grats, ent, well fought!
|# ? Jan 25, 2020 06:10|
|# ? Jun 27, 2022 21:52|
Sign ups closed.
|# ? Jan 25, 2020 09:33|
In my writing shack, fuelled by continued mediocracy, this time I hammer out not prose, but haiku.
Judges read my words
They say they are unworthy
Still read my bad words
I always promise
Next week I will get better
But I am lying
I know I can’t get
Oh look there’s some memes
I could try to lose
Get not fame but infamy
But is that success?
I dream of the day
That I will claim victory
Watch out, thunderdome!
|# ? Jan 25, 2020 09:41|
Mrenda fucked around with this message at 08:49 on Jan 28, 2020
|# ? Jan 25, 2020 09:59|
grats, ent, well fought!
thanks for judging and gg, dope round. however I have good news for you!!!
Face me you coward. Best of three.
we can't close our eyes quite yet, space cowboy
who will judge round 2
|# ? Jan 25, 2020 14:55|
Me if SH accepts
|# ? Jan 26, 2020 01:36|
Me if SH accepts
she already did? it's a three-round brawl. maybe I don't understand how they work. I just didn't want to run away with the victory because nobody noticed the brawl was still going.
sh, we can stop here if you like. sometimes you're in over your head and that's okay
|# ? Jan 26, 2020 14:47|
A long time ago in a kingdom far, far away there lived a brave king, a noble queen and their handsome sons and beautiful daughters. But this story isn't about them. This story happened not so long ago in this kingdom over here, to Aran Cuchulainn, a butcher's son.
It started with Aran paused in the act of throwing the contents of a bucket into the alley. He had heard an interesting fragment of conversation between two women and stopped to listen.
“You tell him no. He's a family to look after, you know.”
“It can't be that dangerous, can it? The last lot came down with food poisoning, but that was just coincidence. And it's only trials anyway. Nobody dies at trials.”
The voices were getting louder.
“But he's not a real knight! What if they see through his lies straight away? What'll happen to him then?”
“Guess he'll get disqualified?”
“You'd better hope that's all!”
“Hey, what's he up to?”
Aran realised that he had been spotted, so hastily threw the contents of his bucket into the alley. Bloody water splattered up the women's dresses.
The women yelled out and did a funny little dance as they tried to get out of the pool of blood. “Why I ought to-” one began.
“You idiot! What's wrong with you?” the other shouted, flapping about a scroll that she had been holding.
“Sorry!” Aran said, gritting his teeth in fright.
“Ugh! We'll never get these stains out!” she said, dropping the scroll into the gutter. They both shook their heads at him and walked off.
Aran put the bucket down on the step, and reached out into the pool of blood for the scroll. It was dripping so he shook it before he unrolled it.
“Knights wanted,” he read aloud.
“Aran! What are you doing out there?” a voice called from inside. It was his father, the butcher.
“I'm fed up with my lot in life. There's nothing worse than being a butcher's son,” he said to the world in general.
A boy walking down the alley heard him. He was wearing overalls that were once white but now were many interesting shades of brown. “Would you rather be a muck spreader's son?”
Aran pinched his nose as the stench threatened to overwhelm him. “Actually, no not really,” he said.
He sighed. He tossed the scroll back into the alley and took the bucket back inside.
In the shop, his father was sharpening a cleaver, and his brother Fergus was hacking away at a carcass with gusto.
“Now you're finally done emptying that bucket, you can help your brother,” his father said.
“Are you sure there's nothing else you need me to do?”
“Oh, come on now, lad. You've got to get over this fear of cleavers you have.”
“I don't have a fear of cleavers!”
Fergus laughed. “Prove it then,” he said, throwing a slab of meat down on the counter in front of him.
Aran picked up a cleaver and started chopping.
“That's no good, lad! It's all uneven.”
“He had his eyes shut, that's why,” Fergus said.
“I did not!”
“I'll mop the floor again,” Aran said.
“Wimp!” said Fergus.
“He does have a point, lad,” his father said.
Later when the working day was over, Aran went to sit on the back step. A butcher's son became a butcher. There was no other way. But he found himself wishing there was something else he could do. He stared into the gutter, hoping it would give him some answers.
A little way down the street, he saw the scroll that the woman had dropped earlier. He went to get it and read it on the walk to the step. “Knights wanted. Are you a foreign, retired, or out of work knight? The kingdom of Ocado could use your help. Trials being held on Moonday morning in the Eastern Plaza.” Aran thought about it. “How hard could it be? Just standing around guarding drawbridges.” He cleared his throat. “Who goes there?”
“Not me!” someone said.
Aran looked in the direction of the voice and saw a thief trying to pick a lock.
“It'll be easy,” he continued. “Certainly easier than swabbing down floors and cutting up dead animals.” He took a bow. “Sir Loin, at your service.”
“I lied before, actually,” the thief said. “I do go there. Or is it I am going here? Whatever. Fancy giving me some help, Mr Meat?”
“A knight doesn't help a thief! In fact...” Aran thought about it for a moment, then took off a boot and flung it at the thief and missed.
“All right, Señor Steak and Kidney Pie, no need to get violent,” the thief said. He grabbed the boot and ran off.
“Hey! I need that back, it's my only one!” Aran said, attempting to hop after him.
The thief turned around and smirked. “Not true, it's one of your only two.”
Aran stopped, wobbled, and put his bare foot down in the grubby alley.
“Actually, maybe you can help me. I need a suit of armour to be a knight. You look like someone who'd know where to get one of those.”
“Suit of armour? Oh yeah, I've got one of them in my back pocket.”
“No,” said the thief. “But I do have one back at the house that you can borrow.”
The thief let Aran have his boot back and led him back to a large manor house.
The thief helped him into a polished set of armour. To say it fit perfectly would have been an out and out lie. It was weighed him down and was too tight in places and almost falling off in others. He lifted the grille on the helmet and looked at himself in a full length mirror. Nobody would know his true identity behind the plumed helm. The pauldrons swooped outwards from his shoulders, giving him the impression of being twice as wide as he really was. The cuirass was decorated with three intricately designed dragons. The boots were clearly made for a much larger man, but a dozen pairs of socks shoved down each did the trick of keeping them on. The gloves were made of many pieces of metal fitted together like scales that slid over each other as he flexed his fingers.
“This armour is like brand new,” Aran said, clanking to the right to see it from a different angle.
“Well, my Grandpa didn't get much use out of it.”
“Why, what happened?”
“Don't like to talk about it really.”
In the mirror, Aran's expression looked frightened. “It's not... cursed or anything, is it?”
“No! All right then, I'll tell you. The first time my grandpa put it on, he fell down some steps. Hit his head. That was it for him.”
Aran put his hands up to his helm. He couldn't feel any dents, but then he couldn't feel much of anything with the gloves on. He clanked to the left and admired the shine. He looked like a real knight! He couldn't wait for Moonday to come so he could start his new life. No more swabbing down bloody floors for him.
“Wait, just one thing. If you live here, why are you a thief?”
“Oh, you know, it's something to do in the evenings.”
Aran shrugged, and looked at himself again in the mirror. He probably couldn't pass as a retired knight. And people would wonder why a new out of work knight had popped into existence around here. He cleared his throat and put on his best fake Nisan accent. “Sir Loin, at your service.”
“Sir Loin? Isn't that a kind of meat?”
“Actually, the meat was named after me!” Aran said, pleased with his own quick thinking. Then he realised his error and repeated it in a Nisan accent.
