said, hesitantly, “You know, I think you’ll do fine on the final. The curve’s always there after all, even if it doesn’t work out as well as you’d have liked, you’ll pass. And there’s always next quarter.”

“I know. And well, uh…” Chris fidgeted. Penny raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”

“Could we study together next quarter? I think it would help.” I still hate him so if that was your goal then M/A

“Ooh, the lone wolf joins the pack.” Chris flushed, and Penny continued. “Yeah, sure! It’d be fun! Well, not really fun, but helpful and educational and stuff like that. C’mon, let’s get back to the common room. I want to show this amazing new show! It’s got magic and mirrors and lots and lots of smoke and…” no, this fails, but i can imagine a different story with similar elements that doesn't and that's summat to work with, innit

quote:

Benny the Snake

Long Live the King
604 words

In full disclosure i looked at this before i decided to judge, and said it was ok; and it's a step up from the other stuff you've done. However you still have a long way to go until you claw yourself up past the gooey morass of mediocrity, Crabrock did an excellent crit so i am going to presume you've read that and just rip on a few things that annoyed me.

King George was beside himself. His people were a hair away from open revolt. His wife was carrying on with an affair with his best knight. To cope, he indulged himself in his creature comforts--his liquor mixed in with fresh squeezed orange juice and entertainment from his new court jester, Marvin the Moron. Tolerable set up that gets the main points out fast, next time be more specific and root it in character description. Especially 'liquor'; it's literally the generic name for 'alcoholic beverage'. How can we have a picture of what is happening when one of the key compnents is %ALCOHOL%?

“Summon the royal jester!”

Martin bounded in, doing forward flips before tumbling and standing straight up with his arms outstretched.

“Leave us,” King George instructed his guardsmen as they left the hall. “Marvin, do you remember what happened to my last jester, Sebastian the Snarky?”

Marvin gave a nervous smile. “He always looked so much better from the neck up.”

“Indeed he did,” King George said and chuckled. “Now amuse me, or your head will end up on a pike as well!”

“If I may m'lord,” Marvin said uneasily, “I've noticed that you're pouring quite a bit of liquor in your orange juice.”

“”Why do you notice?” He asked testily and took another sip.

“Why m'lord, for liquor is the great equalizer!”

“How so?” The King asked as he raised his eyebrow.

“For it is liquor that turns us all into fools!”

The King laughed jovially. “How very, very true! Now tell me, Marvin,” the King said and took a deep drink out of his glass, “What are your thoughts on what is happening in my kingdom?”

Marvin was perplexed. “M'lord, it is often unwise for someone of your position to seek the counsel of a fool like myself.”

“Oh, I'm not seeking counsel,” he said. “I figure I can get a laugh out of it if I can get drunk enough.”

“Well, if you insist-” Marvin said uneasily.

“And I do,” the King said as he took another drink.

“Well,” Marvin began, “I would presume that you fear for your life.”

“A king always fears for his life,” King George said. “What makes now any different?”

“Because now, I'd be wary of assassination.”

“Really? Tell me then,” he said and leaned in. “Who would be most likely to try to assassinate me?”

“First rule of theater, m'lord--it's always the last person you'd expect.”

“And who would that be?”

“Why me, your humble court jester, of course!” This dialogue is actually not terrible because there is a sense that they're fencing with words, which makes it interesting to read. It's clunky, but it does the job.

King George laughed so hard that he spilled his glass and almost fell out of his seat. “You? A simple jester? Assassinate me, your King?!”

“Indeed, m'lord,” Marvin said and smiled. “In fact, I switched your liquor with poison!” This counts as a cheat, because you've given no sense that this was something he could do (say by having the jester collide with the drinks trolley). Of course if you had given a hint it would have made an obvious story even more obvious; this is one reason why i don't like twist stories.

King George was doubled-over in hysterics. He laughed so hard, he dropped his glass on the ground as it shattered in a million pieces. His laugh was so loud that it echoed throughout the hall before he choked, hyperventilated, and fell on the ground.

