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  • Locked thread
Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Mar 21, 2010

sebmojo posted:

also genjoe is a loser who has become a winner, will the dome recognise that with an avatar?
Ask Capntastic, if he's around: he was the first to do that.

Apr 12, 2006

sebmojo posted:

also genjoe is a loser who has become a winner, will the dome recognise that with an avatar?

I will. I will give him a new one (when I get home from work).

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

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

In. Let me see if I can manage not drowning this week.

Sep 14, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.

"Even when he's upright, he can't walk in a straight line, so his kids have to make their own way in the world."

"He's one man who loves to eat exotic meats. And he isn't afraid to go out and get his own -- no matter where they are!"

Carl Killer Miller posted:

In. Let me see if I can manage not drowning this week.

"If you want to be one of their crew, get ready to work. These fishermen do not tolerate slackers on the open seas."

GenJoe fucked around with this message at 03:57 on Jan 25, 2017

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Carl Killer Miller posted:

In. Let me see if I can manage not drowning this week.


Jan 27, 2006
Week 233 – Crits

Part I: 1-11

1. Jay W. Friks - The Last Quiet Place

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Mostly. There is a case shift from “Kept” to “kept,” but I’m not overly bothered.


-It’s clunky. Villanelle isn’t bound to any one particular meter (pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables), but it still needs to sound good. Your meter is irregular, which would be defensible if it were somehow in service to the poem. It’s not. Your arrangement of syllables is unmusical in a way that hinders the reader’s motivation to engage with it. In addition, the number of syllables per line seems fairly random within a 7-11 range. Unclear why you chose to structure your piece this way.


- “No way to sleep with no wine or no whore.” The drunken womanizer is a bit a cliché nowadays.

- “The guard’s cycloptic gaze is at close.” I’m not clear on whether the guard literally has one eye, like maybe the other is behind a patch, or if you’re merely alluding to Odysseus’s imprisonment by the cyclops.

- “Her payment is my filled in flesh and gore.” Can’t make sense of this, it potentially contains one or more proofreading errors.

-I’m hazy on what the poem means. It could be that it describes an alcoholic cut off from his drinks. But my interpretation is that the narrator is trapped in a noisy mental hospital, from which he escapes via suicide (apparently by hanging?). Either way it’s a dramatic premise, but one that you too do little with. Often, villanelle is used to convey madness or obsession, but the more successful ones make such states palpable. When reading your poem, I did get vague pictures of what it was about, yet it made me feel nothing. Would recommend crafting the language and content more emotionally resonant, more hard hitting; just be careful to avoid clichés while you’re at it.

Overall, the poem is clunky, sloppy, vague, and emotionally dull.

2. Djeser - The Weaver AE, The Forgotten Myth

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Mostly. There is a punctuation change in your first refrain but I decided not to raise a stink about it.


-Basically good. But the passive voice, future tense makes your second refrain less potent than is ideal.


-Medieval unicorn tapestries are interesting, and you’ve got a few images that weave welcome details into the picture (e.g. the blood stained ground, the faded hound, the shade of the pomegranate tree).

-In stanza five your refrain takes on new meaning. Bonus points for that.

- I didn't notice it the first time I read it, but when "sad infinity" was pointed out to me, I couldn't unsee it as bad phrasing.

- The poem is nice overall. Your depiction of medieval unicorn hunt tapestries is accurate, colorful, and apt. I could picture well the sequence of tapestries and the apparent museum room space in which they are displayed. My one gripe is that it’s hard to believe how invested the narrator gets in the fate of a sewn unicorn image. Evidently, he’s so invested he feels compelled to look back at the first image in the sequence, where the creature has “fleeting rest.” Similarly, it’s not clear why he identifies so strongly with the unicorn in the first place. Surely visual art can move us, but it’s hard to imagine most people looking for instance at Goya’s painting of Saturn devouring his son and being so identified with the son that he/she would turn away. I wish I knew why the narrator feels so strongly. In any case, your poem’s subject is cool, you describe that subject well, and you gave the piece movement and resolution. Good work.

3. SurreptitiousMuffin - where we store our best gear

Does it adhere to the prompt?: In part. But the first line of each stanza is supposed to rhyme with the first line of each other stanza. The prompt’s exemption applied only to the second line of each stanza.


-The rhyme scheme is incorrect. In addition, although villanelle isn’t bound to any one type of meter, yours rattled my ear a bit.


- Often villanelle is used to portray obsession, so it’s fitting that you’ve used the form to depict recurring thoughts that accompany addiction. You did a good job showing, not telling. The images work. The piece does have some movement, as the addiction gets worse throughout. The resolution is perhaps a bit predictable though. Your second refrain, “She’s sayin’ ‘someday soon, gonna rule the whole world’'', changes somewhat (gets even more ironic) over the course of the poem. That’s a plus for you.

4. Thranguy - His Name is Hershel, By the Way.

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!

Structure: Good, no complaints.


- It’s a nice touch how at the end you changed the meaning of the comma in your first refrain.

- The content is cute; the piece is light hearted and amusing. Its clever structure augments this amusement. However, the piece is a bit forgettable. It doesn’t stick with the reader for very long, but all things considered this a was pretty solid entry.

5. The Cut of Your Jib - A Fawkes in the Henhouse

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!


“As my betrothed cuffs roving eye sideways” scans differently enough from the other stanzas’ second lines that it interrupts the flow of your piece. Other than that, the poem’s structure is good.


- The title got a smirk out of me.

- You’ve got strong refrains, well done with that.

- Your language is appropriately poetic (e.g., The flicker of fuse spins gold in the haze; I sip from the font of blasphemous thought / A furtive communion no priest would praise).

- It’s good that you’ve decided to show and not tell.

- The context that surrounds the repetition of your refrains changes throughout the piece. That is a big plus.

- So, a gentleman’s gunpowder plot gets foiled via fiancée’s betrayal. Your premise is intriguing and you deftly executed it.

6. jon joe - Beyond the Veil

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!


- Your variable meter is a little rough on the ears.

- While “diem” (pronounced DEE-EMM) is a bit of a slant rhyme, I guess it’s not too bad.


- I’m fuzzy on your meaning. It seems that there’s a ruler, who’s somehow bad for some reason. There are also others, a “team” who are too easily fooled or captivated by the ruler. It’s not clear that the poem is saying very much else. The piece suffers from vagueness and a lack of punch.

-This entry is an example of a common mistake people make with structured poems. Often it feels as though the words you chose were not the best possible words to carry your meaning, but rather were shoehorned in to fit the rhyme scheme. The challenge of writing structured poetry is to satisfy the structure while also ornamenting it so well the reader wouldn’t have it any other way.

7. Chernabog - My sorrow

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!


- Because you punctuated most of the lines with periods, the poem has this jerky start-stop flow to it.

- The shifting number of syllables per line and the haphazard meter are a detriment to the piece.


- My interpretation is that someone the narrator loved has died and now he/she sees a rainbow and interprets it as a message.

- The piece relies too much on cliché in building sentimentality. “Final goodbye,” “passionate cry,” “tear slides and trickles down from my eye.”

- The content comes off as trite. There is not much movement, change, or resolution. Coupled with problems in the poem’s structure, the content aims for high impact but falls far short.

8. Okua - Peace at last

Does it adhere to the prompt?:

The added punctuation at the end is so minor I chose not to care about it. A much bigger problem is that the rhyme scheme is incorrect. The prompt’s exception to the standard villanelle rhyme scheme applied only to the second line of each stanza.

Structure: The meter works, the poem is pleasing to the ear, and that serves to make its content strike harder. But the rhyme scheme doesn’t fit the villanelle format, even as amended by the prompt.


- Your two refrains are strong. That is a plus for you.

- The context that surrounds your refrains evolves over the course of the poem. Good job with that.

- Well done with the content. You use vivid images and mythical tone to paint a worthy portrait of the aftermath of war. The poem progresses well, with Demeter’s intervention a welcome narrative beat.

9. steeltoedsneakers - Apgar 0

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!

Structure: Decent enough.


- The refrains are pretty strong. I can see that you used “these ones” instead of the pithier “these” because you didn’t want to have too few syllables in that line. It’s the right call given those two options, but “these ones” doesn’t sound very sharp. Might have been better for you to rework the line into something altogether smoother. Still, it’s not bad.

- Nice, your poem has movement, progression. The context that surrounds your refrains evolves over the course of the poem.

- The subject fits the villanelle format well. The repetition of the refrain mirrors a parent’s worried ruminations about a child.

10. sparksbloom - sparks bloom

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!

Structure: The structure is great.


-Nice wordplay. The double meanings of “sparked,” “match,” “smash,” “bleeding gash” were not lost on me. Your use of double meaning serves to evolve the significance of the refrains over the course of the poem. Great job.

- The poem hits all the right notes. The narrator’s resentment toward her ex his palpable; her agency in tossing out the letters (and even evoking a sense of burning them) feels satisfying.

- The villanelle format lends itself well to a subject like this. The repetition of the refrains underscores the narrator’s ruminations concerning her ex.

11. Entenzahn - dance of dead dreamers

Does it adhere to the prompt?: Yes!

Structure: Good overall. The slant rhymes are close enough, no complaints here about that. I know I explicitly allowed you not to rhyme the last words of each stanza’s second line, but it still struck me as weird that you decided to rhyme all of them but one.


- Your refrains are strong.

- It’s pleasant the way you play with light and sound in this poem.

- I’m not very clear on the meaning of the poem, but your verses are solid, you’ve got some crisp imagery and artful language. Overall well done.

Armack fucked around with this message at 08:51 on Jan 25, 2017

Jul 26, 2016

Thanks for the crits, Ska and Jitzu (and Twist for the other day).

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

I'll sign up and probably fail, but W/E.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

So that's a sign up.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

A sign up post.

Dec 27, 2013

Imma keep shittin out lovely words until they ain lovely no mo.


Dec 8, 2016

Time to stop lurking and starting giving this a shot.

Oct 10, 2007

Can you see that I am serious?
Fun Shoe

Nov 7, 2011

gently caress it, I need to try this at some point. In.

Sep 14, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.

a new study bible! posted:

I'll sign up and probably fail, but W/E.

"Inside every act of cooking lies a revolution -- and a story about who we are."

katdicks posted:

Imma keep shittin out lovely words until they ain lovely no mo.


