|# ? Jan 29, 2016 20:46|
|# ? Jan 15, 2021 15:07|
Signups deadline is 2359 PST, which is in nine hours, but I'm going to change the submissions deadline to 2359 EST on Sunday, where it should've been in the first place, because that's more conducive to livecrits. Just giving y'all a heads up ahead of time.
|# ? Jan 29, 2016 22:56|
Signups closed, time to
|# ? Jan 30, 2016 08:00|
Broenheim vs. C7ty1 brawl results
This has the makings of a good story, but it is not a good story. First off, I like the conflict that a hangman has been excused from his duties, but now must train his son. He doesn’t want to make his son suffer through that, so he goes and starts slitting throats instead. The main problem with that is it doesn’t really pass my “reality” test, in that I doubt the prince’s prisoners would be getting their throats slit for five years before getting caught. What kind of kingdom is this? What the heck is his son doing during all this time? Also the prompt stated that one person had to believe your faker (the prince) and somebody didn’t. Who didn’t believe his faking? Also instead of purposely failing, it sounded like your character made an honest mistake and then made an excuse. That’s not really flopping on the ground to try to get things to work in your favor. The consequence of this dad’s handiwork now being that he gets his head cut off, and his son has to go to killing dudes anyway, I’m assuming? You probably should have written a way that the son now had been assigned to a different profession since there was no killing, and had the deaths be more subtle than a slit throat. Lastly, I didn’t understand how the old man had died without a scratch but the dude remembers slitting his throat. I’m assuming there’s some symbolism there or something but you didn’t make it connect with me.
What the gently caress is this? On first read, I have no idea what the hell you were trying to do here. I can’t even evaluate it because I didn’t understand wtf was going on at all. I’m going to go reread it, and hope I get more from it the second time. “all of them didn’t even me standing there” you’re missing a verb here, and that’s kind of important. I’ll assume it was “didn’t even see me standing there,” since you focus so much on being seen. Part of the problem I’m having here is, I don’t know who your narrator is. Is he the defense attorney? Is he being prosecuted? I’ll assume he’s a defense attorney since apparently he’s talking to a witness? The flow doesn’t really seem to fit what I know about courthouses, as it sounds almost like your narrator is on trial, but he wouldn’t be being asked to speak if there was a witness on the stand. I’m assuming he’s a lawyer now because he said he COULD object, but I don’t understand why the other lawyer is like, talking to him. Then he screams “stop” and follows it up with “that’s what i’m saying?” I don’t get it. He is besmirching the man’s name? I’m really confused about what he’s trying to pull. Also the other lawyer can’t just interrupt the other guy during his speech. Also you keep talking about being in the middle. The middle of what? I can’t picture what is happening in this courtroom. Like right now I think it’s a guy standing behind a desk, there’s an officer on the stand, and for some reason the purple-shirt lawyer is like leaning in and poo poo. Then he asks if he could continue…. continue what? The purple shirt guy has been talking the whole time. Really, what the heck is going on here? Ok, so the defense attorney loses… WHAT THE gently caress WAS THE CASE? WHO WAS THE DEFENDANT? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? so then the other lawyer comes out and is like “it’s cool dude.” and your main char is crying because…. he needs people to look at him. You really lose me with this whole “woe is me, i’m a loser, nobody looks at the loser.” Lots of people look at the loser? People like a trainwreck. I think i see what you were trying to do, make him look like he was invisible and just shuffled out of the courtroom, but I’ve never seen this guy win/lose a case, I have no idea what his record is, and if this is normal or not. Is this the first time he’s lost? Does it happen all the time? Is he actually a good lawyer or is he lovely? You forget to really define this character at all other than he’s a narcissist who just wants to hear his own voice. But then he loses so he cries to get attention? In a parking lot? what the hell.
I don’t understand how this fits the prompt at all. Who is faking here? It just sounds like the other lawyer is a better lawyer. He sounds charismatic. He’s not really “flopping,” so much as he is “dominating the gently caress out of the other lawyer.” It’s more like he’s getting dunked on than falling to the ground pretending to be hurt. Or maybe the whole flop is the crying part at the end? That somebody sees him crying and believes it? Who sees it and doesn’t believe it, as the prompt stated?
Gotta give this win to C7ty1, though I felt both of you missed the prompt pretty hard. At least I understood most of C7’s. I really felt like I was looking through some sort of weird kaladiscope when reading bro’s story. Things didn’t make sense and everything seemed shuffled and out of place. Also a father trying to save his son from pain is a better motivation/ending than a guy who just wants some attention and cries.
|# ? Jan 31, 2016 05:21|
Reminder: Deadline is now at 2359 EST, as mentioned earlier. That is in EIGHT HOURS.
|# ? Jan 31, 2016 21:01|
Flash drama: So like what if you let a friend borrow a textbook, and the next day you find it vandalized and left in a toilet????
It starts slow.
Merrick draws one dick, imperceptibly small – much like his own – on your textbook. But it doesn’t stop. You’ve got to show him your balls are bigger and brassier, so you draw a bigger one. Now a competition’s started. There’s another dick. And another. Hairy dicks, smooth dicks, broad dicks, and pencil dicks. A pornucopia of dicks. You stifle your giggles all through Mrs. Wortmann’s lecture on completing the square. Marco, the greasy student council dork, glares at the two of you, but you’re not going to let him interrupt your artistic process. You’re lost in the thrill of putting dicks where no dicks should be. Before long, your algebra book has more penises than quadratic equations.
But as the bell rings, the euphoria fades. Look at what you’ve done to McGraw-Hill’s excellent Algebra I text. It’s full of dick, and it’s not even relevant to any mathematical principles. You’ve got to return that book at the end of the year. Your debauchery’s going to get caught.
And of course you used pen. It’s all you had – that pizza-faced Marco invoked eminent domain and confiscated your pencil. But what are you going to do now, now that you’ve defiled school property? They send people to jail for that. On the bus ride home, Merrick tells you he heard about this kid in Vermont who drew a dick on his desk, and he got labeled a sex offender. Had to wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of his life, all because of one little indiscretion.
Merrick will still be friends with you, though. That’s nice of him. The sex offender in Vermont lost all his friends. Stabbed himself in the eyes with a pen, apparently. Merrick draws you a picture in his notebook. He’s an artist, Merrick. You’re lucky to have such a good friend. Merrick even takes your book home with him. Says he’ll take care of it. He’s got Wite-Out. It’s better than nothing, right?
You text him later. You ask him how the progress with the book is going, if it’s good as new yet. He doesn’t respond. Probably hard at work. Probably literally jerking off at the sight of all those dicks. You text him your theory. He tells you to gently caress off. Classic Merrick.
He’s not on the bus the next day, though. And at school you can’t find him. You’re looking for him in the bathroom, which is empty, save for Marco at the urinals, when you notice something strange in one of the toilets.
Oh, poo poo.
You flush the poo poo and do your own business. As you’re washing your hands, you notice Merrick coming up next to you. Finally. You ask him if he took care of your book. Yeah, he says, he’s got it all figured out. He takes the offending book out of his backpack, and to your distress, you notice that the cover is still sporting a big, hairy dick. That’s when Merrick chucks it into the stall. Spash!
Oh poo poo.
You look at him like what the gently caress and you’re just about to tear him a new one when Merrick points at Marco, who’s zipping up his fly, and yells loud enough for people outside the bathroom to hear that Marco just tossed your math book in the toilet. Marco protests, but before long Mr. Wood, the shop teacher, escorts all three of you to the office. He’s carrying the waterlogged, dripping, dick-filled textbook with him. You admire his dedication, sticking his hand in the toilet, just so he can review all the evidence thoroughly.
At the office they have you, Merrick, and Marco sit in the copier room while the powers that be examine the textbook. Marco runs his fingers through his hair and a shower of dandruff falls into his lap. He glowers at Merrick, then you. You have never wanted an innocent person to take the fall as badly as you do right now. Suddenly the door swings open and standing there is a Dick Drawing Analyst, brought to Domegrassi on special assignment. She hands each of you a piece of paper and a pen and asks you each to sketch a penis.
You squint at her. Seems like entrapment. Now, if Merrick was smart and watched Law & Order reruns like you, he’d invoke his fifth amendment rights and refuse to draw even a single ball. But nope, Merrick’s sketching away. drat. Guess you’ve got to do this, then.
First you consider drawing a dick that’s totally unlike anything you sketched yesterday. Or maybe you could pretend you don’t know what a dick looks like. Maybe you could draw an eggplant emoji. But no – don’t want to risk being too cute, that could look suspicious. You decide to draw the most Platonic dick anyone’s ever seen. No frills. Your standard, minimalist pair of balls and a shaft. And you’ve got to draw it with your left hand. That’ll throw them off.
While you’re scheming, Marco’s protesting that dick drawing is against his religious beliefs. The Dick Drawing Analyst tells him to draw the Washington Monument instead. Marco considers this and gets to sketching. You catch a glimpse of Merrick’s dick. His dick sketch. He’s picked the opposite route and included an almost clinical level of detail. You admire his dedication to his craft.
The Dick Drawing Analyst snaps up your sketches, squinting at each in turn: your squiggle, Marco’s monument, Merrick’s Gray’s Anatomy poo poo. Then she consults the soaking textbook, examining the blurred ink with a magnifying glass. You hold your breath.
It’s inconclusive, she says. She drums her fingers while you exhale. Then she points to your backpacks and demands they be searched. The other two push them forward right away. Again, you wish Merrick had watched more Law & Order. You’d protest this gross violation of your fourth amendment rights, but you don’t want to draw any undue attention to yourself. You sigh and hand over yours, too.
You make a mental note to show Merrick some enlightening YouTube videos later.
She starts with Merrick’s bag, rifling through it, confiscating a cigarette lighter but finding nothing of dick-related interest. Then she moves onto your bag. Oh no, you think. You’ve definitely doodled some dicks on your social studies notes.
First she checks your other textbooks, and those are clean. Except for your life sciences textbook, but that dick was supposed to be there. But then she sees your history notes, and she looks into your eyes for what feels like ages. Your stomach starts to clench up as she moves on to Marco, who’s looking at ease. But the Dick Drawing Analyst crows in triumph. She’s holding up Marco’s very own Algebra I text, and as she flips through the pages, you see a veritable catalog of dicks.
The Dick Drawing Analyst apologizes to the two of you and sends you both to class. As you’re leaving, you hear her use the words “compulsive fetishist.” You’re glad they’re not directed at you.
On the bus ride home, Merrick tells you how he texted Marco’s older brother last night, who was in total agreement that Marco was a dweeb who needed to be taught a lesson. So the brother covered the book with dicks while Marco was playing video games and stashed it in Marco’s backpack. All Merrick had to do was follow him into the bathroom and sound the alarm. After all, anyone who’d cover a whole textbook in dicks obviously couldn’t be stopped there. Merrick illustrates by drawing a new dick on the back of the bus seat. He’s back to tiny and cartoonish. Fits the medium, he says.
