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  • Locked thread
Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
Some Old Hood poo poo
1,185 Words

Dante sat uncomfortably in the correctional counselor’s chair. Dante hated the sessions.

“Good afternoon Mr. Peterson.”

Dante nodded silently from his seat.

“So last time we got together you were telling me about your brother, Dom. Why don’t we finish that.”

“Yeah, sure.” Dante said turning his head to the side dismissively.

“Well, whenever you feel up to it, go ahead.” Mr. Pritchett, the counselor, said starting a tape recorder.

Dante sighed.

“It’s nearly been a year since I got transferred out of county to the pen for killing a nigga that pulled a gun on my brother over some pussy. Honestly, I thought I had left that life behind. got my poo poo straightened out. I had a good girl, a good job. Was trying to settle down, maybe get a family going, but I hosed that up.”

Dante paused as Mr. Pritchett took notes.

“It’s ok, Dante. Feel free to go at your own pace.” he assured him.

“It was hot. I remember that much. I don’t know what it is about the heat, but it makes niggas act up. Everybody gets hot under the collar, quick-tempered, aggravated, irritable. Whatever you want to call it, niggas be loving ready to go. Doesn’t matter where you stay at. The summer sun in ATL ain’t nothing to play with. Make a nigga bang over nothing. I did.”

“Anyhow, Dom was seeing this girl from the south side. A real bad bitch named, Lina. Her brother Roger, wasn’t having it though. Roger was a young nigga not much older than Dom. Had a rap sheet as long as the tattooed sleeves on his arms.” Dante paused.

“Moni and I argued that day.”


“That’s my girl. Changed my life around, or she tried to at least. She was in school to be an RN. I was just a hard headed nigga hanging with his homies. For whatever reason, she saw something more in me.” Dante told Pritchett as he wrung his hands.

“I don’t even know what we were were arguing about. It’s always some dumb poo poo, but. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was fed up. Pook calling me was just the excuse I needed, or so I thought.”

“I left her place and headed back to the crib. Pook came over not long after saying Dom was caught up on the south side. So I grabbed my strap and we were out. Fifteen minutes later, we pulled up at Lina’s spot and Roger had his gun on my brother in the yard. Dom was bleeding above his eyebrow from where he had been pistol whipped.”

“Pook got out the car first, and Roger put two in Pook’s head without thinking. By the time I got out the car, he had his gun to Dom’s head. Lina was outside screaming for us to stop. I could already hear the sirens in the distance.”

“In hindsight, poo poo might not have even gone south if we just didn’t even show up. No point in second guessing myself now though right? The sun was in my eyes. Sweat beaded up on my forehead. I was mad at Moni. Scared for my brother. Mad at this nigga for killing Pook. Mad at my brother. Mad at myself. Roger turned his gun on me, but I fired first.”

Dante leaned back in his chair and his eyes glossed over, lost in memory.

“His sister screamed out his name. His momma came outside and she threw herself on him. My brother looked back at him before turning to me. I’m frozen in place, but for a second I think about turning the gun on myself. I think about trying to run. The sirens are louder now. I didn’t move an inch. I just watched in disbelief until the cops came. Now I’m trapped here between these concrete walls and steel bars.”

“With your word, I might get parole in five to ten years, but even if I did. Who would I go back to? Moni doesn’t write back. No one visits anymore. I got one letter from my mom telling me uncle ray got shot in retaliation, but then I ain’t heard poo poo since. Dom used to visit, but those were few and far between. Monica ain’t been by once. I think I miss her most.”

“In a matter of seconds, I detonated all of our plans together. I ruined our relationship. Even if she doesn’t write back, I hope she’s alright. I hurt everyone that trusted me. I hurt Roger’s family and mine.”

“I think the worst thing about prison is the loneliness. Dying in here alone. That’s what worries me. I don’t know if I’ll even get to make it to a parole hearing judging by way things been going. gently caress it though.” Dante said pointing to a poorly healed gash on the side of his neck.

“I wish I could see someone again. I got all my family approved for visitation, but they just stopped showing up. Stopped answering my calls. I only recently stopped going to visitation. I kept the hope that they’d show up and surprise me for weeks, but they never did.”

“Do you think you’d be willing to go again?” Mr. Pritchett asked suddenly.

“I can’t think of a reason to, nobody's coming for me.”

The correctional counselor slid a folded docket over to Dante.

“It’s a visitation approval form for Monica. I’m putting it in the mail today. She applied last week. She’s bring a child. Your child.”

Dante didn’t know what to think. The rest of his time with the counselor was noise in the background of his rising expectation.

The next week was a blur, but Dante didn’t rest well. He spent all his time trying to picture what his child might look like. He felt pangs of guilt for being absent and what would be his continued absence. He was anxious to see Monica again. To see his child.

When Saturday came around, he waited for hours in the visitation area. In hopes that she might come. It was two hours till close, when she finally arrived. A beautiful, but tired looking woman. Caramel skin decorated with freckles. Long, curly brown hair that hung just past her shoulders. Hazelnut eyes that evoked passion in Dante.

Resting against her shoulder was a little human head, tiny and wrinkled. She sat across from Dante who looked at her speechless. They stared at one another silently for sometime before she slid a hand across the table onto his.

“Do you want to hold her?”

Dante bit his lip, nodding as his eyes watered.

She places the baby into his arms, and the child stirs clutching onto Dante’s finger.

He looked at her chubby face as she opened her eyes slowly staring up at him, and in that instant he knew that there was still hope for him in this world. He knew that he had a reason to get out of here and to try and make amends to those he had wronged.

Dante took Monica’s hand and began to cry.



Feb 25, 2014
1199 Words

Maybe Being Crazy Ain’t Such a Bad Thing

flerp fucked around with this message at 03:02 on Jul 27, 2015

Oct 30, 2003
1199 words

Isobel came home for the funeral, bringing with her a British phD, a half-Greek daughter, and a piece of Simon’s heart, stowing away like a folded and forgotten five dollar note stuck in the back pocket of an old pair of jeans.

The night before, Simon lay in bed tracing her face in the cracks in the ceiling, rattling her name around his head. Isobel. When they were at school it had seemed old-fashioned and quirky, but things work in cycles and it was trendy again. There were two in daycare with Max; when Scott pulled away from their car park every morning sans his son, and with the name fresh in his mind, he traded reality for a cringing and lonely thirty-seven minutes of regret on the lonely drive to work. He shouldn’t have told her to go, and then equally to stay, only two days before her flight. He should have gone to the airport to see her off.

* * *

“I know it’s not the time for it,” said Beth, putting down Max to straighten Scott’s black tie, “but I really am excited to meet her.”

Isobel featured, explicitly or not, in Simon’s best anecdotes, the ones that featured fishnet sleeves and half-tabs of acid. They’d come up at the wake. It was serving as a reunion of sorts, Harry was the first of their class to die from the kind of humdrum affliction that didn’t warrant an article in the local paper. Cancer, or something.

Simon felt gentle pressure from Beth’s hand on his own as they waited outside the door. It was being held at Harry’s parents house; Simon wondered if they knew how much time they’d spent there instead of school. They’d blown out his Dad’s speakers with heavy metal, and sewed straps and chains to their clothing with his Mum’s machine. Simon’s eyes met Max’s, and reflexively the pair grinned and waggled their eyebrows.

Isobel was there already, sitting on a couch with her husband and holding their daughter. Her eyes were fixed on the floor. He was surprised at how different she looked, but if he hadn’t kept the dyed hair or the piercings or the black makeup then why should she have? Still, he felt a little betrayed by her tidy brown bun and conservative dress.

The service was sad, sadder than those of the elderly, the tears punctuated by toddlers chuckling at the flowers, or moaning at a dropped box of raisins. Simon let himself be guided by his wife during these sorts of things, and sure enough as soon as possible she took his arm and pulled him straight across the room to Isobel.

Isobel looked at Simon, and then quickly back to her husband. A few beats passed before he realized he needed to provide the introductions. As soon as they were over Beth went for it.

“So, Marko, Isobel told you any sordid tales about this one?” she said, and cocked her head towards Simon.

Marko frowned, looked at Simon and then back at Isobel. Beth mistook his anger for confusion and pressed the point.

“These two were quite the goth lovebirds,” she crowed, missing the red creeping up Isobel’s face, “like Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese.”

Marko, stony-faced, turned to Beth. “nice to meet you,” he said, full stop heavily implied, before looking back to study his wife’s face. Beth bowed her head as they walked away towards another old friend.

“I guess he didn’t know,” Simon said to his wife, jostling Max to rearrange him in his arms. He had been clingier than usual in the strange, sombre atmosphere of the funeral.

“poo poo, I put my foot in it, didn’t I?” said Beth.

“It’s not your fault,” Simon replied without conviction. He wondered why Isobel hadn’t told her husband.

He excused himself to go to the toilet, and as he walked down the hall saw Isobel and Marko through a mesh curtain. Inky, mascara dyed tears were just starting to well in the corners of her eyes, but then Marko smiled and hugged her, hard, so that she nearly disappeared into him.

He took the wrong door, and stepped into Harry’s bedroom. His Marilyn Manson poster was still above the bed, and there was Harry, coffin open, next to the bed.

There was no particular quality that made the body look fake. It an exquisite figurine, missing nothing except the indefinable spark of life. It made museum waxworks seem less hokey, knowing that there was something the most skilled sculptor couldn’t capture. He was dressed formally,, not like the Harry he remembered. He folded back the jacket of Harry’s sleeve, then slid the shirt up his arm. He wanted to see the tattoo of thorny, blood-red roses that Isobel that he’d got at sixteen. It was there, sure enough, but about half way up his forearm the skin went pallid where the undertakers’ preparations had stopped. It brought the artifice into stark relief - still there was makeup, even in suit and tie and coffin.

By the time Simon got back to the wake the tears had been exhausted, leaving the fidgeting awkwardness of forced reunion. Max was grizzling, and Beth was trying to entertain him. Marko and Isobel were talking with another couple. Simon reached for Beth’s handbag, but she held on tight and gave him a look.

“Are you sure it’s appropriate?” she said.

“I don’t care,” Simon replied, “it was his favourite.”

He took a CD out, fed it into the stereo and pressed play. The harsh guitar of Rammstein blared from the speakers. The stereo was turned up too loud, and crunchy distortion crackled through the riffs. Max started crying, then Isobel’s daughter, and the mourners not used to metal winced. Harry’s parents were angry. Simon looked sheepish as he turned down the dial and took Max out to the kitchen.

“Sorry, dude. I’ll get you a cruskit.”

While he was rummaging in the handbag the door opened and Isobel came in, her daughter still bawling. The two toddlers paused when they saw each other, suspicious but interested. Simon shrugged and put Max down. Isobel did the same. They looked at the wall until it was too much.

“I’m sorry. About what happened when you left,” he said, “I was a kid.”

She closed her eyes for a second. When she opened them they were warm and forgiving, and she was smiling slightly.

“You mean you were an rear end in a top hat! I’m sorry too. About Marko,” she grew quiet again, put her arms around Simon, and buried her face in his chest. It felt familiar and genuine, but different from before. It felt friendly. “And about Harry.”

Simon put his hand on her forehead, and tilted it back so he could see her face.

“I have an idea.” he said, stepping back and emptying his wife’s bag. “What makeup do you have with you?

