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Armack
Jan 27, 2006


^:toxx:

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


gl yall

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


:toxx:

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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




The Crane, the Drifter and/or the ARRRRgly

Pick two:





Write story.

I don't care how you use this. I expect at least a modicum of action, preferably more. I'll be giving you two weeks for this, because a) I'm busy playing Overwatch next week and b) I want you to take the time and do a little research about how to write action (pay attention to verb usage). Hunt for some cool stories or look up some writing advice blogs or whatever the gently caress. I think Jim Butcher is generally considered a good action writer but I don't know if he ever talks about this poo poo. Hey whatever, it's not my homework.

Also please don't forget to make me care about your protagonist because you're too busy describing explosions.

Word count: 1,500
Deadline: Sat, June 4th, 23.59 CEST (that's in Europe, chucklefucks)

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






:siren: goons i need your help :siren:

So currently I'm trying to judge Sebmojo and Muffin's latest, frothiest round of hatefucking and I CAN'T DECIDE WHO WINS. I had considered calling it a tie, but Thunderdome is a bloodsport and goddammit i say there will be blood.

So what I need from you is to read both stories and cast a vote. Bonus points if you explain your choice. If the votes come to a tie, or no one votes, then I will declare the match a draw and bring great shame unto this dome.

THE PROMPT:

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Write a story set in a secondary world that is totally different from our own. It must be almost unrecognisable. It cannot be a world you've previously written about.

This does not free you from the obligation to write an actual story.


sebmojo posted:

The Siege of Corinth
1000 words

1.

We all stopped loving each other one night around eight thirty in the evening. Everyone, all round the world, all at once. There was a moment, a timeless moment like the middle of a sneeze, then it was gone. I was watching The Walking Dead with Karen, I’d just taken her hand and squeezed it, and she’d squeezed it back, and then it happened and we were two bags of breathing meat looking at each other across a tepid gulf of vacuum. My hand was still in hers but it felt inert, felt like a rubber glove taken off after doing the dishes and left, half wet and half dry, inside out on the draining tray.

“Why are we sitting here,” said Karen.

“poo poo,” I said. “poo poo, poo poo, poo poo.” I pulled my hand back.

The next day at work was normal, but everyone had a provisional, uncertain look. Jane, who I’d always discreetly fancied, was just a person sitting in a chair. I typed some words, then erased them, then typed them again. Jane got up and went for a coffee, then didn’t come back.
When I got home Karen had her suitcase packed on the floor of our bedroom. “I’m going to go,” she said.

I nodded, that made a lot of sense.

“OK,” I said.

“Goodbye,” she said, and lifted the suitcase up and carried it out to her car. She walked like an old woman, I thought. I could see the old woman she was going to be walking inside her.

1.(a)


Eleven days later, we stopped seeing the difference between people. There was suddenly that feeling you get when you sleep on your arm and wake up and it’s numb and belongs to someone else, and then it went away from that moment on we were all just people. I was walking along Lambton Quay, thinking I’d like to have a coffee when it happened, and then I got the feeling and it was like when I was seven and got lost at the fairground. There was a whirling set of shapes, and boxes with wheels and people with different coloured layers of fabric on them and they were all the same.

None of the things we were doing made any sense so mostly we stopped doing them.

A car ran into one of the trees planted in the flowerbed in the middle of the road but it did it slowly, almost carefully. It mounted it, bending the young tree down underneath the front of the car and making a crackling smashing sound. I walked over to the car, which was spinning its wheels in the mud of the flowerbed.

There was a person behind the wheel, with arms and legs and a face and it was moving the wheel in its hands back and forth.

“What are you,” I asked.

The person opened its mouth and said “I’m a person,” but it didn’t make any sense.

1.(a)(i)


Two hundred and fifty hours after that there was the smell of a grey afternoon on a train in a siding and our bodies stopped loving themselves. I was standing at home when it happened, cutting cheese off a block. The TV was on in the corner but the programs had mainly stopped. Occasionally a burst of static would blare out of the speakers, but I didn’t know why. I was cutting the cheese and the knife went straight into my finger, cut a deep gouge into the skin on my knuckle. It didn’t hurt. I looked at the gash. There was a filmy, insubstantial quality to the skin around it as though it was only there because it didn’t have anywhere better to be.

I put down the knife, and picked up the cheese, weighed it in my hand. Then I put the cheese back and walked out of my house.

Karen was standing by the letter box or at least I guessed that was who it was. She’d written ‘Im Karen’ on a piece of card and pinned it to the cloth she had wrapped around her body. She looked at me, and I looked at her. Her eyes were red.

“The cheese is on the chopping board,” I said.

“What’s cheese for,” she asked.

I didn’t have an answer.

1.(a)(i)(1)


A million heartbeats later there was the sound of a stick lying in the dry leaves on the forest floor and the sun stopped loving the earth, and rocks stopped loving the ground, and the roots of the trees gave up their lifetime infatuation with the rich black soil. I was sitting on the ground in a place that seemed like it was a good place to sit, where I’d walked over the days and nights until I stopped walking and sat down and I heard the sound and opened my eyes.

The sun was there but it didn’t make me warm. The trees were above me but they didn’t shade me. The birds weren’t singing because they had nothing to sing for. The earth was under me but it didn’t support me. I pushed the ground and floated up into the cold ungrateful air, because the earth no longer loved me enough to pull me towards it.

I sat in the air with my legs and my arms around me, pillars of meat that had no meaning any more and knew that everywhere, all around, was devoid of love, that love was lost and gone. I didn’t care because caring was love. I wasn’t angry because anger is love. My body didn’t have a feeling because every feeling is a love of the thing that made it, and there was no love any more.

There were fissures opening up in the ground, windows in the void at the heart of the world and I knew there was nothing down there, and for one last moment I knew there were people everywhere knowing that too and I knew, and and and and


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Mojo is a bad writer he can eat a poop

Seed
996 words

Come, come - come down into the dredge. That’s right, pal: see the stony sky, with its stalagmaybe hands hanging down (or whatever counts down down here). Whole damned world’s turned inside out with its stony guts spun heavenward and its grass buried so deep that miners spend their whole lives digging and never see so much as a single blade.

Barry Rutledge died weeping, though nobody cared to watch - least of all me.

Now Barry Rutledge - there’s a miner worth talking about. Real old country bloke. Big fella, cut up to hell from all his time spent in the green-down-deep. Wore his sins on the outside so he could keep his insides clean. Barry dug like he had a grudge against the stones - dug every drat day a whackwhackwhack bringing up all kinds of shine for the pitboss. Never a man to jostle you around, or waste your time. That was, until he found the flower.

It grew up through the stones but it didn’t so much as grow as

There’s classifications of mad, you know. A bloke might be “weird in a good way” or “a big loopy” and everybody keeps ‘em around because they’re a fun time. Push that madness further and you hit “weirdo” and “outcast”. Push it even further, beyond the horizon, you get “mad as a shithouse rat”, which in some circles is even a term of grudging praise. Barry Rutledge weren’t mad until he found that flower, but he was (sure as you can spit) mad as a shithouse rat from the day he found it ‘til the day he died.

Nothing grows on the topside of the dredge, and nobody lives there willingly - you’re either sent there to serve your time, or you’re born there and you’re hosed from the outset. Nobody knows why it ended up green on the inside, but the universe can be funny like that - I hear there’s a planet of solid gold but the air’s so caustic it melts any ship we try to land. I hear there’s a race of people with assholes for faces, who talk by spraying poo poo on each other. I hear a lot of funny poo poo, when the miners are deep in their cups. So mad from all the endless stone that they imagine a big wide universe just as poo poo as their own.

Is this a bit fragmented? Time doesn’t work the same way in the dredge. What’s up is down and what’s back and fore and I can’t even follow myself sometimes. Let’s get on top of our chronology

1) Barry died
2) He found a flower

wait

poo poo

1) Barry was born in Devonport, outside Christchurch, on February 30th 1869
3) Barry died
4) he found a flower
2) he became detached from the timestream (lol, who didn’t?) and found his way to the dredge

Wait no that’s not really right either. Let’s just keep going.

Barry Rutledge died weeping, though nobody cared to watch - least of all me. Wait - we’ve been here before. We’ve been here before. We were down in the hole, down in the dredge, where up is down and back is forward. We’ve always been here before, because we were always here - we came from elsewhere but we were always here, do you see? If we were plucked from time and placed here, then we left behind families, and friends, and a teenage daughter named Frannie who had blue streaks in her blonde hair we’ve been here before, and nowhere else. We’ve been -

we’ve

We are displaced. Time does not exist. The surface of the dredge is stone, and at its heart is a maelstrom of every damned colour that will grow and shine.

It’s all a bit fragmented. Sorry.

Now Barry Rutledge - there’s a miner worth talking about. He had a daughter named Frannie who -

wait

I had a daughter named Frannie, and a friend named Barry. I came from Devonport –

NO


I am mad as a shithouse rat, you know. I found a flower that grew topside and I died for it. We are all mad as shithouse rats, and we are all Barry Rutledge, and we all have a daughter named –

Let me find some earth for you to plant yourself in. Here’s your frame of reference - in Japanese there’s no word for the colour ‘green’. Instead, there’s a word for ‘turquoise’ and green is just another shade. The names of colours are arbitrary patterns put over specific wavelengths of light. That doesn’t mean green doesn’t exist, it means that we invented the colour green. Colours are easy, but what about directions, then? What about memories? What about identity? It’s all a big snarl of razorwire that matters because we say it does, and it does matter. Magic, no? On the dredge, down is up and Frannie is my daughter and we are all Barry Rutledge with his rough hands going whackwhackwhack against the soft stone. No pick no, because we’re lost in time and our memories don’t matter –

The flower grew topside. Memory is a cage that each man makes, and the shadow of the bars shapes the way he sees the world. Barry was a big fella. Me, I’m short. I’m a little shortass with no hair on my chest and delicate pianist’s hands that were wasted cracking rocks together to see what grows topside.

Over the horizon, freed from our cage, we are all mad as shithouse rats. A flower - and flo-wer cannot exist topside any more than identity can exist topside so we dig and dig with our hands if we must because at the core of the world there is a colourful maelstrom where up is up and our memories are our own. We, plucked from time - from Devonport, from Shenzhen, from Persepolis, from Novgorod - from every age and every corner because these things mean nothing to the dredge.

We come, and dig – and at the core we find ourselves again.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 04:58 on May 22, 2016

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


What was the prompt?

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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



I vote for a double loss, my reason is that brawls are dumb and bad and that they, for participating in one, are bad and dumb, hope that helps.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


i vote muffin cuz the way the information is given, all tripped out and displaced and fragmented, makes me want to know more instead of like the usual result when ppl try that which is just confusing annoyance/annoyed confusion.

both are good tho.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Tyrannosaurus posted:

What was the prompt?

It was this:

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Write a story set in a secondary world that is totally different from our own. It must be almost unrecognisable. It cannot be a world you've previously written about.

This does not free you from the obligation to write an actual story.

Plus, I said they had to crib each other's styles, but since they're both pretty good stories either way, I'm not super fussed about that detail.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




I'm voting sebmojo, because Muffin's reminds me too much of Vonnegut, who I, in my poor taste, don't like much.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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




i think i overall liked mojo's more since it felt more like a story with a more obvious plot, narrative, and character. muffin's, while having better prose, was (intentionally) scattered, but i didn't quite get the feeling of an overarching plot or character throughout it. it just kinda felt like (admittedly super awesome) worldbuilding and lacked a bit in more traditional story elements whereas sebmojo had that and is something I (personally) enjoy reading more. id def read more of muffin's though and if there was more of a narrative with like a conflict and poo poo it would take the cake. mojo's scratched my story itch better.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Sitting Here posted:

:siren: goons i need your help :siren:

So currently I'm trying to judge Sebmojo and Muffin's latest, frothiest round of hatefucking and I CAN'T DECIDE WHO WINS. I had considered calling it a tie, but Thunderdome is a bloodsport and goddammit i say there will be blood.

So what I need from you is to read both stories and cast a vote. Bonus points if you explain your choice. If the votes come to a tie, or no one votes, then I will declare the match a draw and bring great shame unto this dome.

THE PROMPT:

I'm voting Seb. His story made me smile sincerely. Muffin's only made me smile ironically.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: goons i need your help :siren:

So currently I'm trying to judge Sebmojo and Muffin's latest, frothiest round of hatefucking and I CAN'T DECIDE WHO WINS. I had considered calling it a tie, but Thunderdome is a bloodsport and goddammit i say there will be blood.

So what I need from you is to read both stories and cast a vote. Bonus points if you explain your choice. If the votes come to a tie, or no one votes, then I will declare the match a draw and bring great shame unto this dome.


Prompt:

The main character of Muffin's story is from Earth; the physical setting is Earth's interior, so far as I can tell. The characters are completely Earthlike in names, mannerisms, etc. It's a thin "secondary world." Time has come unstuck for the major characters, and they live in a slice of hell and don't remember things coherently either because they're mad or because they would rather be than know the truth. Is there a difference?

sebmojo's piece also takes place on Earth. Again the difference is internal more than external, and again I have a hard time calling it a secondary world. It's our world with the love abruptly removed.

Both wiffed this one, IMO, but Muffin came closest to the unrecognizable setting the prompt demanded.

Point to: SurreptitiousMuffin


Subprompt:

Muffin has a strong writing style that's distinctive and identifiable in many of his entries. sebmojo is harder to pin down as his strength is less in personal voice and more in range. Muffin's task was the harder one, but that doesn't change that his story reads like a Muffin story while sebmojo's reads like a sebmojo story with a thread of Muffin-ness woven through.