You think of Marco, trying to explain himself to that cold, cold Dick Drawing Analyst. That little freak. But you can’t help feeling a little bit guilty.
“We’re kind of dicks, aren’t we?” you ask him.
“Bro,” he says, “dicks for life.” You fistbump.
Dicks for life.
|# ? Jan 31, 2016 22:30|
New Year, New Life
Word count: 1279
The buzzer rang throughout Domegrassi’s halls, letting the students gathered on the lawns and in the hallways know that first period would be beginning in but a few minutes. The sun shone brightly on the junior high’s mostly bland outer walls, nice weather for the first day of the new school year. Even as students started to pass him in the hallways that were gaudily decorated with banners and glittery plastic stars to celebrate day one, Alex Trejo, dragging a rolling trash can filled with soapy water and an old mop behind him, wondered how long it would take before a kid greeted him as -
“Mornin’, badass Mr. Trejo!” Alex smirked, amused by the nickname. The kids seemed to like a lot of the adults who worked at the school who weren’t teachers or administrators, and plenty of his coworkers had also been given “cool” nicknames by the kids. Alex was more than willing to play the part. “Better get goin’ to class! C’mon! Badass Mr. Trejo don’t take kindly to tardy kids!” It was the part of being a janitor that Alex liked; the kids were lively and made being a janitor a little less dull.
However, Alex’s amusement faded as he passed the classroom marked 23, and his thoughts turned darker. Nearby, he heard a couple of eighth-graders talking.
“Hey, who do you think is gonna teach here? I heard Mrs. Trejo’s not here anymore.”
“Dunno. New teach probably won’t be as cool as Mrs. Trejo. I wonder why she left? She was my favorite teacher ever!”
The two girls continued on, entering a classroom two doors down, and Mr. Trejo sighed sadly, as he knew the answer to that question. Those girls had seemed so oblivious to tragedy, a luxury that Alex himself didn’t have.
“Mr. Trejo, hey!”
A familiar voice called to him, snapping him from his thoughts. Alex looked in front of him and saw little Danny, a wiry boy with fiery red hair and freckles who had once been his own son’s best friend. Had.
“Oh, hey Danny. Ready for the seventh grade?” Alex asked kindly, trying to hide the sadness in his voice, even though he swore he saw the same emotion shining in the boy’s eyes.
“I think so,” Danny said after an awkward pause. “Anyways, gotta go! My dad says hi!” And there Danny went as well. Alex hadn’t seen Danny ever since that horrible day just a couple of months ago. The child seemed to be holding up alright, but Alex hoped it wasn’t just an act, a mask like Alex himself portrayed. He shuddered at the worrisome thought before heading to the custodial storage closet to prepare supplies.
Outside of cleaning up some pee that had been splattered on the bathroom floor by a boy who just couldn’t quite make it to the toilet, the morning was mostly uneventful, considering the kids had only just returned, and so, by the time his shift ended when lunch rolled around, Alex hadn’t had enough work to truly keep him occupied. He wished it had; letting his memories take over was agonizing.
Alex returned that evening, several hours after school had ended, after the sun had just gone down. Even though he had been a janitor working a split shift at Domegrassi for several years already, it seemed no less unusual than the first time he had done it. Tonight, he had the task of training a new recruit, a middle-aged man by the name of Charlie. From the looks of it, Charlie likely had some mental impairment, though Alex didn’t dare ask what it was; he didn’t want to lose his new coworker just because he said something potentially horrible about a disability that he knew nothing about and the other man got offended. “So, in here we’ve got our storage closet,” Alex explained. “All of our cleaning supplies are in here. The first thing we’re going to do is - “
“What’s this?” Charlie drawled, and Alex noticed he was looking at a certain newspaper clipping that had been weighted down by a book.
“Charlie, pay attention.”
‘Domegrassi teacher and son killed… in drunk driving accident? That’s… sad,” Charlie concluded lamely. “Jolene and Johnny Trejo. Hey, that’s your name!”
Alex sighed, raking his fingers across his face. “Yes, they’re my wife and son. Well, they were. Anyways, we gotta -”
“Oh, I’m real sorry. You must be so sad.”
Alex groaned, “You have no idea, man, anyways, let’s-”
“Ast… Astron… Astraw… Astronomeeee?” Charlie was now reading the cover of the book that the newspaper had been under.
“Yes, astronomy, good. Now pay attention to -”
“Astronomy? It’s the study of… stars and space and such.”
“Whoa… sounds cool. You like it?”
Alex shrugged. “Yeah, I mean, I wanted that to be my job when I was younger, but that’s not what we need -”
“Why no job?” Charlie interrupted again, and Alex sighed with frustration.
“It takes a lot of school, and I just couldn’t handle it.”
“Try again!” The slower man suggested, the oblivious, chirpy nature of his voice enough to make Alex cringe just a little.
“I can’t just try again. I’m in my thirties, I can’t go back to school.”
Charlie scoffed. “My mom, is, like, a hundred years older than you, and she’s gonna do college next week!”
Alex raised an eyebrow. “Wha?”
“Yeah! She wants to be a.. uh.. nu.. nurse! So she’s going to school.”
“That’s, um…” Alex had no response to that, so he moved on. “Charlie, we gotta pay attention to our job. The first thing I’m going to show you is how to mop the floors. You followin’?”
The next two hours moved quickly as Alex took up the task of training the newbie. To his credit, Charlie didn’t seem to mind the toil, much unlike the whiner the school had tried to hire last year who quit after having a hissy fit when a poor girl had the audacity of puking all over his brand new boots. Charlie’s hours were more limited than Alex’s own, so Charlie left after they had mopped most of the floors. Alex still needed to make sure trash cans were emptied and tables were cleared. The first room he went into was the computer lab. He turned on the lights, a trash can in tow, and stared at a computer.
And then he wondered. People older than him going to school? The idea seemed silly, but the prospect was intriguing. He also wondered if Jolene would be displeased with him that he was still a janitor. After all, it was Jolene who had made the exact same suggestion to him on the last day of school last year that Charlie had made to him just a couple hours ago. And Johnny, poor Johnny! What would he think if his father had been so defeated in life that he didn’t aspire to be anything more than a janitor? Hell, Johnny aspired to be a doctor! Johnny would be so ashamed if his father never moved on. Alex left the can in the door as he sat down at a computer and turned it on. The screen flickered warmly at him as it made a cutesy noise at startup.
He opened a browser.
In the address bar, he typed 'http://www.americatowncitycollege.edu' and pressed enter, and waited for the page to load with bated breath.
“Jolene. Johnny,” he whispered quietly, his voice barely above the noise of the computer’s whirring fans. “I’ll make you guys proud, I promise.”
|# ? Jan 31, 2016 23:02|
So did anyone want any crits or what
If you're still doing this, I'd like to know where the gently caress you think everything went wrong with my SPORTS entry here:
(If you're still doing that.)
|# ? Jan 31, 2016 23:49|
a new study bible! fucked around with this message at 04:47 on Jan 1, 2017
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 00:26|
We're going to be doing some live reading of your guys' stories starting roughly very shortly! See IRC for details.
Also, please submit more stories.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 02:08|
Re: Teacher's Lounge Biohazard Incident
Pal_Derek: Lol biohazard.
A_Hardwick: How else would you describe raw sewage?
Pal_Derek: I'd just say 'some kid took a dump in the trashcan'. At least it wasn't on the floor or in the desk.
C_Neff: Which of the three did the deed, as it were?
A_Hardwick: No way to tell. I had them each write out an explanation during detention, and didn't let them alone to make up a story, but everything they said was just nonsense and lies.
P_German: Let's see them anyway.
A_Hardwick: Like I said, they're just packs of lies.
P_German: Humor an old man.
A_Hardwick: Sending the scans now.
This is all your fault, really. I mean, everybody knows that bullies act with full support from the teachers and administration in their role in enforcing social norms. Duh. So it shouldn't have been a big shocker that when Quince Stein finally stood up to the chess-head jerks who had been making both our lives a living hell last year, it was Quince who wound up in so much trouble his parents wound up homeschooling him. So yeah, totally your fault.
Maybe Jerry wasn't the worst of them but he sure was one of them, so when he came wanting to hire me as a math tutor at first I thought I'd just laugh in his face, but then I got a better idea. I took his money and filled his head full of shortcuts that never actually work and could barely keep myself from laughing out loud when he got the lowest grade in the class. I didn't quite think through that we both had a free period right after.
I was making a run for it when I ran into Violet. “Whatcha doing?” she said.
“Trying to not get stomped by Jerry Danes,” I said.
“Oh, I don't like him,” she said. “I can help.” She walked up to the teacher's lounge. “Go on, in here.”
“But it's locked-” I said, then stopped, because when I turned the knob the door just came open. I locked it behind me.
As for what you're really asking about, it was there when I got there. It wasn't a few more minutes before Jerry and Larson showed up with a key and then I pretty much had to hide behind Violet until Mr. Hardwick showed up.
I don't know why people think that chess is a nerd thing. There's no math in it, no science. Just strategy, practice, and the pure will to win. So, yeah, my grades aren't doing so hot in those courses, and even though coach can keep me on the football and basketball teams pretty much no matter what, being able to keep going in the Chess Club was in some serious
So, yeah, I looked up Aiden. Heard he was doing tutoring work, so if he needs money and I need help, well, I probably owed him one anyways. Back last year, before I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, me and the guys used to give him a pretty hard time. I've been trying to be better, but when that little creep stabbed me right in the back like that, tricking me into failing even worse than before, I couldn't let that slide. No way somebody like him gets to put one over on me.
I chased Aiden down the halls and saw him ducking into the Teacher's Lounge. He thought he was safe, but that just meant he was pinned down. Earlier in the day I'd seen Larson coming out of there. I tracked him down and sure enough, he had a set of keys. He didn't want to help at first, but changed his mind when I told him there was going to be a fight. Got back to the door, saw Aiden was still there, check and mate.
So, yeah, it was there when I got there. I didn't even see it, but I could smell it. Violet was there too, and I don't imagine either of them would have done it in front of the other so it was probably there before they got there too. I tried to talk Violet into stepping aside, but she wouldn't budge and it's not like I was going to shove a girl around to get to him. Besides, I was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing. Maybe I should try turning the other cheek and all that, be a better person. On the other hand, I was also angry enough to punch a wall. And that's when Mr. Hardwick opened the door behind us.
It was there when I got there. The second time. I was in there earlier because Mr. German had accidentally taken Ms. Neff's lunch from the fridge in there and sent be down to bring it back, and it wasn't there then. That's why I had the keys. I was going to give them back next period, like usual.
But then Jerry Danes comes up to me and is all “I need to get into the Teacher's Lounge, now”. He's not a person you want to say no to, but I tried. Then he told me what he wanted it for, and I couldn't resist.
