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Viscardus
Jun 1, 2011

Thus equipped by fortune, physique, and character, he was naturally indomitable, and subordinate to no one in the world.


I’m in. Flash, please.

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Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Viscardus posted:

I’m in. Flash, please.

Your authoritarian is a convert, a once-rebellious individual who now understands the error of their ways. They were wrong. The system is good.

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


I'm in. flash me up

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In and flash

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


In

QM Haversham
Nov 12, 2018

Postmodern Furniture Enjoyment Society: Where slow is the revolution and apathy is the fuel.


I am In.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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




in :toxx:

crimea
Nov 16, 2012


In, flash me.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


In flash

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


apophenium posted:

I’m in. flash me up

Your authoritarian wishes people were more like bees: organized and aware of their place.


Thranguy posted:

In and flash

Your authoritarian is suspicious of glass surfaces; they let the Devil in.


crimea posted:

In, flash me.

Your authoritarian makes all their decisions by reading signs and portents.



Your authoritarian believes that wealth makes power and those with wealth have the power to do as they like.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


In.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfmrHTdXgK4#t=15s

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*



Your authoritarian does not trust modern medicine.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning




In fash me flashcist

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


The Saddest Rhino posted:

In fash me flashcist

Your authoritarian fondly recalls the past, when things were simpler, and sees it as a goal to strive toward.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME




we are both going to regret this but I am IN, flash me

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Sitting Here posted:

we are both going to regret this but I am IN, flash me

Your authoritarian lives an ascetic life and judges those who seek material pleasure rather harshly.

emgeejay
Dec 8, 2007

and if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you

In with a flash

NotGordian
Sep 19, 2018


In with a flash, please

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





:toxx: to do crits by tues 2359 pst

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Fuschia Emperor Brawl:

Ways and Means
1380 words

"Stop right there, hayseed." The man in the top hat and tails, his chin dotted with salt and pepper stubble, picked up the girl from the chair too tall for her and deposited her on the floor. Her shiny red shoes clacked on the saloon's wooden flooring.

"Wasn't doing anything wrong, Jack." She backed into the corner, then looked up at him petulantly. Freckles ringed her eyes, squinting now in the slanting light of the setting sun coming through the partially drawn window. "Wasn't doing no obscenity."

"No? You looked like you was right about to jump in that dice game."

"I wasn't." She pouted. "I was just… watching. Studying them."

Jack looked over at the table they had just left. Four men in various states of inebriation hunched over the gaming table, intently watching the dice. A greasy fat head leered at him and its owner raised a beer. He tipped his hat in response.

"Look here, Clara." Jack put his bony hands on his hips. "I promised your ma I wouldn't corrupt you and I aim not to do so."

She climbed into the chair by the wall and looked up at him, her face defiant, but not angry. He had come to know those eyes well in recent weeks. They looked around constantly, drinking in her surroundings, calmly observing, like she had seen it all before. But she was paying attention, he knew. She had an insatiable appetite. He had to do something about this gambling fascination of hers.

"I also promised your ma I'd get you an education. Sara's a good enough tutor, I reckon—" He looked to her for confirmation, but of course she offered none. She only looked back quizzically. "—but I think you can be something more than just a, uh, seamstress, or a librarian or whatnot." He looked back at the table once again. "You know, it's a good thing you weren't about to jump into that game."

Clara's eyes narrowed. "Why?"

"Games like these, they're no good. These games here—the house always wins." His voice was low.

"How—"

"That dice game—they roll three dice, right? You can bet on a number showing up on any one dice, the total when you add them all up, or if there's a triple."

"Die."

"What's that?"

"Die." Clara yawned. "'Any one die.' That's the name of the thing. Not dice."

"OK. But the payout on each of those things don't add up to the odds. It's less. It's all less. That's how they get you."

"What about that wheel over there? The one with the silver ball?"

"And the red and black spaces on it?"

"Yes."

"And the green."

She frowned.

"Didn't notice them? That's the trick there. Roulette. Comes from France. They make the payouts for red, black, odds and evens, high and low and each separate number as if those was all the spaces. But they ain't. There's green too. So the house wins, by and by."

"How do you mean, 'by and by'?"

"You might get lucky and make some money. Maybe even win for a long time, and make yourself a lot of money... for a time. But in the long run and over a lot of people, all the people that come stumbling through here all day, every day, the house makes money and the people lose it, overall. Even if some win and some lose each day, you add 'em all up the winners don't make as much as the losers lost. All because of those extra two spaces make it so the odds don't match the payouts."

"Couldn't you bet on green, then?"

"Sure could. But they pay out like if you had bet on one-or-twos. The same not-quite-enough."

Clara frowned again. "It's getting complicated." But she still sounded determined.