* * *
Aran rose very early on Moonday morning so he could sneak out in his new suit of armour before the rest of his family awoke.
“Who's that clanking down the corridor?” his sister yelled as he passed her room.
“It's just a dream,” he said.
That must have pacified her as her only answer was, “okay.”
He remembered what had happened to the thief's grandfather and walked carefully downstairs. He stopped for a moment in the back of the shop as his gaze fell on the array of meat cutting tools. The thief didn't have a sword for him to borrow, so he still needed a weapon. He picked up the cleaver and tucked it into his belt. He'd show his family that he wasn't afraid of using it. And it was a fitting weapon for Sir Loin.
As he walked out of the back door, the cleaver fell out of his belt and hit him on the foot. He lifted his foot and grabbed hold of it, gritting his teeth and trying not to scream. When the pain subsided he picked up the cleaver and left the shop.
The streets were deserted at that time in the morning. The one man he did come across took one look at him, screamed and ran the other way. He realised he must look quite threatening in his full suit of armour. The cleaver he was holding out in front of him was also probably not doing him any favours either. He resolved to hold it behind his back. Nobody could possibly find that threatening. But now someone else was screaming. He turned around to see the same man, who must have run around in a circle.
“It's all right, I'm a visiting knight from Nisa.”
The man put a hand to his chest and took a shaky breath. “You're going the wrong way. Knight trials are that way.”
“Oh right, thanks!” Aran said, still not sure how to hold the cleaver.
|# ? Jan 26, 2020 21:14|
A Six Legged Fear With Wings
I must have been told a hundred times, “you could get yourself killed.” When I was young and throwing my leg over a rusted Ninja 400, the answer to that was simple.
“That doesn’t scare me,” I’d say.
I definitely wouldn’t say that now.
Jacob has got himself stuck behind the back of a van. Every other sports bike in the area seems to scream past us. I’m following Jacob, who’s holding us both back here.
His leathers have the classic Yamaha livery in yellow, white and black. The manufacturer’s name is emblazoned on the forearms, thighs, chest and back. Two months into this season, his knee sliders haven’t taken a single scratch. The gauntlet of his right hand has started to wrinkle where he keeps two twitching fingers hovering over the brake.
He moves aside, closer to the kerb. He waves me to go ahead. I take the invitation and lunge forward. Jacob slides in behind. I move out to spy on the oncoming lane. It’s clear. I twist the grip, surge past the van. The van drops into my mirror.
It’s not long before I’m stopped at the roadside, waiting. I focus on the screen of my visor. Tiny twitching wings protrude from black and yellow splatters. I focus out to the road. Looking past the bugs, I can’t even see them in my view.
Peering over my shoulder I see the face of his R6. To his credit, it’s ahead of the van. I kick my bike into gear and slot myself in behind him.
Last year I was struggling to stay in this rider’s tracks. I would scrape my foot pegs, twist my throttle to its stop, and still he’d make a gap between us. Today he shakes his head as he lets another group of riders pass.
In front of us, a car length ahead, I see a dot in the air. A green beetle hanging in the wind. It's caught by Jacob’s visor. He wipes his helmet from side to side, then brakes. I join him at the roadside.
He’s panting shallow breaths that turn to mist inside of his screen. I walk to him. Hands on his knees, he leans. I see that he’s smeared the insect from corner to corner of his view. I can’t help but smile.
“Looks like you’ve picked up a passenger,” I say.
I point at the collection of wings on my face, “I’ve got a couple of passengers, too.”
He pulls his striped helmet off. His pupils are like pinpoints. His jaw is trembling. I’m not smiling any more.
“Are you alright?” I ask.
“You go ahead,” he says, slapping his hand onto my shoulder. “I’m just slowing you down.”
“Don’t worry about that,” I say. I mirror his hand with my own. “Why don’t we just have a nice, easy ride?”
He pulls his arm away, shaking his head. “I’m done for today,” he says.
“You sure?” I say.
“Yeah,” he sighs.
I feel an urge rising from my lungs. It throws my mouth open.
“Jacob,” it speaks. He turns to me. I look into his pinpoint eyes.
“You’ve done well today,” I say.
Jacob steps out of his armour. He carries it out of a side door in his garage. I catch an envious glance at the classic livery. I sit in the garage on a weathered sofa, helmet by my side, waiting for a cup of coffee.
Hung on his garage wall like a tapestry: scarred black armour. It’s caked in earth, scented with fuel and pain killing gas. It hangs above a shrine of broken gauntlets, boots and his old helmet.
I was there.
Jacob’s glove was first. There’s a hole in the palm where he reached out his hand to catch the asphalt. Like a giant grindstone pressed against his back, the road skimmed an inch wide flat into the rear of his helmet. Now there are deep gouges on the bootheels and the suit's elbows.
There’s grass smears and clumps of earth over the one piece leather, taken from the six foot wide and deep ditch where I found him. Paramedics came. They cut him from the armour. That cut is now the frayed edges of the suit hanging on his garage wall.
He comes through the door with our coffees.
“Haven’t seen this gear in a while,” I say.
Jacob joins me on the sofa.
He sucks air through his teeth. “Yeah,” he says. “I’ve been riding the canyon for months since, but—”
“—well, you saw me out there today.”
In conversations like these I struggle to find the right line. I hold my hand over my mouth, and lightly grip my face with my fingers.
I look to the suit. There are deep scratches on the knee sliders. They criss cross and fade out to paint. I feel something start up in my mind. It pipes a small chuckle through my nose.
“Remember when you had your old Bandit,” I say, “and we found that quiet roundabout?”
“We must have gone around hundreds of times,” he says, “until I got my knee down.”
“And then that lady started shouting at us,” we laugh.
“You know,” I say, ”we should do that again sometime.”
“Let’s get your knee down,” I add.
Jacob lifts one side of his mouth. Half a smile. His eyes are pinched.
“We could find a car park somewhere,” he says. “We could practice slow movement, and go right back to the basics.”
“Let’s go back to the basics,” I say.
From there we chat through several cups of coffee, drawing up a list of exercises. The day turns to dusk through the garage door. I fire up my bike and head home.
I’m heading into the roundabout while Jacob spots me. He’s ready to sound his horn if a car approaches. As for me, I’m about to ace a simple demonstration of my technique.
I move at a spirited pace. I hang off the bike. Pull the outside bar, push the inside bar. Throttle steady. The bike leans. My knee kisses the ground. I see my exit. I add throttle. The bike stands upright. I move my body back to the center. I’m riding straight and leaving the roundabout.
His throttle jerks him. He’s slow. His body is twisted. He’s barely leaning. He’s going round repeatedly. I sound the horn at him.
He stops at my feet.
“I wanted to make sure you don’t get dizzy,” I say.
“How did I do?” He asks.
“To start with…” I begin.
A month deeper into the season, we’re at a parking lot. We’ve saved the worst trick for last: the U-turn. The aim is to turn the bike a full 180 degrees at slow speed within the width of two parking spaces.
I set the throttle and bite the clutch, giving some light rear brake. I drive at a crawl. I look over my shoulder to the end of the turn. I lean the bike, getting the handlebars to full lock. It dips low mid-turn. Too low. I stop. I put my foot down, catching the machine before it tips. This is not how it’s done.
“You have to release the brake if it starts to fall,” Jacob says.
I throw my arms out.
“You try,” I say, before pulling away.
Well, the son of a bitch pulls it off confidently. He looks to me. I can only assume there’s a smug grin under his helmet.
“Alright, alright,” I say. “I’ve had enough of U-turns for today.”
