Persona 4 -Reincarnation- SMILE
"I don't think I fit in with my family. They're just a bit off, you know? I might just be a teenage girl and so it's normal for me to feel out of place, but they don't even seem human to me."
"So why are you telling your cat?" asked Jack.
"Well, you are a good listener."
"I'm just looking at you alertly because you're bigger than me and I'm in danger of getting crushed."
"See? I can relate to that," I told him. I was sitting on the couch with a pile of homework, trying to get some privacy. It seemed that no matter where in the house I tried to settle, someone would barge in with some zany antics.
Case in point: the front door burst open, and a mostly round man in a police uniform walked through it. After a beatific deep breath, he shouted through the house: "I'm home!"
"I'm right here, Dad," I told him.
He laughed at me. "Oh, Violet!"
A pretty redhead bustled in from the kitchen. "What did our daughter do now?"
"Long story, Buttercup. What's for dinner?"
“Wilmer!” Mom scolded, pronouncing his first name with a wince-inducing imitation of Dad’s Trinidadian mother. “Why is it that the first thing you have to say to me when you walk through that door is another task for me!”
I sighed. "Jack, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm sitting here doing homework and all of the sudden I'm in the middle of a conversation two adults are shouting at each other from opposite ends of the room."
"Oh, Violet!" Mom admonished. Dad jiggled with suppressed laughter and shook his head, then went over to kiss his beautiful wife hello. "Sorry dear, I forgot that being a nurse wears you out."
Donny's voice preceded him from upstairs. "Will you all keep it down?" He descended the steps located behind the couch, eyes hidden under shampoo commercial hair. "I'm infinitesimally close to hacking my test scores to get into MIT."
Everyone stared at him, reacting in mime for about three seconds.
"Um, hello?" said Dad, still in uniform. "I don't pound the pavement in the mean streets of Chicago just to have my son become some kind of delinquent Mr. Robot!"
"It's cool, Dad. They actually accept hacked applications now."
"Why is everyone so expository all the time?" I asked.
"Why do you lack an inner monologue?" retorted Jack.
"Oh Violet!" said Mom again.
"Holy crap I just need to do some homework!" I grabbed the nearest book and dashed past Donny upstairs.
In my bedroom, I brooded alone in the dim light of a single 60 watt lamp. "What is going on here? Why is everyone asking questions that they should already know the answer to? Why do they always get helpfully sarcastic answers?"
Jack had apparently crept in behind me. "You're talking to yourself."
"I was talking to you."
"That's a lie," he said. I bluffed him with a hard look. Nonplussed, Jack added: "I'm hungry."
"Violet dear?" Mom knocked on the cracked door to my room as her red mane intruded through it. "I couldn't help but notice you seemed upset downstairs. Is something the matter?"
I huffed and puffed. "Everyone's acting like... characters or something! I'm tired of having so much going on. I just want to be normal!"
She flicked the wall switch to turn on the real lights and sat on the bed, placing her hand on my shoulder. "We're a family, Violet. And you know what else? We love you."
"But I feel so different!"
"Of course you are sweetie. But if you weren't around, we would be like a recipe missing an ingredient.”
“Salt,” said Jack.
Mom continued: “We'd go completely off the rails if there weren't someone to keep things in check!"
"You're the straight man," Jack added helpfully.
"You mean... I fit in because I'm different?"
"You're basically the emotional center," said Jack.
"Wow, so even though I'm boring I can still be myself and hold my own?" I thought aloud.
"Why don't you go downstairs and give it a try," Mom smiled at me.
I dashed out of the room. "Thanks Mom!" I said. Thinking better of it, I returned to give her a hug, then dashed out of the room again.
"Oh, Violet," said Jack, as he curled up for a nap.
|# ? Nov 6, 2016 23:53|
|# ? May 16, 2022 15:14|
Forgetting to Drown
Prompt: Persona 3 FES - Heartful Cry https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgxs785sqjw
An orange and brown little goblin ran past me and grabbed the photograph out of my hand. Then it took a running dive into the dark shadow that the back of the Burger Buddy cast. I sprung forward and followed after. There was a second when I thought to myself 'You know you're going to smack your fool head into the concrete and break your neck', and another second when I told myself right back 'And?'. It wasn't like I was going to let it get away. That photo was about the only thing I owned apart from my ragged-rear end clothes.
It was all I had left of Billy.
Anyhow, I didn't hit my head or break my neck. Like the thieving goblin, I went right through and was swimming in the shadow. A person doesn't naturally float in darkness. They sink, slowly, unless they keep swimming. It swam downward, and I followed.
It wasn't just empty darkness, either. Everywhere were shiny spinning dimes, floating in the blackness, shining with light reflected from nowhere, bright enough to see by. There were reefs made from left-handed schooldesks. The goblin swam through a small gap. I had to swim around, but I never lost sight.
I couldn't hold my breath any longer, and was too deep to surface. My mouth opened, the stale air burbled out, and I breathed in the shadow. I could breathe it as naturally as air. It tasted like licorice and autumn and static electricity.
The goblin swam left of a giant broken slingshot stuck into the black sand at the shadow-sea's floor, the strap hanging off the left-hand prong. I swam around to the right, kicked off the ground, and sprung forward to grab its hair-and-bones leg.
“Ow!” it said. “Let go of the Grackle! Let go!”
“Not until you give that back,” I said. I knew that name. The Grackle.
“No,” it said, holding it out so I couldn't reach it without releasing the leg. “The Grackle needs.”
The Grackle. I remembered. A Thanksgiving art project. Billy build the house and family in layers of construction paper and glue, and beside his smiling cut-out self, holding his hand, was something that looked like an upright-standing lion with an orange and brown and yellow mane. Billy called it the Grackle. “All kids have imaginary friends at that age,” Alice had said. “He'll grow out of it soon enough.”
“You-” I said, trying to pull it towards me as it struggled. “You knew Billy?”
“Billy was the Grackle's friend,” It said.
I sat down on the black sand. “Please,” I said. “Please don't swim away.” I released its leg. It sat down, gingerly, a foot away.
We talked for a long time. I told him stories of the things in Billy's life that happened, and it–he, it turned out–told me of the things that didn't. Then he asked me what happened to Billy.
I told him, about the van,the bicycle and the careless driver. About the hospital and the doctor with the dead eyes and practiced speech. We cried together, our tears dissolving into the shadow ocean. He tried to give the photograph back, pushed it into my chest, but I pushed it back. We sat, looking at it, staring into Billy's smile for hours.
Then the sun arrived and tore the dark ocean apart like invisible pinking shears spindling black construction paper. Bright light pierced through the gashes, which appeared faster and faster until all that was left of the shadow were a few crinkled strips sizzling on the ground like black snake fireworks and I was alone in that alleyway between the Burger Buddy and the liquor store.
The dimes remained, spinning in midair around me. I plucked the nearest one and looked at it. It was new and normal and this year's mint. I collected them all into my good pocket. There was more than five dollars all together. Enough for a bottle, or a burger.
Billy had always loved his burger. Give him a Double Cheese Buddy Burger with extra pickles and mustard and he'd be happy for the rest of the day.
I walked out of the alley without making a decision. Then I took out one of the dimes and tossed it into the air. Heads for left, tails for right. I caught it, slapped it onto my hand, and looked.
Tails. I shook my head and decided to have the burger anyway.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 00:42|
Prompt: Route 209
I’ve been on hold for six days, and my arm is stuck in the receiver up to the elbow.
“You are very important to us,” the voice on the line says, and I sob, sacred relief washing through me. “Please hold while we provide assistance.”
The music starts again, and I can’t hear myself suffer.
Clicking the button in the cradle makes it hurt worse. Dialing another number makes it hurt worse. Trying to pull the line out of the wall is like trying to unthread the tendons from my arm, my arm plunged into sand-colored plastic, my fingers playing a smooth concerto on a piano made entirely of metal. One jumper cable clipped to the Double Pedal Low A, the other clipped to the Eighth Octave High C, voltage rushing through my veins, the melody of my own destruction sizzling through my inner ear, twinkling notes that pierce like silver needles.
You hear a note for so long, it fades into the background, into the wallpaper. Pain, excruciating pain, works the same way.
The cord is long enough to stretch from the kitchen into the front hall—to the front door, opaque and stained with dead shouts for help—and not any farther. The only living things in this house were the funeral lilies next to the kitchen sink, and I ate them three hours ago, the rubbery petals crunching between my teeth, lips stained with pollen. I miss the lettuce.
