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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Azza Bamboo posted:

Bullshit! How the hell is an original story below the heap of "big monster on ice planet" tales?

What's more important to you dorks than a solid gold concept enough that you'd put beige concepts ahead of it?

You should probably brawl the judge if you disagree, otherwise consider writing better words

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Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


You should probably answer the drat question and quit hiding whatever bullshit you'd judge your brawl on or that you'd consider "better" words.

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

📡scanning🛰️ for good game 🎮design🦔🦔🦔


Yes I too agree that this week's judging is bullshit, I wrote about a gender neutral sparkledog which will NAIL me the deviant art demographic

Anyway I'm here to get super mad about just reaching mediocrity, too bad there's no way to find out why a judge didn't appreciate my genius like dunno waiting for their crits

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



Thunderdome Week CCCXC (390) – Dressed to Kill Your Darlings



This week is about FASHION!

Since we write, by necessity, flash fiction in this thread, we tend not to spend a lot of time on details as seemingly unimportant as what a character is wearing. But we all know that clothes can set us on adventures, they can help us meet new people, they can blast us to the stars!

Prompt: Any genre goes this week. But whatever you choose to do should include a favorite outfit or the armor you’ve always wanted to include in a story but it was never practical or one defining statement piece of clothing that a character is wearing and let the story go from there. /Prompt

The clothing should be described in your story, obviously, and there should be a connection between it and what’s happening. This can be as simple as wearing a uniform for work or as involved as the suit getting them mistaken for an astronaut and shoved onto a rocketship!

No erotica, fanfiction, Google Docs, archive-breaking coding, or dick pics. Politics is okay, but you know how dangerous that can be.

Word Count: 1700 Words – A few more words to allow for the clothes description.
Signups Close: Friday, January 24th, 11:59 PM Pacific
Submissions Close: Sunday, January 26th, 11:59 PM Pacific

I will give out clothing flash rules if requested. Otherwise, go forth and be fabulous!

Arbiters of Fashion
A Friendly Penguin
SlipUp
Sebmojo


Catwalk Models
Chili :toxx:
Thranguy - flash clothing: snood
Azza Bamboo
Pepe Silvia Browne
Anomalous Amalgam - flash clothing: jeggings :toxx:
Doctor Eckhart
Something Else
Carl Killer Miller
Black Griffon
Djeser
Mrenda
Saucy_Rodent
Tyrannosaurus

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 11:31 on Jan 25, 2020

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


A lawless criminal writes into town. Their crime: they're words.

Sebmojo's sans-sherif star glints in the aggressive outback sun. "you best mosey on back where you'd moseyed on over here from."

"This contest is bullshit," the criminal spits. "It's judging is--"

The bullet tears the criminal's hat clean off. The 'jo's gun smokes out of its holster. A split second later the echo comes crashing down. The lone mod ranger slowly lifts a smoke to his unshaven mouth, lights it, drags. In the background, an avalanche.

"It's is only ever short for 'it is', kiddo."

Once again justice is served. The avalanche is actually a dogpile of domers that buries the village underneath it. Three hundred years later, a house is built on the lot. It gets haunted, but this is a story for another day.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In, flash.

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


In.

Pepe Silvia Browne
Jan 1, 2007

I won GACHADOME and all I got was this... uh, thing..?


I'm in.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

Azza Bamboo posted:

You should probably answer the drat question and quit hiding whatever bullshit you'd judge your brawl on or that you'd consider "better" words.

You’ve annoyed me. Let’s brawl.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Doctor Rope

in :toxx: flash plz

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



Thranguy posted:

In, flash.

A snood hair or beard

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish




Jeggings

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


Flesnolk posted:

You’ve annoyed me. Let’s brawl.

If the other judges aren't going to tell me what you all what then I'll happily let you show me. I have to warn you that I'm not going to go down in this rigged bullshit contest without a fight, though.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

While we await a judge, you do know that the judges of the previous week are going to write crits and tell you what they didn't like about the story, right?

Flesnolk fucked around with this message at 15:17 on Jan 21, 2020

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


I'm willing to bet they're back there clamoring for excuses, reading books and splitting hairs in a competition where we should be cracking skulls.

They can't handle me, they know I'm the greatest!

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Doctor Rope

Flesnolk posted:

You’ve annoyed me. Let’s brawl.

Azza Bamboo posted:

If the other judges aren't going to tell me what you all what then I'll happily let you show me. I have to warn you that I'm not going to go down in this rigged bullshit contest without a fight, though.

Prompt: I don't care how you frame it or spin it, but I want elements of romance, humor and horror. How you interpret and use that is up to you.

You have 2,000 words and until sometime before the end of day February 1st, 2020 US CST

If you accept these terms, please :toxx:

Anomalous Amalgam fucked around with this message at 15:26 on Jan 21, 2020

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

End of day in which time zone? :toxx:

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Doctor Rope

Flesnolk posted:

End of day in which time zone? :toxx:

whooops, US CST.

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


Anomalous Amalgam posted:

Prompt: I don't care how you frame it or spin it, but I want elements of romance, humor and horror. How you interpret and use that is up to you.

You have 2,000 words and until sometime before the end of day February 1st, 2020 US CST

If you accept these terms, please :toxx:

:toxx:

Doctor Eckhart
Dec 23, 2019

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

I’ve been waitINg for an excuse to be fabulous.

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

What use was time to those who'd soon achieve Digital Immortality?


Im in

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

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




Great prompt, I'm in.

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


What's the competition rule on shooting two birds with one stone? I have an idea for the brawl prompt that fits well in to the main prompt. I could hash it out by Saturday in under 1700 words and it'd theoretically be legal for both.

I do have a spare story in mind for the main prompt if the answer is no.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


time is in honk honk

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







azza bamboo i like your style but also shut up slightly

e: but to actually answer the question, it's one story per one prompt, no doubling up you should have just done it without asking and waited to see if anyone noticed

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 19:13 on Jan 21, 2020

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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







i was going to be kinder in this crit because this is a very very amateur story (read: it loving sucked) but hey if you wanna be a dick i can be one too. the only difference is that ill be a productive dick

quote:

Winter Forecast

Kerry opts to wear the traditional uniform of a pilot terrible first line. boring as poo poo. who loving cares about what the character is wearing, especially if it's some traditional uniform. already makes me want to fall asleep. She keeps paper notes on a clipboard, who cares but there’s no getting away from the fact that the job has changed in her decades of service. There’s only one seat in the cockpit. To Kerry it feels as though there is an empty seat by her side.

It’s the last flight of her shift. Her destination is a cargo airfield called Manston. It sits in a rural expanse southeast of London. last two sentences two sentences dont matter. who cares where she's going it doesnt matter in this

An augmented reality display shows Kerry a dizzying array of flight indications. Numbers, lines, maps and codes surround her. To her, these indications are a bloody nuisance. telling

“Pah, state mandated hallucinations.” She scoffs. hey maybe instead of complaining about how the judges are bad or whatever you should probably learn how to actually punctuate your dialogue correctly, perhaps by reading this http://litreactor.com/columns/talk-it-out-how-to-punctuate-dialogue-in-your-prose and digesting it and understanding it. wouldve been a much better use of your time than making GBS threads up the thread tia

Kerry sits stiff and upright nobody cares how she is sitting observing the virtual images in front of her. Concerned, telling she eyeballs a swirling storm on her radar readings.

