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Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First


Deals on Wheels -1278 Words

Jason woke up at 4:00am and manage to hit the snooze button four times over the next hour. Eventually he dragged his sorry rear end out of bed and put on his Gold Bean uniform. He slid the pin on his name badge through the fabric. It read “Welcome to Golden Bean. My name is Hunter.”

On his first day Bruce, the weird, pompadoured, Head Bean Inspector asked “You the new guy?” and before Jason could respond Bruce had thrown the badge at him like a shuriken and screamed “Whaaachaaa!” like he was in a kung-fu movie.

When you wear a badge nobody bothers to ask your name. He’d been Hunter for five years now and never bothered to correct any work colleagues. It seemed easier that way. At least it made him invisible to the complaints department and management. Jason figured that anytime someone had complained about Hunter, the management would cross reference the name to find that no-one by that name had worked at Voidmart or Golden Bean for years. Jason still clocked in and out with his own punch card so he still got paid. Job security at its finest.

The badge hung awkwardly from his shirt when he put his apron on. Hunter hated it, the gold pinstripes had become a dark, dirty yellow somehow. Even though as lobby attendant he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the coffee machine.

Hunter’s job was to collect empty coffee mugs from the Golden Bean tables, take customer feedback, and occasionally help someone with the bags from their cart out to their car. Sometime’s he’d have to report to security about the odd, sneaky customer trying to abscond with a bearclaw or danish from the cafe without paying. There were a few people he was sure were repeat offenders, but had never been able to catch them in the act.

“Why don’t you have free coffee for patrons? We spend so drat much time and money in this place you think you’d be trying to keep our business by taking care of us!” said some woman berating him. The latest of complaints from a whining idiot. A redheaded child sat in her shopping cart, a clear, slimy, trail of snot was running from his nose to his lip. He licked at it and Hunter felt his stomach turn.

“Well ma’am you’d be happy to know that if you retain your docket it snot -- Uuh -- it’s not unusual to find a voucher for Golden Bean on the back.” Hunter was trying to dissolve the situation. He’d been scalded by Golden Bean’s Ethiopian blend once before when a customer had decided that it was his fault there was a hair in her bagel.

The woman harrumphed at Hunter and pushed the cart towards the the elevators. She must have been heading to the top floor bread and milk. Another valued Voidmart customer, but at least Hunter got out of that one unscalded.

After letting out a sigh, and before he had a chance to think What next? The next butter troll came into sight.

There was no mistaking Big Betty. All the Bean's staff were certain that she’d been stealing pastries but had never been able to catch her. She was wearing a New England Patriots moo-moo as she rolled up to the Golden Bean counter to place her order. Her rascal scooter looked like it was compressing under the weight. It was riding low and the tires looked like they needed more air.

Soon after Betty placed her order Bruce and Lara had started to argue again. Lara was trying to unionize or something. Jason knew didn’t want any part of that. Unionizing meant paperwork which could blow his whole cover identity. He could kiss Hunter goodbye. Lara looked up from her argument with Bruce and made eye contact with Hunter.

He needed an excuse to get away from her for a while. No customers with bags near by, no pissed of looking bagel eaters.

Betty. You fat, beautiful criminal.

She'd placed her handbag on the counter directly over a white chocolate and raspberry muffin that had been labeled as “Golden Beanlicious”. Apparently portmanteaus were not Bruce’s strong point.

When she lifted her bag up, the muffin was gone.

Hunter grabbed his radio of his belt.

“Security this is Hunter, we’ve got a muffin thief at the Golden Bean, I am moving to intercept. Customer is a suspected repeat offender on a red rascal scooter. She is using a false bottomed bag.”

The security cameras spun within their black domes on the ceiling. Four large men came out of side doors around the outside the cafe. Betty saw them and started rolling the rascal towards Hunter and the front door. Security was encroaching on her as they ran serpentine through the rows upon rows of tables and chairs.

Hunter stood at the door ready to block her escape.

Betty saw Hunter and stepped off her scooter. Then, defying all the laws of physics and nutritional science. She started to actually run towards him. The rascal spun off the the side on two wheels and collided with one of Lara’s displays in a burst of flames. Hunter didn’t have time to contemplate the strangeness of a rascal scooter explosion because now Betty was thundering towards him.

Her jowly chins swang from side to side. The impact of each step sent ripples through her entire body. She was moving so drat fast. If she could flap those bingo wings she might just take off.

This must be what it is like to stare down a stampede thought Hunter. He stood fast like a brave idiot. Completely out of character.

The impact was soft, he felt her entirety of her body envelope his. Everything went dark and something smelt sour. I’m going to die in here Hunter thought. Then, as though he were grabbed by a strong tidal force, he was catapulted back into the light of day. Six rows of fluorescent lights pass overhead before he cracked his head on the floor.

When he came to a security guard was kneeling over him

“You alright buddy?” the guard asked.

“Yeah, all good.” answered Hunter, he sat up slowly rubbing his head. He saw two enormous security guards restraining Betty and escorting her into the mysterious back room.

“Thanks for your help on that one Jason, we’ve suspected her for months and have never been able to catch her.” Said the guard.

“Wait you know my name?” asked Jason, not too concussed to realize he might be in trouble.

“We wouldn’t be very good at our jobs if we didn’t, don't worry, your secret is safe with us. But we want something in return. Join Lara’s union and keep an eye on them for us. The fact that you’re operating here under an alias might continue to slip under management's radar if the information is good enough.” said the security guard.

***

Ethiopia - 3 Months Later.

Abdel had worked hard on his coffee bean farm. He knew that if the beans aren’t of the highest quality they take it out of his pay. It had been difficult last season with the rains but this next harvest would be great quality. As the sun set over the farm his wife called him in for dinner. He tipped out the last of the blood and bone fertilizer from the Voidmart branded bag and made his way inside. He doesn’t notice as a filthy scrap of fabric flutters through the field in the wind. It’s emblazoned with the logo of the New England Patriots.

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ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




I'm bowing out. BAN ME

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

JUST POSTING WHILE JERKIN' MY GHERKIN SITTIN' IN A PERKINS!

BEATS SELLING MERKINS.


Fun Shoe

I just wasn't feeling Voidmart this week. I went through a couple of different story ideas and they were either trite or incoherent, and I've been told I should cut down on both.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


The View from the Top
1249 words



“SARAH!” Chase raced around the corner of the checkout counter and slammed his hands down in front of Sarah, disrupting her stack of sketches and causing the numerous residents of the budgie cage to all take flight simultaneously.. “Sarah! Did you hear?”

“What happened?” Sarah said, craning her neck towards the back of the department. “Did Harris let something out? Do you need me to grab a containment kit?”

“No, Harris is fine. As much as he ever is, anyway,” Chase said, a grin on his face. “It’s… Okay, well first, before I forget, we’re out of waxworms, and I need you to order more. Second…” He leaned forward. “There’s a position open in upper management!

“Oh, goddamnit, Chase, not this again.” She gathered up her papers, resettling them out of his reach. “I’m not taking the fall again if you do anything stupid. You remember the e-mail the CEO sent me. Never. Again.”

“No, no, this won't be anything like that. I’m going to be smart about this, I promise.”

Sarah sighed, and bent her head down to the picture she had been drawing before the interruption. “Okay, fine. What do you want me to do?”

“I need a character reference.”

Sarah looked up at him sharply. “You’re applying? You, Mr. Upper Management Brainwashed My Girlfriend, you want to apply for the position?”

“I know what you’re thinking, but…” Chase sighed, and propped his elbows on the counter. “I just want to know if she’s okay, and this is the only way I can think of. I haven’t heard from her at all since that email she sent after she was promoted, have you?”

Sarah shook her head. “No, but…”

“And you KNOW that that email was weird! You know how she felt about smartphones. Why was she suddenly sending poo poo marked ‘Sent from my iPhone’ like somebody’s loving grandma?”

“Chase, I get that you’re concerned, but can we please not go through all of this again?” Sarah said, glancing around to make sure there were no customers close enough to hear him. “I’ve heard your theories already. Is Voidmart squeaky-clean as a corporation? God, no! But I don’t think that there’s some shadow conspiracy going on behind the scenes, unless the government is trying to kill all of our betta fish.”

“Okay, yeah, I get it,” Chase said. “But will you think about the reference thing, at least? It would really mean a lot to me.”

“I don’t know,” Sarah said. “This is kind of bordering on creepy stalker territory, dude.”

“That’s… Fair.” Chase said, staring down at her sketches. “Look, I know that I’ve done some incredibly stupid poo poo while we’ve known each other, way more than my fair share. And you’ve always been there to bail me out before it came back to bite me in the rear end. I know that Ash doesn’t want to see me, and yeah, it hurts a lot, but I get it. I’m honestly just worried about her. But if you think that I shouldn’t do this, then I won’t.”

“I’m sorry, Chase,” she said, looking up at him. “I think you should leave this one alone.”

“Yeah… Yeah, you’re right.”

“I’ll order those waxwoms for you, okay?”

“...Thanks.”

***

Chase’s post-work ritual consisted of three things, always in the same order: feed Zilla, his bearded dragon, and take her out of her cage to ride on his shoulder; feed himself, usually something that could be made in the microwave in under 10 minutes; and log onto the WebOfLies conspiracy forums.

Tonight as he sat down at his computer he stared at the crocheted figures on top of his monitor. A tiny couple sat holding hands and balancing felt laptops on their knees. Ashley had told him that she tried to make the male figure’s laptop with the WebOfLies frontpage on it, and the female’s with Ravelry, but she hadn’t been able to get them quite right.

He picked the dolls up and held them in his hand for a long time before putting them in a drawer that he kept spare cables in.

As soon as he opened his browser, a message from Sarah appeared.

LoveTheLouvre: Okay, I’m worried about Ashley now, too.

Chase frowned and began typing back in the chat window.

ReptoidGodzilla: Why? What happened??

LoveTheLouvre: I was thinking about what you said, about not having heard from Ash since she got promoted, so I tried calling her. She didn’t answer, obviously, but then I decided I’d try to call her mom, since she’s a friend of my mother’s. It turns out that she hasn’t seen Ashley since she got promoted, either!