"Her life's been anything but happy, but vengeance keeps her going .. and she's closer to it than she knows."

Kenfucius posted:


Time to stop lurking and starting giving this a shot.

"What happens when a drunken old-school cop is paired with a squeaky-clean detective? Lots and lots of bickering."

"A feisty teacher dazzles in the classroom. But outside, she needs a little extra help dealing with life's lessons."

Venomous posted:

gently caress it, I need to try this at some point. In.

"The greater an object's value, the more vulnerable it is to theft. And the world's most celebrated art is no exception."

Sep 14, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.
tyrannosaurus thank you for the avatar it is kicking and it is rad

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




GenJoe posted:

tyrannosaurus thank you for the avatar it is kicking and it is rad

Tyran, you are good people

Mar 4, 2013

Well, take this with a grain of salt, but
Alright, I'm in.

Sep 14, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.

Twiggymouse posted:

Alright, I'm in.

"Murders most foul. Mysteries most enticing. And a master sleuth whose brilliance is equaled only by his facial hair."

Feb 25, 2014
peeom crits (bcause all of ur poems taste like piss)

Jay W. Friks


Kept behind risk and filled up space this line is rather vague, a bad thing for a poem. Kept behind risk doesnt tell me anything and neither does filled up space, space filled up with what? How is something kept behind risk? It wouldve been great for this to have some images like bars or something because i didnt even know until halfway through that this was about a prison break
a lost sensation lives in taboo lore.
I’ve plans gramatically sound but i dont like “i’ve plans,” sounds awkward. to find it, “The last quiet place.” does this need to be in quotes, or be structured in this manner. Like, “i’ve plans to find the last quiet place” is prob a better construction.

In a white linen bar, my drink is at toast at toast is weird -- toasting or a toast but at toast? Never heard of that.
The nurses and jailers proclaim, “No more.”
Kept behind risk and filled up space. i dont think this line works well here

I’m banned from the guarded case dont know what this is and since this is a prisoner like no poo poo hes banned from poo poo. Who cares give me good details not meaningless worthless ones..
No way to sleep with no wine or no whore. whore is a bit of a weird word here thats like one of those high fantasy things to say or like idk, clashes tonally
I’ve plans to find it. “The last quiet place.”

Noise haunts my lids eyelids? But how does noise haunt eyelids? Drink lids?, leaving no rest. why doesnt this line have an A rhyme? You did it earlier!
My bloodshot eyes watch for the door,
kept behind risk and filled up space.

The guard’s cycloptic gaze is at close. cycloptic is kind of weird since it implies one eyed but idk if thats the case (or why it matters)
I throw a rope of bed sheets out to the floor,
I’ve plans to find it. “The last quiet place.”

Silence waits in an unbroken green clasp. cool image but uhhh what does this have to do w/ anything?
Her ok its the last stanza and you drop a her pronoun, a her that comes out of nowhere that i have no idea who youre talking about payment is my filled in flesh and gore. line is meaningless to me idk what u were on about
Kept behind risk and filled up space,
I’ve plans to find it, “The last quiet place.”

Work on clarity -- show its a prison immediately, explain who the her is. Dont be vague and dont assume i know what ur talking about.



In tapestry, the unicorn stands bound,
His coat stained red (the pomegranates' seeds), good line
He who with oaken thorns is to be crowned.

On all four walls, the images what images? are found.
I turn, I look to find what fate will bring vague
In tapestry the unicorn stands bound.

At east at east? Why not just east or idk something other than “at” “at east” just feels weird to me., the hunter leads his faded hound;
Then south, the unicorn with maiden kneels, this is an odd construction. Does the unicorn have a maiden kneel, or is it with a maiden kneeling?
He who with oaken thorns is to be crowned.

But west, I find the red now stains the ground
(his blood). And once again, I turn, I look:
In tapestry the unicorn stands bound.

Now I am he, my bonds the walls around
And only sad infinity for me, vague + telling
He who with oaken thorns is to be crowned.

To find him fleeting rest dont rly get this, I now stand sound
to north: at peace, in pomegranate shade good phrase,
In tapestry the unicorn stands bound,
He who with oaken thorns is to be crowned.

This is fine. If you kept up your imagery from the first stanza, this wouldve been p good but it gets vague. I dont rly like the folk lore-y tone since it seems forced at time (for example “now i am he”).



My woman lies back - spits out smoke, fingers unfurled –
Cigarette dancing, eyes: bloodshot pearls. Words - so frail. so frail might be a lil too dramatic here
She’s sayin’ ‘someday soon, gonna rule the whole world’.

In summer, we dance to Morrissey. We’re sweating:
wallpaper stinks of sex and other substances i mean, cmon now, you can give me another concrete image here. Other substances is just a longer version of just saying“things” which is just awful.
My woman lies back - spits out smoke, fingers unfurled –

My lighter has run out; spoons are burnt good. We grow wings
to fly free from this place but fall back - sleep calls us maybe you dont need the sleep part but maybe u do idk im not ur mom i just personally dont like how theres movement and then it reverts almost instantly -- a little more time spent flying or moving since an issue i had with villanelle was that i felt like there wasnt any room for the poem to move and change.
She’s sayin’ ‘someday soon, gonna rule the whole world’.

How I hate Morrissey. English prick. He’s singing
‘woe is me’ out of a posh London studio.
My woman lies back - spits out smoke, fingers unfurled – didnt rly feel this stanza, feels out of place -- i dont why we should care about the narrator not liking a singer

Track-marks run from shoulder to elbow. Skin itching.
We’ve lost time; time lost us in a maze of needles. yeh im jsut looking for something else -- youve got good images but i dont feel like the poems moving past “we are druggies”
She’s sayin’ ‘someday soon, gonna rule the whole world’.

One day soon we’ll get off this old couch and – something-
I forget. It’s easy to sleep. Hard to - to – i guess thats kinda the point, that theyre not going to leave their position even tho the girl says theyre gonna rule the world but even then i dont feel too much. I like the words and stuff but i wouldve liked to have seen something -- i dont rly know what to take away from this except “if ur a druggie u think u can leave ur spot but actually u cant” and idk maybe i watched too much intervention with my mom but thats not enough for me
My woman lies back - spits out smoke, fingers unfurled –
She’s sayin’ ‘someday soon, gonna rule the whole world’. tbf i think it was a good idea to do something like being stuck bcause the structure of the villanelle works with that concept but idk



Colleen and Sam, and Sam’s pet pangolin
were out past late man my mind almost wants to correct this to eight maybe thats what u wnated but its annoying, and Sam, who had no doubt,
said, “This is more trouble than I’ve been in.” opening stanza is vague -- more trouble is terribly vague w/o any context surrounding it

The walls of Trevor Tanner’s mighty tin
tall tower ehhh on this alteration. It feels a lil too much. Even getting rid of tin or not making the name alliterate would lessen it and make it seem less constructed alliteration rose imposingly adverb ahhhhhhhh to keep
Colleen and Sam, and Sam’s pet pangolin

Outside i hate this break, while their adventure lay within. worthless line. Easily couldve been implied. Is vague as well.
They climbed. Coleen, while mounting that redoubt
said, “This is more trouble than I’ve been in.”

Past birds and clouds, they met Krozanthar, id do a line break -- i dont see a good effect of “kronzathar, kin” to warrant such an awkward line break of kin // to kraken kin
to kraken and to rukh. They had to leap.
Colleen and Sam, and Sam’s pet pangolin this is a bit of a stretch -- instictively, i think, if this is in a stanza, that the two past lines have something to do with it. But, truthfully, this line fits with the next stanza, not this stanza, so its very awkward because i read this thinking itll continue this stanza but really its for the next stanza

were netted by a passing zeppelin. cool deus ex machina
Colleen and Sam, at once and at a shout
said, “This is more trouble than I’ve been in.”

Then Trevor Tannor’s terrible tin men
as one fired taser-tridents ok???. They knocked out
Colleen and Sam, and Sam’s pet pangolin
said[/b],[/b] “This is more trouble than I’ve been in.” ok wait i think this is the pangolin saying this while collen and sam are knocked out because i was about to say how the heck are they saying things when knocked out

I dont like this, its very awkward and forced, mostly because i dont think a villanelle isnt really the structure for this kind of poem (which rly isnt trying to be a poem and more of an adventure story but like w/e). I mean im historically not a big fan of adventure/action stuff but even then there’s not a lot of rhythm, the structure feels forced, the action and details are vague, and not much happens (as is the case with villanelle since u have to keep repeating yourself). So, good on you for trying to do something different but like idk i think this was a bad idea from the start and u prob shouldve known better. And even if it was going to fail inherently, you couldve at least made the structure or words work or something.



Her smile arrays a gunpowder plot.
The flicker of fuse spins gold in the haze. good image
Nary a word betrays, but I am caught.

Old tales are rephrased of new Camelot,
Avalon’s mist burns away with her gaze.
Her smile arrays a gunpowder plot.

I sip from the font of blasphemous thought, vague, unclear
A furtive communion no priest would praise. i find myself not sure what this stanza is talking about -- i really cant process this and maybe im just a big dumb idiot but like what does this have to do with anything. I kinda feel this is a love poem (or at least the narrator loves that girl) but then this doesnt like link any of that together. There’s also that gunpowder plot which makes me think the girl is betraying him but idk why or what the narrator has done to be
Nary a word betrays, but I am caught.

Too heady a draught, I wobble besot. i wobble besot is so awkward man
It’s love at first sight and other clichés. calling them cliches doesnt change the fact THAT THEY ARE CLICHES
Her smile arrays a gunpowder plot.

A treasonous laugh ensnares by fiatmaybe a period here? Also the fiat rhyme feels awkward for some reason -- its technically sound but maybe its the two syllable with one syllable or fiat is just a weird sounding word.
I dream of escape on fancied forays
Nary a word betrays, but I am caught.

The barrels explode and all is for naught;
As my betrothed cuffs roving eye sideways.
Her smile arrays a gunpowder plot.
Nary a word betrays, but I am caught.

Yeah i guess this is ok but i dont rly feel anything. Its kinda all explained at the beginning -- the guy is doing treasonous thing and his beloved betrays him. We dont rly learn anything new after that.



Life is severed from what I dream.
To bring forward my new meanings,
There can be nothing to redeem. all of this is vague. What do u dream. What is this new meaning. What cant be redeemed?