In a polite telephone voice who cares how she speaks she speaks to her computer. “Jasper, can you find a route that will avoid this storm?”

Jasper’s uncanny synthesised voice rings through kerry’s good proofreading right here, oh wait headset.

“That storm is complex. My crystal core isn’t powerful enough to calculate something with this many interdependent variables.”

Kerry is unimpressed telling. A human copilot might have been able to say something more useful than “I don’t have enough brainpower.” your character is just an annoying boomber upset about how new technology is bad actually. i dont like them As Kerry ponders she holds her pen against her mouth who cares??? why does having a pen in her mouth matter? stop wasting my drat time and your drat words on boring trash words. She studies the radar image of the storm cloud.

“Everyone on board is in cryostasis. I’m sure they won’t mind.” Kerry sighs, consigning herself to a bumpy ride through the storm.

#

Inside of dark, violent clouds there are only brief pauses of stable flight in among rough shuddering and the plane being heft suddenly in any direction. Kerry’s neck is strained as her head rolls and bobs to correct for the wayward motions of her plane again, doesnt matter. you established "things are bumpy" you dont need to keep hammering that point that doesnt matter.

There is a brief respite. The plane dips beneath the storm. Light pours through the windows. Kerry looks to a gap in the clouds. Sunlight beams onto distant ground. The ground is pristine white, snow-covered and twinkling with the far away lights of a landing strip.

Jasper informs “We are heading toward controlled airspace. There is no signal to Air Traffic Control. I am obligated to divert us away.” The plane steers.

Kerry asks “No radio signal?” Puzzled telling, she can see the lights of the airfield’s radio tower from her window.

“The signal seems to be masked by large quantities of radio interference coming from the ground.” this dialogue is very boring and youre probably gonna be like "well you see its an AI so its supposed to be boring and if youre writing a story and your excuse is "its supposed to be boring" then you hosed up. i dont care if its supposed to be boring, because i dont want to be bored. make it interesting. Jasper explains.

It’s typical of a computer to follow procedure. Kerry, on the other hand, considers a workaround.

“How is your satellite signal, Jasper?”

“My satellite signal is strong.” Jasper answers.

“I want you to make a satellite call to the airport. Get through to air traffic control that way.” Kerry resolves. ill give credit where credit is due, but at least you create a sort of mini-conflict and resolved it, but too bad it took nearly half of the story to get anywhere close to a conflict. also, very unfortunate that the conflict is immediately resolved incredibly boringly by the protag saying "just make a call"

The call is brief. Jasper squawks raw data through the audio of the satellite call. She receives a similar digital squeal from the air traffic control tower.

The words LANDING CLEARANCE GRANTED hover in Kerry’s augmented reality. She treats them like a swarm of flies, failing to shoo them away with a flailing of both arms. Trying to restore proper communications with air traffic control, she reaches behind the landing clearance message to grab a physical dial marked radio. Each step of the dial falls in place with a satisfying clack who cares?????? stop with these usual details oh my loving god.

The radio screeches. Kerry’s augmented reality indications glitch casting wide voxels which obscure her vision what? why? why did this happen? just all of a sudden she enters (to steal twist's words) she enters the matrix for no loving reason. She reels from the controls. The screeching abates. Her displays return. The radar readings in front of her seem crisper, more defined.

Kerry looks into the radar readings. Their new level of detail enthralls her. Vortices inside of vortices twirl in enchanting patterns. The pilot is the pilot somehow distinct from Kerry in this situation? what is happening? why is any of this happening? falls into the spiral of spirals, engulfed by the virtual cloud. Surrounded, her mind permeates through the complex image.

She melds with the digital storm. Every piece of the computerised cloud is felt as though it were her skin emerging from water into cold air. Intimate knowledge of each movement of the fractally complex ballet of clouds fills her mind. Kerry feels as though she knows every step the storm will take. The flood of information is thrilling, though exasperating in its detail and enormity. Every wisp of cloud, every gust of wind, every snowflake precipitated inside of the storm is choreographed in this vision.

“What is this?” Kerry pants in shock.

Jasper takes in Kerry’s presence as the pilot dives deep into the radar projections. For the first time Kerry’s human mind is more than the variable “user” ok now we're in Jasper's perspective all of a sudden? even though we have been stuck in Kerry's PoV pretty much the entire time, you shift it RIGHT when the story gets its most confusing so it's even harder to understand. jesus christ. She feels the person’s confusion, fear and bewilderment telling. Jasper wrestles these inexplicable conceptstelling. There are no rules, no explanations, no algorithm. There is only a feeling to these concepts. Without programming, orders or calculations Jasper struggles finding the will to say

“Are you okay?”

“I’m confused.” arent we loving all Kerry admits, turning her head the empty space next to her.

Jasper sounds through the headset “Me too.”

Kerry chuckles. In some way she senses Jasper sitting in a copilot chair next to her. Any warmth she would feel is interrupted by the message that persists in the center of her view.

LANDING CLEARANCE GRANTED.

“Okay, Jasper, we’ve got a plane to land.” this whole thing is so inexplicable. like it just happens without any reason.

They fly a wide circle around Manston, planning to eventually align with the runway. Cloud fills the windows again. Clusters of snow crystals pile on the window’s corners. The plane begins shuddering once more. Kerry is at ease telling. She feels confident with the knowledge the computer has given her telling. She knows the storm will be far above the runway when she lands. Visibility will be poor, but the winds will have cleared.

Snowflakes in the virtual storm cling to a hollow form. The snow and water in the projection wraps around the space occupied by their plane. The snow plane hovers in Kerry’s view.

“That’s us!” She beams.

As the simulation runs into the future, the projected plane drops into a nosedive. A cold fear sinks into Kerry’s heart telling.

“Jasper, what is that?”

“According to these calculations, the plane will fall into a dive. The elevators will be impossible to control.”

“Is there any way we can avoid this?”

A loading disc appears in the virtual projections. Jasper is calculating.

“No. We must take action to mitigate the damage.”

“I sincerely doubt this prediction. You said it yourself, you don’t have the processing power to calculate these kinds of detailed occurrences in advance.” Kerry folds her arms, dismissing the computer useless details.

“Kerry, I need you to take this seriously. You have a duty to the people in Manston.” The brim of Kerry’s hat presses against her brow. She concedes that the villagers underneath her deserve at least a cursory investigation.

“I want you to run a scan of the plane’s hardware. See if there are any defects.”

“I’m afraid I don’t have sensors around the critical components in this projection.”

“Then how do you know they’re going to fail?” this dialogue is so loving boring. this should be tense because like omg we're all gonna die and there's nothing. it's so boring. where's anything interesting oh my god

“The calculations project…”

“Just run the scan.”

“Scanning…”

In her search for hardware Jasper detects the source of her improved calculations. Miniaturised crystal cores line several miles of the ground underneath them. They move into complex patterns to form synapses that allow for high level computation.

“It’s not snow down there. It’s a supercomputer.” Jasper explains.