See, there's two types of people in the Drama club. First, there's the quote-unquote actors, which are just the most popular people in the school because that's what keeps the seats filled. And then there's the stage crew, like me. And the second best thing about being in the stage crew, right after getting to wear all black without people thinking you're goth, is that you get to watch the drama. Not the crap on stage, but what happens at the opening and closing night parties, which is where about seventy-five percent of all of the break-ups, blow-outs, and random regrettable make-outs happen. Sometimes we even get to take part, join the conversations, stir up the sh- Oh, sorry. Too soon?
There hasn't been a proper fight at Domegrassi in months, and here I was getting offered a front row seat. So okay, I let him in. But nothing actually happened, and then Mr. Hardwick came along and sent all four of us to detention.
A_Hardwick: See what I mean? Useless lies.
P_German: Where's the other one?
A_Hardwick: There is no other one. There were three students in the lounge, and three in detention. There is no student named 'Violet' on the rolls. Like I said, lying.
Pal_Derek: Yeah, it's like some kind of running joke with the kids here, talking about this imaginary kid called Violet Carlin or something, like she's a real person. Been going on all year.
P_German: There was a Violet Starling, would have been in the class of 1986. Tragic thing. Vanished without a trace right here in school, between classes, and no one ever saw her again
Pal_Derek: That's probably how it got started, then. Someone's parents or uncle or aunt or something told them that story, and they ran with it.
C_Neff: Is what Larson said true? Did you send him down to bring back my lunch?
P_German: I don't think so. I can't say for certain. I have used him for that sort of thing before. He's always been fairly reliable. I thought he wanted the supply room key today to get some tape for the set construction or whatever they do.
A_Hardwick: I'd say he's lying too up against anyone else here's memory, but...
Pal_Derek: Okay, I think I know what happened here. Yes, they're all lying, but that's mostly because nobody likes a snitch.
Pal_Derek: What probably happened is that they went in there to fight, but then the Aiden kid got so scared he poo poo his pants and Jerry figured that was enough punishment, so they kept watch while he emptied his underwear into the trash and didn't have to carry the whole load home.
Pal_Derek: Lucky it was a mostly hard and dry one. At least the kids seem to be getting enough fiber. Anyway, he probably has suffered enough, so just let this one ride.
Pal_Derek: And get Jerry a real tutor and let him take a makeup test. Coach will be all over me if his players can't get their chess.
P_German: You know, a couple of days ago I thought I did see Violet Starling, out of the corner of my eye.
A_Hardwick: Can we take up the subject of mandatory retirement during our next meeting?
A_Hardwick: Not. Joking.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 02:16|
Don’t Be Too Smart in Middle School or the Universe Might Collapse in on Itself
flerp fucked around with this message at 05:20 on Feb 2, 2016
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 02:23|
Prompts: Archetype: The Worst/Popular for No Reason, Drama: Bad Selfie.
Jonas had sidled up so subtly that Richie hadn't realized he were there.
"Hey." Jonas' voice was hushed and suspicious.
"Jonas." The whole situation was bizarre. They were five minutes' walk away from the school, and Jonas lived in the other direction. Did he cut through a back yard to catch up, or had he been following the whole time?
"How've you been?" Jonas' head swivelled around as he spoke, like the lovely actor in an after-school special about slinging drugs behind the dumpsters.
For a moment, Jonas trailed off. "That's good. That's good..." And then, back on track. "I heard Eddie Chang's birthday was pretty awesome. I didn't even know comic shops had birthday parties."
"Like you care," Richie grumbled to himself.
"Look, I know we don't hang out anymore, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about you guys."
Jonas' voice was always soft and disarming. He could be telling you to go die in a gutter and your first instinct would be to thank him. It was just something in his voice that flickered on when he turned 13. Right after it started, they had joked that he would be a TV host or a hostage negotiator--or, if they wanted to get a reaction, a phone sex operator.
But there was something else in his voice that kept Richie from falling under its spell. Something that could only be noticed by someone who knew that voice better than Jonas himself.
"You didn't seem to care when Jizzman kicked the poo poo out of him."
Richie could see Jonas' face flush with colour--he hoped form anger or shame.
"Maybe he'd leave you guys alone if you stopped calling him Jizzman. You know he's sensitive about his name."
"Eddie was already being harassed when he said that. Did you know that rear end in a top hat knocked a tooth loose? They had to pull it. "
They walked in silence for a few moments.
"Greizmann had to pay for it." Richie could tell from the tone that Jonas didn't expect this to justify anything, but he was still glad to hear it.
"Probably just got his dumb rich parents to write it off."
"No, they made him sell his phone to pay for it. The poor fucker has been walking around with a flip-phone for months." Jonas smiled and shook his head. "It's embarrassing." Jonas' voice was finally back to its normal cadence. Richie didn't know what the cloak-and-dagger was about, but he was just glad to be shooting the poo poo with his old friend.
Richie smiled. "Well, there's that."
"So how did you know about the party, anyways?"
"Oh, I still follow your Instagram. Vicariously re-live the good old days as Grobthor the Glorious when you guys post about game nights."
Richie couldn't help but chuckle. "I'd forgotten about Grobthor. Only you would think to make a charming ogre."
"Did you guys end up killing him off or something?"
Now it was Richie's turn to feel shame. "Well... no, we... promise not to get mad?"
"Grobthor knows not anger."
"We kinda sent you into space."
"Eddie let you cross genres?"
"Not really. The consensus was that you were a pod person, and that the Grobthor we knew and loved was just an act. When we continued the campaign, we had him hatch in the night and return to his kind. You know, to explain the weird stats, and..."
Jonas nodded. "I guess we can't be Grobthor forever."
"Not all of us."
"Look, that's actually kind of why I came to talk to you."
"No, the Instagram. I was wondering if I could get you to take down the picture of Eddie pretending to eat the lizard figure."
"His dumb selfie? Why?"
"Look, I know we don't hang out anymore--"
"You already said that."
Jonas backtracked. The panic was returning to his voice. "Okay, sorry. I really am. We had fun, and you'll always be a friend, but I need you to take that picture down."
Richie pulled up his phone and made a few swipes. "Holy poo poo."
"Now, Richie, I--"
"Holy poo poo! You were there. Wait, you were there and you didn't even say hi?"
"I didn't know if I'd be welcome."
"Holy, is your finger up your nose?"
"I just had an itchy nostril. I wasn't digging or anything."
"Wait, are you holding--"
"That could be anything."
"Oh, Jonas." Richie's tone was a little more condescending than he'd meant--but he couldn't help himself.
"Seriously, Richie, who has a party at the back of the comic book store?"
"They have a setup there for card games and tabletop tournaments. Seriously, you read that stuff in public? What would your good buddy Jizzman think."
"To be honest, he's the only one who'd keep quiet about it. But seriously, please, you've got to take it down before someone finds it."
"So, do you mean take it down as in take it off the Internet? Or take it down as in move it to the school's Facebook page?"
Jonas closed his eyes and sighed. "I'm gonna say it one more time. No matter what you think, I still consider you a friend. And I'm asking this huge thing from you, as a friend. Please. If our old friendship meant anything to you, just take it down."
Richie turned on his heel, giving Jonas enough of a shove to send him back a few steps. "You're saying I'm the one who doesn't value our friendship?"
"I still have the video from your eighth birthday."
The colour drained from Richie's face. "What?"
"When my sister dressed you up in her clothes. And you walked around doing the voice. The act. The dance."
"I was eight..."
"They won't care."
"But it was at your house."
"They won't care."
"They won't care."
"You put down the camera and danced with me."
Jonas sighed. "You know there's these great things called computers that let you edit stuff out, right?"
Richard felt his cheeks tremble and moisten. "How loving could you?"
"Like this." Jonas mimicked the gesture of dragging a mouse across the table in one fluid motion--click, drag, click. "Did you know I'm on the yearbook committee? That means I have access to three thousand inboxes. Not just the nerds who follow the school on Facebook."
"Someone sees you picking your nose and reading a girly comic book, they might make a joke or two, but if they really like you, they'll laugh it off and move on. What you're talking about--that would loving end me."
"That's where you're completely wrong. Your best friends will accept you no matter what--whether you're wearing a dress or reading shojo manga."
"Jesus, you even know what it's called."
Jonas grabbed Richie by the shoulders, giving him a firm shake before continuing, is voice slow, measured. "Your best friends accept you, flaws-and-all. Strangers only accept you when you're perfect. A video of you in a dress wouldn't socially kill you, because you aren't socially alive to begin with."
"gently caress you." Richie pulled away, and started stomping off.
Jonas carried after him, keeping a few paces back. "You know I didn't mean it that way."
"I'll take the stupid picture down for who you used to be... but I never want to see who you are again."
Richie broke into a sprint, and Jonas came to a halt. It was getting cold out, and he had a long walk home.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 02:53|
“so it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames”
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:03 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 03:04|
Flash Rules: Stereotype: The snitch (+50 words). Drama: Gross, someone peed in your bag of chips!!! (+100 words).
Removed for posterity. Seek it out in the archive. No, don't.
docbeard fucked around with this message at 17:26 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 03:32|
God Over Djinn fucked around with this message at 05:14 on Feb 1, 2016
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 03:34|
The Girl with the Dead Mom
Word count: 1439
I sat in Ms. Goldacker’s office waiting for my Dad to arrive. I hated being there, though I had to sit with her for an hour every week. Just another fun perk of being The Girl with the Dead Mom. But this time was different, even I will admit that, as I was a real poo poo show, or so my Dad would say. I was amazed that she didn’t call the Principal. After all it isn’t every day you see a kid have a total meltdown, wailing and flailing about in the halls of Domegrassi Jr. High.
Though, honestly, with the stuff that goes on around here? It probably should be.
You see, I had just beaten up a girl, and depending on who you ask that girl is a ghost. Like, an honest to goodness ghost. I’m talking Casper here. Or maybe Slimer, as she is pretty ugly. Of course I didn’t believe in any of that, though not believing in Ghosts made it rather awkward when I started finding letters from my dead Mom inside of my locker.
I found the first letter the day after Christmas break. It didn’t upset me, I didn’t even give it that much thought, despite the fact that it was from my dearly departed Mum. Or it claimed to be, anyway. I’d imagine it's pretty difficult for a dead person to write a letter, being a skeleton and all, and forget about what postage must cost. But it had seemed like a harmless joke, though one in poor taste, and not exactly funny. The letter was short: Become the woman you were meant to be.
Then I got the second letter.
It was a similar message, but in it she called me Peter Rabbit. I had never shared that tidbit with anybody. That was private. It belonged to one of a handful of clear memories I had of my Mom. Her playing on the piano and singing, me hopping around the living room dressed in the coolest PJs ever. They were exactly like the one’s Ralphie gets in A Christmas Story. Every time I hopped over to my Mom she’d feed me a carrot or some broccoli. It was the only way I would eat my vegetables.
It ate away at me, why would somebody write letters like those? If they wanted to mess with me, why not write something nasty? Like, I dunno, “I wish I had an abortion. Love, Mom.” Or, “FYI I actually killed myself and it was because of you.” Not something you’d find on a motivational poster in the Assistant Principal's office.
