A Ghost in the Desert (700 words)
Koltor knew the ghost was still there and even the strongest magic could never banish it from his thoughts. They had sat here, in the middle of an endless desert, for a day and a night. The ghost never spoke, even when Koltor had screamed, pleaded, accused. It smiled when he was happy, frowned when he was sad, and pointed to the horizon when asked a question.
The sun burned overhead during the day and Koltor was terribly thirsty. After sunset, the desert became cold and he knew hunger. At dawn, a horse appeared on the top of a dune in the distance. Koltor ran across the sand to the horse. He swung up onto its back, gazing across the desert. Any direction was as good as another, he thought, and so he put the sun on his back and rode.
The ghost followed him, walking next to the horse. As the sun ascended, they came across a bizarre, lifelike effigy hanging from a pole. Koltor dismounted and approached. The workmanship was incredible; it looked just like a real person. Lifeless, but realistic; Koltor shuddered and turned to leave. The ghost pointed at the effigy, and it descended to the sand. It continued pointing, and Koltor looked at its face.
Koltor had few memories of his mother. She had died when he was young, and only a few hazy images of smiles below loving eyes remained in his mind. And yet there she was, in this desert. Her smile, her soft face, her beautiful hair - entirely identical. The eyes - the eyes were dead. There was no love there.
A tear fell from Koltor’s eye. He cursed and mounted his horse. What demon was this to play such cruel tricks on him? He must leave this damned place. The horse carried him onward.
For a full day and night, he passed these lifeless mockeries. Some he knew well, some not at all, but he came to realize that these were all of the people he had known in his life. There were thousands; at times he struggled to navigate his horse through and around them. Then, at dawn, there was one last effigy. Koltor fell to the sand upon seeing it.
It was his father. It hung there in judgment of the son. The eyes followed him, gazed through him to his sins, his regrets, his fears. His soul burned, like so much liquor sitting on an upset stomach. It needed out.
The ghost extended his hand to Koltor, motioning him to rise and get back on his horse. He did, and as they rode away from the rising sun Koltor began to speak.
The wrongs flowed out one at a time, his life story played out as a story of the evil he had done. There was much to tell, and they rode for days and days before the entire story was told. As they rode, Koltor noticed the ghost became more substantial. Its face, once formless and vague, took on familiar characteristics. It began to leave tracks in the sand next to the horses’. As he spoke, Koltor felt his thirst fade and his hunger leave him. His skin, reddened by the sun, hardened and no longer felt heat or cold.
Koltor finished his confession. The world had begun to fade; Koltor saw the ghost, now barely translucent, take the horse’s lead and guide them over a final hill. In the distance, he could dimly glimpse a wide shore and an expanse of sea. And then Koltor fell forward, and was no more.
Two figures stood on the shore, the first and last Koltor had seen in the desert. They were no effigies, though; their eyes burned with life and knowledge. They smiled warmly as the ghost approached.
“Welcome, son,” said one.
“I have been waiting so long,” said the other. “Will you come with us across the sea?”
The ghost took a coil of rope from the horse’s saddle and a long pole from the shore. “Yes, mother,” it said, “but I have one final burden.”
“We will wait.” The ghost slung the dried effigy over its shoulder and began its journey toward the sunrise.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 01:25|
|# ? Nov 29, 2022 11:11|
I'm in with this:
Avast, Me Hearties (1326 words. Assigned story:1327 words)
“Shift’s over,” said Theresa, with her cute smile and tattered coat. “You know, the Cyclopean look suits you. Fancy coming for a drink?”
I winked at her. “How do you know I'm not a pirate?”
Theresa punched me gently. “A pirate would have answered my question already.”
“In that case, aye, I'll be attendin' with ye, madam.”
She laughed and my guts clenched like always. “Maybe you should avoid the pirate's life.”
“I suppose you're right, my dear. I'll finish up here and we can-”
It was then that the front door opened, and the dust of the disturbed evening spilled into the lobby. It wafted languidly along with the hot breeze, and I was just about to scurry over and welcome our customer when I saw exactly who it was that was stalking across the floor, to lean nonchalantly against the disused fireplace.
I figured I should ask.. “Can I help you, sir?”
He grinned at me, no gaps in those pearly whites. “I think you can, my friend.”
“Tsongwe, I'm working right now.”
“I don't count sexy talk as work, Hastings, and neither do you. You owe me a favour. I'm calling it due.” He turned to look at Theresa. “Not that I blame you, she's as lovely as the full moon.”
She looked him up and down: no mean feat given his six feet and six. Tsongwe's body branched out like an overgrown sapling, imposing and somehow brittle. She said nothing.
“My lady, I need to speak to our mutual friend. Would you perhaps give us a moment?”
She looked at me. I smiled. “Well,” she said, “I guess next time, then.” She walked away, and it was just him and I again.
I looked over my shoulder towards the staff door. I had nearly made it. I leaned over the desk and lowered my voice. “And you had to come here, now? I'm trying to go straight here, man.”
He laughed. My guts held their position. “So I see. But this is big.”
I sighed the silent smile of service workers everywhere. “What is it this time? New plates? Another clean phone? Don't tell me you want to try and rob the First Bank again?”
“Please Hastings, you insult me. When did we ever pull the same job twice? You should think yourself lucky I'm looking you up again,” he said, “and I know you do.”
I picked up the phone and dialled. Theresa answered on the final ring. “I thought you'd never call,” she said. “Thought you'd found yourself a new friend.”
“Oh, he's an old one. It's been a while, though.” A beat. “He needs me to help him with something. Tying up a few loose ends. I owe him.”
I could hear her breathing down the line. “Then I'll see you soon,” she said.
“I swear,” I told her, hoping I meant it.
It was only when the two of us were crouched in the long grass, not a hundred metres from the railroad tracks, that he actually told me the plan.
“You're crazy, Tsongwe. Still.”
“I'm the sanest I've ever been. Honest.”
Darkness was falling over the plains through which the railway wound. From here it was a long ride to the Zambezi crossing, and further still to the coast, but the mine trains rattled through here at least once a week with the riches won from the earth. Further up the track, towards the mountains, here and there fires could be seen in the shanties that clung to its verge.
Tsongwe followed my gaze, and nodded. He pulled out a pair of binoculars, passed them to me. Squinting, my eye could make out the distant shape of a mine train, pouring a column of smoke into the wind.
“On that train.” said Tsongwe. “What we want is there.” He reached into the bag, and pulled out a thick hemp sack. “When the train stops to cool down, we just siphon off a little taste for my employer. If he likes it, we come back next time and take more.”
“How do you know it stops?”
Tsongwe turned and looked at me. “I have my ways. You should know that.”
I looked back at him. He sighed.
“I asked a shanty boy. What did you think I did?” He turned away towards our quarry.
I spoke in the falling silence. “This is the last time, man.” The train chugged on, and the thud-thud of its coming grew louder. “We can't be doing this any more.”
“Fine. Have it your way – your new one, that is.”
I reached for the hole where my left eye had been. “This is just like you! I don't hear from you for an age, and then suddenly you show up at the worst possible time-”
“She's not your type.”
“Oh? And here you are out of the blue all Hey there Hastings, let's go rob a train like nothing ever happened. Some of us want to move on, you know. I am done with this whole drat business and I-”
Suddenly he had a finger on my lips. “Shh,” he said. “Train's here.”
He turned and started sneaking down the slope. And I followed.
The still train heaved like a beast in labour. At the front where the engine sat steam hissed, slowly breathing out. Tsongwe slunk up to her, counting carriages.
“Six, seven... eight. This is it here.” He crouched in front of the carriage tap and unfolded the sack, settling its neck around the faucet. “Ready?”
“Ready.” I reached for the handle. As I gripped it I could feel the dust and grime on its surface, and turned. As it released I felt a rumbling, and something began to slide into the sack. It took its time, whatever it was. Even as I checked my watch I could feel something slowing us, dragging on the second hand like a dead weight.
“We're done,” he said, tying the sack and straightening up. “Let's go.”
“Wait. Aren't you going to show me what we did this for? Why you dragged me out here?”
“Once we're safe.”
“Let me see it, Tsongwe.”
“You're the crazy one. We can't just stand here.”
“Give me the sack, Tsongwe.”
“drat, Hastings, get off me!”
As I grabbed for the sack, we wobbled, lost balance and fell. It burst. The black powder within caked us in seconds, sticking to our sweat, getting in our eyes. I sat up, wiping my face with one dirty hand.
“You bastard,” I said. “Who do you know who's going to pay big money for a sack of coal dust?”
“Nobody, okay? But it's good coal, I can find a buyer, and-” he looked at me, “it was fun, right? Like the old days?”
I opened my mouth to answer, but another voice cut across me. “Hey, the hell are you?” It was then we turned and saw the silhouettes stumbling at us through the night. My fault, I guess.
“Let's go!” he shouted, and was away up the hillside: I grabbed the remains of the sack and followed him, the waves of our laughter washing across the prairie and receding into the dark.
I was working desk when I next saw Theresa. It was a warm evening, with the moisture hanging in the air, but the steady crackling of the fireplace was at least drying the place out if nothing else.
“The mystery man returns! How was your trip?”
I shrugged. “Nothing special. Some raidin' an' booty, aye.”
The beginnings of a grin crept onto her face. “Alright then, have it your way.” She crouched down beside the old fireplace, staring into the flames. “And why do you have this going? I didn't even know it still worked.”
“No reason,” I said. “Just getting rid of the evidence. Arr.”
She laughed again, and I was back in the game.
Obliterati fucked around with this message at 05:01 on Jun 2, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 02:04|
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 02:55 on Dec 11, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 02:42|
Original Story: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=1312
Rule: Use a character from your assigned story, reverse their motivation.
It was only a matter of time before MetSec nightstalkers would hit that building in the Meatpacking. With its revolving door of neural-gauged gutter trash and its blazing thermal signature, the MetSec hover drones would rapidly bump it up the nightraid registry. Chucky was a fool for operating out of it, and if Dorian hadn't pointed MetSec towards that loft with a faulty redirect or two during their last heist, Chucky still would have been discovered. At least, that’s what Dorian told himself.
It wasn’t that Dorian no longer sympathized with the fight; MetSec was a conglomerate of thugs and crooks deeper and more despicable than anything he’d ever been a part of. It’s just that Chucky was an addict, and an increasingly reckless one at that. And if he continued to rope Dorian into dangerous and low paying jobs, one day they would both end up in a windowless cell. Dorian knew that.
The brewery had always been Dorian’s sanctuary. Three massive fermentation tanks lined the walls like ancient Grecian pillars. Each tank contained something very important to him. The first contained the cider, strong and delicious, and the cornerstone of his money laundering operation. The second was filled with a heavy oil coolant and twenty stacks of attack servers that Dorian could use to hack every under-protected bank account on the planet. The third contained mixture of flammable and explosive materials. Launching a single executable from his phone would wipe the brewery, and anything inside it, from the face of the planet.
Dorian was wiping down the third tank when the agents came.
“You Dorian Greene?” a man with dark glasses, a ledger, and one restless, tapping pencil asked. He was flanked by two generic and intimidating thugs on each side. “The MetSec look,” as Dorian called it.
“Sure am,” Dorian said, not even looking up from the towel.
“My name is Kenneth Harkless, and we are currently investigating a number of cybercrimes, in many of which you may be an accessory. Might you show us around and answer a few questions?”
Dorian watched the four men branch off and begin searching the place. “I don’t suppose I have much of a choice,” he said.
“Have you heard of a mister Charles Mansfield?” Harkless asked.