* * *

They sent the toddlers back into the wake, their faces done up with thick black eyeshadow and mascara, and their fingernails blacked with permanent marker. They ran around squealing with delight, and even Harry’s parents smiled as they danced to the Rammstein that still played, quietly, on the stereo.

Apr 22, 2008

New Year, new thread!

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

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Holding What is Left
(620 words)

snip. See archive.

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 20:28 on Jul 24, 2015

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
1193 words

As my face slammed into the airbag, I thought of what Sylvia used to be.

I woke up, wiping blood and snowflakes off my face. Minutes or hours could have passed—the radio was busted in the crash, blinking a cold blue noon even though it was closer to midnight now.

The front end of my truck engulfed the base of the cement tower like river water flowing around a rock. I couldn’t see one break in the cement, one chip or blemish.

I tilted my head up towards the top of the tower, more hot blood dripping from my nose. It was a thirty-foot high cylinder, twice as tall as any of the houses in the whole town. No doors. No windows, except at the top, which was ten feet of dark, sightless glass, a black filter on a giant grey coffin-nail. A low siren moaned from the top of the tower: bwohhh, bwohhh, bwohhh, pause. Bwohhh, bwohhh, bwohhh, pause.

I stood up and turned around to walk home. I passed many of my neighbors’ houses, and none of their lights were on, not even the from the houses yards away from the tower. It filled me with an anger that I didn’t have a space for.

Sylvia and our four-year-old, Diem, were upstairs. Alicia was in her room at the end of the hall. I could see her door from where I sat on the living-room couch, with frozen succotash on my forehead and paper towels stuffed up my nose.

I looked away from her door and out the window, at the Bering Sea.

The envelope on my lap was postmarked November 19, sent the same day it was received. No stamp, no name, just our address in Prose Pines, Alaska. Black letters on a grey letterhead.


We called December tax season in this town.

The four-thousand-and-twenty-three dollars they gave me for Sylvia still sat in a shoebox in the attic. Nobody around here would steal it, and there was no place for me to spend it.

I thought of the commercial airliners as I kept staring out the window, impossible red dots in the distance, cruising in straight lines over the sky. I pictured one flying low, a metal wing slicing straight through the cement tower, the sighing of the siren cut short like a gasp from a guillotined neck.

Back then, Alicia shut herself in her room and refused to watch her mother leave, because she didn’t understand why. She didn’t realize that it was a question that had only one answer, an answer that stood tall over the town, faceless and immovable, no matter what happened.

One night, Nick Bowie and Robbie Cavett went to throw eggs at the tower, taking turns daring each other to inch closer and closer. The next morning, the base of the tower was spotless, and full cartons of Grade A eggs sat on both families’ doorsteps.

A few weeks after, someone spray-painted rear end in a top hat HELL on the tower’s side in giant red letters. The message stayed up for the entire day, and by the morning after the tower was grey and immaculate again, a full can of red spray-paint left on Jared Cannon’s welcome mat. He denied everything. They had asked for his son the year before.

When Sylvia came back, Alicia stood next to me, tears welling up inside her. The thin winding stairs slid out from the wall of the tower, a door at the top opened, and Sylvia came down, the same way she had went up a year-and-a-half ago. As soon as her mother stepped onto the ground, Alicia rushed to her and held on. I could hear her crying through everything she tried to say. She hadn’t cried since Sylvia left.

I walked over to them, smiling. Sylvia looked up at me, and something happened within me, something that stabbed at my subconscious.

The feeling never went away. Eventually I stopped trying to flush it out and started trying to find it, and it clicked one day when Sylvia said to me: “It feels like my head’s fallen asleep.”

“How can your whole head fall asleep?” I said.

She shrugged, and left me sitting alone at the kitchen table, as it all descended upon me.

Every day, she joked that some part of her had fallen asleep. Every morning, she hummed the same old Scottish tune as she curled her hair in the bathroom. Every night, she would put the kids to bed by kissing their forehead, their nose, then both cheeks, and then she would do the same thing to me.

Everything was so in-place, running-in-place, the same motions since June. All things I remembered and loved about my wife, and now she was only those things. I slept next to a wide cylindrical time capsule filled with memories, buried under the bedsheets.

Yet she looked exactly the same. Everything was just as it had been. That was what she said whenever I asked what they had done to her, in the same tone of voice each time.

The morning after I drove my truck into the tower, the wreckage had been cleared away. Not one fleck of paint or glass remained.

The morning of December first, I walked through my front door and found a brand new truck in my driveway. Same make, same model. Clean windshield, intact headlights, my reflection spread flat across the polished black hood as I stared through it.

I woke up at midnight, options racing through my mind. I couldn’t walk, the nearest town was hundreds of miles away. I sure as hell couldn’t use the truck—God knows what they had done to it.

That only left one way out.

I carried Diem in my arms as I stepped into the rowboat.

“Trust me. Please,” I said to Alicia.

“Why aren’t we taking Mom?” she said, rubbing at her eyes.

“I’ll come back for her,” I lied. “It’s only a short way to St. Lawrence Island.” But I didn’t even know if Russia would be far enough. I would row until who or what was hulking at the top of the tower could no longer see us.

Until the noise faded away.

I pushed off the shore, the bwohhh-bwohhh-bwohhh still in my ears. I focused on nothing but the low noise, keeping the rhythm as I rowed, stroke-stroke-stroke-pause.

Our house grew smaller and smaller.

Twenty minutes passed. Then forty. Then sixty.

The house was gone, the tower was gone, crashing water surrounded us, and still the siren went on.

In fact, it was growing louder—


—blotting out everying, scrubbed clean with black ink—


—black paint dripping from a terrible tower—


I couldn’t hear the waves.

There was a little girl crying in my arms. There was a teenage girl rocking from side to side. “Hello?” she said, the question left unanswered, like she spoke into a dead phone line. “Hello?”

I started to row in the direction of the siren.

It was the only thing that made sense anymore.

Feb 15, 2005
The Once and Future King, 1076 words

I used to hate my shifts on the farm. The dirt, the toil - it was beneath the dignity of a warrior. To a man who took lives and risked his own, it seemed insulting. These years, however, it was the highlight of each month. When you ignore the rocky ceiling, it was almost like being topside. When you closed your eyes, the endless racks of lights felt like the old English sun.

I don't offer this as an excuse, just as a bit of context and understanding. I'd heed my nation's call without complaint, really. But when that smug young prick, that little poo poo in a major's uniform, came up to me... he had never felt the heat of battle, or heard a death rattle, or truly lived. But there he stood, ordering me from the from the fields - and there was my fist, bloodying up his nose.

Good lads, those MPs. Used the absolute minimum force.

So there I sat, staring at a wall of roughly carved stone, somewhere in the military part of the compound. Missing that piss poor simulation of an English summer.

The kid was there, with two tissues shoved up his nose. He was idly flipping through my military records.

"I feel like I should apologize, for what happened. I'm Percy," the kid said. He offered his hand.

"You should drop the false humility," I said, shaking his hand. "It's unbecoming of an officer. I'm Lance."

"Yes, well, I suppose we should get to business. I assure you that I'm completely serious." Percy paused, and braced himself for ridicule. "King Arthur believes that you are the reincarnation of one of his knights of the round table."

I didn't laugh. "Which one?"

Percy flipped through the notes. "I'm not sure if - erm - that is to say - it's a touchy subject, but-"

"Sir Balin, the Knight with Two Swords," interrupted the man behind Percy. He looked wise and handsome, the perfect image of nobility. Percy and I instinctively stood up and bowed.

"Sir Arthur, I suppose." I didn't phrase it as a question.

"In the flesh," he replied. He was wearing a simple military uniform, sans rank or insignia.

"Seems you're a bit late for the war. London already burned."

He waved for me and Percy to sit."Not much I can do about the Russians and Americans. Besides, an underground fallout shelter seems like a much more precarious place for British survival."

"Seems about as impervious to your influence down here as the ash does upstairs," I replied. "Are you going to feed us? Keep up morale as we slowly go insane?"

Percy jumped up for a row, but Arthur shushed him. "War is still war - fighting for glory and treasure. It seems the French have also survived, and brought some tunnelers down with them. They've been digging this way."

That did get a laugh out of me. "Of course they did. No chance they've come to exchange tea and crumpets?"

Arthur shook his head.

"And you know this... how, exactly?" I asked

"Because I'm here," Arthur replied. I scoffed.

Percy leapt across the table and tackled me to the ground. I have him a punch to the ear and a knee to the gut for his troubles. We wrestled for a bit before Arthur gave a disapproving cough.

Reluctantly, we separated. "You two never did get along. Well, get over it. Percy, you'll be in charge of logistics and fortifications. Lance, you'll be training our men. You have two months."

The French hadn't expected resistance. We opened fire on them as soon as the tunneler broke through. We pushed them back a good 20 miles before they regrouped. Even then, it was hard going. The tunnel was dark and the flood uneven - but lights just let the enemy know where to shoot. As we got closer to their side, the fortifications got more complex.

Then, our supply of ammunition ran low. They pushed us back a good 5 miles, although we fought for every step. With the right barricades, they couldn't shoot us, and a bayonet was just as good as a rifle when the enemy was a foot away. A long narrow tunnel made for a difficult battle ground, even if you have superior weaponry.

But soon enough, their supplies ran low, and firearms went extinct. That's when things became a real slog. It was amazing how much I missed the simple comforts of the compound.

So there I was, pike in hand, when the Frenchman approached our lines. He was waving a white flag, and was unarmed. I went to talk to him.

My French was rusty, but better than his English. We managed.

"We want to talk. We, the soldiers."

"Not the leaders?"

The Frenchman shook his head. "Not permitted. We think fighting is stupid. It take forever to... reach the end. Your side."

I nodded in agreement. "We think so too. But our king disagrees."

"Our leader is an idiot. But we," he pointed to the other soldiers, "Are not."

I nodded, and considered the situation. Finally, I produced a flask from my pocket.
"I miss my farm. Do you have any cigarettes?"

The Frenchman gave me a light. "To peace in our world, yes!"

“Arthur! Come out!” I held the pistol at the door. We had only a dozen rounds left, but it would be more than enough. “Give up and come out peacefully. There’s no more need for blood!”

“Traitor!” I heard Percy call from inside. Of course.

I fired two shots into where I thought he was. The shout from inside meant I was close. I nodded, and the soldier with the sledgehammer stepped forward. As soon as the lock busted open, the pikeman stabbed in. The blades came back wet with blood.

“That’s enough, Arthur! The war is over!” I waved the soldiers back, and looked through the door myself. Percy was on the floor, bleeding out. Arthur was sitting behind the desk, calmly surveying the situation.

“War is never over. You, of all people, should know that.” His hands were below the desk, and that made me nervous.

“I was wondering why you showed up here. And then I realized.” I stepped the rest of the way into the office. “We survived just fine the last time you died. And we’ll survive again.”

He brought the pistol up. I didn’t hesitate to shoot him dead.

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Wow, now that's a nice story, Jonked.

What A Shame
698 word

What's life without a little of theatric flair? That's why I imagined our meeting arranged in public “to avoid any foul play”. Just like a spy thriller, even if it's just about two former lovers exchanging things. Might have been too generous with the “love” part too.

There she comes. The internet tells you to hate your ex. Well, the relationship advice sections don't, but the comedy and drama sections give a resounding “yes”. So I do. Here she comes and I hate her. Don't know how she feels, but, does it really matter now? They'd say I didn't care about that even before this whole unpleasantness, why should I care now?