“Sure you have,” Jacob says.
I bite my lip, shake my head, and pull away.
Jacob shoots ahead. I slip behind. He now holds both grips with five digits each, and doesn’t twitch. He leads us down a gap between two adjacent lines of traffic. It’s barely wide enough for both of our machines. Mirrors claw out into the passage between the lanes. We arrive ahead of the traffic and behind a red light.
I stop by his side.
“How about we go onto the open road?” I ask.
“Hell yeah,” he says.
Our light turns green. Jacob thunders away.
We launch out of the city, hurtling through serpentine lanes. I follow Jacob, as though I’m tracing over a line that he paints with his rear wheel.
A sweeping corner ahead, I brake. A gap grows between us. His brake light comes on late. He uses the oncoming lane. He dives. I follow. Asphalt turns underneath us like the disc of a grinder. He sparks his knee from its surface.
We rise from the turn. I see a lorry’s tail close ahead. There’s the face of a hatchback far away. Jacob throws his machine at this tightening window. I tuck myself in behind the trailer. I stay in my lane.
The hatchback passes. I check the oncoming traffic. It’s clear. I pass the truck. I look far into the road ahead.
This time, Jacob’s waiting for me. He’s sat on a bench beside the road.
“You done for today?” I ask.
“Nah, just taking a break,” he says.
I cut my engine and sit by his side.
“You’ve got pretty fearless over this past month,” I say.
“Fearless?” He says, “no, I’m making GBS threads myself.”
I pull my head away, raising one brow.
“What?” I ask, “you’ve been riding insane!”
“A fear like mine you can’t just wash away,” He says. “I take it with me, and I ride like that anyway.”
|# ? Jan 26, 2020 23:56|
With me you get, not one, but TWO detailed outfits AND a bitchin rear end motorbike story. That's real art!
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 00:13|
With me you get, not one, but TWO detailed outfits AND a bitchin rear end motorbike story. That's real art!
And its own hype man!
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 01:19|
do not kill yourself for a job - you are replaceable - like a cog or a lightbulb or a pen or a small potted plant that sits on a receptionist's desk or a receptionist's desk or a receptionist
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 21:23 on Jan 8, 2021
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 03:39|
He’s running in a way that you gotta know something’s up. Night is too near for him to be running late to anything anyone would be upset about him being late to, and he’s not dressed for such an occasion anyways. It’s obvious he’s not a nighttime jogger. No, he’s clearly running for a weird reason, and the correct thing to do in any polite society is to quote a certain line from the 1994 Robert Zemeckis film Forrest Gump so that he can feel bad about his weird running and so that you can feel good about your own perfectly normal methods of locomotion.
A tall thing grabs him by the back of his shirt. It’s wearing a long hooded cloak of bright yellow plastic, a wide-brimmed yellow hat, hardy yellow garden gloves, and matching yellow boots. It is dressed in a perfectly ordinary outfit for such a thing to be dressed in. It hands the weird runner a post-it note that says in big letters “RUNNING ALL WEIRD.”
Now, if you are handed a Citation by a Raincoated Thing, you are supposed to post it to your forehead for the rest of the day for the benefit of your fellow citizens, then file it away in your records until you receive ten, in which case you must attend Resocialization Camp. But this young, awkward running man pushes the Raincoated Thing aside, says “gently caress off,” then continues running as weird as he was before. All the other folk on the sidewalk have never seen such a bizarre sight, and the only thing they can think to do is say, “Run Forrest, run!” at him, though the sound of a dozen people yelling that quote simultaneously is arguably weirder than the man’s running.
The Raincoated Thing calmly pulls a yellow plastic whistle from one of its many pockets. He blows it, and many more Raincoated Things emerge from the stores and restaurants and fortune-tellers.
The weird man runs into a dance club. He pushes his way through the people dancing in flashing lights. The Raincoated Things file in behind him, and the people keep dancing. There is very little a Raincoated Thing hates more than people not having fun at a place that they’re supposed to be having fun.
The weird man looks around frantically and apparently sees what he’s been looking for, because he darts off towards a staircase. When he’s at the top, he continues to make his way through the crowd until he comes to a young woman.
“Athena!” he shouts. “I’m such an idiot. Breaking up with you was the dumbest thing I ever did.”
She sees the bright yellow cloaks of the Raincoated Things flicker in the strobelights.
“Dear God, Blake, what did you do?” she says. She takes his hand and they flee further into the crowd.
She pulls him into the women’s bathroom, where girls are doing all the normal things they’re expected to do in such a place, like using the toilets, reapplying makeup, and doing cocaine. Athena pulls Blake into a stall.
“Maybe they won’t find you here. What are they chasing you for?” she says.
“Running all weird. Look, I thought we were falling out of love, but we were just...” he starts.
“Falling into the boring routine that comes with intense familiarity?”
“Yes!” says Blake. “And it’s better that we learn how to deal with that than to throw it all away and repeat that cycle over and over.”
“Yes, I agree, I miss you too, but how are we going to escape these Raincoats?”
The stall door is broken open. The Raincoated Thing takes out its whistle and brings it to its hood.
Athena charges the Raincoated Thing and tackles it to the floor. She grabs its whistle and tosses it to Blake. The other women in the bathroom really, really want to look, but fear Citations.
The Raincoated Thing starts unbuttoning its big yellow cloak. It tosses it away, revealing its many, many hidden legs, each ending in another bright yellow rubber boot. It’s arms, each carrying a pair of long scissors, bulge from its fleshy thorax.
“We have been watching you a long time, Blake Halverson,” it snarls. “Always standing against the wall at parties, picking the labels off your beer bottles, wearing a RenFest costume out to just like, a regular bar. You have no place in this world.”
“His place is by me,” says Athena. She grabs the Thing’s wrist and pushes its arm back against its torso. The spiders wriggle out of the hole she punctures, and soon, it’s just a bit of fleshy skin lying in its own raincoat.
Blake and Athena collapse into each other. They’re tired of each other, bored with each other, frustrated with each other, and very much in love. If they manage to get out of this club, they’ll have to hide their love from the Raincoated Things, because love is supposed to look a certain way. They won’t be the only ones.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 03:43|
I don’t want to see.
Rain falls down and I smile as I tuck my glasses into a sewn-in pocket in my blue bomber. I can’t collect nearly as much without them. Can’t blame folks, the glasses touch me up a bit. Horn-rimmed, that’s what they told me at the store when I got them 15 years ago.
“Ah, caramel frames, they’ll bring out your green eyes.” Back then I thought the saleswoman liked me, in retrospect, she was just pushing product.
And that’s me now. A product I’m pushing on everyone. Folks only got so many dollars to pass out to people like me. The glasses help with them, but I can’t pass up the change for things to be this burry.
A few steps later and I splash into an ankle-deep puddle; the cost of a blurry world. I have to get to Westside Men’s, unless I want to drown in all this. They like me enough there. Luckily, the directions are in the name.
As I trudge, blurs rush past me and leave me be. Occasionally, one of the blurs is kind and puts some coins in my cup. I thank them and the blur seems happy. Then they move somewhere or nowhere while something or nothing lights up in their hands. Thank God. Nice and blurry for all of us.
I pat my pocket. The frames are still there, nice and safe. I pull my soaked feet out of the puddle and keep on moving. I walk into a garbage can, which hurts but I’m glad. There’s only one can in this whole city that’s placed in the center of the sidewalk like this one. I know where Westside Men’s is from here. The purple bus stop to my right only confirms it. Fourteen blocks up and five blocks over. But, poo poo. No blurs at the bus stop. The evening commute rush is done; I’ve only got a little bit of time left to get there. I jog for only a few seconds before I splash into another puddle. A few seconds later and I slip and drat near bust my head open on the curb.