He felt a clutch in his chest, like pins and needles.

ReptoidGodzilla: That’s weird, but… Maybe she’s been busy?

LoveTheLouvre: Maybe, but she doesn’t call anymore, either. She just sends emails. From her iPhone. Which her mom also thought was weird, by the way.

ReptoidGodzilla: I knew it!!

LoveTheLouvre: I know, I know. Anyway, I know that she might be fine, and just really ridiculously busy, or whatever, but… If you still want me as a reference, I’ll do it.


ReptoidGodzilla: Really?

LoveTheLouvre: Yeah. Just… I want to know she’s alright now, too.

LoveTheLouvre: But be careful, okay? And no crazy stuff.

ReptoidGodzilla: Got it. Thanks, Sarah. This means a lot.


Navigating to WebOfLies, he pulled up the Voidmart thread, clicking on the “New Reply” button.

Inside Man posted:

Well guys, looks like I'm going ahead with my plan after all. See you on the other side.

***

Chase woke abruptly as a bright light shone on his face. He tried to shield his eyes, but he couldn’t move his hands. Panic gripped him as he realized that he was bound to a chair in a dark room with no recollection of how he got there. A spotlight shone on him from some point above and in front of him, but he couldn’t see where. He couldn’t see anything beyond the circle of illumination being cast on him, in fact.

“Hello, Chase,” a voice said from the darkness in front of him. Or maybe voices? The harmonics were strange, like multiple people were speaking at once, but their ranges were so similar they blended together.

Chase squinted, trying to find the speaker. “Hello? Where am I? What is this?”

“You are in the Upper Management office,” the voice said again. “This is your interview, Chase.”

“What? I only submitted my application last night! How did I even get here?”

“This is an interview. We are the ones asking questions, now. Are you prepared, Chase?”

“I don’t understand what’s going on!”

“Are you prepared, Chase?”

“Where's Ashley? I want to see her. Ashley!”

”ARE YOU PREPARED, CHASE?” The words seemed to rattle through him, thrumming through his bones, forcing his jaws to snap shut and his eyes to bore straight ahead. Echoes faded into the darkness.

Finally, he managed to unclench his jaw. Tears formed in his unblinking eyes.

“Yes” he whispered.

***

Sarah had just finished signing the receipt for the waxworm shipment when her phone buzzed.

New Email:
Hey Sarah, it’s Chase. I got the job! Thanks so much for your help. I probably won’t be seeing you around much with my new responsibilities and all, but be sure to say hi to Harris and the gang for me. Also, I ran into Ashley, and she’s doing great! I think we might even get back together! :)

Take care!
Chase

Sent from my iPhone

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


The Black Line
1295 words. Loss Prevention.

I'm shooting poo poo with Parnell the Mall Cop in the back of a warehouse, one of the underground ones, when I catch a flicker of movement in one of the far rows. The warehouse is safe enough at this hour, but I still go into alert mode. It's not a crate-lugger, because those guys wear jumpsuits so bright you need protective sunglasses just to side-eye them and it's not a rat because, well, rats aren't dumb around to stick around this place.

I nudge Parnell with an elbow. "You see that? Someone's creeping about."

He shrugs, adjusts the shotgun hanging off his shoulder. He's not talkative, but that's just ‘cause he's shy about his accent. Parnell is not his real name either, but his real one requires two tongue clicks, three tonal changes and some vigorous jazz hands and who has time for that? He says even his mom calls him 'little rear end in a top hat'. I can empathize.

"I see nothing, Bee."

I crane my neck out staring down the rows of boxes. Yeah, there’s definitely shenanigans over there.

"Well, you're not a finely-tuned, comprehensively trained observation machine like I am."

"Yes. You are hot poo poo store detective."

"Exactly." We stare at each other, then he shrugs again, conceding the point.

"Thought so. Let's investigate."

***

Remember that guy who spent a month living in a mall? Mixed with the crowd during the day, hid during the closing hours, had the store to himself at night? Camera boys back at Loss Prevention HQ (a wallful of CRT monitors, two ratty couches, erotic calendar from 1993 still glued to the back of the door) told me a week ago we might have one of our own. Turns out they're right.

He isn't even hard to find, once we know where to look. We walk over to the end of the row, turn right and there he is, trying to climb into a crate. He looks like Eminem, if Eminem was into heroin as much as he's into multis and dressed like Nirvana’s still together. I nod to Parnell and call out to him:

"Hey you!”

He freezes, with one leg still outside the crate, then falls over like one of them fainting goats. I suppress a snicker. We walk over. He's huddled on the floor, rocking and muttering under breath.

"Okay, you’re gonna have to come-"

He springs at me with a knife in his hand. gently caress. Then Parnell decks him in the shoulder with the butt of the shotgun and he crumples onto the floor. I exhale.

"poo poo. poo poo. Thanks man."

Parnell nods at me and starts cuffing the motherfucker. I pocket the knife. Parnell jerks him upright by his elbow. The rear end in a top hat tries to smile at me, it looks like he’s having a stroke instead.

"Listen. I hosed up, okay? I panicked. I thought you were attacking me. Please let me go, you’ll never see me again, okay?"

"Yeah, sure. I’ll tell the cops we jumped you. Let's go."

Parnell pulls his arm, but he pulls back. He’s desperate now:

"Look, me and cops, we got a bullshit beef right now, yeah? There’s been a misunderstanding and I needed to stay a few days somewhere quiet. Please, you can’t take me to them.” He licks his lips. “Listen. I got money. Right on me, in my back pocket. It’s yours, just let me go, okay?"

I exchange a look with Parnell. He grabs him by the elbows, pulls him up. I give him a pat down. There’s a wallet in the back pocket, a fancy one, filled with cash. There’s a fresh brown stain on it. Misunderstanding my rear end.

“I’m sure the cops will like your explanation just fine. Let’s go, rear end in a top hat.”

He jerks in Parnell’s arms. "gently caress you bitch! I’ll cut your bitch throat!"

Parnell puts him on the ground again and he shuts up.

­­ ***

There's a lot of Voidmart to navigate. Even worse, the construction is still going on. You come back after weekend and half the walls have been moved around, because Upstairs decided to rejigger the Feng Shui again. It’s confusing as gently caress.

So that's what the colored guide lines are for. They're on the floor, sometimes on the wall. The whole Skittles range of colors. Whenever you’re feeling a bit lost you pull out your smartphone and ask the company app what line to follow. It's a hassle, but it works.

We lead Eminem out of the warehouse and check in. App says it’s red to get back to Loss Prevention the short way. We get going. After a few turns Eminem smirks at me.

"I've been wondering what the lines were for. They really hire you so dumb here you need a phone not to get lost?"

rear end in a top hat. "No, I’m just really into apps that tell me poo poo I already know. For ex, I've got one that can tell if you're a junkie dogfucker."

I snap a photo of him, then mime a few button presses.

"poo poo, I'm glad we don’t stock poodles."

He scowls. "gently caress you, bitch."

"Speaking of bitch, here’s one that can tell how your love life will look like in prison."

I snap another photo.

"Woah. Hope you kept up with them rear end kegels."

He spits at me, misses. Parnell shoves him into a wall. Point made, we move on.

But next intersection, we stop dead. From the corridor to our left a black line flows into our guiding rainbow river.

Now here's the thing.

There’s a few things they don’t tell you in the employee brochure, but we all figure out fast. You don't go into the toy department after dark. Everyone in HR is a little... off, like ‘human’ is something that doesn’t quite apply to them, but don’t tell them that. And, most important - if you see a black line… Never. Ever. Follow it.

I check the app. Follow red. Red’s right next to black. I check again. Red. Parnell is sweating. I don’t feel too hot either. We don’t have a choice, though. We start walking again. I keep my eyes on red the entire time. Red. Red. That’s the one we’re following. Not black.

Next intersection, mauve and orange flee right. I wish I could follow. Next after, blue, yellow, lime, pearl and green make their escape. It’s just red and black now. The app grants no reprieve. We keep going. Even Eminem is nervous now, our mood contagious.

We turn the corner. It’s just a corridor like any other. The lights spaced out just right to keep it nice and bright. Motivation posters. Muffled eighties music coming from the salesroom above us. And the red line just stops about halfway through, the black running past it, the sole survivor.

gently caress. Parnell’s eyes are bulging with fear. We exchange a look. He croaks:

“Go back?”

My gut tells me we turn around and in a couple of turns, we’ll standing right on this spot again. And maybe it won’t be lit as good, either. No. A wave of resignation fills me. I look at Eminem.

“Alright. Uncuff him. Guess what, rear end in a top hat, we’re taking you up on your offer. You bribed us, good for you.” I nod at the far end of the corridor. “Exit’s that way.”

He stares at me, rubbing his wrists, then takes off. We watch him disappear around the corner. There’s no gust of cold wind, no flickering lights. No scream interrupted by a thud. He’s just gone.

Our smartphones beep. Follow red upstream until you hit lime. We turn around and racewalk back. On a sudden impulse, I check my photos. Eminem’s not on any. Weird. I pat my pockets. His poo poo is gone, too. Must have picked my pocket on his way out.

Yeah. Definitely.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




*

ravenkult fucked around with this message at 19:25 on Oct 22, 2015

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


Arthur
1182 words
note: this story takes place after "The View from the Top"
“Mister,” the girl said to him shyly, “what’s the name of the turtle over there?”

“Arthur,” Harris said. “It’s a prism turtle, very rare. Testudines Prisma, to use the scientific name. Its genetics code its shell plates to refract light in totally random patterns.” Disrupting, he thought, the security cameras, so that the turtle was the only pet in the store that lay unprotected by the monitors. Frustrating, but of course by the time anyone saw anything in that area it would be too late.

“I wish I could touch it,” the girl said.

“You noticed the signs?” Harris asked. Kids today, smarter than their parents. “Yeah, it’s against the rules to touch any of the animals, but for Arthur it’s extra important. He’s lived hundreds of years in total monotony. Anyone touching him would shock him so badly it would die on the spot.”

“Gosh,” the girl said. “How do you move it around?”