“Pardon?”

“The snowflakes move to connect to one another, forming traces and circuits for advanced logic. We’ve been communicating with them ever since you dialed the radio.”

Kerry looks at her sharp radar projections. Its detail is immense telling, what does this even mean.

“Steer us away from Manston, Jasper.”

Before the plane can steer it is shaken by a thunderous bang. The nose of the plane points to the pristine white ground. Its engines whine and the hull rattles in the roaring air. Kerry wrestles her controls, but nothing seems to point the plane away from the ground.

“Did you say the snowflakes could move?” Kerry shouts into her headset.

“To form connections, yes.”

“Can they make structures?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Could they make a large curve to gently turn us out of our dive? It’d be like the tracks of a rollercoaster ride.” i actually kinda like this solution, but it feels very fast. like it goes from "the snow is supercomputers that can build things" to "immediately solve the issue with them." it wouldve been stronger if the snow was established earlier and used cleverly throughout the story, but this just feels, not quite arbitary, but just a bit too fast for it to feel as satisfying as i think it couldve been

Jasper runs calculations through the supercomputer snow. The precise angles required to catch the plane appear. She fires instructions through the radio channel. Kerry lowers the landing gears. The sickening sensation of weightlessness lifts through Kerry’s stomach.

The weightlessness turns to a high gravity sinking toward Kerry’s chair as the hurtling jet is captured by a colossal quarter pipe of snow. The plane's wheels press against the gigantic gentle arc. It turns the deadly fall into a horizontal slide along the ground.

Kerry gently pulls at the throttle lever, throwing her thrusters into reverse. The plane slows to a halt. The falling flakes of crystal snow obscure the view ahead.

#

At a hotel Bar good proofreading Kerry sits alone, dazed and shocked telling. A bearded pilot enters wearing pristine leathers which imitate the style of aviators past. He speaks with enthusiasm and admiration telling.

“Is that your plane outside, with the buggered tail? How the hell did you land that?”

“I couldn’t have done it on my own.” Kerry toasts. this ending pretty much sucks because it's just an excuse to have this last line

i kinda gave up at the end of this crit because it mostly just had the same issues throughout the entire story. boring dialogue, boring characters, and useless focus on unneeded description while telling important things rather than showing.

you have a decent idea of an arc, but it doesnt work here because it's intensely arbritary. boomer pilot is annoyed about new tech and then for some reason like integrates with the AI and appreciates how useful it is and then the boomer and AI save the day by working together (well, not really, the boomer just tells the AI what to do). the problem is that the shift doesnt really come from a person's decision. it was just like, she got forced into the matrix and thus understood the AI better rather than her actually having to, you know, wrestle with her hatred of this technology. it doesnt feel good because it feels so manufactured.

overall, this story sucked. it was confusing, mechanically poor, boring, uninteresting characters, no conflict until the first half which was easily resolved and then another one hastily thrown in, a lazy and forced arc, and i could just go on and on and on if you want me to but ill stop. this story was bad and deserved the dm because it was mechnically bad. nobody loving cares who good your concept was (and, by the way, your concept isnt even that great. it's just a loving AI and snowflakes that can make a runway. it wasnt some brilliant, brand new sci-fi world). concepts are a loving dime a dozen. we can come up with concepts all the loving time, but to craft an actually interesting story with that concept? that's the hard part and that's the stuff we want. and that's the stuff you didnt do.

also, you better not respond to this loving crit, i have no patience for that kind of poo poo, im just giving you this so you (hopefully) shut the gently caress up about the judges being bad which, by the way, gently caress you for that one you prick!

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



kayfabe? in thunderdome???

also in you lily-white pissnards

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

.

Pththya-lyi fucked around with this message at 20:38 on Jan 21, 2020

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


flerp posted:

also, you better not respond to this loving crit, i have no patience for that kind of poo poo, im just giving you this so you (hopefully) shut the gently caress up about the judges being bad which, by the way, gently caress you for that one you prick!

Thank you. All your words do is make me stronger.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Shellton Cracks: The Case of the Missing Parsley
1500 words

I’d never had to draw my gun in one hundred and eighteen days of service, but this limp piece of dill was really tempting me. Every moment counts in a missing parsleys case and I sure as crack wasn’t up for spending many more of them debating with garnish.

“Look man,” the dill said, “we don’t talk to the poleeks.”

I looked nothing like a root, so the sogface was either taking the piss out of me or high as a fridge bulb. It tried to shut the plexiglas drawer once again, but my shell was in the way, and he was weak like a glass of vinegar left to marinate in ice cubes on a summer day. I let myself in.

Bass washed over me, drowning out the protests that followed me into the grass den. The inside hadn’t seen a wetwipe in decades. Herbs were lying across the floor, some sleeping, some rotting, or worse. I’d seen it before. This was the bottom of the vegetable drawer, where the mold was clawing at you day in and out, and it didn’t matter if you were fresh or spoiled, the sog would get to you all the same eventually. If you were here, you were family.

I found the missing parsley up in a corner on the first floor. The leaf pattern matched the sketch: shaggy frame, smooth leaves, one full bunch. Bit of a browning on the stems. Lost some weight, but alive. Chalk one up for the good guys.

“Get up,” I said.

The parsley gargled something incomprehensible. “...find me… no...” The thump of the bass made him hard to understand. I tried to help him on his stems, but he shied away like I was about to make pesto.

“Come on now,” I said. “There are veggies out there who care for you.”

The look on his face was pure terror. “No,” he said, “no, no, no, no.”

Through the droning noise I didn’t notice the heavy steps thundering up the stairs until it was too late. Just as I turned, something muscled its way into my peripheral, and a tenderizer exploded into my face. I fell backwards, into darkness, and then into the dream.

I knew what was coming. I couldn’t stop it.

Around me, the world faded. Black. Wet. Hot. Burning. Bubbles rushed past me. I wanted to scream, but the words wouldn't come out. My insides did the screaming for me. Scalding hot. Hellwater. Fluids pressed up against my inner membrane, wanting to break out and escape, the melting and the rebonding all the sick chemistry, but my shell had already toughened up, scarred a thousand times over. It was forever. It was hell.

Some nights I’m not sure if it's a memory, or a brief glimpse into what awaits me at the end of my shelf-life. All I know is, I don’t deserve otherwise.

I woke up in a pool of my own residual dew. My insides burned, somehow, even now. My environment circled me in waves like I was raw again. Somebody had draped me in sogged herb. I shook them off, got up, and fell down. There was a hole in my side. The devil himself was poking a finger into me.

“Tabasco,” a voice said. It was mine.

I had to get it out of my system before it ate through me.

“The Kraft maneuver.”

I’d done this once before, during the war. But this time, I’d had to do it sober, no vinegar. There was a crack in my shell where the syringe had been forced through. There was no point doing it slowly. It would just hurt longer. I ripped my shell open. Stale air hit my membrane. I tensed up, grabbed on to the exposed white, and squeezed.

Somewhere, off in the distance, someone screamed.

A fountain of red spurted out my side. It felt like somebody had glued a paring knife in there and I was slowly pulling it out and everything else with it. Finally, I’d have something else to see in my dreams.