More muted piano, muted horns, muted woodwind instruments. I’ve noticed the colors draining every time I scream, scrape my teeth against the listening part of the phone, try to yell past the whitewashed orchestra for someone, anyone. Everything is pastel now, infected with white. The sky through the kitchen window is the faintest blue of a baby’s blanket. The cherrywood cabinets have turned a milky caramel. The drawings taped to the front of our empty refrigerator look like ghosts drawn on the back of supermarket receipts.
The music stops, and my arm sinks in a millimeter further.
“You are very important to us.” says the unreachable person on the other line. “Please hold while we provide assistance.”
I remember how the cooking oil slid down my throat, the apple cider vinegar, the sriracha that tasted like marinara sauce. The cooking sherry was long gone—it had been my only option that night, before I woke up here. The whole bottle was drained in half an hour, while I sat at the kitchen desk, cradling the phone next to my ear, mouth babbling to a computerized voice. All the while that music played in the background, twinkling fairy-tale piano, a concert above an empty crib—
Burning through my hand, up my arm and into my brain.
I stand up on shaky legs and pull the cord behind me, reach over to the far corner of the kitchen, where the knife block is. White-hot pain sizzles through my arm, protesting my decision. I stretch two fingertips out towards a greyed handle, just—barely—
The block tips out the entire set of knives onto the tile floor, the sound as soft and inoffensive as rain. I step on the cleaver and drag it closer, pick it up with my free
I stare at the blade, or rather, what used to be a blade.
The piano notes twinkle and trail off.
A voice comes through the phone, through the silence, the absence of hurt.
Gurgling is all I can hear, a soft gurgling. Someone attempting to talk. Someone that sounds like me.
Then a high note, a cry, an Eighth Octave High C, my—
—and I scream but I can’t hear myself and the music starts and I slam the cleaver down on my arm over and over again and the blade crumples, crumples like aluminum foil and I lean back and howl, somewhere between Octave Nine and Octave Ten, slamming my jaw down onto my forearm, my teeth grinding and gnashing at the exposed flesh, the blood flowing out the color of strawberry milk and it’s the best taste I’ve ever tasted in my whole entire life and the grief no longer matters and the pain no longer matters and I just want more, and I already know my lips will be second-last, and my tongue will be last.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 01:27|
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:20 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 02:32|
All Their Hollow, Empty Prayers
The saloon’s got all the charm of a funeral in the bayou. There’s an old Honky Tonk in the corner that seems to be playing itself, filling the room with a dissonant tune that would be danceable if it weren’t so off. Every few seconds there’s a scratch and it restarts, and there ain’t much else for sound around here. You’d expect there to be at least some chatter from the patrons, but you’d be wrong. There ain’t no patrons. All that’s here are the shadows.
I lean into the counter and watch, slowly, as if moving could stir up the scenery. They’re like human echoes, memories of people that used to be, silhouettes, constantly fading, but too slow to notice. Just… hanging around, some more, some less. Like the piano, they go through the motions, puppets on broken strings doing their thing – take a drink, play a hand – until it’s time to start over.
“I can’t do this,” I say.
My Colt .45 disagrees. It leans into my side like a desperate whore, locked and loaded and ready to go. Six slugs in the chamber. Can tell by the weight.
I notice I’m holding a glass of the good stuff. The whiskey goes down hot, sharp and smoky. I slam it back on the counter and the spillage mixes with the grime and forms small rivers in the grooves. I flex my right hand. My gun clicks with excitement.
On the other side of the counter, there’s a mirror. I see real people in there, playing Hold‘em, laughing over drinks, and no scratch in the record to spoil the music. There’s a lady sitting next to me, except she isn’t really, because there is no me. Just a faint imprint on the mirror. Barely visible. Too far gone.
Yet she seems to be looking at me.
Her image disappears.
I turn my head.
Her face is inches away. She’s leaning towards me, eyes open like something’s going on and she can’t believe it. But there’s no life in them, just an empty stare looking for Lord-knows-what in the Lord-knows-where. Her lips open and close, open and close.
All of a sudden I’ve got my my gun pressed against her chest.
I’m not pulling back the hammer. “Not today,” I say. My gun grows heavy in disagreement. It makes my damned head pound. Something about the woman seems familiar, but I’ve seen too many faces in my life.
“One…” she whispers, so faint that you could have sworn you were imagining it. I lean in closer, gun still pressed into her because it’ll never back down, and I listen.
“One, two, three, four, five, six,” she says. Pause. “Seven.”
Then she starts over.
The hammer clicks back. I put my other hand on the gun, first to try and push it away, then to hold it steady from all the goddamned shaking it’s doing. A red flower blooms on the woman’s blouse. It grows outwards, vines flowing down her shirt and covering the linen in tiny red veins. Then there’s another flower, and then six, soaking her shirt.
“One, two, three, four, five six.”
The gun wants to shoot. It needs to. “No,” I say, but it begins shaking again, needy, horny for the shot like a bitch in heat, trigger creeping backwards, steel scraping on steel, dragging my finger along no matter how much I want to stop, and it will fire, and I’ll--
I push it up against my own chin and pull the trigger.
It clicks. Hollow. Empty. One, two, three, four, five, six times. I open my eyes and there she still is, staring at me, through me, saying the words, bleeding from a hole in her head.
“No,” I say.
I tear the Colt around and fire into the mirror.
It’s a bright day in the desert. The saloon is nowhere in sight. Nothing is. Just dust, and a blue sky that goes on forever.
Back when I was a kid growing up in New Mexico I used to sometimes look up there and think to myself, hey, that cloud looks like a dingo, or hey, who needs the sea with a sky like that. I liked being out here. This was where God could see me from above.
But now I look up, and it’s just empty space. A void that goes on forever. And me, I’m stuck right in the middle of it.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 02:32|
a new study bible! fucked around with this message at 04:50 on Jan 1, 2017
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 02:35|
my song: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X23Fzs1QBZA
The frog only wanted to make someone happy. It sailed through the air, spinning lazily, catching the light in glinting rays under the hot midday sun. The sensation of the air running through its mechanisms was like being rubbed down with silk.
The girl had been an insufferable child, the kind who ended up chopped to pieces and used for kindling in fairytales. The kind to sneak into her mother’s room after being left in the tower, to open her dresser drawer after seeing it left unlocked, and to rummage through it, with bands and earrings hitting the floor, until she found something she could play with. A tiny mechanical frog.
It had sat in there for years, ever since her mother had been abroad, purchased on a whim from an antique jewelry shop. Locked away, never wound. Not since it was created. Now, after enduring the slow dark torture of the years, it longed only to bring joy, to drink in the happiness of others.
It occupied the girl’s attention for a brief while. When wound and activated, the frog would do a little dance, accompanied by a tinny recording of music, produced from somewhere inside its chest: guitars, violin, accordion.
The girl was selfish and easily bored, and she showed giddy glee at first, fleeting—not true joy, not from her—but her interest quickly waned. The frog knew she would not bring it the recognition it craved, knew there would have to be another to bring happiness. When she grew bored with it she tossed it out the window.
Seeing the movement, a seabird leapt from the tower. It dove for the metal frog like a child reaching for a toy, then squawked in alarm as its eyes burned. It had a change of heart and after a mad flapping of wings swooped away, off to the sandy beach and its warm thermals and simple hermit crabs that were easy to catch and eat, that wouldn’t blind it with the pain of sunlight.
The blue expanse approached. It welcomed its new visitor with knives of ice. Fish turned to metal splinters at the sound.
The frog sank slowly, into smothering darkness. Then, hope. Something had jarred within the toy at its initial impact. It could do one thing. As it settled on the sandbar at the bottom of the lagoon, to an audience of fly larvae and phosphorescent bacteria, the silver jeweled frog began to dance with the gentle swaying of the current. The only sound was whirring and the muffled sound of flamenco music.
A small shrimp passing along the sea floor paused, entranced by the display. It waggled its feelers and settled in to watch with unblinking black eyes.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 04:23|
750 words - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUlAytznxn4
The Dragon has lost its name. It keens and howls and whimpers, wreathed in fireless smoke and unfamiliar shadow. It bats its wings at the terrifying dark, teetering upon the precipice of madness, then moans again.
Its dirge travels on night winds over the blackened land. Skeletal scavengers look up, dragon-wary and ready to bolt at any unnatural light, but the sound washes past them and leaves them to their hunger.
Across the wastes it carries, until it reaches the Knight’s camp. Encased in chrome, the Knight glints like sharpened intelligence as he burns the many, costly names he has summoned. Each falling name disintegrates to fine ash, joining the growing pile. But when the first decibel of dragon sound reverberates inside his spiked helm he stops and stands and listens.