“The chrome addict?”
“Well I don’t know much about hacking, but the Charles Mansfield I know is a chrome addict, and when he isn’t riding some silver high, he’s down here begging to help with some odds and ends in exchange for some hooch.”
“Where’d you meet him?”
“Where’s anyone meet a metal junkie?” Dorian asked, slapping the first tank with a heavy thud to punctuate the question. “Probably in a bar somewhere, I’d imagine. I can’t honestly say.” Upstairs, MetSec cronies were investigating the office computer, an old, plastic thing that looked like it came from the year 2000.
“Boss,” one of the agents interrupted from the office door, “he’s clean.”
“Well,” Harkless said, slapping the second tank, “You heard Jenkins. You’re clean. We’ll just be getting out of your way then.” They walked to the door before Harkless turned around and gave Dorian a long stare. “But leave the phones on, okay?”
“Gotcha,” Dorian said.
After the team left, Dorian started sweeping his workspace. The rhythmic scratchings hid the approaching footsteps for a time, but by the time Harkless, this time alone, reached the doorway, Dorian noticed his reentry.
“Forget something, mister Harkless?” Dorian asked.
The agent didn’t say a thing. Instead, he approached the first tank and struck it with a wide, open palmed hand. The clanging resonated in the hollow, concrete walls. He did the same to the second, and a deeper echo filled the space. The third hardly made a noise.
“Mr. Green, would you be kind enough to provide me with a sample from each of your stills here?”
“Certainly,” Dorian said, grabbing three bottles from a crate. He filled the first and handed it to Harkless. The second bottle was filled with oil, but Dorian handed it over as well. At the third tank, Dorian fingered the manual detonator. Clutching the third bottle, he smashed it against the piping and slashed at the agent, cutting him deep.
Dorian ran through the back door, leaving a trail of red bootprints. On his phone, he dialed the detonation sequence. He turned and saw four shadows, bathed in headlights, entering his sanctuary on the distance. Dorian pressed “send,” and plugged his ears to ward off the ringing.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 02:42|
That Nagging Voice (737 words)
Eric could lose the cops if they chased him, but he would never get away from what happened that night. Mostly because that damned conscience wouldn't shut up about it. He turned around. The cops were, in fact, chasing Eric. No time to argue with his conscience now.
That always is your excuse isn't it?
Eric ignored the nagging voice and knocked aside some trash cans. Two of the cops tripped down, faces covered in garbage. Eric smirked. It was the slippery stuff too. If they were lucky there wouldn't be any needles. The others stopped short, and Eric slowed down to a jog. He thumped his chest and flipped the bird to the remaining cops, giving a joyful smirk all the awhile.
You weren't smirking a couple hours ago.
From the back a cop barreled through. He was a big, tall muscular motherfucker- and he clearly was on the track team somewhere because he jumped over the trash cans like they were nothing. He faced Eric down, cracking his knuckles.
A real tough guy, Eric. Just like you.
Eric dropped the grin and backed into an alley. No way out except a tall fence, and no time to climb it. Now it was the cop's turn to smirk, thinking he had Eric dead to rights. Without a word Eric leapt into the air, bouncing up the alley walls in an elaborate wall jump until three bounds later he was over the fence. The cop just stared, mouth open and dumbstruck. Eric gave him a fist and ran off, ready for a good night's rest.
Can we talk about what happened now?
Eric tried to shut the voice out, but he couldn't even sleep. Finally he gave in.
"So she's a hosed-up junkie. So what. I did what I could. I'm done."
Bullshit. You swore to your mom you'd get her straight and you just gave up.
"gently caress you."
You'd like that wouldn't you? If you could just run over me with your Parkour crap and talk it up with your friends what a cool guy you are? But I know the truth. You're such a big loving pussy you can't even man up to save your sister.
Eric kept his mouth shut. He didn't want to listen to this anymore. But then he didn't have much of a choice.
Turn yourself in.
"Are you crazy?"
Aileen wants to be a junkie prostitute because she wants to be independent. Like you. You're way too cool to turn yourself into the cops. They'll lock you up, they'll give you a phone call. Use it to call her. Tell her about how you need her clean because you're going through rough poo poo. Maybe she'll listen.
Eric bit his lip and gritted his teeth. That stupid conscience would keep him up all night if he didn't do something. Grumbling, he pulled the sheet over his head, knowing that he'd head to the station in the morning.
"Do you know this guy?"
The officer shoved a photo in Eric's face. Those goofy earrings, that birthmark under the chin, that medium-length not quite hippy hair. Yeah, he knew that idiot.
"Sold him weed maybe a month ago," Eric said. "Haven't seen him since. Think he got another dealer."
The officer sighed. He gave a wave of his hand, looking down.
"All right, you're free to go."
"What?" Eric said. "That's it? You had a whole platoon chasing after me last night and that's all you wanted? You don't want to arrest me?"
The officer looked up, a quizzical expression on his face. Eric hated that look. The guy was looking at Eric like he was a total moron.
"You been under a rock kid?" said the officer. "People are dead."
"Yeah but I've done other stuff," Eric said, insistent, annoyed. "Like my sister. I got her all-"
"We don't care about some loser junkie," snapped the cop. "We're trying to get a timeline together. Now get out."
Eric cringed. He wanted to fight this guy just out of reflex, assuming that his sister was a junkie like that. Even if it was true. But besides that, even Eric knew better than to start a fight in a police station. He stepped out.
"Happy rear end in a top hat!?" Eric yelled. And this time, that nagging voice lay silent.
Eric rolled his eyes. He'd tried. Whatever. gently caress his conscience. There was cool poo poo to do.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 03:03|
Old Story: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=1932
Ore People Image:
Word Count: 1340
"But I'm your Sorcha, and that I'll always be, and I don't want anyone to ever say differently," said the girl in the bathroom stall.
"Man, gently caress...." mumbled Chubby to himself. He was sitting cross legged on a toilet seat trying to get some loving sleep and a girl was whimpering in the stall next to him, getting the ole heave ho treatment. He had been in this position countless times before. Perched on a toilet seat in a bathroom stall of the girl's bathroom trying to hide from Hunter Perkins, before first period. He had seen girls pour every bodily fluid out, blood urine, poo poo, piss, vomit and tears, from the cracks of the bathroom stall. He shared in their pains. This one Sorcha Rodriguez mujer was cursed with those dick sucking lips but was boring as hell and smelled like wet dog hair. She had gone down on Bennie and now homeboy was shutting it down like Chinatown. Chubby knew it all. As she bawled to herself. He silently creeped off the toilet seat and out of the bathroom. Sometimes people don't need an audience, he decided.
"Hey Chubby, why your name Chubby if you aint Chubby?" a nasally voice crowed at him. Hunter Perkins was one of those old school sweep the leg eighties movies bullies. Every small town in Texas has one, and Hunter Perkins was Ore City's.
Chubby bowed at Hunter, "Chubby isn't an adjective. Hunter why is your name Hunter if you... oh wait... You do hunt. My mistake. I can see why there was such a mix-up."
"Ugh, don't give me that Vulcan human being logic, Chubby."
There were three stages to Hunter's anger. One, he mixed references to Star Trek with insinuations that Chubby was a homo, Two, he grew bored and threatened to kick his rear end. Three, he proceeded to kick Chubby's rear end. Chubby decided that he would at least offer the truth, "I was named after an ex NFL player who killed his adult son in his sleep."
In 1977, the Eagles Hotel California was a number one hit the year Chubby's mom Sefrona Nickles moved to Ore City, Texas. She was an RN living on her own and also cursed with dick sucking lips which meant she had a lot pretty pretty boys that she called friends. By the end of the year, Sefrona was pregnant with a tiny peanut that would become Chubby. Back then Ore City had a population of 856 and had three joints you could get food at the Piggly Wiggly, Pork and Orc, and Chubby Grigg's Fish Fry and Grill. Since Sefrona was moderately Jewish and hated cooking for herself, she frequented Chubby's, which had the best catfish in Thrasher County. Prior to eating Chubby's she frequently spent long hours on the tile floor of the bathroom stall, throwing up everything. The only thing the baby could stomach was deep fried Cajun catfish. No more no less. To pay tribute to the man who had provided vital sustenance throughout her pregnancy, she named her child Chubby Grigg, even though after Chubby came out caramel and swarthy, the original Chubby would not welcome her and her biracial baby’s rear end in the restaurant. A month after, Chubby was born, the original Chubby picked his son up from a car accident. After finding drugs in his son’s pockets, he laid out his unconscious son on the bed, crossed his arms and shot a .22 caliber pistol at his head. The original Chubby stated that, “I didn’t care what the sentence was. It didn’t enter my mind. There wasn’t any question about me killing him.” Other fathers of Ore County, including Vernon Creed, the high school football coach that had kicked Mike off the team for having dirty drug piss, stood in solidarity with Grigg stating that, “I would probably done the same. You have a responsibility to your community as well as your legacy.” The machismo and the gall to put down your own defective creation that responsibility, intrigued Chubby Grigg’s the Darker. Even Magneto, baddest craziest rear end mutant in Marvel Universe, refused to take down his own daughter, Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, after she depleted the mutant population to less than the town’s people of Ore County.
“What pushes a father to feel so much responsibility for their kid that they end their kid’s life?” Grigg’s wondered as he curled up in fetal position on the hallway floor while Perkins kicked the crap out of him. Tucking his knees against his forehead, he thought about his own father, who felt such little responsibility for him that had peaced out so early, his spawn was named after a fish fry joint named after a dude that had committed adult infanticide. He didn’t even know his name. I want a name. With a renewed sense of purpose the idea of finding out who his father electrified his head like the bullet of .22 caliber, Chubby got up. He shoved, Hunter to the ground and thanked him, “I am called Chubby because you give me a chubby, Hunter.” he motioned at his crouch and made the universal jack off motion with his fist.
“loving spic Spock human being.” Hunter mumbled, but decided to stay grounded.
Chubby wondered how he was going to ask his mother about his dad. Him and his mom coexisted like a fragile ecosystem. His moms was nocturnal, working the ghost shift at Thrasher County Hospital, while Chubby subsisted on frozen dinners and barbeque sliders from the Orc and Pork, while his mother would return around 10 pm, powered on cigarettes and neo-liberal discourses of individual rights and responsibility. Chubby lined ten Oreos across the kitchen table dipping them in water, barrio after school snack from his childhood. His stomach could never process dairy, unlike his mother who would chug down milk like a baby cow. It struck him that there was some dark skinned mofo out there, crunching Lactaid that was his father. Maybe that’s why he hit and run so fast, lactating titties made homeboy nauseous? “La Gota de Leche, por vida,” he mumbled.
When the lights of his moms Durango illuminated the kitchen, he watched as her mom a frail woman with kinky brown Jew curls walked up the front door. Not wanting to seem eager or dependent, Chubby moved to the living room.
“Chubby? You up”
“I heard you got into a fight with Hunter again. Why do you guys fight like that? You used to be friends.”
“He gets a few licks in because he wants to get a few licks in.”
“What did you say Chubby?”
“Did you eat already?”
Chubby gestured at the Oreo package. Sefrona processed and swallowed the speech about eating real food. Instead she asked, “Is there something you wanted to talk about, baby?” Tucking in right next to Chubby on the couch, her bright pink scrubs contrasted with the worn out gray couch, but her ashen tired face blended in like camouflage.
“What’s his name?”
“Chubby, you never wanted to know before why now?” She sucked in her cheeks and bit them from the inside.
“Oh because, I have to fill out a family tree for my social studies class,” he joked uneasing the tension with bad humor.
