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Oct 23, 2010

2 miles bb


a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Me when I signed up: This is going to be an easy week to get words, it's just doing what I do anyway.
Day 1: 4 miles; noticed a brick building that should really hold a gatekeeper, but there's no gate to keep.
Day 2: 2 miles; piles of fruit tree blossom petals make awesome confetti; boy likes to look at every worm on the walk, slows down the process.
Day 3: WTF covid vaccine, that's not cool, why do I feel so terrible? 1 mile and only because my dogs dragged me the entire way.
Day 4: 1 mile because my body still doesn't know what I did to it. It's cold, what happened to 60 degree days?
Day 5: 2.5 miles: Why don't people know to walk against traffic when they're in the road? I wonder what would happen if a city tried to do away with junk mail?
Day 6: 1 mile: Two dogs and a stroller, heaven help me if there's a squirrel.

Total: 11.5 miles = 1150 words

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 23:29 on Apr 18, 2021

Aug 2, 2002

flerp posted:

in what does an hour and a half of swimming get me?

10 mins of swimming = 100 words

you get the jade plant. i don't really like the plant, but in the spring they get a ton of little flowers and i like them

"A flowering Jade represents great friendship, luck and prosperity. More specifically, the leaves of the Jade represent the energy and joy of friendship, while the flowers represent the fragrance of friendship. Its location in space can have different meanings: a plant placed by the door of a home, an office or a restaurant invites prosperity and good fortune, placed in East locations of a home brings family harmony and health, and in South East locations brings wealth luck. "

sorry about posting this before your signup, still a little lingering time travel effects from last week.

crabrock fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Apr 17, 2021

Feb 25, 2014


in what does an hour and a half of swimming get me?

Aug 2, 2002

sign ups are closed. not surprised by the paltry showing this week, asking goons to go outside and go for a walk was bound to have disastrous consequences. hope those that are in did some walkin and got some inspiration from all the forced thinking time

if not, well, hope you enjoyed the walks anyway.

there's still 2 more days to get some words

Oct 23, 2010

2 miles yesterday

Aug 20, 2014


The Lottery
1445 words

Mika splashed through the fountain and climbed the statue. He gripped the stone girl’s hair and hefted himself up. The statue was stooped over, her arms shoved down a pipe that bubbled up cold water, and Mika straddled her back. Benj stood next to him staring ahead at the platform in the center of the square, and he reached up to grab at Mika’s hand, his fingers like excited birds.

Mika pushed Benj’s hand away. At ten, he was too old to do that in public. Benj didn’t seem to mind as he bounced up and down, soaking his pants and boots.

“Let me up let me up,” Benj said, scrabbling at the statue.

“Not enough room,” Mika said, knocking his brother away. “Look, it’s starting.”

The Verash Company manager climbed the platform and scanned the crowd. Rich and poor, Company and stranger, they all gathered for the lottery drawing. An enormous wire globe sat in the middle of the stage. The manager bowed to the crowd, then turned a crank that made the ball roll.

Small, tightly folded pieces of beige paper tumbled and fluttered. “I love this part,” Benj said, and his voice carried over the hush of the crowd.

“Quiet,” Mika whispered.

The manager stopped turning after the legally allotted thirty seconds and opened a small hatch. He shoved in his hand, moved it all around, and removed a single folded square.

Mika took a strip of paper from his pocket. It’d cost him and Benj all their wages for the past three days and mother was furious when she found out. Benj stood on tiptoes to look at the numbers: 3433.

The manager walked to the edge of the stage and held up the winning paper. For one perfect moment the numbers remained locked in the man’s head, and Mika imagined life if they won: mother could stop working in the bread shop, waking hours before dawn to sweat and slave; Benj could go to school instead of sweeping floors; Mika wouldn’t have to scrub pans for his uncle anymore. They could have a real future.

“Three four one eight,” the manager said, and his voice rang clear over the dead silence.

Mika squeezed his eyes shut then passed the paper down to Benj, who groaned softly.

Then a scream toward the front of the crowd. A young girl, nineteen at most, was escorted up to the stage. She wore simple clothes and was probably a low-ranked worker like Mika’s mother.

The crowd applauded. That much money, it could change a life.

As people dispersed, and the manager broke down the great globe, and the worker-girl sat at the edge of the stage crying with delight, Mika wondered why it was them, why the girl, why the mangers, why the Company men in fine velvet doublets, and not his mother, or him, or Benj.

“Come on,” Benj said, tugging at Mika’s leg. He’d have to stop doing that sort of thing soon. “We’d better go.”

An idea slipped into Mika’s head when he landed in the water. Ideas came to him like that sometimes.

This was a bad one. But he looked at Benj, who stared at the lottery ticket with resigned dismay, and he thought maybe it might be worth a try.


Verash was dark and quiet in the middle of the night. Mika crept down the lane followed by Benj. They stuck to the shadows and took side alleys, skirting the fountains and hiding when the dog-beaters came bearing clubs and lanterns.

Manager Cabrid’s house was surrounded by a low stone wall. The slate roof glistened from the day’s rain. Mika crouched down near the back gate and checked for anyone nearby.

“What are we doing?” Benj whispered.

Mika hadn’t told his brother about the plan. Better Benj not know, if this went wrong. Which it probably would.

“You’re staying here,” Mika said. “If you hear something happening, whistle for the dogs.” He slipped Mika a wrapped package of bread and meat he’d saved from their evening meal.

“You want me to attract strays?” Benj stared down at the paper-covered food. “For what?”

“Distraction.” It was a dangerous escape plan, but the best he could come up with.
Mika took a breath and climbed the wall. At the top, he glanced down at his brother, at the baby fat cheeks and bright blue eyes, then slipped over the side and into the manager’s yard.

Dead quiet from the house. Mika continued around the building until he reached a window barely big enough for a child to squeeze through.

He took a thin piece of wood from his pocket and eased it in the gap between the panes. The latch wobbled, made a jingling noise, then released. He pulled it open then squeezed inside.

The room was covered with big cases stacked against one wall, shelves piled high with goods. It smelled like spices. Manager Cabrid ran the neighborhood general store, and stocked almost everything.

Mika ignored it all. He crept out of the store room into a back hallway. The wood floors creaked and he moved as slowly as he could. The front shop was beyond a closed curtain and he slipped through into the space behind the counter.

It was strange seeing the shop from this angle. He rifled through small drawers, ignored soap, cotton patches, nails and screws, buttons, and stopped at a stack of small paper slips.

He held the stack up in the air and ran his thumb down their end. Each had a number written on it in tight Company script.

The lottery tickets. There’d be another drawing in two weeks, and one of these might be the lucky winner. There must’ve been hundreds, which meant hundreds of chances to change his life forever.

He shoved half the stack in his pocket and left the other half where they were. Better for this not to be noticed than to be too greedy.

He turned and began back to the store room and froze.

Wild barking echoed from the street.

“Benj,” Mika whispered.

Shouts from a few blocks over. The dog-beaters were on their way. Mika ran down the hallway and threw himself through the window. He didn’t pause to close it again as he sprinted across the yard and reached the wall. His fingers slipped as he tried to climb, but he made it on the second try and sat straddling the top.