Others hold me in false esteem, how does this look
But I can only make mistakes. why? What does this look like. Give me a concrete image
Life is severed from what I dream.

I am the puppet ruler of a team; huh?
True rulers bring the mythos to masses. what?
There can be nothing to redeem.

Easily and happily, they all misdeem,
Yet beyond their merry masks
Life is severed from what I dream.

Life is offered per diem.
Dreams are mistaken for menus. menus doesnt work here “meter-wise” (i dont actually know if thats true but reading it out loud it doesnt work 4 me) but i like the line on its own.
There can be nothing to redeem.

Truly alone, I plot and scheme
With escalating ennui.
Life is severed from what I dream.
There can be nothing to redeem.

Yeah i guess i just dont like it. There’s a lot of angst and frustration in here that it almost feels like a teenager with a thesaurus -- “truly alone” and the whole “everyone but me is a sheep and fools” vibe i get. But besides that, there’s nothing to grasp onto -- no images, no specificity. Even if this is about the election/inauguration (which it might very well be), i dont know if thats the case. Its just kind of unclear anger and frustration which gives me very clear anger and frustration at this poem.



A gleaming rainbow; rainbows are (unfortunately) cliched nowdays which is a shame because a good rainbow is rly cool but u kinda have to earn rainbows nowadays a missive in the sky.
A peace branch, a memorial, one final goodbye it prob wouldve been better to have one of those ideas and expand on that w/ an image rather than these three ideas.
I claim it for myself with a passionate cry.

Though anyone may see and anyone may spy, this construction feels a lil… twee? Is that the word? Idk its just not working for me. Children’s book sounding, that’s what im looking for.
the message is for me so they mustn't pry. the AAA rhyme is actually kinda annoying imo.
A gleaming rainbow; a missive in the sky.

All your words have been exhausted so this is your last reply: this might be better with everything cut and leave it as “this is your last reply”
A colorful eulogy; an apology, a lie. ok i see the structure/repetition here but im still not sure its a good idea
I claim it for myself with a passionate cry.

The rain wanes steadily, the sundown is nigh,
I'm fearful to witness your ultimate sigh: i know you want to keep the same grammar, but i dont like the colon regardless.
A gleaming rainbow; a missive in the sky.

A tear slides and trickles down from my eye. honestly, tears are cliched now too like jesus christ being sad is so cliched u have to like earn it and poo poo which is annoying i know but w/e. Like, i think u need to show sadness in a unique way
The grief is obvious, I cannot deny. worthless line. Show us the grief. Dont just say it out loud u dimbus
I claim it for myself with a passionate cry.

All sensations have now faded, but my bleak desire to die. kinda lame to be so direct
Though within my will awakens through your silent lullaby:
A gleaming rainbow; a missive in the sky.
I claim it for myself with a passionate cry.

This wasnt bad. I find it just a bit too generic. The images are alright, the rhythm is fine, i dont like the AAA rhyme but that could be me but idk it doesnt like impress me any. Its quite fine but i dont feel like it pushes itself any further than it is.

I guess my issue is that it doesnt ever feel like its ur own. Its just like im sad but not like specific sad just generic sad which is a bad thing.



No corpses are hanging from lonely gallows
after the was thinking, maybe “the” isn’t necessary here war, like a fever not quite sure if i like this simile or not… i can see it working with or without so its up to you but theres just something that bothers me about it that i cant put my word on. I guess my issue is i dont know what the fever is referring to -- is the war ending like a fever or are the hanging bodies like a fever?, has gone;,
though blood of dead nymphs remains in the shallows

Crows have settled on shallow graves
and sated mixing up tenses themselves on boils and brawn id prob change brawn to something more specific:.
No corpses are hanging from lonely gallows

The fallow fields grow, even is being trampled by slaved surprising? Is that the point of even? Hell i like “trampled by slaves” better w/o even trampled by slaves;
ash-fed weeds hide the shivering fawn
though blood of dead nymphs remains in the shallows good stanza

The wet nurse Demeter comes forward and saves
abandoned dead on the battle-ground lawn:
No corpses are hanging from lonely gallows this stanza doesnt feel like much imo. Idk. its weird to have a name out of nowhere and like yeah idk.

These bodies are turned maybe u can change turn -- or just leave it as “these bodies are hollowed-out caved to use as a metaphor into hollowed-out caves -
from their river-veins nourishing life-blood is drawn a little melodramatic imo
though blood of dead nymphs remains in the shallows repetition of blood is awkward

like pomegranate seeds floating on waves i like this stanza continuation. Contrast this w/ thranguy’s and its a whole lot better (at least, imo)
that will carry death east to be swallowed by dawn: not a big fan of this. Im just never really cool with people just saying “death” out right but then i wrote about dying so maybe im a big ol’ hypocrite lol. But u could probably express carrying death w/ an image vs just saying it out right
No corpses are hanging from lonely gallows
though blood of dead nymphs remains in the shallows.

Good images. A little grimdark but whatever. Could be cleaned up but aint that the case for everything. I guess i feel like its lacking a little bit in like its overall purpose -- what is it trying to say? While it does go all like “war keeps a place scarred even though it’s ended” i kinda wished i could take more out of it besides that (which i got from the first stanza).



Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid time for another addition of flerp being mad that there are vague pronouns in the opening line GOD DAMNIT
Today you sing, your smile is soft, warm light, lame
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

I watched you begin, midwife at your aid.
Silent, limp, wet and in her hands so slight, in her hands so slight is a bit of an odd construction -- i think u were rly trying to make the rhyme work but idk it doesnt work 4 me
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid

A light, klaxon, theres a lot of adjectives in this. It might be better to come some of them. Even just “medical cavalcade” might be enough medical cavalcade.
I held your mother as I watched you fight, fight what -- fight how. Images. Images. IMAGES PLEASE
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

Wiped clean, new breath, your signs of life remade. i think the issue is that the first images already show us what the ending part of this line tell us. So its unnecessary + also takes away the poem
We held you close, tight, watching through the night,
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid

Older now, time helps memory degrade
News of a brother makes you smile so bright bright smile. No. stop. Smiles can no longer be bright because its dumb
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

My fears doused, behind mental barricade -
The day draws near, I’m scared they'll i feel like restructuring this line to “the day draws near where they’ll reignite” or same variation is stronger but idk maybe not its ur poem man reignite.
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

I mean i think this is sweet but it also falls into some or rly just a lot of cliche trappings that i didnt feel any real attachment. I dont want to say it isnt real, but rather it doesn’t feel real. I feel genuineness but i dont feel like i completely understand this parent. It just feels like a parent’s fear generalized vs specific fear.



just throw the letters in the trash honestly i thought this was about writing but who knows maybe im wrong
and spurn his grubby aching hand
what once was sparked will turn to ash this line feels a lil awkward in this stanza. I think some punctuation to set this apart would be nice

and though you idk if i like second person in this poem. Im all for second person but it feels off here. I think first or third person fits better because this is a very introspective poem that i feel like having a character w/ these thoughts works better than having “me” have these thoughts once believed him brash, u can show this w/ an image imo
like Heathcliff i dont rly know anything about heathcliff but idk i feel like this metaphor works from just like my osmosis of heathcliff, you’ve outgrown the thought how have u outgrown. Plz images thank u --
just throw the letters in the trash

he prayed that wishing’d win him cash,
vindication, famous and flush, these lines are both vague in awful ways
what once was sparked will turn to ash

elevated, but not a smash: i dont know what this elevated is supposed to refer to. Or the smash. Maybe its referring to the realization that the narrator doesnt want 2 be w/ this guy but since there’s nothing connected to these words it feels nebulous
his words weep bitter tears -- oh well i like the oh well here
just throw the letters in the trash

a witness to the bleeding gash
your kindness just defers the shock SHOW THE KINDNESS SHOW THE SHOCK
what once was sparked will turn to ash

although it pains me to rehash ok now i dont understand the me or the your
your pity needs a better match ok the match wordplay is cool
just throw the letters in the trash
what once was sparked will turn to ash

So like i think some punctuation would be nice here. Its not necessary and i did the same thing when i started writing poetry but my teacher once told me to look at punctuation as a tool and that by not using punctuation ur like denying urself a tool to improve ur work. I mean u do u obv but its a thing to think about.

Anyways i dont actually like this much. Its pretty vague and i dont rly see what the judges see in this since im just left shrugging and thinking hmmmmm okay? Maybe im just too dense to notice the wordplay which is prob true but even then if theres that idk i wouldve liked to u know see things and feel things but i dont get it from this poem. These vitriol but i dont ever feel like it ever comes alive in the poem. I guess i just dont think that having wordplay is enough to substitute for a vague poem. I mean this obv all subjective and up to taste but im a big fan of images soooooo take 4 that what u will.



beat so fast, like drums my heart that races ohhhh man this is not a good opening line. “Like drumbs my heart that races” -- my heart races would be better (even that would be cliche) but i dont know theres a rhythm to it that’s off -- i think beat so fast is a weird way to start and then lets look at the simile. “Like drums” makes since since beats lines up w/ drums but then u say “my heart that race” w/o any punctuation. So, idk if the simile is meant to be “beat so fast like drums comma my heart that races” (which still sound bad, but links together the ideas better) or the way it is presented because “like drums my heart that races” is just so… awkward and awful
down into the shadows of the crowd
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

silhouettes that deal in twos and aces
clubs clubs like nightclubs or the club like cards? Maybe thats intentional but idk i dont like it much that tumble underneath the shroud
beat so fast, like drums my heart that races i still hate this line

stop and go to rhythms that betray us how do they betray?
flashing smiles that crash against the sound ok im alright w/ this line
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

blown-out speakers, hollow sadness, baseless u see this is where punctuation is fantastic. I dont know if this line is meant to end at baseless and then start up again at raindance or if its meant to be “baseless raindance”. Punctuation is good 4 a reason.
raindance met by silence in the clouds
beat so fast, like drums my heart that races

suffocate in overcrowded places
fading stacks of smoke are pulling taught
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces ok this is a good stanza

every beat is chasing for the latest
dreams like pennies dropping on the ground
beat so fast, like drums my heart that races
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

I like this more than sparks at least because u know put some images in but im left trying to find what ur trying to say. Ok its a club and there’s music and even tho theres a lot of sound ur not rly feeling anything but idk i dont feel like im able to take much away from this.