“I am just so tired, Chubby. Any other conversation I can handle. If you get a girl pregnant, addicted to gambling, that you like like Hunter. But this conversation, I can’t.”
Chubby knew that he would never get the answers he was looking for. If he became a defective killing robot or just kind of a lovely disappointing person who liked to party his father was never going to pull the kill switch. He imagined, himself in one swift motion pulling her kinky brown locks and slamming it against the wall, pressing a .22 caliber to her head, and growling, “Dust off your vintage whore rolodex, and tell me a name. You owe me at least that.” But instead he reached over and bit into an Oreo.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 03:03|
1,434 Words (1,496 in the original)
docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:40 on Dec 25, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 03:04|
Chef Fancy 1113 words
“With...yes, I think a Beaujolais.” Howard Strong patted me on the shoulder. I felt it all the way down to my ankle and choked back a pained cry. "Four bottles, corks in. What the hell, a bottle of Drambuie too."
I scribbled down his order and limped back to the kitchen. My main chef ran away with most of the customers when we heard Howard stomp down the street, and I didn't trust my sous to not gently caress up the order. Everyone in town knew what happens when you gently caress up Howard Strong's order. A rival served the huge brute a tray of scallops once. Rumor says one, of fifty scallops, was overcooked. All I know is that disaster relief searched the rubble where the restaurant stood for two days. Nobody knows what happened to the head chef's head.
That wasn't going to happen tonight. Not to my restaurant. I pulled out three cast iron pans from the oven and dropped a huge steak in one, some German sausages in another and an assortment of vegetables in the third. My sous offered to help, but I pushed her away. I needed things done right, which meant doing them myself.
"You could always just tell him no shirt, no service." The sous raised her eyebrows at me. "I wonder if anyone's ever tried that."
"Storage fridge. I need four bottles of Beaujolais, not idiot ideas. Then, go out there keep the people who stuck around happy." I pulled a spice rack over from beside the prep station and got to work, saving my restaurant.
The steak, made of most of the side of a cow, hung over all sides of a serving dish we normally reserved for catering parties. The tray of sausages contained enough pork to start a pig farm. Finally, half a field of potatoes sat atop a forest of asparagus on the third banquet plate. I carried the order out myself and stood on my tiptoes to slide the plates on top of the white van Howard Strong co-opted as a table.
"Hey, this steak isn't bad." Howard pinched his barbecue fork between thumb and finger. I smiled thanks at him and hoped he couldn't see the sweat on my face. Or the disgust; Howard chewed with his mouth open, and his mouth was bigger than my head. "I know your secret. There's tarragon in this butter, isn't there."
"Yes sir. My recipe. Tarragon butter." It was fennel, but whatever. It wasn’t my place to correct a giant.
"Fantastic." He lifted a bottle of wine upside down and, faster than my eye could follow, whipped his knife across the base. The glass never cracked; the bottom merely slid off and shattered on the road. He drank from the bottle as if it were an aperitif, emptying in one disgusting slurp. "And the wine. Brilliant. Hints of oak and plum." Howard flicked his wrist idly over his shoulder and the bottle smashed through a seventh story office window on the other side of the street. "You have excellent taste."
"Thank you, sir." I could understand mixing tarragon and fennel, but calling a Beaujolais oaky rubbed me the wrong way. Howard picked up a Bratwurst and slurped the entire coil into his mouth like a noodle. He lifted the plate of vegetables up to his mouth. In his hands, it looked like a tea saucer. With a single gulp, Howard Strong swallowed the entire selection of vegetables. And the plate. He patted his stomach and rolled his eyes.
"So good. And that crunch, drat. drat, man. Where did you learn to cook?"
"Thank you. My parents taught me." The compliment stung my pride, and my words filled with ice. "I don't really cook all that much anymore, what with managing this place, but it's good..."
"Oh, you must." Howard dashed the base off two more wine bottles and handed one to me. "This is exquisite cuisine."
I took the bottle in both hands and hoped nobody in the restaurant could see how ridiculous I looked. My fear was gone, replaced with culinary fury. "Thank you, but I prefer numbers."
"Nonsense." Clinking his bottle to mine, Howard downed his in one shot. I faced more trouble, and spilled a large stain down my shirt. Droplets of wine clung to my moustache. The monstrous man reached down and took the bottle back, clucking his tongue. "You should learn to hold your drink." The van Howard used as a table rocked as he rose to his feet, snatching the remaining bottles in his hand. He drank the rest of my wine and tossed the bottle down the street. A car alarm sounded in the distance. "I think I just found my favorite chef. Come to my cave tomorrow night at seven. Bring spare clothes. You’ll be staying a while." He loomed in, his head larger than my torso, and I fell on my rear end. Right in front of the double windows of my restaurant. "Don't make me come get you."
"Wait." I dusted my hands on my apron before pulling out my notebook. Plans to get the giant out of my life rushed through my head. "Don't you want a dessert?"
I ignored the stares that followed me as I crossed through the restaurant and into the kitchen. Threatening my restaurant was one thing, but not even the giant Howard Strong would get away with threatening me. Stack after stack of apricot kernels went into the kitchen's blender, crushing them down into a powder. I emptied the cheapest tub of icecream I could find onto a plate and folded through the apricot dust. I could only hope there was enough cyanide in the kernels to take down Howard.
"This is surprisingly bitter." The giant chewed the icecream and looked lost in thought. He stumbled, only to catch himself and shake his head. A bucket of saliva whipped from his mouth, towards my face. I jumped out of the way. "It's... hold on a second."
I stood aside as Howard Strong collapsed. I'd saved not just my own life, but the food industry of my town. If I wanted something... oh, no. My heart sank as I realized the direction Howard fell. He smashed through the awning outside my restaurant, sending glass flying. Screams came from inside before a mechanical thunk; the giant had managed to destroy my kitchen. He twitched once, sending a table flying into the street, then lay still.
My business was ruined. People lay injured in the rubble of my restaurant. At least I stopped the giant from wrecking my restaurant, I guess. That's something. Want something done right? Do it yourself.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 03:33|
Previous story: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=504
“Shift’s over,” said Theresa, with her cute smile and tattered coat. “You know, the Cyclopean look suits you. Fancy coming for a drink?”
I laughed deliberately and touched the eyepatch the med-tech made me wear until I could get on the table for some more cybernetics. I’d come here with plenty already, but I’d just added to the collection during my tour here. The spill last week had taken the eye, the top of my left ear, and all the hair on that side of my head. The rest was in a scorched blonde tail at the back of my neck, but I’d had three folks already try to get me to just shave it all off. I touched that too.
“It’s still there,” Theresa said as the shift bell sounded and the artificial lights dimmed to the natural meteoric twilight. “Until you chop it off, anyway.”
“And lose my girlish good looks?” I sneered and double-checked my pressure levels. “How would I even manage? I’m thinking of going for that suede-finish psuedo-dermis when I get my tour-bonus. They call it ‘RealBuck Skin’. Get all kinds of attention then.”
“Aw, are you trying to make me jealous?” she teased, sauntering up and grabbing me through the crotch of my coveralls.
“Don’t you have to buy me that drink first?” I asked.
“I can do that. Rack in fifteen?”
“Twenty. Got to give me time to put my dancing shoes on.”
She laughed at that. Her smile was white against all the soot on her face, the blued steel of her jointed neck plate, the mottled gray of her welding coat, her dark, short hair, her own cybernetic eye. “Don’t go getting melted down to slag by another rhen spill on the way,” she said, standing on tiptoes to kiss me, then sashaying off. I watched her walk away.
Levels secure? My collar comm buzzed. I turned back to my panel.
“Secure, sir. We’ll have quarterly volume by tomorrow.”
Then your first tour’s finished, isn’t it Jack?
“Yessir. First and last.”
Do you and Theresa plan on going home?
“If it’s still there, sir.”
No idea how we’ll keep the place running without you.
“Ran without me before, sir. I’m sure there’s some other Jack out there just as good.”
“Hey rhen-face, how goes?” Everybody knew Jones at the Rack, and Jones knew everybody.
“Just fine, Jones. I’ll add that one to the list – right next to ‘steel-pirate’, ‘one-eyed-jack’ and ‘cyclopean’,” I said, sitting down at the bar.
“Plenty of guys around here with one eye, but cychlorine? Never heard of that.”
Theresa clanked down on a stool next to mine. “Cy-clo-pee-an,” she said. “You know, like the one-eyed monster from the story about Odysseus.”
“Well, did he drink?” Jones asked, almost dejected.
“Even if he didn’t we do!” I said, slapping the bar. Jones grinned, and in a micro he was off and our glasses were full. The supplementary heavy-metals in them fed our nano-units and sparkled in the dim bar lighting.
“Think you can forgive me for losing an eye?” I asked her, leaning in and licking the steel of her neck. She leaned back, revealing still mostly-flesh legs. My heart would’ve beat faster if it were still my heart.
“Maybe,” she said. “If you get one to match mine.” We both laughed. Out the bar’s only window, one of the rockets, made from the very rhenium we mined and refined here, shot across the stars.
“We’ll be on one of those tomorrow,” she said. “Assuming you don’t melt down to slag first.”
I waved at Jones for another drink and braced for the inevitable beating.
“How’d you manage to be that careless, Jack? You know how hot that poo poo burns. You weren’t even supposed to be anywhere near the pipes, your station’s three stories up. There’s only so much that can be replaced.” Her accusation was softened by the hand she’d rested on my one leg that was still flesh.
“Odd reading on the heat ratios,” I said. “Every sub-ops guy has these scars, Theresa, it’s fine. I get back home, I’ll have all new tech done, no more of this all-steel bullshit.”
“But I like metal,” she said, leaning in.
We didn’t make it to a second drink, but then I guess we didn’t need to.
Report: Pressures unstable in sectors three, five and six. Jack, report.
I rolled over and unplugged my ports, stood up and grabbed my coveralls. Theresa was still asleep, so I struggled into them as quietly as possible. That was difficult with two steel feet, but I managed. I left my bunk before answering, “Op, any unusual qualities to the ore? Extra platinum or columbite?”
No recorded abnormalities.
I jogged through the sealed complex to my station. As reported, the levels were all over the place. Raw rhenium was a stubborn thing to begin with, such a high melting point and all, but this was crazy. Liquid metal in tank three at only 4,500F? That was a thousand degrees from where it needed to be.
“Op, I need the team on-shift to meet me at tank three in five minutes, we need to see what’s going on.” I grabbed one of the hot-suits from the rack near Theresa’s station.
On their way, my collar comm reported. I tugged the suit on and lept down the stairs, letting the kinetics in my legs absorb the shock. The other guys on the team were already at the door to tank three when I arrived, most of them more metal than I was.
“Ascertaining temperature differential,” I said. They nodded.
We walked in to the fire.
“Are we still leaving tomorrow?” Theresa asked.
I rolled over on the table and looked at her. “More than ever,” I said.
“Still thinking of that RealBuck Skin?”
“Good.” She looked up through the window above the med-tech bay, out at the stars. “Flying back on a ship made of the very stuff we’re mining and refining…”
“Hey, if it gets us home, I’ll be happy with it,” I said.
“We make it,” she said. “Facility 16, best high-temp metals in the galaxy. You’re not scared are you?”
She curled up on the table with me. I watched another rhenium-alloy rocket shoot across the stars. Home. That was the strange part. I tried to remember it.
“Now this shouldn’t hurt, just like all your other `netic installs: a little bit of a sting, then the integration begins.” The tech positioned a new cybernetic eye above my head. Theresa was on the table next to me, having her regular diagnostics run.