Benj stood with his back to the wall below. Several strays gathered around him, some baring teeth. The braver dogs sniffed at the wrapped food in Benj’s hand.

“Throw it,” Mika said.

Benj looked up, surprised.

The lead dog lunged. It snapped for the food as Benj cocked his arm back and launched it in the air. Meat and bread scattered, and the dog’s teeth barely missed Benj’s hand.

The dog-beaters shouted from the nearby alley.

“Run,” Mika hissed. “Run now!”

“But what about you?” Benj asked, eyes wild with fear.

“Run, Benj!”

His brother took off sprinting in the opposite direction of the dogs and the beaters. Mika hesitated as the big men fell on the dogs with their clubs, knocking them down, killing a few. Violence sent the animals into a frenzy as they fought for their meal.

Mika turned back toward the house and nearly screamed. Manager Cabrid stood in the doorway, staring at Mika with confusion. He wore his nightclothes and his hair was a frizzy mess. Then his dark eyes went wide when he noticed the open window.

“Thief!” the manager shouted.

Mika dropped off the wall. He landed hard, tried to roll, and smashed his shoulder into the ground.

“Thief!” the manager yelled louder.

One of the dog-beaters, lantern held high, shoved through the mass. “You, boy,” he said, pointing with his club.

Mika got to is feet and broke toward the street. He kicked and shoved, and saw the open lane ahead, the lottery tickets in his pocket like gold against his skin, and saw freedom, saw the way out for his family, until the club came down and smashed against his head, knocking him into darkness.


The basement of the Yser was damp and pitch dark. A window near the ceiling looked out onto the street above.

Mika watched fingers wiggle through the bars.

“Are you in there?” Benj’s voice echoed off the stone.

Mika struggled to his feet. His head still hurt from the blow, but he reached up and took Benj’s hand.

The fingers fluttered like birds.

“I’m here,” Mika said

“Was it worth it?” Benj whispered.

Mika squeezed Benj’s fingers and closed his eyes and smiled, but didn’t answer.

Sep 14, 2006

Every second that we're not growing BASIL is a second wasted

Fun Shoe

Walking diary:

Day 1 2 miles 200 - dog and treehouse spotted
Day 2 3 miles 300 - walked by some stores I'd never seen before. One that wants you to pay $80 for something called a "float tank".
Day 3 40 min biek 200 - biking keeps me away from the death cults roaming around licking each others eyeballs.
Day 4 1.5 miles 150 - it started raining
Day 5 5 miles 500 - 5 for day 5 why not. It's cooled off so there aren't so many people wishing for death on the nice paths.
Total: 1350

Cleaning Homes
1328 words

After having spent May and June reconsidering his line of work, Vince was surprised when he got the booking email. As usual, the customer had to be called so that they understood the nature of Vince’s work.

“Yes, I’m calling for Rabdi.” A receptionist from one of the monolithic property management companies in the north side of the city placed Vince on hold.

“Yes, hello. Are you the cleaner?” Rabdi, a low, unaccented tenor to Vince’s ear, wasted no time.

“I clean things, yes. You understand that I don’t clean ordinary messes. I’m only equipped to work with certain issues.”

“Well, I don’t know, man. This thing is loving weird. It whispers and something is wrong with the lights. But the power is fine, you know?” The maintenance guy spoke quickly, and his voice quavered when he started to explain the details.

Vince interrupted before Rabdi was any more upset by recalling the mess, “I’ll have to take a look.” Addresses were exchanged and Vince took a cab to a small four-story mid-century walkup.

Rabdi met him around back, “Where’s your stuff?” He asked.

“I’m not sure what I need yet.” Vince said. The maintenance guy looked suspicious but led Vince in.

Inside, he found the typical discount renovations: office surplus carpet tiles paired with light fixtures that hadn’t been updated since the 70s (seashell sconces). A calico of patched and painted fist holes on the second-floor landing.

Rabdi stopped short of the third floor. “It’s up there, man. 305. The door doesn’t lock anymore. I’ll be right here.”

This was common. People didn’t usually care to supervise his work.

At the door marked “305”, Vince gathered himself in preparation. Brief swatches of memory from some of the particularly weird “messes” replayed, cautionary memento mori.

As an apprentice, Vince was shocked by the inexplicable integrity of the camouflage employed by some of these objects, anomalies, messes, whatever (the use of “mess” and “cleaning” were just marketing, Vince knew these things were like an out of control callous on the foot of reality, minor dysfunction that heralds a much deeper issue unless dealt with).

This day Vince and his master were cleaning a basement in a long-abandoned house at the invitation of a developer who noticed that machinery stopped working as soon as it entered the lot. Stopped working and started emitting sounds of nature: birds chirping, water running, stuff like that.
This anomaly had covered the basement of its home in some kind of vision of a rainforest. Moss on every surface, thick trees with bark textured like bread crust rising into a canopy that was lost to darkness above. But instead of the hush of a forest, the space produced the cacophony of construction equipment. Vince was sent upstairs to find something significant to take care of the source while his master assessed the extent of the issue.

After a quick lap around the yard, Vince settled on a particularly weighty push lawnmower liberated from some overgrown bramble. When he wrestled the thing into the basement, he found his master had grown mossy, becoming part of the space. “Quickly, Vince!”

Outside 305, Vince pressed his ear to the door. No sound of the whispers Rabdi had mentioned. Interestingly, when he looked in through the peephole with a lens, he could see only darkness. These objects usually tried to impose some sort of normalcy on their surroundings. In what space was pitch black nothingness normal?

It was time to find something substantial in the same way the mess was substantial. Usually broken or forgotten things did the trick.

Rabdi jumped when Vince entered the stairwell, then looked hopefully up from his phone. “Just gotta get something first,” said Vince. Down the stairs he made a circuit around the parking lot. Nothing but garbage. Except for a space behind the cardboard where Vince found a filthy, probably broken vacuum cleaner. Hadn’t even been emptied by its former owner, perfect.

Back up to the apartment, Vince felt a fatalistic courage as he opened the door to 305. The darkness poured forth from within. Shrugging, Vince removed one of his shoes – a worn trainer – and tossed it inside. The shoe landed about four feet inside the room, casting not a shadow but a beam of ordinary light so that Vince could make out the dusty floor where the shoe’s shade should have been. When he probed the darkness beyond the threshold with his shoeless foot, his foot found no floor beneath it, just a cold void. Where the darkness was blocked by the shoe, his foot encountered normal floor. He carefully heel-toed his way into the room.

Once inside, Vince heard the whispering. It sounded like deeply familiar, warm, hushed guttural syllables just beyond the edge of recognition. The whispering was coming from directly ahead. He carefully stood on one leg and removed his other shoe, tossing it forward. It also blocked the darkness so he could proceed. Gathering his other shoe, he advanced toward the sound.

When Vince returned to the rainforest basement with the mower, he found his master seated with the object (in this case a mass of mosses both familiar and obviously wrong. Club moss spiky instead of round. Yellow soldiers where there should have been red.

“What are you doing?” Vince asked. The sound of the machinery was now very loud, and he had to raise his voice.

“I need you to let me go with it when you clean. Just use that on me too.” Said his master.

