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Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Writing on the Wall
(1,163 words)

At four in the morning on a Sunday, I jogged down empty streets. Even the drifters had gone to sleep at the bus stops. My breath was the only steam around: the chimneys of the old warehouses and hollowed-out offices offered none, and anything alive inside those buildings had bigger concerns than me. The spray cans rattled in my backpack. Together they were heavier than the gun in my jacket, but I felt its weight more. I always did.

My route for the night took me by a dead Chinese restaurant. Dragons still snarled on its doors, under a scrawl of purple paint. FELIPE. Other names stained the brick exterior. A cracked window told the world JUANITAS A CUM SLUT. I passed Juanita by to check on what had been a stretch of bare wall the previous weekend.

Now a giant ant stood there, reared up on its hind legs and thorax; a tiny man rode on its back, his robe bunched up around his knees, and I'd used oil paints and a brush to draw his quiver of arrows. The spray job had run in the cold, but only a little. The abatwa and his mount were work I could be proud of.

Red letters straggled over them. gently caress YOU this time. Straightforward and to the point. I'd expected it, and it was the lack of surprise that let the winter into my gut.

In grade school, I'd read about Italian frescoes in some history textbook or other. There'd been a picture of an ancient, intricate tableau of gods, painted on the wall of a house. While I'd scraped through college, minoring in art, I'd added my name over and over to the graffiti off campus. Then I'd tried using the spray cans to talk about things other than myself. I'd made my own alfresco murals--some of them still stood.

On that Sunday, I had a job and a life miles and years distant from my alma mater. I'd seen a lot of the local graf from the vantage point of a bus. Some areas of the city were full of color and style. Profanities too, sure. But art was present in the bubble-letter names and the cartoons. This area, once host to the Jade Garden Chinese Buffet, showed gang signs and hate slogans and careless tags, but nothing done by anyone who'd given a poo poo.

poo poo had been the word sprayed over the scarlet macaw I'd painted on a boarded-up convenience store. BITCH covered up my pyramids of Giza on a vacant bank, and someone had drawn halfhearted dicks over the replica of the Mandelbrot set I'd used black oil and brushes to attempt.

Had one person paused or wondered first? Had my work inspired anyone at all the way an image in a textbook had once inspired me?

I abandoned the abatwa. I loped away from derelict buildings altogether. My target that night was a low-traffic underpass on the edge of the territory, one I knew from the news had been washed clean the day before.

Shrugging off my backpack, I pulled out my equipment: goggles, respirator mask, paint. I set the cans up like soldiers, a squad seven strong. I popped the cap off the black and turned a swath of cement into a slice of night. Purple and midnight blue added depth to the sky, while a can of gray gave its life to the formation of storm clouds. I reached for the white.

"Hey! We got a poacher!"

Shifting the paint to my left hand, I tugged the zipper of my jacket down with the right before I turned toward the shouter.

He was one of six. Mostly boys. Maybe fifteen years old, maybe less, except for one. The leader of the group was a grown man. I thought they were all Latino, but once they came close I could see the kinky hair on one of them. That boy stared at my dark hand curled around the paint can. Darker than his by far. When his eyes snapped up to my goggles, they were full of scorn.

The leader flicked his fingers, and the kids spread out. They held cans of their own.

"You've been writing where you don't belong," the leader said.

I said, "Only where the walls were clean."

"What are you doing painting this faggy poo poo?"

"Thunderstorms aren't faggy, last I checked."

He looked up at me: I was inches taller. He offered a slim half of a smile; it had a knife's edge. "You don't know anything," he said. "Eric."

The black boy walked up to my mural, to me. He popped the top off his own can. Fssss. The red F started on my jacket; particles of paint flecked my goggles. The A and G landed on my skyscape.

I folded my arms, sliding my right hand inside my jacket. I kept my eyes on the leader, watching his smile drop, his brows twitch together. He shifted his weight, backing up a hair's width. I could stare him down.

Eric punched me in the ribs.

He didn't have a man's strength yet. I dropped the white paint and grabbed him by the shoulder, threw him aside, hard. The kid hit the pavement.

The leader pulled a gun. Mine was in my hand and pointed at his chest before he could fire. His boys had nothing--just paint--they weren't in deep, not yet.

I said, "Leave. You can finish ruining it when I finish painting it."

He squeezed his trigger. I squeezed mine a half second later, twice.

He missed me by maybe an inch, and maybe he'd intended to, one last chance to show his boys he was fearless without killing me. Maybe. Probably he was a lousy shot. Like me. My bullets hit his arm and his shoulder, but I wasn't fearless, and I'd aimed for his heart.

His boys fled like leaves in the wind, even Eric, and he ran himself, clutching his arm. "Shitfucker!" he screamed. "Cocksucking son of a bitch! I'll kill you! I'll loving kill you, cabron!"

I seized Eric's paint can. I spun around and sprayed a giant scarlet F on my thunderstorm, but that completed the epithet, and I couldn't stand it. I threw the can away and screamed instead, "gently caress!"

I probably wouldn't even have to get rid of the gun. The police wouldn't find out about this fight. Not from them. Not here.

Their spite and hate glared at me, mocking my attempts at something better.

I took a deep breath. I gathered the cans, my own and those the boys had dropped. I shook the black, and then I covered their words with a fresh sky full of lightning and power and the wonder of what men can't control, for someone to see and destroy if they chose. Because I didn't want to stop giving a poo poo. Because I didn't know what else to do.

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Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020
Small Victories
(875 Words)

Jeff Hudgens sat a while in his office, thinking up the move he was going to pull on Mr. Oxford when the man paid him a visit. He decided on swiveling his chair around to face the window and waiting until he heard the man bound up the stairs to his office. Then, when he heard the knock, he’d say, “Come in,” and then spin around to face him, head tilted down with a devilish look in his eyes. poo poo, he thought, that’ll really knock him dead.