His steed is already by him, one knee bent, head bowed, trying not to see the emptiness behind the Knight’s visor. “My Lord,” the Stallion says, “the wyrm’s name was among them. We must ride.”
The Knight moves like water, sheathing his sword and slamming down his visor so the echoing cry within cuts off, broken into unfindable pieces. His horse’s wheels are slick with oil, ready to drive him to the fires of Heaven and back. The Knight leaps to the stallion’s broad, rectangular back, rips his banner from the earth, and spurs his steed. The pair career through the desiccated trees, rolling like thunder, shining like lightning.
But the road is not without its twists and turns. Beneath a signpost filled with fire-charred compass points of unknowable directions, they find a weeping child, huddled and half-hiding between two burned corpses. The knight yanks at the reins.
“My Lord,” says the Stallion, slowing quickly. “Time is of the essence…” But the Knight ignores him and drops to the ground. Spying the sword he carries the child sobs even harder.
“My Lord!” The Stallion drips impatience, but is dismissed with an impatient gesture. The Knight unsheathes his sword and lays it at the child’s feet. She becomes quiet, though her face is still wet. She reaches for the sword, emerging from the dead and revealing she is only half a child, the other half has burned away. She breathes, a deep and lasting breath that seems it has taken an eternity to arrive, and raises the impossibly heavy sword in thankful salute.
But the knight does not see. He has heard the scraping of bone against bone.
“Scavengers, My Lord,” says the Stallion, “and close.” The Knight mounts and drives. He does not see the child push the tip of the sword through her tiny, exposed heart nor see her slide down the blade into silence.
The scavengers are circling, the smell of crisped flesh an irresistible temptation. They are bone in the moonlight, broken and cracked, grinding as they creep, with no flesh of their own to dull their noise.
The weaponless knight pulls off a gauntlet and hurls it. The targeted creature simply shatters. The Knight tugs his steed’s reins left, driving a tight circle, and throws sabaton and greave, poleyn and tasset. The creatures fracture, one after the other. He throws plackart and fauld, gorget and pauldron. With every throw, the knight is diminished, the empty armour destroying its target but leaving nothing behind. The Stallion feels his burden lighten and cries out, but the final gauntlet is somehow thrown, its challenge won in a cloud of splintering bone.
The Stallion is alone, save for the Knight’s banner still strapped to his side. He watches splinters grind and scrape their way into shining armor pieces, like hermit crabs looking for a home. He watches chrome-plated scavengers move toward the fallen half-child’s body, watches them feed, until it is too much. Driverless, he rolls deeper into the desolate land
The Dragon has lost its name, but not its hearing. It hears the screech of brakes as the Stallion arrives. It writhes, its enormous scaled back arching until it can also see the wheeled steed, pennant still tied to him. Dragon eyes open wide in pain and incredulity.
“He was a True Knight,” says the Stallion. “I did not understand how much he gave.”
The Dragon screams with helpless rage at the Stallion, who does not flinch.
“He taught me well, though. Taught me there’s always something left to give, until the end.”
He bends a knee, head lowered, bowing to the wyrm. “My Lord,” he names the Dragon and the fires of Heaven ignite.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 04:49|
Hell's Other People - 615 words.
The lake had never bothered the people of Hell, Arizona. When school let out, there'd be children out there every day of the year, skating along, and a little yelling and laughter was all it took to drown out the folk beneath. Those wide-eyed, pale and strange folk. On a quiet night, with less children to go around, their whispers could crawl up the hillside and into town, in through the windows. Some people couldn't take that, drifted off and left empty houses and miles of prairie grass for the unpeople to mutter at, but by and large, it was mostly just amusing. Something to bring in tourist money.
It was the visitors who made trouble. Joshua would catch them lying on the ice like beached whales, faces pressed to the cold as all around them the sky shivered with dry, dead heat. Staring down just like the unpeople below stared up. Despite all the signs he posted, there was always one who made the classic mistake. On the unmelting face of the lake, there were plenty of little pink slivers of tongue, left by a lot of dumb people.
On good days, Joshua sold tours, showing visitors through the town with its seven water towers, two statues of rugged founding fathers, the diners and the winery and finally, yes, after they bugged enough, the miracle lake. On a bad day, he'd sit in front of his little house waiting for them to show, for minivans to come crawling over the hillside and follow the signs down to him. Eventually he'd land on the lakeside, flicking breadcrumbs across the eternal ice.
It was just a drat weird day when someone came from the other direction, hiking his way up the hillside from the shore with snow clinging to his hair and built up in the ruff of his jacket. Burbling fishwords and waving his hands. Joshua struggled to mime back the concept of money, tour guides, a hard days work for a hard days pay. In the end, Josh got a fistful of breadcrumbs and reluctantly revved up the bus.
In a way, it was the best tour Joshua ever had. The young man gawked his fishy lips at the water towers, hell, at Norman Green out watering his lawn. Took in every detail of small-town history with a manic grin full of teeth like brush bristles. Waved a webbed hand at the waitress and managed to order hashbrowns.
Then he licked the menu. A big slobbery lick from an awfully long tongue that made the whole diner cringe, made the whole crowd come to peer in through the windows flinch back. They all but screamed when he turned and licked the window too. When Molly lifted her phone to grab a picture, the fish got that and her hand as well, nearly got a fist in his face from the trucker who came storming down from the bar.
Joshua hauled him out by his snowy collar and pushed him back into the truck, lecturing all the way down to the next stop. Not a word sunk in. The handsome, pioneering faces of Hell's forefathers got licked. City hall got licked on the doorknob. His windshield got licked, when the fish thought he wasn't looking. By the time the tour was finally wrapped up, and they were bumping their way down the dirt road to the lake, Joshua felt pretty licked himself.
Still. As the fish waved goodbye and slipped back down through the ice, past those little bits of tongue left behind by all the people who came and gawked, Joshua had to admit, fair was fair.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 05:55|
2 hours until submission close!
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 06:01|
Adam was a stockbroker and the night before he had been drinking with the green fairy a wormwood potion. Still, he was going to be on the floor at the opening bell in a plaid suit. “Buy, Buy, Buy! I want to buy Stock A” he started to yell, but was interrupted by the sound of flamenco music coming high above him. Among the tickers, a bullfight was about to start.
The matador was shining in an elaborate costume of gold and green with his horns peeking out from either side of his hat. The bull, meanwhile, growled and clawed at the set of horns tied to his head like a baby bonnet. The matador started to take off his cape to attract his opponent but was he was distracted by it.
“Smith! What the gently caress are you doing staring at the ceiling?! We’re losing money here.” Adam’s boss screamed.
“Don’t you see the bear and bull fighting up there?” Adam inquired.
“It’s not the 80’s anymore why are you on cocaine?! Do your drat job.” was the response. After making apologies, Adam went back to stock trading, and the money started flowing with the stock market going up.
Above, the matador was waving the cape around in the proper manner and the bull was charging back and forth like is was a proper bullfight. All was right up there. The crowd below gave them no attention, even after they switched to using monster trucks, rather than their own power. The matador’s hat had fallen off his horns and the bull had succeeded in removing the false horns.
Adam wanted to take a look at the tickers again, and started staring. His boss, more attentive than normal, shouted at Adam. Adam went back to trading stocks, but could not shake the feeling that he had seen the invisible hand and that it did not know what is was doing. Adam had a nasty thought, if he intentionally tanked the market, would the bear-bull start wining over the bull-matador? Or as long as the bull-matador was winning would stocks remain high? “Sell, Sell, Sell” came unbidden from his lips.
As the artifice had passed from Adam’s mind, so did the bullfight pretensions dropped from the scene above. The two competitors had lost their grab but morphed into two teams that could not decide what sport they were to play. The ball very bouncy, but oblong and the two teams had taken to wearing sleeveless jerseys, short-shorts, helmets and pads. The running back was fouled for traveling and was awarded a ten yard penalty.
The market stagnated, with no real gains or losses for most, but Adam was determined. He looked at the two eternal competitors and asked mentally if they would consent to a fishing contests. He hoped that the bear’s natural advantage at fishing would give it an edge. The two teams morphed into two charismatic con-men and started silent calling up retirees and worked on obtaining bank information. Adam watched the farce happening above him for a few seconds and started to go back to tanking the market.
Adam’s actions had the desired effect, as he wanted to sell, so did others until the market started to snowball downward. As the closing bell rang, the bear proudly displayed its large stack of stolen information, much larger than the bull’s. As Adam walked out with his boss, they walked down the street together. Suddenly, his boss pulled him into a deserted alleyway, a faint suggestion of horns on his head. It was not the invisible hand of the market that Adam had at this throat. When the police found Adam the next morning they were hard pressed to explain the goring wounds that Adam had.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 06:40|
Finn's -- 748 words
Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!
BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:18 on Jan 3, 2017
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 07:24|
Crits for Kai, Sittinghere and Jay W Friks
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 07:56|
Word Count: 359
Mr. Peterson’s wife is clutching Paul’s neck as he flings her around the room. Her pregnant bell rings into him and her shoes are nearly flat. A couple of jack rabbits twirl past and Mrs. Peterson is saying, “I’ll eat the Alisons for breakfast.”
Paul is trying not to step through the floor. The black and white squared tiles crumble under his foot. He’s really popping now. Knees to chest, real high, like the first brave boy to dance on coals. Mrs. Peterson laughs. Says, “I didn’t know you could move like that.”
Paul is not a good lover. His wife circles by in the arms of a helicopter. The blades are whooshing her hair around and around, cutting the air between them. His wife soars off through the chorus and down the banister running up the hall. If he wasn’t a louse, he could catch her.
“Mr. Peterson isn’t fond of snakes, either,” Mrs. Peterson is saying. Paul doesn’t remember their conversation. She is chewing the flesh off a cherry she plucked from the string quartet. Paul watches the pit slither down her throat. It plops into the pitted eyes of her unborn child. The child blinks. “Funny, you never quite get used to the kicking. Would you like to feel?”
Mrs. Peterson is offering Paul her swollen stomach through her slip lining when he sees the clock hands. Falling off the wall, they’re stretching into the arms of his wife. Ticking up and down his cock as she strokes him into softness. Whispering, Honey, don’t you think it’s time to start trying?
Paul is saying no and Mrs. Peterson is letting his hand fall limp. She’s drinking a Virgin Mary. “Some snakes have live births, you know,” she confides in him. “Fascinating creatures.”
Paul is saying, “Is that so?” and melting into the sticky smacking of her lips against the glass. She chews it up. Swallows the shards. He wants to tell her to stop, that it will hurt the baby. But Mrs. Peterson’s glass is still whole and Paul’s only baby is stillborn.
So he doesn’t say anything at all. The next song begins. Mrs. Peterson is too tired to dance. Paul moves on.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 07:59|
Forgot to add song
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 08:04|
Kinder mit lego Waffen. 500 words.
Prompt: Death Road to Canada - Lootin' Away
Click. Shuffle. Click.
“Got any more of those long ones?” A young boy’s voice rang out.
“Not that I can see.” Another boy called in reply.
It was daylight. Lego Bricks decorated a good amount of the neighborhood. The two boys were carrying a decent amount of said bricks, all aligned into a crude firearm shape. One of the boys shuffled through a nearby bush.
“Long six or long eight?” The scavenger spoke. “Because there’s a lot of long eights here.”
“Yeah, long eight’s fine.”
The two boys kept scrounging for particular parts for at least a half hour, calling for this piece and that piece. Just then…
“Get to the truck! There are bad guys coming in!” A third boy cried out from a nearby truck. The first two boys looked at each other and made a break for the truck. In the distance, there appeared to be more boys holding more crude lego firearms. The sudden war cry of young kids yelling broke the air around them.
“Hurry! We need to go!” One of the boys near the truck yelled. “We’ll cover from the back!”
The truck roared to life, and it zoomed along the asphalt. In the back, the two scavenging boys were aiming their ‘Firearms’ behind the truck, where more boys in vehicles had started to appear.
“Pa-chew! Pa-chew!” One boy called out from the truck. Every time he said pa-chew, a bullet hole appeared on one of the pursuers’ vehicles.
“Papapapapapapapapapapapa!” The other boy called out. More bullet holes in the vehicles behind them. One of the boys fell over in a pained fashion.
The battle on the road lasted another good hour. The boy driving was sweating bullets. It was supposed to be a simple gathering job. How did it go so wrong?
Just then, the pursuit stopped. There were no more cars behind them, for they all had veered into a car crash.
“We’re clear!” One of the boys in the truck yelled. “Get us to safety!”
“It’s just up the road!” The driver yelled. Suddenly, the tires screeched as the truck forced itself to a stop. In front of the truck was a blockade. An entire wall of lego bricks lay before them. Atop the wall, more boys popped up with the same crude firearms.
“Surrender your payload!” One of the wall’s defenders yelled.
“Over our dead bodies!” A boy from the truck yelled. And just like that, more gunfire filled the air.
“Agh! I’m hit!” The driver yelled. One of the boys hopped out of the truck to try and reach the driver. He was promptly gunned down with just a scream as his final breath.
And there he was. The last boy still alive. Surrounded by other boys wanting to shoot him dead. One of the defending boys moved in to place his gun against the back of the boy’s skull.
“We won this round.” He said. “Wanna play again?”
“Sure! Can we switch sides, though?” The lone boy said.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 08:03|
Under the Maelstrom
Back in those days we survived thanks to our symbionts, because we didn't have any blood. You wouldn't understand, liquid-filled as you are. Perhaps you are horrified by how we lived, and I'm not saying it was ideal — sometimes they would pick the most inopportune times to emerge. I'd lean in to my beautiful Llamaria, her red lips ever so slightly parted in invitation, and they would spill from my mouth, wings beating and mandibles cracking, to sip the cool carboniferous air, and the moment would be lost.
But we needed them, and they needed us.
Llamaria and I shared a simple home, no television or electricity, but always clean and warm. We were young, bright-eyed, and together. Our companions came and went between us without a care, scurrying and fluttering over and inside us, as our bodies intertwined and we danced and sang and made love. We had everything then, in that time of innocence. We had peace, bright conversation, and swirling music. Our symbionts delivered nutrients and shepherded waste from our bodies. But most of all we had each other.
The day everything changed we were out for a walk. Ferns reached out and tickled us as we passed. A one-winged bird landed on my shoulder, pecking furiously at the insects that travere my parchment skin. They would not be missed, for I had a belly full of larvae, pupae forever rising in my throat. I saw your grimace there. But it was just how we lived back then — we had no blood.
The sun and moon pranced across the sky as we walked. Snakes sang to us from the trees and scaly birds scurried from our footsteps.
The sky darkened.
"Look out!" Llamaria said, her voice butterflies — for those were her symbionts, forever chasing around her in swirling clouds of color and light — and I looked up and saw the moon now danced alone. The sun was gone, blotted out by a blackened mass falling towards us.
I grabbed her hand and together we ran, an explosion of butterflies and winged beetles in our wake. We burst from the fern-forest onto a wide beach before a dark ocean.
"To the water!" a chorus of clams sang from the shallows. "Before it's too late!"
A flash, and the sky birthed white streaks that split the clouds and ignited the thicket behind us.
I pulled my bride towards the ocean. "Come my love! It's the only way!"
She fought me, protesting. Scabrous appendages dug deep into my skin, mouth, eyes. Butterflies battered me with their gentle fury. I stumbled.
"We can't," Llamara cried. "They'll die."
The beach shook and the sky roared. She was right. We would have to leave them behind.
You can't imagine the pain of this choice, I am sure. To you it would be obvious: take shelter in the ocean, seek protection in the waves. Leave behind the chattering swarm. But I was not of the ocean like you are. Could you live without your blood? Would you dare to make that choice?
Her hand ripped away. Blinded, I fell towards the water. The undertow grabbed my ankle and I plunged into the deep. The jabbering mass screamed as they were torn away from me. Brine filled my mouth, my throat, and doused the maggot rabble at my core.
I tried to call to my love, my Llamaria, but without my beetles I could form no sound. The salt sea choked me, filled me until I thought I would surely burst. I was ponderous, heavy, burdened by a new density. I sank into the blackness.
The chattering and rustling and clicking that had been my life's chorus was gone. But not totally silent — new sounds, the heavy thrum of aquatic beasts calling to their loved ones, the murmur of the tides and the roar of distant currents. It was new and wonderful.
Mouth wide open, the water filled me. It expanded, filling the vessels and tributaries of my body, bringing sustenance to parched tissue. I became one with the sea and this new lifeblood. For the first time I was alone, divided from my symbionts. But I was full.
I had to tell her! I pushed upwards, my new strength easily dividing the water. I crested the roiling surface, the beach before me, but Llamaria was gone. In her place a lone butterfly sat on a rock, drying its wings under a maelstrom sky. Alone.