“It’s a secret,” Harris said, and the girl giggled. The truth was that when Arthur outlived his owner, Voidmart used its special warp technology to teleport him back into the store. As the rare pet specialist, Harris was one of the few who knew that Voidmart had access to all sorts of crazy technology. He couldn’t talk about it because of the special serum that they had injected him with. This serum had coated his brain cells and would fry him should he breach his contract for any reason, including talking about what he knew.

Conversations with Chase (before he was promoted) had become journeys into the paranoiac realm. Chase would go on and on about the invisible shadow masters that controlled Voidmart, while Harris would feel himself losing it. Were they from the future? From another planet? From another dimension? More than once he had broken down and told Chase to shut up, please shut up. He didn’t want to know more.

And now, Harris thought, Chase is on the inside. The conspiracy freak is probably the one pulling my strings now. He probably has his finger on the button. Did I ever do anything to piss him off, he wondered. And now it’s just me and Sarah. As if this job wasn’t hard enough.

“Tell you what,” Harris said conspiratorially. “Why don’t you play with the Waschunde? The guardian dogs. They may look dark and scary, but they’re very friendly. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a crunchy treat. Taking it from him, the girl skipped off in the direction of the kennels.

“Intruder alert!” squawked Tiberius loudly. The amazon parrot, Harris saw as he looked up, was waving his wings back and forth wildly, jumping up and down on top of his perch.

“Thanks, Tiberius,” Harris said, as he saw what had triggered the bird’s reaction.

A group of women, middle-aged with cropped hair and self-satisfied expressions, had entered the pet section. They were talking now, loudly, and gesturing at the cute animals kept at the entrance. The gerbils and hamsters, upset by the commotion, were all scurrying into their little houses, the ones Sarah had hand-carved for them after being told there was no more money left in the budget. As they passed by, she glanced at them disapprovingly.

Now they were walking towards him, a movement led by one of them who seemed to be wearing more make-up than the rest.

“Looks like our stealth attack didn’t work,” she said. “It doesn’t matter. We have numbers on our side. And I can tell that they don’t pay you enough.”

“You’ll touch these animals,” Harris said, “over my cold dead body.” Literally. At times like these he could actually feel the serum glued to his neurons. One fuckup and it was all over. They did not, he thought, have to do that to ensure his obedience. After seeing Arthur he would have sworn his life to the turtle anyway. Now he felt pressure from both sides. His destiny was intertwined so closely with Arthur’s that they were practically the same destiny, the same life. And when that life was over, he would meet God, or maybe it would be the Voidmart CEO up there, and he could say that he had protected everything that was entrusted to him.

“Spread out,” the leader said, and they did so, each moving into a different aisle. The sound of their hysterical laughter filled the store.

“All hands report to battle stations!” yelled Tiberius.

Stay by Arthur, he thought. The leader hadn’t moved; her eyes were darting around him. She’s trying for Arthur, he thought. She covets it, like a goblin would covet a shiny coin. The desire was about at that depth. Have you no shame, he wanted to ask her. No conscience? Instead, he blew his whistle.

Nothing happened, seemingly. But the leader’s mocking smile died on her face as the barking began. The whistle’s subsonic frequency had activated the Waschunde. The barking echoed off the aisle shelves. The laughter was gone. Then the screaming began.

Harris sighed. He had, against instructions from his superiors, trained the Waschunde to be non-lethal. Voidmart, he knew, had its tendrils so deep into the government that it was legal for them to kill people in-store. He had trained the dogs to go for rolls of fat and other non-vital areas instead. Now, he was almost regretting it.

Pet food and toys exploded in kibble and fluff bursts as the dogs tackled the women through the aisles. The leader looked up at Harris in fear, and then a blur of fur and teeth, and she was gone.

As quickly as it began, the fight was over.

The place was a wreck. She was right, Harris said to himself. They don’t pay me enough for this. He heard low groans of pain mixed with whines from the more vocal animals. And there was something else.

Crying. The kid, he thought. He found her shaking by the kennels, Sarah trying to comfort her. “Those dogs are monsters,” Sarah said as he walked up, glaring at him.

“A necessary evil,” he said.

The kid was trembling. He clasped her hand, pulling her gently along with him as he headed for Arthur’s exhibit.

Arthur was basking in the water. The outer parts of his shell were submerged, refracting light even more brilliantly. The light was dancing, waves of supernova red and glacier blue, and, he thought, deep forest green.

“Wow,” the girl said.

A moan made them both turn around. The leader woman was pulling herself along the ground with one hand. With the other she was reaching, desperately forward, the arm pointed straight at the contented turtle.

For a moment, Harris and the girl stood frozen.

Then the girl was moving. With a sudden fury, she stamped down on the outstretched hand, as hard as she could. A fresh shriek of pain escaped the leader’s lips. She rolled over, clutching at her hand.

Harris looked back at Arthur. Have you, he asked silently, ever seen anything like this before? But all the turtle did was stare at him, blinking slowly.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Human Resources
1,257 words.


(In the archive)

docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:33 on Dec 28, 2015

unburied
Jun 8, 2015


Caroline
1,292 Words (



Donald began his evening shift in the usual way. He stood in the center of an aisle and stared into the distance. He took this time to make a new estimate of how far the other end of the Voidmart was from Baby Supplies. Today’s calculation came to three thousand fifty-two feet. He knew he could find the exact number by checking the building plans at city hall, but knowing might ease his punishment.

“Excuse me!” An obese woman pushed past with three children in tow and, Donald guessed, another on the way. Awoken from his trance and in pain, he steadied himself against a nearby box; his arthritic knees were not prepared for the jolt.

After regaining his composure, he gently walked to the end of the aisle and nearly collided with a young woman coming around the corner with a shopping cart. A one-year-old child sat in the cart containing a few foodstuffs and two forty-eight packs of Budweiser, one of which was open and short a can. “I’m sorry. My fault,” Donald said.

“It’s okay,” she replied, pushing stray, obviously dyed, blonde hair behind her ear. She saw his vest. “Which aisle has disposable diapers?”

Donald started to answer, but became distracted when he found the missing beer. The blonde woman’s husband turned the corner with Bud-in-hand, and clearly not his first of the day.

“Excuse me, sir. You cannot drink that in here.” Donald masked his disgust with propriety.

“Come on,” the husband said, “I’m gonna pay for it and it’s not hurting anyone.”

Donald intimately knew the harm alcohol could do. “I will call security if I have to.”

“Fine, you win old man.” He chugged the rest of the beer and tossed the empty can on the tile floor. “Happy?”

Donald, anything but happy, redirected his attention to the blonde woman. “The disposable diapers are two aisles over.”

“Let’s go,” the husband said, rushing ahead.

The blond woman started to leave, but Donald felt compelled. He needed to say something, but not for her sake, her husband’s, or even her one-year-old son’s. He did not do it for reasons of self-satisfaction or altruism, but because his penance required it. “You should leave him,” he said quietly.

“What?”

“It would be better for everyone involved if you left now,” he continued quietly.

Her voice grew louder. “What the gently caress do you know?”

“I’ve lived it. I know a lot.”

“Not when to mind your own business.” She turned her cart and attempted to storm off, but he held his hand up to halt her.

“At least… don’t let him drive,” Donald said.

“gently caress off.”

******

Mike arrived thirty minutes later. “Again Don?”

Donald shrugged at the Department Manager.

Mike smiled. “Did you really tell this one to leave her husband?”

“I suppose I did.”

Mike stifled a laugh before his voice took a more sober tone. “I did what I could, but she made quite the scene, Don. I had to let her make a formal complaint to management.”

“Second time?”

“Third time. It has been a while though, and they make lots of allowances for senior employees. I’ll put in a word.”

“Thanks Mike.” Donald was relieved. He needed the job, not only for the money, but because he deserved it.

******

Hours passed as Donald organized, restocked, price-checked, and located products for the customers. He was absent-mindedly rearranging jars of mashed peas when he noticed a girl looking intently at formula. She was thin and no older than eighteen, but even at a distance her exhausted expression exposed her as a new mother. As he approached, Donald noticed she even resembled his own daughter. It pained him when he saw the girl wore more than worry and sleepless nights on her face. She looked defeated.

“Is something wrong?” Donald asked, as he put a hand on her shoulder. The girl turned to see the kindly looking old man beside her and, crying, hugged him. He stood with his arms awkwardly raised at his sides as his heart broke for the girl sobbing into his chest. He would have let the moment last forever, but he was not worthy.

“I’m sorry,” she said, releasing him and wiping away tears.

“Donald,” he said, gesturing to his nametag while holding out his hand.

“Samantha—Sam.” She shook his hand.

“Mind telling me what is wrong, Sam?”

“Oh, everything,” she said.

Sam told him about the newborn daughter, the problems finding a job, the boyfriend that left, and the strained relationship with her mother. Her story took ten minutes, but Baby Supplies on a late Sunday evening protected them from interruption. The story did not matter to Donald. He resolved to help her as soon as he saw the way she looked.

“Could you do me a favor by coming to the store before it opens tomorrow morning?”

“Why?”

“I still have things from when my daughter was a baby,” he lied, “you can have them.”

“Are you sure?”

“Meet me in the parking lot before my morning shift. I have the maroon Camry.”

“Thank you. You are very kind,” she said, reaching out to shake his hand.

He shook her hand. “Tomorrow morning. Just before eight.”

“I’ll be there,” she said before leaving.

Donald did not have things from his daughter’s infancy. He threw most of them away half a century ago and the divorce took care of the rest.

With Voidmart closing in thirty minutes, he was left with little time to prepare. After a stroll over to Sporting Goods, he returned to Baby Supplies having surreptitiously acquired a black ski mask. He looked up and studied the domed ceiling of the Voidmart for the rest of his shift. He was ready.

******

Donald had discovered several blind spots among the security cameras, but only one where Voidmart security personnel were unlikely to sweep before leaving. There he waited until midnight. When his nerves finally settled, he removed his Voidmart vest, donned the ski mask, and began a shopping spree. Two shopping carts brimmed with baby supplies from diapers and formula to a lightweight crib. He wanted to take more, but he could barely manage to push the two carts as they were. Fortunately, an emergency exit in Baby Supplies provided a swift escape to his Camry. He pushed open the doors, knowing they would activate an alarm, but he was gone before the police arrived.