Point to: sebmojo


Story:

Muffin wrote about a situation and the people trapped in it. sebmojo wrote about something that happened, how it ended, and the people who endured it. Muffin's is more visceral and immediately striking, but sebmojo's is a more complete package and just as grim in a more understated fashion. "The person opened its mouth and said 'I’m a person,' but it didn’t make any sense." Yikes.

sebmojo's suggestion that love is the force behind hate, care, gravity, health, and everything else that isn't the void feels more meaningful and complex than Muffin's look at madness as an escape from reality and memory, though both these concepts resonate and always will.

Point to: sebmojo


The Verdict:

I would probably give this to Muffin if his setting were more alien, discounting the subprompt since he really was comparatively handicapped there, but as it stands his edge in the prompt is more slender than sebmojo's edge in story. Therefore:

Final vote: sebmojo

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 06:03 on May 22, 2016

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


I have on good authority that Sebmojo eats poop. My vote goes towards Muffin.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Sitting Here posted:


So currently I'm trying to judge Sebmojo and Muffin's latest, frothiest round of hatefucking and I CAN'T DECIDE WHO WINS.

poo poo sh, did your magic 8 ball break down? im sorry to hear this

since youre clearly in no condition to judge right now how about you brawl me instead

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007





Chernabog posted:

One's a disgraceful fiction writer trying to make a living. The other's a talented corporate spy.

Corporate fiction - 1246

“I just need you to be yourself,” Travis said.
Claude nervously rolled a pizza crumb between his fingers. It had already turned gray.
“Umm... I don't know if I can do that.”
“What kind of answer is that? You literally do it all the time. Just act natural and nobody will pay attention to you.”
“Gee, thanks.” Claude said, then threw the crumb into his mouth.
Travis recoiled in disgust.
“Come on, you know what I meant. You'll get some cash and maybe some inspiration for your next novel. Plus, you get to help me.”
Claude stroked his goatee.
“So let's get this straight: I pretend to be IT, plug the flash drive into the server and walk out. You handle the rest.”
“That's right,” Travis replied.
“But I know nothing of this spying poo poo. What if I screw up?”
Travis stared silently at Claude.
“Okay, okay, fine. I'll do it. But let it be known that this plan is a 'Travisty' of my values.”
Travis slumped on the couch.
“You are hopeless, man.”

*****

Claude stretched his blazer, it made him uncomfortable, he was used to worn down hoodies that didn't fit. He looked up at the ominous tower that stood before him and his physical discomfort was suddenly squelched.
“Ready?” Travis asked.
Claude looked at his hands, they were covered in sweat.
“Nope.”
“Alright then!” Travis said as he strolled forward, “just stick to the plan.”
Claude nodded reluctantly and retrieved Travis' identification card, displaying his slick black hair and smug smile.
“Go,” Travis ordered.
Claude walked with an air of confidence, even managing to impress Travis. Then he opened his mouth.
“This day is most excellent, good sir,” he said to the man guarding the entrance.
The guard threw a glance of confusion at Claude who just smiled awkwardly and scurried into the lobby. He slid Travis' ID over the reader and passed though the revolving bars, dropping the card behind him as he had been instructed. Simultaneously, Travis tripped and let his briefcase crash against the floor sending dozens of papers flying into the air. The guard behind the counter rushed in to help.
“Are you alright?” the guard asked as he handed him his ID.
Travis nodded, gathered his papers and moved towards the revolving bars. A red light blinked.
“These things never work.” he said, then passed the key again with the same result.
“Go ahead this time but get it checked by someone from IT,” the guard said.
A green light appeared and Travis pushed through.
“I thought you were toast,” Claude said.
“Nah, you just need to act like the big cheese and all the doors will open,” Travis paused, “by the way, I need someone from IT to check this out.”
Travis chuckled and tossed him the card. Claude frowned.
“Very funny.”
“I need to go get the codes now, you know what to do,” Travis said.

Travis hit the elevator button and entered. Claude waited for seven minutes and called the elevator.

Claude strode across the corridor, counting the number of doors he had passed. Four, five, six. 'Server room' the glass door read, perhaps redundantly for the black boxes and their colored blinking lights made that easily apparent. Claude slid the key card over the sensor and the door opened. He glanced to ensure he was alone and stepped in, his hands trembled.
“Okay, this should be easy,” he muttered.
He attempted to retrieve the flash drive but his quivering hand responded poorly and dropped it on his foot which made it slide under one of the servers.
“God dammit!”
Claude knelt and reached below. A sudden sharp pain shot up from his fingers and he screamed. He pulled his hand and a mouse trap came along, his fingers throbbing. He removed it and tried with the other hand, recovering the drive successfully this time. He plugged it right away before anything else could happen and sighed, feeling both pain and relief. All that was left was for him to leave the premises.

He went out the server room and glanced at his hand, it was now red. He walked a couple of steps and a voice called from behind.
“Hey! You are IT right?” Can you come over for a sec?”
Claude pretended not to hear and continued walking but a delicate hand grabbed his shoulder. He gulped.
“So... I was just working and suddenly my computer froze. It must be a virus or something.”
A short woman with business attire stood expectantly behind him.
“Well, then?” She asked impatiently.
“Eh, sure,” Claude uttered, “I just need to check the GK16 plugin and debug the port withholder first. I'll be right back with you.”
“No.”
“No?”
“No. You guys always make up excuses, do it now.”
She grabbed Claude by the arm and dragged him towards her office. The computer received them with a faint blue glow. Claude pushed his glasses up with his healthy hand.
“Yes, I see. You might want to come back later, this will take a while.”
“I'll just wait here.” She responded.
“Have you tried-”
“What the hell are you doing?” Travis' voice yelled.
Claude turned to see him waiting at the door, his shirt displaying a big bloodstain on the side of his stomach. Claude opened his mouth to speak but Travis interrupted him again.
“Run! Now!”
Claude hesitated, then ran after Travis who was now opening the door to the emergency staircase. They rushed down the stairs and a door burst open above them, then a gunshot sound echoed through the chamber. And another.
“What the gently caress?” Claude screamed.
Travis didn't answer and continued running down until he reached the lobby. The people turned in shock as the two men burst out the emergency door.
“Freeze!” One of the guards yelled behind them.
They ignored him and ran out the building, continuing along the street until they reached an alley. It was a dead end. The screams of the guards got stronger and stronger.
“We've got to jump over the wall,” Travis said.
Claude shook his head. Travis interlaced his fingers and nodded. He boosted Claude up who then lifted Travis despite the pain on his busted fingers.

*****

Claude slammed the door to his apartment open.
“That ruled! Did you see that? Those loving guards chasing us and then we were all badass and...”
Travis smiled, then slumped on the couch with his hand on his bloodied stomach.
“Oh poo poo, I forgot about that,” Claude said, “we should take you to a hospital.”
“No, I'm fine. It's just a flesh wound,” he coughed.
“No way, you need a doctor.”
Travis shook his head.
“Booze? Weed? For the pain at least,” Claude said.
“Trust me, I'm fine.”
“Don't mind if I do then,” Claude said as he opened a drawer. “So what did we steal anyway?”
Travis pulled out a small plastic packet from his pocket which he crushed in his fist, causing a red gooey liquid to drip from it. He laughed.
“Nothing. That's where I work. I just wanted to cheer you up, to give you a small adventure.”
“They let you do all that?”
Travis shrugged.
“What about the guards? And the gunshots?”
“Blanks. And they will send us the security footage later, it will be hilarious. I need to see how that happened,” he said pointing at Claude's hand.
“You bastard!” he paused, “but at least I'm getting paid.”
Travis grimaced.
“About that...”

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Equites (686 words)

Hyb returned with a triumphant grin on his face and a bucket under his bicep. Lil smacked her lips and swept their food low-bord.

"What's for me?" she asked.

"A king's ransom of red wine. Prepare to be carried home tonight."

Hyb lowered the bucket high-bord, careful not to topple it. Lil doused her bowl, tilted her head back, and slathered her face. Still dripping, she tore off some chuck and affectionately hand-fed Hyb.

The door crashed inward while he was chewing.

"Sorry!" came a shout from the perimeter. Two figures stepped over the rubble as a different voice said, "You really must learn to whistle."

Hyb's chewing slowed as he surveyed the strangers.

One was draped in tatters too heavy to be practical this season, unless he was a proselytizer from Pestis Quay. But his circular blue irises refuted that assessment. The other was a flawless specimen of a man, meticulously wrapped in whole cloth and sporting a matching hat.

"Who're you?" Lil asked as she cradled her bowl protectively.

"I'm Cipher," he said as he tipped his hat from across the room. "This is Zeus. We're here to talk about your future."

Hyb scanned the room for egress, then nodded. At least he hadn't heard this one before. "Go on."

Zeus took a step forward and asked, "Have you ever considered the divine institution of matrimony? I'm sure the union between a lovely young couple such as yourselves would be healthy, hearty, and whole."

"But I'm already nineteen," Hyb said. He knew Lil appreciated the lie; it made her feel distinguished.

"That's a magnificent achievement," Cipher said, placing his hands on Zeus' shoulders, "and I'm sure you have many years of prosperity ahead of you."

Zeus whipped his head around and glared at Cipher as though to crush him with his eyelids. "But what of the community? Think of all the industrious parents out there who lack only the children to ply their craft."

Lil relaxed her grip on the bowl and looked to Hyb, the ghost of maternal instinct partially exhumed. Hadn't they gone over this?

Before he could object Cipher chimed in.

"We're not suggesting you should; just asking you to consider your options." He closed the gap as he spoke, moving with a perfect but delayed symmetry. What a showoff. "You've still got time to think about it, and while you do, you can practice your art."

Lil's hands froze above her shoulders. The vinegar and the vapor cordially exchanged taints. "You know my art?" she asked.

"There's only one hearth in this district, so naturally I assumed those striking assemblies belonged to you."

Blushing, Lil wiped her hands and re-submerged them. "I could make beauty. Even for sprats."

"Of course," Cipher demurred.

Zeus threw two hands into the air and shook his head. Hyb suppressed a snarl.

"Don't you love her?" he asked Hyb. "Don't you want a chance at perfection? And," he lowered his voice theatrically, becoming no quieter in the process, "don't you want to know how it feels?" The last syllable was drawn like air from a pinched balloon.

"Everything I do is perfect!" Hyb shouted, surging to his feet. "If you're looking for donations, take my old chariot. It crosses all but the freshest terrain, and it can be pulled from the hip. Now your charity is satisfied, but your mockery must end!"

Cipher bared a full complement of uncannily white teeth. "I agree one hundred percent. And I sincerely apologize on behalf of my comrade. We've clearly taken enough of your time."

"Enjoy your supper," Zeus mumbled.

Hyb fumed silently while the assailants departed. What did they know about denizens like him?

Lil anointed her bosom as though nothing untoward had happened. Perhaps she was so porous that nothing had.

Outside, Cipher turned to Zeus. "You really should play Father's Advocate if you'd like the species to survive."

Zeus shrugged. "Degenerates like that? They'll be dead by twenty. Which is a shame, because they actually would have joined nicely, in a Mr. Potato Head sort of way."

"Hah! And you say I'm the Devil."

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Pretentious trash, both of them. The writers, not the stories, the stories are beautiful and I truly hope they do something with them.

I was going to write a long post... But it was pretentious trash as well, so instead I'll cut to the quick:

quote:

every feeling is a love of the thing that made it

Is such a beautiful sentiment. It stirs a part of my heart that at times I forget is even there. He wins roundly for this.

quote:

That doesn’t mean green doesn’t exist, it means that we invented the colour green. Colours are easy, but what about directions, then? What about memories? What about identity?

Is dumb. We got it already, you needn't ask an existential question when it has been posed suitably by your story.

Counterpoint:

quote:

Let me find some earth for you to plant yourself in. Here’s your frame of reference - in Japanese there’s no word for the colour ‘green’. Instead, there’s a word for ‘turquoise’ and green is just another shade. The names of colours are arbitrary patterns put over specific wavelengths of light.

Were I the sort of man who wore panties they would be wet by this point.

gently caress you for that, I hate you. But only because I am not good enough to have somebody like you.

quote:

the middle half of sebmojo's story

Could be cut and we would essentially miss nothing of note. Just some more build up for the conclusion, which I don't even know if it really connects with the central idea.


THE WINNER: Duh, Sebmojo.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Chairchucker posted:

I vote for a double loss, my reason is that brawls are dumb and bad and that they, for participating in one, are bad and dumb, hope that helps.


spectres of autism posted:

i vote muffin cuz the way the information is given, all tripped out and displaced and fragmented, makes me want to know more instead of like the usual result when ppl try that which is just confusing annoyance/annoyed confusion.

both are good tho.


Thranguy posted:

I'm voting sebmojo, because Muffin's reminds me too much of Vonnegut, who I, in my poor taste, don't like much.


flerp posted:

i think i overall liked mojo's more since it felt more like a story with a more obvious plot, narrative, and character. muffin's, while having better prose, was (intentionally) scattered, but i didn't quite get the feeling of an overarching plot or character throughout it. it just kinda felt like (admittedly super awesome) worldbuilding and lacked a bit in more traditional story elements whereas sebmojo had that and is something I (personally) enjoy reading more. id def read more of muffin's though and if there was more of a narrative with like a conflict and poo poo it would take the cake. mojo's scratched my story itch better.


Fuschia tude posted:

I'm voting Seb. His story made me smile sincerely. Muffin's only made me smile ironically.


Kaishai posted:

Prompt:

The main character of Muffin's story is from Earth; the physical setting is Earth's interior, so far as I can tell. The characters are completely Earthlike in names, mannerisms, etc. It's a thin "secondary world." Time has come unstuck for the major characters, and they live in a slice of hell and don't remember things coherently either because they're mad or because they would rather be than know the truth. Is there a difference?

sebmojo's piece also takes place on Earth. Again the difference is internal more than external, and again I have a hard time calling it a secondary world. It's our world with the love abruptly removed.