I sigh and realize that if I’m going to make good time I’ll need the curse of sight. I don’t get such perfectly blurry nights like tonight often. Between my poo poo vision and the gloss of the rain, nights like tonight lift my shoulders off my spine and pull the negativity from my mind right through my ears. I put the glasses on and find myself staring at a mirror. I may look like 175 pounds of bird poo poo but the frames are still sharp. Possessive, at least I think that’s the technology in the lenses. The bottom half was supposed to help with things up close and the top helps with things far away. I was impressed with all of that back in the day. But now? Well, I don’t need anything helping me see things this clearly. The glasses may fit fine, but now I don’t.
The blurs sharpen into trenchcoats and peacoats and folks wearing things, in the rain, that they’re wearing for the first time. The people underneath these sharp lines of style give me the benefit of their periphery, but nothing more. Their ears are filled with noise, making my job almost impossible, and their sparkling jewelry accents their pinched faces. Faces that say “Get Away From Me.”
The clarity is thick and my throat constricts. You’re mind-reading. The free shrink’s advice ticks in my head. He came around to the shelter last time to check in with everyone. When I told him about all of this he told me that I’m assuming thoughts to exist that I don’t know to be true. Then he drove off in his Lexus.
I may know where I’m going now, and I may be able to dodge puddles, but dodging people is harder. My eyes fix on them like a preoccupied tongue flicking an ulcer. One guy is nice enough to hand me some money. I see the pity in his eyes and I almost want to hand it back, but I can’t.
The sun has nearly set by the time I reach Westside Men’s. I knock on the door and Sharise, my favorite staff, greets me with a frown. A frown I know to mean that they’re all full up. She hands me a tuna sandwich and wishes me luck.
But, I don’t need it. The door closes, the glasses come off, and it’s all blurry.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 05:18|
Gullet clamped one eye shut and squinted into a dingy stolen urn he had been using as an impromptu decanter. Moonlight reflected off rippling liquid and moist clumps of mold that bobbed at the surface like tiny islands. The wine-stained ends of his mustache curled up in delight.
“There be enough drink left for another round, lads. Be passing them cups my way.”
Tankards, chalices, and oddly, more urns circled the funeral pyre as Gullet sloshed drink into each.
“Here’s to the captain, the finest, and most fashionable man I’ve ever known!” Gullet exclaimed, raising a chipped tankard for the cheer.
“Ay!” The other sailors cheered raising their drinks in turn.
“I remember it like it was yesterday… There I was, mending a torn jerkin when the door to my shop flung open. A tan, pointy-toed, brogue suspended in air lowered slowly to the creaky wood floor with nary a sound, and flowing out of that shoe like
the current of powerful stream was the most curvaceous, rippling, calves and thighs I had ever set my eyes upon.”
The crew grinned acknowledging the truth of Gullet’s declaration from their own experiences.
“He sauntered over resting a blood slick cutlass on the lapel of his tattered navy commander’s jacket. His legs were bound up in something the likes of which I’d never seen.”
“The captain stood there in indigo dungarees that ran from ankle to waist, or at least that’s how it appeared, but upon closer inspection, I saw they clung to him like hose! More like some sort of form fitting pant. Soft like a bab’s breath, yet pressed
against those shapely legs and cleft buttocks like they’d been painted on… I couldn’t help myself but to reach to touch them.”
“The captain swatted my hand away and briefly looked on me with contempt. I found myself mighty afraid then, thinking surely my life was at its end, but the captain looked down on me with that hopeful glimmer in his eye and said in that singsong,
inspirational voice, ‘I require a tailor, and I’ve been told there’s no finer tailor in all of Britain than Seamus O’Hennessy,’ I stared at him in disbelief.”
“I looked out my door at billowing smokestacks from razed homes and guards slain in the street, women and children screaming, and this fine-legged fool, the most blood thirsty bastard’s son to ever set sail, is looking for a tailor. I laughed in his face thinking perhaps I’d already died.”
The sailors laughed.
“Sure enough, though. The captain clapped me on my shoulder, helped me to my feet and forced me onboard.”
Gullet wrung his thick wool Monmouth cap in his hands. “I thought myself hostage at first.”
“To be fair, Gully… you kind of were.” A crewman said.
“Ay.” The others agreed.
“True, true… But what I found with you devil’s sons of whores and drunkards was a family.”
The others nodded solemnly.
“The Captain had an odd sense about him.” Yorgen said.
Yorgen sat in a ruffled, stained slops whose white fabric was now a permanent creamy shade of yellow no matter how much he washed them. Black breeches slid out from underneath them cuffing just below the knee into buttoned garter hose. His silk coif and satchel of panacea identified him as the surgeon, and to no one’s surprise, a burgeoning apprentice tailor.
Yorgen’s needlework was impressive. He had stitched up arteries, severed limbs, and attached makeshift prosthetics at sea with only a single death under his diligent care. When Gullet was kidnapped, it was only a matter of time before his surgical needlework became fashionable needlepoint.
“That he did, Yorgen, that he did.” Gullet responded, encouraging nods from the other sailors.
“I’ve sewn up livestock, mums, and dastardly sea sailing crooks all my life, but I never had a passion for it until I met the captain.”
“I had just gotten done delivering twins in the midst of a raid when the captain swung open the door to my theater with Johnny, sea take his soul, in a wheelbarrow.”
“To Johnny!” the sailors cheer.
“Johnny is sitting there, with a fabric gag tied around his mouth to stifle his screaming, and gobs of blood are oozing out of three missing limbs.”
“I looked to the Captain, and I say… ‘I can’t help this man, he’s missing both legs and an arm, what happened to him?’ The captain turned towards me, impeccably charming with long curls flowing out of his favorite feathered tricorne, and he says, ‘He’ll live, but you’ve got to save him, and I heard there’s no finer surgeon in all of Britain, than Yorgen Dunnow.’ The praise didn’t do much for me, I knew Johnny was a gonner, but those legs…”
“Those silk smooth, carved granite, thews were packaged like presents inside their skintight casings. By the nine, was I intrigued… At a loss for words, I cleaned Johnny up. Attached two pegs to his legs and tidied up what was left of his arm. The captain was ecstatic, and I had never felt prouder.”
The others nodded.
“Of course, Johnny died before the night was over, but the Captain just had a way about him. He was mesmerizing.”
“Ay.” The others agreed.
“I vowed then to never lose another patient, and I owe it to the captain for giving me the motivation to do so.” Yorgen said.
Again, the group nodded solemnly.
Finally, Edgar who had been preparing fish and vegetables for made it clear he was going to speak.
He retched first, clearing his throat from a bit of mold that clung to the back of it, but with another drink and a loud, phlegm-filled hack, the ogreish cook leaned forward to speak.
His torque blanche drooped towards one side and swayed with his jowls as he darted his eyes about the pyre circle.
He was a portly man dressed in garments that were all once white. They had taken on various hues from different stains and patches, but the underlying outfit was mostly the same. Eight buttons arranged in two columns at the center of the garment with a white linen smock draped over the legs from where the waist began, secured with folds and knots.
The coat was missing sleeves, and some of the patches, though more or less identical in color, were made of different fabric giving the outfit a unique appearance in spite of its accumulated grime; linen sewn next to column of silk that sat adjacent cotton twill layered in ways that added elegant decoration to the otherwise homespun apparel.