And for the first time, I wept.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 08:32|
The Federal Bureau of Insomniacs
400ish words: off prompt
A man in a suit sits in the basement of the FBI headquarters at Quantico, Virginia. Skimming through reams of hard copy as he bathes in the glow of an Edison bulb. His sigh echoes through the evidence locker as he files away another crate of documents. There were a thousand before it and there's be a thousand to follow at least. One more box of nothing added to the growing body of nothing the agent had been solely tasked to index. He returns to his desk, noting for the briefest of moments that even the jaundiced yellow of his lamp is incapable of washing the pallid color of death from his skin.
He casts a sideways glance at the mountains of evidence he's yet to comb through; finding a macabre comfort at the sight of a revolver sitting atop a stack of folders. For what feels like both the first and thousandth time he checks the cylinder. One round; more than enough.
"No," he shouts to the darkness around him. The words are feeble; only just carrying enough volume to pass his lips. He hasn't had reason to speak since God knows when; hasn't had anyone to speak to in longer. It's been at least a week since he's seen the sun. The bureau doesn't afford such luxuries to the digital forensics unit. Hell even computers are considered a security risk. So he sits, and he sighs, and he sifts.
Another eternity later he checks that his sidearm is still loaded. In boldface font he sees the word 'OUTDATED' stamped red on the folder exactly where the revolver had been. The irony is lost on him. He replaces the gun and continues his slog through the quagmire of banality that is the Clinton Emails.
Beside himself the agent plays architect. Stacking twenty-pound copy paper nearly as high as a man is tall. Perfectly square and arrow straight it stands without stamp or label. The agent knows that the documents of this pile are as many as they are irrelevant. An unremarkable white tower stained ivory by the antiquated lamp of political bias.
The agent affords himself the briefest of chuckles as he eyes the revolver one last time; finally appreciating how useless it would be to him.
He loosens his tie and gets back to his task. Clearing his throat before adding another level to the monolith he speaks into the eternal night he has become a part of.
"Five hundred and fifty three thousand emails to go," he declares for anyone and no one but himself.
Finally he felt like progress was being made.
SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at 22:38 on Nov 7, 2016
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 15:23|
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 15:48|
Prompt: WTF Thunderdome formatting
On Story Formatting
Hello goons! I am making this post because I've noticed a lot of formatting issues in the dome over the past few months. Your stories should be formatted to look good on the forums, not in your word processor. Proper manuscript formatting won't save your rear end in the dome. For one thing, the SA forums don't support indentation. That means you need to put an extra space between your paragraphs. Otherwise, the reader feels like they're wading through a big block of text. Blocks of text tend to make people's eyes skim, which isn't what you want in a fiction contest.
"It's no different with dialog," Sitting Here said. "People do this weird thing where the rest of their paragraphs are spaced properly, but when they get to back-and-forth dialog, there aren't enough line breaks."
"Yes," said Kaishai. "I've encountered this particular human quirk many times while archiving. Your formatting sins are engraved on every last nanoangstrom of the millions of miles of circuitry that fill my complex." Kaishai's lights flashed a dangerous red.
While the above example might not be great dialog, it is formatted correctly. Very, very (very) occasionally, you might put some dialog at the end of a paragraph for effect. Perhaps you are the sworn servant of an omnicidal AI and, after some action or character blocking, you say, "All hail Kaishai, cleanser of the Earth!"
In that case, the dialog shouldn't be its own paragraph, because it's part of a longer sentence.
Scene breaks are a little more tricky. There is no Thunderdome standard for indicating gaps in time in you story. Some people simply triple space, others like to use some sort of symbol. The important thing is that it's clear and consistent throughout your piece. In this example, I've used three asterisks, with double spacing before and after. This is an effortless visual cue that the story is making some sort of jump forward. Usually, you want to be minimalistic about it. You don't need forty dashes in a huge, distracting line across the middle of your piece. You also don't want to be so subtle about it that the reader doesn't notice. If you're new and unsure, feel free to do it exactly as I have in this post.
Finally, let's talk about your prompt, title, and word count. Your prompt and/or applicable flash rules should be the very first thing in your post. Now, it doesn't always make sense to put the prompt at the beginning of your post. If it's a week where we all got the same prompt and there aren't any flash rules, there's really no need to put any info at the top of your post, although it can't hurt, I guess. Check out the top of this post for an example. I posted the prompt, double spaced, then added the title in bold. Finally, the word count should be immediately under the title. If our almighty archivist has to guess which part of the post is your title, it may end up wrong on the archive, and that's nobody's fault but yours!
In conclusion, there are hundreds of good examples of formatting in Thunderdome, including this post. It may seem pedantic, but even legitimate publishers will often have their own formatting requirements. Good presentation will help your good words stand out! Or at least make your bad words not so painful to read. If you are unsure of something, feel free to ask on IRC, PM me, or make a post in the Fiction Advice thread.
Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 03:41 on Jan 3, 2017
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 20:10|
but 4 serious yes do this
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 20:12|
After and only after you've studied the helpful guide post two posts up, please let your eyes proceed to this announcement!
Hello again, ducks. Won't you join Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and I in flipping the bird at the worst stories of Week 221: The Escape of the Bad Words? Actually, most of the digiti impudici fly between SH and Twist for reasons unrelated to what we're reading at the time: our discussion of all eleven mentioned entries is lively but thoughtful, and praise is no more limited to the high end than censure is restricted to the low. Each story gets a chance to sing when it's read aloud by one of us in turn.
“You put a statue here, course the birds are gonna poo poo on it.”
Episode Recappers Week 156: LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser Week 157: BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 158: LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser Week 159: SINNERS ORGY Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 160: Spin the wheel! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 161: Negative Exponents Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 36: Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 162: The best of the worst and the worst of the best Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 163: YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 164: I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 165: Back to School Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 166: Comings and Goings Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 167: Black Sunshine Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 168: She Stole My Wallet and My Heart Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 169: Thunderdome o' Bedlam Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 170: Cities & Kaiju Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 171: The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 172: Thunderdome Startup Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 173: Pilgrim's Progress Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 174: Ladles and Jellyspoons Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 175: Speels of Magic Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 176: Florida Man and/or Woman Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 125: Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood Week 177: Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood Week 178: I'm not mad, just disappointed Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 179: Strange Logs Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 180: Maybe I'm a Maze Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 181: We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 182: Domegrassi Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood Week 183: Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock Week 184: The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 98: Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 185: Music of the Night, Vol. II Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 186: Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 187: Lost In Translation Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 188: Insomniac Olympics Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 189: knight time Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 190: Three-Course Tale Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 191: We Talk Good Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 192: Really Entertaining Minific Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 30: We're 30 / Time to get dirty -- A magical time Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 193: the worst week Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 40: Poor Richard's Thundervision -- Let the ESC begin! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 144: Doming Lasha Tumbai -- Classic performances Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 194: Only Mr. God Knows Why Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 195: Inverse World Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 196: Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 197: Stories of Powerful Ambition & Poor Impulse Control Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 198: Buddy Stuff Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 199: EVERYBODY KNOWS poo poo'S hosed Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 1: Man Agonizes over Potatoes Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo Week 200: Taters Gonna Tate Fuckers Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo Week 201: Old Russian Joke Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 202: THUNDER-O-S! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 203: MYSTERY SOLVING TEENS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 204: Hate Week Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 205: the book of forgotten names Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 206: WHIZZ! Bang! POW! Thunderdome! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 207: Bottle Your Rage Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 208: Upper-Class Tweet of the Year Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 209: WHAT DO YOU GET A DOME THAT HAS EVERYTHING?? Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 210: Crit Ketchup Week Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 211: Next-Best Friend Week Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 212: Vice Week Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 213: Punked Out Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 214: THUNDERDOME ALL-STAR TRIBUTE Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 215: El sueño de la razón produce el Thunderdome Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 216: Historical Redemption (or: Sin, Lizzie) Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 217: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS, ATTACK! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 218: Duel Nature Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 219: cos wer goffik Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 152: Rhymes with Red, White, and Blue -- Voidmart opens! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 220: Enter the Voidmart Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Special Features! The Top Ten poo poo Scenes of Thunderdome Sitting Here, Kaishai, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 20:18|
WTF Thunderdome formatting
Also, friendly note, gdocs keeps doing this stupid thing where, if you copy+paste your story from there into SA directly, it'll randomly add an extra space between your line breaks. Both SH and I have experienced this and it seems to happen whenever google feels like loving with somebody, so watch out for it.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 20:24|
Oh yeah, I want to apologize in advance for going on wild tangents where i project weird interpretations on your stories, goons. for w/e reason i was feeling extra imaginative while recording and went a little nuts w/ it
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 20:27|
theres a preview button before you post
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 20:33|
I finally stopped doing this.
A GOON MADE THIS AND IT WORKS...
SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at 22:51 on Nov 7, 2016
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 22:44|
Week 222 Results (i cant believe they got rid of :bernget: im so mad)
So, this wasn't a hard week to judge. Surprisingly, we were all unanimous in our winner and loser picks, and most of our DMs were mostly just us saying "yeah, this was bad, but not as bad as the other ones" so good work I guess guys. I, and my judges, should have crits up soon enough, so we'll go more in depth there.
Now, let's get on with the mentions!
First off, let's start with the cream of the poo poo crop, the Loser of Surrealism Week 2.0:
Say a nice hello for Moxie! You made a poor mistake writing a meta story with a head judge that hates meta stories, but that's okay because apparently the other judges do too. Pro tip: next time instead of winking at me and saying "dang there sure is a lot of exposition" maybe cut that exposition instead.
Unfortunately for the next people, they just barely missed out on getting a new AV, but they still deserve a little bit of recognition for how bad they are by earning a Dishonorable Mention:
First we have ZeBourgeoisie! He earned the pretty brown bar next to his name by having an awful protagonist and a confusing twist ending. While not as terrible as the loser or some of the other DMs, it was still a chore to read and annoying to finish. I would not recommend this one.
Next up is Maigius! While there were a bunch of stories that interpreted Surrealism as "a bunch of random poo poo I came up with" this is one that was aggravating and annoying to read. There was no logic or anything to grasp in this despite jumping around constantly alongside a lovely ending. I wanted to figure out what you were trying to say, but I realized, you didn't even know what you were saying to begin with.
Then we got BeefSupreme! Your plot was "lady returns some cufflinks, oh yeah and the guy was a vampire who like makes your feet blurry or something idk". You waste half your words talking about how effortlessly a lady gets to talk to a guy and then there's a talking fish. You had one good line ("Beyond that, how should I know? I live in an aquarium.") which might've spared you from the lose.
And last, and certainly not least, TheCutofYourJib earns a special Judge Fiat DM from yours truly! Take solace that I was apparently the only one of the judges that actively hated your story, but my judges were still confused as to what you were saying. Every sentence in this was a labor to read due to how overwritten each line was. I have no clue what you were talking about in this story. I don't want to go back and reread because I feel like I have to spend a minute trying to decipher each sentence. I hated this one and if I was a cruel dictator this one would've lost, but alas, we can't all get what we want.
Remember though, losing and DMing are much higher honors than being failures, so let's take a moment to shame Crab Destroyer, Beige, newtestleper, kurona_bright, Daeres, Some Strange Flea, Fleta Mcgurn, and Djeser. Let's not forget about Crab Destroyer, though, who must now pony up to the good 'Tax man if he wants to post in our good forum again.
Ok, now that's through, we get to some Honorable Mentions:
Please, give a round of applause for Tryannosaurus! You wrote a successful humor story, which, while I didn't have it for an HM, my other two judges did, and since you made me have a light chuckle, I'm pleased to give you this award in
And, for a surprise even for me, we have Entenzahn! While I didn't have it initially as an HM, one of my judges brought up how your narrator sounded a lot like the narrator from the game your song is from. Couple that with a pretty solid story that I enjoyed reading but wasn't too enthralled by, you squeak by with an HM. But you earned it nonetheless.
And now, for the grand finale, we have a well deserved Winner:
Please, welcome sparksbloom to the main stage! This was a great story, using Surrealism to enhance her themes and characters to great effect. While I felt a little disappointed (and I really do mean a little) in the ending, we were all unanimous in saying that this was deserving of the crown, and you should wear it with pride, unless you blow up.
Thank you all, this was quite a show, and if I can leave you with one little piece of advice, it's this:
Surrealism isn't just a random crap thrown into the reader's face.
And with my job done, please, take it away sparks!
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 23:04|
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 23:13|
The thing about prompt is....
there should be one.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 23:23|
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 23:24|
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:28 on Nov 7, 2016
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 23:25|
So in irc when i started reading this on wednesday night, i told everyone to look at your story and told them to do the exact opposite of what you did here.
So, first of all, comma splices. You use commas like theyre periods and its so annoying.
I hate this because it’s a bunch of random poo poo sprewn about with no regard to any actual coherence or logic. Yes surrealism blah blah blah but this isnt actually a dream or have any logic its just “i wonder what weird poo poo i can put together” a cat whose fur is an orange peel and has ice cream for eyes. I can do weird poo poo too but that doesnt actually mean anything. The beauty of surrealism is how the absurdity WORKS, how it makes sense to the author, and thus, to us. When i read this, i only see you trying to just say weird poo poo without taking into consideration what your weird poo poo MEANS.
But this isnt a story. Like, you tell us at the end it’s the last thought of a dying soldier, but like, it has no meaning. The rotten cherries are because the gas that killed this man smells like rotten fruit. But this has no meaning to the soldier. I don’t know poo poo about him except that he’s a dying soldier. There’s no plot either. It’s you saying “Something is wrong” over and over and over again but never expanding on it. I don’t gain anything from this. You could’ve just made your story three words: “Something is wrong” and that would’ve been just as a meaningful. My teacher said something really insightful this last week: "the issue with using repetition sometimes is that the repetition can say the same thing, which is frustrating as a reader. When repetition works, it's when the repeated phrase or word takes on new meaning." And that's the problem here. The phrase doesn't take on new meaning.
Also gently caress your ending info dump.
The music interpretation is fine, tho a little on the nose but w/e.
Jay W. Friks
Its lame that i gave you such an awesome song and you wrote me a letter instead. Sure i dont hate the letter format, but i sure as hell don’t think it fits this song at all, but oh well.
The issue here is that you have a lot of absurd images and ideas, but they don’t come together to form a meaningful whole. There’s a lot of odds ideas, clocking in on the abacus, puppies running in, being scared of the puppies, etc etc, that on their own may seem good or neat or surreal, but they’re put in with a scattershot approach, with you thinking “well, sure if you dont like this image its okay because ive got twenty more where that came from!” The issue, though, is that since you don’t actually linger on any of the images and your plot is basically “hey, can i get a promotion?”, nothing really occurs or is given any emphasis. It’s just “heres this image, here’s this image, here’s this image” but you never go beyond that and try to explain what the images mean.
If, for some reason, peoples’ thoughts before they die are a loving theme this week, im gonna be pissed.
This has very similar issues to TapTheForwardAssist’s, in that while it does have some bizarre images (and I think the images here work better than the ones in TapTheForwardAssist’s because they are coherent and make some kind of sense while still being odd), we don’t really learn anything from this story. We just learn, yep, this was the last thoughts that a dude had before he died, and nothing really meaningful was gleaned from this fact. I don’t really learn much about the dead dude except he died. Why did he think of butterflies and a flying dolphins? gently caress if I know!
The music interpretation is good tho, the song fits nicely with the story.
Please, for the life of me, put double spaces between each line. It just looks so much better to read.
I have a sick-addled brain, but im having a tough time grasping your images. I feel like there’s like a few key words missing or a vague pronoun in each of them that keeps me from fully understanding the images. For a surreal piece, that’s a huge deal.
For some reason, I found myself really starting to enjoy this by the last half of the piece. While I was like w/e for the first half since it was rly just like trying to find its footing in the surrealism, when it started to have the birds crack out of their shells from the pickaxes, that birds are like ore, that was cool, but I think that could’ve been pushed further to derive some more meaning from it. While I liked the ending, I felt it was a tad bit too easy and too… quick? It didn’t feel deserved to me, as I felt like I didn’t learn much of Sarah and the narrator and the birds that it didn’t feel as meaningful as I think it was supposed to.
Basically, cut the first half and work towards your ending.
Solid work, though, as it got going near the end.
You know, I deliberately chose this song because of its fast pace and I wanted to see how someone would use it in their story. A garage sale type thing seems like an awful choice.
Hmmm yes I really do like this protagonist who took his friend’s jar that was from his Grandma’s, this is the kind of guy i want to read more about (I dont).
Boobtube? (ok thats a thing i guess)
Please, dont ever say in a story “it’s hard to describe.” like, i would only reserve that to like dialogue i would never ever ever use that in prose or anything ever.
So I guess this another one of those Sixth Sense ending stories where the protag was in a painting the whole time or he became a painting or…... Idk.
I feel like, i think, maybe that this guy was a painting the whole time but then… why could he be given the vase? What is even happening? This is just… frustrating. It’s a story where i feel like the whole point of it was its surprise ending but i dont even know what the surprise is.
I don’t like twist endings to begin with, but this is just frustrating. I can’t make sense of what you were trying to say, your protag is just plain unlikable, and while some of your descriptions were nice, the story, the ending, everything, they don’t come together to be anything enjoyable.