"It is! That's what they want. Pay out just close enough to even to keep people coming back thinking they got the secret to winning, give them an edge. Not unless they switch out the dice, uh… die… or something like that, and even in this town the croupiers aren't about to fall asleep on the job to let that happen."

"Do you need a special thing then to do the betting, like dice or that wheel?"

"Course not." Jack drew a three-cent piece from his pocket. "You see this?" He flipped the tiny coin into the air. It fluttered up, then sailed back down, and he slapped it onto the back of his hand. "Now, you tell me—what's facing up? The star, or the fish scale?"

Clara blinked. Her upper lip crinkled as she squinted at the hand over hand. "A… star."

He lifted his hand. The silver six-pointed star glinted in the fading sunlight.

"You got that one right. But you know there was no skill in that, just pure luck. No way to predict it. And you know people have an urge—a never-ending desire—to wager on the outcome of a thing, and they'll make it be if it don't. Go up to Rapid City, you can wager on the horse races, dog races, dog fights, cock fights—anything. You can bet on the outcome of shuffling and flipping cards or simply throwing dice, too, same as coins. Only difference is you can't use one of them to buy a newspaper, which I reckon makes them much superior."

Clara shook her head. "What about card games, though?"

"I was getting to that. Cards are like dice—made special for games and wagers—but a lot more of them in a set, which means more variety of outcomes in each round. And much more variety in games you play with them. You can walk into any two-bit bar around here and start playing faro. But you shouldn't, cause you'll lose everything. Poker, on the other hand—you find yourself a place that plays poker, and…" Now it was Jack's turn to shake his head. "No, never mind. My point is, Clara, it's all a bad bet. All of them. You might win a few battles, and then you'll lose the war."

He walked to the door. "Come on," he said, holding it open.

Clara jumped down from the chair and followed him out into the brilliant orange sunlight. She had to hold onto her pale straw hat as the wind threatened to yank it away, its black ribbons fluttering in the breeze. Dust and grit got stuck in her mouth despite her best efforts. She spit.

The two walked east, the sun to their backs. They passed children playing ball on the side of the hotel, a small, dense mass that hit the wall with a thud and slapped the packed earth in front every time they threw it.

Jack stopped to watch.

"Now, that's something different," he said. "Play. Not for money, for fun. Add some rules you all agree on and you got a genuine sport. A contest. A competition. Which one of us is the fastest, the strongest, the cleverest? Play lets you answer that."

He started walking again.

"There's always going to be someone better, faster, stronger, prettier, smarter than you, Clara. Always. Never forget that."

They reached his building, a sad, crooked hovel with faded white siding. The sign standing by the road was painted "John. P. Chesterton, Last Will and Testament, Business Dealings, Disputes etc." He walked onto the front step and unlocked the door.

"Come into my office, Clara."

She followed, hesitating at the door as Jack lit a lantern on the wall.

Jack opened the filing cabinet. "But there's another game." He dropped a stack of papers on the desk in front of her, loosely tied with twine. "This here is the recent civil and criminal code for the territory, updated late last year." A massive black bound tome thudded next to it. "And that one is the US federal code. It takes precedence, if there's a conflict. These are the rules of the game."

He picked up a loose paper from the the surface of the desk. The word "DEED" was printed in large block letters at its top. Several dense paragraphs followed, with four blank lines, three of them signed. He picked up a pen.

"And I aim to show you how to play it."

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


A day late Fuschia

A day late like a dog

:v:

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


emgeejay posted:

In with a flash

Your authoritarian is abstinent.


NotGordian posted:

In with a flash, please

Your authoritarian exerts their will on a small scale, only caring about controlling their immediate family unit.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In and flash, please and thank you.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Benny Profane posted:

In and flash, please and thank you.

Your authoritarian believes that order and harmony are directly related to the amount of filth and dirt in one’s environment.

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

In. I’ve been trying to think of a hook and can’t so flash me, baby.

BirdOfPlay
Feb 19, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In it to flash it.

Joda
Apr 24, 2010

When I'm off, I just like to really let go and have fun, y'know?



Fun Shoe

In with a flash

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





:toxx: if you failed the last time you submitted.

Mr. Steak
May 8, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


sebmojo posted:

failed the last time you submitted.

:v:

Joda
Apr 24, 2010

When I'm off, I just like to really let go and have fun, y'know?



Fun Shoe

sebmojo posted:

:toxx: if you failed the last time you submitted.

You aren't quoting anyone, but I assume this being the first post after my signing up was purely coincidental? I haven't done one of these for five years, and while my last submission was awful, I did submit something.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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




flash plz

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

I’ll have you know that I posted in the monthly fiction thread under slow beef and didn’t fail. ... I don’t think?