An hour later, when Oxford came calling, Jeff spun around and found himself staring into the steely eye of a Colt 1911. He heard four sharp, brief pops, and felt a fire spring up in his chest. Oxford lowered the gun, a curl of smoke still floating in the air. The man just stood there in his flat gray suit, hair slicked wet over his head, and smiled.

“Bye, Jeff. I’ll be sure to give Madeline your best.” Oxford turned, seeming to melt away before the shadows devoured everything in sight.

Jeff’s eyes opened. He was on the floor with a welt growing out of the side of his head, blood seeping out of his shirt. He felt something, between a burp and a cough, well up inside him and force its way up his throat like a ball of fire. He spat out a dark glob of blood. He gripped onto the side of the desk and managed to drag himself forward to the center of the room.

He paused. He could feel his panic rising, so he forced himself to stop and take deep breaths. A thought emerged. Madeline. Oh poo poo, Madeline! How long had he been out for? If it was longer than a couple minutes, that would have given Oxford time to… no. Oh god, no. Jeff started flailing like a worm, straining to reach the phone sitting on the end table. If he could just knock the table over, it’d only take him a few seconds to call home. He needed time to warn her, just to hear…

To hear Madeline laughing. Madeline cackling at him, saying she told him so, that it was just like him to get in over his head and she knew it would’ve only been a matter of time. The last act of his life would be to save hers, and he just knew the crone would eat it up. So, come crawling back, huh? What’s that, dear, four bullets in your stomach? Hmph. I would have expected at least five. You must not have made much of an impression on them after all!

Never mind that he’d done it all for her. Never mind that he had made his fortune in a town that chews up and spits out a thousand new arrivals every day. He could have worked at the meatpacking joint, and then how happy would she have been? Oh yes, it’s honest work, dear. So honest you come home every day with putrid sweat and blood worked into your skin, impossible to scrub away. How would you have liked sleeping next to that? Just think of her nerve. She couldn’t even be right without getting all haughty about it.

So he lay there, blood sopping into his nice throw rug, determined to do nothing. Oxford would show up, knock on the door, shove a gun barrel into her face and then it would just be between the two of them. That’s all there was to it. And he would lie here and bleed. He told himself this over and over again, fire still raging through his guts, extremities beginning to lose feeling. He would lie there. He would lie and lie and condemn his wife to a bloody death.

Jeff grimaced. A sigh hissed out through his teeth. Gathering up his strength, he reached overhead and swatted the end table over, the plastic phone clattering against the floor, and snatched up the receiver. He jammed an unresponsive finger into the rotary dial, spun in the number for home. He listened to the rings. His sight was beginning to fade.

“Hudgens residence. Who’s calling, please?”

“Madeline!”

“Jeff, is that you?”

“Madeline, shut up and listen, okay? I’ve been shot, and you don’t have much time until…”

“poo poo, Jeff, is it really you? Christ, you sound awful. Oxie said you’d be… uh…”

Jeff furrowed his brow. “Oxie?”

“He promised… promised you’d be dead. Jeff, this is just plain weird.”

Oxie?”

“I’m terribly sorry, Jeff. It isn’t right, us talking like this. I never meant for you to suffer.”

Madeline!”

“Well, if you’re going to be insistent... fine, I’m here.”

“There’s something I have to tell you.”

“Really? Well… what is it, Jeff?” A hint of real curiosity creeping into her voice.

With his last burst of strength, Jeff slammed the phone down into the receiver. “You told me so, all right. You sure as hell told me so.” He closed his eyes and laughed. The words she would have given anything to hear him say were gone, set loose like a gust of wind, and she would never get her hands on them. Jeff let them go and died, an honest man at last.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013

Hello yes I am a milk-drinking baby who will not be able to submit this week due to my own personal failings.

I shall be wearing my finest :toxx: suit the next time you see my sorry hide.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
[EDIT: removed for publishing reasons]

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 02:19 on Dec 4, 2014

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT
Grimey Drawer
I was gonna call this Outstanding in his field, but didn't. You can thank me later.

wordcount: 1237

Getting his wings

The field was devastated, pockmarked with miniature craters and shorn of soldiers like a wheat field at harvest. We picked our way through carefully, scanning for wounded Cranks playing possum, or for any of our brothers-in-arms still breathing. Above us, carrion birds did the opposite.

“Well, this is a gently caress-up and a half,” said the Sergeant. “Two opposing battalions setting up next to each other and no-one noticing for hours.” He laughed out loud, an alien sound amongst the dead. “Can’t believe it. Just glad we were down the road when the Crank finally smelt us.”

“How do you get half a gently caress-up, Sarge?” asked Gaines. He grinned at his own cleverness like the half-wit he was.

“I’ll ask your mother,” said the Sergeant. “You get that down, Emby? That’s a good line. Good character development.”

“I made a mental note, Sarge,” I said, smiling politely and tapping my helmet. I’d long since stopped trying to point out I wasn’t there to write a novel, so I returned to capturing the destruction through my phone’s camera, taking vignette-filtered shots of the bodies that, in death, hadn’t cared who they were lying next to.

“You’re missing everything, looking through that phone,” said the Sarge. “It’s not the same. You gotta smell it - feel it. Like, you go to a rock concert and every-drat-body is taking a crappy video through their phone that they’re never going to look at...”

I didn’t listen to the rest of his rant about the sad state of rock concerts today, because I had lowered my viewfinder to check I wasn’t seeing things. Behind a line of sandbags was the top of a head, wearing a helmet the colour of Crank camo.

“Sarge?” I whispered, interrupting. He glared at me, then turned to look in the direction I was pointing.

The next second we were all crouched down, the men and women of company Q gesticulating in the sign-language of combat. Eyes were pointed at, biceps were flexed in a drawing down motion, wrists did double time. I’d been embedded, 'embied', a month, and I understood a smattering of what was being discussed, enough to know we had a target. I saw them scatter in different directions, preparing to engulf in shock and awe. Gaines remained with me as usual, having drawn the short, Emby-coloured straw when I arrived.