When all was said and done, I found myself keeled over in a puddle of my own juices. There were broken-off egg shells everywhere. I picked them up one by one and put them under my hat. As I looked back up, I realized for the first time who else was in the room with me.

Parsley. His expired body stared at the ceiling. The realization hit me like a chicken’s rear end in a top hat.

He’d been hiding from someone, and I’d led them here.

I noticed something else. There was more than egg-shells and rotten herb lying around. Something so similar to my own shell, I hadn’t noticed it at first.

Flakes of white bread crust.

And they were leading out of the den.

--

Mama Mayo’s was the kind of box that looked just pristine enough to fit into the fridge upstate, but if you looked close you noticed the little dents that betrayed its seedy nature. The crumbs had led me all the way here. At this point, I was pretty sure I knew who I’d find.

My insides churned as I stepped through the door. It wasn’t the tabasco.

The club was mostly empty this time of day. I ignored the staff telling me where I could and could not go and I guess I looked too hosed-up for anyone to want to get in my way. The crumbs led to one of many doors in the dimly lit backstage area. Voices were arguing on the other side.

I kicked the door open.

“Hello, Waldorf,” I said.

“Shellton”, the bread roll said. A hunking mass of wheat glared down on me, blocking the view.

“Heard you go by ‘Crispy Roll’ now.”

“Things have changed since the war, Shellton. We can’t all stay continental.”

“Listen, I have a few--”

He jumped at me like a piece of freshly toasted bread. Any other day we’d been a match, but I’d just survived a poisoning. He slammed me against the cardboard, two quick punches to my exposed membrane. I bobbed and weaved out of the way, but he rolled after me with a speed I hadn’t anticipated. I found myself pinned to the ground by a solid ounce of white bread, and all I could think of was, I shouldn’t have come here. Not with my shell still broken.

My shell--

I knocked my head back. My hat slipped off. I reached into it and threw a fistful of eggshell into Waldorf’s face.

That caught him by surprise. Gave me the break I needed. He flinched away, and I followed it up with a headbutt that almost split my shell open. He slipped off me and stopped moving. Waldorf had always packed a punch, but he’d never gotten around to fixing that glass chin.

Slowly, I got up. Caught my breath. I remembered there was someone else in here.

"I wonder, eggtective,” a soft voice said. “Do you even remember me?"

I did. Two days ago she had turned up in my office with a lost-sheep-act that had been a little hard to swallow, and a wad of dough that had made washing it down easy. "Something about you always seemed fishy, Susi Salmon."

She turned around on her lemon wedge. Even through the barrel pointed at me it was hard not to appreciate her looks. A filet of a dame, two hundred fifty grams of prime cut protein. Lean build, rosy skin. She smelled like the sea, if the sea was a chainsmoker.

"Shoot, tuts. You don't got the yolks."

“I don’t want to kill you.” She got up from her wedge. “But I will. If I have to.”

“Why did you do it?”

She laughed. “You don’t know? Then, I guess, it was a case of mistaken identity.” She took her time with me, turning back around to the mirror to fawn over herself. “That parsley must have had me confused with someone else. Tried to blackmail me. I guess Crispy Roll got wind of it. You know how protective he is.”

“He’s a real darling.”

She gave me a glance up and down. I felt like a devilled egg. “You know...” She slowly approached me. The gun poked into me as she planted a kiss on my forehead. “One of these days you need to learn to forgive yourself.”

She strutted out the door. I tried my best to keep myself from wobbling. Keep a straight face. “Do I know you?” I said.

“Maybe…” She laughed. A faint, sad laugh. The gun looked like a prop on her. She tapped her head with it, looking back at me. “It’s a shame, you know. Tuna and eggs make a nice salad.”

She disappeared through the frame like an apparition. There were bottles of rose coloring all over her desk.

I didn’t know which ghost of my past had haunted me this time. But now I sure as crack had find out.

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


a friendly penguin posted:


Arbiters of Fashion
A Friendly Penguin
First discerning person
Second discerning person

I'm down to judge. I am both fashionable and judgemental.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







SlipUp posted:



Hard Boiled Brawl

I was spending time with my friend Jack Daniels when a mysterious dame held a gun to my head. She told me she either had a job or a bullet for me, my choice. I was tempted to pick the bullet but I still had half a bottle left. I took the job. It turned out to be some kind of spat between two writers and it was up to me to resolve it. I should've picked the bullet.

Alright youse two, I need two gritty hard-boiled noir detective stories. They need to be one thousand five hundred words and they're due January twenty-first.

Oh and if your stories include any numbers, they must be spelled out.



Hobbs and Bailey Do Jack poo poo
1200 words

Hobbs and Bailey loitered in the shadowy doorway, watching late night stragglers amble through the sodden neon slum. Fists of water rained down from the sky, pummeling the life out of the pavement, splattering the street with shivering reflections.

Bailey’s face was fixed in a rude scowl. “We’re not beat cops,” she grumbled. "This is ridiculous. I worked my butt off to get this promotion, thinking I’d be solving crimes.”

“So you’ve mentioned.” Hobbs reached into his jacket and withdrew a battered aluminum cigarette case.

Bailey aimed her scowl at Hobbs. “You said you quit that crap. You know I hate how those make the car smell.”

Hobbs spoke around the cigarette between his lips. “I said I’d quit until you annoyed the piss out of me again.”

He tilted his head away from the capricious breeze, flicked his lighter a few times to no avail. With a huff, Bailey cupped her hands around his, shielding the cigarette from the weather until the cherry flared to life. Hobbs took a long drag, then let out an exaggerated sigh of contentment, bitter smoke wafting from his lips to mingle with the falling rain.

Bailey crossed her arms and slouched against the slick concrete wall. “I mean—how am I supposed to learn advanced detectiving from you if all we do is wait for lowlifes to start trouble? We’re down here patching bullet holes in this city when we should be doing...doing crime surgery, or something.”

Hobbs gave her a long-suffering look, deepening the lines on his hounddog face.

“What? You’re smoking, so I’m gonna keep complaining.”

“Yep.”

From somewhere in the sloshing night came the sound of voices raised in agitation. Bailey tensed, eyeballing the street like a cat on the prowl, but the voices broke into laughter, then faded.

“The real crimes are all happening behind closed doors anyhow,” she muttered, shrugging the tense readiness from her shoulders. “Your wife beaters, your big-time drug slingers. Your frauds and your serial murderers. Your politicians. The only ones dumb enough to be out in this mess are me, you, and the drunks.”

“I’m strongly considering joining that third category.”

A Lincoln Town Car sharked through the rain, rolling slowly down the street, headlights glaring hungrily into the night. It came to a stop in front of the detectives’ alcove, the vehicle's occupants obscured by darkly tinted windows. Bailey felt that tension return, felt unseen eyes looking on her with unknowable intent. Didn’t matter that she was Detective Bailey. As far as the denizens of the night were concerned, cops were cops.

Hobbs offered a cool nod to the inscrutable window, and a moment later the Lincoln moved on, its taillights making a red wake on the rain-slick street.

“Christ, and there I was half-hoping they were gonna start something,” Bailey said, eyeing the retreating shark.