Edgar looked stern and his cheeks reddened as he silently worked himself up.
He let out a pained grunt and began to cry.
“There, there big fella’. We know how ye feel about the captain.” Gullet said patting Edgar on his massive back.
The three grew silent and politely paid their respects to the captain, but then something came over the group.
“So…. Who gets to keep the pantaloons?” Yorgen asked.
The thee nervously looked at one another with fake smiles plain to see on their faces.
“Well… I figured, I provided the most value to the party as the one who puts clothes on our back.” Gullet said clearing his throat.
“Well, I’ve known him longer than you.” Yorgen said. “I should probably take the pantaloons, right Edgar?”
Edgar was simpler than most, but he grunted and shook his head ‘No.’
Gullet spoke up then.
“See, Edgar agrees with me! I should have them.”
“Edgar grunted louder and shook his head ‘No,’ for a second time.”
This had the three staring back at each other in a deadlock. Other crewmen kept quiet as tensions rose.
Yorgen leapt at Gullet first making Edgar upset.
Gullet rolled into a patch of soft grass and took on new stains in doing so.
“Ye dare come at me? Well then so be it!”
Gullet drew a sabre and charged Yorgen who drew his own sabre in turn. Edgar charged in with a ladle.
Suddenly, the ghost of their captain manifested over the pyre.
“WAIT!” the captain said. “What about the friendship and family each of you learned you had in the crew?”
Yorgen had used the pause to prepare his flintlock pistol and shot Gullet point-blank in the chest causing him to crash backwards to the ground.
Edgar’s jaw fell and the ghost of the captain grew irritated.
“What did you have to go and do that for?!” the ghost protested.
Yorgen shot at the ghost and was disappointed when the bullet passed through him.
The ghost of their captain gasped.
Edgar brought his steel ladle down hard on Yorgen’s head just as Yorgen loosed another round into the ogreish man’s body.
Yorgen cracked his head on a boulder on the way down and Edgar cried as he pawed his giant hands at the gunshot wound.
“Perhaps, we can all have it now.” Edgar said dying alongside Yorgen and Gullet.
The onlooking crew agreed to toss the jeggings onto the pyre with their majestic owner after that.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 06:33|
His most divine majesty, Imperath Tarnelio the First, builder of empires, Iiving representative of the Immortal, and scourge of the Fellian plains was known in his time as hero, fool, monster, and liberator. His reign changed lives on continents across sightless seas, from farmbound peasants to world-straddling explorers. Generations of priests studied his every recorded utterance for clues to the secrets of eternity.
But let us speak about his beard.
Tarnelio started to grow his beard during the siege of Second Fell, holding the tiny force there while waiting for reinforcements. There is a tradition in the Immortalist faith that he swore an oath, usually along the lines of promising not to shave again if only he were delivered from the besieging Westrin armies. The record does not support this, not least because his conversion at Mount Ch is well documented and nearly a decade later. What is known is that during the siege, just as he was about to start his morning ablutions, including the barber's neckblade, which he wielded himself out of healthy paranoia, a messenger arrived.
The messenger did not have word of the reinforcing army's approach, but came from much further from the front, from the tower at Eld, where Tarnelio's father Morin was kept, blinded and confined to a small cell with only the company of his Fool Lickface and Ellaris, the only of his many mistresses who had not abandoned him in his long decline. The note was short and unembellished. Morin was dead, of the usual complications of age. Poison or other foul play had been ruled out.
Morin wore a long beard, white and carefully groomed to a point. Only one of Tarnelio's brothers attempted the same. Yittera could not match his father in this arena. The hairs came in patchy yellow, and scraggled rebelliously at the grooming comb. Unable either to tame his own face nor surrender and shave it off, Yittera fled the court entirely, seeking out the lands beyond the Eastern Seas, where nobody could say for certain that an Oerlani nobleman's beard was not supposed to look exactly such.
Tarnelio, at first, did not so much grow a beard as he stopped shaving. Nature did the rest, and when the siege was finally lifted the army found him impressive and wild of face, a hedgerow of thick black hair hiding his face and leaving all impression, all sign of what he might be thinking, to his blood-red and frequently skewed apart eyes.
At Mount Ch, after his conversion, at his wedding feast, he nearly lost his beard, already a legend. The ritual combat between his two brides had ended, with Dechi victorious but merciful. She wore her competitor's braids tied together as a necklace while Finta, defeated, was taken by the Immortal's priests to be shorn bald and sent down to the quarter of fallen wives.
Dechi danced for her new husband, for her King and Imperath. She danced the water dances, flowing across and around his body as Tarnelio and his court were served chilled wine and sour fruit dipped in coarse-ground sugar. She danced the air dances, leaping and flipping in ways that let her clothing reveal her secrets from angles only Tarnelo could view, as the servants presented light breads stuffed with spiced puddings and savory organ-meats. She danced earth dances that the faith forbids to all but married partners, dances that most leave to the bedroom, but which the royal Imperia must show before the court and high Godspeakers, who politely stared mainly at the roast potatoes and other roots on offer. All of these dances went without trouble. Then, as the meat and strong drink were brought out, she began the dance of fire.
The case has been made that marriage domesticates the husband. Was it deliberate, as some insist, that when Dechi burned the fifth silken veil in that dance, igniting the alcohol-drenched haunch of lamb and finishing its preparation, an ember alighted on the edges of Tarnelio's beard, already itself soaked with grease and spirits? Those who take that position are quick to note how well prepared she and her handmaiden Lloris were to quench the blaze, and that the fifth veil traditionally represents ambition.
What is not in dispute is that the marriage, quickly on the heels of his conversion, did signify the appearance of a somewhat tamer Tarnelio, with a correspondingly tamer beard. He took to restraining it, in a net, which over time became a part, and then the centerpieces of his Imperial regalia. The finest silk thread, braided and twined and waxed, set with tiny cut gems at every intersection, eventually hundreds of small diamonds, not merely white but of the rarest colors, pink and blue each closely matched.
In his middle age, with his day to day work at court increasingly covered by his youngest son Vespix, Tarnelio's beard began to fade from pitch black to an ever-lightening grey. The rest of his hair may have done so even earlier: the Imperath had begun shaving his head and waxing it bald some years earlier, and some say that was the cause.
Tarnelio experimented with dyes, but the falsity of the black eye was too apparent for him to bear. So he moved on, to other colors, colors alien to human hair. He settled on an imperial violet.
His eldest son Quiss, who was technically his heir though all but Dechi admitted was singularly unsuited for power, had already been bleaching his dark hair near to white. Quiss made a rare appearance at court, his hair dyed the very same violet. He grinned as the impact of this statement spread, as inarticulate anger jumped from face to face like a wildfire across alleyways.
The game is often played silently and publicly. With no room to scheme in private, the players' moves were constrained, and a result nobody wanted ensued. Quiss was reaffirmed as heir. Vespix chose exile overseas rather than the eyespoon and joining his middle brother at the tower of Eld. Only the corrupt cortiers benefitted from the years of weak and muddled rule.
The headsman's apprentice took Tarnelio's head and ran, seeing a better life than that of an executioner. He did not get it, being stopped by a thief-taker near the docks, his throat cut, his prize stolen. The thief-taker was a wilier brigand, and did not consider returning the property. She cut beard from head, but could not separate the hair from the jeweled snood. So she sold it whole, for a fraction of its value.