Oh, right, the internet. Either you don't care what others think about you at all, or you do. No middle ground. And the self awareness doesn't help.

She looks prettier than I remember. Same short red hair, shaved sides, even the face is the same, but somehow prettier. This sends a pang of longing to my heart, a strange sort of pain. Haven't seen her in a long while. Maybe being out of country did her good. Maybe she's in love.

Does that matter? Yes, if the internet pettiness is to be believed. You have to keep a love-life achievement total, to exceed the score of your ex, and thus prove yourself a superior person, and chalk up the break up as her own fault.

OK, that might be too involved for me. But the drama is still alive, and I already plan on retelling this encounter to my friends. I fancy myself a fun storyteller, they won't have nothing to complain about.

“Hello,” she says with harshness in her words that was totally expected. My actions during the breakup left much to be desired.

“Hello,” It's totally unnecessary, but I add: “Do you have it?”

She does, and produces a small plastic bag. I grab it, and slide a thin plastic box out.

I'm getting goosebumps all over.

The blue face of JC Denton is staring skywards on the blue-and-white box.

Deus Ex Game Of the Year Edition.

The intro music comes back to my mind, and a second wave of goosebumps washes over me. I rip the box open.

The booklet was lost years ago, being an unimportant installation manual for people who are way in over their heads if their first game is Deus Ex. The disc is the most important part.

It's blue with white lettering. An economy release done many years after the launch, yet before digital publishing had really taken. Before I had any girlfriends, ex- or otherwise. Those might not exactly been “the days”, but Deus Ex helped.

I push on the plastic bib in the center of the disc and it pops out. I turn it over to check for scratches. A rainbow crescent slides over the surface, bringing back half-remembered warnings about CD surfaces and eye damage. The disc is still intact, no more than a few scratches I myself might have done handling and mishandling the thing. Satisfied, it put it back in the box, and shut it close.

My attentions return to my ex.
“All seems good,” I say, keeping my voice cool.

“Well, good,” she's better at it than I am. Insurgencies have legitimate grievances at core, so do break ups.

“That's it, then. Goodbye.”


It's good luck that I came here alone. Had there be a friend nearby, I might have high-fived him, or just pumped my fist in the air. Wouldn't be a good show, that.


I return home with half-hearted demons gnawing at my thoughts. To alleviate my condition, I pop the Deus Ex CD in my PC, run the install. Time to see how it goes.

“Your appointment to FEMA will be finalized within a week...” The intro comes and goes.

Then, slowly, over the logos of Eidos and Ion Storm, the intro music starts picking up. I feel the goosebumps return. The music fills my ears, reminding me of the fantastic times long ago, when controlled the coolest nano-enhanced agent to ever grace cyberpunk. I watch the silvery logo turn on the screen and my body shivers.

Jun 26, 2013

1200 words (MS Word)

It was the day of the second new moon that summer when he come walkin’ out of the desert, his duster snappin’ like a flag in the wind and an artillery piece swingin’ low on his hip.

Daddy had some business dealings today. I’d headed out early to avoid the crew of unwashed miscreants he called his ‘boys’, so I was perched on the stone wall by the road into town, hookin’ pebbles at bronze winglizards as they hummed in and out of the scrub. I watched the stranger trudge in, boots crunching on the hard-packed dirt.

“You a gunfighter?” I called out. He gave me a pale-eyed stare then his face cracked open in a pretty good grin. He whipped off his broad-brim hat and smoothed down his mop of greying hair.

“Well, miss, I wouldn’t call myself a gunfighter per se,” he said.

“I wouldn’t go persaying in town,” I warned him. “You might have to use that two tons of hexed-up ironmongery you got slung there.”

“I thank you for the advice,” he said. “Now, might you know the whereabouts of a Mallia Salvia, if she still resides in these parts?”

“Sure, she still resides here. Couldn’t walk straight enough to leave, way she drinks,” I told him. “But she ain’t Mallia Salvia no more, she’s Mallia Venustinia. And she’s my mother. I’m Sentia Venustinia. But I can’t imagine what you might…” The expression on his face shut me up sudden like.

He came closer, hunkered down so our faces were level, and stared at me. “How old are you now, child?”

I drew up my shoulders and stared back sharpish. “Thirteen next week,” I snapped, “not that it makes no mind to you.”

He rocked back on his heels, lost in thought. “Pass on a message to your mother, if you please. Tell her Jacobus wants to talk.” He hesitated at the town boundary for a moment before steppin’ across. “I’ll be in the taverna.”

Ma was at the kitchen table with a bottle of conditum, like always. She knocked back a slug as I came in the back door.

“What’s a gunfighter name of Jacobus want with you?” I demanded of her.

Like I’d hoped, she coughed fortified wine all over the kitchen floor. “He ain’t here is he?” she said, wild-eyed.

“He’s waiting in the taverna. Figured you’d be pretty comfortable meeting him there.”

“Oh mighty Mars preserve us,” she muttered. “He’s got to get gone before Gallio sees him. Oh, the fool.” She grabbed her shawl off the hook, stood twistin’ it in her hands for a moment. “Get up to your room,” she told me. “You get up there and you stay there ‘til I’m back.”

I got up to my room and got straight out my window. I had a burning desire to hear what she and this Jacobus had to say one to ‘nother. I circled round back of the house and followed Ma up the street to the bar. She was wringin’ her hands the whole way.

When we got there I hung back a ways and crouched behind a barrel. I said a few choice cuss words under my breath because Daddy was standin’ in the street with a dozen of his boys. They were looking at another one of the boys who was lyin’ on the boardwalk outside the taverna doors, clutchin’ his head and moanin’. I had an idea that he’d exchanged some views with a pale-eyed stranger.

Daddy was a tall man, with broad shoulders and a growing paunch. He hooked his thumbs into the pockets of his brocade waistcoat and cast a cold glance at Ma as she hurried up to him. “You ain’t needed here,” he growled at her. “Fact, I’d suggest you head back on home.”

Ma drew herself up and I could almost respect her for a minute. “Gallio, you let me get in there and talk to him,” she snapped. “You let me send him away without any more trouble.”

Daddy stared at her. “All right then,” he said suddenly, and grinned. “One minute, no more. And then he walks out those doors and down that street and never comes back.”

Ma nodded curtly and headed into the taverna. I couldn’t hear what was said inside, and you best believe that burned me somethin’ fierce.

Daddy gestured to his boys and they spread out in the street. He held out one of his meaty hands for a shotgun. They weren’t going to let the gunfighter walk away nohow.

Jacobus pushed out through the swingin’ doors and looked back over his shoulder. “Stay behind the bar,” he said. He turned and faced down Daddy, not sparin’ a glance for the rest of the men standin’ around him. “Gallio Barrius Venustinia,” he said, and nodded politely.

Daddy spit on the street. “I made it pretty clear, last time we spoke,” he growled.

“Yes,” said the gunfighter. “My ribs still ache in winter.”

Daddy laughed a deep, mean laugh and his crew joined in. He aimed the shotgun. “Then why’d you come back?”

“I’ve been many places, since then. Fought some wars, seen some sights. Learned a lot.” Jacobus shrugged. “It was time.” He looked up at the sky with his pale eyes. “One more thing I should mention.” He took somethin’ out of his pocket. Pressed his hand to his breast and fastened it there. Golden star, eight points, chased in crimson enamel.

“Lictor,” Daddy muttered, and fired both barrels as his boys all fumbled for their guns.

Jacobus stepped casually to the side and the shotgun blast turned the taverna doors into splinters. He drew his revolver with an easy motion, spinnin’ like a dancer on the balls of his feet, fannin’ the hammer pop-pop-pop. Six of Daddy’s boys went down.

I wasn’t scared. I imagined my hand on that cannon, bringin’ blood and thunder and justice, and I knew I was watchin’ my father fight.

The lictor dropped a new cylinder into his revolver and waved a few bullets away like flies. Six more measured pulls of the trigger, and Gallio stood alone in the street, fumblin’ with the breech of his shotgun. He looked wide-eyed at Jacobus. The lictor holstered his empty pistol and raised his fists. “Come on, Venustinia,” he said. “Let’s end it well.”

Gallio threw down the shotgun. He nodded and raised his fists, edgin’ toward the lictor, then slipped a hand behind his back.

“Coward!” I yelled, and Gallio flinched, the snub pistol in his hand waverin’ for just long enough, and Jacobus was on him, inside his reach, and there was a noise like a slaughterhouse hammer as the lictor’s fist burst forward. Gallio clawed at his crushed throat for a moment, eyes fixed on me, face turning purple, and then he fell and stopped movin’.

And no great loss to the world, you ask me.

“So, settin’ up shop here, O Lictor?” I asked Jacobus.

He turned to look into the taverna. “Depends on a few things, I guess,” he said. “But you ‘n’ me should probably talk some, regardless.”

“Yeah,” I said. “And you can teach me to shoot.”

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their

My apologies but there's no way I'm making the deadline. I'll submit as soon as I can. I have this intense feeling of deja vu right now and it is making me want to gag.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:56 on Oct 27, 2015

Oct 4, 2013

1097 Words

Helena, the girl who would become the hero, found her home burned to ashes, her family slain, the snow stained red. She ran off crying into the night, sword in hand.


It felt like a betrayal, almost, how beautiful their small village had been on the day of the razing. The winter air was crisp and the sky was clear, letting the sun beam down on the pristine snow, disturbed only by the children who were making the most of the free time afforded by the end of the harvest season.

No one had known what to expect when old Sam, the huntmaster, returned from the woods empty-handed, but with worrying news. “There’s a group of soldiers marching our way, along the main road. Looked to be about twenty of ‘em.” Everyone knew of the war with their neighboring country of Ilstia, of course, but it had thus far left their village untouched. Parents exchanged fretful whispers, fearing that they had come to take their sons and daughters off to fight. They quickly ushered the children back indoors, leaving the town square conspicuously silent. Workers abandoned their tasks and gathered in the tavern, trying to distract from their worries with each other’s company and card games.

Once the soldiers ultimately arrived, Mayor Wilson received them with a nervous smile and a respectful bow. “This is a most, erhm, unexpected honor, good sirs. What brings you to our humble town?” The soldier at the head of the pack returned neither the smile nor any recognition of the bow, his features hard. With one hand idly tapping the hilt of his longsword, he surveyed the village. Those watching from their windows hurriedly ducked out of view when his gaze met theirs.

As if reading from a script, the soldier recited “By order of his highness Leonardo VII, we of the royal army are hereby authorized, in order to sustain the battle against our war-mongering neighbors, to collect the food stores as needed from all villages under his domain.” Over the shocked protests of the mayor, he continued “Three wagonloads of your finest foodstuffs will be sufficient.”

“G-good sir, we are but a small community. We, of course, are completely loyal to the king, but with winter’s worst still to come, we simply cannot afford to-”

“Who the hell do you shiny metal bastards think you are?” Came a furious shout from the tavern , cutting off the mayor’s pleading. The soldier raised an eyebrow as young Edward emerged from the tavern. “We toil all year long, growing just enough to support ourselves, and you think you can just march into our home and leave us to starve? Let go of me!” With a rough shove, he pushed back the fellow workers that were desperately trying to restrain him. He strode purposefully until he was right in the soldier’s face. “We won’t stand for this, I say! We-” With a single punch to the gut, the soldier sent Edward reeling to the ground.