“What are you saying? Why?” Shouted Vince.

“Don’t you see? This is my backyard as a child! It’s all gone now, bulldozed to dust. But here, I can be home!”

And Vince saw that his master was weeping with joy, his hands on the wrong moss of this thing.

So Vince set to work, mowing over the ersatz basement rainforest while his master started into the object, and wept.

Proceeding into 305, shoe by shoe, the whispering always seemed to be just barely audible. A thin opacity covering up some deep truth about Vince that he longed to understand. Shortly, Vince reached the source. It was a ball, not black like its surroundings, but extremely smooth and reflective so it was invisible in the void. He placed his shoes toe-to-toe in front of him and knelt in the light they cast. The whispering was just barely perceptible as Gaelic, and as he pressed his ear against the sphere – warm! – he could hear his mother’s lullaby emanating from within, she of the old ways, trying always to keep the language of her grandmother alive in him. Intense feelings of comfort and home brought tears to his eyes and Vince could only listen, leaning into the sphere.

Some time passed, not that Vince could say how much. Eventually, Rabdi appeared in the door. A tiny figure beckoning Vince back to the world, the vacuum cleaner next to him, left behind of course.

Vince couldn’t imagine how he would make the trip back across the void, vacuum cleaner clutched in his teeth? And worse, he knew that he didn’t want to. He wanted to go with this sphere, this tiny geometric weirdness, a cancer calling him home.

“Rabdi,” Vince whispered.

Rabdi stuck a toe into the void and shivered, leaning back.

“You need to start the vacuum. Just press the button.”

“What the gently caress?” Rabdi said.

“Do it, you have to hurry!” Yelled Vince, a force of will to raise the volume of his voice.

Rabdi looked down at the vacuum, turning it this way and that until he found the power button. He started it. The intense roar of unmaintained motor followed ad the darkness imperceptibly began to flow into it. Flattening and compressing into the confines of the vacuum. Vince felt himself grow flat with it, his limbs and torso disappearing, whispers of his mother drowned out by the sound of the vacuum.

Sing Along
Feb 28, 2017
Can't post for 12 days!

I'd be very interested in joining the discord and getting a better sense of this competition. I've followed these threads off and on since around 2011.

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018

Stomped Out
721 words (out of 850)

In the year 865, Gerhardt Halsburg was hanged. He and six other earls were stripped, beaten, and found guilty of High Treason. When King Harald II asked for their last words, Gerhardt said, “at least hell won’t raise taxes.” Then he, and his rebellion, became a side note in history.

“What now?” were Harald’s words when he learned that his father, King Erik, died. The world gained a dreamlike quality for the 28 year old, as attendants decorated him with bejewelled cloaks, crowns, wands, rings and orbs. In the palace, everyone he encountered called him 'your majesty'. For the first time, he was looking down on the marble courtroom, not up at the king.

Harald's lords assembled below him: 10 of them, all cloaked and regaled. Among them was Gerhardt, and the six others who would later hang (but no one knew this yet). Gerhardt was a balding forty something. He was broad, square jawed, and always smirking: an older version of the warrior who had seized Halsburg with his own greatsword.

“The natives in my county are revolting,” said Gerhardt, “and they're quite angry about something, too.”

The other lords laughed, then King Harald II laughed (although he didn’t get the joke until the meeting was over).

“I wouldn’t normally bring the small matter of disobedience to your majesty’s attention,” said Gerhardt, “but two emissaries from the Kordic kingdom arrived in my court, shortly after I dealt with the rebellion.”

Gerhardt presented a scrap of boar hide wrapped around a thighbone. He unfurled it like a scroll. The fur was painted with some kind of animal blood.



Harald muttered the word 'piss' which echoed around the chamber.

piss piss piss piss

The eyes of the ten lords pressed on Harald. He became acutely aware of the position of his hand. He was all but biting his nails, when he decided to scratch his chin instead.

“I would like to avoid war with the king of the flatheads,” said Harald.

“I would like to avoid war with Lord Eaglesburg, your majesty” said Gerhardt, “but if our noble friend promised to invade me the next time I break wind, then I daresay that war would be inevitable.”

Lord Eaglesburg sat, pinching the bridge of his nose, tittering.

“Must you quell rebellion as naturally as you break wind, Lord Halsburg?” said the king.

“Native rebellion is a pressure that builds in the bowels of Halsburg, your majesty. It reaches a point where it must be ejected. One hopes, when it does reach this point, that the rebellion is not too loud or unpleasant.”

The lords snickered, but the king sat flat mouthed.

“I am yet to be convinced, Lord Halsburg,” said the king. “And if your actions provoke another nation to war, the king is not obliged to send his armies —I am not obliged to send my armies.”

The lords sat with their mouths agape, apart from Gerhardt, whose lip trembled. He took on the colour of beets. Lord Eaglesburg gripped Gerhardt on the shoulder. Eaglesburg stood.

“Your majesty is not obliged, no,” said lord Eaglesburg, “but surely we ought not to rule our domains by the demands of another kingdom.”

“You have armies, Lord Eaglesburg,” said the king. “You may send aid to Halsburg if you wish.”

To this, Lords Eaglesburg, Hilheim, Stanfurt, Muer and Brenkt stood by Gerhardt. They swore to defend Halsburg, despite not being obliged to, whether or not the king gave assistance. In Harald’s head, one word was still ringing.

piss piss piss piss

In the year 865, King Harald arrived at castle Geldal. The tower had bunting streaming out from the weather vane to the inner merlons on the castle’s defensive wall. From the tower, King Harald looked out at his Kingdom, and scratched his chin. In the valley below were tidy rectangles in yellow, blue and various shades of green and brown. These were the armies of the seven lords, and they were approaching the king’s own red rectangles.

“It seems the head of King Grunk gave them a taste for regicide,” said Harald.

“That's why us kings should be friends,” said King Kronk, as the green blob charged over the hills.

Sep 14, 2006

Every second that we're not growing BASIL is a second wasted

Fun Shoe

Sing Along posted:

I'd be very interested in joining the discord and getting a better sense of this competition. I've followed these threads off and on since around 2011.

Me too!

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Word Count: 1049

Tristan stood outside the performance hall for the Shadow Theater holding a bucket of earthworms. He had spent months in the mud overcoming his aversion to slime, calming his twitchy hands and making better friends with worms than he ever could with people. It would all be worth it once he received his puppet master tassel and his ticket to power.

Walking in, he realized the hall was not as imposing as he had imagined. It was more of a multi-purpose room with folding tables and chairs and a vending machine. Three tasseled masters sat at a table. Tristan gave them his forms and they said he could begin.

Tristan took his pre-performance breath and forced his will into the bodies of ten Lumbricus terrestris, transforming them into fidgeting finger puppets. He danced them in unison, shaking their bodies in a horrific hula. Then he tumbled each through individual acrobatic routines simultaneously. He finished the routine by piling them into a pyramid and taking a bow.

Tristan looked up, allowing the worms to collapse back into the bucket. No applause or questions came from the other masters. One woman stamped his registration sheet and said, “Your paperwork is ready. Here’s your tassel.”

He stepped up to the table and noted the others’ puppets: toad, finch, and goldfish. He found his forms with his brown tassel laying on top.