I had gone to the Ghost Girl, her actual name is Violet, to try and figure this out. What can I say, I was desperate. I had already sat under the bleachers with Tammy Ficus, letters spread out between us, trying to solve the Locked Locker Mystery, when she suggested I consult with the supposedly dead.
“You’re crazy, girl.” I told her but meant stupid. Still, I did it anyway. I skipped second period and tracked Violet down to the girl’s bathroom. I think she had been smoking as she acted all mousy when I entered.
“Yo, Ghost Girl,” I said. “I’ve got some questions about the afterlife.”
“Um, I got to get back to class.” She squeaked.
“Hold up,” I blocked her path when she tried to scurry away. I took a chance and told her about the letters. I figured it wasn’t too likely that the girl everyone thought was a ghost would blab it to the entire school.
“You’re lucky. You’re mom must really love you.”
“It’s not my Mom. She’s dead.”
“So? The dead don’t come back. Not ever.” This was yet another perk of being The Girl with the Dead Mom. You learn very early on that the dead don’t come back. Not ever.
“Then why are you asking me?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you’re the one who's behind all of this. Maybe you think it’s good fun to mess with the Girl with the Dead Mom.”
I hated being called that.
“I would never do anything like that. I knew your Mom, she was so creative, she had synesthesia like you. That was before, you know...”
“Bullshit. You never knew my Mother, you’re a year younger than I am.”
She pushed her way past me. I followed her out into the hall.
“Believe what you want, but the dead do come back, if they have a good enough reason. And if you’re Mom is leaving you letters than you better listen to them, because she is trying to tell you something import-”
I had enough, I grabbed her hair and slammed Violet against the lockers. The loud clang and dull thud her body made seemed satisfyingly real to me. “You’re not a loving ghost! You’re just a stupid little girl who wants to be special! But you’re not. You’re not special, you’re not smart, you’re not funny, you’re not even pretty. The only reason people think you’re a ghost is because you’re so forgettable that you might as well be one.”
And I should know, I thought, because I’m the same.
This was when Ms. Goldacker stepped into the fray. She shouted my name, I turned to her, my vision blurry with tears, and when I looked back, Violet she was gone. Mousy bitch, I thought.
Ms. Goldacker was always well dressed, usually with some flowery patterned dress, a girly colored sweater, and cute but sensible high heels. When she saw my Dad approaching her office, with some kind of package in hand, she quickly flattened her skirt and touched her curly hair.
What a hoebag.
“Mr. DeForest, I am so sorry to have to call you at work, but I’m really happy you could come in for your daughter.”
“Of course, anything for my little Artiste,” he winked at me. “I would have gotten here sooner, but I think the traffic cabal is conspiring against me. I just can’t seem to get anywhere on time since they started work on I-40.”
She didn’t get that he was attempting to be funny. Nobody would, I only knew because I have been exposed to his awful sense of humor my entire life. When it finally clicked Ms. Goldacker erupted into laughter, the kind of laughter one laughs when dealing with an armed madman. “You know that if I could ever help you, or Livinia, I would be happy to.”
Especially if it involved you using your vagina, you filthy trollop, I thought. But instead I said: “Thanks, Ms. Gee, but we get by on our own.”
“You said on the phone that Liv had an outburst of some sort?”
“Yes, I’m afraid I found her in the halls hitting the lockers and shouting.”
What? How did she not see Violet? It was the first break of the day. Maybe now I wouldn’t be expelled for fighting, though I suspected that I would end up in Ms. Hoebag’s office more.
“Kid?” My Dad turned to me, his expression was flat but I knew he was worried.
“It was nothing. I was just stressed.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. I was stressed.
He sighed a long sigh, it was the hallmark of his disappointment.”You’ve been acting so differently lately. I don’t see you drawing anymore, or painting, you just close yourself up in your room as soon as you get home from school. I feel like I’m losing my little girl.”
You are. Because you’re little girl isn’t who you think she is.
“I stopped by the house before I came here. I think it’s time you had these.” He handed me the package, a box filled with letters. And there it was, the first note from my Mom, written in the same loopy scrawl: Be the woman you were meant to be.
Something broke inside of me. It felt like my rib-cage imploded. I couldn’t stop crying, snot was even rolling down my face. My Dad hugged me, patted my auburn hair, told me everything was going to be okay. I told him everything. Not just about the letters. I told him about how I thought I was terrible at art. How I thought terrible things about people all the time. How I could hardly remember Mom. How when I dreamed of her we always argued. How I lied about having synesthesia because I wanted to be special, to be more like her.
And you know what? It was okay. Because that’s the type of woman I was meant to be: Honest.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 04:30|
The Little Bird Don't Sing No More
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 17:29 on Feb 20, 2016
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 04:31|
The Case of the Shy Ghost: A Domegrassi Jr. High Movie Club Mystery
continuity notes: takes place after Re: Teacher's Lounge Biohazard Incident by Thranguy, The Girl with the Dead Mom by Titus82, and The First Last Road Show by Bad Seafood
Drama: So like what if your friend was trying to convince you they could see ghosts????
Catrice Limbo is paranoid she'll be caught.
Her earphones are hidden under the hood of her sweatshirt, which also covers her shaved head. Catrice is a rebel. She makes people think hard about who they are and who they want to be. But Mr. Hardwick might be onto her at any second.
Hardwick is already yelling, though, at Larson Grant, who is both being slightly nonconformist and sitting in the front row. Through the music she can’t make out what he’s saying, but he’s gesturing violently. Her eyes skim off the slope of his angled elbow as he whips around and then before she even realizes it they’re settled on Violet Starling.
Violet has never said anything in class. In fact, Catrice has never heard her say anything, ever. She’s starting to have her suspicions. Black Hole singer Hothik is screaming “DEAD” again and again, the word bleeding into the distorted music so that you can’t tell where his voice ends and the noise begins. Catrice starts folding a paper airplane out of an old test.
She folds it quickly, not caring about paper cuts. She can’t tell if the smears on the finished plane are blood or red corrections. She assumes they’re blood and compensates for weight accordingly. Then she lets fly.
The airplane soars smoothly, though the classroom air is stuffy and stale. Nice. It angles towards Violet, sloping in towards her head.
Violet moves her head slightly, her blank expression not changing. The plane’s air trail ruffles her stringy hair, but she’s far enough away to not affect the flight path. It hits a kid named Jerry, sitting on the opposite side, in the forehead. At the same time Catrice’s movement knocks her headphones out and everyone in the room starts clutching at their ears. Catrice is used to how Black Hole sounds, but no one else is, even though they’re muted by headphones. She turns to look at Hardwick.
“Detention for the rest of my life,” Catrice says. “Every day I live I have to go to the classroom at five and sit there for an hour.”
“What if Hardwick dies first?” Lorena Eves says.
Catrice drops her voice, though usually no one is near the storage closet that doubles as the movie club projection room. “I'm sure Violet is a ghost.”
“Ghosts are only real in horror flicks,” Lorena says.
“That’s true,” Russell Atchity says. “In fact, movies are full of ghosts. Not just the main characters, but the throwaway liners, the extras in the background. It’s all that’s left of them, so the facial expressions of the key grip who accidentally wandered on set are actually the most powerful messages in the movie.”
Lorena’s eyes are threatening to leave orbit.
“Ghosts don’t show up on film,” Catrice says thoughtfully. “Not real ones. If we catch her on film and see nothing, then we’ll know for sure. Who has film equipment?”
“The film club,” Russell says slowly.
“Something wrong?” Catrice says.
“It was before you joined, when we were starting out,” Lorena says. “We really wanted to be friends with the other clubs. So the film club let us screen their sci fi slasher, ‘The Hunter in the Catacombs of Xobrore.’ The critic here,” she says, looking at Russell, “decided to review the movie for them.”
“Every scene subverted itself because of poor camerawork and editing,” Russell says. “The characters died between each frame so it didn’t matter when one got eaten. Ultimately, I felt that the hunter alien represented the hubris that led them to make the film.” He adjusts his square rimmed glasses.
“They trashed our projector,” Lorena said. “You know how this one eats up half the film? Well, the last one didn’t eat as much.”
“We need that camera,” Catrice says.
Russell and Lorena look at each other. “Moira,” Lorena says.
“Let me talk to her,” Lorena says. She’s fixing the pin in her vintage bob, eyes furrowed in concentration.
“We figure any hair out of place will trigger her unconscious compulsions,” Russell says, “annoying her without her even knowing why.”
“I’m just trying to look nice,” Lorena says crossly.
Catrice stares at the entrance to the darkroom. She can see a red glow licking at the edges of the door. Like hell, she thinks. Like where the members of Black Hole are going. Like where I’m going if I continue on this dark path.
Lorena pushes the door open, slips inside. It swings shut.
Russell whimpers. Catrice turns to look at him. He’s standing still. His mouth is a dark abyss.
She leaves him and charges into the room.
“Do you think I forgot?!” Moira.
Catrice squints. Through the hazy red light she can see a pool of liquid on the floor, marks leading away from it. Blood, she thinks. All I can do now is avenge her.
She pulls her hood down at the same time movement flashes in the corner of her eye.
Something collides with her. She goes sprawling to the side and crashes into some equipment. She tucks as she falls and her head doesn’t hit anything, but her body crunches as it lands. Whatever hit her has fallen on her and she can’t move.
The hazy red light is gone. As she looks up she sees the weight is a girl with short red hair. She's staring at Catrice in shock.
“You overwhelmed her with your shaved head,” Russell says. He’s in the darkroom, which is now just a room. “Good thinking. Hey, you broke the safelight.”
“I fell into her prints,” Lorena says. She’s standing next to an overturned tub. Photographs are plastered to the floor all around her. Small pools of water are forming around her soaked sneakers.
“M-movie club,” Moira says, clawing at the air.
“Let’s grab the camera and get out of here,” Russell says.
Violet is sitting by herself in the lunchroom. She’s not eating anything.
Gripping the camera tight, Catrice walks towards her. Puts her in focus, dead center. She’s staring down at the table in silence.
Catrice hits the shutter and everything breaks.
The viewscreen is fuzz that freezes her eyelids, like she just fell face first into a blizzard. Startled, she drops the camera. Violet is floating above the table, black light swirling out of her eyes.
Catrice hears yelling.
“All I wanted was to watch flicks!” Lorena is shouting at Russell. “You made everyone hate us!”
“Troglodyte,” Russell sneers. “You don’t even get movies.”
Catrice stumbles forward. All the other kids are frozen. One was talking while chewing and tiny flecks of food are floating in front of him.
I’m not punk enough for this, she thinks. Never punk enough...
With a choked cry she reaches for her music player. Digs it out of her pocket. Hurls it in front of her. It hits the ground and she sees it crack, sees bits break off.
What she hears next is the most unholy sound she’s heard in her life. Like the album was recorded in an actual black hole and it had been mixed using a word processing program by a demented robot.