The mayor rushed to support the struck boy, trembling before the soldier’s iron gaze. “Please, sir, forgive him! He is a mere 16 years of age, with more anger than sense! You’ll have your wagons, I swear, just have mercy on him!”

The soldier slowly shook his head. “I’m afraid that accosting a soldier in the midst of his duty is a dire crime, indeed. Why, most would be executed on the spot. I’m feeling generous, though. Give us five wagonloads, and the boy may live.”

Wilson hurriedly nodded. “Anything you want, anything!” He moved to help Edward to his feet, but the boy had other plans.

“That deal would kill us all!” He cried, slapping the mayor’s hand away as he stood, bringing himself up to his full height. “You’re nothing better than a common lot of murderers, you are! You’ll get no- urk...” Edward looked down to see the soldier’s longsword pierce through his chest, wet with his own blood. He fell to the ground yet again. This time, he did not rise.

“You had your warning.” The soldier said, sheathing his bloodstained blade. “The wagons, now, unless you wish to follow.” Before the dumbfounded mayor could reply, Edward’s older brothers exploded out of the tavern doors, wielding whatever crude weapons had been at hand. With a yell, they lunged at the line of troops, taking one by surprise before they too were cut down. The soldier cursed, then turned to face his men. “Did you not see me give them a chance at mercy? Perhaps if we raze this village to the ground, they’ll learn!”


Five years had passed since that day, and the village was still scarred. Some villagers had fought, to avenge their fallen friends and family and defend their home. Nearly all were crushed before the army’s might. Most others had hid or fled, and were spared from the fire and the blade.

In time, those who survived returned to their former home and tried to rebuild heir former lives. At first they had feared reprisal from the army, but it soon came to be that the king had more important things on his mind than a single disobedient village. Their tragedy was far from an isolated case, and the masses were already near their breaking point. When a simple village girl appeared, speaking of an innocent community torn apart, there was an uproar, and what had once been a general discontent became an organized resistance.

In the years to come, hardly a week passed without a traveler or merchant bringing news of the rebellion’s latest triumph, of some noble ousted from their home or army battalion struck down. The knowledge that their suffering had not been forgotten was what gave the townspeople the drive to raise building after building and reclaim what was lost. Mason, a grizzled veteran from a war long past, could be heard boasting to all in earshot that he had taught Helena all she knew of swordplay.

They would gather every year, on the anniversary of the razing, in memory of the forty souls lost that day. A number that paled in comparison to the thousands who ultimately perished over the course of the rebellion, of course, but they were their dead, and their names and faces still lived on in the villager’s minds.

Ultimately, the hero and her allies succeeded and ousted the king from his throne. One beautiful winter’s day, much like the one she had left behind five years ago, Helena returned at last.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
The Black Cat Cafe (814 words)

Navarro turned the hairpin over in his hands. It was a modest piece like you might find anywhere in the world, elegant at a glance only in its simplicity. Of course it was special. A paper flower with powder blue petals graced its crest, and the tip had been sharpened to a surgical point. A gift for his daughter on her thirteenth birthday included with a bottle of blowfish poison. Sasha was thrilled.

When she disappeared four years later, he discovered the hairpin alongside her note.

If it's alright, I'd rather not kill anyone.

Emil suggested they pursue her immediately, but Navarro knew better. He'd trained his children in the family business. No one could find Sasha if she didn't wish to be found.

"If it's alright, I'd rather not kill anyone."

Those words had echoed in Navarro's mind for six years. He slipped the hairpin up his sleeve.

Emil hit a bump in the road. “Whoops.” He caught his father's glance in the rear view mirror. “Nearly there, nearly there,” he assured the old man, a practiced pleasantry in the delivery. Emil slowed the car as he rounded the corner. Through a natural squint he surveyed their location.

Evening had come, and the streets were sparsely populated. The Black Cat Cafe was closed as promised. The curtains were drawn but illuminated from within by a soft amber glow. They need only knock. That was what they'd been told.

Emil parked the car across the street and opened the glove box. Inside was a revolver and a letter. The revolver was his mother's. The letter had arrived a week ago.

He did a quick check to make sure the gun was functional. He loaded a single bullet. Navarro was already outside. Emil stood and stretched. Navarro didn't even look at him.

“Sometime this century, Emil.”

Emil chuckled. “A moment, a moment. Not all of us are as compact and travel-sized as you.”

Father and son, they crossed the street. Two strange men in suits as dark as midnight.

The door was clear glass set inside a wooden frame. Navarro didn't like it. Emil approached and played a little tune on the door frame with his knuckles. For a moment there was silence, then a click. The door opened inward.

Emil stepped inside and was grabbed in a headlock. His attacker was a young woman in a crisp white blouse and black vest.

“Six years and you still take the front door,” she said. “We're not milkmen you know.”

“We're...professionals.” Emil tried to shake her off.

“Ain't nothing professional 'bout what we do! Don't go bringin' honor into it like it's anything more than an eight-point word in Scrabble.”

Emil collapsed onto his hands and knees. The young woman on his back looked up and saw her father in the doorway.

“Howdy pops. Been awhile.”

Navarro took a second to digest the scene. She was six years older, but it was his Sasha.

“You've cut your hair.”

“It was getting' in the way.”

“You look like a boy.”

“Thanks for the positive reinforcement, dad.”

Emil gasped for breath. With one arm secure around his windpipe, Sasha reached down into the confines of his jacket and retrieved the revolver. “Does mom know you have this?” She opened the chamber and shook free its contents. “One bullet? Who do you think you are, Clint Eastwood?”

Navarro stepped inside. It was a modest little restaurant with wooden chairs and tables and potted plants for color. One table in particular stood out to him. Unlike the rest, it was fully furnished with plates and silverware. Two bowls of soup sat steaming, a basket of bread between them. A meal for two at a table for three.

“ me.”

“A minute.” Sasha reached over and pulled the other knife from his other sock to add to her collection. Satisfied, she let him loose. Emil's breathing was harsh. He rose slowly. Sasha dumped her brother's concealed weapons on a spare table. She kept the revolver for herself.

“What's this all about?” Navarro pointed at the table.

“It's dinner, dad. Not much to talk about on an empty stomach.”

“You ran away from home to become a cook?”

“I ran away from home to open a restaurant.”

“You wrote to us after all these years for this?”

“I wanted you guys here for a lot of things.” Sasha pulled out a chair and helped her brother into it. “Ah right, you like a little wine before dinner don't you? Let me go get something.”

Navarro watched his daughter speed off into the kitchen. She was filled with life in a way he hadn't seen the two years before her disappearance.

He decided to forget about the hairpin concealed in his sleeve.

Jul 4, 2010

I find dead men rout
more easily.
:siren: Submissions are now closed. :siren:

Those of you who haven't submitted yet, you are no longer eligible for the victory but if you do so today you can still get a crit. Phobia, get something in and maybe, maybe we will be lenient.

Jul 18, 2011

My first batch of critiques from Week 149 (for Screaming Idiot, StealthArcher, Rap Three Times, theblunderbuss, Thranguy, and Enchanted Hat) can be found here.

Yes, I'm line-critting everyone. Expect these to be complete in about 70 years.

Jul 4, 2010

I find dead men rout
more easily.
:siren: Thunderdome CL Results :siren:

Well, we had a fair few no-shows this week. What did come in was... variable.

Our loser this week is HalliburTown, by s7ndicat3. I would like to describe it succinctly but I'm honestly not sure I can. I'll settle for 'incomprehensible.'

Well-earned DMs go to a pair of definite non-stories: What a Shame, by JcDent, and Homecoming, by dmboogie. Also to Some Old Hood poo poo by Doctor Idle.

There was some nice contrast at the upper end of the scale, though, and the winner was by no means clear-cut. HMs go to A Shiny Red Apple, by Benny Profane; Holding What Is Left, by Grizzled Patriarch; and Trigger, by SadisTech.

And our winner this week... I.O.U., by Ironic Twist. Congratulations!

Crits will be forthcoming. For now, I leave you in Twist's capable hands.

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their

767 words

Dr. Vance Klimmer found his soul on his way to the hospital. He was in his Corvette(the red one, as opposed to his blue Corvette), doing fifty-five in a forty mile an hour zone. So saying that he found his soul is an overstatement. He just drove into it. Klimmer could remember the moment it happened too, as the collision made his body convulse so hard that he nearly swerved into oncoming traffic.

He had been soulless up until that point, a thirty-four year old husk of a man, so the shock of suddenly having a soul tore at his very being. Understandable, really. Klimmer's first reaction was to pull his car over, open and vomit. This is a natural reaction for a souless cretin like Klimmer; when reunited with one's soul, the sudden burst of emotion can cause a sudden fit of nausea. Klimmer sobbed into his hands, too. He sat there and cried. He didn't even understand why he was crying, but the tears kept coming and he could not control himself. Again, this is natural.

Once the tears dried up, Klimmer sat there with his eyes closed considered whether it would be smart to go into work. As Klimmer did not believe in the 'soul', he could not possibly understand the gravity of his situation. He could only feel it in the pit of his stomach and the back of his brain.

Eventually Klimmer controlled himself. He chalked it all up to shock from nearly driving into oncoming traffic. He could have been killed, after all. Breathing a deep sigh, Klimmer closed the door, turned his Corvette back on and pulled away.

He arrived at the hospital twenty minutes late, but it mattered very little. Everything that had happened on his drive, even his being late, was negligible. Senority, skill and nepotism meant that Klimmer answered only to the Chief of Surgery. In short, that meant Klimmer called the shots, having his nurses and assistants handle the checkups with patients and tasks that he deemed unimportant. He had a surgery in the afternoon, a simple elective for a former governor scheduled ahead of time. It would only take a few hours, after which he planned to have dinner with his fiancee. The doctor carried on with his duties that day, as if nothing had happened.

But it was not as simple as that. True, Klimmer was a man of science, a godless surgeon. Having a soul matters little when one is blind, but that did not stop the lump in his throat from throbbing. The heart monitors echoed from all around his section of the ward, but when the mechanical of one machine quickened or went dead the mechanical sounds pierced his ears. Throughout the day he grew increasing aware of his surroundings, at the spotless halls and the smell of antiseptic. Even the sight of blood, slight but present, gave him a tense feeling.

He grew so accustomed to it all, both through university and experience, but for some reason it all felt cold. Lifeless. It did not unsettle him. He barely noticed these feelings, pushing them aside and ignoring them. But it perturbed him enough that, when he walked past the emergency room and saw a mother in tears, he stopped in his tracks.

The Hispanic woman was not crying at that moment, but the smear of eyeliner across her cheeks was unmistakable. She sat in the corner of the room, hands clenching something in her lap. Shirt jostled, lips quivering, frizzed hair lapping over her shoulders. She looked like a wreck, and from the way her eyes darted from the clock to the hallway and back, he wasn't far off.

Then he saw that moment, Klimmer felt pity. He scanned the other people in the waiting room; crying; wounded; desperate. His pity turned sour. A melancholic wave that washed over his spine and made him shiver. Just a shiver, but little else.

But the image of the woman with a bunny in her lap lingered. So much so that, after his surgery, he walked over to the Children's ward and found a pediatrician he was familiar with. He asked about the woman he had seen, about what exactly had happened. A traffic accident.

He returned to his high-rise apartment, alone. The dinner was cancelled. Klimmer was not feeling exactly hungry, and he did not want to see his fiancee. Instead he spent the night staring out of his window, at the skyrises and hustle and bustle. He stared for a very long time just watching the cars drive into the distance.