“They never listen,” Marvin said and tsked. He heard someone pounding at the door. Working fast, Marvin sliced off the King's ring finger with the ring still attached, put it in his pocket, and rushed towards the window behind the throne as the guardsmen burst in. With a snappy salute, he leapt out the window and landed in a cart full of hay below.

“So did you do it?” The driver asked. Marvin answered by showing him the severed finger and ring.

“You know, it never ceases to amaze me how they never suspect the jester,” the driver said as he started driving the wagon.

“You can tell someone just about anything as long as it's a joke,” Marvin said and gave him a sly wink. This reads like the sort of snappy close out you read at the end of this sort of story rather than anything actually witty; and the whole thing is a bit like that, it's a story shaped block of words with mostly fitting bits of story stuff shoved into it. But keep making each story a bit better than the last and i won't have to shout at you.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 02:12 on Apr 20, 2014

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


Title: The Last Birthday Party
Wordcount: 456





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

GlassLotus
Mar 16, 2014

I once got a fortune cookie that said "Ask your mom". I've also gotten several blank fortune cookies... I guess that explains why I'm broke.

Title: Where the Pine Trees Grow
Words: 1157

“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.

GlassLotus
Mar 16, 2014

I once got a fortune cookie that said "Ask your mom". I've also gotten several blank fortune cookies... I guess that explains why I'm broke.

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
Words: 1196

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.

"What job?"

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.

"What?!"

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.

Sir Azrael
Jan 14, 2004

Locked, cocked, and polygonally rifled... This creature fears nothing.

Thank you, Fumblemouse.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







quote:

Hocus Pocus

Love, Adrift - 937


My father was telling me about the thatcher’s stolen cart, when through the early morning’s tired rain, there was the first throat tearing cry of ‘shipwreck’. If your sentences are getting clotted like this, break'em up. They won't mind. Plus 'throat tearing' is a pov gear shift; you start in the narrator's pov then switch to the people crying.

The beach was covered with wooden debris and bodies, like feed flicked from a farmer’s wrist. The corpses were pale and crooked. One body, one... man, looked so relaxed except for the sight of his deformed pelvis. The ocean had twisted him like a pepper mill. Nice writering.

The living raced around looking for some way to help. Bad writering. Just cut this line; what is it adding? At the reef where the ship had crashed, a sail whipped in the wind, letting off a thunderous crack. The crowd on the beach all looked, but there was only one who howled and whimpered. What could have been a frightened dog was a young man facing away from the wreck.

“Are you alright? It’s not thunder, if that’s what’s frightening you-” I couldn't catch his eyes, and he said nothing.

“Talk doesn't calm him. He’s... touched.” Said a man kneeling by a body.

“Samuel, look at me.” They were brothers. You do this thing where it starts vague and gets specific and it is annoying. Either have the characters convey the specific detail or just give it to us straight, i mean they all live inthe same village right? He sat with Samuel, and his shivering, bandaged hand pulled a paper bag from his coat. With numb fingers, he took a piece of candied orange rind, and put it between his lips and gums. Samuel did the same and they started mirroring one another’s expressions. I watched as this childish ritual played out among the dismembered cadaver of a ship and her crew.

The brother looked back to the corpse where he had knelt and he fell to the ground, yellow saliva spluttering out as he spat the orange rind into the sand, weeping. Samuel held him. The corpse was a third brother. See you're withholding info so you can drop it in portentously and it don't work m'friend (not actually yr friend)

**

The sky had cleared when the last of the bodies were carried off. I watched Samuel. He was an alien in his own body, surprised by everything. At times he’d look completely lost, vacant. Did he think? What did he dream about?

Samuel’s brother was Thomas, and the brother who had died in the wreck was Robert. Thanks narrator i was wondrin bout that

“Oh Jesus, he was going to get married! He bought a house in the city! My brother…” Thomas told me about the lost future, lifting his brother onto a stretcher, his words rattling out, his eyes pleading.

Samuel was back in the shallows, away from the scavengers and mourners. He had found himself a little treasure tangled in rope. It was a burnt wooden wheel and when I neared him, he touched it hesitantly and looked at his hand. ‘This isn't hot.’ Samuel said to me, pouting indignantly at the wheel.