The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies. i think it mightve been cool to get an image of what a clothing of lies looks like -- maybe itd be tough and prob be hard to make that fit into a villanelle, but idk thats an idea
He shuffles, stooped, into the seaside town;
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes. i feel like then is unnecessary tho u might be going for a specific meter but idk making a sentence awkward to fit in a meter seems like a bad idea

Meg Callahan his ragged coat espies-- man thats passive as heck i know i know villanelle but u still gotta have good sentences/lines or idk i just dont like this line
A fishwife, she, whom fortune has let down.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.

No man so poor will purchase fish. She sighs
And studies his gnarled feet, his scabby crown. ok good line right here
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Meg calls out, "Catch!" and tosses him a prize:
A monkfish, like herself salt-caked and brown.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.

Directly to his arms her present flies;
Surprise and wild delight erase his frown. i dont rly like this its a bit too telly for me
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

He clasps Meg's hand and sheds his human guise.
Together, they depart into renown.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

I mean i dont have much issues with this but i dont have much praise for this either. Its not bad which is obv a good thing but i find myself not mustering up anything to care about this. The images are decent but dont draw me in, the rhythm is fine but not exciting, the movement is there but it doesnt feel compelling. It lacks a drawing power, something to bring me and excite me.



She is too young to understand such things i can understand why u would want this as a line in a villanelle but i dont like it as a opening line
State the skeptic monolinguals this is like, rly bad dude cmon now who ride the red line
Yo soy, ego eimai, wǒ shì, je suis oh ok this is like i am in different languages iirc. I know like the first one and the last one ok i was about to be annoyed

But worse somehow worse are those that believe bad, vague line
The jealous who say What Did You Do & Well I’ve Tried shouldnt this be in like quotations or something or are these like tv shows or something idkkkk
She is too young to understand such things

Greek & Hebrew & most of Japanese
I’ve got her up to eight -- my professor knows only five
Yo soy, ego eimai, wǒ shì, je suis

Then she teaches herself Lao to make nine
My proud husband knows only one -- but her father knows five
She is too young to understand such things

How did Mozart’s mother, how did Pascal’s
Gauss & Rimbaud’s teach such a mind & she has his eyes ok this is kinda interesting right here.
Yo soy, ego eimai, wǒ shì, je suis

Her small hands on my husband’s soft face
& my heart skips a beat -- surely God I say please
She is too young to understand such things
Yo soy, ego eimai, wǒ shì, je suis

Ok this is quite alright but i felt i started understanding the poem w/ the line “she has his eyes” and i started to see like, ok, the narrator’s teaching her daughter or w/e languages as like her lasting impression but i think that needed to come way earlier in the poem and be the main driving force rather than coming in like the second to last stanza.

Fuschia tude


It's easy to get to that shadowy place. place is almost as bad as things for how vague it is
No compass is needed, no map will lead there. this is a bit generic
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

The freaks of the world have carved out a space
To huddle in pockets and wail in despair in despair is cliche + telly -- u can show this poo poo mannnnnn.
It's easy to get to that shadowy place.

A ravenous leprosy seeks to erase
Six centuries work dont rly know what this is referring to… 600 years? Idk thats like the 1400s and idk what im supposed to take away from that, borne along in the air.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

I tire of waiting. Look me in the face. this has a nice rhythm
Though long as I lived here I never would dare, this is a bad line -- weak and dull esp for a villanelle where i felt like every line needs to do something because the repetition limits a lot of what can be done
It's easy to get to that shadowy place.

But do this and you are a fool, a disgrace.
There's nothing to gain from this selfish affair. idk i dont rly get this line nor see what this shadowy place is or meant to represent. Maybe death? I guess that could work but if thats the case thats p lame.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

Remain here with me, tend the fire, replace
Dead embers. I need you, my glory, my heir.
It's easy to get to that shadowy place.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

Yeah i guess if this is about death then its kinda lame but if its not its not v clear on what its trying to be. If so its a bit weak w/ the images and i wouldve liked to take away something more than just it being about death and death kinda sucks.



For the seven secrets not a fan of this -- not sure what the seven secrets mean of
Autumn gust

So robust--
Ghosts and leaves groan and sway with good line

Flaking crust
Sirocco peels back with an
Autumn gust

Nature's rust interesting change -- not sure what it means tho
Blood and pus paint passionate

Inhaled must;
A putrid squall, tethered by
Autumn gust

On the last brae, I degust
Acrid memoirs, as mistral overcomes
Autumn gust

This is v precise, which is a good thing. The rhythm is nice and its hard to edit because it can be easily lost. Theres a lot of change and movement in this but im not quite sure what to take away from this. Maybe im rly dense buttttttttt i find myself just kinda confused even tho i appreciate the words. I feel like theres something here and maybe its just me but i cant see it even tho ive read it through a couple times.



‘Twas good to see you once again
There was no way this could end well why -- explain things. Give me images plz
You were, of course, my closest friend of course is prob unnecessary but we shall see

Your honor you did well defend bad construction. Awkward to fit the rhyme which is no good
Your sword well earns the price you sell
‘Twas good to see you once again

My leg, I fear, might never mend
Your bleeding I shall haste to quell
You were, of course, my closest friend

Your soul will not this day descend yeah this is a bad construction but also idk p lame as a sentence although it tells me a bit
I shall not let you ring the bell dont know what a bell has 2 do w/ anything
‘Twas good to see you once again

On mercy, you should not depend god i hate these lines, theyre so strained to fit the rhyme scheme
I’ve not much left but empty shell CLICHE GOD loving DAMNIT
You were, of course, my closest friend hell now that i think about it closest friend is cliche too would u know

Your wrath, I know, is without end
I’m certain you will give me hell
‘Twas good to see you once again
You were, of course, my closest friend

No images really, awkward lines. I think the narrator killed this dude hes talking and then theres like a ghost or maybe its real and hes dying or idk i really dont care. God is it really that hard for u idiots to just give me something to look at its all i want in poem im a simple, simple man.



An arson? Well, that is a mystery. idk i dont rly like this… starting w/ a question is lame and it feels a lil obv to me (that this person is gonna be the 1 to do the arson) but well see i guess
I was asleep, you see. That is, until,
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

So I investigated, naturally.
I grabbed my robe and headed down the hill. none of this is important
An arson? Well, that is a mystery.

I don’t think I was being that nosy,
When - I admit, I felt a little thrill - this aside is weird because i dont know how this sentence is supposed to sound
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

In fact, I think it’s rather neighborly
(Not that they checked on me when I was ill) yeah ok i dont rly get whats going… she went to check on the fire and then… who is she talking to?
An arson? Well, that is a mystery.

I saw the fire, and turned back up the street,
Went back to bed. Enough! I’d had my fill. she just went to sleep?
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

The flames burned down to smoke, eventually.
And now we’re here, sonny. I’ll tell you still:
An arson? Well, that is a mystery.
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

Well i guess the obviousness isnt there but uhhhh who cares? Like theres nothing interesting here. Theres a burning house and then the narrators like w/e time to go back to bed. Im missing something clearly but likeeeeee idk. Theres nothing to latch onto here. Nothing specific besides burning house and i dont feel like im supposed to take away anything from this except maybe fire happens?



Shadows rise on the garden wall.
Pale light creatures with sumac stings,
driven to the edge, mankind's fall. mankind’s fall feels a bit too melodramatic

Worlds of veil lie within their thrall,
from deep they drift on mucous wings.
Shadows rise on the garden wall.

Jellies float over barren pall jellies is an odd word choice -- clashes with the darker tone
of bleached white bone and scattered things, THINGS NO I HATE U I HATE THINGS be specific u rear end in a top hat
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

Toxic sand spills from urban sprawl its kinda interesting since i did the same rhyme scheme, both trying to use the same words idk it doesnt mean anything but it makes me think
and metals boil from buried springs.
Shadows rise on the garden wall.

Waters birth sheets of black rainfall
where once did shelter vibrant beings, idk i dont like this construction much myself
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

Echoes large fade to echoes small,
of desperate men, dark machines.
Shadows rise on the garden wall,
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

Some nice clean images but i find it lacking in its purpose -- it feels like its all dark but im not sure what the darkness is saying except being dark, u kno what i mean. But i dont have much to say on a structural level so thats a good thing and u had images omg u had images thank u



Thunder sings its dark refrain
An epitaph to dreaming dead
As static hisses through my veins this is a real good stanza i aint gonna lie. Good rhythm tho maybe epitaph to dreaming dead is bit too vague/melodramatic but ehhh

The hourglass’ ever fewer grains
Pay no heed to all the words we’ve said what words
Thunder sings its dark refrain

A fear from deep within me strains what fear
Against the world that lies ahead ehhh this is kinda lame -- i wish the fear would be detailed more and shown
As static hisses in my veins

The truth upon the soul it stains man u were doing so well w/ that first stanza i was like alrighty then lets get some nice cool images lets learn some stuff but then its like “im scared of the future” and im just like bleh
The path of memory untread its not that the theme is bad its just presented bluntly w/o any details that it doesnt grab me
Thunder sings its dark refrain

What hands are there that hold the reins?
What future still that can’t be fled? i hate questions so i dont like these so maybe theyre alright? But still, just kinda vague
As static hisses through my veins

The walker now a path attains
Although it fills the heart with dread
Thunder sings its dark refrain
As static hisses through my veins

I wished u wouldve kept that first stanza’s power throughout the poem. The image was clean and cool and i was super stoked to read this and then it jsut became too vague for me to be interested in :(



Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face
Trick not oneself one display might suffice maybe im tired but this sentence feels so wrong fundamentally that my brain rejects it
For rapid but steady, relentless pace who taught u idiots that poems should be vague nonsense. WHERE ARE THE GOSH DARN IMAGES

Should dictators die with their thrones now replaced
Tell yourself still you must pay change's price
Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face

What have you given? True, make your case
Still, attend to the future and futures you sacrifice
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

So pick up the phone and visit the polling place ok i could actually feel this a little bit but like its too little. The rest of this is so vague and generic that i cant grasp onto anything
Remind yourself, twice
Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face

And pay no attention to thieves of king's grace
Calling for patience when he'd preached precise
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

Is the world that you dream of the one that you chase?
You know it is. So keep it alive
Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

TRUMP IS BAD also this is vague and boring and i already wasted my breath on you other fuckwits so please next time you write a poem try to you know put things in here that make this poem yours. What about all of this makes it unique to you. Why should i give a poo poo how you feel over all the people’s feeling about the reflection. Give me you, not just generic “this is not good” crap that this poem is. Show me you. Show ME. LET ME SEE THINGS. LET ME FEEL THINGS.