Feb 25, 2014
:siren: Bonus Non-Judge Crits for Reunion Week! :siren:

Ah Thunderdome, it’s been a long time since we’ve had our last reunion, and I’m happy to see some old faces, but also some new faces (actually there were no newbies this week, weird)! Of course, some of you were more interesting than others, and others I would’ve wished never came at all (talking to you Uncle Jimmy), but we’re all a big happy family, so we just gotta deal with each other. After all, that’s what family’s all about!

This week took a lot out of me. It was a struggle to write most of these. Some of these were incredibly boring, others bad, and nothing stood out to me as anything fantastic I truly thought was amazing. There was a mix of problems, whether it be characters (which was most everyone this week), pacing, clarity, or just lack of effort. There were some stupid highlights though. Two stories about video games, ripping off famous scenes from famous tv shows almost word for word, and giving tree fanfic! Thunderdome, you never cease to amaze! I don’t know why, but this prompt just made you all put your stupid hats on and sit around drooling on your keyboards. Maybe I’m just bitter and unable to see the good side in any of your stories, but almost none of them worked for me. Who knows.

s7ndicate3 - HalliburTown (decent title in context of story, though doesn’t do much for me as an initial reader)

The gently caress is that opening. It’s boring and makes no sense. I’m not quite sure where this story is going and I’m about half way in. That’s a bad sign. What the gently caress happened with Chloe? She just starts hearing a voice for some reason? Is that what’s his face from the beginning or someone else that I don’t know? Ok, so a bomb exploded, I’m assuming a nuke because you said world wars, and then Chloe leaves after hearing a voice? I don’t understand what the hell is happening. There’s this floating but I don’t know if she’s actually floating or if that’s supposed to be a kind of metaphor or a different descriptor. The whole escaping a idealistic community cause it’s actually bad is well trodden ground and you don’t much of anything to make it interesting. Alright, so Chloe runs away and jumps over a fence, gets caught in the fence, someone smiles at her and ignores her, and then she goes back to write a note and pack her bag?????? Why? Why did she run away? Why did she go back to write and pack? Why didnt she do that in the first place? I don’t know what the gently caress happened. There was that bomb but was it an actual bomb? Chloe runs away for reasons I don’t understand. Peter doesn’t care, much like I do. All your characters are boring with their motivations being about as transparent as lead.

There’s something here inbetween the lines that I feel like you were trying to create. A post-apocalyptic world or sci-fi dystopia future, where society only remains in an idyllic suburban paradise (OR IS IT???), but with the story you present us, it just falls flat on its rear end and I don’t care. Don’t get fancy yet. Write a story, write it well, then you can get fancy.

Am I happy you showed up? - Sorry, what was that? I couldn’t hear your name. You need to speak clearly.

Prediction: DM or Loss, my personal Loss candidate. Right on the money!

Screaming Idiot - An Old Friend (cliche title alert! cliche title alert!)

Opening: Laurence Barker was not a well man. He was old and bent, wracked with illness and a lifetime of war wounds and the ravages of alcohol. But he was also a stubborn man, and he clung to life with a white-knuckled grip and a scowl that could shatter stone and curdle milk.

“He was old and bent…” shows us that Laurence is not a well man. “He clung to life…” shows us that he is a stubborn man. You tell and then show. Why, when you can just show? As an opening though, it was boring and not interesting. It sets up character decently, but it’s kind of a cliche “stubborn old dude who won’t die.” “A fire crackled and complained” feels passive. Boring old dudes talking about old times. Yawn.

“War isn't hell. War is war. Hell is for the guilty -- the sinners. War is filled with innocents, and that makes it much worse."

Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Let’s google that phrase real quickly and hey, would you look at that IMDB has a quote from a popular show called M*A*S*H

Hawkeye: War isn't Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse.
Father Mulcahy: How do you figure, Hawkeye?
Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?
Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe.
Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them - little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.

Interesting coincidence, don’t you think? It’s almost like you lifted that entire line from an iconic scene from a popular tv show. Honestly, I can’t tell you if you knew about this scene or you just heard about it. On one hand, you seem stupid enough to actually take a famous scene and pretend that you made it up, but you also seem stupid enough not to know that this was famous and thought it was clever or unique. In the future, maybe don’t do this? Anyways, without the blatant plagiarism, this was a boring story. Old veteran talks with an old friend (never named, of course) also in the war and they talk and talk and talk about I don’t really give a gently caress. I have no reason to care for either of them. I was talking to newt and he wondered if this was supposed to actually be the guy from mash talking. If so, I’m not sure because I’ve never watched the show, but IF that’s true then instead of plagiarizing (which you did, to be fair), you wrote fanfic. You shouldn’t do either.

Am I happy you showed up? - Yeah, I love the guy from the M*A*S*H! Too bad he got boring in his later years.

Prediction: Possible DM for boring story and/or plagiarism. Nope, wrong.

Thranguy - They Say Fish Have No Word for Water (interesting title that I like and relates to the plot)

Interesting? opening. I don’t know, it’s a cool idea, control of words and what not, but it just sits kinda weird with me. I think because it’s not a really a story, just sort of a world. Kind of cute that adults are only talking about baseball. I don’t know about this story. It was like 90% world building of a Brave New World-esque world (which btw, I love Brave New World) but it falls flat for me. Characters are pretty boring and you don’t do much with this world. It’s a cool idea, but it just lacks substance. Then the ending comes out of nowhere and I’m suddenly supposed to care about these characters? I think Cal was loving Pete, but like, I don’t know who any of these characters are and why I should really care. I feel harsh because I feel like I’m supposed to like this story, but something just stops me. It has a somewhat interesting premise, trying to find what a word means, but it ends kind of unceremoniously where a dude just tells them. I just can’t get behind any of the characters. There’s a few moments, where he’s embarrassed by a dude talking to him while he watches people gently caress in the Zones (which is where I get the biggest Brave New World vibes) but that’s about it. When you threw in loving, it also kind of killed the vibe of the story. It felt sort of homely, almost children’s book story-ish, but then loving comes out of nowhere and im like whoooooo alright there, no need to get all edgy and gritty with me. Sure, I can be a prude, but the loving seems thrown in with any real reason. The ending seems to rely on me caring about the character, but meh, they don’t really do much in the story and I have no real reason to care. Maybe I’m just bitter today, but I can’t seem to muster up any ability to care.

Am I happy you showed up? - You made me want to read Brave New World again, so thanks.

Lazy Beggar - Clap Happy (decent title, though happy doesn’t seem quite right for this story)

Right from the get-go I felt completely disengaged in this story and was never pulled in. I can pinpoint this to 3 key problems - boring character, telling not showing, and tone. Your character is very boring, even though he should, in theory, be interesting. A serial killer who just kills comedians could be an interesting concept, but he does it just because he was bad at stand-up one time so now he will have his revenge!!!!!!! But then he stops, gets a job and a wife, and is just really boring. There’s not a lot of story here. It’s mostly just you telling me “now he got a job, now he got a wife, now he ran away.” There’s no real scenes. Just you telling me about this character I have no real investment in. Your narrator’s tone feels very uninterested, and just go “oh hum, yeah I used to be a serial killer but then I stopped because I didn’t like that, so I became a bank manager which was pretty cool, I liked that, also hands started clapping and I ran away but whatever, I’m doing pretty good now. So what’s new with you?” It has that water cooler, kind of not that interesting story but just doing small talk anyways tone that COULD work in a different story. I mean a serial killer who seems bored and disinterested in all his murders is kind of creepy. But the tone never works for the story because I never get the feeling that the narrator is a real murderer. He doesn’t give off that vibe. Hell, he doesn’t have much of a character to begin with this. His defining feature is “hates comedians” but never comes to mean anything. Then the ending is some surreal thing that comes kind of out of nowhere in its surreality and clashes with the rest of the story. The ending wasn’t bad, it just felt forced and not really meaningful or as frightening as it might have been trying. This story wasn’t bad, just bland and boring.

Am I happy you showed up? - It was a decent talk, but ultimately I won’t remember this after a couple of hours.

Entenzahn - All That He Was (hmmm, I’m not sure on this title. I think it’s referring to the end that he was just an average joe. If so, kind of cool, though I feel like the story is trying to mean something more than just All That He Was was a stupid loser who is dumb for trying to be unique. Idk).

Sci-fi, fantastic! (This is sarcasm btw). It kinda gets stupid with him putting on a kabuki mask and playing music. This was ok. I enjoyed it, but I don’t have much else to say about it. Nothing stuck out to me very specifically that I really really liked, nor anything bad. The character was good, but he just didn’t stick out to me too hard. The best story I’ve read today, though.

I am happy you showed up? - It’s like seeing an old friend again, but not enough’s happened in our lives that we only talk for a minute or two before we go talk to other people.

Prediction: I can see this HMing although it didn’t work for me personally. As a sole judge, no mention. My personal opinion was right!

spectres of autism - Up Back Medium Punch Down Forward Heavy Punch (Worst title by far, probably will be the worst title. Just lol)

Oh dear, video games. You know, I like video games. Hell, I love them. Here’s the thing though - they don’t make good plots. Most are stupid, especially ones like Not-Streets-of-Rage. This is all just kind of stupid. Like who cares? There’s some cute details, like card games being kiddy and Not Streets of Rage being mature, but it all is just kind of dumb. Idk, I’m not feeling this story. It’s just a video game and this dude puts way too much stock into them. LOL WTF THE CAT PUT IN A loving SUPER COMBO OMG THIS IT IS LITERALLY DEUS EX MACHINA BUT WITH A loving CAT! Lol that ending is absolute garbage. The story itself is decent albeit trite and stupid. An urban legend like story but not presented in any interesting way, nor the character being all that interesting either besides being “nerd being bullied and loves video game.”

Am I happy you showed up? - I know your mom made you come, but you can at least try talk to people instead of staring at your 3DS the entire time.

Prediction: I can foresee this getting a DM just for its stupid subject matter but I personally would not if I was the sole judge, unless my other judges really hated it, which is possible. Personal opinion was right.

Pham Nuwen - Telemachus (Title makes me go huh? though idk if it would make me want to read it. I’m not a fan of sci-fi so I would probably skip this)

You know, at the point where your story ended, I was about to get interested. This was all set-up, no pay off. Characters don’t really do much until the very end, and at that point I was feeling a real conflict start to appear. I wanted to see what would happen between Sarah and Gerrard due to the taking down of the probe. THAT would’ve been interesting. This… not so much. It’s not terrible, but it’s not really a story. Nothing happens until the end and then whatever who cares it ends. Not terrible prose or anything, just kind of meaningless until the end where a conflict is born but never concluded. Left me with a bit of blue balls here.

I am happy you showed up? - Yeah, cool story about your enema. Wait, what was that about dragons? Why are you leaving early?

Benny Profane - A Shiny Red Apple (Kind of a plain title)

So… Giving Tree fanfict? This was written well and I enjoyed it, but it still felt a little lame to me because it was like “Hey, the Giving Tree isn’t actually that realistic, ha ha, wink wink, nudge nudge.” There were a few missteps in the prose (“drooped visibly” - no poo poo sherlock, or else how would something droop? Can i droop invisibly?) It could’ve gone with a little more subtly and the ending comes a bit weird. Like he says that apples aren’t going to pay for a mortgage (which they won’t) but then he says they will anyways???? Is that to make the tree feel better, or does he actually think it’ll work? I was ok with James, I liked him, a bit of an everyman character, but nothing to hate. The tree was characterized decently, though the depression part was a bit weird as it comes out of nowhere, but isn’t too unexpected. Needed a little more build up, I think. Overall, not bad, though this could go badly for you writing fanfic. One of the better stories.