**

The brothers left, following Robert’s body, and I went into town.
‘Does this branch have a telegraphist?’ A man popped up from behind a counter, mustard on his chin. Head office replied the trading company had already started filing their insurance claim on the ship’s cargo.

REQUIRE INITIAL REPORT TO STALL CLAIM WIRE FINDINGS ASAP wait, so he's a what

What did I know? It was early; the crew couldn't have seen much between the fog and rain. But the wind was behind them and the tide smooth. But maybe... I stepped out, and made my way to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse door was open, the keeper fetal at the foot of the spiral stairs, his grey hair stained with blood. I helped clean him up and he mistook me for police, leading me up the tower.

“We just rebuilt -- not runnin’ yet. But the ships know, comin’ down they follow the coast and wash in safe, and if there’s fog out, I’ll light a fire. It’s hard, detective, to hit that reef,” We went up the last step, onto the platform. “Somebody clobbered me. When I came to I saw a fire, through the fog. There.” His arm pointed to the point across the bay, above the jagged reef.

My shoes sank in the wet grass now where the keeper had pointed. Below, small boats braved the reef to save what bodies they could before families’ closure sank to the ocean’s floor. I could see no sign of the fire that the keeper saw from across the bay. Defeated, I slumped over, and staring at my feet I noticed two lines of pressed grass, they were tracks. They ran right off the edge of the cliff. Samuel had held the answer. There had been a lighthouse on wheels. Yeah this is all nice prose but it's not serving the story as well as it could because you haven't given it a vehicle to sit in

**

It didn't take long to find where the brothers lived.

“Robert’s house in the city,” I slowed down. “He wasn't going to take the two of you, was he?”

“No.” Thomas looked small in that kitchen. How many meals had they shared at this table?

“I’m guessing you pushed the wagon off alone, but Samuel must have seen your burn-”

“He wasn't going to take the two of us... Just Samuel,” Tears started to well up. “He was going to take Samuel away; he said he could look after him. How could he ever look after him?” He was gasping as spoke. “He was going to have him committed! I know it. I know it! Why do it? Why did he want to take away my family?”

I felt... embarrassed. Don't do dot dot dots in internal pondering, it's not speech. What was I doing here? What did either of us expect me to do?

“If you wanted a loan, Thomas, I would be the one. But… if you want to know what Robert was thinking, or going to do, it’s too late, Thomas. If you want punishment, or forgiveness, there will be others. But I’m not the one.’

As I stood and turned to leave, I looked in Samuel’s eyes, and I hoped, in that moment, that he was as simple as he seemed. So: lots of good writerlinesses in here but it's all too arch and at arms length to really land, which is why this didn't place Go simple and plain next time and see how it comes out.

quote:

Starter Wiggin

Truth and Beauty Bombs

811 words

It’s nighttime, and I’m placing C4 isn't this military issue only? Did you check? There is no excuse apart from laziness for writers getting little details like this wrong in the google age around the perimeter of the building. 'Building' is an exciting and precise way to describe this edifice, bein as it encompasses anything from the Taj Mahal to a garden fuckin shed It’s ramshackle enough, but you can never be too sure. I’ve got explosives packed around all the major supports that I can find, and extra just for flair. I’ve also set more explosives on a 10 minute timer. That’s when I figure anyone who is going to come see what happened will have showed up, and then BOOM! The most invigorating vacation yet. I hate this para enough to dunk it in a bottle of my own urine and photograph it. The photo will be beautiful but controversial and you will be blamed.

There’s a small hill a bit back from my project. I shelter behind it, away from the brunt of the first blast. It goes off without a hitch. I climb to sit on top, and the melody of far off sirens trickles through the cold night air.