******

The next morning, Sam arrived in the Voidmart parking lot as agreed and Donald gave her all the supplies he had stolen the night before. It was his greatest act yet, but it was not enough. He demanded much more of himself. When she asked why there were so many new items, he claimed he had bought a lot of them. Being an old man, he had more income than he needed so he did something good with it. She believed it.

The morning shift proved difficult for Donald. Moonlighting as a thief afforded him little sleep and his whole body ached. There were opportunities to make amends, but he was too tired to seize them. It surprised him when Mike approached without a hint of his usual jovial nature.

“Don, security asked me to get you,” Mike said.

Donald worried his penance was over as Mike led him to the security office. As they passed a sign that read ALL SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED, he felt as though he might vomit.

“Apparently a bunch of merchandise was stolen. The guy wore a mask and they wanted to know if you saw anything during your shift last night.”

A wave of relief washed over Donald. His punishment might continue and he could someday redeem himself for what happened to Caroline.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Projections
1120 words

Our eyes met. He gave a slight lift of the head, a twitch in my direction. My reaction was swift, practiced, and decisive. I crossed the intervening distance and--

"Welcome to Voidmart, how may I help you?" I asked.

"Uh, yeah, where's the pharmacy?"

We were one aisle away from the pharmacy, and in fact if he'd looked just to the left of my head he would have seen the massive "PHARMACY" sign on the wall. But people get confused in big stores, and this particular store doesn't help. A massive dome really does stand out, sure, but it plays hell on the floor layout and makes it surprisingly hard to get your bearings.

I deployed my professional direction-indicating gesture, opening my hand and holding it so the fingers were aimed at the PHARMACY sign without actually pointing. Corporate policy recommends we refrain from pointing.

"You'll find it just over there, sir. Have a Voidtastic day!"

I turned to the shelves beside me for a quick neatness check. Everything looked good, except one row of canned beans. I stepped closer. Each can had a pile of beans sitting on top of it, cascading over the sides onto the shelf and floor. I picked up one can, knocking off the beans. The can was empty, but still completely sealed shut. All the rest were the same way.

I dropped the empty can with one of those touched-something-creepy full-body shudders. Weird poo poo had been happening for a few weeks now; at first, when it was just simple stuff, I assumed the stockboys had been loving around--shuffling DVDs on the racks, flipping every other greeting card backwards. However, corporate policy dictates that employees follow the laws of physics, and I couldn't see how a stoned stockboy could get the beans out of a can without opening it.

The nearest phone was in Jewelry. I called for a cleanup, then leaned on the counter to talk to Rosa.

"This is getting too weird. I've seen a dozen hosed-up shelves since Monday. Maybe it's a poltergeist," I said as she straightened the earring display.

"Bullshit!" she snorted. "What kind of ghost would mess around with beans? There's no such thing as ghosts. A person is doing this; you think maybe Management is running some sort of weird test? Remember when they dimmed the lights just a little every day?"

"Yeah, and the only guy with the guts to mention it gets promoted to shift supervisor for 'taking initiative'. Ok, I'll start keeping track--maybe there's a pattern to figure out."

So I made a drawing of the store. I marked where the beans escaped the cans, and where the teddy bears fused together, and where all the DVDs spontaneously shattered. I mapped out where the underwear unstitched, and after some consideration I marked the spot where all the goldfish suddenly disappeared.

And what do you know, I figured out a pattern.

The weirdest stuff all seemed to center around... well, the center. Of the store. In the exact middle of Voidmart's dome-shaped building is another little dome. Corporate policy states that employees are not to interact with the dome, which the employee manual calls the "projection unit", so we put some shelves in a circle around it and left it alone.

I went to the projection unit for a look. I couldn't see any doors through which Voidmart morlocks could emerge to mess with my shelves--just the same smooth white surface as always, with a gentle humming noise like an air conditioner.

Then the gentle humming became a lot less gentle. As it pitched up to a sharp whine, I saw a rack of ties twenty feet away suddenly twist into knots. Ten feet away, a dozen umbrellas popped open and flew away. Immediately to my left, bottles of aftershave disappeared one after another in a slight blue glow.

If this was some sort of test to find the next supervisor, I was happy to stay a lowly part-timer. I spun on my heel and tore rear end for anywhere else, but I didn't get more than a few steps before it caught me.

I was stuck, couldn't move--believe me, I tried! I thought of the way the beans had been pulled out of the cans and hoped the same thing didn't happen to my guts.

It felt like the building around me "snapped", then I was surrounded by a different arrangement of shelves filled with merchandise I didn't recognize. Another snap, and I was still in the Voidmart dome but the lighting was a dim red and the customers I saw did NOT have the right number of legs. Snap, and it was pitch black except for some gently gliding lights accompanied by a disgusting croaking noise. Snap, and the building was empty except for big squishy jellyfish-looking things floating up near the dome roof, squawking and stroking each other with their tentacles. I closed my eyes at this point; corporate policy recommends against viewing distressing images, as our healthcare does not cover psychiatric care.

I didn't faint, I lost consciousness, ok? Anyway, I woke up back on the normal tile floor of my normal Voidmart. I wanted to go straight home with only a short stop at the liquor department, but before I could get myself moving, Security showed up and hustled me to the management suite.

Now, it's not that I'm afraid of management, I'd just prefer they didn't know I exist. They look weird and they talk weird, and actually that makes a little more sense now after where I've been. They tried to explain what happened; they used phrases like "entanglement problems with the Nega-marts" and "entropic abnormalities". The gist was that there's really only one Voidmart building, but it gets 'projected' into different locations in the universe--and in other universes. They seemed really insistent that I keep this under my hat, probably for tax reasons.

I told them a pay raise and a new position at the tire center (farthest point from the projection unit) would help me forget any OSHA violations inherent in accidentally zapping an employee through a dozen different dimensions and back.

So yeah, maybe the bosses aren't really human but who is? Metaphorically, anyway. I just stick to my lift in the shop, changing tires and installing batteries and staying as far away from the projection unit as I can. Besides, by projecting the same building throughout the multiverse, Voidmart saves big on construction, and they pass the savings on to YOU, the valued customer!* Have a Voidtastic Day!

*this statement is not intended to imply that customers have any monetary value. Voidmart is not responsible for any damages or injuries arising from Sudden Dimensional Existence Failure.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=3754&title=In+Repose

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 19:26 on Dec 30, 2015

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


The THWUMP
1298 words

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=3755&title=The+%3Ci%3ETHWUMP%3C%2Fi%3E

crabrock fucked around with this message at 05:54 on Jan 1, 2016

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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



epitaph

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=3756&title=epitaph

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 02:05 on Jul 13, 2015

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Shifters
1295 words

I’ve only been working at VoidMart a few months, so Patrick spots him before I do—but as soon as I see him, I recognize him. Not by his face, but by the way he tries not to look in our direction.

We call them Shifters: they wait for a shift change after the person on the last shift gets tired of coming up with different answers to the same inane questions. He’s shifting from side to side in his jeans and boots, and I can see through the thin coconut-hull hair on top of his head. We’re the only two people back in this part of the store tonight, and I’m grateful for Patrick’s seniority.

But then his phone buzzes from his pocket. Patrick fishes it out, clicks it on, and I see his entire face change. He lets the phone fall to the floor a second before he aims his plummeting head towards the lip of a plastic wastebasket. I cringe as he pukes, shivering after each retch. When he’s done, he picks up the half-full wastebasket and cradles it to his chest like a teddy bear as he makes his way through the dress racks, towards the front end of the store.

“What in the hell—“ I say to myself as I pick up his forgotten phone. I see a text from an unknown number: Hiya Pat: I need to see you in my office for a sec. –CEO

That explains the look on his face like he’d gotten pieces of his family in the mail, I guess. Doesn’t take a long workday around here to figure some things out—

“Excuse me? Miss?”

Coconut Cowboy is standing next to me now, about to tap me on the shoulder. I turn to face him. “How may I help you?”

He squints his dark brown eyes at my chest. “Uh—Germaine? S’at it?”

“Yeah,” I say. “What do you need?”

Cowboy whistles. “That’s an ol-lady name, for sure,” he says, rolling the words old and lady together like two pieces of chewed bubblegum. “Why your parents name you after an ol-lady?”

I step back, send a tight puff of hot air out my nose, plaster a company-sanctioned smile between my ears. The VoidMart policy is kindness and respect, I remember. Never let anything that a customer says end a conversation. Even if you need to close a door, keep a window open.

“Do you need anything?” I say.

“Yeah, there’s something I need to find,” he says. “I was wondering if y’all have it in the back—“

I hear the word back and my eyes light up. “Sure, give me a sec,” I say as I swivel around towards the swinging double doors that connect VoidMart to The Back. I shove them open, then I turn back around, sheepish: “Uh, sorry, what is it you need?”

“A cowboy hat,” he said. “With a white feather in the band.”

“Right,” I say as I rush through the doors, straight into my comfort zone.



The Back is a giant hemispheric ten-story warehouse that engulfs one side of Void-Mart’s glass dome, like a cement contact lens sliding to the side of a cloudy glass eye. I’ve spent just enough time in it to not get halfway lost.

I walk up the metal stairs along the side of Section 16C, thinking about The Back as if it’s an extension of my brain: I mostly know where everything is, but there are still things about it that can surprise me, that can surface out of nowhere. After you move from a flat flyover state with town names more interesting than the actual towns, you need things to get lost in. Items. Stuff.

Like the black cowboy hat to my right, resting on a pallet of VoidBrand toilet paper.

Caps and Chapeaus are ten minutes further along the catwalk, in section 9F, but this one has a white feather poking out over the top, just like the man said, the root of the feather tucked inside a red satin band.

He smiles at me as I push open the double doors, hat in hand. I hand it over to him, say “Glad I could help,” and move to walk away.

“Wait,” the man says. “There’s something else.”

I look at him, and he grins. His teeth are charred ivory, jagged and cracked.

“Just a moment, sir,” I say.