Get off my lawn! :argh:

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





Joda posted:

You aren't quoting anyone, but I assume this being the first post after my signing up was purely coincidental? I haven't done one of these for five years, and while my last submission was awful, I did submit something.

it was a general exhortation

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Doctor Zero posted:

In. I’ve been trying to think of a hook and can’t so flash me, baby.

Your authoritarian believes they can sense when a person is lying.


BirdOfPlay posted:

In it to flash it.

Your authoritarian believes that the answers to all the world’s ills can be found in mathematics.


Joda posted:

In with a flash

Your authoritarian is a palm reader.


flerp posted:

flash plz

Your authoritarian believes in samsara.

anatomi
Jan 31, 2015


Late submission for Thunderdome Week 343: What a Horrible Week To Have a Curse

Bringer - 1957 words

Sweat trickles down Elsa’s neck as she works the cast-iron. She’s frying up a company’s worth of eggs and pork. The wood-stove groans hotly. Greasy smoke tugs at belly-knots around the table. The handful of women try to cloud their hunger with chitchat.

The words scatter. It’s not a fancy offering, but the women eat ravenously. Forks gnaw and whine against the checkered collection of 60’s earthenware. Elsa figures that sometimes food is mostly dirt. For burying stuff needs burying. So she makes sure to feed the women at the shelter well. And the girl, too.



Some of the women tut-tut. Alma knows it’s not good manners, but she licks the plate anyway.

“Hang on,” Elsa says and serves up another black-flaked egg. She squeezes the girl’s shoulder. “Bring your mom some of the leftovers, alright?”

Alma nods. Mommy’s missing breakfast. As usual. She’s in her room—sleeping or crying, or crying and sleeping. Or just staring, distant.

Hunger dispelled, the women now listen to Elsa divvying up the day. Old manors like white-peeling Oaky constantly breed work. February’s been miserable, but spring’s around the corner—you can feel it in the soil, in the garden that’s soft enough for turning. Wood needs chopping; the leak in the attic’s gotta be fixed; chicken coop is due for a scrubbing. The women get to it. They don’t grumble.

Elsa says that labor is part of healing. If you’re at Oaky, you’re gonna work—you’re gonna toil. And they all do. Except for Mommy, who just cries. And that’s why maybe they have to leave.

Alma’s on a foot-stool by the sink, drying Elsa’s washed-ups. They work in silence, in the calm north-side light of the fogged-up window. Now and then their hands brush against each other. The soapy water makes the black snake slithering across Elsa’s rough knuckles glisten lifelike. Alma’s fascinated by the woman’s tattoos—before Oaky she’d never seen any in real life.

They take their time. For Alma this is the best part of the day, and one of two good things in the girl’s life.

Finally, Elsa wipes the white-congealed pan black with a chunk of bread. “It’s good, I promise,” she says. Alma makes a disgusted face at the offer. The woman shrugs and folds the greased bread into her mouth.

“Guess we’re done, huh?”

The girl doesn’t reply.

“How are you doin’, hon?”

“Do we have to leave?”

“Oh. It’s—it’s up to your mom, you know? The rules apply to everyone. She’s gotta pull her weight. It’s the only way Oaky survives.”

Alma’s voice is barely a whisper. “But I could do it.”

“Oh, hon.” Elsa’s voice cracks. “Listen—I’m gonna talk to your mom again, and we’ll—Alma? Where you goin’?”

“Out.”

“To the Mire? Alma?”

Alma tries to outpace the tears behind her eyes.



It was early February when Alma and Mommy fled the city. Asphalt turned to dirt, pebbles pelting the Volvo’s undercoating. They snaked through avenues of stunted willows. The trees grew into crooked oak giants that towered above unchecked hazel labyrinths. Then they passed a crest in the forest—and there it was, nestled in the wilderness. Oaky Manor.

Behind the house the woods dissolved into the wild edge of a vast wetland. The marsh seemed to seep eternally into the horizon.

Alma quickly got used to Oaky and its women. She liked Elsa a lot. The caretaker was gruff but kind. Her black-stained hands smelled like engine oil. Like Daddy’s. But Alma felt safe when Elsa grabbed her and hoisted her up on square shoulders. Alma had wanted to get a closer look. Her fingers dipped into the rot, as she peered over the drainpipe at the messy structure straddling Oaky’s spine.

The decaying mound of sticks sloughing over the wooden balcony was huge. Elsa said that nest towers weren’t uncommon back in the day. People built them for the great birds. The storks.

“Why?” Alma asked.

“Well—stand still, hon—they thought the storks would protect them. That they’d give them a happy family.”

Elsa brought Alma down. “Mhm. Mom used to say storks are good parents. Dutiful—yeah, that’s the word she used.”