“That’s it?”

Finch said, “Yup.”

“I don’t have to fight anyone?”

Goldfish raised an eyebrow. “If you want action, the koala-master might die any day now. Their smooth brains probably wouldn’t be too difficult for a beginner.”

“There might even be a crowd,” Toad said, perking up at the death gossip, “to watch the newbies stumbling over themselves for higher rank.”

“I’m not waiting for someone to die to level up,” said Tristan.

“Some advice,” Goldfish said. “Don’t go challenging higher ranks. You’ll get run out.”

“If I can’t move up, then what’s the point?”

“This isn’t the old days,” said Finch. “The Shadow Theater doesn’t control populations or rain plagues anymore. It’s more of a social club.”

The great organization of puppet masters was just a Junior League now? Tristan’s cheeks flamed. “I challenge one of you!”

Goldfish facepalmed. Finch looked disgusted.

Toad sighed. “Fine, let me get some toads.”

They found a shady spot in which to do battle. Goldfish and Finch must have texted some friends because now there were spectators.

Tristan started having second thoughts. Was he really going to fight earthworms against toads like Pokémon?

Finch stepped between them and pulled out her phone. “I’ve never had to find these. Ah, each master can only use their official animal. Blah, blah, blah. Winner is first master to take control of the other’s puppet animal and tag the opposing master with it. Winner can either take the tassel of the opposing master or choose to keep their own.” Then she did a hand chop as if starting a drag race.

Tristan reached out to the hundreds of worms under Toad’s feet and started them squirming toward the grassy surface. He could already feel Toad tugging on his control.

He was so focused on his worms that he didn’t notice the toads until they hopped down his shirt, landed on his head and licked his ankles.

The crowd laughed as Tristan wiggled much like the worms he was supposed to command. After a gasp, another roar of laughter erupted and then the toads lost interest in Tristan. The toad-master had sunk several inches into the now unstable ground and he stood shoe deep in a writhing pile of earthworms.

In the distraction, Tristan reached out and force-waddled one of the toads over to his opponent and hopped it right into his nose.

The crowd clapped and rushed Toad, dragging him out of the worms and over to Tristan. Toad huffed and held out his pink tassel.

Tristan shook his head and looked at his shoes. “I think I’ll stick to worms. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not.” Toad smiled and introduced himself as Caleb. Everyone else demanded more challenges.

Tristan battled two more masters that day and won both times, finding others were almost as grossed out by worm slime as he had been. Each time he kept his brown tassel and got a handshake.

It was so much fun that Tristan and the other low rank masters began organizing regular tournaments.

But when word got around to the higher ranked masters about these tassel challenges, it ruffled their fur so much they complained to the unofficial chief of the high rank puppet masters: the white tasseled human-master, Janice.

Tristan knew nothing about it until the highest ranked masters in the Shadow Theater, tassels dangling from shiny pins, strutted into one of their challenge parties.

The group of birds, amphibians and creepy crawlies assembled behind Tristan.

Janice sneered. “You’re what these old fools are worried about? I told them you were just grubs playing games. Turns out I was right.”

“Why don’t you challenge us then?” Tristan’s throat closed as he realized this woman could make him pick his own nose in front of these people that maybe were beginning to like him.

As his arms raised from the sides of his body, he knew it was too late to apologize. He struggled to regain control but still could only watch as his feet began to turn him in circles. He must’ve looked like the clumsiest ballerina.

Then he was floating. He wondered how Janice had managed that until he saw that the other low ranks had picked him up. Then they charged him like a battering ram at the high ranks. The group scattered, except for Janice.

Without flinching, she immobilized everyone’s feet. But it was too late. Their momentum was just enough that when they froze, Tristan flew out of their hands and into Janice’s stomach. They both fell to the floor.

The low ranks, once more in control of their bodies, lifted Tristan again, this time in celebration.

“We beat the Master of Puppets!” said Caleb.

“No you didn’t,” Janice groaned. “That wasn’t a challenge.”

Everyone ignored her until she gathered her posse and left.

They all cheered and gave Tristan high-fives. He laughed, thinking that worms had brought him friends and a high rank after all.

Feb 25, 2014


90 minutes of swimming = 900 words

840 words

Flowers at the End of the World

The creek is flooded but the flowers are still here. They are pink and blooming and they are horrible things because when we came down to this creek, it would be in spring. When the pollen would make our noses run and we would complain endlessly about the heat of the sun and the gusts of winds blowing our long hairs.

You said, a very long time ago, that flowers dig their roots into the world to stop it from falling apart. We were high and you liked to say things like that, so I laughed it off, but I can’t help imagining the tendrils that spread beneath my feet now. They wrap around the dirt like IV drips, tangled up wires that criss-cross endlessly, keeping together this mess we call a planet. I should’ve asked you why the plants do this. You would’ve had an answer. Maybe a dumb one, like because God forgot to keep everything together so he made plants to fix it, but it would’ve been an answer.

I don’t know why I’m at the creek. It is flooded, yes, but it is not nearly deep enough for me to drown in. You said that once, that a kid drowned in the creek and his ghost was sucked into the dirt. That’s why the flowers are pink, you said, because it was a girl. So then if I drowned, they would be blue. Or perhaps, the colors would fuse together. Gray, I hope the mixture of blue and pink is. That’s what they would look like If I believed you, that is.

I know you said to never pull out a flower. You said to do so would tear apart the only thing that kept the world together. I promise you, I never did. When you first said that, I thought it was a joke. I reached over to one of those pink flowers and almost yanked, but you shouted so fast, so shrill, that I yanked my arm away. You had such a direness in your eyes that I couldn’t pull. Sure, there’s been a few times, especially recently, where I’ve seen flowers on the sides of the roads, and I wrapped my fingers around their stems, but I never pull. I thought of you, grabbing my wrist, saying that you don’t want the world to fall apart.

So this is, in a sense, an apology. For two things. The first, of course, is for destroying the world. The second is for all the things I said. When we first came down here in middle school, when you told me that there was a spot by that creek, I saw those fields of pink flowers. And they were beautiful, yes I know that now, but I was twelve, so I said, wow those are loving gay. You didn’t really say much then. We sat down and it was pleasant enough, but we didn’t say anything for a couple of minutes. Then you said, let’s go, and I didn’t object, even though I should’ve said I’m sorry.

I did, eventually, say sorry, but I never said sorry enough. I said, some day in high school, “We should go to the spot with the flowers.” And you said, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” And I said, “I know what I said, but I liked it there. I really did.”

And so went, and we were comfortable with each other then, so we cuddled next to those flowers, and I will say that I’m sorry I never said I love you. I should’ve said it there. I realized it when I was walking back home right afterwards. It was a perfect chance, there next to those gay plants, sniffing the spring air, watching the water topple over each endlessly. It was perfect and I missed it, so I waited to find another perfect chance.

I don’t know why I’m apologizing. It’s not like it’ll reach you, but then again, I never could pull out a flower even when you weren’t around. I don’t think I could face you if I ever did.

The flower closest to me is small. It looks close to wilted and its petals are poked with holes from caterpillars. You liked to point those out to me when you sat here. You always wanted to catch one and raise a butterfly.