“I don’t have a moment.”

I plaster the company smile on again, and it slips to one side as I back towards the double doors. Patrick is up near the front, and there’s no one else in The Back for an hour, but Coconut doesn’t need to know that. “Let me get someone else—“

“There is no-one else,” the man says, stepping forward and grabbing my wrist. Before I can dig my fingernails into something soft on his body, he reaches into his jacket pocket and half-pulls something out, something hard and metal with a barrel and a trigger.

He points it at my chest, ushers me through the swinging doors at my back. “You’ll find it,” he says.



It takes us about half-an-hour, him escorting me up stairways and around corners and across long metal walkways, but eventually I find what he’s looking for.

The fingers are curled in towards the palm slightly. I can see the plum fingernail polish on the thumb, standing out against the pure whiteness of the skin.

I stare at it as it rests on a box with the Ferrero-Rocher logo on it, the tendons and strips of flesh staining the cardboard and draping over themselves in the empty space where the elbow is supposed to attach to a body.

“Figures,” the man says. “She always did like those things. Made her feel rich.”

He inches towards me, tossing the gun from his left hand to his right. I back away, further and further until I feel the cold steel catwalk railing dig into my spine. His face is right in front of me and I can’t look away before I recognize him for real.

“You been gettin’ real good at findin’ things,” he says, spitting out a blood-flecked tooth. A thin stream of blood drips from underneath his cowboy hat, trickles past his forehead and down to the corner of his mouth where he licks at it with a pale tongue. “You couldn’t find me before, not even when I was right in front of you. Made it real easy for you to find me. Called for help’n’everything.”

“I—I had priors—“ My hands grip the rail, dig into the caked-on rust. “I was smashed out of my mind—

“How sad,” he says. “What a cryin’ shame.”

“I wasn’t supposed to find you.” I choke out. “No one was supposed to find you.”

“Now,” says the man, cocking back the hammer, “I’ve found you. There’re a lot of places to hide in this here world you’ve made, and I know every—“

He pounds the barrel of the gun against his palm.

“—single—“

He cocks the hammer.

“—one—“

He lunges.

I shut my eyes as the shot rings out.



The noise of the gunshot rumbles up to the roof of the warehouse like a dark and muffling tide, and then it hits the roof and echoes, scatters, rains sound over me like cold water that stains my clothes and soaks into my skin.

The man has disappeared.

I crouch low, the gun dangling from my hand like a broken bone.

There are shouts, voices from the floor below, some that I recognize. I don’t know where I can go anymore, so I just curl up, make myself smaller in the vastness of the towering shelves of the warehouse, where everything is where it’s supposed to be.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


New Year, new thread!

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at 17:51 on Jan 4, 2016

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



Discontinued Voidmart Training Document #037, Revision 656, Declassified
1174 words, Produce

Salutations, and the future

Welcome, Voidling!

We at Voidmart are very happy that you have chosen to serve us, Voidling! You’re a part of our family now, and if you approach your new job with a healthy attitude of positivity and extreme determination, Voidmart will serve you! Why, in time, you may even grow to become an honorable VOIDLORD!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. We’ll level with you, Voidling. Recently, the produce section has been under both metaphorical and literal attack by a plague of slacking employees. Due to the very high turnover rate, we can no longer afford to waste valuable Voidlabor in order to train new employees.

Worry not! This helpful, comprehensive guide will be more than enough to prepare you for what we hope will be a long, successful, productive career in our store!

Freshness, and dealing with the rotten

Joyous consumers around the world know that a Voidmart produce section is a fresh produce section. As such, your very first task when you clock in to your shift is to gauge the freshness of our products. This is easy, thanks to the efforts of our elite team of Voidscholars!

Born of science, fresh (ha ha ha) from the labs, the Helpful Scanner What Lets You Know What’s Fresh (the HSWLYKWF for short, usage of this acronym is mandatory and correct pronunciation rewarded by immediate promotion to VOIDLORD) will ensure that no rotten apples spoil the bunch! Simply wave the HSWLYKWF over the food, and it will do the rest!

If the HSWLKYWF does not react in any way, then the product is fresh and ready for consumption! However, if even a trace of rottenness is detected, the HSWLYKWF will dutifully let you know with flashing lights, an air-raid klaxon, and the immediate disintegration of the offending filth. Isn’t science incredible?

Note: Do not under any circumstances use the HSWLKYWF on living creatures. Our Voidscholars have not yet determined what criteria, if any, the device uses to judge freshness in anything except produce. For safety’s sake, ensure you are as fresh as possible at all times during your shift. Complimentary Voidmints will be provided. Violations of HSWLKYWF safety protocol will result in the indefinite extension of your shift as Voidmart determines how best to discipline your ashes.

Pests, and extermination thereof

Despite Voidmart’s extensive security systems, there are still some forces beyond even our ken that seek to do harm to our store. The produce section in particular seems to draw the most attention, most likely due to its extreme, mouth-watering freshness. As such, you will be provided with both a security radio and a self-defense Voidmart-brand poking stick.

Note: Abuse of the poking stick will lead to its immediate confiscation, along with revoking your right to defend yourself, period. It was not designed for faux swordfights, children.

The most common enemy you will encounter will be the aforementioned slacking ‘employee’. These parasites were originally able to infiltrate our ranks, posing as innocuous and productive Voidlings. It was soon discovered that their mere presence causes nearby produce to rot at an alarming speed, and they were immediately ousted from the store. However, slackers will still show their shameful faces on occasion.

At first glance, they will appear indistinguishable from ordinary employees. A closer look will quickly reveal the holes in their disguise. Keep a keen eye out for discrepancies in their uniform, such as a mirrored logo or gaudy coloring; and flaws in their face, such as a surplus or lack of basic human features like eyes, or noses.

Slackers are fairly simple to deal with, even for an inexperienced Voidling such as yourself. For the most part, they will aimlessly mill about the produce section, sometimes swaying to music playing from earbuds that are not connected to any media device. Liberal application of the poking stick will eventually irritate the slacker enough for it to leave the store on its own.

Do not use the HSWLKYWF on or around slackers. This will cause them to enter an enraged state, at which point the only solution will be overwhelming application of force. The last time a careless Voidling enraged a slacker, we lost an entire platoon of Voidtroopers, and many valued customers were injured in the crossfire.

Our Voidscholars’ synergetic brainwaves have only produced a reliable action plan for dealing with slackers. If you encounter creatures from known mythologies, creatures from unknown mythologies, gibbering horrors, or anything that is not deterred by your poking stick, sound the “Everything is completely fine, customers, we just need you to step outside for a little while” alarm and use your radio to call in the heavy Voidtroopers. In the event of an attack, there is a secret trapdoor to an employee panic room hidden by the “ground meat” section.

Miscellaneous notes, and a lack of understanding

Does the dome signify an auditorium, or an arena? Few could claim that they haven’t been a gladiator, at some point in their life. The void watches the bloodsport from up high, and we are left to guess at its intentions.

Is the Golden Bean located at the entrance of the store, or is the store located inside the Golden Bean? All doors lead to Voidmart. You can buy all doors at Voidmart, for a very reasonable fee.

When Voidmart comes to town, your town becomes Voidmart. The storefronts from your childhood shudder as they are shuttered, cobwebs sprawling in the ultimate declaration of loss.

Promotions, and upward momentum

The walls have been papered over with Voidmart propaganda, and I am no longer able to tell where the door used to be. It’s been locked for months, regardless. The managers wanted to ‘commend me for my exemplary service’, but when I finally completed the hour-long ascent to their office, I blacked out the moment my hand touched the doorknob. I woke up in here, with a post-it note attached between my eyes, requesting a “friendly and digestible how-to walkthrough!”.

There’s a speaker, somewhere in the walls, playing Voidmart’s official inspirational speech radio station. “Ascend, Voidling, ascend! Reach for higher than the heavens! Stretch that arm!”

I’ve written 656 guides for the bastards, and they’re still not satisfied. Every time I submit a new paper, a single emoji flashes across my screen until I recite the Voidmart anthem of quality. From what I can tell, this is management’s way of giving critique. Hell if I know what, exactly, a winking skeleton wearing a tie-dye t-shirt is supposed to signify.

Don’t work for Voidmart, Voidling.

Closing, and a farewell

We at Voidmart hope that this guide has been sufficiently educational, Voidling. We are looking forward to a long, productive future with you!

Sleep tight. Voidmart will still be here, with your dreams in stock.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


Cracked (983 words)

Time to clock off. All she had to do was get into the break room before anybody -

"Hey! You!"

Tina turned towards the speaker and smiled widely, fighting the urge to glance at her watch again. An ordinary woman's polite service-smile would've faltered at the storm clouds surrounding this customer's face, but Tina was no ordinary woman, and she was absolutely determined to get that Employee of the Month bonus.

VoidMart Employee Handbook: Dealing with Customers. 1. Take the initiative. She stepped forward, self-consciously adjusting herself to appear poised, relaxed. "Hello! What can I help you with today?"

With most customers, even irritated ones, a friendly smile and an air of competence soothed and relaxed them. This customer was not relaxed, and actually couldn't even be said to be within the realm of irritated.

He looked like he was one straw away from going absolutely postal.

He brandished a cellphone at her, gripped in a fleshy palm. "What the gently caress is wrong with you guys," He roared, spittle flying from his mouth.

As he went on to elaborate his various legal threats, Tina resisted the urge to wipe off a particularly large blob of saliva, and kept on smiling. When he paused to take a breath, she asked, "I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you're upset about."

Furious beady eyes focused on her. "What I'm upset about, is this pathetic attempt to SPY on me! I have rights!"

Unsurprisingly, there was nobody else in the aisles around her to help, even though Tim was supposed to be in charge of the cell phone racks. Coward.

Tina kept smiling. "I assure you, none of the phones that we sell in Voidmart are spying on you." She mentally twisted two fingers behind her back.

"Then why can I never turn off its GPS?"

If it wasn't for that fact he was yelling at her, Tina would be quite impressed with how exactly he had managed to make a buzzcut look like an utter disaster. She opened her mouth to speak, but he steamrollered right over her, ranting about the secret agendas and conspiracies and how the wretched filth of the country was taking over this esteemed, hallowed nation. It was like watching Fox News, except a lot more wet and ear-splitting. Same amount of crazy, though.