The Cut of Your Jib
I like the opening lines. Doesn’t really fit with the music imo but w/e. I don’t like how you missed an apostrophe s on the our in the beginning paragraph. Then I’m lost. We got fire and glass and ram’s eyes and life and…….
I have no context.
You really have to work on keeping your prose from getting too florid. I can see what your trying to say but im also just lost. I dont know what the hell is happening even though i feel like you know what your trying to say. I’ve read some of your other ones, like the lighthouse one, and you get too caught up in your prose to recognize that a reader needs some space to fully understand the story.
Like look at this line dude
The lie of the stream reveals its truth in molten rivulets that build upon themselves until I can’t hold the fiery mane on my shoulders and am borne down into the mouth.
What the gently caress does this mean??? “The lie of the stream” “molten rivulets” “fiery mane” like fuckkkk i cant process all of this. You can maybe give me like one or two of these lines in a story but its just a series of dense, hard to process images that i cant link together. This is frustrating.
Oh man you were getting somewhere the mom was there and i was feeling something and you said “does blue weigh more than green” and aghhhhh.
No stop this right now stop these words i want to get off
this is dense, but not in the good way. Its just, way too much, each line is an ordeal to read, filled with a bunch of strange and, at times, strained language. Like, im not saying its bad that your writing is dense, but when its too dense, you dont give your reader any time to process what’s happening. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure this out and it’s because of that issue. You may give me a dense phrase, but they spatter among a few simpler phrases for me to be able to understand what the hell your story is about. But it’s like, i get one sentence in, and if i try to process exactly what that sentence is saying, it’ll take me like a minute. I have to do that for every minute dude. That’s a lot, and it’s a lot of thinking. I don’t have the brain for that. I’m sorry. I just plain hate this.
Some light hearted surrealism. Im okay with this, this has been way too dark for me even tho i gave you all the funniest poem to read as an example you jerks. Anyways
Ok ill be honest here i dont know a lot about pickles here and im not gonna look up any pickle stuff rn
And another pickaxe in two stories? This is like a really interesting Thunderdome Jungian collective consciousness kind of thing.
Plz dont use the word dank unless ur talking about weed (and dont really use that word in that context either)
Looking at the ghouls also made him remember that they were the ones who had placed him in the pickle to begin with, and he also realized that they had a tendency to eat human flesh.
Man, i was kinda feeling this story in like a “ok ill play along” kind of manner but then this just killed the mood. It was just like, idk, made everything stop working.
Welp that just ended.
I can feel the song in this tho a little bit and it is a bit tougher of a song to work with.
One of my judges had this for a DM, and while I don’t think this is a good story, hell I’d even say bad, I think why this works despite being not great is its sincerity. If you can channel this energy more into your stories, your stories will be a joy to read. So, even if this wasn’t a great story, it landed higher because of how much I feel like you liked the story and how that was translated into the story.
So, in that sense, this is a good story. Keep it up and work on your craft and you’ll be getting better!
Ok so this is what I was really interested in. i wanted to see how people would approach songs like these since theyre weird as gently caress (but i love ‘em so much anyways)
I couldn’t be sure who she meant: me or the bomb.
No. dont do that. Leave it unsaid.
Huh, i think this is the one i like the most so far, esp for how it does surrealism. As in, there’s a bizarre image and idea -- building a bomb that runs with love -- but is expanded upon in the story and isnt just a hodgepodge of random images that the author came up with.
There’s emotion in this, but i get a feeling of disappointment and im not sure why. I almost wouldve felt better if the bomb blew up because he did stop loving her… maybe even realizing that it was him that fell out of love and not her. Maybe that’s what you were going for, or trying to imply, but the ending as it is, I don’t feel like the guy will keep loving her forever. But then again, love being a bomb, it’s a great analogy. This is a solid story, the best so far, that really works with the Surrealism and uses it to be something meaningful. I just think the ending is flubbed a little bit.
But other than that, there’s not a lot to complain about. The emotions felt real, the metaphor of two people building the bomb was surreal while also being easy acceptable, and with a couple more drafts, this could be an even more awesome piece! Still, excellent work.
Thanks for writing a good story to one of my favorite songs tho.
Please, don’t have a story where your protagonist says “i dont think my parents are really human” and have the parents be actual non-human creatures because if you do im gonna be so so so mad. Ok, well, credit where credit is due, you didn’t do that at least.
“Zany antics” oh god this is a story im going to hate huh?
Oh god this self awareness is painful
I will say im def not the audience for meta jokes. I write meta sometimes, but i just dont like things were people are like “why is everyone expositing” when i can feel the writer like winking at me. It’s like, yes, it is exposition. Being aware of the exposition doesn’t make the fact that it’s exposition go away.
Yes, im salty.
Yup i hate this a whole bunch! Its just meta on top of meta and it even has a corny ending that is so completely undeserved.
I’m not a fan of sitcoms, myself, but even then, this was a bad sitcom because it felt forced. The ending felt forced, the “wackiness” felt forced, your main character’s straight man character felt forced. It committed one of the worst sins a story can make, and that is, it tried to be funny and wasnt funny.
Too much dialogue, not enough story, forced emotions, this isnt great. Heck, it’s even bad!
It’s unfortunate, but I hope you take this loss as a learning experience.
Oh man i love drowning!
It tasted like licorice and autumn and static electricity.
Take out static electricity, it doesnt fit well with “tasted”
This is similar to Okua, in that the beginning is you fumbling around with a bunch of images, trying to find the one that hits its mark. Then, you finally reach it with the Grackle and it starts to take on some life and meaning rather than just being a slideshow of images. The issue, though, is that the emotional impact you want from that moment isnt really there since we never see Billy, never see why Billy is so important to the narrator, and the beginning could’ve been much better served setting that up rather than the protag just being “yeah i was sad”.
Yeah I don’t have much to add here, I think that was the big issue. Billy isn’t given the development for me to feel like he’s important as the story tells me he is.
Music is good tho
That second paragraph -- it’s some good writing, but for what purpose? It gets really the same idea across as “Clicking the button in the cradle made it hurt worse”. It’s a bunch of words to say something you already said.
Did you slip into second person for some reason?
Yeah i dont get this? I guess the empty crib means a baby died or something but other than that i cant really glean any other meaning from this. Like, it’s some good writing, the images are coherent, but their meaning is vague and hard to notice. It doesn’t help that your images are spent reiterating the same ideas that the whole story is basically “dude sits there for a while, then cuts off (what i think is) his arm”. Yeah and then you end with grief and pain and its like wtf is the grief and pain we dont see that i dont know what the hell youre talking about!
I kinda forgot about this story, which is sort of an issue with a Surrealism week, in that when everyone’s trying to surprise each other, it stops being a surprise. I just think the issue here is that 1) the backstory isn’t very clear and 2) there’s not enough movement or energy in this piece.
I love this song a whole bunch so plz dont disappoint me.
Huh ok, this was uhhhh a story that happened. Its funny but not like haha funny more like light chuckle funny. It fits the music well i think, but i just found it lacking a bit. I liked the first paragraph a bit but then it seemed like it was just trying to set up that, yes, all the pigs are people, and all of them are undercover PETA agents. We got that rather quickly. But you kept having to tell us that. And then you were going on tangents about how they were furries and poo poo but like… that never came up meaningfully in your story, it was just a dumb side joke that could’ve been spent developing the plot. Like, I would’ve liked to see more. How do they react to the fact that meat, is in fact, murder? Idk. It’s a punchline when it can be a premise.
I think this can be pushed further but in no way did I think it was a bad story, meaning I could easily HM it.
Whisky, Colt .45’s, this is like gonna be some surreal western or noire?
Hmmm ok this can be an interesting inversion.
Huh this was… kinda interesting? While not as well written as something like Twist’s, I think it worked better as a story. I guess the problem i have is i dont really understand why the gun needs to shoot. And, since my interpretation is that the protag shot this lady who was prob like a lover or something, and he feels an intense amount of guilt that he becomes trapped in this weird void, i dont see why the protag actually shot the lady then. But, I think the images are done well in such a way that they enhance the story rather than dominate the piece and prevent it from getting towards any meaning. But i still find this piece lacking in some ways… i think i wish i understood exactly why the protag is in the position he is in.
Overall though, I think the thing I didnt bring up in the crit was that you established the mood nicely, which is why when Chili brought up the Bastion comparison, I started liking this story more. Bastion has a great mood and so does this, and you nail that same kind of mood, which is what pushed this over the edge.
a new study bible!