I grab the flower and pull. The roots resist. The whole earth is wrapped around it. I pull harder. The flower struggles for a moment, then there’s a release. I pull. I feel the ground shake and shudder. It is ready to swallow me up. Ready to shatter, ready for everything to fall apart. I pull until the stem is free.

You were right. The flower in my hand, and I look around me, and I see the broken earth. There is no one next to me. The flowers are pink and blooming while the world collapses without you in it.

Oct 23, 2010

Five miles, walking to work and back through central park across windy bridges and then past lots of traffic and vacant lots
Two miles, walking along the waterfront
Two miles, walking round and round and anime convention

The Hole in the Fence
640 words

Buildings started disappearing the other day and mostly we just pretended it wasn’t happening. One vanished just as I was about to enter it, my hand was on the tarnished brass doorknob then it was outstretched like I was reaching out to shake the hand of a friend who wasn’t there. I stepped back, went ‘hm’. Then, I went on with my day.

Because the weird thing was the buildings vanished along with our memory of what used to be there. We knew on one level that there had been a building there, and we knew it had vanished, but the act of disappearance snipped all the memories along with it. It was just an empty lot now, couple of discarded biscuit wrappers that must have blown there somehow.

The people on the news were being very cagey about it, occasionally people would come on and talk about commissions of enquiry, but I could tell from their eyes they weren’t sure either. Did any of the things actually exist? Did they ever exist?

I tried talking about it to my girlfriend Clarissa, over a beer.

“What if a building disappeared while we were in it?”

She considered this thoughtfully, taking a sip of her lager then placing it firmly back on the table, holding it down with her hand.

“I think people would remember us. Wouldn’t they?”

Her eyes weren’t convinced. There was a little puddle of beer on the table from where the barlady had slopped it down before and I drew in it with my finger, extending pseudopodia out from the central mass.

“I’d remember you,” I said.

“I’d remember you too,” she said, a little too quickly.

That night I couldn’t sleep so I raised the covers and slipped out, putting on my pants quietly so she didn’t wake up. It was a hot and humid night and frogs were croaking thoughtfully to themselves in the wetland at the bottom of the hill. I looked down the long line streetlights that curved round the hill. One of them was flickering, a slow heartbeat.

I started walking, not sure where I was going, but then I thought of the frogs and I smiled. That was a good night walk, out to see the frogs. Frogs didn’t have buildings, or vacant lots, they just needed a swamp and space to croak in. As I walked, I swung my arms and felt the fine night air between my fingers. A Ford Escort came hooning up the road, tires squealing a bit as it took the long corner fast. I smiled at it, suffused suddenly with a great goodwill.

The roar of the engine echoed round the hillside for a few seconds after the car had passed and I listened to the silence afterwards, still smiling.
Then I stopped, and leant against the railing beside me because my legs were shakey. The frogs had stopped.

I looked down the road at the old wooden fence you could clamber over to get to the

There was a hole in the fence and you could climb through it and you’d be in the

I gripped the lichen spattered white-painted wood of the railing tightly and tried to squeeze the memory back into me.

I listened for the

I listened for the

Then, heartsick, I realised I also didn’t know where I’d set off from for my evening walk or where I could go when it was finished.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Sing Along posted:

I'd be very interested in joining the discord and getting a better sense of this competition. I've followed these threads off and on since around 2011.

tuyop posted:

Me too!

So enter already. New prompt goes up early in the week. You have nothing to lose (except your current av, but then anything is better than BASIL).

Oct 23, 2010

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

day 1: 200
day 2: 200
day 3: 200
day 4: 300
day 5: 0

The Rite of Cleansing
Words: 975

The sacrifice was a failure, and the village was in disarray. The rooftop gardenscape spanned over half a dozen tall, dilapidated university dormitory buildings; a network of planks, rope bridges and ladders covered more than an acre of arable space. By ritual, that began as coincidence, the plankways converged on a central locus point that enshrined a gargantuan corpse flower. Here, underneath a ragged tarpaulin, the flower sat in dappled sun, atop an excessive mound of earth.

Wailing, exaggerated and fitful, ricocheted out from the windows and the narrow, liminal spaces between the apartments and into Barrothem’s skull. Word had spread, the bones had never been wrong before. Could they have plotted against him? The possibility existed, but Barrothem was skeptical. Something else had gone awry. Was the vessel tainted? Was Warushem soiled? Would the reagents need to be examined? Would such an excuse be able to be given to the council to account for this disaster?

Warushem Kissed-Seventimes had been Barrothem’s apprentice. His mother, now among the most pitiful of mourners and sudden catastrophists, had been proud the bones had selected her son to be consumed. Barrothem, hobbling remarkably steady on the shifting plankway, cursed and spit down into the inky, roiling darkness below. After this bloom and rebirth, Barrothem would have been able to absolve himself of the wretched duty and been able to foist the charade onto Warushem. A quiet twilight in venerated luxury should have awaited Barrothem. Instead, his years of horticulture and apothecary knowledge had now been buried underneath the corpse flower, entombed alive.

Barrothem’s thoughts returned to the bones. Had Councilwoman Engretta cast the bones in such a manner, that out of the several scores of villagers, Warushem was selected? Barrothem had seen the bones, they had shown the whole village who to be selected. He ducked behind a tall row of vertical herb racks, avoiding a passing grief-stricken villager. If he were to be confronted, Barrothem had decided he would tell them he was collecting sage and trumpeter vine for a divination. The overly animated villager passed, alternatingly cursing and prostrating, and ignored Barrothem.

Retreating to his hideaway on a lower level of a tower, Barrothem consulted his botany and chemistry texts, and his predecessors’ notes dating back almost two centuries. The predictability of the corpse flower was trivial at this point, save for a single anomalous generation. The corpse flower had bloomed, and the scent of death permeated the towerscapes. The villagers rejoiced, Warushem had been consumed, and his death would satiate the flower as tribute. The harbinger of death would then wilt, collapsing on itself, only to be reborn many years later at the next ‘Rite of Cleansing’. Except, the flower remained, and the scent of death lingered, and the villagers frenzied. They would soon turn on Barrothem, as they almost had, decades ago.

Barrothem now planned to poison the corpse flower and prepare his escape in the interstitial years before the villagers discovered the ruse of the unborn flower. He moved to distill a toxin for the flower but paused when he noticed a peculiar set of reagents on his apprentice’s desk.

On the third night after the ritual, Warushem clawed his way to cool air. The hypnotic draught he had imbibed had done the trick, and he had existed in a temporary stasis, a reversable mummification. He knew had his calculation proved incorrect, the result would have been the same as if he had not attempted the gambit, but nevertheless, he was incredibly pleased with his expertise. By now, the corpse flower would have wilted and perished despite Warushem still being alive, and then he would expose the Barrothem, the murderous fraudster.

From atop the dirt mound of the corpse flower, Warushem faced a horrifying revelation. The fresh air he had expected was still pungent with death. The corpse flower had not withered, not even a scant wilting could be seen in its frills or erect stalk. It pointed at the alignment of the stars, as if to mock Warushem, his calculations had been right, two nights had passed, and yet the flower was still in bloom.