I closed my flesh eye. “Sure doc, just get me some new feet so I can walk on to that rocket.”
“You were lucky to only lose your replaceable parts that time,” he said.
“That’s why they make us this way, isn’t it? Replaceable parts for irreplaceable workers.”
There was a pause before he responded. “Precisely.”
The eye started integrating. I waited.
Welcome to Rhenium Facility Seventeen, my new collar comm buzzed.
I was so excited. My first tour on the mining belts, and at the rhenium mines of all places.
“drat, you sure look ready for the job of floor operator. What’s your name?” the cute woman sitting next to me asked. She had short hair and a cybernetic eye just like mine.
“Jack,” I said.
“Been on the belt long, Jack?” she asked.
“No ma’am, just came out.”
“First tour, then?”
“First and last,” I answered.
“Me too. My name’s Theresa.” She canted her head a bit to the side. “You know, I can’t say this for many, but the cyclopean look suits you.”
“Thank you ma’am, lost it in an accident.”
“You’ll have to tell me about that sometime.”
“Not much to tell ma’am. I don’t remember it.”
Kalyco fucked around with this message at 03:48 on Jun 2, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 03:36|
Previous story: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=65
The Wood-Carver’s Apprentice
I bent, chopped, and tossed. Though my arms ached terribly, the wood pile behind me continued to grow until it blocked out the sight of the setting sun. As evening came on, I gathered up the first armful of wood and began to shuffle towards the work hut, my ankle chain dragging loudly through the grass. One lousy supper of beans later, I set again to work, delicate little rings falling around my feet as trees and people holding hands emerged. When my master came to unlock the hut at midnight, I was only starting the base.
Locked into bed, I lay awake and stared up at the darkness. When I was a little girl, I had dreamed of living in a castle of blue-roofed towers and shining white stone. But that was before my mother died, and my father had sold me as apprentice to the carver’s shop to help feed six other hungry mouths. “It’s this or begging for your supper, Caro,” he’d said, and being a scared and hungry child, I had nodded and glanced down so he couldn’t see my eyes filling up. Now I lay in a room that was only big enough for a child-sized cot and an old chipped table to keep clothes and the water bucket on.
Morning came, and, belly full of thick heavy porridge and beans, I continued chopping and carving. The carver’s shop was full of towers I’d made, each a little world of winter, delicate snowflakes falling on the people, animals, and trees and topped with a little propeller. My master had decided to create a human-size tower, something that would keep me busy for weeks. I sighed as I began to work on yet another tree. If only it were possible to use the propeller on the tower to fly away. Wait, could that actually work? I sat there for a moment, biting my lower lip. I hadn’t had much schooling, but I felt it wouldn’t work with a person, especially one with iron on their feet. It’d been a silly thought, I suppose, but flying seemed very appealing when I couldn’t run away again.
“Hurry up,” my master said as he saw me finishing the second platform. I forced a smile and nodded. I threw my knife down in disgust after he left and rubbed my cramping hand, grimacing as I tried to straighten out my fingers. As I sat down to my supper of gristle and beans, I heard a loud fluttering overhead and ducked as a large green butterfly flew past. It was trying to get at the candle in the lantern, and as I watched, it flew faster and faster around the glass, its green wings illuminated in the moonlight. “You’ll kill yourself,” I said.
A strange little chirping sound came, as if in response. I frowned as I then heard it again. Getting up, I looked around the hut, trying to pinpoint the noise. I heard it again coming from the direction of the butterfly still throwing itself against the glass. As I drew near it, it fluttered away to a nearby wall. I approached that wall and it flew away again. After trying to catch it a few times, I gave up and sat back down to supper and work. After a little while, I saw it fly back slowly and land on the lantern side. I let it crawl around the lantern for a few minutes and then quickly leaned in and pinched its wings between my thumb and forefinger.
The butterfly vibrated as it tried to get away. I held it up closer to the light and saw that the body in the middle was white with human-like limbs. Noticing its predicament, it turned its head to me; I waited for it to say something again, but instead, it tried to bite my finger with little dagger-like teeth. It was too far away to do anything though.
“Who are you?” I asked it, but it only proceeded to try and keep biting me. “Alright,” I said, and took it towards the barred window. In the moonlight, its body shone brilliantly. I let it go and it flew off, disappearing quickly. I was unsure what to think about what happened, so I turned back to carving snowflakes, my mind uneasy.
The next morning, as my master was unlocking the wood hut, I noticed a pair of green butterfly wings lying on the step. The body part was gone though. Maybe a cat had gotten it. I felt a little sad seeing the wings lying there though.
That night, I was doing some chiseling when I heard a loud fluttering sound coming from the window. In flew four of the creatures, who landed on my worktable. Two had red wings, one orange, and the largest one had blue wings dotted with black. The blue-winged one flew up and landed on my piece of wood.
“Hello human,” it said in a tiny high-pitched voice that had all the warmth of an icicle. “As queen of the fairies, I wanted to thank you for saving the life of Vrongil yesterday. Cousin Vrongil was never very bright, and how he made it to adulthood, I’ll never know, but your effort was noble nonetheless.”
“. . . Ok,” I replied, at a loss for what to say.
“As such, even though you are a filthy human, I will grant you one wish—whatever you want that’s in my power.”
“I wish to be free and somewhere else,” I responded immediately.
“Of course, we’ve already come up with a plan for that. Just follow our instructions and you’ll be free within a month or two.”
I pursed my lips. “You can’t free me now?”
The queen’s voice hardened. “I’m not a sorcerer, girl. Now, listen to the plan.”
I listened, and agreed to the idea. As they flew away, I started working on the first step. When my master came to bring me my lunch of bean soup and bread crusts the next day, I presented him with a little figurine of a fairy girl, her butterfly wings covered with spirals and dots. My master frowned and took the figurine in his hands. “For Avalee,” I said, smiling. When I said that, his frown wavered and he grunted softly.
“She’ll love it,” he said and slipped it into his pocket. I had worked with him long enough to know that his daughter was the one little area of sunshine in him.
“I was thinking, in addition to the tower, what if we had a life-size fairy as well? Probably would get a lot of little girls out to see the shop.”
I paused after saying that, as my master usually didn’t like me giving suggestions, but in this case, he nodded and said, “That’s fine. Just get the tower done first.”
The hours seemed all too short as I worked as fast I could to get the two pieces done. The fairies came a few times to inspect (and criticize) the fairy girl. I kept cheerful, knowing that soon, I would be free. Eventually, the morning of the fair came, and after watching my master’s sons carry my completed and painted works out, I prepared for the escape. My master had unlocked my chains in case he needed me in the store and had locked me in the back room. After a while, the fairy queen arrived with her followers. She touched the door and it swung open a crack. As I tiptoed forward, I thought I saw one of the fairies lick its lips, but when I glanced back, it was still.
My master was outside, talking to some families. I glanced at the fairies and the queen flew up next to my head. “Look,” she said, and pointed at the fairy statue. I looked and saw that the green wings of the statue were moving softly with the wind. They were real. “All you need to do is grab them and put them on and you can fly away!”
“Wonderful!” I said, clapping my hands. As I continued, my hand slid to the bag I’d hid in the corner. “Just let me get my belongings here. . . .”
Before the queen could react, I had wrapped her in my ankle chain. She shrieked as the iron burned against her flesh. “You must think I’m a fool,” I said, holding her up to my face. “If wooden wings worked, don’t you think I’d have made them years ago? And I doubt giant butterfly wings would work any better.”
The queen trembled angrily in my hand, hissing at me. The other fairies fluttered around anxiously, trying to avoid getting caught as well. “Now, shall we talk wish-granting?” I said to her sweetly.
As I looked down over the mountains and sparkling lake from my castle tower, I smiled and took a sip of mulled wine from my glass. Everything was exactly how I wanted it to be—well, with one exception. An iron castle wasn’t as attractive as a marble one, but it was very strong.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 04:46|
Way too easy: Flash Rule The wisest thing anyone ever said to you.
I wrote some poo poo about whales which you can read in the TD Archives here.
Anomalous Blowout fucked around with this message at 03:52 on Jul 1, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 05:02|
Traveling Alone? (1203 words):
Why don’t you stay?
Janet's words stuck in Megan’s head as she squinted through her windshield at the white van in front of her that said “FIRE SUPPORT”. The smoke had gotten especially bad in the last half-hour, and now she had trouble seeing things off in the distance. That meant that everybody sharing the road was moving at a relative snail's pace, considering that they were on a freeway. Very irritating, especially since it only gave Megan more time to wonder why she had turned down Janet's offer to become roommates. After all, they had always gotten along well, and while Megan had stayed over at Janet's apartment to attend her brother's graduation, their daily routines meshed well with each other.
At least Janet had been understanding, if a bit pushy. Megan jabbed at the radio switch, and the chorus of that annoyingly ubiquitous song drilled into her eardrums. As she fiddled with the stations, she continued to second-guess her rejection. Nothing was tying her down to her old apartment. She didn't particularly like her neighbors, and while her landlord was pleasant enough, it seemed like he would never approve her request to fix the drafty windows. She certainly didn't have a job, anymore, either; an unwise comment online had snowballed, and in the end, she had to clean out her locker. Megan suppose that in the end, it probably came down to her pride.
The smoke was steadily thickening, and now she couldn't see the road twenty feet in front of her. She swept her gaze across the gray landscape as her car inched forward, and saw a man and a small boy at the side of the road, next to a white minivan. The man – presumably to the boy's father – was scowling at the phone in his hand, and the boy was looking up at him, worried.
Before she could really think about it, she pulled over, and the pair looked up at her car. She carefully opened the door, and walked over to them.
"Are you all alright?" She called out to them. The man gripped the boy's hand and called back. "My phone's out of battery, and my car's out of gas. I don't suppose I can borrow your phone?"
She pulled her phone out of her pocket and handed it to the man. He raised an eyebrow, turned it on, and asked, "I don't suppose you could unlock it for me?"
Good thing Megan didn't flush easily. "O-of course. Sorry." A little fiddling, and she brought up the calling screen. "Here you go."
The man took her phone again, and after tapping on the screen, held it up to his ear. Megan caught the eyes of the boy by his side while standing awkwardly by, and smiled. He started coughing.
The man looked down and asked, "You alright?" The boy nodded, but then started coughing again. The man frowned, and started to bend down, but apparently the other line picked up, because he started talking again.
"It's me, James. Yeah. The car ran out of gas and I borrowed somebody else's phone." He grimaced and began to absentmindedly rub the boy's back. "Oh. Well, the thing is, Ellis is coughing a lot at the moment, so that's not really an option. Well, I don't – think that's…" He trailed off and looked at Megan, covering the receiver end of the phone. "Er, I hate to impose, but could you give us a ride?"
Under normal circumstances, Megan might refuse. But the boy – Ellis? – kept on coughing and coughing, so she couldn't really say no. She sighed. "Sure. Your car's locked, right?"
"Then you two can stay in the back."
She turned and made her way to her car, and opened the back car door for the pair. "Here you go."
They got in, and Megan asked, "So where do you guys need to go?"
James gave her instructions, and their house wasn't too far from her workplace. She started the car, and drove through the smoke while James spoke softly to Ellis, and the coughing eventually subsided.
In the end, it took Megan a full hour longer than it should have to get to their destination, and the sun was setting. She parked by the curb, unlocked the door, and the pair came out. She was just about to drive off when James knocked on her door, and when she rolled down the window, he asked, "Come out for a bit. You must be tired, and it'd be rude of us not to repay you."