Both wiffed this one, IMO, but Muffin came closest to the unrecognizable setting the prompt demanded.

Point to: SurreptitiousMuffin


Subprompt:

Muffin has a strong writing style that's distinctive and identifiable in many of his entries. sebmojo is harder to pin down as his strength is less in personal voice and more in range. Muffin's task was the harder one, but that doesn't change that his story reads like a Muffin story while sebmojo's reads like a sebmojo story with a thread of Muffin-ness woven through.

Point to: sebmojo


Story:

Muffin wrote about a situation and the people trapped in it. sebmojo wrote about something that happened, how it ended, and the people who endured it. Muffin's is more visceral and immediately striking, but sebmojo's is a more complete package and just as grim in a more understated fashion. "The person opened its mouth and said 'I’m a person,' but it didn’t make any sense." Yikes.

sebmojo's suggestion that love is the force behind hate, care, gravity, health, and everything else that isn't the void feels more meaningful and complex than Muffin's look at madness as an escape from reality and memory, though both these concepts resonate and always will.

Point to: sebmojo


The Verdict:

I would probably give this to Muffin if his setting were more alien, discounting the subprompt since he really was comparatively handicapped there, but as it stands his edge in the prompt is more slender than sebmojo's edge in story. Therefore:

Final vote: sebmojo


Tyrannosaurus posted:

I have on good authority that Sebmojo eats poop. My vote goes towards Muffin.


Titus82 posted:

Pretentious trash, both of them. The writers, not the stories, the stories are beautiful and I truly hope they do something with them.

I was going to write a long post... But it was pretentious trash as well, so instead I'll cut to the quick:


Is such a beautiful sentiment. It stirs a part of my heart that at times I forget is even there. He wins roundly for this.


Is dumb. We got it already, you needn't ask an existential question when it has been posed suitably by your story.

Counterpoint:


Were I the sort of man who wore panties they would be wet by this point.

gently caress you for that, I hate you. But only because I am not good enough to have somebody like you.


Could be cut and we would essentially miss nothing of note. Just some more build up for the conclusion, which I don't even know if it really connects with the central idea.


THE WINNER: Duh, Sebmojo.

:siren: THE RESULTS ARE IN :siren:

After a rigorous, transparent voting process, I declare Sebmojo the winner! Muffin, your story was excellent and you spun some cool words. I'd go back to that world with you, if you wanted. You had some solid fans, and I was definitely transfixed. Your story was like a complex, airy pastry, while mojo's was more like a meaty little slider (the good kind not the disappointing frozen kind).

Now I'm hungry. Good job, guys! And thanks everyone else who read these two awesome stories.

AS FOR YOU

Entenzahn posted:

poo poo sh, did your magic 8 ball break down? im sorry to hear this

since youre clearly in no condition to judge right now how about you brawl me instead

Yeah ok :toxx: who will judge

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Include your wunza choice with your submission.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Wunza: One's a diminutive, Russian spy with no country. The other's a two faced god from a forgotten Amazonian tribe.

You have to get in to get out

Word Count: 1177

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=4755&title=You+have+to+get+in+to+get+out

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 00:05 on Aug 29, 2016

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







hey sick av btw

ghost crew steppin it up

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Sitting Here posted:

Yeah ok :toxx: who will judge

Me. I'll judge.

Your word limit is 1500, your deadline is Wednesday, 6/1, 2359 PST.

Your prompt is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tds0qoxWVss

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Ironic Twist posted:

Me. I'll judge.

Your word limit is 1500, your deadline is Wednesday, 6/1, 2359 PST.

Your prompt is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tds0qoxWVss

:toxx:

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003

the Educated Villain of London



archived on the site

Mr Gentleman fucked around with this message at 17:02 on Jun 7, 2016

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Yuzas:
Marshmallow Blue +301

Wunzas:
  • One is a parrot who can speak intelligently, but only 4 words at a time. The other is his owner, the army veteran who works in a used car lot.


They’ve Taken Mr. Chips - 1297

Mr. Chips, flew over to a couple looking at some of the used vehicles at Banjo’s Auto Emporium. Mr. Chips, was an honorary employee there, who worked with his owner Brady Johnson, a tired Vietnam veteran who found peace in selling cars with his feathered companion.

How can you say no to a 1995 Toyota Avalon with 265,700 miles and a questionable frame? Easily… Unless Mr Chips was on the lot.

“You Looking for wheels?” Mr chips squawked.

“Honey, did that bird just ask us about cars?” Jim Gorges asked his wife, Sarah.

“Oh that’s so cute” Sarah exclaimed “Hi birdy birdy.” she said turning to Mr. Chips using a baby voice and bending her finger up and down like a puppet. “Do you like to eat cwackers?”

“You seen our Jeeps?” Mr. Chips intervened. “Just what you need!” the parrot continued. Jim and Sarah looked on in amazement. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing, and hearing.

Jim was skeptical. “He’s probably just repeating things he hears on a daily basis.”

“Hey bird, go get the keys for the 09’ Cherokee.” Jim was confident that Mr. Chips would give some unrelated reply about gas mileage on the Hondas.

“Okay be right back.” The parrot flew back to the office. After a few minutes, Mr Chips emerged from the office, and took off towards Jim and Sarah with a key in his mouth and toting dealer plates in his claws.

Jim couldn’t say anything. He was astounded. Sarah nudged Jim in the ribs, and Jim turned to her and gave a slight nod.

----------------

After the test drive, Jim, Sarah, Mr. Chips, and Brady sat in a dusty office. The sun crept its way through the blinds, and bathed stacks of papers in scattered light.

“Let’s talk some numbers.” Mr Chips got to the point.

“Well we just love your parrot, Brady is it?” Sarah was giving Mr. Chips a neck rub while speaking to the aging, salt and pepper haired veteran, Brady.

“Yeah Brady’s the name, and…”

“Selling Cars the Game!” Mr chips finished Brady’s sentence. Mr. Chips hopped down to a cup of nuts and berries and began munching.

“5400 is bottom dollar” Mr Chips said with his mouth full.

“Well… 5400 is kind of above what we were looking to spend. I think we can do 5000” Jim negotiated.

“5200 and new wipers” Mr. Chips countered.

“Jim just take the deal, we’ve got an appointment to get to” Sarah said rolling her eyes, reaching for her checkbook. Brady stood up and shook their hands.

“I’ll go get some paperwork for you to sign, and you can be on your way.”

--------------

After Jim and Sarah drove off, Brady sat back in his chair, and looked at Mr. Chips, who was bobbing his head up and down. Brady began to sing.

“ Ba-Da-Bum, Bum, Bum, Bum” Brady’s singing was wretched. “Another one bites the dust.”

“And another one gone!” Mr. Chips screeched. His singing was significantly worse than Brady’s.

After finishing the song, Brady and Mr. Chips did a fist-to-claw bump of their own invention.


Up, down, and pound.

“Boom!” Brady and Mr Chips both said at the same time after finishing the handshake.

-------------

Late the next night, Brady woke up to smashing glass and violent squawking.

“They’re taking Mr. Chips!” Mr Chips Squawked and flapped violently. “They're Taking Mr. Chips!” the parrot continued frantically.

“Shut up bird” A muffled voice exclaimed as Brady ran downstairs. His pistol was already loaded. He kept it in the dresser drawer for emergencies such as this.

Brady was too late though, as he opened the front door, he heard Mr Chips one last time.

“Crate Bait …” He was cut off by the trunk of an SUV closing, and the owner hopping in the passenger seat. Brady fired his pistol angrily at the car, but they were too far off. Brady ran inside to get his car keys, but it was too late. They were gone.

--------------

The police report was filed, but they cops didn’t seem to care too much.

“Stolen… parrot.” the officer wrote aloud. “Unknown SUV, no suspects.” The officer dramatically wrote a period and flipped the notebook closed. “Listen, Brady, we’re going to do what we can to get your pet bird back…”

“It’s Mr. Chips...” Brady interrupted

“Yes. Mr Chips. We’re going to do what we can.” The officers who answered the 911 call returned to their squad cars and drove off.

--------------

The phone call came to Brady that morning at Banjo’s.

“Hello, If you ever want your bird back, you’ll bring 25,000 dollars cash to the Brook’s pharmacy parking lot” The voice on the line demanded.

“Hey who is this?! Where's Mr. Chips!?” Brady yelled excitedly. His voice was shaking.

“Crate Bait Sixty Aye” Mr Chips squaked in the background.

“Mr Chips!” Brady Yelled. “Let me talk to him!”

“25,000… Cash… Brook’s parking lot 11 PM tomorrow” The voice on the phone stated, then hung up.

Brady pounded his fists on his desk, throwing stacks of papers off the side.

“God Damnit!” Brady yelled, and kicked his chair over. He scribbled what Mr. Chips was saying in the background of the phone call.

Crate Bait Sixty Aye

“What the gently caress Chips? That doesn’t even make sense” Brady thought outloud.

“Wait a Minute” Brady continued.

CR8 B8 60 A

CR8B8 60A


“It’s a License Plate!” Brady realized. He picked up his chair, rolled it over to his computer, and ran the plate number. One Hit. A Jeep Cherokee registered to:

Jim Gorges,
65 Hurricane Mountain Road,

Brady smiled.

“I’m coming Mr. Chips.”

--------------

“Pack the parrot.” Jim instructed. “I’ll call Aaron and let him know he’ll have his money tonight.”

Jim loaded the SUV up while Sarah went to get the cage Mr Chips was held in.

“Brady’s gonna get you.” Mr Chips chirped.

“Shut up bird.” Sarah responded. She felt silly having a conversation with a bird. “We’re going to kill your Brady, take the cash, and sell you on the black market.” Sarah elaborated.

“You…. Know... nothing… Saaaarrrrraahhhhhhhh” Mr. Chips spoke out in a slow cracky sentence.

“Ha! You’re a funny bird.” Sarah laughed, grabbing the cage and loading it into the car.

“Let’s go” Jim said. “I want to be there before him”

The car pulled out of the driveway, and as it went down the hill the tire blew out. “gently caress it all” Jim yelled. Jim pulled to the side of the road. The low fuel light turned on as well.

“Sarah. I thought you filled the tank!” Jim was at wits end.

“I did!” Sarah responded testily as Jim jacked up the car.

Brady popped out from the back seat and broke Sarah’s neck. Brady let Mr. Chips out of the cage.

Jim ran up to the back door. Brady opened the door forcefully, knocking Jim off balance. Jim swung at Brady. Brady dodged left and kneed Jim in the stomach. Jim knocked Brady in the jaw, and pinned him against the car. He put a knife to Brady’s throat.

“I was going to kill you in the parking lot, but here will work.”

Mr. Chips flew in and clawed Jim, breaking his hold on Brady. Brady elbowed Jim in the temple, putting him on the pavement. Brady released the jack, dropping the flat tire on Jim’s shoulder. Jim screamed in agony.

Brady and Chips began walking away.

“Hey you fucker! You’re a dead man!” Jim yelled to Brady.

Brady looked over his shoulder, lit a match, and threw it onto the trail of gasoline leading to the Jeep. As the SUV went up in flames, Brady turned to Mr Chips. They both nodded.

Up, Down, and Pound.

“Boom” they both exclaimed as the Jeep exploded.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly



quote:

Yuzas:
CANNIBAL GIRLS +1

Wunzas:
  • One's a garbage man with a troubled past. The other's an eight year old truant just looking for a ride.

Wednesday Mornings
999 words

On the day of his release from Harkon County Penitentiary, my old cellie, Bob Potter, promised that he wouldn’t forget about me. On the day of my release, I decided to test him. Last I had heard, Bob had employment driving trash trucks in Lemment, and when I went sniffing around the dump and asking about him, soon, I had employment too.

At the end of my first month on the right side of the law, Bob took me out for drinks to celebrate. I was racking a set of billiards balls to the sounds of a radio voice reading out the lottery numbers, and by the time I finished, I looked up and Bob was just gone, like fog on a sunny morning, like he was never there at all.

I got reassigned to his route in Barkley Gardens because I took care of my cans. I never crushed them or left them in the street. I made sure to treat them like my own, because I’ve always had a fondness for what can be found in the trash.

It explains my fondness for the boy.

He was sleeping, all pale with stringy black hair and little stubby legs, beside a green can. When I woke him up, he told me that his name was Orville.

“Just got tired,” he said.

“Shouldn’t you be in school?” I asked.

“I go for the other days,” he said, “but Wednesdays are trash days, and I like looking for good stuff. Maybe you can give me a ride. That’d make things easier.”

A properly rehabilitated adult wouldn’t just hang around with a strange kid, so I told him to back away from the claw on my truck as I gripped and flipped the can.Then I told him to take off.

In return, Orville ran down the street and toppled every can on the block.

I spent hours picking them up.

*****

It was a week later, the warm middle of an early spring, and I was happy. Barkley Gardens was a good route, and as I started at the entrance to the neighborhood I was reminded of Orville. He had good taste in his garbage, even if he was a bastard.

Apparently, he was a tenacious bastard.

“You again?” he asked with mock-exasperation as I pulled my truck up to a can. He sniggered and flashed a toothy grin, happy to have beaten me to the question.

“Look,” he demanded. Orville had an action figure in his hands, an army man, only, one of the arms was robotic and bright red, a sore thumb against the digital camo fatigues. Orville opened the pincers attached to the figure's arm. “I fixed him myself,” he said.

“You did a nice job,” I said.

“Thanks!” he said, “I can tell you more if you give me a ride.”

“If I don’t,” I asked, “are you just going to knock over all those cans again?”

Orville smiled, “you’re smart.”