I knew better than to talk during an operation. Gaines, on the other hand, didn’t and pointed out that Company Q was in the process of containment, and that I was lucky to see it, because it was a squad versus a single known opponent and those odds didn’t happen every day.

I have to hand it to Q, they were quick and they were fast. Half the time I wasn’t even sure if I was looking at them or just some dry brush on the landscape. It wasn’t until the Sarge stood up and laughed, beckoning to me and Gaines, that I moved from my position. We did that crouch/run thing that always makes you feel like a crab with the trots, until we saw that the others were all standing up and laughing along as well.

I was behind the sandbag wall I’d first seen. I moved to the right end of it and peered round, Corporal Lansbury laughing to my right. The Crank stood several feet away from the wall, with his hands up. Then his hands dropped again, pointing at the ground, then they went up again, in an expansive circular motion. “Vooosh!” he said. Buzzards, or at least those not already feasting, circled above him. One swooped lower, thought better of it, and returned to its wake.

I stood up, too. “I’m afraid I don’t quite get it,” I said.

“poo poo-brained Emby,” said Gaines from behind me. “Goddamn Crank is standing on a mine.”

I backed the gently caress away, behind the wall. “You’re kidding me.”

“Nope,” said the Sarge. “We put pressure-release mines outside the perimeter to maximise stress. It’s all about the psychology, Emby. Plus, if it all goes south - it discourages looters.

“He’s unarmed then?”

“Yeah, yeah. Out of ammo,” He nudged at a discarded weapon with his foot. “Threw his gun away when he saw us coming. He seems kind of happy to see us, to be honest. Guess he knows he’s not getting out of there by himself.”

“So he’s a POW?” Now that was interesting, and not at all what I’d anticipated when we set out. We’d seen the casualties returning and had assumed the area more or less deserted.

“Easiest just to shoot him,” said Gaines.

“I got it it,” said Lansbury, slowly moving away while lining up her assault-rifle. “Lighting blue Crank and standing well back.”

The rest of company Q backed up. The Crank’s eyes widened and he gibbered in unintelligible fear.

“Sarge!” I said. “This is a defenceless man under imminent threat of death. Shooting him is not a good character moment.”

The Sarge frowned, held up his hand for Lansbury to pause.

“With all due respect, Sergeant.” said Corporal Lansbury. “Crank fucker is dead already. He goes to sleep on that mine and we can pick him up with tweezers later. Bullet through the head gotta be kinder.”

The Sarge scowled further. “I can’t stop a loving mine, Emby. In the army, its all about the logistics.”

“But he’s unarmed - isn’t that against the Conventions?”

“No gun doesn’t make him unarmed.” The Sergeant picked at his teeth with a fingernail, spat. “Don’t forget he’s got his foot on the detonator of a poo poo-ton of our ordinance.”

I looked around, flailing for an idea, and hit a wall. “What about these sandbags - could we swap them? Keep the weight on Indiana Jones style?”

“Yeah - that should work, ” said Gaines and my estimation of the idea plummeted.

“The weight distribution would be too hard to judge,” said the Sarge. “One ounce too little in the wrong place, and ...‘BOOM’. I can’t risk the boys and girls of Company Q just to be sure a Crank gets a happy ending.“

I looked each soldier in the eye. Each one looked back with cold dispassion, except Lansbury, who still had her rifle trained on the Crank.

“gently caress it, then,” I said. “I’ll do it - if you’re all too chickenshit.” I grabbed the heaviest looking sandbag from the wall beside me, and made my way towards to the Crank, who spluttered incomprehensibly. “It’s all right,” I said, in as calm a voice as I could muster. He just spluttered all the more. I moved a little closer. “It’s gonna be fine.”

The Crank cawed like a bird, and everything went white. And loud.

Apparently the sandbag saved me. Some buzzard had grown tired of waiting and dive-bombed just as I approached. The Crank had thrown up his arms, shifted his weight and Death from above became Death from below. The Sandbag was at just enough of an angle from foot-wide ground zero that none of the shrapnel hit my face. I woke up back in camp, full of holes, and pumped full of finest western morphine.

“Damnedest thing I ever saw,” said the Sergeant when he came to visit. “Feathers and bits of Crank everywhere. I reckon every time a mine goes off, a Crank gets his wings. You should write that down, Emby, that’s loving gold, right there.”

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







see archives

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:15 on Jan 1, 2015

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019

The Climb

1,222 words (separators don't count, right?)



A crack, ground shifting, sliding underfoot, slip grab tumble fall... darkness.

****

Tomorrow was to be a good day. A public holiday. The heavens were clear and fresh today; the calendar augured well. But the ulum did not return at the feeding-time.

A desperately needed meal. The farmer volunteered to find it. The ground was still moist after the morning's rain; its tracks should not be difficult to follow.

With short spear and torch and food he set off up the slopes.

****

Drip. Something wet on his face. Drip. Throat dry and ragged. Drip. Buzzing in his ears and pain and Drip. his arm cold and damp—his eyes open, slowly, stars stabbing down from jagged blue mouth high above—darkness again.

****

His search brought him high along the ridge, where the trees met the sky. From here he could see the full terraced beds around the village, the trade road winding west, around the jungle. The dried meat and berries he ate were necessary for survival, he knew, at height.

Here the trail had been overgrown by vegetation, but at the base, a gap which may be small enough—yes, there, a feather, caught on a branch. He cut vines with his knife and pushed through.

As he climbed higher, deeper into the woods, the soil grew hard and reddish. But there were still some signs: prints had become rare, but saplings broken, lower branches missing, ground cover uprooted.

And then he found the stairs.

****

Pain. Buzzing. Lids closed but eyes brightly lit by noonday sun hot on his skin he sits up suddenly, then shudders, as nausea stabs through his stomach... slowly, slowly subsides.