“See, it is as I said, the vessel was tainted,” Barrothem said. At the base of the mound, Barrothem had gathered dozens of villagers. They shifted uneasily, transfixed upon the flower and its magnificent bloom. The depth of their galoshes in the dirt indicated they had been waiting for him for some time.

“No, please, you mustn’t be fooled by this charlatan,” Warushem exclaimed. “This is just a flower, nothing more, it means nothing!”

Barrothem stepped forward. “We must complete the ritual, or the miasma will swallow us whole. The flower has graced us the time.”

“Can you not see you have been deceived? The ritual is a farce, it has been this entire time, for all these years! And Barrothem knew! Barrothem knew!”

The necks of the crowd craned and hanged, rolling, looking for any purchase that could avoid the eyes of another. Most, the ones behind the front row, closed their eyes, not wishing to see what was to happen. The crowd pressed closer, encircling Warushem, pushing him back towards the cavity in the topsoil he had clambered from.

“You must see! He knew! He has tricked all of you!”

As the crowd collapsed, Barrothem surreptitiously upended a tincture into the base of the corpse flower. He peered around at the crowd and could no longer hear Warushem’s accusations through the squirming mass. The manic energy completely exhausted, a somber acceptance took root. Eventually the crestfallen crowd departed, leaving stamped and flattened earth where Warushem had emerged, none speaking to each other. Barrothem’s eyes locked with Councilwoman Engretta, and he narrowed his gaze. She averted first, and the petals of the corpse flower began to shrivel and wilt.

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

3 miles each Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Most interesting thing I saw was there trucks turning onto a railroad track at a crossing. They each had extra wheels for to the rails.

The Facility

678 words

"You simply must see my collection," said the Duchess. It was our third date, oysters over linguini by candlelight. She reached over and touched my hand. I felt the thin white leather and the warm pulse beneath.

"That," I said, "Would be nice."

"Tomorrow, seven PM sharp," she said. "I'll tell the gate to expect you." She turned my hand face up and put a black business card with silver embossed lettering in it. "And Gabriella? Pack an overnight bag."


The gates were impressively gothic, twisted wrought-iron across a modern road deep in the central Florida swamps. It was a land beyond gps and cellular coverage, down private roads unmarked on most commercial maps. She was there to meet me. I parked my car and loaded my bag into the back of her vehicle, a three-wheeled large electric golf cart kind of thing.

"What have you heard about my collection?" asked the Duchess.

"Not much," I admitted. "Just that it puts all others to shame."

"There are no others," she said. The driver started the vehicle driving down a long causeway. "Oh, other people collect. But there's none comparable to mine. What I collect is rarer and more unique than any orchid, wilder and more dangerous than any tiger."

"You aren't going to say 'man', are you?" I said.

She smiled, the most natural emotion I'd ever seen from her so far. "Not just 'man'." The complex rose before us on the horizon, a massive island fortress in the swamp. Loud alarms sounded and the gates opened to let us in to the Collection, half village and half prison. The Duchess raised her arms in presentation. "I collect humanity at its most charmingly absurd. From the hapless criminal bumbler to the bath-salted lunatics that hunger for flesh. Not just 'man'. 'Florida Man'"

I never used to think I'd make much of an actress. But over the past two weeks I'd pulled it off completely, making the Duchess completely convinced that I was the kind of person who would be turned on by this. I looked at her hungrily.

The Duchess was damned hot, absolutely loaded, and a terrible human being. So two full points out of three, which put her way ahead of anyone else I've dated recently. Except also she snored, like, chainsaw doing its business kind of snoring. That's worth half a point by itself. It was handy, though. Let me know I hadn't woken her up getting out of bed.

This little love nest overlooked the Collection, about thirty feet high. It had glass windows and a balcony. The floodlights never swept directly at it but they gave a variable ambient light as they crossed nearer and farther from it. I walked over to my bag and reached under the clothes for my tools. A long knotted rope would get me down into the central yard. I had lockpicking tools that would get me through most of what they were likely to have down there. A mini EMP device to scramble trackers. C4 and a fistful of detonators. And a twenty-two caliber pistol, you know, just in case.

My little brother is down there, somewhere. Six months back he got picked up after dragging an ATM behind a Dodge Caravan, both stolen, halfway across town until the chain got wrapped around a concrete bridge support. He got lost in the private prison limbo soon after, but I finally tracked him down, learned about the Duchess.

I climbed down the rope, knot by knot, trying not to look down. I saw him, on that drive-through tour. He was bright enough not to let on, not to show any sign of recognition but a second, just in his eyes.

I'm going to find him, add my tools to whatever scheme he's already cooking up. Maybe we storm the gates. Maybe we take the Duchess hostage and drive right out. One way or another, we're going to teach that stuck-up yankee snake a thing or two about why you shouldn't mess about with Florida men, or Florida women.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Day 1, 5.4 miles: A woman screaming, a silver tree, jeff bezos's balls.

Day 2, 3.05 miles: Looping people, tent city, evil eye, human suffering.

The Sad Girl and the Luminous Abyssal Nothing
740 words

There’s a tower on a hilltop in the city by the sea.

At the bottom of the tower lives a very sad girl. Each morning, between moonset and sunrise, when the birds have just begun their hymns, she climbs the ladder to the top of the tower. From here the girl might view the entirety of the city by the sea, spread out around her like the brocaded skirts of her dress, but she barely raises her eyes to look past the parapet. She goes instead to the thing resting on its slab at the center of the roof, and kneels.

The thing on the slab, dweller atop the tower, is called the demiurge. Its cardigan is moth-eaten and torn around the collar; its hair is a pale, matted nest for its head. Its lips have pulled back in a rictus grin that shows huge brown teeth and a receded gum line.

Each morning, as the girl kneels before the thing on the slab, a humid whisper curls from between those teeth: Bring me something that is not myself.

Frustrated tears cool her cheeks as she descends from the top of the tower. There’s nothing in the city by the sea that isn’t the demiurge, because the demiurge created the city by the sea. Even so — each morning, as starry black velvet gives birth to sungilt blue sky, the very sad girl leaves the tower in search of some aspect of creation that is not its creator.

The buildings below the tower are slanted and brown as the demiurge’s teeth, crowding out the sky so the narrow city streets are hooded in perpetual shade. There are people here: half-formed ideas of people dragging their legless bodies along the cobbled road with their knuckles. Emptied out people who sit with their backs to the toothy buildings, their heads between their knees. Vivisected people who sing fever dreams to a sky they’ve never seen.

One of the vivisected singers notices the sad girl and seizes her by the wrists. “This isn’t me,” they say, and their breath smells like dust. ”I swear this isn’t me.”

“I’m sorry but it is,” the girl says. Then, before she pulls her wrists away, she adds, “I really am sorry.”

She ends up, as she often does, at the great harbor by the sea. Ships here fly the banners of many nations, but they never arrive or depart. There is only ever the implication of arrival and departure. Faceless grey teamsters move empty containers off and on ships, then reverse the process the next day — elaborate pantomime, the facsimile of a bustling trade hub.