She made some token protests, but stepped out. Another man had apparently been waiting for her passengers to arrive, and he was currently talking to Ellis in low tones. As she walked with James toward them, he stood up and offered his hand. "I'm Tom. Thanks for driving these two home."
Megan took it. "Megan. It was no real trouble. This place isn't too far from where I live, so it was no real trouble."
Tom smiled and said, "That's good to hear. C'mon, stay for dinner. We have to pay you back somehow."
Megan was really too tired to refuse, and she followed Tom, James, and Ellis into their house. Tom pulled dishes out of the refrigerator, and placed them in the microwave. "Hope you don't mind microwaved food, but that's all we have at the moment. I didn't expect them to be delayed so much."
"Really, it's fine. Don't worry about it." Megan sat down into a chair that James pulled out for her. He then herded Ellis into another room, presumably to go to sleep. "I mean, I heard about all the wildfires recently, but I didn't know it was this bad."
James spoke this time. "Well, neither did we. Or rather, me." He gave Megan a sheepish smile. "I don't know what would've happened to us if you hadn't pulled over."
"Yeah, and you didn't even want to ask her at first." Tom placed the dishes on the table in front Megan, and pulled off the plastic wrap from the dishes. "I practically had to yell at you that it's okay to ask for help!"
James' smile got more sheepish. "Yeah, I was being an idiot. Sorry."
Judging from the fact that Tom kissed his cheek, James was forgiven. Megan smiled and asked, "Is it okay to eat now? It looks really good and I'm starving."
"Yeah, go ahead."
As Megan pulled into the garage by her apartment, she reflected on the evening. The dinner had been excellent, despite the fact that all of it had been microwaved. Or maybe her hunger at the time had tricked her tastebuds. Either way, it had been an enjoyable evening, especially after the crappy day she had – Tom and James were fun to talk with, and friendly. But –
It's okay to ask for help!
This time, Tom's words had been nagging at Megan while she was driving home. She turned off the engine, stepped out of the car, and locked the door. Then she sighed, pulled out her phone, and called Janet.
"Hey, Janet? It's me, Megan. Yeah, I got home safely. Listen, about what you said earlier…"
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 05:18|
Hiding in the Foxhole
A sequel to The Ultimate Intimacy
crabrock fucked around with this message at 07:05 on Jul 1, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 05:19|
Cathedral of You
Source story: Cache Cab's "The Grand Prize." Original word count: 762.
Read it in the archive.
Kaishai fucked around with this message at 00:13 on Jan 2, 2015
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 05:42|
actually gently caress it, here's your story: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=156 and here's your image:
Title: Life Lessons
Meeting those troubles of a different sort, but still cousin to those that came before.
“Seems to me that all the bad poo poo we’re experiencing now is somehow related to the poo poo we caused when we was young and stupid,” said Mike, the porta-potty philosopher.
I pushed against the door of my own poo poo-cage, and it still didn’t budge.
“And just what, exactly, lead to us getting trapped amongst the smell of a thousand people’s poo poo?” I asked.
“Well,” said Mike, “There was that one time we stuffed that retarded kid into the tire and rolled her down the hill.”
“Are you talking about karma, Mike?”
“No, but when we were taking our pisses, I heard the tell-tale slurping of said retard. You know, that annoying thing where she can’t keep his drool in her own mouth on account of her lower lip being even more retarded than her shrunken brain?”
Her name was Karen.
“Yeah, I remember her, but how’d she find us?”
“Checked our facebook statuses, probably.”
“Can retards even use the internet?”
“Men marrying men, a black man in the white house, gently caress, why shouldn’t retards get computers?”
“Just cause you know, like cause they’ll clog up all the dating sites with pics of their junk.”
“Would you deny a retard a gun?”
“Yes. Absolutely. A thousand times yes. Why? You wouldn’t?”
Mike answered with a grunt and a faint plopping noise.
“Jesus Mike, you aren’t….”
“Well, I mean I gotta go.”
“Dude I can loving hear it.”
“At least it’s not an elevator.”
Nope. I repressed that memory. Stay down, loving memory. gently caress you. I hit it with a metaphorical shovel and dump it back into the hole it crawled out of. Stay dead, motherfucker.
“I guess, but do you gotta grunt so loud?”
I hear the spinning of the toilet paper roll.
“I’m done now anyway.”
I roll my eyes. “So you think this was Karen?”
“What did she push in front of the doors?”
“Well,” Mike said, “it’s gotta be something heavy, because I can’t open my door even in the slightest, and it has to be tall, because the top don’t move no more than the bottom.”
I heard him smack the door a few times.
“Solid too,” he said.
“What are we gonna do to her for revenge when we get out?”
Mike laughed. “Well, I figure we are approaching the ripe old age of 24. It may be time we give up such foolish endeavors. Maybe we let her have this one on us, lest we birth anymore troubles for ourselves from this twisted family tree of bullshit.”
“Yeah, maybe you're right. Plus like, retards only got a limited lifespan. She’ll probably die soon.”
“Do retards die young? I thought that was dogs.”
“Mike, you ignorant bastard, it’s retards and dogs.”
“Birds live forever though.” Mike laughed. “Well, then for her sake, lets let her have this one, and we can go back to our awesome lives that will totally last for a long time.”
I agreed, and the door to my porta-potty creaked open.
I stepped outside. The sun was just over the mountains, just about to stop baking us in those poo poo ovens. “Figures,” I mutter, but I was still happy to be out.
I look over at Mike’s john and he stepped out too. There is nothing blocking them that I can see. The ground is littered with empty soda glasses and programs for the musical festival, but the venue is empty and quiet.
There are notes taped to both of our doors. They read the same: “You tortured me for my whole life. You probably don’t even know why I’m striking back now. You probably don’t remember a week ago, walking down Main Street, bumping into the guy and making him spill slurpee all over himself. You didn’t even stop to see if he was ok. I went to a voo-doo shaman and put a curse on both of you. Now you’ll experience a life like mine. The doors were blocked by the weight of your own guilt.”
Mike and I laughed and threw the notes on the ground.
“What a retard,” said Mike.
“I changed my mind. Let’s go find that kid and kick her rear end.”
“Yeah, the world’s gotta teach her a lesson that she can’t go around putting hexes on people.”
“It’s a good lesson.”
“Too bad she’s got such a short time to live and appreciate it.”
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 05:57|
“Do you think we’ll at least be able to get our cloaks back?”
They wouldn’t, of course. Not even in this weather. Those were the rules. They were without question. Even Savoy who would not fight was not excluded. He looked to the sky. Rain peppered his vision.
“What am I supposed to say if you die, huh? What then, genius?”
Franco said nothing. Shirtless, barefoot, covered in scars.
Franco’s heroes had always been strong. As a boy, his father had taken him to a wrestling match: the Viper versus the Bear. In truth their names had been more elaborate, but Franco had come to dislike ornamentation. The Viper was the Viper. The Bear was the Bear.
The Viper was a quick little man, compact and muscled like a spring, his moves calculated and precise. It made little difference. The Bear stood still and absorbed each blow.
The Bear was a giant, masked. He sported a tremendous beard. Tattooed across his chest was the picture of a saint. The saint was a woman. She wore a neutral expression.
The Viper struck the saint. The Bear crushed the Viper.
Across from Franco paced Desmond, blonde haired, lean like a boxer. He was his father’s favored son, heir to his empire. Whatever he desired he had never been denied. To strike him was a death sentence, if he wished it. To humiliate him was to be made an example of.
Men of all ages huddled along the edges of the marketplace. They had heard there would be a fight. In actuality it would be a beating. In Desmond’s shadow sat Rico in a lawn chair. In his belt was a pistol. It served but one purpose.
Franco’s apartment block was a modest affair. He lived by himself, Savoy the son of his landlord. Fractured families constituted most of the rest of the residents. Single mothers and their daughters, uncles and old soldiers. For his birthday, Desmond’s father had bought him a new car. He had been in the neighborhood lording it over.
Carmen had been outside with her children, a plump woman with a sharp manner. Her youngest suckled from her breast. Franco leaned in the shade of the entrance, a pencil behind his ear and a journal in his hands.
“Hey baby, how about a free sample?”
Desmond smiled. His friends laughed at his jokes. Carmen’s slap knocked him out of his car. Rico’s hand was at his gun. Franco flinched.
“Ey, ey, easy there boyo.” Desmond waved him down. “Just some physical love, man. You know I can dig it.”
“Someone should love you more often,” Carmen told him. Desmond’s face darkened.
“You say something, lady?”
“You heard her the first time.” Franco snapped a rubber band around his journal. “There is nothing more to say. She is only swatting a fly.”
A single nod of Desmond’s head would’ve been enough. Rico never missed. The police would never know. Therein was the problem. His pride required more.
There would be a fight. Everyone knew the rules, the place. Of course it would only be a fight in name. If Franco drew blood, Rico drew his pistol.
Someone rang a bell. Desmond’s fist snapped out. In three hits he bloodied Franco's nose. In seven he broke a rib. Desmond leapt about, jabbing, thrusting. Franco stood still, his expression unchanging.
When Franco turned seventeen, he had had the opportunity to meet with the Bear. The man sat unmasked, sharp dressed, surrounded by women. He still had his beard, unkempt, and stained in alcohol. He kissed the woman to his right and whispered something in her ear. She humored him with a smile. Her eyes betrayed discomfort.
Two minutes passed before the Bear took notice of Franco. Franco knew this. He had counted every second.
“Ey, ey. Heard you wanted to meet?”
“I'm afraid you're mistaken. I was expecting for someone else.”
Desmond hit Franco harder and harder. Franco was bleeding, weary, but still he did not fall. Desmond’s eyes burned, teeth grit. He kicked Franco’s legs. Franco stood tall.
“gently caress it. Rico. Shoot this piece of poo poo.”
Rico obliged him. The shot echoed in the rain.
Franco crumpled to the ground. Desmond kicked him again for good measure. He laughed. His friends laughed. The rest watched in silence.
“Alright, let’s blow this scene.” He snapped his fingers. Rico tossed him his jacket and his shoes. The crowd granted them a wide berth.
Savoy stood over Franco’s body, his arms huddled around his own meager frame. He crouched and checked for a pulse. His fingers lingered. He sighed.
A man stepped out from the crowd, old and decrepit. He unfastened his cloak. He placed it over Franco. Others followed suit. They followed his example. They lifted Franco up and carried him on their shoulders.
“What am I supposed to say if you die, huh? What then, genius?”
Franco said nothing. Shirtless, barefoot, covered in scars. Without turning around, at last, he responded.
“Tell them if I am reborn, I want to be a bear.”
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 06:24|
Prompt story: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=1327
"...Meanwhile, Erogenous Beef saves diddly squat because he's busy eating dicks." Rick Stared at the crime scene through the steering wheel of the squad car. Beef himself stood a good distance away, looking lost amidst a field of evidence markers. The street was cordoned off, a small horde of journalists and rubberneckers held at bay by yellow tape.
"This is hard to watch." Alan Said shifting nervously in the passenger seat.
"It's like watching Luther if it starred an actual downie. Or someone even more retarded than that, like Bradley Walsh."
Alan shifted again. "...Harsh."
"The man hosed a burger. Literally hosed it. Cock in buns. He's a batty beef boy."
"That's just a vulgar rumour."
"Well I believe it, look at him, he's like a different species of lovely, dumb oval office fucker."
"You're gonna give yourself a heart attack you know, you look like you're gonna pop."
Rick Leaned back, sinking low in his seat. The car's front window framed the scene outside like some absurd dark comedy, for a moment they both sat in silence and watched.