Alma looked at the forlorn nest. “It’s so big.”

“Honkin’ big birds. Bigger than you.”

“Where are they now?”

“Oh, hon—we haven’t had storks in Sweden since the 50’s—I guess when your mom was ‘round your age. They just stopped coming.”



The girl speared the wet dirt.

The first time Alma went exploring, Elsa had insisted she bring a long stick. The edge of the Mire was treacherous. You’d think a patch looked firm—and then you’d suddenly be in water up to your chest. “And the more you struggle, the more you sink.”

Alma had been a ways from Oaky when she stumbled upon the structure. It was concealed in a thicket, so you couldn’t really see the decrepit outhouse until you were right on top of it. Rotting planks and moss-overgrown stones suggested it had once been part of a greater whole.

Alma didn’t have to force the door. She removed the debris from the old bench. And then she just sat there, waiting for the sadness to find her. There—the useless welling-up of tears. She slapped herself in the face, hissing through clenched teeth to stop crying, you baby, you loving whore, you—

The loud clattering cut across the Mire. Clack-clack-clack. Like someone furiously drumming sticks together, far in the distance. A strange guttural resonance haunted each bony snap. The call stopped.

Alma heard then the low-pitched beat of huge wings.



That was weeks ago. Alma had since visited the outhouse almost every day. There she was now, trying to wrestle the panic mounting in her chest.

Elsa’s gonna talk to Mommy—fat lot of good that’s gonna do. They’re gonna have to leave Oaky. They’re gonna have to go back to Daddy. Oh God.

“Shut up,” Alma says. She closes her eyes and starts counting her breaths. Like Elsa’s taught her. It helps. She moves her head a bit to catch the sunlight pouring through the crescent in the door.

She sits there for a while, behind the red-glowing curtain. Breathing the light. Waiting for the second good thing.



The sun suddenly disappears.

An unblinking pale eye is peering at Alma through the crescent.

“Hi, Mother,” Alma whispers. She opens up and Mother pushes through, chattering softly. The huge stork doesn’t sing or chirp or coo—she talks by cutting the air with a blood-red beak, long as Alma’s arm. The girl laughs when her hair gets caught in the incessant click-clacking.

Alma nestles her face in the base of Mother’s wing. She smells like the Mire—like rotting leaves. Like time slowed down.

It takes a moment before Alma’s mind can make sense of the clattering—but then she hears, and jerks back. Her face drains.

“He’s—? Now? Oh God, oh no.”

Softly clicking, Mother caresses Alma’s cheek.

“But—okay. Okay. Tell me.”



“—told you. Enough’s enough. You gotta start pulling your weight.”

Elsa crouches by Mommy, who’s withdrawn into a corner of the room. She’s sitting on the floor, hiding behind pulled up knees and crossed arms.

“I want to—I do,” Mommy cries. “It’s just—I’m hosed up. I miss him. I’m sick. I just miss him so loving much.”

Mommy bangs the back of her head against the wall. “Worthless—I’m loving worthless. What’s wrong with me?”

“poo poo,” Elsa says. She slides down against the wall. “Is that it? I’m gonna tell you something—and everyone here would tell you the same.”

The caretaker drapes a heavy arm over Mommy’s shoulders. “I told you there’s a reason we take your car keys. Why we’re in the middle of goddamn nowhere with no phone. Because we all stumble.”

A shadow passes over Elsa’s face. “I know I did—poo poo, I stumbled so many times.”

Elsa’s flexes her hand. The black snake squirms. “ I knew he wouldn’t change. But I crawled back to him. Again and again. Each time hating myself a little bit more. Figure I wanted that self-hatred. When sorrow’s all you’ve ever known, it’s comfort—it’s a drug. You become an addict.”

Mommy weeps into Elsa’s armpit.

“You’re not hosed up. He is. And he’s still hurting you—that’s why you feel the pull. It sure as poo poo ain’t love.”

“Please—please, you gotta let us stay.”

“You just gotta—Alma? What’s wrong, hon?”

Mommy reaches with with nicotine-stained fingers for her girl, seeing for the first time in weeks. “Alma, sweety—come, give Mommy a hug. I’m okay now, it’s all gonna be okay, I promise—”

“Daddy’s here,” Alma says.



Daddy’s pale. Clammy. His eyes are black wells. Now and then he’ll violently roll his shoulders like he’s trying to shake something. The women wince as he wipes his dripping forehead with the back of his hand—the one gripping the revolver.

Mommy’s locked in his arm. They stand in a muddy pool by the stove. The whole floor is slick with the water dripping from Daddy’s drenched shoes and pants. Alma and the rest of Oaky are seated at the table.

“That all of you?”