There’s a folded note in my lunch today.
Tucked, hiding at the bottom of the bag.
"I'm done, I can't, I'm taking Scott and May." hey look, images, but images that also show me a lot more information that i can infer from them. Thank u

The shift horn petered out, like it was strained
from weeks of underuse; this previous part feels unnecessary tbh “from weeks of underuse -- i guess maybe he lost his job or was laid off or idk maybe this detail is important but its not clear to me I told my friend —
There’s a folded note in my lunch today.

“poo poo, money that tight?” — I couldn’t just say
“Yeah, that’s it,” as if you be really really careful w/ saying you -- thats second persons stuff and honestly it would jsut be to say “as if I” imo could explain away an
“I’m done, I can’t, I’m taking Scott and May.”

You can try it poet-like, you can say:
"We were, like, smoldering, in an ashtray..."
There's a folded note in my lunch today. i dont think this refrain works w/ this stanza

Better that than the truth; the calls, the shame,
the drinks and the soul-tearing morning-afters. this stanza is a lil vague for me -- the shame and the soul-tearing morning-afters dont give me enough, me thinks
"I'm done, I can't, I'm taking Scott and May."

Before work I told her, "Shift's back, okay?"
She took me in her arms while the kids played.
There’s a folded note in my lunch today.
“I’m done, I can’t, I’m taking Scott and May."

Its interesting that TD would pick a poem w/ more of a story bent to be the winner. I mean, its not really surprising but heyyyyy its still good. Good images that tell me more than just what’s on the paper. There’s a purpose, a bit of meaning. I dont think its like crazy good i think it can pushed be a bit harder in some of its themes but w/e.



It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.
When they ask you, you know what I will do— i actually rly dont know what ull do
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry. stanza is p vague -- not afraid to lie and that second lie tell me v little.

Your mother makes a hell of a pie. this is alright but idk, i dont see how this quite fits, nor do i see who this “you” is
But I can see it coming, right on queue—
It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.

I cringe when you say it, though I know why say what
When you lie to Jacob, when he asks you who—
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

We’re in the wrong place. Here, we could die
If they knew the truth, how I feel about you— i mean im just assuming this is like a gay love thing or something idk
It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.

I’m afraid of other things. That you’ll say goodbye. THINGS I HATE THING STOP SAYING THING I HATE THINGS
I’m afraid we’ll be the only ones who ever knew—
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

It seems easy for you. Like you don’t have to try.
So I doubt. And I wonder. And I don’t have a clue. so im vague. And vague. And i dont want to be clear
It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

This is alright from what i can tell its about like ~~~~forbidden love~~~~ because of course it loving is but w/e it has like things in it but theres no images and ive said this twenty million times in these critique alone i need to see things i need to touch things let me into your poem dont just tell me some vague crap and have me nod my head and be like “ohhh man ur so deep” because ur not ok u assholes ur just not. I mean this isnt rly directed at u beef but im just saying it to everyone.

God i hate u all.

Apr 30, 2006
thanks for the crits!

Jun 24, 2012

Strum in a harmonizing quartet
I want to cause a revolution

What can I do? My savage nature is beyond wild
Crits are some of my favorite things to read, so I appreciate all the cool people who take time out of their day to do them. Thanks for the crit, flerp!

Jul 26, 2016

flerp posted:

God i hate u all.

Luv u too, flerp. Thx.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


Prompt: "500 years in the future, a ragtag crew travels the universe. They are looking for work but always find trouble."

The Eyes of Eris
1399 words

“Tell us a war story.”

Alecta looked up from the contract on her screen. “No.”

“We’re bored.”

“Amuse yourself. Play yourself at Go again.”

“We’re doing that right now. We’re still bored.”

“Emmy, bother Elkay Nine. It’s not like it has any repairs to do.”

“We’re bothering it too. It told us to bugger off. Well, it’s binary equivalent.”

Alecta sighed. Emmy, also known as the Minor Miracle, was the insatiable AI of their ship. It was currently drilling tow-cables into an asteroid. And talking. It never stopped talking.

The star system, a fairly standard binary consisting of a main sequence star and a companion white dwarf, was still building new space colonies. The new pair of O.N. cylinder stations, Eyes of Eris, had contracted them to drag several nearby asteroids over. Alecta thought it was poor form to name your orbital habitats after a goddess of discord, but hell, what did she know? Not that she was superstitious. “Look, I’m checking the positional coordinates from the contract. You remember what happened last time we just assumed the first asteroid we came across was the right one. I want this job to go well.”

Emmy hesitated. “Okay Alecta. I will bother you less and Elkay Nine more. For now. Oh, tow-cables are anchored and fission drive is prepped. Pulse drive is bringing us to towing distance. Bye now!”

Alecta went back to the contract. It was funny, almost. She could see polarized light and everything from infrared to x-ray with her enhanced eyes, but the brightest light never gave her headaches like legalese.

A few minutes later, there was a subtle shiver that ran through the ship as the tow cables went taunt, too soft for a non-enhanced human to detect, but as always, she felt it. Alecta made a face at the contract. “Yeah, this is probably the right rock.”

“Oh! Alecta, there’s a ship incoming. It’s a big one, signature says it’s a demilitarized frigate. Except, it’s definitely not demilitarized.”

“poo poo. Thanks Emmy.” Alecta boosted off the nearby wall and floated into the piloting module, where all the safety gear was. She strapped in. Cythea was both strapped and plugged in, a rat’s nest of thick cables buried in her body, bridging her to the ship.

Cythea didn’t turn. “I’m prepped for a quick detach. Hail’s incoming. Do your thing.”

“Ah yes. Diplomacy. That thing I’m best at.”

“It’s not the thing you’re best at.”

Alecta rolled her eyes. The screen in front of her unfurled, and she was staring at a pale-skinned humanoid with a glowing red cybernetic eye. She liked Cythea’s azure eyes better. Much classier. Still, Alecta gave the screen her most genuine smile.

Red-eye glowered. “This asteroid is ours, and you are in a breach of system protocols. Submit your ship for inspection.”

“Please forgive us. We’ve been contracted by the Eyes of Eris, and the system database has their claim on this. With no competing claims and no marker-buoys, I’m puzzled as to which protocol we’ve violated.”

An orange light flashed. “Frigate weapons charging,” Cythea whispered. “Railguns and flak from the looks. Emmy, you’ve got the mining laser for point defense.”

“You are mistaken. Submit for inspection or be destroyed.”

Alecta continued to smile at the screen. “Sir, I’m happy to contact an independent arbitrator to—”

The screen went black.

“—resolve… that went well.”

“Hey, Alecta. Scans show they’re all cyborgs over there. And point defenses are minimal. As are internal defenses.”

She glanced at Cythea. “No. gently caress that, and gently caress you.”

“I’m plugged in, we can’t gently caress. However…”

Emmy gave a happy chime over comms. “Oh Alecta! Are we going to do a Break’s Burrow? Are we?” As the AI spoke, the ship jerked. Alecta was slammed into her seat. On the viewscreen, she saw the bright flash of their laser and the violent lurching of the stars around them. She felt several impacts on the hull armor. “Please please please—”


“Weee! Launching in three… two…”

The Minor Miracle, fusion engines arcing bright in the void, passed within a few hundred meters to the unnamed not-really-demilitarized frigate, laser flailing about, then zoomed off. Alecta clanged to the hull of the frigate a few seconds later. There was always a brief moment, when she was being fired from the ship in a modified escape capsule, that she just knew she’d miss, or get picked off by a defense laser, or something horrible. Emmy and Cythea made a good team, though. They’d only ever missed once.

The frigate was firing maneuvering thrusters, which meant she had a few seconds before it accelerated after the Minor Miracle. Alecta grimaced, then placed her mouth on the ship—and vomited. She kept her mouth as a tight seal on the outside.

It took moments for the military-grade acid to eat through the metal hull, creating a jagged cylinder. Alecta compressed her body structure and squeezed through the hole like a fleshy python. As she exited, she left a thick membrane on the hole so the ship wouldn’t detect the breach. Of course, a modern military ship not run by morons would have had at least a dozen countermeasures, but if there was one thing Alecta had learned, it was that trigger-happy idiots in second-hand spaceships spared no expense on big engines and bigger guns, then skimped on everything else.

Not that many mining ships carried veteran bioweapons like her.

The first thing she did was grow out her carapace and charge her hands, then she went for the command room. With her enhanced hearing, she could hear the crew chatting about the pursuit. The ship was pitch black, but the latent heat was enough for her eyes. The frigate accelerated. She let herself be pressed against the wall, then started to climb against the gravity of the acceleration.

There was an internal defense drone, but Alecta sniped it with a pneumatically fired tungsten-carbide fingernail. Then she slithered through a ventilation shaft into the command room. All three cyborgs were busy staring at screens, saying poo poo like:

“…forward cannons locked on engine.”

“Firing solution arrived at. That’ll avoid their lovely loving laser.”

“Weapons charged—”

She would have to move fast. The cyborgs were plugged into their chairs, facing away. Alecta snarled, and let lightning crackle between her hands. She grabbed the neck-wires of the two closest crew. The lights in the room flickered, and a siren blared. The air smelt metallic with highlights of burnt flesh and melted plastic.

Red-eye turned around, in time to see Alecta’s razor fingertips close around his neck.

“I’m here to reestablish diplomatic negotiations, rear end in a top hat.”


Emmy was humming a jaunty tune, which is to say, the Minor Miracle was broadcasting annoying music through every comm channel it had. “Yes! Hail from the frigate!”

“Alecta here. I’ve got their ship.”

“She did it again! Can you patch me in? I want to romp around in their files like a baby in a pie factory!”

“Emmy, that makes no—never mind. Hey, Red-eye. Give me the code or I spit in your eye. By the way, my spit dissolves eyes.” Short pause. Screaming. Longer pause. “Got it.”