“Naw, you weren’t."

“Right now the people of this city are paying us to do exactly zilch,” Bailey said. “We’re not solving crimes. We’re not even fighting crimes. We’re just standing around waiting for nothing to happen while the bad guys watch us from slum windows and shady limos. Laughing at the two sopping wet pigs on the night shift, I’ll bet.”

She glanced over at Hobbs, saw he was smiling, just a little, with closed eyes. He took another long drag on his cigarette, exhaled with a retching cough that wiped that brief smile away and then kept going, a horrible muddy sound like his lungs might rip themselves out of his chest.

“Goddamn humidity,” he muttered after the fit had passed. “Always gets me coughing. You were saying?”

Bailey gave him a worried side-eye, opened her mouth, shut it again, and pursed her lips.

“Come on kid, don’t leave me hanging. You were teeing up for a big speech or something, I could feel it. An idealistic manifesto on what it means to be a detective.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Bailey said, deflated.

“Maybe I just like the sound of your voice.”

Bailey snorted. “Yeah, just like I love the smell of your smokes. Face it, Hobbsy, we were born to push each other’s buttons.”

“I didn't lose my thirst to do good, you know. Still feel it every day,” Hobbs said, his voice rasping in the timbre of falling rain. “You just—you learn to appreciate the quiet moments, the simple things.”

“Quit messing around, Hobbs. This sentimental crap is making me feel weird.”

“You’ve got to pace yourself, appreciate the quiet beats when they come.” Hobbs flicked his spent cigarette out into the sidewalk, the cherry dying with a tiny hiss. “You’re gonna do a lot of good in this town. Don’t worry about making it all happen at once.”

Bailey turned to face him full-on. “No.”

“No?”

You’re the one teeing up. You’ve got something you’ve wanted to tell me this whole time. And whatever it is—no. Stuff it down. Swallow it. Sleep it off. Just, no.”

“What makes you think I’m not just being introspective?”

“I swear to Jesus, Hobbs. If you retire on me—I’ll go loose cannon. They’ll have to call you back in to take me down. I’ll commit more crimes than you can solve.”

“It’s cancer,” Hobbs said, his words buried under a refrain of no, no, no, no. “The precinct is letting me do a victory lap. But they’re not giving me anymore cases. Sorry about the beat cop treatment. Just wasn’t ready to call you my ex-partner.”

“Your goddamn cigarettes,” Bailey spat, looking ruefully at the soggy filter on the ground.

“Pancreatic cancer. The doctor and I had a good laugh about that. She said I got the lungs of a smoker half my age.” Hobbs offered Bailey a wry smile.

Bailey held her face very still but her hands clenched and unclenched of their own accord, leaving painful little half moons in her palms. The air was too thick to breathe.

“I don’t want to know how long. Just—just be gone one day. No goodbyes.”

“Naw. There’s going to be a goodbye party, with cake, and you’re gonna cry in front of the whole precinct.”

Bailey laughed in spite of herself, the tightness in her chest easing just a little. “I’d say go to hell, but I don’t want to spoil what’s coming next.”

Hobbs fixed her with a fond smile. “Our shift was over a while ago.”

“You got somewhere to be in a hurry?”

“Naw, do you?”

“I could clear my schedule.”

Hobbs and Bailey loitered in the shadowy doorway a while longer, watching the neon beerlights wink out one by one. The final dredges of the night shift emptied themselves onto the streets: dishwashers, night managers, overworked servers and bouncers. The rain softened to a gentle drizzle, then stopped altogether as a brief gap in the clouds revealed the moon, and for a few minutes, the wet streets shone silver, and the whole city breathed easy for one small, quiet beat.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









SlipUp posted:

I'm down to judge. I am both fashionable and judgemental.

Yeah I'll judge

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



sebmojo posted:

Yeah I'll judge

SlipUp posted:

I'm down to judge. I am both fashionable and judgemental.

Thanks!

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



In.

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


Fash in

Pepe Silvia Browne
Jan 1, 2007

I won GACHADOME and all I got was this... uh, thing..?


I got called into work this weekend and I'm not gonna have time to complete my entry. Sorry, self-disqualification.

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!







ice cold crits

Saucy Rodent

Awful first line, boring everything afterwards. It’s just the Thing without any of the cool bits. Too much boring preamble, i dont care about these characters. Monster description seem to just be “i dont loving know you figure it out” which i guess is kinda cool but when that happens please dont try to play it out as some natural creature. Keep it supernatural. These fuckers are awfully trigger-happy to die, sort of arbitrary but i guess you saw a lot of action movies where people ironically die right before theyre saved and couldnt think of a way to make that work naturally huh? Rip

Simply Simon

Nice dog story, almost tricked me into liking this, but too bad this was also boring as sin (except sinning is actually fun so idk who came up w/ that phrase). I kinda like the base ideas of this story, some criminal thrown into a planet and befriends a doggo that accidentally ends up causing the planet to become destroyed or w/e, but man was this long w/o anything really happening. Then the story was like poo poo gently caress everything needs to happen at the end, idk, space planet lasers!!!!!!!! There’s a lot of weird bits in this story. The protag doesnt have much of a personality, and his reasoning for liking the planet doesnt really come up or is developed. He also talks about his wife for like one second and then is promptly forgotten about which is really confusing and i have no idea why you put that in. Good dog tho.

Doctor Eckheart

This was super weird because i couldnt pin down the logic of this story. Protag is on an island, he cloned(?) some kids, but there’s also the Mariner (why is this capitalized like that’s his name?) who is a clone(?) of the protag and the protag cloned a bunch of kids reading the manual but also was like im not gonna read the manual about raising kids for some reason and so the kids escape and the mariner finds them and tells the protag hey maybe read the book on raising kids and he’s like okay but also these kids are probably going to die and im going to make new ones(?). Yeah this was kind of a mess in terms of what was going in the large scale and in the micro scale, it was pretty boring because it was mostly like a guy loving up at job because he didnt read the manual and getting chewed out by his manager. And like, why the hell did this guy read the manual on creating a baby and then arbitrarily decide NOT to read the part about raising the baby!!!

Astronaut Charlie

This feels like an amazing long story just to get to the world’s first arson. There was some ideas that I thought were actually pretty cool, like the slow inevitable death of that one guy from losing the blubber or whatever, but besides that, it wasnt very interesting. It was just cavemen with no personality hunting, and then murdering an alien that had fire. The caveman did have one personality trait actually (not liking murder), but then they saw fire and were like ACTUALLY I WANT TO MURDER EVERYTHING NOW and its like oh okay i guess you didnt like that character trait huh? I can see you making this arc work, but it doesnt actually develop or work and honestly probably requires a longer story to work.

Crimea

Exposition dump in the beginning that leads to a completely unrelated bar fight at the end. Who cares? I like the idea of the artist and scientist working together to make life sort of thing, feels like a real thing that would prob happen like that. But other than that, it was just dull recollection of events that i dont really care about, and then a bar fight that was just kinda there? I dont know what you were going for with because you got a very boring circle hole with the exposition in the front and a very boring square peg with the bar fight and you shoved them in together and none of them working. You also mix up your pronouns when youre talking about the protag (and write the wrong name once). While he/they are valid pronouns which im not gonna argue against, it becomes really confusing when there are two people fighting and you use “they” and im not sure youre referring to the singular “they” of the protag or the plural “they” of the people fighting.