The air is thick with insects biting; he waves them away, PAIN. There's something wrong with his left arm. It won't move properly. Must be broken. He grimaces, tries to stand up, using his good arm to prop himself up with the spear, holding the left arm out to the side.

The ground is rock, the walls rock, the only light the sunlight from the wide gap far above. In many places the rocks grow up or sideways, pointing, towards him, like the tusks of a boar.

A pile of large broken stones and earth below him, thickly redly wet despite the day's heat, but not nearly high enough to reach the ceiling. The cave continues ahead and behind him into darkness.

He reaches for the food pouch: gone. But he finds the torch, pinned under a wide flat rock, and slowly, one-handed, he works it free. He lights it with rock on knife, and sets off.

****

The stairs were long, thick, shallow, made from gray stone, worn, black stains oozing down. They led up the hill, their top shrouded in mist. Shrubs crowded around the base of the retaining walls, a few with branches broken low on their periphery: the ulum had passed through here.

So the farmer climbed, heading further up the ridge, towards the sun just visible through the haze, until it dropped into shadow. At last the stairs ended before a sheer slope, and the paved pathway followed it, curved out of sight. From this height, he could see nothing but clouds below.

He followed the path as it wound around the mountain, careful not to slip on the slick wet stone, then stopped. A large rope bridge was suspended before him, stretched across what must be a massive gorge, the other side lost in fog. He had no other way, and there was still enough daylight to see by, so he stepped onto the bridge...

****

Darkness all around. He has the feeling the tunnel is sloping downwards as he walks, gradually at first, now certain. The tunnel seems to be narrowing, the walls and ceiling closer, but he has not seen a hole open above to sky in some time. How long? Impossible to say. The torch is not half spent, yet.

Some side passages have led away, small but perhaps possible to crawl, but he has not wanted to try. Not while the main passage still seems promising. In most of them, the air felt dead; but here there is a slight breeze, cool air coming from somewhere ahead.

A thin trickle of water runs down the floor by his feet, sometimes on this side, sometimes crossing over. Now it provides the only sound, besides his torch and his own footprints. Even the bats he saw after first awakening have gone. And yet sometimes, there is a strange smell on the air, and he stops, and thinks he hears some kind of movement ahead in the darkness, sees something reflected in the wavering light cast out by his flickering torch; but there is nothing, and soon he starts walking once more.

****

The far side of the bridge was dark, shaded by great trees, their branches stretching out into the gorge. He wanted to save his torch—he would need it to make his way back to the village, with sundown fast approaching. And so at that moment he nearly turned back.

But his eye was caught by a patch of copper, under a tree along the lower path. On this side of the bridge, the stone walkway immediately ended at overgrown dirt trails, the left meandering uphill, the right downhill. He took the latter, crouched at the base of that tree clinging to its rocky outcropping.

More feathers. And many of them small, soft, white—not good—threatening to blow away in the breeze—in fact several of them moved, floated away into the gorge, as he watched.

Then—a sharp sound behind him—he whirled—saw a large dark shape bounding over a ridge below—leapt to give chase, clambered down the hillside, reached a wide grassy area. The shape (something in its mouth?) pushed through the trees at the far end, whoosh whoosh they snapped back into place behind it, and with a cry he jumped into the clearing, about to throw his spear, when the earth opened up, and he fell...

****

The slope of the main passage had become more dramatic, and here it turns down precipitously. His spear useless, the farmer drops it down the hole, where it bounces off a boar's-tooth formation below to clatter out of sight, beyond the curve of the ceiling. But that means it must level out below. Cool air buffets his face.

He is forced to hold the torch in his teeth, feel with feet lost in shadow to find solid hold, as he lowers himself down with his one good arm. One slip on this wet rock could send him flying; nearly does, once, twice...

He reaches the bottom, grabs the spear once more, surveys the room ahead.

Long and wide, the walls layered with horizontal lines like an old water basin. On the far side, near the tunnel leading away, a large pile of rubble... reaching up and through a new hole in the ceiling, sunlight streaming slanted through, illuminating motes of dust swirling above the rocks.

He rushes forward, ignoring the dried grasses and other fibers beside the rubble in his haste to climb out. He fails to notice one of the shapes move at the bottom of the pile. And as he climbs, it pounces, claws bared, teeth hungry, and his last thoughts are of returning home.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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



Fresh Powder (722 words)

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=2266&title=Fresh+Powder

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 23:55 on Dec 9, 2014

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006
O.G.
774 words

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 02:56 on Dec 11, 2014

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”
My apologies for not being around to hold hands and tell you what time it is like some sort of writing-specific Speaking Clock.

:siren: Submissions Are Closed :siren:

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010


If you must blink, do it now.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

You're going to do the thing that guaranteed I was never allowed to judge again
Disregard judge ordinance because following instructions is too hard?

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

gently caress your flash rule. I tried to use it but I didn't like it, and I roll my own way.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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

docbeard posted:

:siren: Fortunately for you, and this might be a bit of an overreaction, but because of the general state of the forums at the moment, I'm extending the submission deadline until 4 PM CST tomorrow. :siren:

hey jerkface thanks for waiting until four in the morning Eurotime before you gave america an extra day this is a brawl challenge


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Since everybody got an extension

AND YOU

you fucker

I'll take both of you, but not alone.



:siren: CALLING MY TAG PARTNER :siren:

Meeple
Dec 28, 2009

Entenzahn posted:

:siren: CALLING MY TAG PARTNER :siren:

:siren: Disgruntled Euro Time Crew represent! :siren:



Let's wrassle

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014
I still want to brawl someone

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.

Cache Cab posted:

I still want to brawl someone



You're mine, bitch.

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014

Gau posted:

You're mine, bitch.