“And you’re annoying,” I told him, “but If you aren’t going to go to school, then I’d better teach you something. Get in.” I put the truck into gear and drove to the next house. “Think you can wheel the can into the claw fingers? It’s just like the one on your soldier, only I control when it closes.”

Orville got out and grabbed the handle of the plastic can, tugged against it, and shimmied it back and forth along the concrete until it was in the truck’s hand.

“Ready,” he shouted over the rumbling of the truck’s diesel engine.

I set my hand against a dashboard lever, ready to propel the claw into life.

“Hey kid,” I called, “come around here.” Orville stepped around to the cab with a little skip and I pointed to the levers. “Yellow opens and closes the claw. Red raises and lowers the arm. It’s easy. Got it?”

When Orville lifted the arm and sent all the bags flying, he might as well have been launching a rocket ship. After the can was dropped and returned to its place, he asked if we could do again.

“See those little green things on the pavement?” I asked.

Orville looked down and dragged his foot through the hunter green plastic shavings.

“They’re bad,” I said, “those are little pieces of the trash can. At the next house, if you can get the can to the truck without making those, I’ll let you work the claw all day.”

*****

On the way back, I told Orville about the things I’ve made from trash. I told him about Mr. Eight, the pet spider that I had when I was in prison, and how I made his habitat from some old boxes that I stole from the cafeteria bins. Then Orville told me about all the other things he’d made from trash, like a painting made with nothing but rotten food. I told him about my missing friend, Bob Potter, who might be a millionaire and might be interested in buying his painting, because Bob liked that kind of thing.

“Let’s go to his house,” Orville said. I didn’t have a good enough reason to tell him no, so we did.

I pressed my face against the smudged window. The place had been abandoned in a hurry; clothes lay on the floor, furniture was toppled. Several feet of stained carpet had been pulled up, and a jagged hole had been cut in the floor.

“What’s inside?” Orville asked.

“Look’s like he moved,” I said. “It’s completely barren. Spotless.”

“Shoot!” Orville said.

As we walked back to the truck, I told Orville that I was done with Barkley Gardens, and that starting next Wednesday morning my route would begin at the middle school.

“If you want to ride along,” I said, “you’ll have to meet me there.”

Orville prodded the gap between his teeth with his tongue while he thought. Then he looked at me and said, “I might skip school sometimes, but I’m not that stupid!”

Jick Magger
Dec 27, 2005


Grimey Drawer

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Jick Magger +301

Wunzas:
  • One's a street-hardened, middle-aged Corgie, the other's an adorable Havanese pup who just wants to play.

Drats
1148 words


“I did it!” Ginger yelled, as she pranced through the living room. Jose pretended to be asleep on the couch, but that did nothing to deter her excitement. She reached up and pressed her short, scruffy nose against his face, his thin, white whiskers bending along his snout. He opened one eye and looked down, scornfully.

“Did what?” he grumbled.

“Under the bush by the fence, I think the hole’s finally big enough,” she said, her tail wagging proudly.

“They’re gonna be mad, you know, with you tracking all of this dirt into the house,” he said, with a yawn.

Ginger looked back at the path that her tiny little paws had left through the house, and then down at her legs, normally white, now covered in mud.

“Guess I’d better make the most of it then,” she said, and started back towards the back door.

Jose closed his eyes. “Why would you want to leave this place?” he asked, but heard only the flap of the back door in response.

His short, stubby legs groaned as he pulled himself upright and then down onto the floor. A quick stretch, then he hurried to catch up.

Once outside, he found his way behind the prickly, dark bushes that lined the fence line. His head down, he sniffed and scanned until he came to the hole, with Ginger waiting on the other side. Jose cautiously surveyed the hole, and then slowly ducked under the fence. Using his front paws, he began to pull himself through to the other side. As he strained to pull himself through, he felt his airway suddenly tighten shut.

Twisting and turning, he fought to free himself, but the more he struggled, the tighter is collar became.

“Hold still,” Ginger said. She grabbed his collar in her teeth, and pulled it off of the fence line. He gasped for breath, and with her help was able to pull himself through.


For the first time in her short life, Ginger suddenly found herself free, outside in the alley way. No leashes, no owners. The pair walked along the alley way, taking in the sights and smells. After a few houses, Jose stopped and sat.

“So what do you want to do?” he asked. “After all that work, you finally got out. Now what?”

Ginger sat, her head slightly cocked. It wasn’t time to yell at the trash man yet, and the morning dog walker had already come by. Then, after a moment, her eyes narrowed. “I want to hunt something,” she said, then let out her best growl.

Jose chuckled, “Sure, we can probably stir something up.”

He stood up, shook himself loose, and said, “First things first, we gotta find a scent.”

He lowered his head, his nose hovering just above the ground, and he began walking, slowly, deliberately crossing back and forth across the alley. Ginger followed closely behind, trying her best to follow his lead. At first, the barrage of new scents were almost overwhelming, but slowly her mind began to piece the information together, like an image coming into focus. Something primal had begun to awaken deep within her tiny, walnut-sized brain.

She stopped, her ears flat against her head. She’d found something.

“Yeah, I smell it to,” he said. “Now, we gotta follow it.”

Ginger found herself racing down the alley, nose to the ground, letting her instincts do the work. They came to an opened garage, and she paused, unsure of what to do next.

“Do you hear that?” Jose whispered. She could just pick out a faint scratching. Slowly, they entered the garage, searching for the location of the noise. Ginger spotted it first: it was a rat, feebly struggling to free one of its hing legs from a trap. When it finally noticed them, it froze. Even from across the room, Ginger could see its heart racing, and smell its fear.

Before she could think, Ginger leapt across to garage, cornering the rat. She lunged toward it, her tiny mouth grasping around the rat’s neck. The rat shrieked in fear as it clawed weakly at her face. She twisted and shook her head as violently as she could, until she felt the rat’s neck pop, and it fell silent.

“Jesus, that thing’s almost as big as you,” Jose said with a smile. “Want some help eating it?”

But before Ginger could answer, a human stepped in through the open door.
“What the hell?” the human yelled, looking down at them in disgust. “Get outta here!”

Ginger grabbed her trophy and ran out of the garage, with Jose in tow. She could barely contain her excitement as they walked down the alley way, her tail held high, the wonderful stench of the rat making her mouth drool.

With one foot on the rat’s torso, she pulled at its head with all of her strength. She could feel her teeth tearing through the skin and muscle, eventually yanking the head free, pulling along the intestines. Warm blood covered her muzzle. With seemingly one gulp, she swallowed this, and began tearing at the front legs.

“Leave some for me!” Jose yelled, still squeezing himself under the fence. Once through, he raced over just in time to watch Ginger swallow the last remnants.

With her stomach full, and her wild urge finally satiated, Ginger plodded through back door for a well-earned nap. She knew the humans would be mad at her for tracking dirt and blood through the house, but she was too tired to care.




“Wake up,” Jose said, nudging Ginger with his nose.

“The mailman is gonna be here soon,” he pleaded, but Ginger refused to move from her bed.

“Come on!” he barked. “We can’t miss our biscuits!”

Slowly, Ginger pulled herself up.

“Something’s not right,” she said. She felt uneasy on her feet. Her stomach groaned, and she began to hack and cough.

Jose could smell it before he saw it. Each time she wretched, more blood poured out onto the floor, staining her white fur a deep, dark shade.

“Help,” she whimpered, and collapsed onto the floor.

Jose froze with fear. The humans had left, and he had no idea when they would be back.

He heard the familiar roar the mailman’s truck, and he ran to meet him. Out the back door, to the side gate.

“Help!” he yelled, as the mail man approached.

“Good morning, Jose,” the man said. “Where’s Ginger, still sleeping?”

“She’s sick, you have to help me,” he pleaded.

“My, you’re excited today,” the man replied, as he pulled out a milk bone from his satchel.

“No, you fool,” he growled. “She’s dying, you have to do something!” But nothing seemed to be getting through.


The man looked down at Jose, puzzled. He dropped the biscuits over the gate and walked off to the next house, with Jose still barking behind him.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P


QuoProQuid posted:

In.

One’s an obsessive overachiever running for Class President and the other’s a middle-aged ghost with an axe to grind.


Veins and Arteries
1203 words

Lindsey took a deep breath before turning to face the corpse. “Ew,” she said as she took a scalpel to the dead man’s eyelids. The empty cadaver lab seemed to echo the sound of every incision. The skin curled as she sliced, exposing sunken eyes and spiked contacts. “Ew, ew, ew.”

She was mid-way through unstitching the mouth when the body jerked and rattled. Its cold hands shot upward. Lindsey jumped and squealed, cleaving the cadaver’s bottom lip in two. The corpse’s eyes rolled, its permanently wide stare fixing upon her. A trickle of blood crept down its chin.

“Stay down,” she hissed as her heart thumped in her chest, “I’m not done yet.”

Lindsey tore apart the final stitches and the body rose from its slab. Its insides spilled out the cadaver’s open chest flap, drenching the table in tissue and organ. Lindsey gagged. The stench was overwhelming. The corpse brushed aside its discarded organs and glanced down at its own shriveled penis. “Did it have to be a man?” Said the ghost of Margaret Holbrooke in the deceased man’s raspy, hollow voice.

Lindsey leaned against one of the unused cadaver lab tables, trying not to think about the anatomy of what was happening. The long-stopped veins and arteries. The intestines draped like garland. Air being forced through the dead man’s vocal chords.

“I’m sorry.” She said, swallowing her sickness. “Holbrooke’s Biology Department doesn’t exactly have a variety of whole corpses.” She steadied herself. “Not yet, anyway. The Student Government President does have a seat on the Finance Committee, though.”

Lindsey gave an eager smile. The election was in four days. She had just four days to win over her classmates. Just four days to prove that she was the best candidate. Just four days before she would annihilate Claudia Blaine and her shallow, sorority-girl campaign. Lindsey cared about the issues. Claudia just wanted another trophy. Lindsey was willing to make sacrifices, to make backroom deals with malevolent undead forces. Claudia would just get her dumb friends to pass out cupcakes.

The corpse sighed, or at least uttered a sound resembling a sigh, before stepping down onto the laboratory’s cold linoleum floor. Loose tissue fell with soft splats against the darkened basement classroom. “I suppose we will have to make do,” Margaret Holbrooke said, pulling the man’s open chest closed like one might a jacket. “Let’s get on with it.”

Lindsey nodded and handed over her smart phone. Her quid pro quo. Margaret scrolled past half-a-dozen of Lindsey’s campaign posters before getting towards the evidence she had been promised: A blurry video taken through a crack in the Admissions Office door. Margaret’s husband with his button-down shirt and tie half-askew. His paunch moving rhythmically against the body of another woman, Margaret’s secretary. She watched their bodies splayed across the desk. Their fumbling, middle-aged bodies exposed. Moaning and creaking echoed across the dark laboratory.

He hadn’t even waited until her body was cold, and Margaret wanted him ruined.

The corpse’s bloodless face widened into a hungry leer. “Yes,” Margaret said, pressing her cold hands against the screen. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

“It was really hard to get that, you know.” Lindsey said, beaming. “Police and Safety lock up the administration building after ten so I had to-.”

Margaret rested a cold hand on Lindsey’s arm. The hungriness had passed. Margaret reconfigured the corpse’s face into something dignified, an impressive feat with a split bottom lip and no eyelids.

“Thank you.” Margaret said and she pressed the phone back into Lindsey’s palm. “Would you post that on the You-thing? The You-website?”

“Youtube.” Margaret said, her smile deflating. They were back to business. “Anyways, did you see what Claudia’s campaign is planning? Who is working for her? What’s she giving out? Is she tearing down my posters? Does she have a thing with the Election Commissioner?”

Lindsey clenched her fists. “I need something to bring her down. I need something to get her disqualified. There’s something wrong with her campaign, just tell me what.”

The living cadaver frowned. “No, I’m afraid I didn’t see anything illegal.” She gave a shrug while still holding the man’s chest together. “From what I can tell from my usual haunts, Claudia is planning a fairly traditional campaign. No shady backroom deals. No schemes or otherwise. I don’t see any way you can get your friend Claudia disqualified.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense!” Lindsey moaned. “I know. I just know that she’s planning something. Claudia doesn’t leave anything to chance. She’s gotta be doing something wrong.”

Margaret shrugged. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t see-.” She froze. Her expression fixed at something outside the lab. Lindsey turned. Someone had turned the hallway light on. Someone was coming down the hallway. The doorknob turned.

The cadaver collapsed to the floor. Organ and flesh splattered across the linoleum. Lindsey took a single step before slipping on a discarded flap of skin. As she fell on top of the body, the door swung open. Claudia stepped forward with her smartphone in an outstretched hand.

Claudia’s look of triumph curdled on her face. She saw the ruined cadaver and Lindsey planted on top of it. She saw the ruined trail of organs scattered around the table. Claudia opened and shut her mouth, fish-like. Silence hung in the air.

“What. The Christ. Lindsey.” Claudia finally managed. “Literally, what in the hell?”

“Uh.” Said Lindsey. She had to say something. Anything. “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

The two looked at each other and then at Claudia’s smartphone. Still recording.

“I was just supposed to catch you on video.” Claudia said. She looked pale. “I really just wanted to catch you on video being dumb and sneaking into the biology building after hours. Not…” She gestured at the mess and the dark stains on Lindsey’s clothes.

“Please,” said Lindsey. “Don’t tell the Election Commissioner.” The words tumbled out as she stifled tears. Lindsey had no idea what she was saying. “Claudia, I swear that I’m not doing anything wrong. Just don’t get me disqualified from the election.”

Claudia's eyes narrowed. “Election?” She said. “Lindsey, you defaced a loving corpse. I’m calling the police.”