Am I happy you showed? - Yeah, though I’m afraid to say that your idea for a novel series of wizard going to a wizard school isn’t a wholly original idea. Hope it works out for you though.

Prediction: Possible HM. As a judge, I might HM this, depending on my mood. Right on the money.

Doctor Idle - Some Old Hood poo poo (Ehhhhhh, not really feeling the title)

As a general guide for dialogue, if dialogue is followed by a tag, end with a comma unless using some other punctuation (? or !) and continue the sentence like it hasn’t ended. If the dialogue is followed by an action, end with a period or other punctuation and capitalize the next word like the dialogue is the end of a sentence.

For example

“Hi,” he said. “This is how you do dialogue correctly.”

“This is how you do action after dialogue.” He threw his computer out of the window.

Like this

“Yeah, sure.” Dante said turning his head to the side dismissively.

should be corrected to this

“Yeah, sure,” Dante said, turning his head to the side dismissively.

Small grammar stuff, but it gets in the way of a story sometimes, especially after Kaishai taught me how to do this now I’m obsessed with doing it right. drat her. There’s a lot of characters going on with this story and I’ve never been the best with names so I have to keep going back to keep straight who is who. I was kind of feeling this story but

“In a matter of seconds, I detonated all of our plans together. I ruined our relationship. Even if she doesn’t write back, I hope she’s alright. I hurt everyone that trusted me. I hurt Roger’s family and mine.”

Is really out of place and feels kinda out of place in the story. Huh? What’s the cringe thing at the end? What is that supposed to mean? Anyways, as a whole, I enjoyed this story. Some grammar issues, some prose issues (tiny human head - yeah, we know it's a human. Maybe if it was an alien that would be cool), but otherwise I was starting to feel for the character and felt some sympathy for him. Ending’s a bit weird again though. Monica doesn’t want to see me but oh wait now she does but she also has my kid and still loves me. I do like a happy ending, but it wasn’t set up well enough and kind of feels arbitrary rather than organic, so it loses some of its emotion. It still felt nice and I liked the story, but it feels disingenuous all the pathos you give to us about this guy’s love giving up on him in prison and then oh nvm he still loves him, fooled you! Really, Monica is a weak part of the story. We don’t really see their relationship that well, and I think it would’ve meant more, as the reader, to see Dom come back because he played a much more active role in the story. Drop Monica, make Dom a stronger character, have him come back, and think that would’ve elevated this story a bit more. Or focus on the relationship between the protag and Monica and make me care about the relationship so when it falls apart I feel sad. Like the only thing I knew about the relationship is that they fought and I sure do love relationships where they always fight! (sarcasm btw). The whole “girl comes back” is a bit overplayed and if not executed well (i.e. I don’t care about the relationship) it doesn’t really work. Still, this is a bit nitpicky, and this was good, but could keep it from being any higher on the judge’s list.

Am I happy you showed up? - Sure, the conversation wasn’t the most original I’ve had, but thanks for showing up. Need some brothas in here. Even though you're just a white guy with dreadlocks.

Prediction: Didn't expect this to DM, but yeah, there were problems.

newtestleper - Makeup (boring title initially, I guess decent after finishing the story)

Interesting opening. Did you mix up Simon’s and Scott’s names? No wait, they’re different characters… then who is who? Simon is the dead dude and then Scott’s someone else? No wait, you mixed up Simon and Scott twice! Twice! Christ man. Why is Beth saying these things? Is she trying to piss them off or what? You prance around the issue so deliberately and obviously that it’s frustrating. Man dude, proofread. You mixed up Simon and Scott, missed some capitalization, saw a double comma, etc. I’m really left more confused. Like I know what happens in the story, but it doesn’t quite make sense. Harry’s an old friend or something. I think the story’s supposed to be about how we never quite grow up, but really it just feels so completely odd to me. The whole thing just seems weird. It’s like Simon and Isobel are still in love, but Beth knows? Or they’re just friends? Well, no, they aren’t because Isobel has his heart. They were both goths, cool, but idk. I just can’t care even though I really, really want to. Like I am honestly trying, I swear, but none of these stories are making me care. Simon is kind of interesting, but he’s kind of a one note character. The relationships aren’t really explored, I never understand really anything about the characters and I don’t understand the motivations. Was Simon’s goal really to play heavy metal at this guy’s funeral and then dance with his ex-girlfriend from however long ago. Is he trying to get her back. If so, then why is his wife helping him? It’s so bizarre. There’s also a bunch of characters that I don’t give a poo poo about. Beth and Marko are just there as plot devices as well as Harry. I wanted to like this story, I really did, but it just was not there. Confusion with name happened early, and then idk I just couldn’t get involved. There’s some attempts at characterization that worked, but I just never quite got that feel. It might just be me, but idk, I just can’t lie to myself and say that I thought this was good.

Am I happy you showed up? - Yeah, totally Grandpa, your story about the IRS was pretty interesting. You know, I’m thinking I’m gonna get another drink and pass out. Thanks.

Killer-of-Lawyers - Scarcity

Eh, opening is decent, sets up setting at least, but nothing else. I just woke up when I started reading this and two paragraphs I already want to fall asleep again. Misspelled rubble. Please, get to the point. Three paragraphs in and I don’t know what or why and its boring. Seventh paragraph I get something that matters to me as a writer. It took you seven paragraph to set up “protag wants to kill fascist leader and finds fascist leader.” You could have easily made that one paragraph without all the boring bullshit attempt at world building or whatever the gently caress you were trying to do. Why would an assassin or whatever roar? Wouldn’t that give away her position?

"The gently caress?!" Latoya said with surprise

“With surprise” is unnecessary because people usually say “the gently caress?!” in surprise.

Adrenaline coursed through Latoya as her adrenal pump kicked in.

Why? Why not just make it normal adrenaline instead of forcing it into sci-fi? This was pretty much just a sci-fi story that did too much world building and had decent action, but without any character or much of anything else to speak of. I’m just happy you didn’t make the enemy some kind of best friend or some stupid poo poo like that as a big twist. You kept it simple. This just needed to be a tighter story and it might’ve worked. Also you didn’t help yourself with me because I hate sci-fi. Ok, well, I don’t actually hate sci-fi, I hate how people write sci-fi. They get so focused on the details, on the cybernetics or the dystopian future or whatever and they forget to throw in interesting characters that engage me as a reader. That’s the biggest problem with the story - there is no character to latch onto. I don’t care really about the fight because the main character’s only trait is “hates fascism for whatever reason and has to kill people for some reason.” Motivations aren’t explained too clearly, I don’t know if she’s a mercenary or soldier, or some kind of freelance murder machine.

Am I happy you showed up? - Yeah, dude, sure.

Grizzled Patriarch - Holding What is Left (good title, fits into the story nicely, I like it)

Oh dear, a GP story that is only half the word count. Please be a complete story. Please be a complete story. *crosses fingers*

Assuming vampire story. Oh dear, GP, it’s not complete. Again. You have a conflict, but it’s not resolved. It’s more of a vignette. Well written, and I liked it, though I felt like Saanvi was a bit generic. I think if you moved the story forward into a resolution, whatever you decide that to be, Saanvi would show her character, but in just this vignette all I get is that she loves her husband even after he’s a vampire. Please, just finish a story when I read them. I feel like I should just stop deciding to do crits in weeks you’re in because every single time you just stop and don’t finish up your conflict.

Am I happy you showed up? - Yeah, but then you left after like twenty minutes.

Prediction: I personally didn't think much of it, but I guess the judges liked it so cool. I didn't have it low.

Ironic Twist - I.O.U. (Sorry I got bored of doing title crits)

Typo in fourth paragraph. Ah a Twist story. I enjoyed the concept, less so the characters, which has been a sore part for me this entire week, but I still don’t have much feeling of who he is. I think understand what is happening in your story, which is great, and I liked the concept, but it just lacked the character oomph to make it have as big as an impact to me. I loved the plot and it moved nicely and strongly, motivations were clear, although your ending I didn’t like because I thought you set up a nice set of rules for the town but then it gets broken at the end for whatever reason? I think the dad became like the mom because the town doesn’t let people leave, but the mom only became like that because they took her, but they never took the dad, right? So then why is he suddenly under their control? However, this was a complete story with character motivations and a cool concept that I enjoyed, just lacked a really compelling character that could’ve made this stronger.

Am I happy you showed up? - I love hearing about your startup ideas, but you might need to learn how to be nice to people or it’s never going to work out for you.

Prediction: Possible HM, Possible Win (quality this week feels low, probably wouldn’t win in a different week). I really didn’t enjoy this that much so if I was alone I wouldn’t mention this, but I can see the quality in it. Personal opinion was wrong, but I did know the judges would probably like this.

Jonked - The Once and Future King

I don’t really get why Percy jumped on Lance near the end of that that scene? I mean, I kind of get it, Lance scoffing and King Arthur, but Percy seems to overreact to that, and idk, feels weirdly forced to me. Strange to me too because he calls Percy kid, but I never feel like it’s an insult like it’s supposed to be, so I thought he was literally a kid. And then the whole “oh you never got along” like there’s supposed to be a sitcom laugh track right afterwards. I liked the story though. Lance has motivations and desires and they play into the story and create an ending that I thought was both creative and interesting. Kind of strange that the french would openly surrender, and that they would let Lance, alone, talk to them. Why would Arthur not be there to negotiate surrender? Percy and King Arthur could’ve been characterized a little better to contrast with Lance’s desires, but overall, I thought this was a good story. However, the more I think about, the more I start to dislike it. Lance doesn’t give the vibe of an unwilling fighter, and he never seems to want to stop the fighting until you the writer decides actually that’s what he wants. The opening makes it seem like he’s proud of being a warrior, so it’s strange that he’s suddenly unwilling to fight. Then Arthur doesn’t really seem like he would want to continue the war. Maybe I’m missing the mythology because I don’t know the story of King Arthur, but if even to get a brief reprieve from fighting when supplies are low, you’d think he’d take the opportunity. Maybe I’m thinking too much about the story, but I liked it. It had faults, but it was still good despite those faults.

Am I happy you showed up? - You know this isn’t a Renaissance Faire, right?

Prediction: Win or HM, probably wouldn’t win in a stronger week. I would probably choose this as the win. Wrong here.

JcDent - What A Shame

This feels a bit too wink wink nudge nudge for me. All the internet stuff is kind of interesting, but you overplay it by the third paragraph. Shut. The. gently caress. Up. Right now. I want to stop reading your story. Hell I might even do it. You spend three paragraphs gushing over Deus Ex. Seriously. I… I… I don’t quite have the words for this. I can’t believe someone wrote this, thought it was good, and actually submitted it. This isn’t GamerDome or whatever the gently caress. This was just stupid in every conceivable.

So, ignoring your nerdgasm over Deus Ex, I did not enjoy this story. You overplayed the whole “internet nerd” character that maybe you were trying to be funny or endearing but it was neither of those things and was just plain obnoxious. Ex-girlfriend doesn’t even matter in this loving story. gently caress, you could’ve just had me walk into a thrift store or flea market and find Deus Ex and the story would not change in the slightest. This is just a baffling story. Stop playing video games so much and read a drat book.