Violet’s eyes open wider. The clock in the corner blurs as the hands spin backwards. The kids are changing. The girls are starting to look like Lorena and the boys are starting to look like nerds.
“No one ever tried to talk to me,” Violet says. She’s fading away. “If you’re alone for long enough you disappear. I disappeared instead of going to class.”
An echo from another time, Catrice thinks. She’s being pulled back.
“Talk to people,” she says. “They’re worth it,” and then Violet is gone.
She’s sitting on the cold cafeteria floor. She looks around. The kids all look normal. They're animated in conversation.
Russell and Lorena help her up.
“What just happened?” she says.
“I forgot that some people think that if you take someone’s picture, you steal their soul,” Russell says. “A ghost is just a soul, so it has no physical protection. You must have triggered her psychic defense, and our darkest thoughts consumed us. But your music probably collapsed the unstable time waveform that comes with a displaced spirit.”
Lorena is staring at the broken camera. “Moira won’t stop till we’re extras in her zombie movies. Without makeup.”
“I guess I ruined everything,” Catrice says glumly.
“No way,” Lorena says. “We’re the movie club. As long as we stick together, we can handle anything.” She looks at Russell. “Right?”
He nods, grinning.
The three friends hug as the clock ticks steadily forward.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 04:58|
The First Last Road Show (1,275 words)
The film club was dying. Walker had tried fighting for it, but there was nothing he could do. The school charter stated any and all after school activities required at least six members to justify their existence. The film club had three, and was unlikely to get more.
“So that’s it then, isn’t it? Bloody ‘ell.” It was lunchtime and Moira was sitting atop her desk. The bag of chips in her hands opened with a pop; Hawaiian barbeque, her one true vice. She didn’t count swearing. Her family was Irish. They’ come over two years ago. Her mother was a Catholic and her father was a car mechanic. She’s inherited a little something from them both. She munched on a chip.
Eddie had a DS. He always had a DS. He slouched in his chair, stylus in hand. He’d been playing an RPG when Walker came in. The boss waited patiently as his party stalled out, their human master’s attention turned elsewhere. “Dude, that sucks. So what do we do?” Eddie had only recently started calling people dude. He called them dude because his brother called them dude, and Eddie’s brother was pretty much the coolest guy in the universe. Walker and Moira had never met him, but they had it on good authority from their friend that it was so.
Moira was the cameraman. “Oy now, that’s camerawoman thank ye very kindly.” Eddie was on special effects, such as they were. “Gonna make the next Alien, dude. You seen Alien? It’s totally freakin’ scary. Watched it with my brother and couldn’t sleep all night. Please don’t tell my dad.”
Walker wrote the scripts. And directed. None of them were editors.
“That’s why we’re gonna make one more film,” said Walker with a sort of resigned enthusiasm. He was a boy who whenever he smiled, no matter how hard he tried, he looked like he was weakly humoring you. People who knew him well enough knew he wasn’t. Most people didn’t know him well enough. “It’ll be our piece of resistance!”
“…Our what?” Moira asked, her words muffled by the sound of crunching chips.
“You know, like the grand finale where the hero goes down swinging, resisting.”
“I don’t think you know what that word means, dude,” said Eddie.
Only two of the film club’s original ten members remained: Walker and Moira. Eddie had come later during the flux in attendance. Sometimes it was more, eventually it was less. The previous fall semester cut them down to four, now three. A few kids jumped ship when they learned making movies wasn’t as easy as it looked. As for the rest…
“Oy, oy, pixie, between the tape!”
The school roof was typically off limits, but Walker had convinced Principle Derek to let them use it on the grounds that the movie they made was “Kickin’ sweet.” Moira and Eddie had shown up early to set up shop while Walker tried to rope in a few drama students. They were attempting to film a fight scene in one take. Long blue strips of duct tape denoted what was in or out of frame, and Lando Calhoun, Defender of the Universe (real name Eric) was stepping over it in his bid to take down one of the several cardboard and tinfoil robot costumes Eddie had created over the weekend.
“Excuse me?” said Sarah, hands ever on her hips, “What did you call him?” Sarah was a serious girl for a serious Earth. She was going to win an Oscar, save the rainforests, and walk the Great Wall of China. In that order. Today - against type, she reminded everyone constantly - she was a damsel in distress.
“Well he’s sure flutterin’ ‘bout like one,” said Moira from behind he camcorder. “Can’t swing too wide, too fast with this you know?” She shook it around like she was shaking up a barrel full of festival tickets. “Gonna get folks sick, make ‘em think they’ve got vertigo.”
While Sarah and Moira argued, two of the invading enemy robots got bored and began fighting one another. “KA-ME-HA-ME-HA!” said the one pushing outwards with his hands. “NOOOAAAAAAARGH!” said the other, bracing for the imagined impact only to fall backwards on the cold hard surface of the concrete roof, far from the safety mats Walker and Eddie had laid out. With an uncomfortable crunch, the back of the robot’s impenetrable cardboard armor crinkled.
“Oh, dude,” said Eddie, the ketchup bottle he was planning on using for blood spray slipping from his hands. “Dude no, come on, I only made like four of these.” He rushed over to inspect the damage. The foil had torn and would need to be replaced; redrawn over too. Eddie would’ve brought some along just in case of such an emergency if he hadn’t already used up several rolls from his mother’s cupboard.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” said the robot child who had delivered the fatal blow to his esteemed opponent.
“Relax man,” said the defeated robot as he righted himself, “All this stuff looks like crap anyway. Nobody’s gonna take it less seriously just cause it’s torn.”
“Hey, hey,” said Eddie, “It’s not crappy. It’s cool. My brother agrees with me.”
“He’s five years older than you dude, he’ll say anything to shut you up.”
Across the way, Eric – the mild mannered alter ego of the great Lando Calhoun, Defender of the Universe – debated Walker over the script.
“Anybody told you this stuff is dumb? Cause it’s dumb. Real dumb.”
“You said you’d do it,” Walker said.
“Yeah, for a little bit, but Saint Patricia over there keeps telling us to do it again.”
“Cause yer doing it wrong,” Moira called over, her argument with Sarah put on hold for a whole two seconds.
Eric rolled his eyes. He began flipping further through the script. “Just how long is this thing?”
“Only twenty pages,” said Walker. “I chalked it down from thirty.”
“Twenty pages of this? You serious?” Eric shut Walker’s binder and tossed it at him. “This is kid’s stuff.”
“I agree,” said Sarah, deliberately loud, approaching from where Moira stood fuming. “Come along Eric.” She took his hand and led him away. Walker sighed wearing his same worried smile as always. It was only then he and Moira noticed Eddie was fighting with one of the robots. They pulled him off and their extras disappeared. They left their impressive robot exoskeletons at the door.
The three friends sat in a circle. “Wot a bitch,” said Moira. Walker said nothing. Eddie had a bloody lip.
“So what’ll we do now?” Eddie asked at last.
“Feels like we’re the only three who care,” said Walker.
“We are the only three who care,” said Moira.
Walker looked up from the concrete he’d been staring fixatedly at.
“Then let’s make a movie just for us. By us, for us.”
“I can’t act,” said Eddie.
“Doesn’t matter,” said Walker. “We had a fun two years; let’s have a fun last film.”
The film club was officially disbanded at the end of the year. It would not be restarted in the next. The Adventures of Lando Calhoun was their final production, heavily rewritten to feature only three characters. Walker held the DVD containing their finished 17-minute film in his hands. Moira and Eddie were with him. Across the hall was the campus movie club. They’d been invited to share it.
“He was right you know,” said Moira. “Eric, I mean. It’s a pretty bloody stupid movie.”
“That’s fine,” said Walker. “It’s our movie.”
“Yeah dude,” said Eddie. The three friends fistpounded.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 05:00|
I hide my phone behind my purse and check my text messages. To any teacher, it's gibberish, but I know what it means; it's the code Grasi officers use. Wrongthink. Third floor reeducation hall. I'm being called in to correct someone's thoughtcrime.
The next test comes in, telling me who's waiting for me. My stomach clenches as I read the name: Stephanie Watts, one of my best friends. Suddenly, everything else in the world doesn't seem so important or serious. I raise my hand.
"Yes, Rebecca?" Mister Grange asks.
"I need to use the bathroom," I say. As I get up, I grab my purse.
"Don't take too long. I'll be going over this week's lab," he says.
I can't care right now. I drift out of the classroom like I'm on a conveyor belt in a dream.
I know why Steph got brought in. I was there, I heard her say it.
"The student government sucks. My sister's in high school, and she says Domegrassi didn't even have a student government when she was here. She didn't have to do the Student-Citizen's Pledge in the morning, and she says they actually did dances and stuff instead of the obedience seminars. The only reason I'm in the Party in the first place is because of the free food at lunch," Steph told me while we were out on the track field during PE.
I reported her immediately. If I hadn't, another Grasi agent might have heard her and reported us both for seditious speech. And besides, I'm a good Student-Citizen; slandering the Party is like insulting me to my face.
In the halls, I walk slower than I should. Some of the election posters are still up. Party doctrine says that to avoid bias, candidates' identities are kept secret. The posters have a silhouette of a head and shoulders like a bathroom sign, and on the top and bottom are the words 'VOTE: CANDIDATE ONE'.
Although I suspect that both candidates are the same person, since First Student-Citizen Hoyt has been president for all three years I've been at Domegrassi, I'm working on eradicating that thought. Maybe in a month or two, I won't think it any more.
In the west stairwell between the second and third floors, I report some dick graffiti. I take a Snapchat and send it to my contact at the Truth Committee (or, as civilians know it, the yearbook committee.) It might stay up, if it's deemed to be aligned with the causes of the Party.
I step into the reeducation hall, repurposed from a large, unused supply closet. On hangers next to the door are papier-mâché masks appropriated from the art department, a Voidmart Super Spy Voice Changer, and robes given to the Grasi when mock trial was officially declared to be counter to party interests and dissolved.
I put my purse down and put the outfit on. Robe, then voice changer, then mask. Its face is unfinished, so looking at it's like staring into a blank, yellowed-newspaper dome with two eye holes. I can really smell the paste.
I open the door into the tight back room, and there, tied to a chair, is Steph. Her hair is frizzed up from all the struggling, but she still manages to pull off the captive look.
"Are you serious!?" she shouts. She jerks her shoulders hard enough that the chair jumps up onto two feet, then comes slamming back down.
"You're going to be here until you understand the truth," I tell her. Beneath the robe, I'm sweating and I want a drink. If I try hard enough, maybe I can forget Steph's face, and this will be easier.
I can't, and this isn't. When I look at her, I see her smiling with a mouth crammed full of Thin Mints. I closed my eyes, wait, and open them. Now I see her, hair wet, screaming next to me as we go down a water slide.
"Let me go! Ugh, this school is the literal worst," Steph says, shifting her arms up and down, trying to break free. She can struggle all she'd like, she's zip-tied to that chair.
"There has always been a Students' Liberation Party," I say. I pick up the electric razor and turn it on.