The girl looks down at the churning froth of waves around the pilings below the pier. Does the city end there, at the skin of the water? Does that mean the demiurge ends here, too? She knows, with the certainty of an appendage, that the demiurge does end here, because she ends here. Looking down into the waves, the very sad girl does not see her reflection against the sky. She sees nothing at all, except the idea of waves that should be there.

She gathers her brocaded skirts, hoists herself over the railing, and drops into the sea.

Below the harbor is an absence blacker than sleep, an abyss that reflects nothing except the limits of the demiurge’s imagination. But this is still a reflection of the thing itself, however oblique. If there’s something to be found here, some quality of creation that doesn’t reflect the demiurge, the girl will have to sink deeper to find it.

The pilings below the pier fade into darkness, then cease to exist altogether. Light ceases to exist this far down, too, because there’s nothing for it to illuminate. The girl wonders: was this how it was before the demiurge built the city?

She is suspended now in a place that is neither black or white, light or dark. It is the hue of longing, the craving of nothing to become something.

How do you find a part of creation that is distinct from its creator? You make it. The very sad girl from the bottom of the tower on the hilltop above the city by the sea extends the finger of her awareness into the nascent potentiality of the darkly luminous abyss and begins to write:





Aug 2, 2002

submissions closed

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

my walk journal is supposed to say 100 for day 5, not 0. i dont know why. i can't go edit it to fix.

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Posting on Crabrock's behalf because he is "working."

Overall a very middle of the road week, with nothing we loved or hated.

Sitting Here did an ock. Dear oh dear.

Thranguy earns the loss for writing half a story. Should've walked more.

Flerp and a friendly penguin get HMs for sweet, competently written stories.

Somehow, Sebmojo wins. Ffs spend longer on your next entry; this one could have been really good with another revision, instead of just barely making it to the top of this soggy pile. Congratulations

Oct 23, 2010

THUNDERDOME WEEK CDLV: A secret is something you tell one other person

hey thunderdome how you doing

let's keep it simple:

THREE characters
TWO locations
ONE secret, which is revealed in the story

1000 words max, 2359 pst sunday deadline

if you you may also request a brutally unfair flash rule, which will come with a U2 song. don't ask me why, I don't make the rules

Secret keepers:


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 05:37 on Apr 21, 2021

Aug 2, 2002

that sure is a big image. in for next week and also crits for week 454


Opening is decent. Sets up a little mystery of “what are they trying to see?” then it’s a lottery drawing, which sets up another little mystery, “what is it for?!” but then this piece lacks “urgency.” it reads so slow and deliberate, even though it should be a nerve-wracking heist by a kid. It should feel more dangerous. Part of it is i don’t know 100% sure what the situation they’re in (just poor?) and what the prize is (just money?) so those thoughts rattle in my head. Then you open up a big mystery (“I’ve got a plan!”) that serves as the main plot.

“He turned and began back to the store room and froze.

Wild barking echoed from the street.”

This makes it seem like he froze before the barking started. Was the barking the thing that made him freeze, or was it something else? “wild barking echoed” is passive; it doesn’t need to be by itself, it’s not the real energy of this action. Mika’s freezing is, since that tells us “oh poo poo.” you can imagine that if he heard barking and was like “whatever there’s barking all the time” it’d be a different situation. So consider rearranging these to “He turned and began back to the store room and wild barking echoed in from the street. Mika froze.” that has more tension. You get a little tiny mystery “what does the dogs barking mean?” and then a character response. It’s more exciting to read.

“The dog-beaters were on their way.” oh, that’s not at all what i was thinking. I thought they were guard dogs. How does mika know there are people beating dogs? If you’re gonna have something like this, it needs to be telegraphed earlier in the story. They have to pass by some people beating dogs on their way home or something.

Hm. this ending is not very satisfying! Kid steals some stuff, gets caught, goes to jail. I don’t really get why his brother asked him if it was “worth it.” what did he gain from it? That seems like an easy answer.


Oh hi welcome new person. You do a lot of common “new writer” things in your story, but stick around and we’ll get that sorted out. Some added scene breaks would be helpful, just a *** or # when you skip a significant amount of time. The flashbacks scattered throughout are difficult to pull off in such a short story, and really interrupt the flow. Consider putting most of it in one chunk, with maybe only the ending peppered in at the last moment when V is trying to figure out what the end game is. You set up an interesting--albeit vague--premise of weird, otherworldly objects being in places and this guy goes and cleans them up. But sometimes they make you happy? And then you’re like “i’m ok with this.” and so the guy finds an object, becomes happy, and goes away. This could do with a lot more set up and a lot less “detail” if that makes sense? You constantly refer back to the room number, but don’t spend time on WHY V is doing this stuff, and what he hopes to get out of it, other than he is thinking about doing something else. So why is he doing it in the first place? How did he come into this job? What is his end game? These kind of things would make the ending land harder. It’s why there’s the cliche of “it was his last day before retirement!” because at least that sets up what a character wants (to be retired and ‘finished’). It’s why so many characters are working dead-end jobs to “put themselves through college,” etc. you gotta give us a sense what your character wants out of his life and why he’s doing the things he’s doing. See brotherly’s story before yours, i at least knew the boys wanted to win the lottery for their mom. Motivation is the cornerstone of your story, always. Everything else stems from that. That said, i like some of the descriptions in the story, the world felt gritty and real and i had an easy time picturing it in my head. The dialog wasn’t bad either, a quick editing pass to get rid of the last vestiges of “conversational” tone would make it land better. Anyway, this is probably safe from a DM/loss, which is good for a first timer

Azza Bamboo

Gerhardt said, “at least hell won’t raise taxes.” lol this is good

I like the fart metaphor. You take it juuuuust to the edge of lasting too long then pull back and get back to the meat of the story. So this is basically an argument between a new king and his lords. One guy is a war monger, and the king seems not to be. We already know that he hangs this dude, so we gotta figure out why. Apparently the king teling him he doesn’t have to aide in his rebellion quashing is somehow embarrassing to gerhardt? I don’t really get why, but it seems to set some events in motion where they try to kill the king, and then with a … new ally? He crushes his lords and is victorious.

You should have walked some more so you’d have a few more words to explain where king kronk comes from. Just a few. I can surmise that the king was more interested in diplomacy and building relationships with his neighbors than killing the, and that made him stronger? Just a bit more detail on that in the beginning of your story to set up the end would have been fantastic. Like maybe he gets interrupted as he’s sending off couriers to the neighboring kingdoms, poo poo like that. Anyway, poor king grunk, RIP

a friendly penguin

“Was he really going to fight earthworms against toads like Pokémon?” yeah i was definitely thinking this exact same thing.

this has a lot going on, too much. There are too many conflicts in this. The first is “will i or will i not get puppet master?” then that is too easy (even commented on). So next he’s challenged to a duel… which he also easily wins. Then he’s confronted by the master master or whatever, and i’m not 100% sure how that played out except it seems like the kids just picked him up and threw him at her? That’s a little funny, but it all happens so fast that it fails to land an impact.

I like the beginning of this a lot, the opening paragraph is great. The dialog is a little stilted, just people saying what they’re thinking, almost as if reading play directions or something. Only there to serve the plot, etc. this almost reads like the summary of a book or something. Probably should come up with something a little further from pokemon. I feel like your rules did that, so maybe open up with those and describe it without using pokemon words to set them apart. Anyway besides feeling rushed and kinda anti-climatic due to the repeated solving of all problems with ease, i enjoyed this. At least it was joyous.