The fire department is the first to arrive, their hoses aimed towards the flames that lick the sky. Behind them are police, then a lone ambulance. I crouch behind the hill again. The rescue workers stay back, but not far enough to avoid the second wave of explosions. Screams puncture the night, and the adrenaline that I crave so dearly is overflowing from my every pore. My eyes feast on the scene playing out below me. It’s slow and painful and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

###

I get excited for burning buildings. You don't say Tragedy pushes adrenaline through my fibers. Ew Natural disasters make me feel alive. Really I don’t throw caution to the wind; I vivisect it and determine it to be a hazard to my health. Wut Being reminded of the temporary nature of life is my drug. I think Joey Comeau said it best, “I’d rather die terrified than live forever.” Huh? The man makes a great point. What’s the point of being alive if you’re not actually living? NIKE SWOOOSH JUS DO IT

Don’t think that you’re crazy for thinking me insane or foolish; all my friends do. I can’t share this ‘hobby’, as it were, with them. They worry for me. They call my obsession dangerous. For a while, they invited me to share in their hobbies, mountain biking and karaoke, but the rush isn’t there. It’s like comparing sandpaper and citrus, if you’ll pardon the butchered and trite analogy. Butchered and trite prompt insertion more like. Kill this para w/fire plz

They don’t know the worst of it, though. If I need a fix, and nothing sufficiently insane is happening, I make my own fun. I don’t go too terribly far, really. I stick mostly to light arson. I’ve dabbled in pipe bombs. I’m experimenting with chlorine gas. These projects fill the times when the world has gone quiet around me. Oh god stop waffling

###

I didn’t think to count the explosions, so I didn’t realize that there were two that hadn’t gone off. They did, maybe five minutes after the second wave, and I didn’t duck or cover my face. I was too busy taking in my handiwork. The charges ignited and flared into the dark and smoky air, blinding me.

My field of vision NO google this term before you next use it was destroyed. Everything, everywhere I looked, was a brilliant white. Also google what blind people see, i don't think it is blinding white I covered my eyes with my hands and blinked, hard. Nothing. I could still hear the muffled sobbing coming from the wreckage below, and I listened while going through my options. Bland and dreary

I couldn’t walk home; it was hard enough to get out here without getting lost with my sight intact. I couldn’t go down to the paramedics; they were in no shape to help. My last and only option was to voice dial a friend and have them find me. But I had to wait until morning. If my friends came out here and found me right by this ‘crime scene’, they wouldn’t hesitate to turn me in. As far as they knew, my obsession only extended so far as things that I had no control over. Why are we supposed to care about this guy, when he is so flatline about his deranged obsession

I waited until more sirens came and worked through the carnage of their friends. I waited until people that sounded important came and ruffled around with their dogs. I waited until I could feel the noon sun beating down on my upturned face, and then I called my friend.

He found me, and brought me to a hospital. He didn’t ask any questions; I think he was just resigned to not wanting to know how it happened. The doctors asked their questions and whispered in the corner.

“Don’t know that he’ll recover…”

“Psych eval for sure, maybe the third floor has room…”

I got to talk to the shrink. She sounded calm, but what reason would she have not to? A newly-blinded man is probably not that much of a threat. She asked me how I was blinded, what I was doing so close to the scene of the explosion, why did I have explosive residue on my hands. I guess I gave her the answers she wanted, because after that she only asked one more question before she left me.

“Why? What were you thinking?”

“I’d rather die terrified than live forever. Wouldn’t you?” wat. Why is he wise, why is he a fool, how does he change, what actually happens, why do i give a poo poo. I hated this story a lot.

quote:

WeLandedOnTheMoon!

The Changing of the Guard


This was a travesty.

DISCO DEMOLITION NIGHT

Bring any disco record to the park on the evening of July 7th, 1979 for a fifty cent admission to watch your Chicago White Sox take on the Minnesota Twins in a double header. Between games, send the 70‘s out with a bang as we blow up bad music with the help of a special guest! Lol sounds like bein a judge amirite where did i leave my c4 oh that's right it's illegal

Andy read the poster. It was shameless; it was blatant, and it was everything that he hated about where this organization was going. Not to mention that it was a dumb idea. why? Not that it would be his concern much longer, he was about to be fired. There had been rumblings from upstairs about a new, official, mascot for some time, so when Harry Veeck summoned Andy to his office at the top of Comiskey Park, he knew his time had come. You're actually better getting key facts out faster in this sort of thing.