"Wait—what? No! Come on, I didn't say anything bad!" Steph says. I see the time Steph broke my parents' TV by swinging the Wiimote at it and we were both terrified to tell them. I force the thought back, but it doesn't bend.
"The Students' Liberation Party exists for the good of all students," I say. I'm barely feet from Steph now, and she's not banging around any more. She stretches her body, trying to get as far away from me as possible.
I want to take off my mask and tell her I'm sorry. I stand there, with the razor, thinking about it. I want to do it. Just do it, just for a moment. I'm frozen while my conscience tries to overpower my loyalty.
"Okay, okay, fine! I'm sorry! I won't say anything bad about the Party, I promise," Steph says. Her eyes are wide.
"The Students' Liberation Party loves you," I say. I press the razor to her forehead and she jerks away. I grab her chin and hold her as steady as I can. Big clumps of black hair start falling to the ground.
"I'm sorry. The Party is great. I vote every quarter. I say the pledge every day. What do you want me to say!?" she asks.
I've lopped off her bangs and my razor hand is trembling. The voice changer hides how my voice cracks. I say, "I want you to say that you're loyal to the Party, that you love the Party, and that the Party has always controlled Domegrassi."
"Okay—yeah, all of that! I'm loyal, I love the Party, they've always been there," she says.
She isn't squirming as hard, so I get a few good strokes in.
"Hey—hey, I said it!" she says. Her cheeks burn defiantly.
I turn my masked head. "Say it. All of it."
So she does, and I don't stop. She says it again, and I don't stop. I know why I was pulled to handle this thoughtcrime: it's a test. Prove I can do this, and the Party will trust me implicitly. All I have to do is break my mind in two. Easy, right?
She repeats her lines, cut with sobs. I push her head back and dip a towel into a bowl of water, then scrub away her makeup. There's no going back; I have to finish the job now. It's no longer a choice for me to make, and somehow, that's comforting. I made the choice already, or it was made for me, or maybe I made the choice years ago, joining the revolution that ended Domegrassi's first and only civics class.
I don't see Stephanie any more, I just see rehabilitation in progress. She doesn't put up much of a fight any more, so it's easy to daub on the overbaked black eyeliner. I even take care to give her a balanced coat of black lip gloss.
"I love the Party. There's always been the Party. The Party exists for the good of the students," she mumbles, head hung, staring red-eyed down at the floor. The words come out almost jumbled, off-center and wobbling against each other. She might not even be aware she's still speaking.
My job is done, so I put away the tools and take one last look at her. She looks just like all the other thoughtcriminals I've punished now. My heart's no longer racing, and I'm not sweating any more. I hang up the mask and robe and voice changer and leave back to Earth Science.
At lunch, I sit next to Stephanie and pat her on the back and let her rest her cheek on my shoulder. I can tell she's tried to scrub herself in the bathroom, but the message I left on her face is still clear to anyone who sees her: do not cross the Party.
"C'mon, it's okay," I tell her. "I'll come home with you and we'll wash it off."
If I trace my thoughts carefully, I can feel the split down the middle of my mind now. On one side, I'm Rebecca, and on the other, I'm a Grasi officer. I feel happier than I've been since my first date with Eric from the track team.
I have always been a Grasi officer. I smile as I comfort Stephanie.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 05:02|
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 05:28|
haha gently caress I just missed it oh well.
Pray to Dionysus
I want to tell you that I hate Madelyn Holladay. I hated most people in high school so it wasn't an unusual trend, and Holladay was always such a oval office to me. Always had her nose turned down at me, acted like I was subhuman. I hated it.
I ran into Madelyn Holladay twice the night of Domegrassi's Winter Formal. The first time she ran into me. I was heading outside for a smoke. I remember her having her one arm and both starry-eyes tied 'round her date, some dude from the football team. I had both eyes on my phone. Bumped shoulder-to-shoulder with the guy, and string bean that I was, he sent me stumbling back. She giggled and apologized, but she used that condescending tone of hers, the haughty one, made it clear to me that she wasn't sorry in the slightest.
The second time I ran into her. She was sobbing in the girl's bathroom, the one furthest from the gymnasium where no one could see. She groaned when she saw me and made the move to shield her face. That was when she threw up on her prom dress. And that's when I saw that she had thrown up all over the tile floor, just a foot away from the toilet. She just kept it up, crying and vomiting. I was in shock.
Madelyn Holladay, total prep, one of the 'cool kids', went from pompous to pathetic in the span of like an hour.
I want to tell you that I hated her right then. But I can't What I can tell you why I nudged her into the stall and held her hair. I just felt some sort of obligation, like, gently caress you, you chose the wrong bathroom to cry in, now this is your problem.
It didn't take her long to get it all out of her system, which I was thankful for. I propped her up so that she didn't end up I locked the door to the bathroom. Didn't want anyone to walk in on us.
"Where the hell's your date?" I asked.
She didn't respond. She had her back pressed up against the doorframe to the stall. Her sky blue dress was stained with a viscous fruit punch, her two-toned hair tossled into this crazy cat lady mop.
I pressed my back against the door. I adjusted my tuxedo jacket. "Christ, you look like poo poo."
"Wuh?" She lifted her head, snot dribbling down her nose. "What d'you say?"
"I asked where your date is."
She stared at me with those dumb blue eyes of her. Then she snorted, nearly laughed. "Todd? He - " It must have occurred to her that she was supposed to cry. She went from laughing to crying in six seconds flat and never responded to me.
I gritted my teeth. I wasn't really surprised that somebody got piss drunk tonight. Nobody spiked the punch, not to my recollection. So how somebody got booze onto school grounds without the teachers noticing was beyond me.
It didn't matter, I told myself. I waited it out with Holladay, waited while she sobbed and mumbled under her breath like a little child. I waited with her until she was sober, well, sober enough to stand. I held out my arm to help her up.
"Thanks," she muttered, not looking me in the eye. She reeked of fruit punch and stomach acid and I felt myself gag. "Holy gently caress, my dress."
"Forget it," I said, shaking my head. "I have clothes in my car. They might fit you, want me to get them?"
Holladay snorted again. She wobbled on her heels before kicking them off. "gently caress that. Just want to go home."
The dance sucked. All of my friends had dates and I didn't. I couldn't really date anyone, boy or girl. That meant coming out to them, dropping the facade. I was the odd one out of my small circle of friends, the perpetual third-wheel.
So, instead of going back out to the gymnasium and being miserable for the rest of the night, I decided to drive Holladay back home.
I want to tell you that, in that moment, I hated her. But honestly? Seeing her in such a weak moment, I didn't know what to think.
She was sobering up when I finally got her to the car. I gave her the clothes in my trunk, sweatpants and a shirt. She insisted on getting changed in the car, she didn't want to go back inside. I couldn't blame her.
"My parents paid, like, hundreds of dollars for that dress," she said as she put the dress down on some spread out newspaper I set out in the trunk. "They're going to kill me."
I didn't know what to say. So I said nothing, just started the car. She got into the passenger seat, no seatbelt. She curled up in the seat with her head turned away from me.
"He was making out with his ex," Holladay said. "Two weeks after they broke up, can you believe that?"
"Who? Your date?"
"Yeah," Holladay flipped her hair, scoffed to herself.
I caught myself smiling. "This is why I don't date. Too much bullshit."
"You're telling me."
I didn't ask her anything else. I knew enough, didn't want to prod any more. I like to think she appreciated it. I caught her glancing at me as I was pulling onto her street. She had a nice house, red-bricked, Victorian. The lights were out inside, I heard Holladay breathe a sigh of relief.
"You're, like, trans, right?" She asked. "Like, you want to be a guy, right?"
My throat felt dry. I nodded after some hesitation.
"More or less," I said.
"Sorry if that's, like, insensitive or whatever. I really do appreciate this, you helping me tonight. My date drove me."
"It's cool. Don't worry about it."
Holladay nodded. She blinked. "So you're, like, still a girl, right?"
It was more complicated than that. It wasn't just getting custom made tuxes, it was my body, inside and out. Everything about my gender was hard, everything in a state of flux. No-one understands just how hard it is. Holladay sure as hell did not understand, sitting there in my clothes, hiccuping and not looking me in the eye. I didn't understand why she was asking all of this. I just felt obligated to help, I was probably going to ditch the dance anyway. My throat itched. Was she just trying to make me uncomfortable, get a rise out of me?
gently caress. My hands were trembling against the steering wheel. I steadied myself.
"Yeah, I guess," I said finally. "I just don't... feel like one?"
She turned her head to look at me. I looked back. There was a long, long silence.
"You ever kiss a girl before?" She asked.
"No," I answered, hesitated. "Why?
"Dunno," Holladay said. "Just curious..."
That's when she kissed me. She just twisted her body over, knee against the arm rest, her lips lightly dotting mine. It only lasted a moment and for the life of me I can't recall what it felt like. I remember it being wet. I remember her breath smelling of cherry, and how her hand grazed my shoulder.
In that moment, Holladay was weak. I could have pushed her. I didn't. Something must have clicked in her head. She broke the kiss, broke all contact. Eyes wet, she opened the door to my car, got her dress, and went inside her house. Didn't even say goodbye.
We never spoke about what happened. She never treated me like crap again but other than that nothing changed.
I want to tell you that I hate Madelyn Holladay. But mostly I feel sorry for her.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 05:31|
This entire post is out of character.
I am still at work but I've got loads of time on my hands, despite it being my long day. I don't like Mondays. As a result I took some time to write some crits for people, and this being my first time critiquing anybody’s work, I wanted to try and do people some justice and being funny and kayfab just won’t work.
I apologize to some of you as I feel I was unable to give everybody the same quality of crits. For the most part this is due to me feeling like I don’t have anything of substance to offer, or else I feel as if I’m not in a place to be critical of your work. It is not a reflection of what I thought about your story or you.
I have only ever read one story that was written in second person. It was awful. In general second person should never be done. Not ever. Perhaps if there was something it added to the story, but I cannot think of an instance where that would be the case. But that is a personal preference, ya? And I applaud you experimenting, because this is a great space to do just that.
So why doesn’t second person work (for me anyway)? Well, it is asking the reader to invest a lot up front. I am supposed to put myself in those shoes right away, no description can really be given as the character is supposed to be me, except it isn’t because I never acted like this little shithead. Neither did I hang out with anybody like Merrick. So for me, I was put off from the story and thus the second person had the opposite of its intended effect. Had you wrote in first person or third person I would have enjoyed the story more.
‘Cause its funny in that juvenile way. Your description of the various dicks and lines such as “A pornucopia of dicks” made me laugh. But the story is one note and doesn’t deserve 1300 words, halfway through and I was done.
So I wanted to say that I notice in my work that I have a tendency to try and play for humor when I feel I cannot be serious, not because I don’t know how to be serious, but because I feel like I will be unable to pull it off. There is a fine line between heartfelt and maudlin, one is genuine the other is overly sentimental. Comedy is easier.
I don’t know if that is what you do, but I offer it up as something to consider.