“Yay!” The annoying music continued. “Hmm. Oh. Oh my. You’re not going to guess who sent this frigate. But the data logs are clear…”

“It was the Eyes of Eris.”

“It was the Eyes of Eris!”

Cythea chimed in. “So what should we do with the asteroid?”

Alecta thought about it. “I still think we should give it to them.”


“Really. Emmy, I’m going to need you to calculate a trajectory.”


Several hours of acceleration later, the Minor Miracle detached from the asteroid it was towing and turned off together with a not-really-demilitarized frigate. The asteroid continued on its merry way, heading for the Eyes of Eris. The pair of stations, only just under construction, had none of the defenses typical of cylinder stations. A demilitarized frigate might have stopped it, but the constructor drones never stood a chance.

The rock pierced the Eyes of Eris, creating twin blossoms of rosy fire. There was a special beauty to destruction in space, as vented atmosphere ignited, as metal shards glittered in double-sun light. Alecta found herself smiling softly at it.

“That was fun. Hey Alecta. How about a war story?”

Alecta snorted. “Oh, alright. What haven’t you heard? Ah yes…”

Oct 30, 2016
Nice with some line by line crits, thanks :)

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




:siren: Hey Thunderdome! :siren:

There is an awesome new Fiction advice thread up! Please, for the judge's sakes, go read Dr. K's excellent OP.

I would love to see more TDers talking shop and discussing critiques in that thread.

Sep 14, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.
hey no entries anymore ok thank you

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




is the submission deadline EST?

Sep 14, 2010


That's just a bullshit word.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recap! :siren:

Cue the Hoagy Carmichael! It's time for some soul-searching as the recap team takes on Week 232: I want to crit your blood. Sitting Here asked combatants to draw inspiration from the cores of their beings, unaware that so many of you carry Eighties action flicks around in there. Now she, Ironic Twist, and I weigh hearts against feathers, then question the logistics of smashing someone's head with a boulder while your guts are hanging out. A sanguine shower of goblet porn comprises our finale: SkaAndScreenplays' "The Fires Of Discontent:," performed with such dramatic skill that you'd swear you were watching a Vampire LARP.

Araspasia polishes off the contents of her glass, setting it gently atop a buffet as her upper-lip stiffens as contempt makes itself known on her face.

Episodes past can be found here!

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


flerp posted:

God i hate u all.

Yeah! Thanks!

Apr 11, 2012

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you

Week 234 Submission

The Resurrection Men
1400 Words

“Here we are, Mister Bell,” said Clay as his shovel clunked down on the casket. A top-hatted silhouette appeared above him. From the bottom of the freshly dug hole, he saw Bell’s anxious features outlined in the low moonlight.

“We should hurry, Mister Clay. The moon’s come out. We’ll be discovered.”

Clay wiped the muddy sweat from his brow. “We’re nearly finished. Help me up.” Bell clasped his arm as he scrabbled out of the hole. He wiped the rest of his face on his cotton undershirt as he caught a breath. Bell tipped a mountain of burlap sacks into the narrow shaft that unearthed the crown of the coffin.

“Come on, then,” said Bell. He stood over the foot of the casket and Clay joined him. The pine boards began to creak. With a few hops, they felt the cracking and splintering of the lid under their feet as their weight cantilevered the casket open.

Bell hoped the burlap muffled the sound enough to keep the priest from rousing and investigating the cemetery. It usually did the trick, especially in combination with an “anonymously” donated bottle of rye.

He never cared for this part, but Bell knew it was necessary. Vital, even. A student of surgery had to have bodies to study, examine, practice on.

Clay set him to task, “You’re in the hurry, Bell. So, snap to it.”

Bell gathered the length of rope and slid down through the burlap pile. The broken boards came free with a slight effort. “You don’t find this . . . unsavory, Clay? The subterfuge isn’t right.”

“Mister Bell, my friend, medicine is a dirty business. When those shallow minds come to you begging for help, you’ll be able to treat them. They’ll be grateful that you were willing to overcome your distaste. You’re doing it for them. You know that.”

Bell wrangled the rope under the corpse and tied a slipknot. “First, do no harm. When this woman’s son comes to me I wonder if I’ll be able to look him in the eye knowing he visits an empty grave every Sunday. If he ever found out, his peace of mind. . . .”

“Our purview is of the flesh,” Clay replied. He tugged the other end of the rope until the knot drew tight under the arms of the body. “If you’re skilled enough, then you’ll give that very man extra years with his own children. There’s only one way to achieve that. Learn. Now, on three.” He gave the count and pulled the rope as Bell leveraged the woman out of the coffin. With a shove from below, they hefted her up onto the grass.

Bell packed the burlap into the coffin and rebuilt the lid as well as possible. He hoisted himself up and before his feet were clear, Clay was pushing dirt into the hole as fast as he could.

“Hold a moment,” said Bell.

Clay froze. A tense second passed, then he looked around frantically.

“It’s not that,” clarified Bell as he pulled the rings from the dead woman’s fingers. Clay watched with disdain as Bell tossed the rings into the grave. “Our purview is the flesh, remember. We’re taking enough. Let the tokens stay where they were meant to be.”

Clay resumed shovelling, though he gave Bell an irritated sigh. “The living have to eat, you know. It’s an absurd practice to bury valuables, anyway.”

“I won’t be a part of it. Come back tomorrow night and dig them up yourself if you want.”

“No, no. Now come help me.” The pair finished filling the site in silence, but Clay glowered at his partner throughout. Bell felt heat rise behind his eyes and the sweat on his own brow wasn’t from the exertion.

“Don’t get pouty, Bell. I’m not going to come back and steal the old woman’s jewelry.”

“The greater good doesn’t feel very good. You don’t have to be so cavalier about it. That isn’t helping.”

“They don’t understand. This, us, any of it. Men of our minds have an obligation. They don’t deserve your guilty conscience.” Clay clasped his hands around the body’s torso. “Grab the feet,” he commanded.

Bell complied, holding the shovel in one hand. They maneuvered through the tombstones towards the treeline where Doctor Foster would be waiting with the cart and his old mare, shovel blade bouncing along the grass behind them.

“Move!” Clay shouted as Bell saw the lanterns bouncing up the cemetery path. They didn’t yet know if they were discovered, but someone was coming. Perhaps Doctor Foster was simply late for their rendezvous.

The question was answered with the crack of a rifle. They raced for the cover of the trees and saw Doctor Foster, dozing in the driver’s seat, uncovered lantern on the plank beside him. A second volley startled him awake. “Come on, boys!”

Bell ducked his head and pressed on, but Clay slowed the pace with each step until they reached the cart. He lurched forward and toppled, dropping the body behind him. Bell regained his balance and heaved Clay to his feet. Doctor Foster leapt down and wrestled their cargo onto the cart.

“Rifle ball—abdominal wound,” announced Bell. Clay struggled into the cart with a grunt and collapsed against the side rail. Bell jumped up beside him as Foster snapped the reins.

Clay pinched at the words, “I’m not ready to die, Bell.”

“Laudanum. In my bag,” Foster shouted as he whipped the mare to full gallop.

Bell pulled the flask from the leather bag. He tilted a healthy dose of tincture into Clay’s mouth and saw immediate relief on his patient’s face.

“I need to examine the wound, Mister Clay,” said Bell. Clay unclenched his fingers and Bell untangled them from the undershirt, still grimy with gravedirt. Bell tore at the seam and bared Clay’s stomach.

He froze at the sight. The puncture was a small, round hole. But black blood pumped from the wound. The shot pierced Clay’s intestine, assuredly fatal. Bell’s eyes betrayed his concern.

“So that’s it, Mister Bell? Shall we turn the cart around so that fuddled priest can administer last rites? Maybe he hasn’t finished that bottle of whisky.”

“I . . . I,” Bell stuttered. Lifeblood poured through Bell’s fingers and yet Clay was spending his last breaths to goad him. “Silas. Call me Silas, Mister Clay.”

“I’m not ready to die, Silas.” Clay swallowed. His Adam’s apple trembled in his throat. “Ethan.”

“I know. Ethan.”

“We chose our paths. And maybe I was a horse’s rear end—”


“Maybe I was a horse’s rear end, but horses pull the cart. How slow you’d be without people like me. Like Foster. Well, Foster’s a bit cold and ghoulish. But you know what I mean. You have the heart, the desire to heal. I have the stomach for it. Or did, anyway.” Clay smirked.

Bell felt sick. “We’re still miles from the operating theater.” Foster’s lantern might have betrayed them, but it might also buy Clay some more time. It would be excruciating and might not even work. Do good or do no harm. How much pain is each extra minute worth? “What do you say, Ethan?”

“Do what you think is best, Doctor Bell.”

Bell handed him the small flask. “You better drink up,” he said. Bell opened the lantern as Clay downed the rest of the laudanum.

Clay clenched the bottle as Bell poured the lantern oil over the wound. Bell’s resolved wavered, this might be simple cruelty. It’s now or never. If Clay can scream at me this time next year, then I’ll take it with a smile.

With that, Bell tipped the lantern and lit the slick of oil. Clay’s skin blistered. Bell could barely hear the screams over the ringing in his ears. He pressed the blood-soaked shirt over and extinguished the flames. Clay slumped prone beside the corpse.

The wound was cauterized. Clay’s breathing was shallow, but he was alive. Bell drew a ragged breath of his own. He straddled the bodies, one on each side of death’s door.

“Quick thinking, Bell,” said Foster. “You’ll earn your certificate soon enough.”

Until today, Silas Bell considered Ethan Clay a barely-tolerated colleague, maybe a rival. Some of Clay’s will rubbed off on him, and Bell thought he might be able to soften his colleague’s demeanor. “You’re not ready to die,” he whispered.

He hoped Ethan lived long enough to become a friend.

Flash Rule: "Audacious interns in over their heads. They practice mischief and medicine while learning the ropes."

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.
I will not be submitting, as it turns out words make hard when your jaw is infected by bacteria unknown and incidentally you are heavily hosed on opiates which are nowhere near as good at pain relief as Trainspotting makes out

:toxx: I will enter and submit on time next week

I will also do two line-by-lines on request for submissions from this week, first come first served

Mar 4, 2013

Well, take this with a grain of salt, but
Week 234

The Job
1373 Words

The knock at the door was sharp and sudden and Jameson, who prided himself on being prepared for anything, was wholly unprepared for it. He spluttered his way over to the door and threw it open. The cowboy that greeted him was a familiar one, and Jameson frowned. “What?”