The black market merchant she so enriched had family in the priesthood, so he was able to further his profit. He carefully removed the majority of the gemstones, leaving just enough to establish provenance, then lacquered net and beard together for sale to the monastery at Mount Ch, where it is displayed today.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 06:38|
The glove is laying in a puddle of blood. The fingers point outward, touching dry pavement, crawling away. I shakily stoop down on burning legs and look close. It's recent, the crimson stain hasn't soaked through to the fingertips.
I barely had time to get home before I got the call to come back out. My sergeant taps me on the shoulder and speaks.
"No trace of the victim, no suspect, just the report from our witness, this glove, and the blood."
He's flipping through a notepad. I think it's mostly for show. He has what, four facts? Maybe he knows, maybe they all know. Maybe they're planning on swooping in as soon as I drop my guard.
I need a joint. My head is pounding and he just won't stop talking.
"The guy who lives in that walkup heard some yelling maybe a couple hours ago. Came onto his balcony after making some coffee and saw this."
I want to contaminate the scene with more of my prints, ruin the case, but I'm on thin ice. I take a long steel probe from my breast pocket. I try and hold it in two fingers, but as soon as I reach with it, the shake in my hand wins out. My eyelids are twitching. Thank God for sunglasses. I made sure to get the blood off of my hands and my face before I left, but that's all the cleaning I did.
I want to tell him to shut up so, so bad.
"We secured the scene, nothing in the dumpster, nothing in the alley trash, no one saw anything."
I give up the probe and snap on a rubber glove. That's a pain in the rear end, too. I put my thumb in three different fingers before I get it into place. gently caress, my head. I see little white ghosts, fat irregular balls of light, wink in and out of my vision. Could be bad. The last time, those astigmatic flares were right on the tail of a bender. Put me in the hospital.
He's stopped talking, thank God.
I gingerly lift the glove out of the sanguine puddle. There's a tear near the cuff where she tried to break free. I remember that, then I remember getting home. What did I do?
I poke a finger into it. My finger slides in all the way. I put in a second, feeling around the inside. It's strange, I don't feel a brush of fabric or see the silhouette of my hand. I put in a third finger, then a fourth. My head is swimming. The borders of my vision become dark, indistinct. I push on, in.
My arm is inside the glove to my elbow, then to my shoulder. The small tear in the cuff eats up my field of vision. I can smell tarnished copper. I can't grasp anything, but I see the dark of closed eyelids inside that glove.
I put my head inside the tiny rip in the cuff, then my other arm. My torso enters the glove and I reach a leg in. I think my eyes are adjusting, picking up irregular shadows. I put my other leg in. I'm on solid ground for a second when I smell roasting tires and everything goes white. My eyes snap shut.
I crack one eye, then the other. I'm back in the alley. There's a horrific buzzing and I look up. The consuming glare was a streetlight flicking on, flicking on in the middle of the morning. I look up at it and rub my eyes, then look again.
The arm of the light emits a glare in thick ropes and fine tendrils of the most scoured white. I rest my forearm on it, then lean in. My fingers sink into its plush exterior, dipping into crevices in its knit surface. My vision waves like fabric in a breeze. I can't think about it too much, or I'm lost. I nudge the lid off of the trash can next to the light. It slides to the ground with a whisper. It's begun to unravel. I hear a voice in my head, crisp and painfully enunciated.
"A blown breaker, if you will."
I start to rifle through the trash. I don't think I left anything in here. A soup can liquifies into bright yarn as my hand moves past it. I have to keep my mind focused. The glove. The glove's owner. I knew her. I'm a cop. The puddle of blood. I did this. The voice is back.
"Minimize electrical activity in the cortex."
The trash can is a bust. I look back at the glove, I have to stay on the glove. The blood is a woven mat of burgundy. It looks ameboid, reaching an arm down the alley. What's the word? Pseudo, pseudo, pseudo...
The voice is back.
"Close the shades and put in earplugs if you have to. Give the brain a rest from all that stimulus."
I've got to focus. If it happens here no one will find me. I'll be swallowed up into the asphalt's weave. I start to track the burgundy amoeba's broken arm down the alley. The ground heaves and flows, splitting from thick black ropes to grey strands and back again. Can't look down. I burst out of the alley to the shore.
I hear him again.
"You should know the warning signs, by now. The floaters, the smell? Not your first rodeo."
I look out at the water. It's almost too much to bear. It is slate-gray wool, rolling and warping, sheets of iron cotton giving way to fibrous sprays of bleached-bone thread. The reddish swatches track to the fabric ocean. My footsteps, I ran to the water. I look back. A mistake.
The alley begins to unravel, tired of supporting its own weight. The walls droop, melting into a thicket of pallid twine and I'm running to the sea with my eyes closed. The smell is overpowering now, week-old coffee on a glowing burner.
"If all else fails, take a shot or two of something strong. Just until you feel your heart stop racing."
I feel wispy filaments brush my hand, then melt into nothing. I strip off the glove and watch it disintegrate into ethereal flax. There is a body in the tossing waves. Her. I have to focus on it. I know that the street is unspooling behind me.
I kneel next to her. She's already coming apart at the seams, the woven water lapping up her fabric.
I was mad, we were drinking, I was drinking more, we had an argument. I trace my finger over her face. My hand is sublimating, putting off a hot mist. The sea doesn't crash against the coast anymore. It's buzzing, a suffocating tinny noise that changes pitch and volume with each tumble into the shore. I can't let them find her here.
I start pulling at her body, my hands looping in and out of grotesque cat's cradles as I feverishly separate her threads, eliminate the evidence.
My right hand is shaking hard now. What did the doctor say?
"It starts as a sparking island in one of your hemispheres, synapses misfiring until..."
I can feel my throat spasm. I'm swallowing backwards, my body is disassembling its neurochemical bible. I don't have much time.
I shove ream after ream of her into the sea but my hands aren't obeying me. I vomit in long cords of acid fiber. The smell of a dying motor pours from my skin. No time left.
Here it comes.
This is when the sun hits.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 07:47|
Hope you made it work!
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 08:58|
I get people being busy, but two weeks have come and gone without crits for animals/roomba week.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 15:08|
Even tho I participated and came close to losing all three(including this one probably )
I'll crit every TD story in the last three weeks by 2/8
I will validate your words with my words
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 15:11|
I get people being busy, but two weeks have come and gone without crits for animals/roomba week.
Would animal/roomba week want my crit?
I'm not an elitist square who gets off to nerding out over the minutiae of ~~werd writing ruels~~ but for the sake of freeze peach and balanced discussion I could give you my entirely valid REAL, HARD WORKING MAN opinion.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 15:24|
Would animal/roomba week want my crit?
Show me you can beat Flesnolk
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 15:26|
Would animal/roomba week want my crit?
All Crits Are Good
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 15:52|
I will gladly take all crits
My quick unsolicited opinion of animal/roomba week: we could give Pixar a run for their money.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 15:59|
Crit me daddy uwu.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 18:24|
Yeah, bring on the crits
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 19:07|
I think your imagery and description are all good. You've got a consistent theme with the colors and the metals/chemicals, and with the exception of Krystal I have a strong mental image of what things look like.
I can dig the idea that this guy is charmed by this colorful planet into defending it, but that idea needs more room to grow. What about it is so charming? You say he 'realizes the allure' but that's the beginning and end of it. Since this bond is what motivates him in the climax, it needs more elaboration.
Having his relationship to the planet personified (insectified?) by his relationship with Krystal is a good idea, so I'd like have seen it develop more. When we first meet him they're already chummy which feels like a lost opportunity. If his arc is about being beguiled by the planet and Krystal is the personification of that, we should see their relationship develop instead of being set from the get-go.