Hmm. hmm. Good? You’re probably being vague for ~artist~ reasons, but I’d like to know a bit more about how this person left (i wasn’t sure if it was a breakup or a death). Like for the first half i literally just read it as kinda like an emo person being like “i can’t believe i got dumped!” which is all very well and good but then a little later i was like oh maybe they died or something. Or gently caress maybe they just went off to college or something, gently caress if i know. Hard to know whether i should care or be like “pffffft” at them.


You were like “oh man, what if i have this great idea, and this great setup, and this great ending but then instead of writing all this enjoyable stuff out i just kind of write like part of it and there is still so much left unsaid that probably should have been said so that the ending didn’t hit quite so out of nowhere (thematically it made sense, but it’d be great if there was a bit more there). I had to go back and reread a few times to really get it, but then i was like “oh, yeah.” Anyway, this was a solid piece that could reaaaaaaaally do with some more time in this world and the consequences of these buildings disappearing. This is probably only HM worthy on a stronger week, but it could be something real cool if you go back and add on to it.


This is a bit over written, tone it down a notch there adverby mcadjective. So i think i get the general plot that this dude has been murderin people and covering it up with the plant smell ritual thing that he’s convince everybody is real, then his apprentice stumbled onto the truth so he’s like “uh we should probably kill that guy now, cause of the bones say so” and then the apprentice was like “psych, i’m not really dead tho cause of plant magic!” but then the townspeople are like “well yeah but it stinks real bad so we’re not gonna take any chances” and then curbstomp that guy back into dirt so he’s dead for realsies. That about it?

I don’t get why the dude is doing the murders, how the apprentice survived (how did he learn this poo poo) and how is he manipulating the bones or whatever. There is so much left here unexplained that my cojudge was v confused, and i’m still a bit confused cause i don’t know why any of this is happening or even what this guy’s main motivation is. Why does he want to do the murders?


You were going ok until you got to this part. “"You aren't going to say 'man', are you?" I said. Like, your character literally just calls her out for this cliche. Then instead of being like “hm, if my character thinks this is cliche bullshit maybe i should pivot in another direction” you just double down and are like “hell yeah, tons of them!” It’s made a little weirder since the girl knows exactly what the old lady is up to.

Then it’s just kinda all lazy after that, some exposition, some backstory, then “i’m here to free my brother i guess we’ll figure it out probably!”

You used about ⅓ of the words allotted for the week, and it really, really showed in just how lightning fast everything happened, and then didn’t happen. Like you forgot to actually tell the main story, which what she was gonna do about her brother. The motivation/conflict in this story comes in the last few sentences, everything before that is just mood, and it was really hard to care.

In a weaker week, this wouldn’t have even DMed. But we had to choose a loser and both of us thought this one was the most disappointing in a week where nobody really poo poo the bed very bad.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




ill be in

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Week 454 Crits

The Lottery by Brotherly

Too much set up, not enough heist. Should’ve spent more time focussed on the brothers and their doomed plan - build up some hope that they’re going to make it, so that the reader really feels it when they don’t. The ending could have been clearer about the consequences for the brothers - is the older one going to be stuck in jail forever, or should the reader feel like they’re going to be ok?


Cleaning Homes by tuyop

I thought this was way too slow to get going - we don’t need all the chit chat about him finding this job. Just start with him arriving at the apartment.

You needed to establish earlier that the thing that Vince wanted was to be reunited with his (dead?) mother, so that when the void-thing offers this to him, his choice to accept feels satisfying.

The flashback to his master served to explain the situation but didn’t add much in terms of helping us understand Vince as a character, so it was a little boring to read.


Stomped Out by Azza Bamboo

I didn’t really get what was happening here. There’s a rebellion or something, and some kings with funny names, and then some armies fight, and that’s the end? I think a big part of the problem is the beginning is confusing - you tell me someone gets hanged, and then becomes a side note, but then the story is actually about them, or is it about our sad king? Idk.


Puppets by a friendly penguin

Ok this is weird and sort of adorable and sort of creepy. I think you needed to characterise Tristan more strongly for it to be a more satisfying read. Make me really want to root for the guy (and his worms).


Flowers at the End of the World by flerp

This is sad, and bittersweet. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it engrossing, mostly I think because I didn’t get a strong sense of who the protag was, apart from that they have lost someone special.


The Hole in the Fence by sebmojo

This isn’t bad, but nor is it good. I mean, it definitely isn’t bad, so it must be good(?), but it isn’t good good. Making real the very relatable feeling of seeing an empty lot and being unable for the life of you to remember what had been there was a cool idea, but I think the escalation at the end comes too abruptly, and gets to the ending too quickly. I think you could have taken a little bit more time to show us the protag’s relationship with his girlfriend, so that the implied loss of memories about her felt more poignant, rather than feeling rushed.


The Rite of Cleansing by Noah

I found this confusing on my first read, and I tried to re-read it a couple of times, but still couldn’t really follow. It felt a bit like someone explaining the plot of a much more complicated story to me.


The Facility by Thranguy

Ok this is a great set-up where is the rest?


The Sad Girl and the Luminous Abyssal Nothing by Sitting Here

I was genuinely enjoying this until the self-flagellatory ock. You could have just stopped at the sentence before the ock and it would have been a strange and thought provoking vignette. If you wanted to write an ock story you should’ve made it hornier.

7, minus 5 points for making GBS threads on your ending for no good reason = 3/10.

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012

I (the poster formerly known as Baneling Butts) am in for ~~secrets~~ week!

Aug 20, 2014



Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


Thanks for the crits crabrock and yoru

gently caress me up, seb

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!



Thranguy fucked around with this message at 17:36 on Apr 21, 2021

Feb 13, 2006

Grimey Drawer

in and gimmie one of those hell rules

Oct 23, 2010

Azza Bamboo posted:


Thanks for the crits crabrock and yoru

gently caress me up, seb

None of your characters can move.

All your characters are blind, none of them know they are blind.

Weltlich posted:

in and gimmie one of those hell rules

Your characters are streets (and don't have names)

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Go on then, hellrule me too

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




hellerulle me bb

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give

In, pls to hellrule

Oct 23, 2010

Yoruichi posted:

Go on then, hellrule me too

your characters believe in absolutely nothing, especially not love

Sitting Here posted:

hellerulle me bb

your characters are flies

Antivehicular posted:

In, pls to hellrule

your characters are all naked and extremely cold but have hella hair

Aug 2, 2002

sure in and hellrule

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

in, hellrule, also U2 sucks change my mind

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

timeless Ned Flanders style

Barnaby Profane posted:

in, hellrule, also U2 sucks change my mind
I'll have what he ordered


Oct 23, 2010

crabrock posted:

sure in and hellrule

One of your characters feels absolutely nothing, another feels way too much, the third is a reptile of some kind

Barnaby Profane posted:

in, hellrule, also U2 sucks change my mind

None of your characters have ever been home

Simply Simon posted:

I'll have what he ordered

Story is set in a milkmans version of hell

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