The cowboy laughed and tipped his hat. “Good to see you, too, Jameson. You sure did find yourself the rear end end of nowhere, huh?”

Jameson looked at the desert surrounding his hut and shrugged. “I assume you want something from me. If you won't be direct with it, you can at least do me the service of coming in so I can continue my work.” With that, Jameson turned around and stormed his way back inside. The cowboy shook his head and sighed, then shoved himself off the door frame and followed Jameson in.

“Got a job for you, Jameson.”

“I had presumed as much,” Jameson replied, sitting back at his desk and picking up the book he'd been reading before the interruption. “And I am not interested.”

“If they'd assumed you'd be interested, they wouldn't've sent me.”

Jameson looked up from his book. His eyes narrowed behind his glasses and he blew the ends of his mustache out. “What do you want, Michael?”

“Like I said, got a job for you.” He found a section of wall to lean against that wouldn't add anything he couldn't identify to his coat and folded his arms. “I can't imagine you got anything better to do.”

Jameson grunted. “That is simply because you have such a limited imagination. I’m perfectly content to sit right where I am and continue what I was doing before your intrusion. Now, you have your answer, I have nothing more to say to you, so you may leave,” he said with a wave of his hand.

Michael shook his head. “That’s not how this works.”

Jameson wrinkled his nose behind his book.

“Look, you can either come along with me, proper like, or I can bring you with me. And I’m drat sure you don’t want that.”

Jameson turned his chair away. “You know my stance. You have your answer. I have no intention of changing that.”

“We need you on this one, Jameson.”

“I am retired.”

“Ain’t that a load of bull,” Michael scoffed.

“I. Am. Retired.”

The dust settled between the two. Michael pushed himself off the wall and cracked his neck. “So,” he said, cracking his knuckles, “we’re doing this the hard way?”

Jameson whipped back towards Michael. “Let’s not be fools,” he snapped.

Michael took another step towards the desk, and Jameson was on his feet before Michael’s could land. Michael stopped and spread his arms. “Come on, Jameson. You know how this’ll end.”

Jameson grabbed his cane and brandished it like a sword. “As do you.”

Michael sighed, shook his head, and leaned forward. “What do you want, Jameson?”

“I want you to leave, Michael. We were friends once, yes, and so they sent you to retrieve me, but I am, as I’ve said, retired, and I have no interest in coming out of retirement, regardless of the situation, circumstance, or messenger.”

The silence lingered like an unwelcome guest.

Michael lowered his hands and stepped back. “I’m sorry.”

Jameson twitched. “Pardon?”

“I said I’m sorry. It was wrong of me to come. You clearly have no interest in what I’m offering, so I’ll just head on out.”

Jameson cocked his head.

“I’ll leave you to your books and your,” he brushed off his shoulder, “dust. You’re probably out of practice, anyway. You’d just end up hurting yourself.”

Jameson lowered his cane and shook his head. “I recognize what you’re trying to do, Michael.”

Michael shrugged. “Well, sure. That was more for me than to get you motivated.” He looked around the room. “Well, I guess I’ll see myself out. You change your mind, find me here,” he said, pulling a card for the High West Hotel out of his coat.

Jameson watched him lay the card on a chest of drawers.

“Look, Jameson,” Michael said, stopping at the door, “you want people to treat you like a normal human being? Might help if you climb out of this pit every once in awhile. Nothing gets people to like you like doing them a favor.”

Jameson furrowed his brow. “Good-bye, Michael. Perhaps you’ll come visit without wanting something of me, someday.”

“Someday.” Michael ran his finger along the door frame. “You could always come out,” he said, opening the door. “I bet it gets boring something fierce, in here.”


Jameson found himself in the lobby of the West High Hotel, trying desperately to shut out some of the noise. Large crowds of people bustled about the lobby, brightly clothed and talking constantly about nothing of significance. He did his best to block out the noise, but there was a reason he never went out. He fought his way up to the counter and tried to force a smile at the woman behind it.

“Jameson O’Connell, here for Michael Redfern.”

The woman returned his smile with a surprisingly genuine one and looked down at her notes. “Good morning, Mr. O’Connell. Mr. Redfern came by earlier and left a note, let me see if I can find it,” her finger moved its way down the page, “here. Mr. Redfern will be in the lounge. If you go back towards the front and swing a left, you’ll find it no problem. Is there anything else I can assist you with, Mr. O’Connell?”

Jameson looked over his shoulder and counted the number of people between himself and the door to the lounge. “No, thank you.”

“Well, you have a great day, Mr. O’Connell, and if there’s anything else we can do to assist you, just let us know,” she smiled.

Jameson forced another smile, nodded, and headed back out into the crowd. He forced his way through the swarm, pressing himself up against the furniture to get by at times, and eventually burst out into the lounge.

Immediately, he was assaulted by a thick cloud of smoke and whiskey. His eyes watered and his throat burned. He retched and turned back out of the room. But the other room was no better. Impossibly, the crowd had grown even thicker. He steeled himself, turned back around, and plunged into the cloud of smoke.

Once his vision cleared and his ears stopped ringing, he caught sight of Michael sitting at a booth with a few other people Jameson didn’t recognize. He made his way over to the booth and sat down.

“Jameson!” Michael greeted him with a nod and a raise of his glass. “Glad you could make it. Please, take a seat, order a drink. I’ll introduce you to the others.”

One of the strangers leaned over the table and held out his hand. “John Kane, Jameson. John Kane. Real pleasure to finally meet someone of your reputation. I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch you work.”

All of John’s greeting came out in a single burst and Jameson was left looking at the outstretched hand. He screwed up his face.

“John,” Michael warned.

John looked over, “What?” Michael raised his eyebrow and nodded towards Jameson. “Oh, right.” John pulled his hand back. “Sorry, Jameson. Old habits,” he laughed.

Michael shook his head. “Jameson, this is John Kane, as he said. He is the financier of this little operation.”

John raised his fingers to his brow and saluted.

“And this is Jo McAllister.”

The woman on his left waved and smiled. “Nice to meet you, Jameson. I’m looking forward to working with you.”

Jameson managed a smile and waved back. “Well, Michael, I’m here, I’ve met your crew, and I would very much like to be somewhere else. As the only reason I’m here is to, as you say ‘get out of the house’, I would like to know in what capacity Miss McAllister will be assisting us and move to somewhere less suffocating.”

Michael grinned. “Jo here’s our pilot. Never seen one better.” He downed the rest of his whiskey and smacked the glass back down on the table. “Now, let’s get to work.”

Flash Rule: "Murders most foul. Mysteries most enticing. And a master sleuth whose brilliance is equaled only by his facial hair."

Nov 7, 2011

Prompt: "The greater an object's value, the more vulnerable it is to theft. And the world's most celebrated art is no exception."

1397 words

"She doesny even look good."

"…We’re on the other side of the room and there’s a ton of glass in front of it. Of course it doesn’t look good." Can’t believe I let Ricky drag me here. Of course he wants to spend our last day in Paris gawking at bits of paper that some dead Italian fucks jizzed on like we don’t have a loving job to do.

"Nah but, yir expecting this grandiose thing, and she’s just this wee smiling lassie. Whit’s the point?"

"loving hell, it was your idea to come here. I couldn’t give two shits about any of this, I’m just here to make sure you don’t gently caress things up. Besides, it’s frowning, not smiling." Ricky squints at me. I’m pretty sure he’s going blind.

"She isny frowning."

"It loving is."

"Terry, I’m sure Mona Lisa wis a real person–"

"And if she was, she’d be sitting in DiCaprio’s office loving frowning because she doesn’t want to watch him wanking for hours at a time."

"Da Vinci."

"Look, does it really matter?"

"It does to me," whines Ricky. I smile and point towards the sea of marks gawking over the most protected piece of jism in the world. If he wants to find out, he can brave the waters and I can gently caress off to the airport without him. He’s about to go for it, but then he realises that he doesn’t want to be torn apart by the rabid art critics waiting to pounce on him for not knowing whether the bitch is frowning or smiling.

"Aye, alright, I guess it doesny matter." I’m about to sigh a relief, but then the biggest lightbulb ever made explodes in Ricky’s head and he gasps at me. "Here, you lot need a wee bit culture in yir lives, what if we–"

"Jesus Christ, don’t even think about it. The walls have ears."

"Nah but, I’m sure they widny mind if–"

"Look, I know what you’re about to suggest, and I don’t know how you could be so astronomically loving stupid. That case is made of bulletproof glass, and there’s literally no way for us to remove the painting without superpowers or whatever. It’s probably been tried hundreds of times before without any success." He’s disappointed now. I think he’d deluded himself into thinking he’d be able to phase through the glass, take out the painting and leave with everyone grovelling like he’s just become the king of France. Or he’s about to be lead to the guillotine.

"Aye, well, whit bout that one?" Ricky points to a load of Greek fucks in multi-coloured togas dotted around these columns and over these balconies and there’s someone in a halo and oh Christ that’s Christ isn’t it. Ricky really wants this piece of papist propaganda.

"gently caress off."

"Nah, but, it’s got–"

"Look, Ricky," I want to say something along the lines of, I dunno, you’re a fenian prick and as soon as we get out of here you’re falling in the Seine, but I have a feeling the boys wouldn’t appreciate Interpol finding us off a murder lead. "How do you propose the pair of us, just, just you and me, how should we get this loving goliath outside?" He quivers like I had actually threatened to make him go in Seine, and suddenly I die inside because I came up with that horrible pun.

"Aye, okay. Mibby the, uh," he finds the strength to lift his Parkinsons-addled finger towards some woman with a dagger.

"Well, okay, that one’s small and there isn’t bulletproof glass around it, but do you really want to go through with this in broad daylight?"

"…Nah, nah, I thought we could come–"

"Have you forgotten that we have somewhere to be tonight and we can’t waste time loving Matrixing our way around security lasers or whatever to find one of these cumstains?" Ricky nods and mumbles a half-hearted acknowledgement. Christ. I didn’t expect him to tense up like this, but it’s the only way he’ll learn. If you don’t want to get caught, the most important thing is not to gently caress

....around. Like I used to all the time when I was green. All the loving time.

poo poo. What am I doing? Ricky’s young. He doesn’t need to be dragged into this poo poo. It’s only his first international job, for gently caress’s sake. If we’re compromised, he’ll be dragged down with us and if he was hosed before he found us...nah, this isn’t right.