Him being a convict of some kind doesn't really impact his actions, so I would cut that. He could just be a regular employee doing a job. I think that'd make his decision to switch sides to Team Nyx more impactful since as it is now he has no loyalty to the people who put him there.
1,500 words is a tight limit. Getting a story that's about a developing bond between a person and a strange planet in that time is a tall order. I think that by cutting down passages that don't play up that bond you could do it.
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 20:37|
I'm splitting this into three posts of five crits to make it more manageable.
I shot myself in the foot when reading your opening. When I read "A wasp walks into a nectar chamber." I was expecting a joke. That one's my bad.
Your first scene does well to establish a western feel. I liked it. The only thing that stood out as a negative is that my reading of this came to a halt as I had to ask myself the question "what does an outlander sound like?"
The second scene wasn't my cup of tea. Hearing all this clockwork about royal lineages and heritage gave me the same vibe as those moments in the Star Wars prequels where they're in the senate chamber discussing trade federations.
Almost to the point where I wonder if this is what you're going for: "A PLUM TREE EMPIRE".
It felt jarring to have that awesome gritty intimate spaghetti western suddenly turn into an all stakes political assassination.
The first scene was great, though.
A Song From Over the Floorboards
This was a sweet slice of family life. The opening gave a strong image, I could see the two critters turning up a coat clearly in my mind. As more characters came in and started shuffling around, though, I started to lose who and where everybody was. That doesn't help me to try and understand each of these characters as their own character. There's good characterisation in there when I focus really hard on which character is which, but the fact I have to is something to look at.
This is a true story, about a spider that lives in my basement
ALL MY SIBLINGS ARE DEAAAAAAAAAAD At first I was worried, but the way you made mass infanticide normal really helped to give character to the spider. It's an attention grabbing opening that met the prompt perfectly.
You did great in showing the main character's emotion, this (not) jealousy. I find myself wondering what this would have looked like had the spider not understood human objects: the workbench, the power socket, musk, etc. That comes down to how we interpret the prompt. For me, though, having the spider identify the power socket as "broken" I think ventured a little far from a spider's perspective. One thing I enjoyed was how the unsettling character, who's slightly unhinged, fits our arachnaphobic cultural image of a spider. It's all very creepy and as a result It's well themed.
I love the idea of cats trying to discern human behaviour. I feel in the latter half of the story there's a few too many cats floating around or being referenced. It's not quite as disorienting as A Song From Over the Floorboards because Zoro is at the center of the action, anchoring us in the sea of cats. Overall it's very cute and I like the resolution.
Firstly I just want to give your title an "ayyy👉👉"
Exit... Cage Left
Your first paragraph is strong because it specifies each detail it gives tightly and succinctly: forest, fortress, towering canopies, halls (etc). It sets a gritty tone.
The second paragraph derails that awesome tone the exact moment it loosens up on the detail and starts being being vague. "A task or... ...some form of test."
The rest of the story is quite solid. It's somewhat bland but in a way that fits the clinical/experimental environment and the dour feeling of being caught in it.
Azza Bamboo fucked around with this message at 22:07 on Jan 27, 2020
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 22:01|
Thanks a whole lot for the crit, Charlie!
|# ? Jan 27, 2020 23:13|
Judgment Week 390
The reviews are in and this season’s trends included gem encrusted beard accessories, yellow plastic everything and gloves of all sorts.
The model Anomalous Amalgam stumbled on the runway and therefore takes a DM.
Doctor Eckhart fell off the runway with quite a boring line of choices and therefore takes the loss.
HMs go to those chic individuals doing wonderful things with office wear and going out clothes. Tyrannosaurus and Mrenda, take a bow.
And the win is awarded to a designer with a vision. Carl Killer Miller’s Aura lands itself on the cover of all the finest fashion magazines.
He is our next tastemaker. Take it away CKM.
|# ? Jan 28, 2020 05:11|
Crits week 390
Mrenda The Importance of Strong Drink, Strong Emotions, and Crying in Bars
Upon first reading I can’t decide whether the first tiptoeing around the subject and then second being extremely direct about the subject is awkward or exactly the point of this topic. Because it is very true to life. Either people are trying to refer to others who they don’t quite understand in a sideways manner or they just address the elephant in the room to sometimes good or sometimes bad results.
Regardless of which it is, I think you waste too many words on the atmosphere of the bar without actually talking about the atmosphere of the bar. It does feel like a Cheers situation where the entire bar is focused on the one plot of the moment. Except when it’s not: “The bar’s chaos...” seems to indicate that there is more going on and I think that’s important to point out sooner because prior to that the bar appears to be one, giant awkward silence.
But there’s enough feeling in this and true to life pieces.
Doctor Eckhart Sir Loin
Well, points for trying out the impractical suit of armor suggestion. And you did go for humor which I appreciate, though it is very difficult to pull off. You don’t need the fake start. Just a waste of words. But your whole story is wasted words because it ends where it should start, assuming that something would happen at the trials.
Youth is unhappy with his lot in life. Wishes to be a knight. Meets a thief who can help and gets a suit of armor. Leaves for knight trials. And that’s all. You could have included all of that information but in far fewer words and still gotten to the trials. There’s all sorts of possibilities for humor when he and the thief meet again in the arena. Or he harnesses his fear of the cleaver by flinging it away from himself in just the right way to fend off his opponents and win.
And though your situations are amusing, they’re not amusing in the right way to allow the reader to ignore the practical questions that make your story extremely unlikely. Like, why would a thief just help a random guy? Also, I found it irritating that you would introduce Aran as a butcher’s son and then write “it was his father, the butcher.” We only need one of those to understand who it is and what their job is.
Azza Bamboo A Six Legged Fear with Wings
Your concept is fine. There is a lot of depth and emotion to explore when you have a healing from trauma story. But your choice of words is bad and you don’t seem to have a good grasp of what makes a scene have gravitas or why a scene should be in a story at all.
Here is something good: “Two months into this season, his knee sliders haven’t taken a single scratch. The gauntlet of his right hand has started to wrinkle where he keeps two twitching fingers hovering over the brake.” This is a good description because it shows the reader that Jacob is timid without you saying it. But then you do say it. You say it several times, in several ways. Not giving the reader enough info to know what’s going on is a bad move but giving them the same information repeatedly is boring, wastes words, and serves no purpose.
Dialogue is hard to do. This story’s dialogue is not natural so that’s something to work on.
Something I try to remember to do that I think might help you too is after you’ve written a draft of your story to ask questions. What do I want this story to say about my characters? Which parts do that? Which parts don’t?
Read your story out loud too. If the sentence doesn’t roll of the tongue easily, that’s usually an indicator that it could use some work.
Tyrannosaurus do not kill yourself for a job - you are replaceable - like a cog or a lightbulb or a pen or a small potted plant that sits on a receptionist's desk or a receptionist's desk or a receptionist
Well written, consistent voice, creates a whole picture, but I want more. I want more for the protagonist. There was a hint of something more with the “I hope she is not shot because she is pretty.” So clearly the person understands that there can be more than just the corporate think. Or I want more for the receptionist. And maybe there is, but we just don’t get to see it. Everything else is fine. Just more!
I like weird things. This has a Welcome to Night Vale vibe. Bits and pieces of this are good. Your second to last sentence should have been your last sentence if that is truly where you wanted to end it. The actual last sentence seems to indicate that there’s more. The presence of Forrest Gump in this world seems a bit off. And I think you need to describe better what is normal. If you can get a citation just for running all weird or standing against walls and picking off labels, what is one supposed to be doing? The two characters coming together and understanding each other is too easy. There could and probably should be more tension there.