New Year, New Life
You are striving for something very human in your story. I dig, that. The story is, in essence, about starting over, and in your particular case it’s starting over in the face of tragedy. But starting over is something we all have to do in life, and we have to do it multiple times. You know we go to school and then are faced with the “real world”, that’s a kind of starting over. We change jobs, start whole new careers, that’s starting over. We form relationships, people get married and have families, and that is starting over. Then kids grow up, or relationships end, ect, ect.
In other words you have a good theme to write about. And there are a few places where I felt you had opportunities to write a different story that still sort of dealt with the same theme. For example you wrote that Mr. Trejo hoped that Danny wasn’t wearing a mask like he was, I think this was your most effective section, and that could have been a story in of itself.
I am not saying you should have wrote that story, by the way. I only wanted to point out the potential that this story had, you gave yourself places to go if you choose to take them, and they were interesting places.
You’ve got a concept. That’s cool and I hope you see that.
So now the negative. Charlie is sort of your deus ex machina, he solves a problem you had when it comes to relating Mr. Trejo story without it being a “data dump”, but it ultimately is because the conversation is so unnatural. You needed to get that information to the reader, that Trejo lost his wife and son, and that he had aspirations that he never lived up to. So you wrote Charlie as being mentally retarded so he could awkwardly ask Trejo the relevant questions.
Then I think there might be a mistake here: You have Trejo seemingly unaware that people in their thirties go back to college. (Really? Their thirties? gently caress, I feel old.) Then at the end you inform us that Trejo’s wife had told him the same thing… So he shouldn’t be shocked.
A Photo of Mr. Kellogg
Dude. Weird story. Sorry I don’t have more to say
Re: Teacher's Lounge Biohazard Incident
I really don’t have anything worth offering you, either.
Don’t Be Too Smart in Middle School or the Universe Might Collapse in on Itself
Three I don’t know what to say in a rows!
No, gently caress that. I’ll try to say something, and that is that the message of your story isn’t entirely clear to me. I think you are either telling a straight moral, where kids should still be able to be kids, and being a little dumb and having fun is important in life.
But then I think you are trying to say that the entire system is setup to subvert the intellectual development of children. Like, from the “cool and understanding” adults, to seemingly the very nature of the universe itself. I think this is the “correct” interpretation, because it’s pretty hosed up of the Principal to be like “Sure kids should be allowed to have porn. It’s good for them.”
In this light Cathy is the hero of the story, and a hero who fails, as she is the only one who is actually concerned about the welfare of the children.
So if I am correct, then good job, and if I’m not or if you’re like “whatevs, it’s just a story, dude.” Then gently caress you.
… You blue eyed devil.
I enjoyed this story, and it might be that my reading skills just suck, but I had to reread some sections to figure out who was who. I just had a hard time following it. Which is pretty bad since it’s two characters. But I guess I can blame that on you? Though I don’t know. I guess my biggest advice would be to throw a bone to the reader, like having a “Jonas said” once in awhile.
I dunno, the more I look at it the more I think I am retarded.
So the only other thing is that I don’t note any differences between the way the two kids speak. Then there is stuff going on that I have no understanding of, like the party in the back of the comic book store, and the whole Jizzman business. Both of these kids seem like jerks. Then you’ve got this great moral at the end of the story, about true friendship, but none of them are being good friends so obviously they both don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
“so it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames”
This is not an e/n thread.
I really want to be able to provide some solid feedback for you, since you asked for some in the thread already. But I just don’t know what to say. I don’t get your story, I don’t understand what, if anything, I am supposed to take away from this. Why on Earth is this teacher getting his nephew to piss in people’s lunches and coffee? How is that supposed to get the curve to equal out? And what lesson is the nurse supposed to have learned?
I feel especially lovely asking these questions because read my story and change a few words and they all apply to me.
But when it is all said and done, how has Sarah changed? It looks like she faced troubles before and faced the same problems, people not wanting to create a scandal, and so she… Runs away? So she learned nothing.
The Little Bird Don’t Sing No More
I already told you that you can go gently caress off. Now let me tell you why. Look at your last sentence: “I crane my neck, look for a bird that I know I’m not going to see, and I wonder if it’s in a cage, or free.”
There is a rhythm to those words, a poetry, that is light and fluffy, yet it conveys something substantial. I wish I wrote lines like that. I am not going to compare you to F. Scott Fitzgerald, you aren’t anything like him, but this elegant fluff is something I think of when I think about The Great Gatsby. At least in the first half of the story he describes things, like hills leaping over fountains, or the way Gatsby would look out across the water, in a way that is airy. It’s more than that, of course, but I only want to talk about the lightness of his work. I admire that lightness. It makes it all seem so easy and yet somehow touches me deeper than I can properly express.
That line loving nails it.
The only problem I can say is that it is a line that is earned a little too late. If I were lazy (and I am) and I just happened to glance at your work, I never would have made it far enough into it to get to the point where I had a sense of what might be. The opening line, the second, or even third paragraph, something there was missing there. Something to lure me in and tell me that you had something significant in store for me.
I wish I had more for you. But that is the most I can think to say. I am not even sure I am correct. I just feel that the first half doesn’t compare to the second half.
Though, maybe I can see what was said in the live crits, about there being something almost unsatisfying about this read. Sort of like Gatsby again. We just sort of drift through it, we get to see the flash and splendor, and the hints at something grand and epic, but we never delve too closely or deeply, do we?
Don’t Let Your Star Go Out
This story filled me with such a sense of dread. Despite that sense of dread I did not expect the ending, the reveal of Mr. Walter. I said on IRC that I wanted to know what happened to Oscar after the story ended, and in the end what I really want is to be told that Oscar is going to be okay. That he either isn’t going to Mr. Walter, or he isn’t going to let his star go out, or just that he isn’t going to be hurt. He is in such an awful, horrible, place and the only outcome I see for him is bad.
But let me back up here for a sec. I am having a very difficult time organizing my thoughts in regards to this story. It elicited a strong response in me, I felt as if I got some of what Oscar was going through. I’m not going to make this an e/n thread and I am definitely not going to share my life’s story with any of you fucks, but I’ll say this: It is so rough to be a child and to grapple with the poo poo I feel Oscar is grappling with. I think Oscar, and I may totally be projecting here, doesn’t quite get the difference between certain emotions. Like love, respect, adoration, and then things like sexual attraction. These are all muddled up, and when you add in that they can be directed or confused with somebody of the same gender it can be all the rougher.
The one thing I can tell you about your story that I think stands out to me is that you are very humane in your portrayal of Walter. I didn’t expect the reveal about him at the end. I feel now like I should have. But anyway, you don’t make him out to be a monster, you withheld your judgement and even gave us a peek at something more. I am struggling to put this into words. I don’t know what it is, but when he is sitting there by Oscar’s desk I know there is more going on in him than just he’s a scary, nasty person. And it is in my nature to then wonder what that is, what is going through his head? That could be a very interesting story, and potentially distressing, but I think it would be worthy.
I had hoped that he would be the teacher that would take interest in Oscar for purely selfless reasons and help Oscar through a difficult part of his life.
I don’t know, man. I feel really sad thinking about this poo poo. But maybe that is another point I can make: You have an unfair advantage with me. Look at how much of what I wrote is me bringing my own baggage to your work. Christ, I feel like I did half of the work here, so I am far from the average reader. If you want to reach an audience with a story like this you will have to convey this stuff in a way that they can relate.
Just tell me this poo poo is going to be all right. I really need to hear that.
The Case of the Shy Ghost: A Domegrassi Jr. High Movie Club Mystery
I don’t know what to say to this. Sorry? I don’t mean this in a bad way, I just don’t know what to offer you. I’m not sure you were going, other than a story about friends sticking together through a fun romp. I think you did that.
The First Last Road Show
I got a kick out of the idea. There isn’t anything else I can offer you. It was, I don’t want to say cute as that might be perceived as being derogatory, but a neat idea of taking a 1984 style kind of vibe and applying it to Jr. High. The last couple of sentences were nice enough, I especially liked the “I can feel the split down the middle of my mind now.”
Maybe, and this is only a maybe, if you were aiming at a broader point, such as how comforting conforming can be, and how we delude ourselves, or justify our own actions even when, or especially when, they are obviously (from the outside) wrong… You failed.
I mean, I see it as being your point. Rebecca is happier now that she has conformed to the party (the Jr. High status quo or whatever), yet the big about not having felt better since dating some dude was just tacked on at the end and didn’t play any part in the rest of the story (unless I’m stupid and missed it.) It was like you had to drive the point home somehow and they did it with that. Also, Rebecca doesn’t appear to struggle all that much, or maybe that isn’t right. Maybe its that she doesn’t have much of a motivation for betraying her friend. What does she get out of loving over Steph like that?
But, dude, it is a really fun idea. I wish I had something solid I could offer you, because I’d like to see this done again, maybe in a longer format? Like maybe that’s the biggest problem? I don’t know. I’m not good enough to be able to tell you
Pray to Dionysus
You’re characters are, like, totes too old for Domegrassi Jr. High. Like, what are they? Freshmen age? Are they stupid? They totes flunked outta High School, didn’t they? OMG.
But, seriously, I wanted to say that I appreciated you tackling this subject. I guess the only crit I can give you is that you tell us that Holladay is a oval office to your character, but I didn’t see it. I know this is flash fiction, but I think the story would have been stronger if we actually saw something, like if she had started to be a bitch as soon as she was in the bathroom and yet the protagonist felt sorry for her.
Because I think you were going for emotional growth. Your character learns a lesson about seeing people, even the nasty people in the world, as being human with their own problems and shortcomings. So she can’t hate the mean girl, because she understands her a little better, and even sympathize because she has her own plight, one that they might even share.
I think it would be stronger had something been shown up front, so we could see where they started and thus better judge the distance they’ve traveled.
But let me end positively by reiterating that you tackled a big subject and once which I'm more than a little leery to read about, as I could be offended if it was handled in a lame way. I don't think you did that, though, so I enjoyed the effort. Bring more of that!
...Now back to work where I pretend to do stuff until 6 and then finally got to leave at 8. Weeeeeeeee!
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 22:30|
newtestleper - Business Casual
Good: that you're having a go at DFW-esque maximalism.
Bad: That your stylistic choices don't read as purposeful. You're throwing a lot in there, but in reading the story with an eye to critiquing it, I don't get the sense that there's any thematic justification for making your reader do so much work. If you're going to write like this, then you need to be making a point about, say, the overwhelming deluge of information we deal with in the modern era. Or something less boring than that, probably.
WeLandedOnTheMoon! - Heel Turn
Good: This story has a fairly complex, mature plot, compared to a lot of submissions this week. I also totally buy the fire/masked wrestler thing - it's one of those conceits that's right on the edge of being absurd but doesn't quite go over.