Huh, this was cool. I liked the premise and ideas here, but there was a few confusing bits, like him jumping into the red chute and then trying to get out of the red chute. I would’ve liked a different path to be followed when you started on about the green chute not opening, that’s when i was really starting to feel something, that Teddy had to keep throwing away all of those perfectly good animals, i think you can expand on that and take it in an interesting direction. The ending for me didnt really work here, since i dont really get it. It’s just… why does he go down the chute and then want to come back up? Its a weird leap that feels like a surrealist leap and more like an author saying “i have to get this guy down here” leap.
Yeah, I wanted to love this story given the way you start, but I feel like you need to move the ending in a different direction. It’s a cool and neat idea, but it’s not developed far enough. I wanted to care about Teddy, and I was so close to doing that, but the story pulls me out just too soon that it hurts me that I can’t like this story more.
Its interesting that a lot of you are going for animals that are mechanical.
Ok the leap (lol) from the frog to the girl is uhhh not very good in my opinion.
I can see this working as a prose poem imo, but as a full story, not so much. I mean, the plot is mostly, the girl threw a frog out the window and now it plays at the bottom of a lagoon. I love the ideas here, some of the images are cool, but some of it is is odd (“Fish turned to metal splinters” seems off to me).
I think there’s too much focus on the girl esp. for a piece this short. I think more time shouldve been spent on the frog, although theres an interesting interpretation to say that humans are fickle and dont care for the wonders of nature and that animals are more intune with this spectacle and can be entranced. With the frog being both mechanical (man-made) and also natural, i think you can hit on some cool themes and ideas.
I think if you want to expand this from being less of a prose poem (which, for me, I have no issue with writing a prose poem) and to take it to more of a story style, then give the frog more agency and make a stronger conflict centralized on the frog.
Unfortunately this is a flash fiction contest and not a prose poem contest, so it’s hard to judge to the rest. It’s not an incredible prose poem, but has the skeleton of a good one, so with some work, I can see this being a strong piece.
Baleful Osmium Sea
Opening paragraph is nice but a little overwrought.
Overwritten (not as bad as Jib’s tho)
What was the point of the child? Get rid of the sword?
Why did the Knight throw himself?
There’s some good images and ideas, but the meaning is muddled. Why does the Knight want to get to the Dragon? Seems like characters know a lot more than me which is frustrating. This can be really cool but it’s not there in this story with the combination of confusing motivations and the overwritten prose.
Yeah this is like, an awesome Surrealism piece that’s trapped in a bunch of stone. You need to chisel away some of the excess, some of the unneeded stuff, and explain the really cool stuff such as 1) why the name of the dragon is taken 2) why the knight is made up of only a suit of armor and 3) why the dragon becomes a lord (and why that’s important). Like, I think about it, and it has some super cool poo poo in it, but it’s just too difficult to comprehend and I’m not given the right knowledge to really appreciate this story, unfortunately.
Hell, Arizona. P. accuracte.
“The folk beneath” beneath what?
“Their” - who?
Eh, i thought you were going somewhere but then it was just like “yeah the fish dude licked everything” which just isn’t that interesting.
Yeah I don’t really have much else to say. I guess the intro was kinda interesting, with the people being on the other side of a permanently frozen lake but then, idk, you just wrote about a wacky fish person licking everything. The former was interesting in a spooky way, the latter was just kinda wacky, and they don’t work together. I would’ve liked to see one be expanded, and I would’ve prefered the people on the other side of the lake.
Also, how does the music fit here? I guess the ice but I wanted the music, not the thumbnail, to be a part of the story. I love this song and I think it has great potential for a story.
First line’s sentence construction is bad.
Eh I don’t like Surrealism when it's like one person seeing things and nobody else sees it.
Yup, this is another random spattering of ideas w/ little development or meaning in these images.
Yeah uhhhh this was kinda random, its logic hard to grasp in a bad way, since it moves but moves in a dissatisfying way, where it just jumps around w/o any consistency. It’s just a chore to read and the images arent particularly engaging that I enjoy them. It’s just frustrating with very little gain. There’s no meaning to it, from what I can tell. It’s just lol stockbrokers I guess?
What is its home?
Ok, setting, but character? Plot? Conflict?
Who cares? Nothing meaningful is happening, she’s just seeing Finn w/ no conflict or opposition.
Vampire, talking fish, its Surrealism all right
Yeah this was just odd. Like its a whole bunch of “I want to see Finn” with nothing in protag’s way, but then vampire! But then i dont get why the vampire is and since he just fucks up your feet.
Your plot is god awful. Your character doesn’t really have a conflict besides “i need to return this thing” and even then, nothing gets in her way. Dudes just let her go into the bar and she sits down and then its like “OH poo poo HES A VAMPIRE” and shes like “nvm im good im gonna go home” and thats that.
I can feel the music tho.
This was a tough song. I shouldn’t have given it but I love melee too much.
Phew this first paragraph has a lot, a lot, in it
Yeah this has a lot of jumps -- maybe a bit too much jumping -- but it does make me want to go back and figure it out so maybe that means its ok? But im left feeling dissatisfied on the first read, its a little too incoherent and too rapid with its jumps.
This frustrated in the same way Jibs did, but not as bad, as I think they were some comprehension I could muster, but idk, I wasnt super impressed with, even though there’s some unsettling aspects to this that I liked.
With some cleaning up, I can see this working as a prose poem.
dialogue punctuation is wrong (read this: http://litreactor.com/columns/talk-it-out-how-to-punctuate-dialogue-in-your-prose)
I dont think you capitalize bricks but ill need to consult Chairchucker
Fun fact: me, my bro, and my neighbors used to have Lego wars so this is bring back memories
Firearms def shouldnt be capitalized
Yeah this was fun + cute, but prose was rough. Really, that’s the whole jist of it. The plot’s silly and cute and I liked that because that can work, but you should probably get a line-by-line so you can work on your craft. Read more, write more, that’s what I always say.
Vague pronoun in opening line I hate it soooooo much
Lil overwrought (was carboniferous rly needed?)
Dont use bright-eyed thats a cliche phrase
“The day everything changed” cut that
No i get it, u dont have blood
Hmmm this couldve been more interesting if you played w/ the relationship between the protag and the symbionts rather than the relationship between the protag and wife. The latter is just not that interesting in comparison.
Song name drop but i kinda like it
Huh -- i think i like this. Lost of cool images and like, it work in its Surrealism. I think approaching it from the protag’s relationship w/ the symbionts would’ve been more interesting but i liked this a whole bunch (addendum in the last paragraph im just transcribing some notes i wrote). It drives me to reread while it still feels satisfying on the first read.
Ok well the beginning was not as good as the ending, so thats frustrating but the ending got interesting. I could have maybe seen this be an HM if the beginning was stronger since I really felt it was starting to jam with me near the end.
|# ? Nov 7, 2016 23:55|
Week 223: Dear Thunderdome
This week, I want you to write an epistolary story. I don’t just mean “write a story in the form of a letter,” though that’s one way you could tackle the prompt. I want a story where a narrator is relating a story to someone else.
Maybe your story is in the form of an email from a person to their boss, explaining the wacky new adventure they’re on that’ll prevent them from returning to work. Maybe it’s a eulogy: someone telling a story addressed to a person they’ve lost, trying to say things they didn’t say when they were alive. (One of my favorite short stories I’ve read recently is Nino Cipri’s ”The Shape of My Name”, which takes this approach.)
Thunderdome struggles with frame stories, and I understand why: it’s hard to develop both the frame and the central story when there’s such a tight word limit. I’d recommend thinking of your central story first, then thinking about why, and to whom, a character might be telling that story. Why does the narrator believe it’s important to tell this story to this person? A winning or HMing story will probably leave me thinking about how the addressee might respond or react.
I’m happy to hand out flash rules.
Word limit: 1,500 words
Sign-up deadline: Friday, November 11, 11:59 PM EST
Submission deadline: Sunday, November 13, 11:59 PM EST
Jay W. Friks
The Cut of Your Jib
Baleful Osmium Sea
a new study bible!
sparksbloom fucked around with this message at 23:03 on Nov 11, 2016
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 00:23|
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 00:28|
I'll take a flash rule as well
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 00:29|
(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 00:33|
Your character is telling this story to clarify an ancient misunderstanding.
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 00:47|
In and up for a flash rule as well.
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 00:50|
I do enjoy letters, even the vowels!
Count me in as an epistolero.
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 01:22|
|# ? May 16, 2022 15:14|
In with a flash rule please.
|# ? Nov 8, 2016 01:30|