Erogenous Beef was centre stage, before him beneath a white sheet lay 85 year old Jessica Alcott, who had died of cardiac arrest in full view of neighbors. Behind him, several bins. Beef turned back and forth between the two, craning his neck like he was being led by the nose and forced to spin in circles.
"I can't blame him." Alan said.
They knew what was inside the bins, neither felt like breathing life into the fact by saying it aloud. They didn't know quite how many bodies it took to fill each bin with limbs. There had been enough to send Jessica Alcott into cardiac arrest at least, and from the look of it Erogenous Beef was about to follow her. From stage left, a cat entered climbing onto Jessica's body, where it began to urinate. Erogenous stared dumbfounded at it. Rick and Alan stared dumbfounded at him.
"What the gently caress is even happening?" Rick said, almost shouting.
Then, Beef moved. The cat flew towards the nearby crowd screeching as it soared towards them. Beef still looked dumbfounded as his foot returned to the ground.
"In his defence, that was a great kick." Alan said, holding back laughter. All eyes turned to Erogenous Beef, who slowly opened his mouth, as if to speak, then he began to cry. He turned and ran, holding his hands up to hide his tears, a journalist ducked the police tape and chased him, taking photos as he ran. Beef tripped, landing face first on concrete. The journalist managed to get a few more pictures of him sprawled; tears streaming down his face, blood running down his nose, and his already strong reputation for incompetency and emotional instability exploding into a supernova, before another police officer pushed him back behind the yellow tape. Exit stage right, pursued by a journalist.
"Welp, that's everything right loving there." Rick said, starting the engine. "The whole case is gonna be that, but less literal. Then they're gonna hand it off to some other retard, who isn't going to be able to do poo poo with what's left for him. I mean the bodies were dumped, so no murder scene, no witnesses, no discernible motive. Nothing. This one's over before it loving starts. Like Erogenous Beef's loving career."
Alan buckled his seat-belt as they pulled out onto the street, he eyed Rick's knuckles as he attempted to crush the steering wheel. "But you could handle it? If you had gotten the call instead of-"
"Of course I loving could."
For a while there was only the hum of the engine, as they sped away from the scene.
"You know I heard driving while angry is worse than driving drunk." Alan said.
"What?" Rick turned to him for a moment, before a car horn drew his gaze back to the road ahead. "Did I finish my story? about the fire?"
"Yeah, you took over the stake-out he was on and then saved the kid in the fire." Alan mumbled, turning away.
"Exactly, I don't gently caress around, Beef is too busy obsessing over his own inadequacy that he misses the obvious, he lets poo poo get to him, because he's a loving retard. Whereas- Look at me."
Alan turned to him as they passed under the red light, Rick stared directly into his eyes, behind him a truck seemed to grow from nothing. "Whereas I am loving awake-"
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 06:29|
Escape From Ice City (749 werdz)
Sarah-1 was still crying, but tears of joy, not sorrow. She collapsed into the arms of her two clone lovers. The trio writhed and the window misted up. Outside a soft veil of snow draped across the city streets.
From Beijing they’d gone northeast, to China’s Ice City, Harbin. Shackled by the cold, the city had slowed. Bikes needed boiling water to be poured over them to make it down the street, and the train the clones planned to take into Russia had been delayed, again.
Adam-2 looked back at his clone, Adam-1, holding Sarah-1. Lying on a thin mattress they were rolled in bundle of heavy blankets, and couldn’t have looked happier without him. Adam-2 stepped out of the apartment, and through a curtain of noxious coal smoke into the street.
A tinnie croak rattled out as Adam-2 stepped into the cornershop, he looked down and saw the electronic frog that greeted him. Doing a great job, mate, Adam-2 thought to himself. A chorusing ‘ni hao!’ came from the husband and wife who ran the store, and Adam-2 smiled with some difficulty.
The train compartment door slid open and Sarah-1 peeked her head in.
“Why, hello there handsome, do you mind if I come in?” She said with her usual open smile. Adam-2 looked at the bunk across from him, at the woman, older than time, who was fast asleep.
“I suppose she won’t mind.”
Sarah-1 stepped in and sat down next to Adam-2, she slid her hand into his and their fingers locked. They didn’t talk for a while.
“Sarah. Why did you pick travelling with Adam-1?” It made him feel small to ask, but he wanted to know. Her laugh didn’t put him at ease.
“Aw, baby, are you jealous? He turned to her sharply, and she explained. “Y-you’re,” she whispered, “clones -- you’re the same person, if I pick one of you: I pick both of you. The three of us couldn’t be together-”
“Then why didn’t we all go on our own?” Adam-2 jumped in.
“Oh now you’re just being childish, Adam-2.”
“Don’t call me that-”
“That’s your name!” Sarah-1 huffed.
“I don’t want to exist as a response. You think we’re the same, but-”
“Look, Ad--look we’re only a few hours from Harbin. Then through Russia, and in a few weeks we’ll be in Spain --together-- as a family. And there aren’t any favorites now, and there won’t be any favorites then.” And then, with tears in her eyes, Sarah-1 kissed Adam-2.
Standing in the warm store, looking out at the snow, took Adam-2 back to Tongli, a cobble stone town woven with rivers not far from Beijing. He’d sat outside a tea house, behind a group of men playing mahjong by the light of a paper lantern, and listened to the delicate hand of rain tickling a river just out of sight.
Tongli was the first argument they’d had. Adam-2 said he wanted to stay. Sarah-1 called him a bastard, threw a bottle at him, and then locked herself in the bathroom threatening suicide.
There was an image in her head, and was obsessed with it; a house on the Spanish coast where they’d drink wine and make love. She couldn’t picture their future without it. Was it greed that made her so controlling? Did she want more love or, if she really saw them as the same person, was the love of one of them good as the love of half?
Some coins were dropped onto a saucer for tips, Adam-2 said goodbye to the electronic frog, and it let out its midi reply when walked out the door.
Heating in the Ice City was from burning coal, the smell made Adam-2 light headed. His source was born in Muswellbrook, a dinky little coal mining town in New South Wales, where Harbin likely got much of its coal. Those fumes were the closest Adam-2 had ever been to Australian soil.
Voices broke the calm of the frozen street as Adam-2 approached the train station. Soldiers were stepping off a carriage, and Adam-2 pulled his fleece collar up, and his cap down.
He greeted a conductor on the opposite platform and asked where the train was heading.
“Express to Beijing, sir.” Adam-2 slipped the conductor a fold of renminbi, and was ushered inside. Adam-2 would go to Tongli, where there was the quiet rain. Outside the soldiers mustered. But if something happened to Adam-1, would it spoil his peace?
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 06:36|
“All of the clothes in the world could stay on the ground forever so long as I don't have to ever have an eighth performance review.” Shawna sighed and leaned back on a pile of boxes in the storeroom while Robyn worked on her displays.
“See, this is the reason why you’re not meeting standards, Shawna,” Robyn said. “They can tell if your heart’s not in it.” She straightened the collar on the mannequin body before fitting her carefully-selected head on its neck. Her most recent ex was standing in front of her, a look of contrition in his eyes.
“I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately - “ he began, before Robyn cut him off.
“Yes, yes, very good.” She gave him a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, and he blushed. “You’re on floor 3, in formal wear. They’re expecting you.”
“See, I don’t even understand how you do that sort of thing,” Shawna said, as the mannequin wandered away. “My displays always look good, but I can’t pull off the emotional connections like you can.”
“Well, you’re practicing, so that’s a start. The bad attitude will get you every time, though. You just need a little more confidence, is all.” She settled another mannequin’s head on, and directed her estranged father to the top floor before he could finish telling her how proud of her he was.
“Well, I appreciate all of your help. I don’t know how I would have ever made it this far without you.”
Robyn smiled. “It’s not a problem. Look, you want to help me finish this last one?”
“Can I? I don’t want to ruin it or anything.” Shawna took the head from Robyn and eyed the mannequin body nervously.
“Look, you’re not going to ruin it. I keep telling you, you can’t overthink it. You know all of the motions, you just have to keep yourself in the right headspace.”
“Great, now I’m thinking too hard about not thinking too hard.”
“Come on, just put the head on.” Robyn put her hands over Shawna’s and guided them to finish the mannequin.
Their boss stood in front of them. “I just wanted you to know that I think you’re doing a great job, and you deserve a raise.”
Shawna burst out laughing. “Now, why can’t you have been the one doing my review?”
“See? That wasn’t so hard.” Robyn took her hands away, but Shawna grabbed and held them.
“Look, Robyn, I…” Shawna trailed off and looked her in the eyes. “I really appreciate all the time you’ve put into working with me. I know I said it before, but it really means a lot.”
Robyn smiled at her, and felt a faint flush in her cheeks. “It really isn’t a big deal -” She stopped abruptly as Shawna suddenly leaned forward and kissed her.
They stared at each other for a moment, Shawna with trepidation, and Robyn in surprise.
“Sorry,” Shawna said at last. “I guess I shouldn’t have done that.”
“No, it’s - I mean, it was just a surprise, is all. You don’t - There’s nothing to be sorry for.”
“I should probably go.” Shawna turned away abruptly.
“Wait, don’t leave, just -”
The back room phone rang and both women froze.
“I’ll get it. Just stay here for a minute, okay?” Robyn grabbed the old handset from its cradle.
“This is Robyn, how can I help you?”
“Hey!” Shawna’s voice came clearly through the receiver. “So what do you think of my latest display?”
“I- What?” Robyn stared at Shawna in confusion, who was currently sitting on the stack of crates next to the rest of the unfinished mannequins and studying her shoes.
“The display I left in the back room! I worked all night on it, didn’t you see it?”
“I- Yeah, I saw it. Unrequited crush?”
“Oh yeah, sorry. I probably should have left a note or something… Did I fool you?”
“Yeah,” Robyn said with a sigh. “You did a good job, Shawna. Looks like I finally owe you that drink.”
“...How about we make it dinner?”
Robyn paused, and looked at the mannequin Shawna, now lifeless on the crate. “Yeah, actually, I’d like that.”
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 06:52|
Word count 741
[edited to add]Forgot piccie link
“I will be the best goddamn travel agent this city has ever seen,” I yelled at the lightning, arms outstretched and fingers splayed. Despite the album-cover symbolism of the moment, my cry sounded vaguely retarded - is there really any reason to celebrate a trade certificate and a shiny new life of nine-to-five responsibility? I grabbed my mostly-empty bottle and threw it from the carpark roof. It dribbled slow spirals until it shattered on the windshield of a car far below.
The car alarm screamed and didn’t stop. I climbed over the wet railing and peered down the ten-story drop, watching the car’s lights flash hypnotically on and off.
A concerned citizen from a neighbouring apartment took time out from his busy evening to open a window and tell me to shut the gently caress up. “No, you shut up!” I shouted back, snatching another beer through the rails. “I’m a goddamn travel agent!”
“You are incredibly drunk,’ said a voice beside me, “and if you fall off this building you’ll never make travel agent of the year.”
I shook my head to try and clear my vision. For a moment it seemed like a foot-tall man in leather britches, vest and a ridiculous pork-pie hat had popped out of nowhere onto the ledge beside me. The moment past but the tiny man remained.
“Get away from me, you tiny man.” I pointed at him with a gently waving finger, holding the rail with one hand. “I don’t want what you’re selling.”
“Are you sure about that?” he asked, a giant grin on his wee face. “You’re drunk as a lord, on top of a very high building, engaging in behaviour that might loosely be termed risky. Seems to me you’re looking for something, so how do you know it’s not what I”m selling?”