Mr. Veeck started with a bullshit formality. “Andrew,” he said, “we respect the time that you’ve spent representing the organization unofficially; it’s been what, fifteen years?”

“Twenty starting next season,” Andy answered. Never in his twenty years of clowning had he felt like more of a fool

“And we appreciate your dedication, but starting next season, the organization will be going with a new mascot. We’re going to unveil them tonight.”

“Congratulations,” Andy said in the flattest tone he could muster, careful not to invoke any humor into the moment.

“So that means Andy the Clown can’t come to games anymore. Andrew Kosloski is welcome to attend, so long as he buys a ticket and dresses normally. I’ve told the ushers that after tonight they are prohibited from letting you into the park for free. You can make tonight your curtain call if you would like, but security has been instructed to confine you to the upper decks.” This is incredibly ploddy; all we need to know is GUY GETTIN FIRED, BOSS IS rear end in a top hat then you can get on with your explosive shenenigans

The upper decks were fine with him. The clown was a child of the upper decks, the son of a bus driver and waitress. Clowns in general or this one specifically? He started in the upper decks, originally wearing the clown costume as a joke, but as he danced and tumbled in those early innings nineteen years ago, people turned from the game; he was as captivating as anything on the diamond. Andy was fine ending his career where it started. This is just dreary clown historiography though thanks for making me write those two words together

He was twisting a balloon animal when the game ended. It was a snoozer, with the White Sox losing by five. Neither he nor the boy if the boy is gonna figure then introduce him properly noticed until the sounds of the Beegees’ Stayin’ Alive filled the summer night. Large men began hauling the crates of collected records into the infield. After three songs, they had a pile larger than Andy himself.

A tinny voice echoed in the stadium. “And now, Chicago,” it began, “for the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s make some noise for tonight’s fireworks display and for your new mascot, Ribbie!” Nah, cut, you'd be better having Andy just notice him.

From the upper deck it looked like a massive purple chicken with a long floppy trunk swinging from its face. Andy and the boy watched as Ribbie held his trunk like a baseball bat and took a few warm up swings. So what? What is the point of andy's rplacement?

“That’s nothing,” Andy said, extending his hand, “put ‘er there.”

The boy took it and shook, causing Andy’s rigid red nose to glow and pulse with the up and downs of the handshake. The boy is an enigma

The boy didn’t seem particularly amused. Is he a mannequin or something is that the joke

“And now,” the voice interrupted, “with the help of Ribbie, let’s deal with this disco!”

The crowd began to rumble as Ribbie tumbled over to an over sized plunger detonator. Andy saw the boy follow Ribbie with his gaze. Or is he the spirit of 70's disco like he's made of stacked vinyl with a mask on

“Hey,” Andy said to the kid, “You don’t want to watch a bunch of knuckleheads blow themselves up, do you?”

“Ummm,” the kid paused. Actually, no, is he a pool hustler feignin mild retardation

“Watch this,” Andy said, flashing a toothy grin. Andy took a bow, and removed his red bowler hat, revealing three lemons.

“I got these from my friend at the lemonade stand. Go over and tell him that I sent you and he’ll give you a free one, on me. Okay?”

“Okay.”

A palpable tension overcame the crowd as they fell into a hushed quiet. I want you to look on the moment just after you typed these words as the first in a life where you will never again write something so tritely, convolutedly, pointless Ribbie began counting on his hands, coaching the stadium to do the same. “Three,” they chanted, “two, one.” Andy began juggling when they hit one. Tossing all three lemons into the air, Andy began to toss them about with the kind of skill that only comes with years of routine.

“What’ll you say kid?” Andy said, “Why don’t you grab one and-”

Andy didn’t know what happened next, but his ears were ringing and he dropped his lemons. Where the records were piled in the infield was now a crater, blackened and dented by the force of the explosion. The boy began to cry when Andy felt a bite on his neck, and then the slow seeping of blood. A vinyl shard fell into his lap. Momentarily, he was back in the service. Wut Instinctively, Andy covered his head.