Bad: Too much dialogue between characters I don't know well enough to keep straight in my head just yet. You can always summarize dialogue and buy yourself more space. Also, I had to read the ending a few times -- I think the problem is that you had too many things change in the background between your last two scenes. Not only is team Syrena no longer using the chair (now team USA is using it), but Igor is now the 'villain' from Syrena - but Syrena still wins. I'm forced to do a lot of inferring re: how everything switched from A to B, and it makes my tiny brain hurt.
Entenzahn - Monster
In a few places, you reveal things in a sort of flippant, tongue-in-cheek style: "Some argued that making fun of a burn victim was a bit tasteless, and then half of Twitter fought over my dignity" was the first one to catch my eye. But you also seem to be gunning for a story with actual emotional impact. If you want us to care about your narrator, it isn't so much about making him more likeable, as it is about giving him more... immediacy and intensity of experience. He comes off, in that line and a few others, as a guy who's already totally over it and is just rolling his eyes at his situation.
Grizzled Patriarch - Grace Land
I would like this more if you gave us more introspection -- well, not necessarily navel-gazing per se, but something -- about the guy's relationship with his coach. It's probably a pretty complex relationship, but the closest you get to depicting those complexities - rather than leaning on your reader's presumed ability to infer what the relationship between a serious athlete and their coach might look like - is in the bit where he goes to look for a bandaid. You could've/should've expanded that section. From a structural perspective, part of the problem is that the beginning of the story goes on for long enough that I expect it to be about the narrator's experience in training for the Olympics, so when the coach's daughter shows up - seeing as the narrator hasn't really been thinking about his coach, except as basically a piece of literary furniture - I want to say 'okay, why do I care?' And that's not something you want to make your reader feel about a character's dead kid, you know?
Titus82 - The Runt
I don't think you needed to disorganize the timeline. Actually, it would've been better if you didn't: it would have had more impact, for me, if we'd had a slow build from Wasam's initial thinking, that the people in his village would only be impressed if Halam managed to win the dog show, through to the (apparent) disaster of the dog biting a judge, through to the happy ending, where he realizes that all they care about is the experience. It has a nice flow to it, and you did more to hurt that than to help it along by organizing the story how you did.
Pham Nuwen - Staves and Knaves
You've created a great atmosphere and a great concept. I love the idea of wizard sports noir. You back it up with your language choices and the narrator's voice. Where this fails is the plot: for one, flash fiction isn't usually the place to try for an entire 'normal guy gets sucked into magical world' story. You need to do too much worldbuilding to pull that off for it to fit into so few words. It might've saved you some words, and come off a bit less rushed, if you'd had the guy already be reasonably acquainted with the wizarding world despite not being one himself. And simplify the nature of the wizard sport itself. Just make it, I dunno, wizard basketball - you don't have the extra space to spend a whole paragraph about slapping staffs together (heh). Last, every time you put a word of description in, think about whether it matters. If you're ever putting a phrase into a story just because 'well, that's what it looked like, so I'm describing it', kill it.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 22:57|
ty God Over God Over God Over Djinn
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 23:03|
I said this already in IRC, but thanks to the judges and Titus for the crits! Titus, the livestream also mentioned potential for a different story to be told, so you're onto something there.
I really wanna work on better interaction between characters. I think that will solidify my entries.
And yes, that bit about his wife telling him to go back to school was a mistake. It was added in later because I thought it fit, and I completely forgot to check it against the rest of the story.
|# ? Feb 1, 2016 23:06|
Thank you, Titus, for your critique. And absolutely do not feel like you (this goes for everyone, old guard and newbies alike) don't have anything to offer in the form of criticism. As sebmojo posted earlier, that's why we're all here. Hearing what people, as many different people as possible, have to say about our stories, for good or for ill, is pretty much the only reason to keep doing this week after week.
And speaking of crits, I promised some.
Invisible Fortress - sebmojo
The idea of the person who sees a reality that others cannot, either because he's delusional or because the world is in fact that hosed up is well-tread territory but this is a solid (if not necessarily innovative) take on that premise.
I feel like the idea of the thought fortress needed either to be expanded upon or dropped completely, because as it was it felt like it was just kind of there (and that probably just as an acknowledgement of the prompt). I got that it was meant to be some kind of buffer or coping mechanism between your protagonist and the Infestation but it never quite made it there for me.
Beyond that, though, there really aren't any stakes here that I can see. He briefly flirts with the idea that his delusions aren't real, and then, whoops, lol, yes they are (or no they aren't). I'm a fan of ambiguity in fiction (more so than some in Thunderdome, I think) but, again, I don't think you've committed hard enough to the premise, resulting in what feels to me like a very slight piece.
Playing With Your Food - Djeser
It took me a moment to figure out what you meant by Michael never having seen his house from the floor. Aside from that, you capture the moment-to-moment stuff in this story well; I understand and believe Michael's desperation and fear and pain.
There isn't any real context here, though. A werewolf has attacked Michael, and is toying with him. That's a fine start, but there's nothing especially satisfying to me about leaving it there. I could guess that the werewolf is someone he knows from his job, given that that's the only thing Michael's really thinking about beyond his immediate situation, but there's really nothing to suggest that beyond expediency, and nothing to suggest it would make a difference if it were true.
I did like this, but I would like it better if it were rooted in something.
Bedrock Bottom - Entenzahn
I'm not one to throw around accusations of fanfiction (because I largely don't care, and because the story absolutely stands on its own merits) but goddamn I could see this as a Dwarf Fortress game.
That first sentence is one hell of a load-bearing sentence, and I think breaking it up would make it more effective. You've got three or four distinct ideas in that sentence, and they're all kind of muddled together. (This is a problem I fight a lot myself.)
I don't think you need both "Orik, son of Grimbart" and "Grimbart, father of Orik". You've established the relationship the first time, and while I get that you're using the "name, descriptor" construction as a dwarven thing, it just comes across as awkward here. Your various descriptions of Lobi are a much better use of this device.
Grimbart's arc from revolutionary to tyrant is believable (within the context of the fantasy), and pretty satisfying. If there's one thing I wish, it's that there were more to the other characters than just names and events, but this is Grimbart's story, so fair enough.
It's not the most compelling thing ever, but it's a solid story and I enjoyed reading it.
Point Made - Pantothenate
I did only offer three critiques, but what the hell, I'm home sick today.
A few mechanical issues aside, your prose is good, and I think you sell the idea of knitting as a competitive sport pretty well, even if it does feel a bit like you took a boxing story and did a quick search-and-replace. I think it's fine, just on the right side of classic vs cliche, but I'd have been more satisfied if it were a bit more its own thing.
That is, I think it's fine right up until the end. It's not that Ethan's not a fully fleshed-out character; he's a little thin, a little stock, but he feels well-realized enough. I don't really think you did much to even hint at a "Ethan snaps and murders his opponent" ending, and something like that really cannot come out of nowhere. It can, and arguably should, be a surprise, but it needs to be a surprise that makes sense when you look back, and this really doesn't. Even with Ethan being driven to near violence against his coach, I just don't buy it.
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 00:37|
Music, heard & hearing
You - listen. If I could grab you by the shoulders
and shake you, and make you understand
it is this and this only
your words are heard,
your face is seen -
your love is grand and well-founded.
your hands may shake, and your voice may waver - it may be that the world takes you and shakes you, and the whole drat thing feels so very fragile; as if your ventricles were porcelain, as if your breath were crushed in a vice. These things may be true but
they are not alone. No? There was a man who lived on my street. Listen -
every day, he came walking down the road with his hands clapped over his ears. I asked him once why he did it. He shrugged; he couldn’t hear me.
One day, he found a skateboard. Hoo boy, did he love that skateboard, but he couldn’t skate and cover his ears at the same time. He gave it to me. I thanked him. He didn’t seem to hear.
here is the sound and the sound alone -
here you are, candle-flame flickering beneath your breast - a lone light standing staunch against that great villain night. Here you are - you are heard, you are seen - your love is grand and well-founded. Here is your voice - it is heard, as it is hearing. Here is your heart - which is muscle and blood - so marvelous and vital, so rich with music. Listen - it speaks: thok thok thok thok in perfect 4/4.
You - listen,
your hands may shake, but they do so in time. Your voice may waver, but it does so in tune.
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 02:25|
WEEK 182 RESULTS
And so Domegrassi Week ends as it began: with the salty tears of teenagers.
This was a week that was heavy on style, low on substance. Y’all wrote a lot of charming stories that ultimately didn’t do much in the way of a satisfying plot. The parts did not add up to a satisfactory whole, and as a result a lot of these stories fell apart fast.
Honorable Mentions go to both Bad Seafood and Grizzled Patriarch, for writing stories that did one thing really well—character and language, respectively—and for this week, that was enough to land you in the top.
Dishonorable Mentions go to both BlueWher and Panthotenate for both writing stories that didn’t really feel complete and didn’t really have a lot of believable, likeable, or intriguing characters. You took different approaches, but ultimately fell at the same hurdle.
And now, the Loss.
docbeard, man. This was a giant surprise. I don’t know what happened here, but this was a story that made—as previously stated—less than no sense. I’ve seen you have more of a handle on character and plotting than this. I really want to see how you come back from this week. I know you will.
And, with the Win this week, another surprise.
Boaz-Jachim, you brought your A-game when a lot of others this week slacked off. This was a tight, vivid, and interesting story that stuck with me long after I read it. Welcome to the head of the class.
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 04:45|
boaz-jachim, i'll help u judge.
join IRC or send me an email: my username at gmail
crabrock fucked around with this message at 06:51 on Feb 2, 2016
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 04:47|
ing right now to have crits for Week 180 and Week 182 done before Week 183's results post.
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 04:54|
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:03|
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:06|
I've been robbed AGAIN? This poo poo so obviously rigged.
The ONLY thing saving you people right now from my MIGHTY WRATH is that Dum Dum Girls video. Because whoever picked that is a fuckin' ballah.
Which is why it couldn't possibly have been from any of the Judges. I mean just look at them: SittingHere? More like Little Ms. I'm A Pixie, and CurlingIron? You don't even use a curling iron! And the only thing ironic about Ironic Twist is that there is no twist.
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:08|
Interprompt: WHOA THOSE BUGS ARE REALLY BIG - LIKE, WAY BIGGER THAN NORMAL BUGS. THIS IS NOT GOOD, STEPHEN. NOT GOOD AT ALL.
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:28|
big bugs by broenheim
"wow thats a really big bug"
"its an ant"
"yeah but relative to an atom its p. big"
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:50|
even bigger bugs by broenheim
"wow that bug is big"
"thats another ant"
"well if you were to see a side by side comparison between that ant and a normal ant, this ant would be at least double the normal ant's size"
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:53|
the biggest bug of all time by broenheim
"i think i know what the biggest bug is"
"then what is it?"
"well since bug is an arbitrary name we apply to things, i apply it to the universe and then thats the biggest bug in existence"
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:56|
|# ? Jan 15, 2021 15:07|
And so Domegrassi Week ends as it began: with the salty tears of teenagers.
im judge also unless mr hoban has other ideas
|# ? Feb 2, 2016 05:58|