Am I happy you came? - Cool, yeah, Deus Ex is a good game. Can you tell me something more interesting?

Prediction: Loss or DM. On the money with a DM.

SadisTech - Trigger

I hate openings with vague pronouns. Tell me who he is, or don’t mention him. Wait, is taverna actually a real word? Huh, learn something new every day. Story starts off at a ROARING start as a stranger walks into town and has boring western dialogue that heavily implies that the stranger is the protag’s father. Wait, this is Greek Western? What? Eh, kind of a generic western without much else to it.

Am I happy you came? - It wasn’t a bad talk, just one I won’t remember.

Prediction: Honestly, I didn't think much of this story but I guess you struck someone's fancy with this tale.

dmboogie - Homecoming

Generic fantasy with a generic character saying “no gently caress you soldiers” and then the soldiers are actually dicks and then burn an entire town because you know, soldiers are dick. Helena has 0 character. Hell, she does nothing in the story. It’s more of a story of the town, and then Helena just seems like a small detail never talked about. It’s like an intro to a fantasy novel, then you skip the fantasy novel part with all the action and interesting stuff, and end it like a fantasy novel.

Am I happy you came? - Huh? You were here?

Prediction: I mean, it was generic fantasy without much to it. A DM is always likely for that.

Bad Seafood - Black Cat Cafe

oh my god, finally, the last loving story. Christ, this week was so rough, please, just give me a good story to end. You’re my only hope Bad Seafood.

“Of course it was special.” Really? Why don’t you show us why it’s special instead of telling us? I liked the story. Assassin runs away to open a restaurant, cute premise, some good dialogue that made me chuckle. End feels a bit rushed, and the resolution is a bit too easy. “I’m going to kill my daughter for giving up on her role of being an assassin” and then “oh wait she likes cooking nvm scratch that.” With the low amount of words used and the late submission I’m gonna assume you ran out of time, but I think if you expanded the beginning of the story and get across stronger that Navarro really loves his kids/daughter, and that the daughter has a true passion for something else, this would have more impact. However, as it stands, it just feels a little bare bones, but honestly, it’s better than most of the stuff I read today.

Am I happy you showed up? - Yes, thank God. All these guys are loving crazy!

Prediction: HM, maybe a win? Idk, I’m not the judge and I’d have to think about this. I might choose this as the win because it was the only story that made me smile and gave me genuine enjoyment.

flerp fucked around with this message at 22:43 on Jun 22, 2015

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
Thunderdome Week CLI: Rewriting The Books

And now, one of my favorite bands of all-time is going to take the stage.

Wikipedia posted:

The Books were an American duo, formed in New York City in 1999, consisting of guitarist and vocalist Nick Zammuto and cellist Paul de Jong. Their releases typically incorporated samples of obscure sounds and speech...
The Books are commonly cited by critics to be of a genre of their own.[27] Zammuto has described it as collage music.[18] Paul de Jong described it as "the new folk music...[w]e make our own instruments, use our own libraries of sound bites while trying to create something universally human."...
The Books' music usually consists of acoustic instrumentation of folk melodies usually played on guitar, cello, banjo and more, combined with a diverse range of samples obtained from cassettes found in thrift stores,[18] which are digitally processed and edited.[5] They also rarely use a drum kit in recordings and performances, instead favouring inanimate objects like children's toys and filing cabinets, which are sampled and looped.[29] Some observers contend that their music is aleatoric,[32] but Zammuto has disagreed, saying the music is very tightly controlled.[18]

You've heard this one before: pick a song by The Books, turn it into a story. I'm not going to be that much of a stickler over the prompt, but I would like to see some connection, otherwise what's the point?

You can either pick a song yourself or ask me to assign you one, but I will be giving all assignments out at once on Wednesday night EST, so if you want to start your story earlier, it's in your best interest to find your own song. This link might be helpful. Or this one, for those not in the US.

Also, the usual restrictions: no fanfiction, nonfiction or erotica.

Word Count: 1300 words
Signup Deadline: Friday, June 26, Midnight EST
Submission Deadline: Sunday, June 28, Midnight EST

Ironic Twist

Killer-of-Lawyers--Read, Eat, Sleep
Sitting Here--If Not Now, Whenever
Grizzled Patriarch--A Dead Fish Gains The Power Of Observation
Thranguy--Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again
Hocus Pocus--Getting The Done Job
SlipUp--Foreign Country And Western
Entenzahn--Found Frozen Corndog
Benny Profane--Don't Even Sing About It
Fausty--Twelve Fold Chain
JcDent--Thirty Incoming
Doctor Idle--I Am Who I Am
Club Sandwich--Venice
God Over Djinn--A Cold Freezin' Night
Lazy Beggar--Contempt

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 06:02 on Jun 26, 2015

Apr 22, 2008

Welp, never heard of them, so pick me a song so I can be IN.

I'll take Read, Eat, Sleep.

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at 01:42 on Jun 24, 2015

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
In. Gimme a song.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007



Broenheim posted:

Prediction: Possible DM for boring story and/or plagiarism. Nope, wrong.

I didn't know that line originally came from a TV show -- it was something my dad told me when I was little when we talked about his time in Vietnam, and I sort of transposed my own feelings toward him in my story. I'm sorry about the plagiarism, and if possible, I'd like to do something to make up for it. Should I delete the story?

I deserve a DM for this.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Man the dome has some good taste in music. In.

I'll edit in my song in a bit.

Feb 25, 2014

Screaming Idiot posted:

I didn't know that line originally came from a TV show -- it was something my dad told me when I was little when we talked about his time in Vietnam, and I sort of transposed my own feelings toward him in my story. I'm sorry about the plagiarism, and if possible, I'd like to do something to make up for it. Should I delete the story?

I deserve a DM for this.

eh it's not that big of a deal to be honest. it's just a stupid internet contest and not like you ripped off an entire story. just, don't do it again, and leave it at that.

Aug 2, 2002




to be fair, none of us watched MASH

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
in, and I'll take a song.

Dec 28, 2009
Initial judgenotes, fresh from the gdoc! Full crits to follow, but I figured you lot might want to know how much I loving hate some of you right now.

I have literally no idea what the point of this story is. Tenses swap wildly. I can’t actually work out what’s happening or what you’re trying to tell me other than everyone in your story is batshit insane.

Story: 1, Characters: 2, Prose: 1

Bottom pile/dm/loss candidate.

An Old Friend
Bland, boring, obvious.

Story: 2, Characters: 3, Prose: 3


They Say Fish Have No Word for Water
Meh. The world is cute, but the story is just “wander around talking to people” and then some kinda-hinted-at love subplot at the end? I’m not really sure what’s supposed to be happening, tbh, it just gets sprung out of nowhere at the last minute.

Story: 2, Characters: 2, Prose: 3

Clap Happy
I just don’t care about your protagonist, or your story. It’s just a series of things that happened, only you blew so many words on setup and crap that the presumed-focus of the story (the spooky hands coming out of nowhere) shows up too late for me to care, and doesn’t even get resolved properly anyway.

Story: 1, Characters: 1, Prose: 2

All That He Was
Stuff happens, protagonist almost has a goal and achieves it! But then he throws himself off a bridge and it all just peters out.

Story: 3, Characters: 3, Prose: 3

Up Back Medium Punch Down Forward Heavy Punch
I… didn’t hate this, though it’s corny as gently caress. Sloppy storytelling but there’s an actual story, even if you did cop-out the ending completely.

Story: 3, Characters: 4, Prose: 3

A promising start, and then it just fizzled and died in a sort of “oh”. Also the idea of a deep-space probe being able to land on solid land, intact enough to steal anything useful from it (rather than splashing down the samples in an ocean and everything else burns up on re-entry) is a bit much.

Story: 2, Characters: 3, Prose: 3

A Shiny Red Apple
Inoffensive, kinda cute. Which by current standards puts it near the top of the pack.

Story: 3, Characters: 4 (fuckin’ tree yo), Prose: 3

Some Old Hood poo poo
I don’t know who put “Cringeeeeee” at the end but they were right. Your dialogue is loving awful, your protagonist sounds like an upper-middle-class white kid who’s just found a new swear word. Hint: ‘voice’ is more than just saying “friend of the family” every sentence. I probably couldn’t make genuine small-time-hood-gansta voice sound believable either, but at least I don’t try.

Awful, awful voice aside, not much else happens because it’s all autobiographical boring poo poo right until the end. First-person-past-tense-narration is often a risky choice because it often makes it hard to care (everything’s already happened and a lot of the interest goes away as a result) and your story is a prime loving example. 90% boring waffle I don’t give a poo poo about, and then boom! he gonna be a baby daddy. But I’ve already stopped caring by then.

Story: 2, Characters: 1, Prose: 1
Low, maybe even DM for atrocious use of ‘friend of the family’.

Maybe Being Crazy Ain't Such a Bad Thing
Kinda sweet little story, kinda spoiled by really clunky phrasing and exposition in the middle. I think the same story with better telling (there’s pretty atrocious basic errors in there too) would work better.

Story: 4, Characters: 2, Prose: 1
Middle for bad writing, high for story

Sort of sweet, if a bit awkward (much like goths in love). I like it, despite its flaws, it has a nice little curve though the ending felt rushed.

Story: 4, Characters: 3, Prose: 3
Mid/high, maybe hm/win contender

A lovely fight scene with some exposition dumped on its doorstep like a flaming dog turd. Also lots of typos. I don’t care about the character, I don’t hate the evil fascist cyborg whatever-the-fucks despite how many times you try and tell me they’re evil fascist hordes, and I don’t see any story arc or character progression or resolution.

Story: 1, Characters: 1, Prose: 3

Holding What is Left
This is a really sweet, well-told little vignette, but it’s just a bit of backstory. I worked out what was going on about ¼ of the way in, and there weren’t any surprises from then on. Given you only used half the wordcount, I assume this was a rush job, which is a real shame as the writing is very good and the descriptions excellent.

Story: 2, Characters: 4, Prose: 5
Mid, maybe an HM for prose alone, but not a winner

Packs in a lot of rather ominous world-building in quite a short space, and the story isn’t bad either. I felt it was a bit too hard to follow/ambiguous in places, but that’s partly because of how you’ve (not) formatted your scene breaks (alternatively writocracy ate them, but it’s generally better than that).

Story: 4, Characters: 3, Prose: 3
High, maybe HM/win

The Once and Future King
The premise is a bit wacky, almost, but you carry it off reasonably well. A nice story, well ended, and I almost cared about the characters. The first ⅔ just felt… weak, though, jumping around quite a bit, a little too much directly-addressing-the-reader, and some random punchups that just feel like they’re in there to make it clear the protagonist is a hard-nosed soldier who’s not to be messed with.

Story: 4, Characters: 2, Prose: 2

What a Shame
What the gently caress did I just waste my time reading.

gently caress you.

Story: 1, Characters: 1, Prose: 2

All th’ accentin’ all o’er th’ place got real tired real quick, but beyond that it was a good story, albeit far from a new one. It’s an old story, and the ending was pretty predictable, but you told it well enough. Partly because of your voice, I never quite worked out whether the Lictor was supposed to be a firearm literally weighing tons or if the narrator was just exaggerating a lot. Also said bookisms, but not bad enough that I even caught it on the first read-through.

Story: 3, Characters: 4, Prose: 3
Mid/high, might HM or win as the competition is poo poo.