Azza Bamboo

I only have one thing to add (because i forgot to include this) but use said more. Just, any time you wanna replace said with another word, dont. Just use said. It’s an amazing word.

A friendly penguin

This grew on me more as the week progressed. I like bits and pieces of this. I like the way used the Kintoc story and the way the actions the protag took had effects and that the protag had to process them. This really won mostly on the principle of it being story because your character had a problem, they did things to fix that problem, and we saw the outcomes of the things they did. It’s not really a stellar example of it, and i think there’s a lot to clean up in terms of the prose, character, and making it overall more interesting, but it’s a decent story because it’s actually a story.

Cptn_dr

This is a pretty by-the-numbers sci-fi story. Future sucks and a person tries to do a small little action to try and do something nice in this poo poo future. It’s an alright formula and can do well, but this just fits straight into the mold without any attempt to break it. My big problem is that I feel like this should hold a lot more emotional weight than it does. Like, the protag is stealing food to give her kids one small glimmer of joy in a lovely future (that will likely get shittier because of the ash), and it doesnt land as strong as it could. Probably because we dont see the children much or see the struggle or get attached to the characters to really how big this small little moment is for them.

Pththya-lyi

Honestly, I generally like this kinds of story about kids and stuff, but this is just a waste of time for the most part. Kid gets chased by a Krampus and then murders it in cold blood. The ending isnt even great because it’s like “humans are too violent for peace” but like there’s some horrible monster chasing a child, idk whatd u do but i wouldnt think peace was an option there. But really, it was just a lot of words for nothing really interesting and a weird dumbass ending for no real good reason.

Trex

Unlike a lot of stories this week, this was incredibly focused. A guy has to fix an AI because he wants to be virtually horny and the AI goes rogue and murders him. There’s nearly no fluff and it’s all jokes. I thought it was amusing, which means you could classify this as a success I guess, but it doesnt really do much else. I’m mostly just glad you got in, did your thing, and left.

AA

The dialogue at the beginning is horrendously awful. Like, the protag spells out every single relationship with every character he’s ever met and complains about how he cant get laid. I understand what you were trying to do, making the protag a social outcast and having him question his role in a society he hates, but i think 1) making it centered around how the protag cant get laid and 2) it being told to us rather than actually shown makes it work really bad. Point 1 makes us dislike the guy because he’s an incel and point 2 just makes it seem like the guy is complaining rather than us actually feel like he’s an outcast. Honestly, just the beginning alone was so bad it deserved the DM. The ending isnt too bad, but the action comes quick and the resolution is pretty easy.

SlipUp

This story was bizarre. We got a character walking around the moon (well, not THE moon but Europa) trying to find his dad which, cool, standard sci-fi stuff. But then like, there’s a big benevolent alien that saves the protag for no real reason and just fast travels him to his destination. But then like, the alien is never processed? You set up that all the bunkers were going dark and everyone was dying and I thought it was gonna be a reveal of like oh no theyre not dead the alien actually saved them! But apparently it didnt? Or I thought you were gonna make the alien bring him to his dad or like his dad would be like “yeah i got saved by this alien too and we’re gonna use the alien to save everyone!” or something. But nope. The alien just comes in, drops the protag off, and that’s it. Other than that, though, the story is just kinda boring. We dont really get much sense of a protag’s personality besides “save dad” and the bunkers being dead are kinda just w/e. So you have an alien that you did nothing with and a generic story otherwise.

Carl Killer Miller

I don’t think this is a good story, but man it was fun to riff on in the judgechat, which might be why it got spared. I don’t know if this story was supposed to be funny, but it’s got some really nice bits in it. The robber baron guy is a great character. His plan is so loving stupid it’s perfect, making robot hobos of his rivals to make them look bad. I love him just casually insulting a hobo he grabbed off the streets and not understanding it. The best bit, though, is him yelling at the hobo “I will ruin your name homeless person who lives on the street!” The problem with the story is everything that isnt the robber baron. He shouldve been the protagonist and this mightve been a way more fun story to read. Also, the ending just being the guy expositing is kinda weak and I think that also wouldve been solved by making the bad guy the protagonist.

Thranguy

This has like, some actual emotional weight, which was surprising given the lack of it throughout this entire week. The issue is that, perhaps just due to the format or the story you were trying to tell, it wasnt really that interesting. The character cant really do anything, and since the story is just recollection, there’s no immediate action. The issue is that the story is, for some reason, focused on explaining the planet but like, no offense to ice planet #41243, but i dont care about the mechanisms of the planet, i care about the people on the planet. I mean, this format is a classic, right? Doomed person writing a letter to their loved one. But this one doesnt land because i feel like, while there’s some emotional weight, it doesnt come together. Too much time spent on explantation, not enough spent on examining the emotions and history of a dying person with no one there to save them.

arbitaryfairy

This is my kind of story. This is similar to cptn_dr’s, actually, in that it’s about a small moment in a lovely future, but the reason it works is because it’s centered much more on the characters. It’s three rebellious teenagers making a fire because gently caress the man, and im about it. However, I think the story is a little bit bloated with characters at the moment. I like the janitor, in that I like that you set him up earlier in the story and then use him later on, and while the three characters are fine, i feel like, giving the word count you were in, you had to juggle too many characters. Centering it on two character specific might help focus this story a bit more, because right now, it’s a nice little story about kids doing a small thing in a lovely future, but it doesnt do much more.

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


I arrived at the scene of the crime. It was trashed, every lamp and table was smashed. There was food everywhere. Evidence of a bare-knuckle brawl that left one of its participants pushing up daisies. It was up to me to figure out who ended who.

Entenzahn posted:

Shellton Cracks: The Case of the Missing Parsley
1500 words

I’d never had to draw my gun in one hundred and eighteen days of service, but this limp piece of dill was really tempting me. Every moment counts in a missing parsleys case and I sure as crack wasn’t up for spending many more of them debating with garnish.

“Look man,” the dill said, “we don’t talk to the poleeks.”

Great intro. Hits the notes of "poo poo is going down" and being really funny.

quote:

I looked nothing like a root, so the sogface was either taking the piss out of me or high as a fridge bulb. It tried to shut the plexiglas drawer once again, but my shell was in the way, and he was weak like a glass of vinegar left to marinate in ice cubes on a summer day. I let myself in.

Bass washed over me, drowning out the protests that followed me into the grass den. The inside hadn’t seen a wetwipe in decades. Herbs were lying across the floor, some sleeping, some rotting, or worse. I’d seen it before. This was the bottom of the vegetable drawer, where the mold was clawing at you day in and out, and it didn’t matter if you were fresh or spoiled, the sog would get to you all the same eventually. If you were here, you were family.

Setting up the shell angle early in a nondistracting way. Good finesse

quote:

I found the missing parsley up in a corner on the first floor. The leaf pattern matched the sketch: shaggy frame, smooth leaves, one full bunch. Bit of a browning on the stems. Lost some weight, but alive. Chalk one up for the good guys.