I squinted at him, trying figure out if he was really that tiny or just very far away. “Because you’re a hallucination. With a cool hat. Nice hat, dude.”
“Yeah, cheers ‘dude’, everybody digs the hat.”
“Can we shut up about the hat? I think we have more pressing matters.” He pointed down. Between my feet, flashing lights moved close to the car-parking building, and sirens mixed with the car alarm.
“Aw, man,” I said. “There goes the party.”
“True.” The wee man’s high-pitched voice went lower, to indicate it was serious time. “You can’t be a musician in some gods-forsaken genre everybody else hates all your life. You have to grow up, be responsible, and get a proper job.”
“Aargh!” I said. “gently caress!” I leaned out from the railing, holding onto the rail behind me with my fingertips. “You are the worst hallucination ever, Jiminy.” Beneath me, the cop car stopped. One officer got out and shone a high-beam torch right on my face. I held out a hand in front of me, reducing the glare of the impromptu spotlight.
The small man removed his hat, and scratched at the bald spot underneath it. “The trick is,” he said, “to make the job you do one that you actually enjoy. Now, it seems to me from here that you’re not overjoyed with the prospect of becoming a travel agent. And yet, you’re pretty good at it.”
“Best goddamn travel agent in the city.” I mumbled. “Said so on an album cover.”
“Right. It so happens we need a travel agent, take care of some of our unusual visitors. Our last agent died - nothing tragic, old age at 850. See, not all of us can just float into the human realm on the wafting vapours of a drunkard’s halitosis, that’s a specialised skill. And not every travel agent has sufficient imagination that they don’t jump off a tall building as soon as a Faerie materialises and starts chatting to them. We need someone who can handle the darker stuff. Album-covers-in-brown-paper-bag material. Plus...I’ll throw in your own hat.”
“C’mon - there’s got to be catch to making that choice - there always is with you folk in the stories.” I rubbed my chin with one hand, considering, as he kicked me solidly on the other. I shook it in pain, and lacking a grasp on the railing I almost immediately fell from the tenth floor toward the street below. Red and blue lights swirled in a mystical haze.
“Who said anything about choice?” said the tiny fellow in the pork-pie hat. “Welcome to Faerieland.”
Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 07:14 on Jun 2, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 07:03|
Submissions are closed
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 07:12|
drat it... so much for that race to the finish. Only thing left for me to do is finish this story and accept my and subsequent beheading by ravenous hawks like a
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 07:19|
drat it... so much for that race to the finish. Only thing left for me to do is finish this story and accept my and subsequent beheading by ravenous hawks like a
If you submit it in a reasonable amount of time, that counts for purposes.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 07:38|
Suddenly he was a horse. 300 words.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 07:47|
Suddenly: He Was a Horse.
1 or more words
Suddenly was a good horse he ate grass and he trotted around his grass inside the fence around the grass. Suddenly was the boss of the other horses and the girl horses all liked him he ran the best and his tail made a feather duster off his horsey backside. He pooped while he walked because Suddenly was a horse. The sun set and the gold sky closed its eyes bluely and Suddenly the horse slept on four feet because he was a horse and because horses do not suffer the modern attachment to triple digit thread counts.
Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 08:04 on Jun 2, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 07:59|
Shameless Forums Reference
The webcomic actor put on his makeup. Such a wondrous pantheon of creativity, the Internet! Countless possible permutations of ideas, from every author imaginable, and lo, today he would put on the face of an amazing unrealized world. He stepped out on to the stage. And suddenly he was a horse. A very well hung one. The actor groaned.
"Again with the gay centaurs!"
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 08:24|
At St. Mary's Priory and Cathedral
“And here we have it, Ned: St. Mary's Priory and Cathedral, dedicated by Edsi, Archbishop of Canterbury, to God, the Virgin Mary, St Peter, St Osburg and All Saints.”
“Could they have given it a longer loving name?”
“It was right past here Lady Godiva rode stark nude, you know, up Priory Row then right down Trinity Street. Wouldn’t see that in this day and age. Gal was bare as the day she was born, but they say the people of Coventry loved her so much they shuttered their windows outta respect.”
“The people of Coventry were fuckin’ softbrains.”
“That Lord she was wed to, he musta loved her somethin’ awful, lowering all them taxes just on account of she was brazen enough to ride bare-assed through town. Or maybe he just got off on it?”
“Maybe she promised him somethin’ real swell after? She musta had legs to kill, ridin’ around bareback like that. Like Famke-Janssen-crushin’-a-man-to-death thighs.”
“Musta been a special Lady, even havin’ the wits to come up with that. Sometimes Lucy offers to blow me on my birthday, but that’s about it.”
“A bug’s got more brains in its wigglers than Lucy’s got in her whole head, Ned. She thought Coventry was a great place for a holiday, and the most exciting thing we’ve stumbled across is a half-crumbled poo poo old monastery that a naked lady might have wandered past once.”
“She was on a horse, though, that’s something.”
“Yeah, that’s something all right.”
“It’s not fair, Staz. They just don’t make girls like that anymore. Or maybe it’s me. What I wouldn’t give to be the sort of man that some goddess with Famke Janssen ribcage-crushing Bond Villainess thighs could just wrap her legs around and--”
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 08:37|
Kalan and the horse
When Kalan awoke one morning, because he desired to understand freedom, he decided he would be a horse. And so he was a horse, and ran across the steppes with the wind in his mane and the grass rolling beneath his hooves.
Kalan-the-horse ran across the plains for that day, and slept standing in the shelter of a tree. He ran across the plains the next day, chasing the sun, and rested at the bank of a stream.
When Kalan-the-horse awoke the next morning, there was a halter around his neck and a man led him by a rope until they reached a village. Kalan thought to seek freedom, but the horse knew not how to find it, and so he acknowledged his servitude and learned to obey the man for many moons.
When the horse awoke one morning, because he desired to understand captivity, he decided he would be a man. And so he was Kalan, and put aside the halter, and was enlightened.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 09:13|
Double-postin' like I just don't care...
Ay, Jeza. Ay, Meeple. I hereby call this brawl...
“I thought the whole tortured artist stereotype went out of fashion last century,” I told Hirst as I filled her bowl with the cheapest catfood I’d been able to find. “Nice to know starving’s still en vogue, though.” The biscuits were starting to look more and more appetising compared to an endless diet of instant noodles, especially after the week I’d been having.
“Mrowww,” she said back, then lowered her head and crunched her way through supper.
I munched my way through the bowl of lightly spiced cardboard at my desk, staring yet again at the statuette this Malcolm guy had given me for “inspiration”. He was a weird one, somehow weirder than the endless trickle of e-mails from would-be clients trying to persuade me to paint whatever their fetish-de-jour was. Still, he was paying well - enough up-front that I could make rent only a few days late this month - and that was something to treasure for all the headaches it was giving me.
The statue was oil-slick black, a naked man standing arms akimbo and glaring at the viewer from beneath heavy eyebrows. I wasn’t sure what kind of inspiration I was supposed to take from this, truth be told, but that’s what Malcolm had asked for and I hadn’t argued. I turned it around a few times, staring through it more than at it.
Supper didn’t last long, but I sat for a long while swirling my spoon around the empty bowl and staring at the statuette. I’d been sitting on it for two days, trying to drag inspiration from my brain onto the screen, but my mind was staying resolutely blank. I was starting to wonder whether there might’ve been something in the wormwood and opium plan after all.
Hirst broke me out of my morose thoughts in her usual way, walking across the desk and wrapping her tail around my arm. I yawned, the spell broken, and realised how tired I was all of a sudden.
“I’ll sleep on it,” I told her. “Maybe something will come to me.” She purred and followed me to the bed at the other end of what I laughably called my studio, curling up by my feet.
Sitting in the tiny attic room amidst the chalk circles, I judged enough time had passed and reached out across the city, following the black strand connecting me to the statue I’d given him. I could sense him, sleeping not far from where the obsidian focus lay. Trusting little idiot, I thought, as my awareness drifted over to his unconscious form.
With stolen fragments of dream I painted a picture of hell in his sleep. The beast hungered, ever-present in my mind as I worked. He was an easy mark, this one, his mind so thick with regret and buried pain that I barely had to dig at all.
I dredged up faces from his past - there was an ex-girlfriend, a name dripping with hurt and regret mixed with longing. I painted her face with blood and tore a scream from her lips before dropping her into his thoughts. Now his parents, memories awash with disapproval and shame; I paraded them before him, back and forth like puppets under my hands, before slaughtering them like cattle. The beast snarled its approval as I watch him twitch and shake, drifting in and out of sleep and falling further and further towards the darkness.
I slept so badly that night, tossing and turning, waking and drifting off again until the poor cat gave up in disgust and stalked off to sleep on top of the couch. Every time I’d managed to drift off, some new nightmare reared its ugly head to torment me.
None of the dreams stayed with me in their entirety on waking, leaving me with only lingering fears and cold sweat drenching my sheets. I remembered snippets, fragments, faces and sounds, and the bits I could remember left me terrified of what else I'm been dreaming.
Emily was there in one horrible fragment, blood streaming down her cheeks from empty eye sockets, leaving me heartsick and nauseous in equal measure. Other scenes drifted in and out of my my mind as I ate dry cereal: my parents, crucified and dying slowly; a sickening, metallic feeling in my mouth as I tried to stop my intestines spilling out through a gaping wound in my stomach; the world swimming in and out of focus as darkness like oil trickled over my sight.
I drowned the memories in coffee and forced myself back to the computer.
I almost had him. One more sleep and his soul would belong to the beast. I waited impatiently for him to rest again, but I got no sense of his dreams that night. The next day I drank endless coffee, paced around my tiny room, never wanting to be more than a few strides from the circle in case he finally succumbed to sleep.
I savoured the delicious taste of his tortured soul, the beast pacing hungrily in the back of my mind. Soon, I told it, soon.
I worked like a man possessed on that piece. The previous night’s broken, fragmented sleep had left me more tired than when I’d first lain down but my brain was full of dark inspiration. I hunched over my computer all morning, ate at my desk and continued late into the night. I was barely conscious of what I was painting on my tablet, it just flowed in a daze. By the time I surfaced, it was well into the early hours of the next morning. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I staggered to the kitchen and made another pot of coffee. Hirst got a handful of biscuits thrown in a bowl; I didn't even stop to feed myself. The work called me, my fingers itched to get back to it.
I would’ve been working late into that evening too if Hirst hadn’t finally decided she’d waited long enough for supper. She made her displeasure known with a warning “mrrrp” and a dash across the keyboard in front of me. I swore and chased her off the desk, but by then the damage was done - the statuette was on the floor, broken clean in half, and the work on my screen had been flood-filled a fetching shade of flamingo pink.
I picked up the broken statue and stared at it hopelessly; the inside was gritty and matte, laced with dark red veins. I stomped up and down the tiny room in a rage, alternating between cursing the cat and bemoaning my fate. Eventually I slumped back down in my chair and started mentally rehearsing my apologies to Malcolm.
Putting the fragments of statue down, I turned back to the computer and undid Hirst's vandalism. What was on the screen made me retch with disgust. Demonic figures cavorted amongst the shattered, dismembered remains of human figures. Blood and ichor rained down on tormented faces, tortured bodies, every atrocity rendered in loving detail. It was monstrous; had I really created that? I could scarcely believe it. In revulsion I closed the file unsaved and turned away from the computer.