I think you forgot to actually write a story. That’s 1100 words of backstory for some lovely, generic fantasy novel and I want the time it took me to read them back.

gently caress you.

Story: 1, Characters: 2, Prose: 3

The Black Cat Cafe
Short, cute, not awful.

Story: 3, Characters: 4, Prose: 3
Mid/High, maybe HM/win

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

in with a song, please.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Judge crits for week 150

Ugh so many of you guys tried to do emotional things and failed. IMO we need more autobiographical weeks. The emotional core of a story comes from your own experiences and observations, but a lot of these stories read like the writer was trying to transcribe TV dramas into flash fiction. As always, I read this in judgemode and don't feel like adding your usernames. Don't know what your story was called? Oh well!

Hallibur Town

Circles theme goes nowhere. The whole “black femininity" thing made me feel complicated, frowny emotions. Like it was just there for flavor, which was a weird choice. I started to hear Yakety Sax in my head when people kept leaving/reentering the house. Needs a thorough line edit. It’s hard for me to say much about this, because there are so many confusing elements jammed into one piece. Also, having a kid named “Venn” really drove home the whole circles theme, with which you neglected to do anything substantial.

An Old Friend

Maudlin. MAUDLIIIIIIN. I could almost hear a rustic violin playing a folksy dirge. I knew the “friend” was Death or something pretty much as soon as he showed up. This whole story tries to evoke feelings of ending, redemption, forgiveness, and peace, but I felt like I was watching the sniffling climax of a movie without seeing the beginning or middle. The writing is decent, if not a bit over-descriptive and hyperbolic in places.

The Say Fish Have No Word for Water

I like stories about language. I don’t like when stories about language have a “twist” ending and reveal that the narrator has a crush on the supporting character. So Peg liked Cal, and Cal was gay for Pete? Those are all fine plot elements, but they shouldn’t come in the last few lines. It felt like a bait and switch, plot-wise.

Clap Happy

I thought this story was ok until the end. Then it was like, straight out of “Tales of the Crypt Keeper” or whatever that dumb horror show with the talking skeleton was called. The hands starting to show up was cool. It was less cool when they were animate and clapping at him. Flash fiction isn’t really the place for that sort of ending imo. It felt like a cheap twist, even if the characterization was good enough to make me want to like it.

All That He Was

This is basically 2112 by Rush, which is based on an Ayn Rand story. You practically wrote Ayn Rand fiction, my friend. I dunno, is this like a treatise on the futility of artistic expression in an increasingly specialized world? There are some semi-interesting thoughts here, but then the protag kills himself and it’s all for naught. Which left me feeling a bit sour and pessimistic.

Up Back Medium Punch Down Forward heavy Punch

Aw dude. I knew the ending to this was gonna disappoint me a bit, and it did, but that was only because the rest of the words were pretty good. And I was only a little disappointed. It wasn’t the worst ending so far, not by a long shot. Not even with as few submissions as there were before yours. That said, I did take a bit of issue with the cat putting in the super combo. Like, you just had a long-lost bully shove a fortuitous copy of the game into Tom’s hands. You only get one major coincidence in a story this short, after that it feels cheap. But otherwise, this story was a nice riff on the kind of poo poo kids always tell each other about video games. And the comparison between the game character and the protagonist wasn’t lost on me. I thought you did a neat metaphor.


This was good, though the beginning was a bit slow for how much you packed in there otherwise. The decision to bring down the satellite was an understandable one. I have literally no idea if anything they did was probable, which gave me a good feeling, like watching a 90s space movie as a kid.

A Shiny Red Apple

The easy-going dialog is the best part about this. I liked that the tree doesn’t have a name, is just called Tree. I like that she’s not wise or aged. I like that you didn’t over-explain too much about why/how all this is happening. That said, the plot is kind of delicate and wispy. It’s basically like, a tree asks a guy to change his mind about something, and he does. There’s a bit more to it than that, but if I hadn’t been amused by the characters, i don’t know if I would’ve liked the story. Luckily I was amused! So good job.

Some Old Hood poo poo

Cringeeee? Uh, okay. I think this is one of those stories that would work better in a TV show. The narration as Dante is describing the shootout is kind of clumsy, but there is a staccato sort of honesty that I wanted to like. If you’d taken Dante’s dialog and made it into narration, I’d have liked it better. Like, get rid of the whole counselor thing. Let Dante describe his experiences first hand, as they’re happening. Would’ve been more engaging. Babies-as-redemption is kind of old hat, but eh. There are a lot of people in the US who are in prison and perfectly capable of loving their children, so I think it’s important to portray that.

Maybe Being Crazy Ain’t Such a Bad Thing

You’ve got a weird motivational problem here. See, the only one who wants something concrete is the voice in Dylan’s head. And that voice has to give us huuuuge chunks of background exposition. Yet the voice isn’t really characterized at all. It’s just the part of Dylan that doesn’t want to be a sadsack, I guess. And at the end of the day, this is another “guy changes his mind about Thing, the end” story. If I put it on a graph, it would be pretty much a straight line from beginning to end.


This is like a long vignette. Too many characters, too much relying on the reader being able to understand all the implied relationships between them. The first sentence made me think Isobel was the POV character. The climactic moment was I guess playing Rammstein at a wake? Then giving kids goth makeup? But none of it was as cathartic or feelsy as it wanted to be. Because there were just too many people, and you had to spend so many words moving them around and attributing dialog and setting up relationships. This made me think of a Coen brothers or Wes Anderson movie, and it aaaalmost hit the vibe I think you were going for. But not quite, for the reasons I mentioned above. Also i think you switched Scott/Simon at one point, which confused the judges :(


I have this sense that you were trying to go for the whole “the narrator is just as bad as the fascists she condemns” thing. For how much she waxes on about waxing philosophical, there isn’t a whole lot of philosophy here. I skimmed the action scene, found the ending very sudden and not terribly satisfying.

Holding What is Left

Nice. It’s a vignette, but it’s nice. I can make some projections as to what the ending might be. She lets him in, lets him take her. Or maybe she sends him away for the pain of seeing him like that. Maybe he stops showing up. This has some emotional weight, which means I’m able to sort of think about what I know of the characters and guess what they might do after the ending of the story. The little touches of realism really add to this. The way the family dresses and shaves their heads, the fact that the husband was into Son House. In a week full of clumsy emotions, this was tight and dense and I wish it’d gone on longer.


There is a creepy structure that seems to hold a town in stasis. Apparently, people go into it and come out as weird pod people who try and keep the normies trapped in purgatory? The protagonist tries to escape, but as soon as he gets too far from the tower, he loses his poo poo and starts to row back. A couple of things crossed my mind here. This could be an experiment, or some impossible, incomprehensible SCP-type thing. It could be that something bad happened to the narrator, like death or a coma, and the tower is sort of his mind’s way of keeping him trapped in the cycle of events that led up to his misfortune. I don’t really need to know, though! I think my favorite part was when you described how the tower reacted to vandalism. There’s this sense like, people are generally uneasy about it, but are trapped in this town just like the narrator. The implication that some organization might be paying them to give up family to the tower is interesting too. All in all, this was a creepy little yarn. I would say it was confusing, but there was enough concrete action to keep me engaged, and in this case I think it would actually ruin the mystique if I found out what exactly was going on. The judges enjoyed musing about it, which means we were engaged.

The Once and Future King

Bringing King Arthur back in a post apocalyptic war scenario. Pretty cool. I didn’t care too much about the descriptions of the fighting through the tunnels. I’d have liked to spend more time with the characters, since your dialog/characterization was stronger than your action, IMO. I did like the scene with the Frenchman, though I think you could’ve given the whole “gently caress the brass, lets make peace” idea more room to breathe. The ending was sudden and full of death, which is a tried and true thunderdome technique at this point, I guess.

What a Shame

I can’t. I can’t even. I’m sorry. This is about a guy getting a video game back from his ex, or something. I started skimming once i hit the laborious description of the game itself. Maybe you hid something clever in there, but I suspect not. There’s some rambling about relationships, but it’s all loose, empty paraphrasing of imaginary internet articles this guy read. I don’t even know what to say. This isn’t really a story, tbh.


You do a pretty good riff on the folksy voice. It was aaaalmost too thick for me, but you settled into it well enough. This had good dialog, good tension, and the ending didn’t feel like an abrupt punch to the face where someone I don’t care about dies. The gunfight was cool. I think it was a good call to have the kiddo as the POV character, it gave a wide-eyed sense of awe to the whole scene.


Okay, so I thought this story was going to be about someone named Helena. But Helena is just kind of a mysterious bookend to a pretty generic story about soldiers being assholes. You have the cowering mayor, the brash teenager who gets killed, and the pointless razing of a town. Everything about this is paper thin. I don’t care, because you didn’t hone in on a character for me to care about. This is like every fantasy story ever, except your “hero” didn’t even have the decency to show up for the action.

The Black Cat Cafe

This feels like a setup for a longer story. You pull of the sort of noir-ish voice alright, but there’s no real conflict/resolution. Like, they were looking for their daughter/sister, but they find her pretty easily, and everything is sort of just...ok? I think it would’ve been better to end with a more clear setup for further adventures, at least. Having them settle down for dinner was a bit anticlimactic, and I had this feeling like, if you’d just gone a couple hundred words further, the actual conflict would’ve been set up. The voice made it easy reading, but I was disappointed that you ended it where you did. I did like “If it’s alright, I’d rather not kill anyone.” I got a sense for Sasha’s character immediately, before she has any screen time. So, I actually wanted to meet her by the time she shows up.

Sep 30, 2006

stayin c o o l
In. I'll take "Foreign Country and Western"

also, all of those youtube vids have been removed, (for me at least). Here's their bandcamp:

SlipUp fucked around with this message at 23:23 on Jun 22, 2015

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?
I'm in with Foreign Country and Western.

e: oh god you bitch

Profane Accessory
Feb 23, 2012

Hell yeah, I love The Books. In with Don't Even Sing About It.

Sep 30, 2006

stayin c o o l

Entenzahn posted:

I'm in with Foreign Country and Western.

e: oh god you bitch

"found frozen corndog" is still availble :smug:

I knew I was gonna have to jump on that poo poo

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?
Alright. I'll take Found Frozen Corndog.

It shall be a learning experience for you.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

SlipUp posted:

In. I'll take "Foreign Country and Western"

also, all of those youtube vids have been removed, (for me at least). Here's their bandcamp:

added to the prompt, thank you SlipUp.

May 16, 2014

"Is there a
John Luck Pickerd


Song please.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
Thanks go to meeple, Broenheim and Sitting Here for the crits.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Gonna go with "A Dead Fish Gains the Power of Observation" for my song this week.

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
In. Give song, please.


May 13, 2013

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

s7indicate3 posted:


From one loser to another non-winner!

So the story is about a woman running away from the false perfect world of suburbia? Maybe your flash tied into that, but I find it hard to understand how it ties to the prompt.

You named the kid Venn to be cheeky, didn't you? Venn diagram and all that.

I'd say something about playing up Chloe's race, as a risky move there.

The anti-commercialism angle was maybe layed on a little too thick, with the TMs, and the exaggerated ads and Halliburton (it's a contractor, isn't it?).

Also, the words from the ad in Chloe's section are hard to separate from her thoughts due to formatting and placement.

...and the last, nit pickiest part: if you're rich, why don't you have a dishwasher? I certainly would.

For what it's worth, after reading your story, and crits on mine, I feel like you wrote better.

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