A breeze like a heavy sigh swept through the room and Lindsey sensed movement at her feet. Claudia’s eyes bulged as the cadaver rose again to its feet. Claudia opened her mouth in a scream as the dead man stumbled towards her, tripping over its own intestines. She seemed stuck, frozen in the doorway, as the corpse reached forward and grabbed the smart phone from Claudia’s hand.

Margaret shuffled to face Lindsey and contorted the dead man's face into an exasperated look.

“You owe me,” the possessed corpse said as it broke the cell phone in half and jammed the pieces into its open mouth. Lindsey and Claudia both stared as the corpse pushed its hand into its throat, thrusting the metal deep within it. With strange lumps protruding from its neck, the cadaver collapsed to the floor.

The two girls stared. before Lindsey cracked a smile.

“It’s gonna be pretty hard to explain why your cell phone is inside one of the cadaver lab’s corpses, isn’t it Claudia? I sure do hope no one in the Election Commission finds out about this.”

Then Claudia fainted.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Fuschia tude posted:

One's a discouraged oyster farmer with an axe to grind. The other is a quiet, meticulous miniature artist.

Hold the Bees
1,314 words

The Stork promised me a baby. That’s what the tithing was for, I thought. That’s why I’d tightened my belt, agreed to lose most of the profits from the oyster operation, while every day The Stork would fly down with his little stork posse and chew on what we’d worked so hard to achieve.

I’d made my way to The Stork’s nest one evening, not too long after high tide. It’s this trash-weaved abomination, a thatched palace of dry grasses and soda rings teetering on the top of the largest tree in the village, and there’s nothing more than a ratty rope ladder for us unlucky bipeds. I climbed up, but found The Stork’s bouncers, a buzzard and a vulture, flapping their wings in the face of a terrified middle aged woman.

“Let’s face it. You’re just not very good. You think this looks anything like The Stork?” the buzzard asked.

“I’m going to try to appease The Stork with my bad sculpture,” the vulture said in a singsong voice. “Ha. Try again, Mallory.”

I cleared my throat. “Excuse me?”

Synchronized, the bouncers turned their heads toward me.

“Hi. Um, I’m here to, uh, check on the status of my baby.”

“Oh, okay. Yeah, I’ll just run that by The Stork. I’m sure he has all the time in the world to deal with people’s status checks,” the buzzard said.

“She wants to check on the status of her baby,” the vulture said. “It’s not your baby until The Stork says so, you know.”

“Right. Okay, well, see, The Stork’s been eating my oysters for a while,” I said, “and it seems like I should have a baby by now. Do you think I could maybe check in on him?”

The bullied woman turned to me. “Your baby’s not here yet, either?”

“Out, out, out!” the vulture said. “The Stork has no time for bribes or whining. Out!” The two of them flapped their wings at us, and I nearly stumbled all the way out of the nest, but the artist grabbed my arm before I could topple out. I gave her a look of thanks, but it was interrupted by a sharp strike in the shoulder by a vulture beak.

The artist and I descended the rope ladder behind each other. The distribution of weight made the rope swing precariously, but I was able to keep it together and get to the ground safely.

“So,” I said, “you’re in deep with The Stork too?”

“He said he’d give me my baby once I made a miniature that was an ‘appropriate likeness’ of him. I keep trying and trying… but nothing’s even good enough to make it past the bouncers.”


“Can I see?” I asked. She pulled out a couple of miniatures from her coat pocket. I hated having to side with those assholes working for The Stork, but nothing she’d made looked even slightly avian. I could maybe make out a couple of wings on one of them, but if I didn’t know better, I would have mistaken the others for a handbasket, an anguished shrub, or a loaf of bread.

“They’re not very good,” she said.

“They’re definitely worth a baby,” I told her, patting her shoulder.

---

Mallory and I kept meeting every evening in front of The Stork’s nest. We discussed plans to get The Stork to favor us again, and yes, revenge came up once or twice. Mostly, though, we looked at the ocean while Mallory whittled away at rocks. I wish I could say that she got better, but she never got more than one recognizable birdlike feature in one miniature – talons, beaks, wings, but never more than one in one piece of work.

“Why don’t you try another size?” I suggested. “Maybe if you had a bigger canvas—“

“I’d be better at this?”

“Well, maybe The Stork would appreciate it more. He doesn’t seem like he goes for small things. Like he doesn’t eat just one of my oysters. He eats way too many of them.”

Mallory was quiet for a moment. “All I really know is miniatures. I don’t like to give up.”

I didn’t know what to say to that, so we sat on the grass a little longer. Suddenly there came a large swooping sound behind us, and the bloated figure of The Stork rose above us. It was a miracle The Stork’s wings could still sustain him – he’d grown fat with all the treats he’d been getting, from poor desperate oyster farmers like me to the earthworm distilleries on the edge of town. And, to my irritation, he wore a necklace thick with pearls, which must have weighed him down.

Still, with grace that surprised me every time, he swooped down over the oyster farm, swallowing up a mouthful of oysters into his gullet.

“I hope he chokes,” I said under my breath.

Mallory stopped chipping at the miniature she was working on and looked at me. We smiled at the same time.

---

“This is unconventional,” said the buzzard. “His Storkiness generally likes to select his own oysters.”

“It’s my fault,” I said. “I’d been keeping these most delectable ones for myself. I now see the error of my ways.”

“And why’s the failure here?” asked the vulture. “Did she also keep some bad art from our mutual friend?”

“No,” Mallory said, bowing, “but I’ve made a beautiful miniature from a pearl, and I wanted the pleasure of seeing The Stork’s face when he sees its beauty for the first time.”

The buzzard and the vulture looked at each other. I’m sure they were consulting as to whether to push us off the nest or not. But before they could move on that, a pair of giant wings and the enormous body of The Stork emerged from the palace, and let out an enormous squawk at Mallory and me.

Mallory went first. “Here you are, your Honor,” Mallory said, presenting The Stork with an ornately carved pearl – her very first work of art with both a recognizable beak and a tailfeather. The Stork paused, considered it, then knocked Mallory out of the nest with one firm thwack of his wing.

I gasped.

“Choke on these, you baby-withholding, murderous fiend!” I said, forgetting the plan and dropping the bucket of oysters as I ran to the edge of the neck to peer down at the ground below.

But The Stork didn’t knock me off right after Mallory. Nor did he chow down on the booby-trapped oysters. Instead he belched out a cloud of blue steam, and when the steam had cleared, a human baby was there, crying and writhing in The Stork’s beak.

I took a few steps closer. The Stork said something in Storkish.

“You’re in trouble now,” the vulture said, and cackled. Then The Stork gulped down the baby again, leapt into flight and dove at me. And then he stopped, with a hideous, un-storklike roar.

Something had hit The Stork in the eye. I turned around.

“It takes more than a stork wing,” Mallory said, ascending the rope ladder, “to kill a mediocre sculpture artist. Especially when the wind’s in my favor.”

“God, Mal,” I said, “I can’t believe I lost you. Over something as silly as a baby.”

“Maybe you should try to get one the traditional way,” she said, “instead of the stork way.”

“Yeah. Let’s go home.”

“Kill ‘em both, boss!” yelled the buzzard.

But The Stork, it seems, had been moved. He and his enormous belly fell onto the ground of the nest, sobbing what might have been stork tears. The force was so great that the nest cleaved in two, and the buzzard and the vulture took to the air. But for whatever reason, The Stork let himself fall all the way to the ground with Mallory and me, right to the very end.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Comrade Rusty and the God

1464 words (999+301+200)

One's a diminutive, Russian spy with no country the other's a two faced god from a forgotten Amazonian tribe.

I'm riding a swing, and feeling the pure joy of that long moment between the upswing and the down, suspended hummingbird-free in air and actually feeling nine years old and not twelve times that and stuck in this strange and tiny body. Then my situational awareness kicks in and spoils everything.

Something has gone badly wrong. The couple on the bench to the left bickering over relatives are FBI. The two joggers, orbiting in opposite directions and nodding as they pass are SVN. The bald man walking five purse-sized dogs is Mossad. Anyone else? There are pole-mounted mirrors in front of me and to either side. A quick glance at their distorted images shows two more suspects. Chinese intelligence, maybe? Or one of the American groups that doesn't let Hollywood or Congress know what their initials stand for, more likely. And, to my left, from what would be a blind spot for a less trained observer, I see a hairy-faced man wearing a hood and coal-dark glasses. No, not a man. A god. An ancient god I've had dealings with, a lifetime ago, who calls himself Sinner.

I've only got one asset: surprise. They're looking for Ruslan Stregovitch, born 1912, not Chip Sawyer, age nine. They probably think I'm my grandson or great-grandson and that following me will lead them to their target. Sinner grabs me right at the bottom of the swing, holding my arm to arrest my momentum. “Yo, Rusty,” he says, loud enough that the spies all hear even without their parabolic microphones, “Hate to call in the whole fountain of youth card so soon, but I really need your help.”

The Mossad man is sprinting at us, his dogs scattering across the park, leashes trailing behind. The other agencies restrict knowledge that such things are possible higher up the chain of command, or do not know it at all. “We've got to get away, and fast,” I say. “How did you get here?”

Sinner starts running, practically dragging me along. He's half jaguar, and that translates to Olympic-caliber fast. “I got a sweet ride,” he says. There's an unmarked white van ahead of us. The passenger door opens up and he tosses me in before running around to the driver's side.

“So, you're really good at finding things, right?” asks Sinner as the van jerks into motion.

I chuckle. King David's tuning fork, the last firebird egg, the map of the inhabited worlds of the Milky Way, all safe in Vault Three miles below Moscow, all thanks to me. “You could say that,” I say.

“And you do owe me big.”

“Feh,” I say. “You gave me too much. I expected to be back in the prime of my life, not so young I have to wait around another four years for my balls to drop.”

“You said 'young man.' Back in my day that was anyone big enough to hold a pointed stick and not pierce his own foot.” Sinner swerves across the right lane and into the shoulder, then back across traffic again to pass a slow-moving car. “Anyhow, after you left I realized my stick was missing.”

“Your stick,” I say, checking the mirrors for followers.

“Yeah, my stick. Wasn't where it was supposed to be, and I couldn't find it anywhere.”

The digital billboard ahead caught my eye. “Is that my picture?”

“Is it?” asks Sinner. “Let me see.” He pulls down his hood, revealing his eyes, set in the back of his head. He's got a tattoo of a nose and mouth there, just for show. My suggestion. Looks way less uncanny with the whole face. He cranes his head around until his eyes face the billboard. “Sure looks like you. How'd that happen?”

“The FBI have never been believers in anything stranger than flying saucers, but they see a strange man drag a kid into a creeper van and they- wait, how have you been driving?” It's easy to forget about Sinner's eyes, especially with those dark glasses on.

“Hey, god of information right here.”

“Who can't find his own piece of wood.”

“I got some blind spots, sure,” he says. “But I'm good enough to know where the nearby cars are and where they're going.”

The van swings across lanes again to a chorus of honking horns. “Well, in a few minutes we're going to have the police after us.” Or less than that: sirens from behind, and a highway patrol motorcycle appears behind us. “Where are you trying to go, exactly?”

“Home,” says Sinner.

“Brazil?” I say. “Thousands of miles away?”

“It's okay,” he says. “I know a short-cut.” He steers the van left, all the way to the median, then across both lanes of traffic and over the barrier at full speed. The bottom scrapes and probably leaves key parts behind, but it makes it over and we start careening down the hillside. We narrowly miss trees and jutting rocks, then pass under a fallen branch and onto a dimly-lit featureless tundra. The engine dies and the van slides silently across the ice.

“Listen, Rusty,” says Sinner, “I'm sorry about messing up your new life up in the States.”

I sigh. “It was already ruined. I must have left some hair, some skin, some DNA somewhere, and they found it.”

“Still, you probably could have talked your way out of it,” says Sinner. “Framed some local old guy or something.”

“Nichevo,” I say. “It was about to become a hell at any rate. Being surrounded by idiot children, the teachers no better than the students. Dealing with bullies when you can kill any four of them at once with your bare hands. And worst of all, having people a tenth of your age develop... crushes.”

“That one's tricky. Going by the old half plus seven means it'll be a long time before anything you do isn't weird from at least one direction. You could always go home, look for work from your old spymasters.”

“I have no home. My home was the glorious revolutionary Union of Socialist Soviets, and it is dead.”

“Was it? Glorious, that is?” says Sinner.

“For a time. We all truly had something to believe in. It turned out to be pure bullshit, true, but we believed, and with that belief, we made glory. Beat the Reich. Put men in space.”

“And dogs and monkeys.”

“Them too,” I say. “But even if I did come back to the gangsters there now, all they would care about is my youth and its secret.”

“Twenty-four years,” says Sinner. I stare at him. “In twenty-four years you'll be able to date a seventy-seven year old woman.”

“I think the rule breaks down at extremes,” I say. “You're as old as creation, so what's half that plus seven?”

“Fair enough.” The van slides into a dark cave mouth, and emerges in the Amazon jungle. It comes to a stop and won't start again, so we get out and walk.

“Couldn't you just get another stick?” I say. “I mean, here we are in the jungle, surrounded by trees.”

“Yeah, maybe,” says Sinner. “But it wouldn't be my stick, you know. Not the same feel. And besides, using one of these would give 'em splinters.”

I stare at him. Then I realize that I'm looking into blank skin behind sunglasses, so I walk around and stare into his eyes. “So, when you've been saying 'stick', what you actually mean is your cock?”

“Well, yeah,”

“And it comes off.”

“Doesn't everybody's?”

“And goes back on?”

“Doesn't-” Sinner stops, tilts his head sideways a bit. “I may now understand why those high priests always looked so angry.”

“Okay,” I say. “Do you remember where you had it last?”