Elsa nods.

“The whole loving dyke parade. Ya’ll abandoned your families too, like this loving whore?”

Mommy cries out when Daddy yanks hard on her hair.

“Don’t,” Elsa says. Daddy sways the gun at her. He smiles.

“She’s my wife. She’s mine. You—there’s no loving law that says how I’m to run my house.”

“Darling, please—”

“So loving nosy aren’t you, you feminist cunts. gently caress. Y’all just poison—you’re poisoning good women. Think you can kidnap someone’s woman, gently caress her up in the head? I tell you—”

Daddy recoils, Mommy stumbling with him. He snaps his insanity, and the gun, at Alma—he hadn't seen her leave the table and approach.

Alma looks him straight in the eyes. “Daddy,” she says. “Let’s just go home.”

The muscles in his jaw twitch. He puts the gun to Mommy’s cheek.

“Any of you whores follow us—she’s dead.”



The family slogs along the edge of the Mire.

Daddy’s pushing Mommy in front of him. She glances back.

“Where are we going?”

“gently caress,” Daddy says, pulling his foot out of another wet misstep. “Shut up. Just—just keep walking.”

Alma finds the way with her stick. She and the Mire know each other. “Daddy’s parked in the forest. He walked here.”

“Yeah. Didn’t want the dykes see me coming. Hey, how—”

“But the hazel was too thick, so he had to go along the Mire—so we gotta do that too. For a bit.”

Daddy stops and looks at Alma. “How’d you know that, sweety?”

“Mother told me.”

“Mother? Who the gently caress’s Mother?”

He catches Mommy by back of her head. He crushes his brow against hers. Spittle flies from his mouth. “That one of the dykes? Huh? What’ve you done to my little girl?”

“Darling—darling, please, I—”

The slap drops Mommy to the rot. It makes him furious, so he begins to make a mess of her face with the gun.

Alma pulls at his shirt. “Stop!”

He throws the girl to the ground—something pops in her shoulder. There’s no pain. Just a wave of nausea.

She feels the heavy beat before it hits them. The gust of wind smells like rotting leaves.

And then Daddy’s screaming. He clutches at the pain in his face, unthinking—the sound of the gun discharging dazes him.

“Oh,” he says. He drops the gun. Blood pushes through his fingers as he presses them against the absence above his cheek. Mother cranes her head back, sliding Daddy’s eye into her throat. She clatters wetly.

“Wait,” Daddy says. He staggers—

The Mire belches as it swallows him. His hands tear at soggy grass.

“No,” he gurgles. Sludge seeps into his mouth. “Swe-sweety, he-help Da—”

Alma uses her stick to push him down.

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


FuchsiaEmporer Brawl Judgement

Let's get ready to rumble!

Ways and Means
1380 words

"Stop right there, hayseed." The man in the top hat and tails, his chin dotted with salt and pepper stubble, picked up the girl from the chair too tall for her and deposited her on the floor. Her shiny red shoes clacked on the saloon's wooden flooring.

>Good opening line, it communicates a lot of character. Establishes a setting. I like the Dorothy allusion.

"Wasn't doing anything wrong, Jack." She backed into the corner, then looked up at him petulantly. Freckles ringed her eyes, squinting now in the slanting light of the setting sun coming through the partially drawn window. "Wasn't doing no obscenity.”

"No? You looked like you was right about to jump in that dice game."

"I wasn't." She pouted. "I was just… watching. Studying them."

>Good dialogue, it feels natural. You could’ve gotten rid of a lot of words here: now, slanting, coming, partially, drawn. Use more words to describe her eyes or the sun rather than the window.

Jack looked over at the table they had just left. Four men in various states of inebriation hunched over the gaming table, intently watching the dice. A greasy fat head leered at him and its owner raised a beer. He tipped his hat in response.

"Look here, Clara." Jack put his bony hands on his hips. "I promised your ma I wouldn't corrupt you and I aim not to do so.”

>Nice contrasts of characters. Getting more bits of Jack to fill in the mystery.

She climbed into the chair by the wall and looked up at him, her face defiant, but not angry. He had come to know those eyes well in recent weeks. They looked around constantly, drinking in her surroundings, calmly observing, like she had seen it all before. But she was paying attention, he knew. She had an insatiable appetite. He had to do something about this gambling fascination of hers.

>Character observations, a good example of showing instead of telling.

"I also promised your ma I'd get you an education. Sara's a good enough tutor, I reckon—" He looked to her for confirmation, but of course she offered none. She only looked back quizzically. "—but I think you can be something more than just a, uh, seamstress, or a librarian or whatnot." He looked back at the table once again. "You know, it's a good thing you weren't about to jump into that game."