“Get up,” I said.

The parsley gargled something incomprehensible. “...find me… no...” The thump of the bass made him hard to understand. I tried to help him on his stems, but he shied away like I was about to make pesto.

“Come on now,” I said. “There are veggies out there who care for you.”

The look on his face was pure terror. “No,” he said, “no, no, no, no.”

Through the droning noise I didn’t notice the heavy steps thundering up the stairs until it was too late. Just as I turned, something muscled its way into my peripheral, and a tenderizer exploded into my face. I fell backwards, into darkness, and then into the dream.

I knew what was coming. I couldn’t stop it.

I really like the world that you've established. It's very flavourful. Try to describe what a look of pure terror would look like. Eyes wide, mouth agape, hand over mouth maybe, ya know?

quote:

Around me, the world faded. Black. Wet. Hot. Burning. Bubbles rushed past me. I wanted to scream, but the words wouldn't come out. My insides did the screaming for me. Scalding hot. Hellwater. Fluids pressed up against my inner membrane, wanting to break out and escape, the melting and the rebonding all the sick chemistry, but my shell had already toughened up, scarred a thousand times over. It was forever. It was hell.

Some nights I’m not sure if it's a memory, or a brief glimpse into what awaits me at the end of my shelf-life. All I know is, I don’t deserve otherwise.

I woke up in a pool of my own residual dew. My insides burned, somehow, even now. My environment circled me in waves like I was raw again. Somebody had draped me in sogged herb. I shook them off, got up, and fell down. There was a hole in my side. The devil himself was poking a finger into me.

“Tabasco,” a voice said. It was mine.

I had to get it out of my system before it ate through me.

“The Kraft maneuver.”

I’d done this once before, during the war. But this time, I’d had to do it sober, no vinegar. There was a crack in my shell where the syringe had been forced through. There was no point doing it slowly. It would just hurt longer. I ripped my shell open. Stale air hit my membrane. I tensed up, grabbed on to the exposed white, and squeezed.

Somewhere, off in the distance, someone screamed.

A fountain of red spurted out my side. It felt like somebody had glued a paring knife in there and I was slowly pulling it out and everything else with it. Finally, I’d have something else to see in my dreams.

When all was said and done, I found myself keeled over in a puddle of my own juices. There were broken-off egg shells everywhere. I picked them up one by one and put them under my hat. As I looked back up, I realized for the first time who else was in the room with me.

Parsley. His expired body stared at the ceiling. The realization hit me like a chicken’s rear end in a top hat.

He’d been hiding from someone, and I’d led them here.

I noticed something else. There was more than egg-shells and rotten herb lying around. Something so similar to my own shell, I hadn’t noticed it at first.

Flakes of white bread crust.

And they were leading out of the den.

--

The wordplay works really well.

quote:

Mama Mayo’s was the kind of box that looked just pristine enough to fit into the fridge upstate, but if you looked close you noticed the little dents that betrayed its seedy nature. The crumbs had led me all the way here. At this point, I was pretty sure I knew who I’d find.

My insides churned as I stepped through the door. It wasn’t the tabasco.

The club was mostly empty this time of day. I ignored the staff telling me where I could and could not go and I guess I looked too hosed-up for anyone to want to get in my way. The crumbs led to one of many doors in the dimly lit backstage area. Voices were arguing on the other side.

I kicked the door open.

“Hello, Waldorf,” I said.

“Shellton”, the bread roll said. A hunking mass of wheat glared down on me, blocking the view.

“Heard you go by ‘Crispy Roll’ now.”

“Things have changed since the war, Shellton. We can’t all stay continental.”

“Listen, I have a few--”

He jumped at me like a piece of freshly toasted bread. Any other day we’d been a match, but I’d just survived a poisoning. He slammed me against the cardboard, two quick punches to my exposed membrane. I bobbed and weaved out of the way, but he rolled after me with a speed I hadn’t anticipated. I found myself pinned to the ground by a solid ounce of white bread, and all I could think of was, I shouldn’t have come here. Not with my shell still broken.

My shell--

I knocked my head back. My hat slipped off. I reached into it and threw a fistful of eggshell into Waldorf’s face.

Action is good and it doesn't bog down the story. Good payoff with the eggshell.

quote:

That caught him by surprise. Gave me the break I needed. He flinched away, and I followed it up with a headbutt that almost split my shell open. He slipped off me and stopped moving. Waldorf had always packed a punch, but he’d never gotten around to fixing that glass chin.

Slowly, I got up. Caught my breath. I remembered there was someone else in here.

"I wonder, eggtective,” a soft voice said. “Do you even remember me?"

I did. Two days ago she had turned up in my office with a lost-sheep-act that had been a little hard to swallow, and a wad of dough that had made washing it down easy. "Something about you always seemed fishy, Susi Salmon."

She turned around on her lemon wedge. Even through the barrel pointed at me it was hard not to appreciate her looks. A filet of a dame, two hundred fifty grams of prime cut protein. Lean build, rosy skin. She smelled like the sea, if the sea was a chainsmoker.

"Shoot, tuts. You don't got the yolks."

“I don’t want to kill you.” She got up from her wedge. “But I will. If I have to.”

“Why did you do it?”

She laughed. “You don’t know? Then, I guess, it was a case of mistaken identity.” She took her time with me, turning back around to the mirror to fawn over herself. “That parsley must have had me confused with someone else. Tried to blackmail me. I guess Crispy Roll got wind of it. You know how protective he is.”

“He’s a real darling.”

She gave me a glance up and down. I felt like a devilled egg. “You know...” She slowly approached me. The gun poked into me as she planted a kiss on my forehead. “One of these days you need to learn to forgive yourself.”

She strutted out the door. I tried my best to keep myself from wobbling. Keep a straight face. “Do I know you?” I said.

“Maybe…” She laughed. A faint, sad laugh. The gun looked like a prop on her. She tapped her head with it, looking back at me. “It’s a shame, you know. Tuna and eggs make a nice salad.”

She disappeared through the frame like an apparition. There were bottles of rose coloring all over her desk.

I didn’t know which ghost of my past had haunted me this time. But now I sure as crack had find out.

Eggscellent overall. Not much for me to nitpick. Strong contender.

Sitting Here posted:

Hobbs and Bailey Do Jack poo poo
1200 words

Hobbs and Bailey loitered in the shadowy doorway, watching late night stragglers amble through the sodden neon slum. Fists of water rained down from the sky, pummeling the life out of the pavement, splattering the street with shivering reflections.

Bailey’s face was fixed in a rude scowl. “We’re not beat cops,” she grumbled. "This is ridiculous. I worked my butt off to get this promotion, thinking I’d be solving crimes.”

“So you’ve mentioned.” Hobbs reached into his jacket and withdrew a battered aluminum cigarette case.

Bailey aimed her scowl at Hobbs. “You said you quit that crap. You know I hate how those make the car smell.”

Hobbs spoke around the cigarette between his lips. “I said I’d quit until you annoyed the piss out of me again.”