“Let me think,” says Sinner, scratching his beard. “There was Athena. We had a bit of a cross-pantheon thing from way back, and she drunk-dialed me after her latest break-up. Or was that before or after the thing with the First Lady.” I hope to not find out which one any time soon. “Sometime around then I let one of those British poets borrow it for a while, but I think he gave it back. Let's start with Greece. I know a shortcut there. One that doesn't require passing through Hades.”

My situational awareness kicks in again and I notice the six Cartel enforcers setting up for an ambush. Outnumbered, unarmed, surrounded, but side by side with a comrade who happens to be an ancient god but who's probably useless in a fight. No better way to start a new adventure.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006


CANNIBAL GIRLS posted:

One's a garbage man with a troubled past. The other's an eight year old truant just looking for a ride.

Cherry Grindon Park
(1,046 words)

Wallace was a loving father. Sad for him, he’d gotten to be plenty of other things too. Welding Boss turned Sanitation Worker; casual drinker turned alcoholic; tithe paying church goer turned registered sex offender—all the result of a too crowded bar bathroom and the not-quite-inconspicuous public urination that followed.

Hauling rot-stenched bags of waste by truck was less than satisfying. But for Wallace, the real disappointment came from the court order not to see his little Tamika. He’d pass the baseball field on his way home from Sanitation HQ and remember his daughter standing on the mound. At eight, she was one of the younger little leaguers, not to mention the only girl, but god drat could she throw a pitch. Wallace used to get so worked up watching his daughter strike out the boys that the pride would well up in his head, drowning the brain and leaking out the eyes.

One day, Wallace bumped into one of those little boy teammates of Tamika’s. It was around noontime, and Wallace was driving home from work in his beat up teal Malibu. He was feeling the shakes set in, thought he’d steady himself sipping the flask from the glove compartment. That’s when Wallace saw the kid. He was in the middle of the road, palm forward, yelling “Help!”

Wallace swerved around him, shifted to park, and rolled down a window. “What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Need a ride to Cherry Grindon Park,” the kid said.

Wallace looked around. “I ain’t even supposed to be talking to kids, let alone giving ‘em rides.” He reached for the gear shift.

“Ain’t you Tamika’s dad?”

Wallace sighed.

“I’m Nikeel, I play ball with Tamika. She pitch real dirty, I bet I could talk your ear off ’bout her.”

Wallace grabbed his chin and paused for a moment. Then he shook his head. “Much as I’d like to hear it, that’d be like biting into an onion ring and finding they just fried the skin.” He reached again for the gear shift.

“I’ll call 911,” said Nikeel. He flashed a wide grin. “Find a pay phone, tell them I’m lost and I live near the park. Then they’ll have to take me there. And I’ll be sure an’ tell them I talked to you ‘bout it first.”

This kid don’t look one day over eight. How’s he gonna hit me with extortion? And all for a ride. Wallace grunted and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Get in, kid.”

Nikeel opened the front passenger door and set himself down.

“Where’s Cherry Grindon Park? I pick up trash ‘cross most this city, and I never heard of it.”

“It’s out the way, behind the DrillMart on the North Side.” Nikeel waited for Wallace to start driving, then turned to him. “Girl named Cherry Grindon got raped out that way in 1989. Got cut up in pieces and stuffed into her father’s rosebushes. You ever meet Old Man Grindon, that’s why he goofy.”

Is this kid for real? “That’ll be enough talk for right now,” said Wallace.

“Oh but I ain’t even tell you ‘bout Tamika yet. She say she real proud of you.” Screech. Wallace made an abrupt swerve to the side of the road. Nikeel kept talking. “She talk about her dad driving around, cleaning up the city, taking care of errybody trash. She real happy to have a dad like you.” Nikeel stared at Wallace a moment. “Something wrong, Mister?”

With his head turned away from Nikeel, Wallace wiped his eyes and said, “Nah. Everything’s alright.” He took a breath, turned to face the road again, and let his foot off the brake. After a few minutes, Wallace asked, “She happy?”

Nikeel looked at the floor of the car. “Can’t rightly say. I know her stepdad, the sheriff, stay drinking. Shows to the games redfaced and tells her she’s poo poo if she make a mistake.”

Wallace found he was too tight in the neck to swallow.

“Heard the sheriff beats on her, but I don’t know ‘bout all that. Nobody like police ‘round here anyway.”

They sat in silence until Wallace pulled in behind the DrillMart.

“Thanks, Mister!” Nikeel hopped out of the car before it came to a complete stop. Then he ran to join a bunch of kids, dapped them, and started talking. Wallace began to coast off when the kids shouted to him. They were jumping and waving their hands in the air. Wallace sighed, got out of the car and walked over.

“Tamika dead,” one kid said. “This morning,” said another. “Ma Dukes told me the sheriff beat her real bad. Claimed self-defense.”

Self-defense against an eight year old! Wallace took a knee, unable to catch his breath. Nikeel put an arm on his shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he said. “She was our friend, all of us.” He gestured to the others.

Wallace gasped for air, but caught too much phlegm and had a coughing fit.

Nikeel leaned in close. “We could bring justice to him if you want. The sheriff, that is. D’you know you can grind up peach pits and run them through a centrifuge to make cyanide?”

Wallace looked Nikeel straight in the eyes and saw nothing but genuine concern.

“It’s a machine that spins stuff ‘round to separate it out.”

Wallace blinked.

“We could team up. Make it a mission. Like, you ever seen that movie with Chris Tucker and the Asian guy?” Nikeel thumped his chest. “I’ll be Chris Tucker.”

And maybe it makes no sense—nothing in the midst of grief does—but Wallace wanted more than anything to say, “Yeah kid, let’s loving get this guy. Buddy up. We gonna set things right.” Nevertheless, he managed a shaking, shallow breath. And on the exhale he thought of Tamika and how proud she was of her old dad, despite himself.

Wallace shook his head no, and watched Nikeel nod before starting back for his car. On the way, he turned back to the kids. “How y’all getting back?”

One of them shrugged. “Probly just call 911.”

Wallace sat down in his car and reached for his flask. He took a long look, rolled down a window, and emptied it on the ground for Cherry Grindon’s dad.

mistaya
Oct 18, 2006

Cat of Wealth and Taste



quote:

One's a beat cop-turned Vampire who can't let his last case go, the other's the aging Hunter who owes him his life, and a stake through the heart.

Rattus Nobiles
2399 words

The driver of the pickup was an old man in a green overcoat, thin grey hair tied back in a loose ponytail. His passenger was black-haired, black-clad, and his otherwise handsome face was the shade of a well-groomed corpse against it all.

Caleb glanced to his right, noting the way his friend was staring blankly at the stars outside. “Alright Kris, enough bullshit. What’s eating you?”

Kristof turned his head into profile, and no farther. “There’s another Strigoi victim in the paper.”

“What’s eating you, not the local sorority sisters.”

He fidgeted with his collar, pushed hair out of his face, sighed, and finally got on with it. “I had a girl over last night. Wasn’t serious. Just...casual. We were watching TV.” He laughed without humor. “She got a nosebleed. A loving nosebleed.”

Caleb winced. “Do I need to keep an eye on the obituaries?”

“I didn’t bite her,” Kris snapped, finally facing him. “But I...wanted to. She must have seen the look on my face. Freaked out. I left her with the tissues. It was…” He tried to find words, but gave up. “Enough. Can’t stop thinking about it.” He avoided meeting Caleb’s eyes.

Ever since the night Kristof saved his life, Caleb had wondered when - not if - he’d put a stake in his friend’s heart. Kris’d been a good man, once, and the fact that he was still trying to be one even as an undead monster had earned Caleb’s respect, and AA experience. “Shouldn’t bring ‘em home. Too easy to let your guard down.”

Kristof’s head thunked against the window. “It’s exhausting. Don’t think I counted on that. ‘Mind over matter,’ they say.” He exhaled slowly. “But it’s done with.” A pause; he gave a halfhearted chuckle that managed to sound guilty. “Won’t be hearing from the Strigoi for a while, at least.”

“Vampires aren’t our problem tonight.”

He shot Caleb a wry look. “Some aren’t, anyway.”

“You’re your own problem.”

There’d been a story in the paper about the city’s attempts to reopen the old subway. The project had been plagued with bad luck, everything from flooding to unexplainable collapses. It was too unusual not to check out. The truck pulled to a stop one street from their destination, and they headed over.

The construction site was empty; not even a floodlight watched over the traffic cones. The railing leading downstairs was gone, the stonework crumbling. Caleb retrieved a maglight from his duffel bag and started down the plywood ramp that had been installed for the workers.

Kristof, meanwhile, reached the bottom in a single leap. He held motionless, but all either of them heard was a drainpipe dripping somewhere. “If there’s something here, it’s a lot further in,” he said.

“Showoff,” Caleb muttered. “Go on then, I’ll follow.”

Half of the platform had been rebuilt, and the heavy equipment was still there. A pump was running, but a couple inches of standing water still coated the tracks. Kris was nimble enough to walk on the thin strip of concrete above; Caleb resigned himself to slogging through the slime.

Everything stayed quiet until something furry burst out of a drainpipe next to his foot. It squeaked and ran off when he kicked it, and he dropped the flashlight. The tunnel went dark. “drat rats.”

“Hang on, thought I saw…” There was a loud, wet thud as Kris tossed something onto the tracks. A moment later, the light bobbed back out of the slime. Kris handed it to Caleb, and dropped something else on the slab of concrete he’d thrown down as a stepping stone: Three rats, stuck together by their tails with some kind of semi-opaque greenish goo. “Smells like blood,” Kris said, uncertainly. “But…not quite?”

“Ah, poo poo. Rat-king.” Caleb reached into his coat for a knife. “If you tie rat tails together and kill them, you can cast a curse of that nature. These were drowned, see?” He used his knife to poke one’s bloated belly. “That’s where this flooding came from. Good news is, you can remove the curse if you cut the knot.” And he did so, freeing the bodies from their tails and then hacking at the remaining tangle until it disintegrated.

The water in the tunnels hissed and evaporated, leaving them completely dry.

Kristof stared. “That’s a weird thing just to drive development out of tunnels.” He grimaced. “And cruel.”

“I’d like to see PETA take on a cabal of warlocks, but it’s probably up to us,” Caleb said. “If that’s even what this is. Could be, but there’s a lot of things know this kind of trick. And I don’t know what that green poo poo is, but look what it did to my knife.” It was pitted and streaked like it’d been dipped in acid.

Kris looked down at his hand, but he’d only touched a bare tail. “I heard about some group against the expansion. I thought they were environmentalists worried about the impact on the waterways. But now I wonder…”

“Could be they paid something to take care of the problem, could be something that lives down here’s bein’ territorial.” Caleb tossed the useless knife over his shoulder. “Keep a nose out for anything else like that.”

Kris nodded. “I’m keeping my senses open. Just-” He hesitated. It didn't really need to be said. But he said it anyway. “You be careful, too.”

“I have more careful in my left pinky finger than you do in your whole undead body,” Caleb said, starting forwards through the dry tunnel. He didn’t make it ten feet before stumbling on an uneven piece of track. “Not a drat word,” he said under his breath.

Kris snorted overhead.

The tunnel got rougher, until the tracks were broken to uselessness and rusted through. “Something here,” Kristof eventually reported from the walkway. Caleb saw nothing but a wall, until Kris smashed through it with one kick. He gave Caleb a hand up off the tracks, and they found themselves standing at the edge of a massive room ringed by candles, their light barely reaching the center.

But the platform at its center had its own light from a brazier that illuminated a huge, writhing rat-king. Blood smelled so strong that Caleb coughed on it. Kristof’s pupils shrank to pinpricks. “Human,” he said tonelessly. “Old. Fresh. Rats.”

“Stay with me, kid,” Caleb said, but he was staring at the rat-king. He’d never seen one that big. poo poo, he could count fifteen at a glance, and that was only part of it. The brazier had a latch and chain that would dump the burning coals on top of them. “Looks like someone’s getting ready for a barbeque. Guess that’d get the city to give up.”

A robed figure entered from their left, quietly reading a chant from an old handwritten book. He held a bronze chime in one hand that he rang every few words. The rats squealed at his approach.

“We can’t let him finish the ritual,” Caleb said, shaking Kristof’s shoulder. The vampire’s eyes came back into focus with effort, and he wordlessly vanished into the shadows.

The old hunter raised the Smith & Wesson that he’d inherited from his own grandfather. “Hey, ugly!” he yelled, making sure the man’s attention focused on him. “Step away from the rats!”

The figure turned. Wild white hair and a tangled beard obscured his features. He hissed at Caleb like a snake, snapped the book shut and jangled the cimes. The candles flared; the shadows twisted into strange shapes.

“Goddamnit, don’t start that poo poo!” Caleb shouted, unloading half a clip in the cultist’s direction. He winged him in the shoulder, and the bells fell out of the man’s hand and bounced out of reach. Their final ring sounded when they landed against a human bone.

Kristof materialized in midair with an inhuman shriek as something forcibly flung him away from the brazier. He hit the ground curled around himself and gasping. His skin looked burnt. Light shimmered across the altar, and glinted off the previously invisible shape of an engraved cross.

“That’s what I get for working with the damned,” Caleb muttered. “Alright Kris, you take ugly, I’ll save the squeakers!”

Kristof staggered to his feet with a dazed look, pressed a hand to his head and shook himself. He scooped up a rock and pulled his vanishing act again.

Caleb ran for the platform, up the steps, his knees protesting their age. The cultist pulled a ritual knife from his belt and slashed at him as he came level; Caleb only barely managed to sidestep. He couldn’t risk shooting; hitting the rat-king might trigger the spell. But his thrice-blessed machete was a decent alternative. And he had backup.