Clara's eyes narrowed. "Why?"

"Games like these, they're no good. These games here—the house always wins." His voice was low.

"How—"

"That dice game—they roll three dice, right? You can bet on a number showing up on any one dice, the total when you add them all up, or if there's a triple."

> The em dash is a nice touch.

"Die."

"What's that?"

"Die." Clara yawned. "'Any one die.' That's the name of the thing. Not dice."

"OK. But the payout on each of those things don't add up to the odds. It's less. It's all less. That's how they get you."

"What about that wheel over there? The one with the silver ball?"

"And the red and black spaces on it?"

"Yes."

"And the green."

She frowned.

"Didn't notice them? That's the trick there. Roulette. Comes from France. They make the payouts for red, black, odds and evens, high and low and each separate number as if those was all the spaces. But they ain't. There's green too. So the house wins, by and by."

>You keep it pleasantly folksy. It helps keep the blocks pleasant to read. Also, good sentence length variance so far.

"How do you mean, 'by and by'?"

"You might get lucky and make some money. Maybe even win for a long time, and make yourself a lot of money... for a time. But in the long run and over a lot of people, all the people that come stumbling through here all day, every day, the house makes money and the people lose it, overall. Even if some win and some lose each day, you add 'em all up the winners don't make as much as the losers lost. All because of those extra two spaces make it so the odds don't match the payouts."

"Couldn't you bet on green, then?"

"Sure could. But they pay out like if you had bet on one-or-twos. The same not-quite-enough."

Clara frowned again. "It's getting complicated." But she still sounded determined.

"It is! That's what they want. Pay out just close enough to even to keep people coming back thinking they got the secret to winning, give them an edge. Not unless they switch out the dice, uh… die… or something like that, and even in this town the croupiers aren't about to fall asleep on the job to let that happen."

>Too much telling. Let’s watch someone win a couple of times and then lose to keep up the action and highlight his exposition.

"Do you need a special thing then to do the betting, like dice or that wheel?"

"Course not." Jack drew a three-cent piece from his pocket. "You see this?" He flipped the tiny coin into the air. It fluttered up, then sailed back down, and he slapped it onto the back of his hand. "Now, you tell me—what's facing up? The star, or the fish scale?"

Clara blinked. Her upper lip crinkled as she squinted at the hand over hand. "A… star."

He lifted his hand. The silver six-pointed star glinted in the fading sunlight.

"You got that one right. But you know there was no skill in that, just pure luck. No way to predict it. And you know people have an urge—a never-ending desire—to wager on the outcome of a thing, and they'll make it be if it don't. Go up to Rapid City, you can wager on the horse races, dog races, dog fights, cock fights—anything. You can bet on the outcome of shuffling and flipping cards or simply throwing dice, too, same as coins. Only difference is you can't use one of them to buy a newspaper, which I reckon makes them much superior."

Clara shook her head. "What about card games, though?"

"I was getting to that. Cards are like dice—made special for games and wagers—but a lot more of them in a set, which means more variety of outcomes in each round. And much more variety in games you play with them. You can walk into any two-bit bar around here and start playing faro. But you shouldn't, cause you'll lose everything. Poker, on the other hand—you find yourself a place that plays poker, and…" Now it was Jack's turn to shake his head. "No, never mind. My point is, Clara, it's all a bad bet. All of them. You might win a few battles, and then you'll lose the war."

>I’m a sucker for a morality tale but the lesson is mostly told instead of shown and derived.

He walked to the door. "Come on," he said, holding it open.

Clara jumped down from the chair and followed him out into the brilliant orange sunlight. She had to hold onto her pale straw hat as the wind threatened to yank it away, its black ribbons fluttering in the breeze. Dust and grit got stuck in her mouth despite her best efforts. She spit.

>Oh snap here we go.

The two walked east, the sun to their backs. They passed children playing ball on the side of the hotel, a small, dense mass that hit the wall with a thud and slapped the packed earth in front every time they threw it.

>Sports!

Jack stopped to watch.

"Now, that's something different," he said. "Play. Not for money, for fun. Add some rules you all agree on and you got a genuine sport. A contest. A competition. Which one of us is the fastest, the strongest, the cleverest? Play lets you answer that."

>I like it. Now we’re showing. Really picks up here with the kids playing and the message he’s communicating.

He started walking again.

"There's always going to be someone better, faster, stronger, prettier, smarter than you, Clara. Always. Never forget that."

They reached his building, a sad, crooked hovel with faded white siding. The sign standing by the road was painted "John. P. Chesterton, Last Will and Testament, Business Dealings, Disputes etc." He walked onto the front step and unlocked the door.

>I like this take on Sports!

"Come into my office, Clara."

She followed, hesitating at the door as Jack lit a lantern on the wall.