Who will judge this battle of titans? (and give us a prompt)

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

Bad Seafood posted:

Disregard judge ordinance because following instructions is too hard?
Oh god I'm sorry, did I accidentally post in Lady Willikin's knitting circle by mistake? I thought this was the Thunderdome, where we rocked out and didn't give a gently caress. Stop getting so hung up on the rules, and judge each story on its own merits.

Is that a brawl challenge below? I don't even understand it. It's barely English. I guess I'm in once you tell me what the gently caress you're talking about.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010


If you must blink, do it now.

Gau posted:

You're mine, bitch.

Cache Cab posted:

Who will judge this battle of titans? (and give us a prompt)
:siren: Cash Grab :siren:

Sometimes you lay everything on the line for a good cause only to get burnt. Sometimes taking the high road means getting dragged through the gutters. It's not always easy to do the right thing, and right now I feel like reading something that reflects that.

Cache Cab and Gau, the two of you have seven days and a thousand words to write about someone who wins a moral victory at the expense of a material one. I want stories about someone who does the unambiguously right thing and suffers for it. I want stories about the right thing being the hardest thing, but our heroes do it anyway 'cause that's the stuff they're made of.

Additionally, your stories may not feature any kind of cosmic, karmic, social, or otherwise thematic comeuppance directed towards the forces aligned against your protagonists. Ken Levine lied to you. Sometimes the bad guy wins. Sometimes they get away with everything. This isn't about who wins and who loses, it's about how you play the game. And with a thousand words to play with, you'd better believe I want a complete narrative arc; real characters with meat on their bones. No caricatures. No clown shoes. That goes for the good guys as well as the bad.

Bad Seafood fucked around with this message at 23:30 on Jun 16, 2014

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME





SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Oh god I'm sorry, did I accidentally post in Lady Willikin's knitting circle by mistake? I thought this was the Thunderdome, where we rocked out and didn't give a gently caress. Stop getting so hung up on the rules, and judge each story on its own merits.

Is that a brawl challenge below? I don't even understand it. It's barely English. I guess I'm in once you tell me what the gently caress you're talking about.

grumpy muffin is the best muffin :allears:

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010


If you must blink, do it now.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Oh god I'm sorry, did I accidentally post in Lady Willikin's knitting circle by mistake? I thought this was the Thunderdome, where we rocked out and didn't give a gently caress. Stop getting so hung up on the rules, and judge each story on its own merits.
If you're looking for a good spot to unzip your fly so we can all see what you've got, I recommend a urinal.

If you're looking to actually challenge yourself and improve, welcome to Thunderdome.

Bathroom's just around the corner.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”

Entenzahn posted:

hey jerkface thanks for waiting until four in the morning Eurotime before you gave america an extra day this is a brawl challenge

Psst, whatever jerkface made the forums gently caress up and prompted me toward an unnatural leniency toward those on all continents who might be barred entirely from disgracing themselves by the SA Support Robot (hint, if you were able to post your story, this is not you), I think this disgruntled soul is talking to you!

(But I'll totally brawl you anyway. After judging.)

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

Bad Seafood posted:

If you're looking for a good spot to unzip your fly so we can all see what you've got, I recommend a urinal.

If you're looking to actually challenge yourself and improve, welcome to Thunderdome.

Bathroom's just around the corner.
Oh yeah man, you challenge yourself and improve all the time; it's great how you find a new word for 'melancholy' every single week. I didn't even know that many shades of beige existed. I wish I could write like you, but I don't have enough horse tranquilizers.

See the thing is, you're the only one who ever gets bitchy about this. I swear, it's like the third time Seafood has been up in arms that I didn't FOLLOW THE RULES. gently caress you, buddy. Put up or shut up. And gently caress that other brawl, if you're going to keep hovering around my head like a gnat, you brawl me.

C'mon Seafood, fight me.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME





:catstare:

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS



Who wants to go?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
If he didn't want to get slapped, he should've stopped throwing shade. I swear to god, every single time I inch outside the lines, he's there with a big smug grin on.

Do we seeth quietly in the 'dome, letting our rage build until eventually we stick our cock in an electrical socket and gently caress the whole power grid to sleep? No, we do this out in the open like the tooth-busting, neck-snapping metal gods we are. I got serious beef with Seafood, and this is how I want to settle it. This is the reason we started brawling in the first place.

This starts and ends here: I'll drop the matter forever regardless of how it turns out. But for now I've got me a steely rageboner, a mighty OCK on my lips, and battle in my heart. Come and play, Mister Calamari.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!





WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS



Who wants to go?

Time to put my honor on the line.

Me and you. Mano a mano. No holds barred.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

Broenheim posted:

Time to put my honor on the line.

Me and you. Mano a mano. No holds barred.

Who wants to ref this poo poo?

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010


If you must blink, do it now.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

C'mon Seafood, fight me.
Make my day.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

Who wants to ref this poo poo?

I'll take this. Prompt incoming.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
:siren: INTERPROMPT :siren:


Go out and find a 6-foot black man called Xavier, then have sex with him. Afterwards, write a 100 word story describing the experience that in no way, shape or form refers to

1) Xavier
2) Sex or sexuality
3) the concept of self

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006
Ding ding. It's brawl time. I hereby call this:

:siren: A Song of Natty Ice and Fire :siren:

Bad Seafood. SurreptitiousMuffin. You two are fine, upstanding gentleman of class and sophistication so I'm lobbing you softballs and expecting homeruns. I want some stories about Greek letter fraternity men. More specifically, I want epic tales of frat guys heroically fighting the evil dominions of... whatever...

You can give me all the violence, sex, and moral ambiguity you want but let's get two things straight: 1) the frat guys are the good guys here and 2) I want you to avoid sterotypes as much as possible. I know goons have a tendency to hate this group but you're gonna liken them into heroes of old. If you try and get cute with this prompt you're gonna end up with an ugly side of me.