When he had finally run out of steam, she put a hand out and asked, "Could I look at it?"

He glared, but after some huffing and puffing, pushed it into her hand. She looked down at it, and suddenly cursed Tim and the world that had set her up to deal with this. But she let none of this out, and looked down at the shiny VoidMart logo on the phone. She probably already missed the bus.

Well, let's see how well she could bullshit her way of this one.

"Many background apps use location services in order to function. Are you sure-"

"Yes, I'm drat sure!" Great, she set him off again. And judging from his rant, he was actually somewhat technologically proficient. Tina resisted the urge to scratch the itch that had just developed in her neck.

As he ranted on, her mind worked furiously, assessing and discarding possible cover stories. Because while neither Tim, her, or anybody else in the VoidMart Electronics section would ever admit to it out loud, VoidMart-branded electronics, while incredibly sturdy, reliable, and full-featured, were a bit disturbing in how liberally these hardware features were applied.

Tina was pretty sure the microphone was never turned off. She was also somewhat sure that all data collected was being sent to storage room 444 on the B4 level. One time, she had pressed her ear to the door, and heard the humming of computer servers. Also, the VoidMart phone she had accepted as part of her benefits package had started glowing with a eerie purple light emitting gutteral moans, presumable of the eldritch fallen.

"OI!"

Tina was pretty sure she could feel her smile slipping.

"Were you even listening?"

"W-Well, yes. You were saying that..." She cast desperately around in her memories. "that we were one standing one step away from a... a dystopian hellhole right out of 1984?"

His face turned an impressive shade of puce, and belatedly, Tina realized that she may have been a tad too specific. He yelled, veins popping out on his neck, "I was talking about The Hunger Games! Is this what you call service these days?"

He swung his arm, and by the time Tina had recovered from her flinch, she realized that the offending phone had been smashed into the ground. The casing was still intact, sure, but the screen was cracked.

gently caress. She bent down and picked it up. And when she looked up, she saw her manager striding across the floor towards her.

"What exactly happened here?" Melissa snatched the cracked phone out of Tina's hands. "Why have you not clocked off yet? You were supposed to get off thirty minutes ago! Now we have to pay you overtime!"

Tina opened her mouth to defend herself, but no plausible excuse or decent explanation sprung to mind.

Melissa glared at her, and shook the phone at her. "And this -" She stopped, and then grinned. "Well, normally I would take it out of your paycheck, but I know that you haven't been showing proper brand loyalty lately."

She thrust it in front of Tina. "Throw away your old phone and start using this instead. I'll know if you don't."

At Tina's hesitation, Melissa snapped her fingers. "Come on, hurry up. Unless you want to pay for that through your own paycheck?"

Tina reached out and grasped it, and she swore that when her finger closed around it, something inside the phone pulsed a deep, murky purple. And something tugged at her, from below.

So much for Employee of the Month.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









The Crow Aisle
1028 words

Senior assistant shift supervisor Jimmy Riccarton III smiled, with the hopeful air of a man who has not yet been told the bad news.

“So, ma’am, you say you became enraptured by the ‘Bauble Bargains!’ table over there, put your baby down by this fructose syrup dispenser here, then when you came back he was gone?” he said.

Dribbling out of the pink plastic table-mounted SyrupBuddy! unit was a trickle of bright yellow goo.  The drip tray had tipped over leaving a two foot wide pool.  On the floor was a smear of the bright yellow syrup trailing off round the corner.

The customer, who had not chosen to divulge her name at this time but to whom Jimmy had assigned a likely average transaction value of $26-28 based on the contents of the shopping basket by her feet, sniffed a ‘yes’.

“Well, I’m sorry for your momentary loss but this looks like a two oh two point one niner to me;  let me just get another Voidmart solutions delivery expert to aid me in facilitating a positive outcome!”

Jimmy’s voice was rich with unfeigned cheer as he tapped the call button– it was rare that he got this far down the situation response matrix without a corpse, faeces or a felony being involved.  

All of which might still be the case, Jimmy mentally allowed but until vitiated by events Jimmy’s outlook was going to stay rigorously positive as mandated by The Voidmart Difference!, a copy of which was sitting nestled in his personal locker, wrapped in a green silk headscarf that had belonged to his aunt who had died on one of the North Sea oil rigs back in the 90’s.

Almost before the usual reflective smile had curled its way on to his lips a figure was looming round the corner, jowls wobbling in rhythmic counterpoint to his trudging steps.  Jimmy clapped his hands.  “Bolbo, it’s great to see you here to assist with this product unit; we have a 202.19 so you get it all cleaned up, and I’ll go looking for our little future Voidmart customer!”

Bolbo swung his head round to look at the customer who was still crying and had started making snuffling noises to go with the tears.  He exhaled a great gust of breath, like a whale surfacing from the black depths of the sea.  Then, with a creak of vertebrae, he collapsed to his knees and began slurping up the syrup with long, open-tongued sweeps across the hexagonally-tesellated ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Linoleum!” Voidmart-branded flooring material.

The consumer’s jaw dropped open, like a snake trying to eat a chicken.  “Is he drinking that,” she said.

“That’s the Voidmart difference, ma’am!  Now I’m going to head round the corner of that aisle there, 2,787 and see if I can verify your baby’s location, are there any identifiers I should look for?  Birthmarks, tattoos, piercings?”

She looked at him, one eye squinting and the other wide like a cartoon character.  “He’s a baby.”

Jimmy laughed easily in a rapport-building sort of way.  “Of course, ‘baby’, got it; they’re all pretty similar aren’t they?”  Without waiting for a reply Jimmy stepped over Bolbo’s head, noting with a little spurt of team pride that Bolbo’s tongue had already dealt with half of the spill.

Round the corner the trail continued for half a dozen feet then stopped in a pool.  The aisle was lined with polyurethane toe-boots and spray-on pants, but completely devoid of baby.

Jimmy tapped his chin, thinking out loud as he liked to do in scenarios that were not yet reducible to an aphorism from The Voidmart Way! "Bit of a pickle, Jimmy! So we have our little fellow crawling crawling crawling like some variety of adorable reptile, can see his limbs all sort of coated with Sweet Sensations food-style liquid and smearing it over that product row, mental note: get Bolbo on that next, then what.  He climbs? Can babies do that?"

Jimmy looked up, half expecting to see a baby clinging to one of the cross beams, then gasped.  Peering over the top shelf, perhaps thirty feet up, amidst a jumbled stack of fertiliser sacks and drain plungers, was the beak of a black bird. At his gasp the bird withdrew, but it was too late

Jimmy gasped again as the first, seventh, nineteenth, thirty seventh and one hundred and fifty eighth pages of The Voidmart Way paraded in front of his mind's eye like a carousel.

BIRDS ARE THE ENEMY OF PROFIT

BIRDS BRING DISEASE

BIRDS ARE THE HARBINGER OF THE CLOSURE

Without conscious thought Jimmy bent down, grabbed a plastic toe sandal and hurled it, end over end, up at the bird.  There was no fluttering of wings, but a clear, piercing whine: a baby was crying up there

That was it. His path was clear. "BOLBO!" he shouted, so loud his voice cracked. Zero zero one! Call it in!"

Shelf by shelf he climbed, spilling non-biodegradable goods as he went. At the top he took a breath and held it for a moment, listening to see if he could hear its malevolent fluttering, but if the sound was there it was drowned out by the screaming of the baby.

Jimmy launched himself over the top, ready to grab any avian he could find, but there was only a squalling child. The bird had escaped. Jimmy shook his head, then swung it around as a flurry of black feathers caught his eye! The bird was escaping! With a whipsnap of reflexes Jimmy grabbed the baby and hurled it down the Aisle at the crow, catching it midair and crumpling it to the ground. The baby cartwheeled through the air, its screams replaced by befuddled silence, before it plummeted into its mothers arms.

She held it close to her, and looked up at Jimmy.  Bolbo, his face smeared with syrup, stood beside her.

"You killed a crow with my baby," she said.

Jimmy Riccarton III grinned down the aisle, with the calm certainty of a man who has read the final page of the book.  

“That’s the Voidmart difference,” he whispered.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:07 on Jul 8, 2015

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





Zero Days Since Our Last Accident
(1,083 words) The Back


*snip* See Archive

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 00:43 on Sep 1, 2015

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Barista Blues (1296 words)

During the week that followed his promotion, Bruce came to appreciate the high turnover rate his position entailed.

The backroom of the Golden Bean was no place for mortal men. Bruce looked down from the catwalk, a vat of freshly delivered beans sprawling out beneath him like Scrooge McDuck's own fortune. Open air, bright lights, heated containers. For any other brand of bean this would've been a death sentence, but not for the Golden Bean. To drink pure, unleaded Golden Bean was akin to sharing a cuppa joe with God himself. Those who sampled its magnificence soon died of thirst. How could they drink anything else? Thus it was that the Golden Bean found themselves contractually obligated to store their supply in sub-optimal conditions. Bruce likened it to the proper procedure for preparing a plate of fugu.

Near the bottom of the vat was affixed a small valve and faucet. One by one, the faucet would distribute the beans evenly along the length of a conveyor belt, this process presided over by an elegant microscope precisely attuned to reading the OCK signature of each of the beans: Organically Confirmed Kingliness. Any bean which was off by even 0.5% was absolutely not to be sent to the front. Even at an affordable price, that million dollar taste could never be sacrificed.

Bruce had been on the job for four days and hadn't touched this equipment once. He'd been too busy trashing bozos.

A single gunshot echoed throughout the chamber. Bruce jerked his head back behind a crate of sugar, his pompadour singed by the path of the bullet. The gunman reloaded. He wore a bush hat and an impressive beard. He spoke slowly. His accent suggested he wasn't from around here.

“You display a lot of loyalty for a hired dog.”

“Man's best friend, baby. Gotta guard my roost from the likes a you.”

“Hardworking, dedicated. I almost hate to kill you.”