Jack opened the filing cabinet. "But there's another game." He dropped a stack of papers on the desk in front of her, loosely tied with twine. "This here is the recent civil and criminal code for the territory, updated late last year." A massive black bound tome thudded next to it. "And that one is the US federal code. It takes precedence, if there's a conflict. These are the rules of the game."

>He’s the wizard. No comma after precedence.

He picked up a loose paper from the the surface of the desk. The word "DEED" was printed in large block letters at its top. Several dense paragraphs followed, with four blank lines, three of them signed. He picked up a pen.

"And I aim to show you how to play it."

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aB1aJrxfvw The second sentence killed me a bit. I uh… would not have put ‘deed’ in all caps surrounded by double quotation marks. I definitely thought someone screamed for a second there. You accidentally repeated 'the'.

>I like the Wizard of Oz framework combined with the subject matter. The first and third act are great. That second act dragged. I wish we had more Clara. I don’t feel like she was fully explored or fully engaged in her conflict.

Moonshot
907 words

The landing skiff, the slick top-of-the-line model that looked so much like a dark dolphin cutting a wake of blue thruster-flame to either side of its clever nose, had failed them. Or they'd failed it. Somehow, things had gone wrong. There had followed a horrible, brief, moment of comprehension of how utterly hosed they were as their encapsulated world began to tumble; there had been a crash that blanked tbose thoughts in a moment of percussive white pain.

>First sentence is good, especially the dark dolphin bit. ‘Top-of-the-line’ is a clunker in the middle of it though. Third sentence could be entirely cut. Words from this block that could be cut: brief, utterly, ‘began to’, ‘moment of’. You used a semicolon here, why not start the next line ‘the crash’?

> Oh snap, Tbose is in there!

Far above, the automated space liner watched them with blank, robotic eyes as they crawled from the wreckage. The last dregs of escaping air gave rise to short, bleak flames as they tugged on emergency suits.

The lander was broken open along its side, twisted out of its dolphin shape. They had torn a deep rent into the moon's bone-white surface, dust hanging in a cloud of faintly luminous accusation.

>Nice descriptors. Cut ‘faintly’ tho.

Caiden climbed his way out of the trench and simply lay down, just let his limbs go slack and leave him sprawled and bruised and miserable.

>Red card! A rough paragraph. Cut: simply, just, go. Tense on let and leave. (e.g. ’letting’, ’leaving’.) I like the repetition of ‘and’ here, adds to the exhaustion he must feel. Heck maybe add a period after ‘slack’, cut ‘and leave him’ entirely for ‘He was’. Could probably just cut the whole thing, the characters would have a more natural intro in the next paragraph and saves having to flashback, helping the flow.

There were supposed to be contingencies. Failsafes. Ainsley pounded and prodded at the black box communicator that was supposed to trigger in these situations, getting nothing, making no noise in the lifeless little world; his the only motion on that barren face, a curving expanse of sand and a faint limn of escaping light before the dark. Ainsley kept trying, until it started to bug Caiden. Until the last bit of hope scratching away at his resignation got to be too much.

>Very nice! Makes me mad as hell at that other paragraph I tell you what!

So he got up, and he stopped him, and they fought. They made a lot of pointless noise and punched at each other through clumsy gloves, covered the inside of their faceplates with cooling spittle.

>Rework that first sentence.

When the burn of anger stopped being enough to hold off the cold, they stopped too. Caiden went right back to lying there, flopping down into the sand.

If.

If.

If.

>Good use of repetition. ‘Flopping down into the sand’ makes me think of a fish.

Eyes fixed on the broken silhouette of the lander, Caden turned the matter over and over in his head. Relitigating every moment to draw out every iota of self-pity, of righteousness against bad luck. His eyes traced over the lander's spilling guts, the wire and steel bars and the one, comically misplaced, basketball. The one they'd thought they'd chuck back at ol' earth.

>Starting to overdo the repetition. You did it great with ‘if’, but clumsily with ‘over’.

>Sports!

It hurt to look at that great blue jewel. So he didn't.

>I like this a lot.
Ainsley didn't notice as he got up and climbed into the trough the wreck had dug. Didn't notice until a basketball ricocheted off his head and he glared up to find -- tossing the lander's toilet seat into the dull black sky.

"First to five." Caiden declared, tapping the comms button on his helmet.

"What are you even doing.”

"First to five and its the other guy's fault.”

>It’s like “Waiting for Goddard” with basketball. Cool.

In the space of incredulous silence that followed, Caiden took a free shot. Moon dust exploded into a rocket-plume underfoot as he leaped, the lunar surface dipping away beneath him as he flew. He brought his clumsy gloved hands, the ball, up beneath his chin. The hoop, the toilet-seat, was glittering chrome against the black.