I'd just have to return Malcolm's advance and apologise, I decided, feeling a weight drop off my shoulders. It would be a tight month, but I’d survive. I spun my chair back around and flipped the business card he'd left me out from behind my keyboard - it was completely blank. Bemused, I sat back in my chair and closed my eyes for a moment. Sleep claimed me instantly, this time blessedly dreamless.
The beast was growling at me angrily. Too long, its hunger whispered to me. Feed me. Nervously, I retreated to the centre of my circle, sketching new wards in chalk on the rough wooden floorboards. I reached out along the link, sending my mind questing out in search of my prey. He was working still - I could taste his mind, thick and cloying on my tongue like honey. The beast growled again behind my eyes. Wait, I told it, just wait until he sleeps and he's ours.
The vision wavered, my link tenuous while he remained awake. As I clutched at the black strand with my mind, it suddenly snapped with a crack like thunder. The shock threw me physically backwards, tumbling over the floor until I landed up against the wall. Dazed, I tried to make sense of what had happened. The focus was gone, the link broken, the prey fled.
I HUNGER, screamed the beast, its anger at being denied overwhelming me. My vision swam, grew black, and all I could feel was its teeth behind my eyes, sharp as razors and cold as ice.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 13:19|
Suddenly: He Was a Horse.
The True, Verified Story of Suddenly: The Horse
Suddenly was a very bad horse. He ate other horse's feed all the time when they were busy pooping while walking. Also all the girl horses liked him not because of his running or his fly-swatter tail, but for his enormous and veiny cock.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 14:07|
Losing All Wits
“Come! Come! Warm yourself by the fire, stranger! Is so cold outside, pretty girl like you would catch death of cold out there. Let Alexei get you drink from bar. No no, I insist!
“There you go! So, what brings pretty little American girl like you out to small village like this? You are American, yes? Alexei can tell these things.
“Come! Sit by fire with me, Alexei does not bite. Much. Ha! Is joke! Do not look so nervous!
“So, you looking for friend? Say she just came in here to use bathroom? Alexei has not seen anyone come in. Ona razyskivayet svoyego druga. Da, dva v odin den'! No, none of them have seen her either. I am sure she will turn up soon, you should have seat and wait. The fire is nice and warm....see, not so bad!
“Do they have winters this bad in America? No, I did not think so. You have look of someone who has not had to live through such things. Is good thing! Alexei has seen many bad winters, though none so bad as this.
“It is winters like this that people lose all wits. Poof! Vanished! Hahaha!
“Where are you going? No no no...sit. Stay. There is no where to go for kilometers and there is not much else in town besides the bar. When she turns up it will be here, Alexei promise you.
“Is nice, yes? If there is one thing we have in town it is good drink. Harvest was...eh, not so good. Food? Nyet. But at least we have drink. I say toast, to pretty little American girl and -
“No, it was not scream. Must have been wind. Come, were just about to toast. No...no...nyet, you are making scene, is why everyone is staring.
“Ona znayet , otkroy dver'.
“What did I tell them? Oh, Alexei just say you are fine, is no big deal. Yes you are-
“I...No, Alexei never-
“You are being silly, pretty American...but you are pretty.
“They have locked the door, pretty little American girl. No, that will not help. Now, come sit next to Alexei by fire and we can talk. Then, if you are good little girl I can take you to see your friend.
“Where was I? Oh yes. In winters like this after such harvest is easy for people to lose all wits. Poof! Vanished! Hahahahaha!
“Why you not laughing?”
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 14:26|
I'm a dumb idiot baby who couldn't write anything this week. I tried. Personally I blame SittingHere, since I'm loving awesome. Also I'm a useless drunk who hates his job and never has time to write any more.
LoserLoserBrawl will probably have to wait a full week for judgement: I have something special planned there. The LoserWinners on the other hand, have been assessed, and found only somewhat wanting.
HOCUS POCUS: The Ballad of Damian Dimopoulos, Parramatta's Finest
Oh loving hell, seriously? I didn't set a word count because I thought you'd go "oh it's narrative poetry that means I write a full-length story then put extra line-breaks in it right?" Especially since the whole thing is a setup for the dumb pun at the end, it just feels like you're wasting my time. This could've been so much shorter. It is too long. There are too many words, and you're just repeating the same inane poo poo over and over again well past the point of caring. Do you see what I'm doing here?
I remain unimpressed by your use of heroic couplets. I've definitely seen them used worse, but you're not clever enough with them to redeem the choice.
The story is weird but pretty alright bogany I guess. Probably could've used a few more Holdens but in this regard I award is seven mullets and a grubby Metallica tee out of ten.
Verdict: NICELY CHARACTER DRIVEN, TECHNICALLY LESS-THAN-GOOD BUT OK I GUESS, BUT OH MY GOD THAT IS A LOT OF WORDS TO TELL A REALLY SHORT AND SIMPLE STORY HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF EDITING YOU LOSE FOREVER
MEINBERG: The Fall of Cara Rok
Best use of meter by miles, and the only person who really understood what a poem was. On the other hand, nothing interesting happens. A bunch of dudes fight I guess but we don't know or care about any of them and it comes out like a Warhammer 40K Battle Report but with some pretty words in it. As Walamor learnt the hard way with his novel, don't start with a battle. We don't know the players, we don't know the stakes, and ultimately we don't give a poo poo.
If it absolutely must be all about fighting, give us somebody to root for. Give us Wee Private Jimmy who's never been in an actual battle before and suddenly really wants to be at home with his wife, or give us Loghen Ninefingers horribly outgunned but going down swinging. Give us people, dammit. Stories are nothing without strong characters, and so I give you the same judgement as last time:
Verdict: TECHNICALLY ACTUALLY QUITE SOLID, BUT REALLY BORING; SHOW ME SOME FLAIR DAMMIT
PSEUDOSCORPION: Far to the North
Wow do not start with weird hard-to-read made-up fantasy words like 'Roknulfahr' in your opening line. If you want to ruin a poem in a single word, that's how to do it: it took me three full passes and completely threw the whole meter and flow out. I had to go down the bottom to check the meter you were supposed to be writing in, and if I had to do that, you hosed up bad.
If Meinberg is writing Warhammer 40K, you are writing Dungeons and Dragons. There is no originality or character in here whatsoever: it's a totally rote, cliche fantasy adventure where none of the characters have any personality or motivation whatsoever. They never even get names. If Jeff Vandermeer couldn't pull that off, neither can you.
Verdict: THE BIG MAC OF NARRATIVE POETRY: COMPLETELY DEVOID OF ANYTHING INTERESTING OR ORIGINAL, BUT THE FORMULA WAS JANKY TO BEGIN WITH.
The question remains, who is our Champion? I'd say our balladeers are more Conan O' Brien than Conan the Barbarian, but that would imply they know something about writing OR fighting.
In all three cases, I got super bored halfway down the poem and had to go and do something else for a while then come back. I'm genuinely impressed with how you each managed to be totally boring in a different way. We had one with substance but no style, one who was all style but no substance, and one poor bastard who was neither.
Who bored me the least? It was the guy who wrote a solid poem that was far too broad in scope: too removed from the action and those involved to have any real emotional impact. Still, it was a narrative poem and it did pretty well at that. THE WINNER IS
MEINBERG. Take your crown of wilted cabbage stalks and ascend the throne of poo poo mountain, for you are truly the king of the losers.
SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 15:17 on Jun 2, 2014
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 15:11|
Jeza you better have a good excuse in by midnight or I'm calling this for Meeple.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 16:02|
Of Course, of Course
Suddenly, Stuart was a horse.
He should have expected it, he supposed. Wasn't that the deal with reincarnation? Karma? Poetic justice? Whatever; as much time as he'd spent as a man betting on the races, to spend his next life racing for men was just the kind of fitting that confirmed God was a jerk.
Yet he enjoyed his horseness, the warm milk, the green grass, and the kicking of grooms. Then humans put a saddle on him. He got to throw them into the dirt over and over again for weeks. And when he finally had to give into their nonsense, his reward was to run and run and run, his giant horse heart crazy with the joy of it.
(Besides: the faster he ran, the more likely he would get to keep his junk. No horse who had been a man would ever forget that detail.)
While training one morning at the track, his odd horsey vision made out a face he knew. He'd only been a horse for three years, after all. His old friends were still around, and this one, Bony Tony, had been a good mate. Tony smelled of whiskey and desperation.
Stuart put on a burst of speed as he galloped past, trusting the man would notice.
The next race day came. It was impossible to know whether Tony was there or whether he had bet, but Stuart ran as though those things were sure. He ran for friendship, which, as it turned out, could last past death. Who would have thought it?
He came in second. Friendship isn't everything.
But there was Tony, canny bettor, waving his place ticket in glee in the front seats, and Stuart was content.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 19:19|
Hyper Macho Tylannamas Brawl
As a reminder, this is due in roughly 36 hours.
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 19:50|
I'll show ya the horse
(a love story)
153 grams o' gravey
Eh? Eh? Wot ya yapping on about? Preetey horsies chewing dandelions by the bloomeh filds? Wot? Where ya think ahshouldget the bob for it? Wiv Farmer Ricky by the barn, sucking his little pricky? Izzat you do all day, Farmer Ricky? Barely ‘nuff for the chickens, got no money for a pretty poney, ya tart… now pass me the gravey. And the butta pie… (butta pie? the butta wouldn’t melt so I put it in the pie) …haaannd it all ova! ova! ah sweearr I’m gonna – argh! argh! argh! argh! haaaaand it all ova, now ya… ya… O! O, I see! teehee, teeehee, eh? Woy, I’m gonna… ha! Now ya stay! Now, just a little on the tittey… O no ya didn’t… ah! ah! ooh, girley, right on, right on, here it comes… ah, yes, yes, put it there, oo… now I’ll show ya the horse… neheheheheigh! neheheheigh! come hear, ya nawty little fuckbird…
|# ? Jun 2, 2014 22:58|
As a reminder, this is due in roughly 36 hours.
|# ? Jun 3, 2014 00:23|
"And suddenly, he's a horse!"
It was not David's favorite illusion. Setting it up was hell, even if he managed to get hold of a cooperative horse, and he was still paying the carpet cleaning bill from the one time he tried performing it inside.
But the children seemed to like it. And that's what it was all about.
|# ? Jun 3, 2014 02:17|
Results for week 95
So this week you bit into each other's finest assets, and I guzzled somewhat less hot steaming butt juice than I had anticipated.
Maybe it's coincidence, but I feel like focusing on the endings of other flash fiction stories made people think harder about their own endings. Whatever the reason, there were lots of complete stories this week! With actual endings and everything! You guys :3
Your honorable mentions are Anomalous Blowout, Entenzahn, and Gau. There were a lot of pieces that could've been an HM this week, in this judge's humble opinion. Oh fukkit, Kaishai, you have an HM too, for getting the idea of creepy blood cathedrals stuck in my head. That's right, FOUR HM's. Don't ever say momma never got you nothin' special.
Your lone dishonorable mention this week is Hocus Pocus, for writing a convoluted clone soap opera that sort of dissolves into a weird slurry of useless details.
Your losers(!!) this week will have to do battle to stave off the losertar.
by the power vested in me as bossjudge and generally boss human, I do decree that you must do battle unto each other thusly:
The two of you have until Wednesday at High Noon EST to rewrite each other's stories in a way that doesn't suck.
Word Count: 1500 words or less. Hopefully less.
TYRANNOSAURUS, I CEDE THE THRONE AND ITS ATTENDANT PILE OF MOIST TOWLETTES TO YOU, GOOD SIR.
|# ? Jun 3, 2014 02:38|
|# ? Nov 29, 2022 11:11|
|# ? Jun 3, 2014 02:40|