It didn’t rain for long, but when it stopped, another calm overtook the crowd. Splinters of the records, of Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Kool and the Gang, littered the field. The tension grew immediately and exponentially, as the second sneeze in a series of two. Then the fans were on the field. Those in the lower deck vaulted over the guard rails and dugouts, and then each other, while those in the upper deck scrambled their way downstairs to find their own way onto the diamond. The boy was gone. WHAT

Andy fought the feeling of uneasiness as he left the park. If he hurried he would make the bus. loving. WHAT.this is fully incomprehensible brosef your protage is dumb his buddy is bland the events are inconsequential whre they aren't overdescribed and how do you make a literal DISCO EXPLOSION so incredibly dull get gone and come back with better words

Drunk Nerds
Jan 25, 2011

Just close your eyes

Fun Shoe

Chameleon Man
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.

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?

Cutting into entry-posting day with more extremely belated crits from angel week!

Happy Easter! posted:

SOME GUY TT - For the Glory of God
I kind of enjoy your writing style but I'm not sure there's much going on here. I like the setting but I don't think it's made clear exactly what the position of Charles is here. Did he die and become an angel? Was he an angel all the time? I found your story confusing and a bit incoherent. Not hating, just not getting it.

GOD OVER DJINN - Reapers, Sowers
This story amused the hell out of me. I mean that angel is a total dick but I enjoyed that he was such a human kind of dick. Everyone's motivations were clear, or at least I felt like they were, and you captured a character voice perfectly. Nice job.

TENNISEVERYONE - Mixed Blessing
This is more of an incident than a story. Lady finds out she's the new Mary, and then what? Nothing. Also I hate when people write out 'ahem' as if it's a word rather than a throat-clearing noise. I also thought 'Christ, what were you doing in there?' was pretty funny considering. I like this for what it is but it ain't a story.

EROGENOUS BEEF - Concessions
I don't think this quite works. It's a frustrating piece because I feel like it could have been good. If you'd concentrated more on the soul who ultimately gets saved and focused the story, maybe? As it is, I feel like the stuff at the baseball game is just world-building filler and could have been skipped.

ZORAJITZORAJIT - Burning Bright
Freshman, freshman, burning bright
In the classroom day and night
What immortal hand or eye
Can stomach thy half-baked philosophy

Seriously though, what were you trying to say here? I don't get it. You can write, but this is just word-vomit. Shame on you.

PALADINUS - Angel of Light
You didn't stick the ending here. 'Bad guy finds out he was bad after he dies' is a cliche but it could have worked. It just falls a bit flat here and I'm not completely clear what happened at the end. I don't hate your writing style though. Except for 'uttered back Michael'. Next time replace every single dialogue tag with 'said' and go through and see if there are any that just will not work that way. And never use 'uttered' again. I forbid it.

MAULTASCHEN - In the Wind
The owls are not what they seem! I actually kind of dig this. Owls fly silently though, as someone else pointed out. And the repetition of 'flap flap flap' just started to get silly after a while which ruined the tone. There's a kernel of something worth reading here.

WELANDEDONTHEMOON - Black Jesus Story
'Blaqface', really? And why was this week so violent? And why write out 'bang! bang! bang!' like you were scripting a comic book? Bah.

FUMBLEMOUSE - Falling Angels
Well we gave you the win so clearly I liked this one a lot. I think the cancer was a cliche, and it made the ending a bit twee, kind of? I didn't believe the girl's dialogue, she didn't sound like a real kid to me. But the imagery in this was fantastic and I enjoyed the premise and story. Nice job.

More to come.

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?

Final batch of short crits!

Violence and death and torture ugh posted:

CRABROCK - Angelic
I get that the swearing was supposed to be like, the opposite of traditional angelic thought processes, but when there's this much of it I just get the impression the thing was written by a twelve-year-old boy trying to sound edgy. I also think the 'IT WAS THE GARDEN OF EDEN!' gag at the end is kind of dumb. Like the millions of disintegrated angels though, and you have a lively and engaging style.

PERPETULANCE - Clipped Wings
Corvid intelligence is interesting and I'm the one who made you write an animal story, I think, so I'll let you off on the goofy premise. It's not the goofiest this week, for sure. There are basic problems with this. You have typing errors and grammar hiccups. The idea that a crow, however smart, can literally read the Bible was probably a stretch too far. You don't make the creature's inner life real and what happens to him doesn't make much sense. Needs a rethink.