The shot was perfect. The ball kept flying until Caiden went bounding after and caught it, clumsy in the long weightless spaces between his soles leaving the ground and touching down again. Every step forward was an enormous leap, the sand blurring away underneath as he raced back towards the goal.

Ainsley slammed into him, slipping the ball into his own hands as his elbow shot into Caiden’s chest and sent him flipping, flailing into the sky. He clawed and kicked to right himself in the prolonged fall down, watching his opponent flash around the hoop throwing and catching and dunking effortlessly, scoring two before Caiden could rush back and swat the ball away.

>Aw gently caress ya. Great action. The sentences growing longer over these three paragraphs build good anticipation.

They flew, bounced, leaped. They played until there was sweat on their faces despite the cold creeping in, until their muscles ached with afterburn. The last of Caiden’s oxygen was vanishing away in big straining breaths that came huffing back out in fleeting mists of condensation across his visor’s face.

>Bunches of verbs are nice too.

Until it was 4-4.

>Oh snap.

Caiden had the ball. That was all that mattered. It orbited between his hands, and he went right but Ainsley went left and he was in the clear.

>I love ‘It orbited between his hands’. I feel like you should go with more periods instead of commas here. ‘It orbited between his hands. He went right. Ainsley went left. He was clear.’

He soared. His arm traced the lining of sunlight bursting up over the distant blue arch of the earth, and he felt Strauss playing in his soul as he let the ball slip free from his fingers and complete the trajectory, swift and clean and continuing on into the black with no sign of stopping.

>V nice.

Warnings were flashing red inside his helmet.

“You lost the ball, douche-canoe!” Ainsley shouted, sounding short of breath.

>I feel like douche-canoe was a placeholder for a sicker burn. The warnings are a nice touch. Cut: sounding.

Caiden just shrugged, his arms wide, looking at storms swirl across the earth’s face, at the sun coming up over and seaming to break into brilliant reaching spears of light. “Yeah, but hey, that’s your fault too.”

>Acceptance, cool. Cut: reaching. Spears reach, right? 'Seeming' instead of 'seaming'.

“Oh yeah? Well…” Caiden was a second too slow in comprehending, in diving to intercept as Ainsley snatched up the communications box and jumped free, shouting, “First to ten!”

A blue light blinked across the communicator’s dark face as it hurtled through the toilet-hoop. A blue star of hope in a black sky.

>In my ‘Waiting for Goddard’ comparison, this is where the pants come down.

They both blinked, frozen in their tracks by a sudden heartbreak of hope, and then as one went chasing and bounding after, howling in surprise and horror and laughter.

>Nice.

>First Act had a lot of problems but it really picked up in the second and third. Descriptors are great. Lots of action. Many words could be cut to improve flow and cohesion, and at 900 words there’s something to be said about substance. Earned a very solid laugh for me though. Great build.

***

Hoo boy we have a real dogfight here tonight folks.

The emperor looks pretty sure of himself in his corner and he has every right to be with how he’s performed lately, but can he stop the Fuchsia Tide?

Oh and the tide comes out rolling. He’s totally controlling the pace of the fight! His main protagonist is great! Emperor looks helpless!

But here comes Emperor, pushing his opponent back and lining up haymaker after haymaker of poetic description! Fuchsia looks gassed already! SA poster Selaphiel, what do you see from the sidelines?

Well Slip, Third has a lot of emotion out there right now he wants to express! Fuchsia looks like he has a smart strategy for this fight, digging deep. Meanwhile, third is keeping it simple and having fun out there!

Thanks Sela! Oh wow, Fuchsia is starting to come back! This is incredible ladies and gentlemen, the tide has its second wind! The contenders are freely trading blows! Can Emperor hold on? Can Fuchsia make the comeback???

NO! TIME IS OUT! TIME HAS RUN OUT ON THIS UNDERDOG CINDERELLA STORY. THE TIDE LOSES! EMPEROR HAS WON! EMPEROR HAS SNATCHED VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT!

***

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEdSPztNFY8#t=217s

*I'm the announcer but instead imagine I’m yelling “HE MISSED THE DEADLINE”*

Good game all.

SlipUp fucked around with this message at 05:08 on Mar 7, 2019

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019




Yeah I'm dumb. I misremembered the due date as being the 5th and never went back to check the prompt last week.

Thanks for judging and critting, SlipUp!

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





In and flash, please!

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Baneling Butts posted:

In and flash, please!

Your authoritarian presents a public face of pacifism to hide their true goals.

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





anatomi posted:

Late submission for Thunderdome Week 343: What a Horrible Week To Have a Curse


i was literally about to ban you so good timing

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