A rock smashed the platform inches from the cultist’s foot, shattering into powder and fracturing the stone. Kris cursed loudly from his perch on a mound of dirt halfway across the room, and wound up for another pitch. The cultist abandoned Caleb and stumbled to the other side of the platform, trying to put the rat-king between himself and Kristof.

The next rock kneecapped him from behind.

It took a second for Caleb to realize that Kris was aiming low for the same reason he’d switched to his machete. While the cultist was down, he ran for the altar; but there was no way to move the tangle of animals without getting devoured, and trying to lower the brazier would just put the fire closer.

The cultist grabbed for his legs, knocking him over. Caleb turned and kicked the man in the face hard enough to shatter his nose, but he held on, oblivious to the pain, and drove his knife into the back of Caleb’s calf. “poo poo!” he yelled. He flipped over and grabbed the edge of the platform with both hands, pulling himself over and tumbling down to the dirt floor in a painful heap. The cultist came with him, still holding on to his leg, raising his knife for another attack.

But now they were away from the cross. And Kristof struck like lightning, slamming the full weight behind his pounce straight to the cultist’s chest with an elbow strike. Sternum and ribs snapped loudly. His arm seized, digging the knife into Kris’s shoulder; and then fell limp.

Kris crouched there for a long moment, breathing harshly through his mouth. He straightened slowly from being anywhere near the man’s throat and pulled the knife out of his back. “You’d think,” he rasped, “he would have thought to bless this, too.”

“Can’t bless somethin’ used for unholy sacrifices,” Caleb said, wincing as he tugged his pant leg up to survey the damage. He was bleeding badly enough to need stitches. He reached into his coat for a patch bandage; there’d be time to care for it properly later. “One more scar for the road.”

Kristof was very still. Caleb heard a sniff overhead. Then Kris had shoved him to the ground, and he found himself staring into eyes dilated almost to black pools: the look of a predator seizing its prey. No recognition. His fangs flashed for Caleb’s throat.

But Kris froze when he contacted skin. A shudder ran through him, a strangled sound escaped his throat - an internal war between instinct and reason. He felt a prick of something sharp against his chest.

“This how we go out, Kris?” Caleb whispered. The stake was wedged between them. If the vampire pressed in for the bite, he’d impale himself. But he’d take the hunter with him.

It was sudden, but not that surprising; the stench of blood had overwhelmed him to distraction since they found the room. Rebounding off a holy barrier had rattled him worse. It was at least understandable for his nature.

Slowly, his fangs retreated from the pulse that must seem like a fresh spring to a man dying of thirst. With a whimper and a lurch, he flung himself away from Caleb and sprawled on the ground, nearly choking from the effort.

Caleb let go of the breath he’d been holding and sat up. “Almost gave me a goddamn heart att-” He stopped mid-sentence. The cultist was missing.

No, not missing - up on the platform, reaching for the brazier’s chain. “Son of a BITCH!” He staggered to his feet, but there was no time. “Kris!”

He was answered with a noise somewhere between a hiss and a growl as Kristof unsteadily rose, caught hold of Caleb, and all but threw him onto the platform. The machete clattered to the stone beside him a second later. And another rock nailed the cultist’s hand as his fingers brushed the chain.

Caleb grabbed the machete, wedged it under the edge of the tabletop and pried it up. The stone slab popped loose from the wooden mooring and started to tilt. The rats squealed as the cultist caught hold of the chain despite Kris’s sniping and pulled. Caleb fell back, shielding his face with his coat sleeve as the blazing embers dumped all over the platform, but the rats had fallen the other way - directly onto the cultist himself.

His screams drowned out their angry squeals, then cut off in a gurgling cry.

“Well,” Caleb said, turning his head so he didn’t have to watch. “That’ll do.”

Kristof stood motionless as adrenaline faded. He opened his mouth, but changed his mind, or couldn’t find the words he wanted. He dropped his head. His voice was shaky. “I didn’t mean…”

“Forget about it. I’m too old to do this poo poo by myself anymore. Wasn’t for you I’d be…retired.” He spat to one side.

Kris managed a weak smile and didn’t bother to voice that if they’d met like this, he would have been retired anyway. They both knew it. Instead he studied Caleb’s wound from a safe distance. “Let’s just get the gently caress out of here and have that looked at. Am I going to have to carry you to a hospital again?”

The magic that bound the rats together was fading, and a dozen pairs of beady eyes watched them from the ruined table. Caleb tried to put weight on his leg but it wouldn’t take it. “I could at least use a shoulder to lean on.”

Kristof offered a hand to help him back to the ground. “Think I can manage that.”

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Tyrannosaurus posted:

Yuzas:

Fuschia tude +301

Wunzas:
  • One is a bright-eyed idealist who wants only to help his fellow man. The other is a silver-tongued con artist who's only out to help himself.

French Leave
1092 words

The war was a slow grind of daily indignities, and the rout of the defence forces brought everything to a head. When they heard the occupying soldiers were headed their way, Rosario and Philippe decided they had had enough. They made some arrangements, sold the few possessions they had left, and fled their coastal town.

They traveled on foot when they had to, hitched rides on farm trucks and sympathetic couriers, stayed anywhere that would let them.

In a few days they had reached the border of Béarn, and so had the army.

The pair ran through bombed fields as planes screamed above. They sheltered inside an empty farm house that still had most of its roof intact.

“I don't know how you can trust Professor Port,” Philippe said after the engines above died down to a distant roar. “The man clearly has some kind of ulterior motives.”

“You just say that reflexively,” Rosario shot back. “You project your own insecurities on others. It is not cute.” She licked her thumb and rubbed a spot of ash and soot from Philippe's head.

“Hey, stop that.” He wriggled away from her and walked up to the sink. It was still full of dirty dishes, somehow not broken, unlike most of the furniture in the other rooms, destroyed in the bombardments. “I just don’t trust him.”

“You don’t trust anyone, Philippe.”

“I shouldn’t! They don’t deserve it.”

She rubbed his arm. “But he’s the best hope we have to escape.”

“How far is it to Saint-Jean-de-Luz?”

“A hundred kilometers past the crossroads.”

Philippe peered through the kitchen window. The ground outside was scattered with broken bits and shrapnel. The odd crater from artillery and bombing strikes marked the ruined farmland like pustules. There had been a battle here, maybe more than one. And the area was still unsafe. It was best to move in the dark. They would wait until sundown to avoid any patrols.

They put together a meal, some food brought with them, others scrounged from within the house: canned vegetables and a peculiar hard biscuit. But compared to the fare they had been eating over the last few days, it was ambrosia. They packed several more cans in Philippe’s bag.

They moved into the road under the cover of night. A tense hush fell over the pavement. It was no longer sweltering for once, and even the insects were mercifully quiet and mostly absent.

The forest loomed before them. “How will we know your friend Port out here?” Philippe asked. “We can’t risk giving away our position with lights or radio.”

Rosario nodded and pulled him forward. “I have a call—a whistle. Won’t draw too much attention.”

“I hope not.” Philippe absently patted the revolver at his belt as he walked.

They reached the forest. Everything was deathly still, despite the warm summer air. Their only companions were the odd rustling from the trees—owls, Philippe told himself. There was no breeze.

“Come on—forward—” Rosario beckoned him on. “The crossroad is coming up.”

She came to the crossroads, put her fingers in her mouth, and whistled, a low and quavering sound. Then she looked around for lights—but of course, they wouldn’t be used out in the open, making tempting targets for the bombers.

Nothing.

She tried again, but there was still no response.

“What did I tell you?” Philippe asked through a dark cigarette cloud.

“Don’t smoke out here. They’ll see you.” She crossed her arms. Then she pushed forward into the wet dark limbs away from the road.

“I’ll, uh, keep watch,” Philippe said. He took another drag.

She pushed, deeper into the undergrowth, circling around the crossroad. There was still no sign.

Then she found him.

Port was lying in a ravine off the main trail, breathing heavily. His overcoat and shirt were soaked in blood. He must have been shot several times.

His eyes rolled when he saw her and he tried to sit up.

“No, don’t!” Rosario touched his head, gently.

“I knew we couldn’t trust him,” Philippe said beside her. He cursed and started to walk away. “Our only hope, and he had to...” He stopped and turned, staring intently at the man soaked in mud and blood. “Does he have the papers?”

Rosario ignored him. “It’s ok. You need something? Water?”

The man nodded, hacking wet up into the night.

She gave him the contents of her canteen, filled from the well at the farmhouse that afternoon.

Philippe started pacing. “I don’t like this, Rosario. Who found him? What did he say?”

The old professor shook his head weakly. “No... nothing.”

“Do you know who they were?” Rosario asked.

Port gasped. His words came quiet and rasping. “Didn’t see... were... French supply truck...” He broke into coughing.

“There’s nothing we can do, Rose. Take the papers and let’s go.”

She took the package from inside his jacket. Only a corner of the leather case had been hit, and it hung by a thread. The papers inside were still intact.

“Thank you,” she said. She closed her eyes. They had no first aid supplies.

Port looked up at Philippe and screamed, hoarse and voiceless, agony written bright orange on his face.

“Can you... Can you do something?” Rosario asked.

“What?” Philippe said.

She looked at the gun he carried.

“No. Rosario, I only have six spare bullets after these are through. No more. I can’t afford to waste them on someone who’s dead anyway—”

“R... Rose...” The dying man’s voice was just a whisper. “I... Right ankle...”

She checked. Just above his sock, a small automatic pistol was strapped to his leg. It wouldn’t have much stopping power, but it still would pack a surprising punch.

Rosario took the gun. Then she looked up. “Philippe...”

He only stared at her. Then he turned away.

She put the gun up to Port’s temple and pulled the trigger.

They kept moving. They came to a clearing in the trees. These papers were what they had been hoping for for so long. Philippe opened the case and pulled out the documents to examine them in the light of the waxing moon.

Then he started to laugh.

“What is it?” Rosario asked.

“These papers. They’re not signed! They’re no good to us without an official signature!” He shook his head in wonder.

“Well,” Rosario said. “I suppose we just keep moving, then. Like we have been.”

“Yes.” Philippe was quiet for a time, then he turned back to her. “How is your Basque?”

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




The Last Case of Detective Ford and Tumor McCoy


The car radio crackled, rousing Detective Ford from a light doze. He'd been daydreaming about his favorite episode of 'Midnight Murder Files'. He turned the volume up. A stern voice fuzzed in as a police blotter took over 'Rock you like a Hurricane' on the FM. Ford shook the sleep off and listened in.

"We have a report of an adult male, age 85, missing from home hospice. He is armed and, per his family, suffers from severe dementia." The police operator continued with a reiteration of the escapee's description. The suspect's last known location was about three blocks from Ford and Tumor McCoy.

"Sounds like it's our collar, Tumey."

Tumor McCoy had crept from a small malignancy in Ford's lung to a serious stakeholder in the man's brain. McCoy spoke up, its voice a squeaky internal monologue.

"Well gee, Detective Ford, we're on assignment! We're nabbing a drug kingpin! Why don't we let the rest of the force handle this missing fella?"

Ford agreed, sucked down his cigarette, and tossed the butt out the window. He followed it with a stream of bloody, frothy sputum and agreed with McCoy. Ford always agreed with McCoy. They were hot on the trail of a pusher known only as 'Santo'. He operated out of this neighborhood, dealing to kids. Ford ignored the blotter, even though a true maniac was on the loose.

Detective Ford's beat through his neighborhood was erratic. He and McCoy scouted sidewalks, alleys, crosswalks, and underpasses. As Ford turned a corner, McCoy spoke up. "Didja see that guy, boss!? On the corner! I think that's the old man who ran away from home!"

Ford made a three-point turn and swung back to the street where McCoy had spotted the perp. "I think I see him, McCoy." The suspect walked with a limp. Their unmarked car slowly matched his sidewalk pace. It would have been embarassing detective work, had Ford ever been an officer.

"We're got him right where we want him! Let's get 'im, Ford!"

"Patience, McCoy. You heard the blotter. We don't know what he's capable of. Have to do it by the book. Let's call him in." Ford put the car in park in the middle of the street a half block up from the limping man. He checked his department-issue pistol and buttoned his trenchcoat to the neck. Ford flicked on his police radio.

"This is Detective Ford. We have eyes on a missing person reported earlier. Officer McCoy and I are responding." Ford and McCoy left the car idling as they drew their gun, just like on TV. They hid behind an oak bordering the sidewalk. Ford and McCoy snuck a glance at the limping man advancing toward them and the detective's stomach turned.

This was no lost old man. The limp was inconsistent, a fake. He carried a silver briefcase at his side and was dressed in a sharp black suit with a modern cut. He had a trimmed goatee. A textbook villain. Santo. Tumor McCoy fed Ford these images, the real world distorted through a lens of malignancy. Detective Ford cocked their pistol and waited.

Luis Ruiz, on his way back from the market, had noticed an old Dodge swerving down his block. He'd brought a canvas bag from home for groceries, now filled with some chicken, greens, milk, and a slice of dulce de leche cake for his wife. He'd slowed his walk when the car parked in the middle of his street. An unshaven man in a tartan bathrobe had crawled out of the door in mock stealth. Ruiz's eyes narrowed as he watched that old man try and hide behind a narrow oak.

The man leaned out from the tree. Ruiz had just been concerned about the stalled car until he saw the driver. Then, he was scared. He'd heard about the missing, dangerous man over the grocery store's PA. Ruiz took his time walking, though his milk was getting warm.

Ford, through McCoy's tumorous filter, saw their kingpin.

At this distance, Ruiz could hear Ford. The filthy man took turns speaking in a falsetto, affecting a low growl, and talking directly into the yellowed collar of his bathrobe as if someone was listening.