June 30th at high noon EST.
2000 words.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 01:28 on Jun 17, 2014

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
ahahaha poo poo I just now remembered that one of our regular posters actually is a 6-foot black man called Xavier. That's a total coincidence: I just pulled the name out of my rear end. Still, if you wanna go suck his dick, I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







:siren:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Brawl Judgement:siren:

Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

The Enemy Awaits at Salty Springs!
(592 words)

“You cur! You dare to rustle my cattle?” O’Malley slammed the man against the slatboard wall, splintering several boards. “Tell me where your honorless companions have gone!” okay I am getting a badly-dubbed mouth-movements-not-matching-the-words vibe here, and you've whacked a bunch of detail so ok start even though it's clunky.

The rustler laughed, his face a ruin. “It’s too late, you cannot stop my boss’ destiny. He will own every ranch from el Paso to Salt Lake City within months.”

“Miserable dog!” Fergus O’Malley punched the poacher through the wall, forty feet into the dusty, sunlit yard. He leapt out the hole and stood over the poacher as the dust cleared. good crazy action, you're hitting the prompt well, though weirdly I wanted the physical parameters to be set in the first line rather than the third. Prose is not very elegant, though - 'he leapt' going to 'he stood' is weird and undynamic, and '... as ....' clauses should always be checked to see if they pass the temporal logic test (this one doesn't quite)

Farmhands threw themselves to the ground, pressing their foreheads against it. “Mr. O’Malley!” they cried out together.

O’Malley pressed his heel into the poacher’s throat. “Where?”

“I’ll never tell.”

The huge Irishman knelt, spoke softly in the man’s ear, then pressed two fingers against his neck. The rustler went stiff, blood exploding from his nose and mouth. “Salty Springs! Salty Springs!”

He died shortly thereafter. bad words - make this death mean something (or a meaningful kind of nothing) to our grizzled anime cowboy protag

* * *

O’Malley drew up his horse. Salty Springs was over the rise. He had ridden hard, and his throat felt coated with half the dust from the roads behind. He raised his canteen to drink. A glint from the midday hills had him diving sideways. bad passive words, though i appreciate the energy you're trying to inject His horse screamed, dead before the noise of the shot arrived. this just about hits the badass note it's aiming at, but tying two instant sounds together doesn't really work

He found sanctuary behind a rock. passive A second shot hit by his foot. They knew he was here. But maybe he could fight his way out.

“Ah-ah-ah. Put the piece down, dude.” A man in black had appeared before him, passive a rifle trained on O’Malley. The sniper! O’Malley dropped his revolver. “Get up.”

“Congressman Leibowitz. You are the one who rustled my cattle,” the Irishman stated. bad saidbookism

“Those cows belong to me now, punk. If you’ve got any sense, you’ll belong to me, too. My destiny is greater than any man. I’ll be Governor someday, then President after that.”

Such arrogance! Such audacity! “You are less than a dog, unfit to eat the filth from my chamberpot,” your dialogue is all over the place, and you get leeway from the anime western crossover, but it should still read better than this O’Malley said as he clenched his fists, his arms rippling with thick cords of muscle. also, 'as' clauses and comma splicing: I sympathise as I love them too, but it's a cheap way to make things fast. Write complete sentences.

Leibowitz’s face darkened with rage. “Less than a dog, am I?” He cast aside the rifle and drew a long, serrated knife. “I warn you, I have been taught in the thousand-year tradition of Filipino combat. Walk away and trouble me no further. There is no shame in being outclassed.”

A stony, unyielding glare was O’Malley’s reply. passive

Leibowitz struck, blade flashing. Blood appeared on O’Malley’s chest. passive “You didn’t even try to dodge!”

“I don’t need to. You have already lost.”

“You’re a fool!” Leibowitz lunged, the knife seeking celtic capital C I think u will find heart. The Irishman vanished and the Congressman overbalanced.

“Your thousand-year-old techniques are the swings of an infant compared to the two-thousand-year lineage of Dagda’s Fist!”

O’Malley appeared at arm’s length, surprising the man. viewpoint “Teicníocht! Seacht Réaltaí Bás!” He struck the Congressman, fists moving invisibly, the seventh blow so powerful it blew a hundred-yard cone from the dessicated earth behind Leibowitz. comma splice

“No. This isn’t happening,” Leibowitz sank to his knees, veins bulging on his face. “I have a destiny!”

“Your destiny was set once you rustled those cattle. From that moment, you were already dead.” O’Malley walked away and did not look back. I like the crazy mash-up you're going with, but the prose shows the joins and your dialogue could do a much better job of selling your weird world to us. Plus, Hemingway is not just short sentences: it's saying what you need to then stopping.

* * *

A week later, O’Malley returned home, having driven the cattle alone.

“Fergus! You’re back!” Brianna embraced her brother. “What’s wrong? Those marks…”

In the dust covering his face, two clean tracks marked his solemn cheeks.

“I met a man on the road. He taught me about destiny,” O’Malley said, his eyes watering at the sunset before him. “I taught him about hubris.” and yeah, decent ending. overall, good prompt following, ok story bones (clear motivations, stuff happens), middling to bad execution.

dmboogie posted:


Good/Bad/Ugly Standoff

The Spirit of the Wastes
584 Words


The sun beamed down and the wind blew through Yukiko’s duster as she stared down the heavily-scarred man twenty paces in front of her. “Last chance to back out, kid.” He said, that's not how you punctuate dialogue, duder fingers idly drumming the revolver holstered by his hip.

Yukiko shook her head. “You killed my mentor. bad word choice - doesn't read anime, just reads incongruous, you name her below, why not here? Ain’t just gonna let that stand, Stark.”

Stark curiously looked her in the eyes. “Wasn’t anything personal, kid. Should be gunning after my employers. I’m just the trigger man.”

Yukiko unconsciously clenched her fists as she gave Stark a glare that would have singlehandedly stopped a stampede in its tracks. glares don't have hands also cliche “Doesn’t matter. You didn’t have to take the job, Stark. Don’t tell me that the most famous merc in the Wastes needed the cash.”