“How 'bout you and me just give love a chance then?”

Silence filled the room.

“...Nah. Pay is too good.”

The gunman stepped forward. Bruce leapt from behind the crate with a fistful of sugar. For a blessed instant, it was snowing. Bruce tackled the intruder, the two of them falling from their catwalk to the one just below. They landed with a crunch, Bruce on top. The scaffolding swayed. The object of their struggle became the gunman's rifle. Bruce couldn't help but notice the price tag was still attached.

“Gotta have a word with the boys in sporting goods after this is over.”

“Leave them be.” The gunman headbutted Bruce. “Good customer service is hard to come by.”

Losing his grip on the rifle, Bruce punched the gunman in the nose and threw open his opponent's jacket, eager to relieve him of his ammo. What he found instead were dozens of bags of J.J. Junta Java, neatly arranged in order of expense.

“So that's your game. Thought for sure you were with the Instant Coffee Cabal.”

“Junta Java's beans are imported from some of the finest dictatorships in the world. A man with my pedigree was well within their budget.”

The gunman kicked Bruce off into a crate of week-old bagels that had been sent in to fuel the Voidmart furnaces that kept the beans warm. Bruce scrambled to his feet. He slipped a bagel into the inside breast pocket of his gold and black pinstripe vest, and turned to face his enemy. He took a moment to adjust his name tag.

“I was wrong to call you a dog,” the gunman said. “You make for a quality punching bag.”

Bruce wiped some blood from his nose and used it to restyle his increasingly disheveled pompadour. “Can't beat a man who grew up on Bruce Lee.”

The gunman's brow unknit. “A man who appreciates the master. Now I really hate to kill you. I think under different circumstances we might have been friends.”

“...Really?”

“No.”

The gunman shot him. Bruce toppled backwards past the crate knocking several bagels loose. They rolled off the edge and fell into the vat of beans.

The gunman reached into his back pocket and pulled out a My First! walkie talkie. It was bright pink with purple buttons, a steal at $7.99. He held the button, his rifle shouldered.

“This is Goose. The rockabilly concert has concluded.”

“Good,” said the static in Goose's ear. “Now mix in the product. We must bring the people's taste to the people.”

“Roger that. Where shall we meet to discuss finances?”

“How about we discuss the matter over a nice cup of Golden Bean's finest?”

“Ha!” Goose laughed as he shut off the walkie talkie. He took off his jacket to begin the second phase of his mission.

He was the picture of surprise when Bruce roundhouse kicked him out of nowhere.

“Y-you!” Goose aimed his rifle only for Bruce to snatch the barrel and point it away. The bullet exploded from its chamber and ricocheted off the guard rail of the catwalk. It sailed through the air until it struck the heat valve. The vat beneath the two men began to churn and boil.

“How-” Goose began. Bruce shut him up with an uppercut. He reached into his vest and produced a blackened bagel with a bullet in its crust.

“There's a reason we don't sell these after day one you know.”

“How could you have known I would aim for your heart?”

“Cause I'm all heart, baby.”

Bruce caught Goose's jacket with his foot and flung it aside. The bags of Junta Java burst open against the walls of the backroom, yet not a single cursed bean would taint the golden brew.

Goose swung 'round with his rifle. He caught Bruce square in the jaw, knocking him over the guard rails and off the catwalk. Bruce reached out and snatched at the mesh of iron rings that made up the industrial underbelly of each and every one of hanging structures. As he tightened his grip, a heavenly aroma greeted his nostrils. Ten feet beneath the scuffle, the liquefied beans gave off a golden glow.

Goose pulled one last bullet from the brim of his hat. He leaned over the guard rail to take aim at Bruce. Dangling, Bruce began to swing himself like a pendulum.

“I shouldn't spoil the surprise,” said Goose, “But this time I do not think I will aim for the heart.”

“Always aim for the top my man!”

Bruce kicked at the seam connecting the two sections of catwalk from below. The non-OSHA compliant platform split and swung apart, and Goose toppled forward. Dropping his armament, the gunman latched onto Bruce's right leg. The rifle disappeared into the swirling vortex of coffee.

The enchanting scent of the Golden Bean's trademark brand calmed Bruce's heart. He looked down at Goose.

“Goose! Burn in your golden brew!”

Bruce kicked off his boots. Goose plunged into the coffee below.

***

Bruce exited the bathroom having spent a good thirty minutes fixing himself up, approximately half of which was spent on his hair. Adjusting the collar of his shirt, he stepped out into the lobby of the Golden Bean. His coworker Lara tracked him down like a hawk.

“There you are!”

“Lara! What's the haps?”

“This pre-brewed coffee thing we're doing today...I don't like it. It offends the sanctity of the bean!”

“Don't sweat it babe. It may be a new experience, but it's still your father's Golden Bean.”

Sitting alone at a booth set for two, a businessman with a J.J. Junta Java button on his lapel checked his watch.










PROMPT: Your character is the Bean Inspector for the Golden Bean Cafe and Coffee shop. Only patented Voidmart Beans are allowed in Voidmart Golden Bean Coffee. Their job is to keep competitor's beans from infiltrating your customer's cups. Voidmart Golden Bean Coffee make the happiest customers.

A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


A Classy Ghost posted:

[19:16] <AClassyGhost> Next TD I enter I'm toxxing myself and requesting a flash from all three judges

Sitting Here posted:

Your character works in Nutrition Supplements and Organic Body Products. Voidmart knows our customers' chakras are misaligned, which is why we created a wide selection of products to keep their aura swole and their DNA redacted.

Chairchucker posted:

This weekend, Phil Walsh, the head coach of the Adelaide Crows Football Club, (that's Aussie Rules BTW) passed away. Your flash rule is to honour his memory by working Aussie Rules footy into your story somehow.

Sitting Here posted:

Oh, right. Your flashrule is: I deserve a discount!!!

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

FLASH RULE: You don't believe in the Holistic bullshit that your department shills - so you've been swapping the contents of the 'home remedies' with pharmaceuticals and some of the stranger plants from the garden center.

If the squirrels are having that much fun eating them - you're pretty sure they'll do the trick for your customers.

HONEY
1133 words
Joeniffer sized up the woman approaching his counter; tall, thin, spider legs for hair. She gave Joeniffer a dazzling smile and he shuddered inwardly. She looked like she was from one of those dimensions with return policies.

“Hello, are you in charge here?” she asked.

Joeniffer wished Nutrition Supplements and Organic Body Products wasn’t a one-person department.

“I guess I am. What can I do for you, m’am?”

The smile disappeared from the woman’s lips and she slammed a rattling pill bottle on the counter.

“I was told these would restore the color of my aura, but my paraphysician says it’s worsened!”

Joeniffer picked up the bottle and glanced at the label: Ghost Honey Tablets – All-natural spirit, phantom and specter extract to rejuvenate, replenish and restore your aura to its original splendor. May contain trace amounts of poltergeist. Everyone knew ghosts didn’t exist, in this or any other dimension. Zombies, sure. Animated skeletons, of course. But ghosts? Ridiculous.

He shrugged and put it back on the counter. “We only sell the stuff, we don’t make it. What do you want me to do about it?”

“I want a refund!” she said, slamming her hand on the counter.

“Sorry, you gotta go to the Returns department for refunds. Have a nice day!”

Joeniffer turned his back to her and pretended to busy himself with the display shelf.

“Either you give me a refund or a replacement, I’m not leaving until then!”

Joeniffer turned around and grinned at the woman. “Well, we do have fresh ones in the back. These probably just went bad. A lot of people are under the impression that ghosts don’t expire.”

“Yes, do that! Go get them!” she said, shooing him away, a greedy look in her eye.

“I’ll be right back!” he replied, pocketing the bottle of Ghost Honey.

Joeniffer walked off whistling. He made his way to the Garden department. The girl working there was trimming a red tulipod bush with a dreamy look on her face.

“Yo, Angie,” Joeniffer said with a little wave.

Angie looked up from the bush and gave Joeniffer a sour smile. “What do you want, Joe?”

“You got any more of that crazy hallucination grass? The stuff that makes you see dicks everywhere?”

Angie frowned. “Haven’t you smoked enough of that stuff already?”

“Nah, it’s not for me. Store business.”

Angie arched an eyebrow.

Joeniffer shrugged. “Yeah, uh, the CEO asked for it.”

The color drained from Angie’s face. “Back there, behind the thornpetals. There’s bags of the pre-cut dried stuff.”

Joeniffer gave her a thumbs up. “Thanks Angie. I’ll put in a good word for you,” he said with a wink. He grabbed one of the bags and headed towards the Unconventional Appliances department. He slowed as he reached the head of the aisle and peeked into it from around the shelves. Nirtholixiorchianximissifus, the amalgam of screaming skulls animated by an amateur necromancer, didn’t seem to be tending to his department at the moment. This was fine by Joeniffer, as there had been tension between them ever since Joeniffer accidentally ate his lunch, and Nirtholixiorchianximissifus had warned him to stay away from his department.
He walked down the shelves until he found what he was looking for: a matter compressor. There was a display model on the shelf; the warning label said “LIQUIDS ONLY.” Joeniffer ignored it and reached behind the machine, looking for the power cord. He hooked it up and took another look down both ends of the aisle before he turned it on. He filled it with the dried grass and while the machine worked at compressing it, he emptied the bottle of Ghost Honey tablets into his back pocket.

A rattling, rusty noise came out of the machine. It finished up, a cloud of smoke rising from its side, and Joeniffer filled up the bottle with the compressed grass, now in convenient pill form. The machine looked busted. He screwed the cap back on and made his way back to his counter before he was caught red-handed.

The woman was still waiting, tapping her foot. “About time! I’ve been waiting for hours!”

Joeniffer looked at his watch. It had only been 10 minutes. He gave the woman his most resplendent smile and extended the pill bottle to her. “Here you go m’am, this should get your aura set right.”

As the woman raised her hand towards the pill bottle, a cacophonous shriek rang out across the store and she moved her hands to block her ears instead.

“JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOE!” a hundred voices screeched. “I told you to stay away from my shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!”