"This is Detective Ford requesting backup. We have Santo in our sights. I repeat, we have Santo in our sights." Tumor McCoy spoke up. "You don't need backup! You're the best cop on the force!" With that encouragement, Ford spun out from his cover and levelled his handgun at the most dangerous drug dealer on the east coast. His heart thundered as it tried to give more blood than it could.

Ruiz stopped cold while his brain caught up with his eyes. The old man had left the false cover of the tree and levelled a rusted revolver at Ruiz.

"Hands up, Santo!"

Ruiz couldn't hear a word, his eyes focused on the barrel. The old man's hand shook, though he couldn't miss at that distance. McCoy spoke up. "Take the shot, captain!"

The barrel lit up.

The shot went feet over Ruiz's head, but it had taken whatever the old man had left. The recoil sent Ford to the pavement. When Ruiz braved opening his eyes, Ford was flat on his back. The gun, a relic, had come apart in the old man's hand at its first shot in fifty years. Luis Ruiz could have called the police, but he ran into an alley, a head of broccoli tumbling from his bag.

Tumor McCoy and the shot taxed Ford's metabolism and seized his heart. As Ruiz disappeared into the alley, Ford laid on the concrete, his breath a hot, anxious rattle.

"Did we get 'em, McCoy? Did we stop the bad guys, Tumey?"

"You got 'em, Detective Ford. You got 'em."

The paramedics found him the next morning.

An emaciated old man in a stained bathrobe, missing from his family. He'd held a shattered great war pistol in his right hand. He'd laid his left hand on his temple, on McCoy. Ford's smile, his death mask, was sublime in satisfaction. Case closed.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




Didn't see your last post, Ty.

Prompt was

'One's a detective on the last case of his career, one's a tumor riddling his lungs and brain'.

900-something words.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



QuoProQuid posted:

One’s an obsessive overachiever running for Class President and the other’s a middle-aged ghost with an axe to grind.

Teach's Spirit
1161 words


“You’re wasting your youth, kid,” Keith complained as he floated past me, frowning at the simple poster I was attaching to the board.

“I’m not wasting it. I am investing it,” I muttered, carefully securing the paper with my stapler. School had been out for a couple hours, and aside from the occasional club straggler, no one was around to hear me talk to what everyone else would see as a seemingly empty hallway. Didn’t mean I was going to take any chances, however.

“Alex, I’ve been rotting longer than you’ve been living. You can trust me when I say that student government doesn’t matter a goddamn bit, especially when you’re a freshman,” Keith said, having gotten bored of flying in circles around me; electing to instead settle down and lean against the wall next to me. I was impressed, honestly, by the calculated effort it must have took for him to position himself in a way that he didn’t accidentally phase through the wall and look like a complete dork. I guess ghosts have a lot of time to work on their image.

I took out my ruler to triple-check that everything was tidy and level, then took a step back to admire my work. “Please, vote Alexander Brooke as your freshman class representative,” the poster said in large, friendly letters, featuring a picture of me giving my heartiest thumbs up. Unprofessional, but my friends had said I should try to “not look like you have a stick up your rear end, haha sorry Alex, seriously though maybe try smiling a bit,” and I took that advice to heart.

Keith made an exaggerated show of checking the gold watch on his wrist. “It’s getting late, kid. This watch says you’re about, oh, thirty years overdue for a break. Listen to your friendly undead educator and go home. You’re gonna spend the next four years of your life in this school, I don’t see why you need to waste your free time here, too.”

I shook my head, pointing to the respectable stack of posters I still had with me. “Not yet. I’ve mapped out every single board in this school that allows student postings, and I’ll need to put all of these up tonight. Getting your name out early is the most important part of an election.”

“I was afraid you’d say that,” Keith sighed, but he followed me regardless, complaining under his nonexistent breath all the while.

-

Sometimes, it can be hard to pick the dead out of a crowd. When you’re surrounded by people, you can never be quite sure if your elbow really passed entirely through the woman next to you, or if you’ve just got really bad depth perception. Other times, the only difficult part is not bursting into laughter when the well-dressed gentleman that you thought was a teacher in the back of the auditorium starts loudly swearing at the principal’s welcome speech without anyone else noticing.

While I was familiarizing myself with the school that first week, I came across a framed newspaper article in an out-of-the-way hallway, memorializing an english teacher that had died thirty years ago in the process of saving an elementary-schooler from a truck that had carelessly blown through an intersection.

Keith was hard to miss. He spent most of his time haunting the classroom of the teacher who had replaced him, keeping up a vulgar running critique of his teaching style; which honestly made it pretty difficult to concentrate. Other times he would just float through the halls, wistfully looking at the gathering groups of students.

As much as I’d like to say that I had first approached him out of the goodness of my heart for how lonely he looked, I had really just gotten fed up by his constant chatter. I came up to him one day after school, when the classroom had long since been deserted. “I failed the pop quiz we had today because of your noise, you know.”

He rolled his eyes. “It’s not like you’d be any better off if you could actually hear that old fart - holy poo poo, you can see me?

-

Ever since then, Keith made sure to “keep an eye on me so I don’t work myself to death.” I didn’t mind too much, the man could clearly use the company. “Seriously, kid, what do you think you’re getting outta this?” He asked me one evening, as I was working on my election paperwork. “The way I see it, you’re giving up hours of your free time so you can pretend to be doing something important?”

“The thing is,” I said, setting down my pen so as to not accidentally smudge the paper, “Even just ‘pretending to do something important’ looks good on a scholarship application, especially if I manage to do it for four years straight. I know I’m just a freshman, but If I want any hope of getting into and through college without drowning in debt, I need to get your foot in the door at some point, don’t I?

Keith seemed legitimately taken aback. “Well, drat. Shows how out of touch I am. I’ve heard so many of you students working hard for their futures, but it never seemed real to me, y’know? I’ve been stuck in this school for so long that nothing inside of it seemed to matter, anymore.”

“Looks like you’ve got a lot of things to relearn, teacher.”

Ever since that evening, Keith ceased his complaining, instead electing to become my honorary campaign advisor, offering the wisdom of his many years observing the school.

-

A month later, the election results had come in, and I had won in a landslide. Keith and I lounged in the english classroom, celebrating our victory.

“We did it, kid. Whaddya say we go get some celebratory coffee? You drink it, I drink its ghost,” Keith said from in front of the chalkboard, having failed to convince me to vandalize it.

“I don’t think that’s how anything has ever worked- uh, have you always looked that… shiny?”

Keith followed my startled gaze, curiously looking himself over as his entire body began to glow. “Huh. That’s new.” He laughed, without a trace of sarcasm or bitterness. “Guess all I needed was to make a bit of a difference for one last student. God, that’s embarrassingly sincere of me,” he sighed as the light enveloping him intensified.

“Guess you still had a teacher’s spirit.”

Keith snorted. “I spent how long trying to get you to develop a sense of humor, and you drop that stinker of a pun on me now?” He was smiling despite himself, the warmth of it blinding in both a metaphorical and literal sense. The last thing I heard Keith say was “Good luck, Alex. I’m sure you won’t waste your youth,” and with a final flash he passed on.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Closed

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


I'm late ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Wunzas:
One is a strongman with a nebulous past. The other is a circus clown who lives, and dies, for his role.

Aftershow
1299 words

When I entered the ringmaster’s office to collect my weekly paycheck I was not greeted by the usual routine, his gloved hand twirling his flamboyant moustache and him going, “Igor, Igor the Great, what can I do you for, boy?” Instead I looked at an empty table, and a bloodstain on the wall.

My master was on the ground behind his desk, half-slid, half-fallen out of it, wheezing, huffing, blood trickling from his gut, wettening the floor. Whoever had done this, they’d tried to make it slow.

I rushed towards him, and I knelt, and I tore a handkerchief off the table to press it against his wound, but I’d seen this before, and I knew he wasn’t going to make it.

“Boss! Can you hear me?”

But the old man had no words. Only the gibberish of those delirious with death.

“I will call the ambulance,” I said.

His hand shot up, found the strap in my spandex suit. Pain etched itself into the old man’s face as he pulled himself closer to me.

“Help,” he said.

That one word had taken all out of him. His final breath concluded, he fell over backwards, hand still caught in my jumpsuit. I lowered the boss to the ground, careful, as if I could still break him, and ran a hand over his face to close his eyes.

There was a squeak behind me.

I spun around, ready to hammer the fool that had snuck up on me. But it was just Bodo. The clown stood there, caught somewhere between coming and leaving, not quite sure what to make of the scene. The flower on his chest deflated.

He honked.

“I don’t know,” Igor said. “We must avenge him.”

He held up a matchbox. “I found this outside. Come and take a look!”

It was a trap, but I didn’t care. I reached for the matchbox and water shot out the flower on his chest. Funny.

The Kitten Cage. A so called gentlemen’s club with rumours about shady backroom dealings dangling over it. Drug dealers. Assassins. Kingpins. One of the first things I’d learned coming into this town: it all comes down to the Kitten Cage.

“You found this outside?”

“Remember kids,” Bodo said. “I also do strip clubs.”

#

It wasn’t like me to cut the queue, but there was no way Bodo was going to make it past the bouncer anyway.

“What do you jokers want?” the bouncer tried to say, but my fist met him halfway. I took his walkie-talkie and pushed the door open. Wafts of cigar smoke clawed my lungs from the inside. It was like walking into a World War One trench, a bombardment of bass and light, a sensory overload machine the shape of a night club.

The front of the Kitten Cage, the part that keeps officials happy, that’s where they keep the trash, the millennials, the mid-forties with neon sneakers and Kanye West tracksuits. Bodo wasn’t the most poorly dressed clown in this room, but eyes turned our way regardless.

A waitress came by to ask for our order but Bodo just grabbed her nose and honked some more. You can’t take that guy anywhere.

“Where’s the boss?” I said.

She didn’t answer, but her nervous glance led me to a nondescript double-door, guarded by two suits. They must have spotted us, because their hands went up to their ears and they started talking, mute lips dancing to what I can only describe as a discord mashup of Hip Hop rhymes and the sound of exploding porta-potties.

We moved towards them, and they made the mistake of trying to keep it on the down-low, waiting until we were almost there before they drew their guns, and then mine were faster. Muscles bulging like tiny raging bears, I grabbed them by their necks and smashed them into each other.

The backroom was dimly lit and well-conditioned. People were hard to make out, a room full of silhouettes and shadows, sitting, conversing, making business. You only spoke in whispers here and even the music tried to keep it hush-hush, classy jazz trickling from the speakers. It was like the front part of the building didn’t even exist.

I had just enough time to readjust my senses to hear the sound of multiple guns, cocked and drawn.

“Sir.”

A man in an expensive looking pinstripe suit emerged from the shadows. He smiled amicably, and extended a hand. I took it.

“My name is Adolfo Gabbone, and this is my establishment,” he said. “Before I kill you, might I ask what brought you here?”

I took the matchbox out from my jumpsuit and threw it in his face.

“Someone killed our master. They left this.”

He lifted it off the ground, turned it around, examined it. “Yes, this is ours. And I might even be able to tell you more about it.” He opened his hands and folded them again, a shrug with a flourish. “If only you had made an appointment.”

My mind raced. But then, I was only a simple strongman.

There was a honk behind me. Adolfo raised his eyebrows and bowed sideways, looking past me. Apparently my massive frame had hidden Bodo from his sight.

“And you are?” he said.

“Hi! I’m Bodo the clown.” He extended his hand.

A hint of disgust snuck into Adolfo’s face. Like it was one thing to barge into his hideout and embarrass him in front of his colleagues, but another to do so dressed like a literal clown. I shrugged. What can you do.

So maybe it was making a point when Adolfo took Bodo’s hand, show everyone just how civilised he was. Or maybe he really was a gentleman to a fault. Anyway, he shook Bodo’s hand, and then there was a buzz and Adolfo started twitching, and in the split second that it took everyone to realize that their boss had just fallen for the oldest trick in the book, I had already bolted forward, and now it was time for my muscles to do the talking. The room descended into chaos, people firing blindly through the twilight, some, I assume, turning on each other, me tearing and hammering and clobbering my way through the suits and their misguided bullets. Then came the cakes, cakes everywhere, and to this day I have no idea where Bodo had hidden them, but there he was, doing his thing, throwing pastry, and pastry with weights in it, and pastry with banana peels, and making people slip and fall and drowning the mayhem in a cacophony of laughs and cheers and honks.

And then it was over. The entire room was coated in frosting, sticky layers of pink and white muffling the speakers and mummifying the fallen. I detected a pinstripe pattern somewhere underneath and pulled on it, tore Adolfo out of his blanket and held him before me like a caught fish.

“Iw teww u--” Adolfo spat out a huge piece of cake, “I’ll tell you what I know. Just stop.”

“Speak.”

“These weren’t my men. Look, I only hear the rumors, but your ringmaster, he owed money. Nothing official. Something, like-- man, do you know how hard it is to get a circus permit in this town? Impossible, if you don’t grease the right hands.”

“My master would never--”

“It’s all the same. He stopped bribing the right people, or maybe he never did it in the first place. This is what you get.”

My heartbeat dropped. Somebody high-up was involved in this. Somebody official. Bad news. If you thought the crooks on this town were bad, well, you’d never been to the City Council.

I let go of Adolfo, head-first. He went out cold.

“Remember, kids,” Bodo said. “I also do fundraisers.”

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


I kinda feel like Oprah right now except no one is getting a car and everyone is catching a DM except for one dumb fucker eating a loss and another dumb fucker whose gonna take home an extremly hollow win based purely on the pitiful fact that they managed to somehow drag their rear end in a top hat all the way into the bathroom before making GBS threads all over the floor instead of justing dumping hot steamy turds onto the backs of their thighs right there in the living room over the carpet

OVER THE CARPET DAMNIT

I'm Oprah


Let's see what GP thinks shall we. Results forthcoming.

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