Stark shrugged. “True. Wouldn’t have been any worse off without the reward. Mostly, I just wanted to see for myself how good ol’ Kinn really was.” He smiled slightly, his eyes growing distant as he remembered the fight. “She was a tough old bird, I’ll give her that.” The smile faded as quickly as it arrived, and Stark placed one hand on his gun. “Just the way of the Wastes, kid. If you’re weak, you can’t go and complain when someone stronger walks over you. Guess you’ll be finding out soon.”

Yukiko grabbed hold of her own gun. “You’re wrong.” see you've had a lot of words so far and have told us nothing but A KILLED B and B WISHES TO KILL A. Everything else is the clooshiest of clichés. and yes that's the temptation with genre - transcend it. show us why the clichés were clichés in the first place, don't just ape them.

-

The shot went wide, managing to do nothing but scare a nearby cow. show/tell Yukiko swore at the bottle that perched on the fencepost as she loaded another clip into her revolver. revolvers don't have clips, holmes “What am I doing wrong?

“Ain’t thinkin’ right, I bet.” Yukiko turned and found herself looking straight into the wise old eyes of Virginia Kinn. ugh i hate ever flat dreary passive televisionistic word of this dumb sentence It’d been a year since Virginia had caught Yukiko trying to pickpocket her PICK HER POCKET i think is the phrase unless she is a 3rd level thief making her pickpocket check at an adjusted DC of 23 in the streets of the meanest city in all the Wastes. what is it with the wastes in these stories and why doesn't that city have a name huh Upon learning that Yukiko’s parents had been killed years back by outlaws, Virginia decided against throwing her to the sheriff. pov is shproinglin round like crazy here Instead, she had taken the young girl under her wing, putting Yukiko to work on her small ranch.

“What does thinkin’ have to do with anything?” Yukiko asked.

“Listen, hon. People’ve been living in the Wastes for over a century, now. Loving, hating, healing, killing, healing really sticks out as a dumb part of this list free of any gov’ment other than what a particular town feels like settin’ up. That sort of energy sinks into the land, over time. Gives power to those who truly know it. Close your eyes, Yukiko. Let the spirit of the Wastes flow into you.”

Yukiko complied, though she felt slightly foolish. She stood there for more than a minute, mind drawing a complete blank. However, an image gradually formed in her mind. An eagle soared across the endless sandy expanses, passing over the vast, barren canyons and the cities that seemed so small from up above, free from all burdens. A symbol of all the Wastes represented.

Yukiko’s eyes snapped open, and she fired. The bottle shattered into pieces.

-

The clock tower chimed twelve. Both cowboys drew their weapons, but it was Stark’s hand that exploded into a shower of blood. He cried out in pain, dropping his gun and collapsing to his knees. “Gonna kill me, now?” Stark gasped, looking up at Yukiko.

She slowly shook her head. “More than enough to prove you wrong. The Wastes are a harsh place, yeah. But that isn’t all they are. There’s a beauty behind them that you will never understand.” Somewhere up above, she heard an eagle cry. ok there's self-consciously mythologizing genre pastiche and there's gakky burps of barf. In this case you've provided the latter. You're about 50% of the way to a tolerable story, but anchoring it all on a clunky abstraction filtered through sub-star wars trust your feelings luke bibble bobble fatally crippled your otherwise tolerable if slight yarn

Bad Seafood posted:

You don't write a cowboy story and not submit it at high noon exactly.
:colbert:

quote:

Silent Joe (600 words)

That man...he was almost certainly an idiot. Yes. Without question. He was definitely an idiot. Such was the appraisal of the sharp-eyed girl. I'm not sold on your first line, which is a pity because it's a corker of an opening otherwise - dude drinking tea at the showdown is hilarious, but you don't use the opportunity of that stillness to paint a cool physical picture. Plus you emphasise the 'idiot' bit but don't quite pay it off? Almost, but not quite.

The sound of a kettle whistle cut through the silence. The idiot sat cross-legged. He poured himself tea. see a well chosen physical detail here woulc have fitted perfectly.

"Care for a spot? A sip of civilization's good for the soul, you know. Out here, it's easy to forget what it means to be human."

The idiot sat in the middle of the street in dusty hat and poncho. The sharp-eyed girl regarded him with a certain colorlessness. this is technically a strange word choice but actually I know exactly what you mean so np The red sash about her waist danced in the wind. His smile, yes. It was his smile she disliked. The smile of a man without worry or care. The smile of a man untroubled by circumstance.

The smile of a man worth $12,000. The smile of the man whose face adorned the poster in her pocket. Silent Joe.

"My name is Emile. I am here to kill you."

Silent Joe raised the tin cup to his lips. He hesitated, his expression grave, his eyes a natural squint. He returned the kettle to the fire.

“So you don’t want a drink then?”

Emile blinked.

“…Well, okay, maybe just a little.”

“I see, I see.” Silent Joe took a long drink. “Unfortunately, this is the last of it.”

“WHAT. Then why were you offering?”

“Conversation.” His smile returned. “Conversation is good for the soul as well. I am sort of enjoying the chitchat but it feels pretty fillery and is not quite enjoyable enough to warrant the space it takes, when you could have been telling me for e.g. why everyone wants this dude dead I truly believe that. Maybe if you talked about things a bit more you’d feel like killing people a bit less.”

How had such a man lived long enough to acquire such a price on his head in the first place?

“Most people aren’t worth $12,000.”

“Oh? Is that what it is now?” He punctuated his question with a second drink. “Amazing. I could use that kind of money.” good line

Emile snapped her fingers, a spring-loaded sleeve gun pressed into her hand. It was a tiny creation, large enough for a single bullet. She only needed one. She pulled the trigger.

The sound of the gunshot was accompanied by a ricochet. The bullet, too, had been small. So was the tin cup Silent Joe spun with lightning speed. Somewhere off in the distance an eagle fell to Earth. lol in my head it is dmboogie's spirit eagle good shot tea guy

Emile blinked.