"Look, I'm sorry. Have you ever been inside?"

"Inside…you mean inside a-"

"Walls have ears. Yeah."

"Wis in Saughton for a year when I wis eighteen."


"Aye, in Edinburgh. Stole somedy’s car. Wish I hudny done it, but now I’m here."

"Saughton," I sigh. "God, you…you don’t know how dangerous this could be, do you? You’ve never been inside – I take it you’ve never been to Vietnam before?" He slowly shakes his head. "Yeah. Don’t go there. Went there for a job once and I ended up in this shithole outside Ho Chi Minh for five years. The loving guards beat me every day until I ended up having to fight back, and when I did I ended up in this loving disgusting solitary confinement. I’m amazed that I never ended up sick, because the doctors are brutal there, and…" I can’t tell if Ricky’s amazed, or frightened, or both. I can’t tell what’s going through his mind or anyone’s loving mind and I don’t even know what’s going through my mind except I shouldn’t have loving done that and I can’t stop thinking about that place and

I’ve said too much. Oh, Christ, I’ve said too much. They’re onto us. They’ve been listening into this entire loving conversation and they’re on the loving phone to Interpol right now. I need to get out but I’m going to be thrown back into prison but


Ricky’s face hasn’t changed. loving. Breathe. Focus on Ricky.

"…and I just, I don’t want you to end up in that situation. I mean, Christ, you’re still young, I’m loving thirty-five now and there’s probably so much wrong with me that…"

"Aye." I flash him a smile.

"You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, you know? I mean, yeah, you’ve been inside before, but that doesn’t mean you’re done forever. You can set up somewhere else, and you know, you’ll be out of the game and safe and that."

"Aye. To be honest wi you, Terry… I’ve no been feeling great about the job since I started here, you know?"

"Yeah." I breathe for a bit. "When we get back to the hotel I’m going to phone Kyle and tell him we’ve been compromised. I mean, I don’t know if we have, but anyway, I’ll say we’ve been compromised and we can hop a train to loving Austria or wherever."

"That’d be great, aye," he says with a smile.


Voicemail. Of course Kyle’s left his loving phone off. Hope Ricky hasn’t followed me down here. I leave the message, and I head over to the Pont d’Austerlitz.

…God, that’s weird. I don’t know anything about art, but I remember the name of this bridge from my first international job. There was a contact living on the other side, and the boss – poo poo, what was his name? – my boss just tells me as we’re going over, the bridge got its name from the Battle of Austerlitz, and that song about the Pont d’Avignon popped into my head, and for some reason I sung "sur le Pont d’Austerlitz, wankers cross with piles of blow", and the entire truck just burst into laughter. Christ knows why, it wasn’t funny. I don’t remember a single person with me at the time, but that’s stuck with me forever.

Forever. Huh. This is forever, I guess. Really glad Ricky isn’t here. The sunset’s turning the river into the most beautiful stream of piss in the world. That makes me feel better, knowing that I’m about to

…the phone buzzes, and I haul it out of my pocket. Kyle. Nope. It crashes into the river like a skimming stone on a pond. Guess I’m about to become the world’s biggest skimming stone then.

I become one with the Seine with a splash. The current sweeps me away as I drift into blissful annihilation.

Apr 16, 2007

The missing ingredient

Wayne stood before the camera, his arm extended with a piece of raw meat in his hand. To his side hung the carcass of a bird.

“The locals recommend applying a herbal rub before cooking. I wanted to gather the plants myself but they warned me it could be extremely dangerous since I'm not familiar with the poisonous plants around the area.”

Wayne retrieved a wooden mortar with a green mixture inside, which he rubbed onto the meat chunk.

“Luckily they agreed to make me some of it. I can't tell you how excited I am right now!”

He glanced up at the camera and smiled awkwardly.

“Cut!” Patrick yelled.

“What's the matter?”

“That smile, It didn't look genuine,” Patrick said.

“Well, it's hard to be excited about eating this poo poo with this other green poo poo on it,” Wayne answered as he extended the meat towards Patrick's face. “Just smell it for God's sake.”

Patrick gagged and pushed Wayne's arm aside.

“Alright, alright. You've got a point there. But...”

“But what?”

Patrick shifted uncomfortably on his feet.

“Well...” Patrick sighed, “I didn't want to tell you until we were done but… it's looking like it's over. This, the show, everything. They want to can it after this season is over. I overheard it at the office before coming here.”

Wayne shook his head. It had taken him two years of networking and befriending the right people in order to get his show made. Four years of hard work: doing research, rallying up the crew and living in terrible conditions for weeks at a time. At first it had been great, all things considered: He had gotten to travel the world and try new foods while providing for his family. But after every episode they filmed his meal options shrunk, and so did his enjoyment. The food was often disgusting and he would have to put on a big fake smile. When it came down to it though, the ratings were dwindling indeed.

“No.” Wayne uttered.

Patrick raised an eyebrow.

“No what?”

“I won't let 'em,” Wayne said.

“But how?”

“We've still got this whole season right? We will mix it up a little, you'll see. Now get your rear end over there and start rolling.”

Wayne scraped the green mixture off the meat back into the mortar. Patrick's confused look turned into a wide smile.

“Aye captain!”

The camera followed Wayne as he took a few steps forward, the chunk of meat now clean.

“Wow! This is disgusting,” Wayne said as he dangled the meat in front of the camera.

“I will eat it in the name of science though. The locals recommend applying a herbal rub before cooking but I must be extremely cautious with my selection since there are many poisonous species of plants in the area. I just want to remind everyone that I'm a trained professional and you shouldn't attempt this at home.”

Wayne signaled Patrick to follow and then began walking through the jungle. He stopped at random intervals to pull weeds and plants out of the ground. He stored some in his pouch and dropped the rest. He smelled or tasted some before deciding.

After a while Wayne turned towards the camera.

“Okay, cut it. We should have enough footage for that part.”

“Wait a second. You aren't actually going to eat those plants. Are you?” Patrick asked hesitantly.

Wayne grabbed his pouch and turned it upside down letting all the plants drop to the ground.

“Hell no! But if the viewers want a show, I'll give them one.”

“But we are making a documentary!” Patrick reproached.

“That was before, now think of it as reality TV show. So basically not real at all, I will be doing more of a performance.”

Patrick groaned and pointed the camera at Wayne.

Wayne grabbed the piece of meat and slathered it in the green mixture again.

“I have applied the herbal rub. Now we are ready to pan sear it nice and slow.”

Wayne dropped the meat on a frying pan and put it aside. He walked towards a pile of wood they had prepared earlier and lit it. He held the pan over the fire and the meat began sizzling with excitement, the shades of green slowly turning into golden browns.

“Just look at that! Perfect.”

He let the meat slide onto a plate which he held before the camera for a few seconds, then sat on a rock with the dish on his knees. A frown appeared on his face as he took the first bite.

“Wow, that's so gross!” He took another bite reluctantly. “I was hoping it would be bad, but not this bad. It has an earthy over-salted flavor. Sandy. It's like a greasier and tougher duck meat. Wanna try some Pat?”

The camera shook slightly as Patrick waved his finger in the air.

“Cameramen, they never like to get their hands dirty,” Wayne said as he shrugged. He finished eating his meal despite groaning and frowning constantly. Patrick turned off the camera.

“It's actually delicious. You should try it Pat.”

“You have got to be kidding me.”

“I may very well be, but you should definitely try this. It's pretty good. Though right now we need an ending.”

“What do you mean an ending? Your conclusions?”

Wayne shook his open hand from side to side.

“No, no. Wait here and start rolling.”

Patrick pointed the camera at Wayne, who ran clumsily towards a tree and knelt over the ground behind it. He stuck a finger in his throat and began heaving until the food was forced out of his stomach. He wasn't proud of it but he was not willing to let the suits in charge cancel his show. Perhaps it would turn into something stupid and terrible but if that's what people wanted to see, that would be what he would give them.

“Are you okay?” Patrick yelled from the other side.

Wayne didn't reply so Patrick ran towards him, leaving the tripod behind. As he drew near, Wayne crawled out; his face as white as a ghost and his khaki shirt tainted in vomit.

“Ugh… I think I poisoned myself.“

“No way! We need help.”

“There's no civilization in a 6 mile radius. I won't make it.”

“Shut up and come with me. We'll get you help.” Patrick said as he helped Wayne up.

“And scene!” Wayne yelled with a reverence. “Maybe we can add a dramatic shot where we are running desperately through the jungle or something.”

“What in the... Are you...” Patrick paused, “you need to warn me about this stuff.”

“Where would be the fun in that?” Wayne smiled. “Besides, I got a better reaction out of you this way.” He took his shirt off.

“Did you get a good shot of me throwing up? Hopefully you couldn't see when I stuck my finger in. I guess you didn't if I actually fooled you.”

“You are hopeless,” Patrick said while shaking his head, then smiled and pat Wayne on the shoulder.

“Let's assume you get away with this,” Patrick said, “what if the ratings don't rise?”

“We will need to make some adjustments to the format. And come up with new plots. Maybe hire a writer or something. The missing ingredient was excitement.”


Wayne's show is now a success. He has several guest appearances scheduled in the near future.

Patrick still works with Wayne as a cameraman and editor. He just recently had his first daughter, her name is Emily.

Apr 16, 2007

Obliterati posted:

I will not be submitting, as it turns out words make hard when your jaw is infected by bacteria unknown and incidentally you are heavily hosed on opiates which are nowhere near as good at pain relief as Trainspotting makes out

:toxx: I will enter and submit on time next week

I will also do two line-by-lines on request for submissions from this week, first come first served

I'll take one. I'll do one of yours if you want.


Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


Obliterati posted:

I will not be submitting, as it turns out words make hard when your jaw is infected by bacteria unknown and incidentally you are heavily hosed on opiates which are nowhere near as good at pain relief as Trainspotting makes out

:toxx: I will enter and submit on time next week

I will also do two line-by-lines on request for submissions from this week, first come first served

I'll take it, and would also be willing to do one of yours.

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