KAISHAI - Angel of the Morning
I didn't even spot that you got the bike accident in here. :applause:
Your kids actually felt like real kids to me which was better than a lot of people do. I understood everything that happened and why. I think the sudden violence of Taylor's accident is jarring and doesn't quite fit the tone of the story, but maybe that was the point? Nice job here.

SEBMOJO - The Gaps Between
I love, love, love your angels. They feel alien and unknowable and never quite hostile. Absolute truth as something almost unbearable is a nice touch too. Really the only thing I hate about this is the ending, but I hate that a lot. Why did he kill that guy? I don't buy that murder is just at the root of every human soul, so why did it happen here? Bad ending! Bad!

JONKED - The Holy Flame
I was enjoying this and then it just sort of stopped. I get that you tried to express that he was dying on the street but that ending is just goofy and doesn't come off at all. There's something off about the pacing and that 'so cold' bit isn't moving or spooky, it's just daft. Why was he suddenly sorry? Was it for the murders or for quitting the murders? He's confusing.

RAVENKULT - Throne
drat, those Throne angels are dicks. Keep an eye on your paragraph breaks. They seem a bit weird and short, especially up where you won't combine any dialogue with action. You have a way with description though and I felt like the last line ended well. Not bad.

SITTING HERE - All Too Soon
I'm not there's technically an angel in this story, either. There was a sense of reality and wonder about this story that made it really hit for me. I did go to an all-girl's school and sing in a choir, and I felt like you captured a sense of how that can feel when it's working.

BENNY THE SNAKE - Angel of Sorrows
A beloved old man dies. This is an incident, not a story. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm glad there was no weird murder in your story this week but you have to have something happen. Get a character arc in there. Anything. This was a snooze.

IAMBETH - Choices
There was a lot of telling rather than showing in their past relationship, which made it hard to believe and hard to care about. I mean at least there's an understandable arc in your story and the angel decides, I think, to quit pining and move on? Nothing wildly original here but your style is solid and I didn't end this story by hating anyone.

STARTER WIGGIN - Breaking Point
This story is confusing in its timeline. How does the Conscience know the Immorality so well when they never speak to each other? Did they only ever get one soul, which died in infancy and never had any need of them? You can't just tell us someone is intelligent and awesome and gorgeous and lively, you have to let us see that.

PHOBIA - Angel of Death
I like the way you write but I kind of hate what's in this story. There's no substance here. A guy is meant to die, doesn't want to, mopes about it a while, HE WAS DEAD ALL ALONG! I like the way he chose to go out but the story is just a lot of talking, and it's not particularly exciting talking. Needs an energy boost.

FANKY MALLOONS - Black Jesus 2
Audrey doesn't feel consistent or real here. I actually like what you've done with the Black Jesus injoke I do not pretend to understand, but I don't get why she flips from divine wrath to allowing herself to be seduced. If it's a gag story it doesn't quite make itself funny enough, and if not, it feels too thin.

NITROUSOXIDE - Payment
Ugh, I don't like this. It's the kind of twist that just makes the reader irritated because you pulled it off by withholding all the appropriate information. If you're in a character's head this much it's a hard thing to keep anything mysterious. I feel like consigning an angel to eternal torment in hell, or whatever, is deeply evil and you didn't seem like you were going for deeply evil. That's a lot of words to say 'your story confused me'.

Sorry these took so long!

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


:siren: Week 86 Crits for nickmeister, perpetulance, The News at 5, Anathema Device, Fumblemouse, Auraboks, Nitrousoxide, curlingiron, The Sean, crabrock, Sitting Here :siren:

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
Talent: Smell
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
Talent: Doll-making
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
Talent: Walking(??)
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
Talent: Cleaning
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
Talent: Rock-paper-scissors

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.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



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?

“Mistress?”

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?”

“Point taken.”

“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.

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Thalamas
Dec 5, 2003

Sup?

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?”

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