“Oof, quite the shot there.” Silent Joe dusted himself off as he rose to his feet. There it was. That smile again. That smile that irritated Emile like no other.

Again the kettle whistled. From her sash, she pulled two matching pairs of silver scissors. She lunged at Silent Joe.

Silent Joe dodged the first swipe and ducked the second. His right leg swept the ground. His foot caught the handle of the kettle and kicked it up into the air. A second kick sent it flying towards Emile. Snip, snip. The scissors danced in her hands. The kettle split in half, full of steam and boiling water. Emile winced. She snapped back her hand, scalded, only to lead into an attack with the other. Snip, snip. The scissor blades opened and closed. Silent Joe countered with the old tin cup. The scissors pierced through the bottom and were stuck. Again he lashed out with his foot. Emile tripped and fell and tumbled to the ground. When she looked up, it was into Silent Joe’s gun. Click, click. That smile again. No bullets. nice action scene, making imaginative and effective (if perhaps over-terse) use of weirdo elements

“You’re lucky I don’t kill amateurs.” He holstered the gun and turned to leave.

“You talk a lot for a guy called Silent Joe,” she called after him.

Silent Joe stood still.

“…That’s what they call me?” haha wut. I actually like this ending but I'm not quite sure why - perhaps because you've made a cool character in silent joe and this is a clever outgrowth of that? Unfortunately I feel like you left a bit of drama on the table by making the motivations (apart from 'want to kill' vs 'don't want to die') so bland.

So, judgment. All of these did a tolerable job of smooshing up the overheated magical melodrama that (in my head) is anime with the grizzled taciturnity of the Western. Dmboogie had mostly competent prose but an achingly ploddy story. Tyshalle had crazy vigour, a solid arc and the most hilariously extreme take on anime, but many terrible words. Seafood had an excellent character and a sub par one, and generally good words. So - Ennio's warming up the harmonica - how do our duellists come out when the cordite smoke clears?

Tyshalle is the Ugly - his anime crazies are messed up but they don't give a gently caress.
Dmboogie is the Bad - though his words were mostly good, his imagination was cramped and his ideas, like his spirit eagle in the next story, could not fly high enough to avoid the ricocheting .22 bullet
BadSeafood is the Good - though his story was annoying thin in places, it crossed the genres with a fine pen mark rather than broad slashing brush strokes, and it made me smile.

:siren:BadSeafood wins.:siren:

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 01:25 on Jun 17, 2014

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

Entenzahn posted:

this is a brawl challenge

Meeple posted:

Let's wrassle

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I guess I'm in once you tell me what the gently caress you're talking about.

docbeard posted:

I'll totally brawl you anyway.

:siren: Docbeard/Muffin vs Entenzahn/Meeple Tag Team Thunderbrawl: Unnatural Disaster :siren:

Each team will write two stories, set in the same universe. These stories will deal with the theme of disaster. One story takes place before the disaster in question; the other story takes place after it. You and your partner can decide amongst yourselves who writes which one.

I'm not imposing any specific rules re: how your stories relate to each other, but they do have to be identifiably related. If I can't figure out how they go together, then you aren't playing as a team.

Finally, every story has to include an unusual mode of transportation.

Due date: In consideration of what I'm asking you to do here, this is a nice long brawl. I'll judge whatever has been submitted by NEXT THURSDAY, 6/26 AT 9:30 PM PACIFIC.

Word count: Each team has 2500 words. Split them up however you see fit. Yes, you do have to share.

God Over Djinn fucked around with this message at 01:35 on Jun 17, 2014

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.
Around the World Brawl: WeLandedOnTheMoon! vs. Broenheim

It's loving cultural sensitivity week for you two. Your stories will be set in a non-Western society where the characters and plot reflect the unique aspects of that culture. I want a story that could not be set or resolved anywhere else in the world. Your story shouldn't be about miscommunication between cultures, cultural stereotypes turning out to be true, or told from a Western perspective. Stories about Japan or any other fictional culture will be disqualified.

Word Limit: 2000. Use them well.
Due Date: Wednesday, 25 June 2014 at 1:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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




SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

:siren: INTERPROMPT :siren:


Go out and find a 6-foot black man called Xavier, then have sex with him. Afterwards, write a 100 word story describing the experience that in no way, shape or form refers to

1) Xavier
2) Sex or sexuality
3) the concept of self

If anyone wants some first hand research, ladies :smug:

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
hey ladies
hey ladies
come check out this Mercedes





(it's a stick shift)

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

hey ladies
hey ladies
come check out this Mercedes





(it's a stick shift)

With synchromesh.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Fear of Memory
100 words

...and
three minutes
afterwards
on sweaty sheets when the
room is empty and
the lamp’s swinging
on account of the
elevated train outside
hurtling
past and the memory returns of a childhood winter's day
walking up the hill
hit by a sudden shower of rain
just out of nowhere
woosh
and shelter is an open garage
and looking through
that garage door at the other side of the street through
a translucent tapestry of rain
and the
thought arriving like a package tossed off
a passing train
and
landing on the ground with a
label saying
you will remember this all of your life...

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 09:54 on Jul 8, 2014

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Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010


If you must blink, do it now.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

:siren: INTERPROMPT :siren:


Go out and find a 6-foot black man called Xavier, then have sex with him. Afterwards, write a 100 word story describing the experience that in no way, shape or form refers to

1) Xavier
2) Sex or sexuality
3) the concept of self
Oh Yes (30 words)

Yes?

...Yesss?

...Oh, oh, yes. Yes.

Yes?

YES!

Yes, yes, yes!

Yesssss!

...Oh?

...Y-yes?

...Yes.

Oh, oh yes, yes.

Oh, OH.

OH YES, YES.

YESSSS.

...

What, that's it?

  • Locked thread