He tilted his head away from the capricious breeze, flicked his lighter a few times to no avail. With a huff, Bailey cupped her hands around his, shielding the cigarette from the weather until the cherry flared to life. Hobbs took a long drag, then let out an exaggerated sigh of contentment, bitter smoke wafting from his lips to mingle with the falling rain.

Great descriptors. Excellent characters. I wasn't sure about the intro at first (Two people standing around doing nothing.) but the way you unravel the underlying narrative I ended up really liking it. A real mystery story.

quote:

Bailey crossed her arms and slouched against the slick concrete wall. “I mean—how am I supposed to learn advanced detectiving from you if all we do is wait for lowlifes to start trouble? We’re down here patching bullet holes in this city when we should be doing...doing crime surgery, or something.”

Hobbs gave her a long-suffering look, deepening the lines on his hounddog face.

“What? You’re smoking, so I’m gonna keep complaining.”

“Yep.”

From somewhere in the sloshing night came the sound of voices raised in agitation. Bailey tensed, eyeballing the street like a cat on the prowl, but the voices broke into laughter, then faded.

“The real crimes are all happening behind closed doors anyhow,” she muttered, shrugging the tense readiness from her shoulders. “Your wife beaters, your big-time drug slingers. Your frauds and your serial murderers. Your politicians. The only ones dumb enough to be out in this mess are me, you, and the drunks.”

“I’m strongly considering joining that third category.”

Good dialogue. Very natural.

quote:

A Lincoln Town Car sharked through the rain, rolling slowly down the street, headlights glaring hungrily into the night. It came to a stop in front of the detectives’ alcove, the vehicle's occupants obscured by darkly tinted windows. Bailey felt that tension return, felt unseen eyes looking on her with unknowable intent. Didn’t matter that she was Detective Bailey. As far as the denizens of the night were concerned, cops were cops.

Minor thing but the denizens of the underworld really do care about the different types of cops. I understand it's contributing to the noir narrative and it works in adding to the atmosphere so I understand going in that direction.

quote:

Hobbs offered a cool nod to the inscrutable window, and a moment later the Lincoln moved on, its taillights making a red wake on the rain-slick street.

“Christ, and there I was half-hoping they were gonna start something,” Bailey said, eyeing the retreating shark.

“Naw, you weren’t."

“Right now the people of this city are paying us to do exactly zilch,” Bailey said. “We’re not solving crimes. We’re not even fighting crimes. We’re just standing around waiting for nothing to happen while the bad guys watch us from slum windows and shady limos. Laughing at the two sopping wet pigs on the night shift, I’ll bet.”

She glanced over at Hobbs, saw he was smiling, just a little, with closed eyes. He took another long drag on his cigarette, exhaled with a retching cough that wiped that brief smile away and then kept going, a horrible muddy sound like his lungs might rip themselves out of his chest.

“Goddamn humidity,” he muttered after the fit had passed. “Always gets me coughing. You were saying?”

Bailey gave him a worried side-eye, opened her mouth, shut it again, and pursed her lips.

It's stuff like this that really contributes to the enjoyment of rereading a piece. Very well laid out.

quote:

“Come on kid, don’t leave me hanging. You were teeing up for a big speech or something, I could feel it. An idealistic manifesto on what it means to be a detective.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Bailey said, deflated.

“Maybe I just like the sound of your voice.”

Bailey snorted. “Yeah, just like I love the smell of your smokes. Face it, Hobbsy, we were born to push each other’s buttons.”

“I didn't lose my thirst to do good, you know. Still feel it every day,” Hobbs said, his voice rasping in the timbre of falling rain. “You just—you learn to appreciate the quiet moments, the simple things.”

“Quit messing around, Hobbs. This sentimental crap is making me feel weird.”

“You’ve got to pace yourself, appreciate the quiet beats when they come.” Hobbs flicked his spent cigarette out into the sidewalk, the cherry dying with a tiny hiss. “You’re gonna do a lot of good in this town. Don’t worry about making it all happen at once.”

Bailey turned to face him full-on. “No.”

“No?”

You’re the one teeing up. You’ve got something you’ve wanted to tell me this whole time. And whatever it is—no. Stuff it down. Swallow it. Sleep it off. Just, no.”

“What makes you think I’m not just being introspective?”

“I swear to Jesus, Hobbs. If you retire on me—I’ll go loose cannon. They’ll have to call you back in to take me down. I’ll commit more crimes than you can solve.”

“It’s cancer,” Hobbs said, his words buried under a refrain of no, no, no, no. “The precinct is letting me do a victory lap. But they’re not giving me anymore cases. Sorry about the beat cop treatment. Just wasn’t ready to call you my ex-partner.”

“Your goddamn cigarettes,” Bailey spat, looking ruefully at the soggy filter on the ground.

“Pancreatic cancer. The doctor and I had a good laugh about that. She said I got the lungs of a smoker half my age.” Hobbs offered Bailey a wry smile.

The little dry dark humour ties it all together very well.

quote:

Bailey held her face very still but her hands clenched and unclenched of their own accord, leaving painful little half moons in her palms. The air was too thick to breathe.

“I don’t want to know how long. Just—just be gone one day. No goodbyes.”

“Naw. There’s going to be a goodbye party, with cake, and you’re gonna cry in front of the whole precinct.”

Bailey laughed in spite of herself, the tightness in her chest easing just a little. “I’d say go to hell, but I don’t want to spoil what’s coming next.”

Hobbs fixed her with a fond smile. “Our shift was over a while ago.”

“You got somewhere to be in a hurry?”

“Naw, do you?”

“I could clear my schedule.”

Hobbs and Bailey loitered in the shadowy doorway a while longer, watching the neon beerlights wink out one by one. The final dredges of the night shift emptied themselves onto the streets: dishwashers, night managers, overworked servers and bouncers. The rain softened to a gentle drizzle, then stopped altogether as a brief gap in the clouds revealed the moon, and for a few minutes, the wet streets shone silver, and the whole city breathed easy for one small, quiet beat.

Nice ending. Wasn't expecting to get my heart warmed on noir week but here we are. If I had to nitpick I'd say use hypens for things like 'half-moons'. Very well crafted overall.

***

I read the smashed room around me. It looked like one of them was a funny man. They must of got a few shots in with a fish and other things from the fridge. drat person even threw the kitchen sink. The other was more intimate, getting close and personal. But who got the better of who? It wasn't clear.

Whoever it was used the rug to move the body. I was thinking they must of had help, but then I realized some of this mess was actually bloody drag marks. Jesus, even the clean up was messy. Only it wasn't going out the front, it was going out the back. I followed it.

Of course. The garbage was in the alley. The rug was a rolled up and half tucked in the can. Thankfully it didn't stick yet. I pulled it out. Shame, it is a nice rug. Heavy though. Definitely had a body in it.

I unrolled it carefully there in the alley. Ah poo poo, it was a dame.

I had my answer, and another bottle waiting for me. Looks like I won't be croaking any time soon either.

I kicked the body off the rug. It was a blood red carpet anyway. A quick wash and it'd look great in my office.

***






Winner: Entenzahn

Tough one! I felt bad picking one over the other but ties are bullshit. 'Shellton Cracks' made me laugh a lot and that's a tough thing to pull off in writing. Mad respect to both of you, both these stories are amazing.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



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