I think you mean “pass up the chance for things to be this blurry” instead of change? And while normally that would be an obvious typo, when your character is literally dependent on change, it took me a bit to figure out what probably happened.
Like a few other entries this week I want there to be more. The experience of this character rings true to me. I like that there’s a juxtaposition between clarity of thought and clarity of vision. And I want more of the mind-reading to further characterize your protagonist. I also think you could show the reader more about this character by following his journey to where he would sleep since he couldn’t get into the men’s shelter. But the flow is good. Good balance of introspection and world interaction.
Anomalous Amalgam Maritime Law
Interesting choice for the assigned jeggings. But then again, I think you could have chosen any piece of clothing to drop into this story and it could have remained the same. It kind of bothers me that we never find out how the captain died.
There are some formatting issues with this. There are line breaks in the middle of paragraphs. Typically when you end with someone talking and start the next paragraph with the same person talking you can leave off the close quotes at the end of the previous paragraph.
It all comes across as a jumbled mess of only semi-related sentences. The attempt at pirate dialect is haphazard. But then the ghost of captains past shows up for some reason and he has no effect on any of them, so I’m not sure why he shows up. You’d think they’d listen to their captain. Then they all die. No moral? I just don’t get the joke you were going for.
Thranguy The Relic
I love a good anthropological short story. This put me in mind of one I just read called The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang. All of the details are nice and the story creates a great picture of this world and its many customs and ways of life, I don’t see a greater purpose behind it though, a larger message. Even an amusing message like the importance of grooming. I think an easier way to get more oomph out of this story would be to tell it almost exactly the same, but for the narrator to be someone from the church who eventually ended up with the relic. There’s plenty of commentary to include with that.
Carl Killer Miller Aura
Your words are very descriptive. I like all of the words you use to describe the entwined world. They make great pictures in my head. But I can’t say that I understand why any of it is happening. Your main character appears to be having some type of seizure? Or some other mental anomaly. But I don’t know what and I don’t know what exactly it has to do with him having killed someone earlier. And he disposed of the body in the yarn place and is unraveling it to get rid of any evidence and then..? I want to like this because of your vivid vision. But then I lose comprehension and wonder what I’m missing. But it was all just wonderful enough to win.
|# ? Jan 28, 2020 05:28|
The Importance of strong drink, strong emotions, and crying in bars
Beginning is a little slow. Good descriptors, good showing instead of telling. Antagonists are one dimensional. Why wear the hoodie? Her motivations for doing so could be fleshed out, I have guesses but nothing concrete. Overall well written and the heart warming ending works well. Transgender reveal works well too. Feels like the central conflict precedes the story though. Wish this story took place earlier and from her perspective.
A Six Legged Fear with Wings
This entry is choppy, you start too many sentences with ‘I’, sometimes consecutively.
‘I set the throttle and bite the clutch, giving some light rear brake. I drive at a crawl. I look over my shoulder to the end of the turn. I lean the bike, getting the handlebars to full lock. It dips low mid-turn. Too low. I stop. I put my foot down, catching the machine before it tips. This is not how it’s done.’
This is an example that could use some restructuring to avoid repetition. I do like that you work in small sentences when the action is happening, keeps it fast paced. Maybe a little oversaturated with action, makes it harder to keep up for the reader and it doesn’t have the stakes it should to keep the reader engaged. Nailed the prompt though.
Format is choppy. Misdirect intro is okay. Doesn’t hook me but it does open my expectations to being subverted. Protag is not introduced with likeable qualities, this makes it harder to invest. Dialogue is fairly realistic as is the family dynamic. Ends way too early. Plot is cliche. Has some funny moments. My expectations did not end up subverted.
do not kill yourself for a job - you are replaceable - like a cog or a lightbulb or a pen or a small potted plant that sits on a receptionist's desk or a receptionist's desk or a receptionist
Funny, interesting corporate dystopia. A little repetitive though that does convey the robotic nature of the protag. Proper dialogue format may have helped with that. That lady manages a double homicide in the span of seconds? Maybe it would’ve worked better if the protag didn’t leave and then come back.
Maybe doesn’t nail the prompt as much as it should, I’m not really sure what the raincoats are for other than keeping the spiders in. Maybe some mention of a woman earlier to provide context for his running and lay the foundation for when we meet her. Ends abruptly. So much is made of him running early on, then he just stops running.
I appreciate the escapism brought on my the lack of vision and that his glasses remind him of his former life. The actual plot of trying to get to a shelter feels superficial to the overall story. Maybe getting in to see the human suffering surrounding him and taking off his glasses again could’ve juxtaposed nicely with the more well off people in the street who treat him with disdain. Way too short.
Some paragraphs get chopped in half with an early line break, what happened there? There’s also a random double space. Massive tone shift near the end, wasn’t quite ready for it. Maybe sow the seeds of discontent earlier. I did get the sense that they liked his pants but it’s a leap to murder each other for them. Especially Yorgen who ostensibly swore to never lose another crew member/patient. Some descriptions could have been more easily conveyed. “Eight buttons arranged in two columns of the garment” could have easily been described as “double-breasted” but I’ll attribute that to more research needed rather than a failure of vocabulary. The ghost at the end feels tacked on, he doesn't contribute anything to the resolution.
Interesting world building but so much so that I think it detracts from the overall plot. The tone works for the most part but detracts from the attempts at humour. Well written but the characters don’t feel properly fleshed out.
Awesome descriptors and protagonist, but the plot is hard to keep track of. A literal interpretation of unravelling fed by a drug and alcohol OD in the vein of Hunter S Thompson doing Poe. Story is a little too obscure in its cleverness. More style than substance.
SlipUp fucked around with this message at 05:40 on Jan 28, 2020
|# ? Jan 28, 2020 05:37|
This is a great idea in a less-than-great story. I'd love to read a longer piece about how this plays out, but as it is there's just too little plot for it to grow. I'd say your humor 60% lands and 40% comes off as postmodern-but-unfunny.
|# ? Jan 28, 2020 05:48|
Sage advice that's going to help me win this brawl
|# ? Jan 28, 2020 07:33|
Week 391: You Are the Disease, Thunderdome is the Cure
On the one hand, the entire breadth of human suffering. On the other, the utterly fascinating transmutation of the human form. This week, you will be writing about disease.
As you sign up, I will diagnose each of you with a particular ailment drawn from my personal journals, texts, and manuscripts. But please, stay with me. These will not be garden-variety viruses or bothersome gluten intolerances. You will each receive something rare, something frighteningly interesting, ruthless in its peculiarity, and terribly, terribly real. You may use your malady in whatever fashion you choose. I will provide basic information about each diagnosis and its potential cure, though further research is encouraged. There are no genre restrictions outside of those listed below.
-No erotica or fanfiction
-1750 word maximum
-Signups close 1/31, 11:59 PM or so
-Submissions close 2/2, 11:59 PM or so
-A flash rule in the form of disease from my library will be given with each signup.
-At least one set of crits will be delivered within 24 hours of judgment
Carl Killer Miller
(Position to be filled)
(Position to be filled)
Pepe Silvia Browne
The Saddest Rhino
Carl Killer Miller fucked around with this message at 04:51 on Jan 30, 2020
|# ? Jan 28, 2020 08:24|
I am ready for my INfection.
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|# ? Jan 28, 2020 09:12|