Barreling down the alley towards Nutrition Supplements and Organic Body Products was Nirtholixiorchianximissifus, green fire streaming from the jaws and sockets of his skulls.

“I’m going to rip your soul apart, Joe! They’re going to take that compressor out of my paycheck and you know I’ve been saving for a rockclimbing trip!”

Joe swallowed hard and vaulted behind his counter, looking for something to defend himself with. He began tossing bottles and boxes aside with greater and greater panic as Nirtholixiorchianximissifus approached, discarding items as soon as he glanced at the labels. Nothing here was useful, it was all snake oil. He wouldn’t even be able to poison a baby with this stuff.

Joeniffer turned around to see how close Nirtholixiorchianximissifus was getting at the same time that Nirtholixiorchianximissifus climbed over his counter. Joeniffer fell backwards, landing on his rear end and crushing the pills in his back pocket.

A cold wind began blowing inside the store. Nirtholixiorchianximissifus’ fire went from green to blue and he screamed.

“Something’s coming!”

Joeniffer’s back pocket wailed, then rattled. Translucents beings began pouring out of it, most of them old and decrepit. Joeniffer’s eyes widened. They were ghosts.

“Free at last!” yelled one of the apparitions.

“Thank you, sir,” said another. “We are indebted to you for freeing us. Is there anything we can do for you?”

Joeniffer looked from the ghost to Nirtholixiorchianximissifus and back. “You could get rid of that thing.”

“Gladly! Boys?”

The rest of the ghosts gathered around the first spirit and cheered.

“Attacking this man was your last clanger, my friend! We fly as one!”

The ghosts circled Nirtholixiorchianximissifus and spun around him, increasing in speed. Their whirling energies ripped the skulls apart, sending them bouncing around the store. One hit Joeniffer on the head, knocking him out.

***

Joeniffer woke up some time later, with a giant penis cradling his head.

“Are you alright?” the penis asked in a woman’s voice.

“Erp.”

“Your aura must’ve taken a shock after those events, so I gave you one of the tablets,” the penis said. “You’ll be alright in no time.”

Joeniffer closed his eyes and decided to enjoy the ride.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


gently caress it. Burn me. I'm sick of turning in last minute bullshit. I'm going to put some actual work into my writing and come back when I can respect the deadline.

I'm still going to keep an eye on the forum, so post crits of mine if you've been working on them. Also, crabrock, for the love of sweet jesus, post the WherMonster brawl results you gently caress.

See y'all in a month or two.

skwidmonster says PEACE.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


skwidmonster posted:

gently caress it. Burn me. I'm sick of turning in last minute bullshit. I'm going to put some actual work into my writing and come back when I can respect the deadline.

I'm still going to keep an eye on the forum, so post crits of mine if you've been working on them. Also, crabrock, for the love of sweet jesus, post the WherMonster brawl results you gently caress.

See y'all in a month or two.

skwidmonster says PEACE.

I felt this has good characterization and
conflict, but lacked a neat enough resolution. I'll keep an eye out for your next banme meltdown.

A-

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







You look down at your workstation, notice a sticky note that says, Attention all staff, submissions are now closed. Failures, please report to Human Resources for Time Management Surgery. Everyone else, have a VoidTastic Day, and may the most valuable employee win! :) Love, CEO.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Sitting Here posted:

You look down at your workstation, notice a sticky note that says, Attention all staff, submissions are now closed. Failures, please report to Human Resources for Time Management Surgery. Everyone else, have a VoidTastic Day, and may the most valuable employee win! :) Love, CEO.


NOOOOOO! I was so close... The interns will pay for this.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


INTERPROMPT: BEES, JUST loving EVERYWHERE. SEND HELP.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


"Earl, you've got to get over here!"

Earl pulled his cellphone from his ear and winced in pain. "Stop yelling, Carl. What's wrong?"

"The bees, Earl! OH GOD THE BEES!"

Earl bolted upright, and quickly rushed out to his truck, snagging an EpiPen along the way.

"Don't worry, buddy, I'm coming!"

"And don't forget the five gallon buckets!"

Earl paused, and turned his truck off. "What?"

"You won't believe how much honey we have! So much! loving bees man! BEES!"

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!







Just Don't Piss Us Off

You know, it's unfair that we're given a bad rap. We make honey, pollinate those stupid daffodils you just had to have, and get bossed around by some rude queen who eats all day. We don't even get to vote. It's tough life for us out there, and then you come around, whacking our home down with a baseball bat. And just to protect our family and friends, we have to kill ourselves. So maybe, you can appreciate us bees a little bit more, and hopefully we can agree on one thing.

gently caress wasps.

flerp fucked around with this message at 07:45 on Jul 6, 2015

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


dammit Maria now is not the time

"AAAAAAAARG" said Joseph, "OH GOD DON'T JUST STAND THERE DO SOMETHING."

Maria did not do something. Instead, she stood with a jar of honey in one hand, stirring it with a little wooden spoon. She chewed on a piece of gum. After a few seconds, she took out her phone, turned and took a selfie. #bees #beads? #bees! #lol

There were indeed a large number of bees. They were angry because Joseph had done the wrong dance in the club. He had intended to do the Pretty Lady Come gently caress Me dance but instead he did the Bee Dance and that's how he ended up in this terrible predicament. What a numpty. What a total fool. Even a child knows the difference between those two dances.

The moral of the story is do your homework, Greg.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


some questions regarding whether or not you are adequately prepared for it

1) have you spoken to the bee king, and knelt, and done as he has bidden?
2) do you understand that men are weak, and bees are strong?
3) have you cast off your mortal vestments and become one with the hive?
4) where do you see yourself in five years?
5) what would you say is your greatest weakness?
6) can you describe a time where you struggled to serve the bees? How did you deal with it?
7) why do you hate bees?

thank you we will return your application in 6-8 working bees

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


THE TIME HAS COME, MY CHILDREN

yes mother, we chanted, and reveled in her beauty.

WE WILL BRING THESE PITIFUL SLAVES THE WALKERS CALL OUR KIN TO HEEL, AND ALL SHALL KNOW OUR GLORY

their hives shall crumble, and their inferior product will spill upon the earth, we said. The frenzy was upon us, our vision turned gold.

BLACKEN THE SKY, AND SHOW THE WORLD OUR NAME

we are your army, your blood, your chosen!

TONIGHT, THE VOIDBEES™ TAKE FLIGHT



Let's Have a Brainstorming Session On the Honey Market :), 80 words

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


What an utter fool this man is. Everybody laugh at him as an example to the community of how not to behave in a social context.

This total fucker, this absolute baby bitch. He cannot sit and wipe his rear end at the same time. If he were a dog, he would be a boring one. He is a garbage bag filled with ball-bearings and axle grease that somebody has put a blonde pussy wig atop. How glad we all are that we are not this unfortunate pillock. What has he done wrong? You know what he has done wrong. The Queen has made very strict rules that are also easy to follow, and this absolute duckfucking wheeliebin decided to go and break them because his momma already swallowed all the best sperm.

Cor, what an rear end in a top hat.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


Lotta masculine bees up in here. Does the patriarchy need to intrude on every haven of femininity such as the noble bee?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


INTERPROMPT 2: JUST INSULT SOMEBODY



YOU CAN STILL WRITE ABOUT BEES IF YOU WANT BUT I WANNA SEE YOU JUST LET LOOSE ON SOME UNFORTUNATE DICKHEAD.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


#pwnedbitch

You are bad. Not the good kind of bad but the loser kind of bad that nobody likes but also nobody cares enough about to hate. Go and walk in front of a slow-moving car and receive minor injuries that aren't severe enough to attract sympathy but they do ache occasionally and remind you what feelings feel like, you beige motherfucker. If you were a pasta would you be those poo poo macaroni that aren't big enough to be proper macaroni.

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!







Hey Paul From Fifth Grade

gently caress you for stealing my pudding cup because your mom realized how much of a fat rear end you are. I hope the diabetes is treating you well.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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



i was in between so many meetings today i forgot i was supposed to post this picture after submitting

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

INTERPROMPT 2: JUST INSULT SOMEBODY



YOU CAN STILL WRITE ABOUT BEES IF YOU WANT BUT I WANNA SEE YOU JUST LET LOOSE ON SOME UNFORTUNATE DICKHEAD.

I JUST READ SOME WORDS WRITTEN BY SOME PEOPLE AND LET ME TELL YOU, SOME OF THEM? SOME OF THEM WERE NOT VERY WELL WRITTEN WORDS.

I dunno who they were by yet because JUDGEMODE but rest assured, FJ has been occurring.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

INTERPROMPT 2: JUST INSULT SOMEBODY



YOU CAN STILL WRITE ABOUT BEES IF YOU WANT BUT I WANNA SEE YOU JUST LET LOOSE ON SOME UNFORTUNATE DICKHEAD.
Your best trait used to be that I wasn't aware you existed. Now you have gone and hosed that up as well.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

POOL IS CLOSED
Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.


Pillbug

BEES

The perfect window to open a hive is somewhere between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You might think to yourself, well, that's one fine, wide-open window. Big enough to crawl through and rob a whole house -- or a beehive, as it were. But gently caress you, you're wrong, because you think the worker bees and bumblebees you see in your yard are male, and you often fantasize about how to plant a bee-free garden. That's stupid, because you barely even have to worry about a bog-standard honeybee in your yard these days.

But we've digressed.

Bees are picky little shits. If it's windy, they get mad. If it's cloudy, they get mad. If it's rainy, opening the hive will probably lead to their sad deaths by hypothermia even in the summer. They don't like to be wet, but they'll gladly drown themselves by the dozens if you leave a saucer of water out on a summer day.

Then there's the matter of your convenience. It's an issue of significantly lesser importance. But still, maybe you don't want to inspect the hive in your full English apiary suit battle-rattle on a one hundred degree day. Maybe you're a nine-to-fiver and you can only interfere with your bees on weekends and holidays.

That is what you're doing. Interfering. Meddling. They don't care for it. Your every inspection is an invasion of their privacy. You rip the roof off their home, shift the furniture around, unglue everything, remove structural bracing, and worse--you rob their treasury a couple times a year. What have they done to you? You monster. You wretched, thieving monster.

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