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PhantomMuzzles
Jun 23, 2022

It's a puzzle.


Week 522: Omega Prompt #2
Hell Rule: You stare into the abyss but it’s bashful
Flash Rule: None
Wheel Rule: Submission grants a donation to a charity of my choice. I choose UnRestrict MN, please.

Stink Purse
888 words

Alright so I went to college in Fargo, North Dakota. Both Fargo and I were quiet, but deeply strange.

I had about two months left to finish my degrees, and my apartment lease was up. I couldn’t find anywhere month-to-month that would take my cats, but I didn’t want to enter a new lease. My extraordinarily gorgeous fiance was already living in Minneapolis and I planned to join him there when I graduated. Luckily I had almost no belongings so I didn’t need much space. Even luckier, Rosa Bulldoza agreed to let me squat at her place.

Rosa Bulldoza is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. She was my randomly assigned roommate Freshman year. She taught me how to file my taxes, and I taught her how to be deeply strange. We came out as bi together, and all that entails. Basically, she’s one of the top ten humans of all time. I also trust her with my life.

This trust was important because I was going through some uncomfortable life stuff. A while before this I had been working at a radio station in Fargo. There was a listener who developed a certain attachment to the idea of me. Police reports were filed, restraining order granted, etc. I won’t get into more details than that because this story is not about him, it’s about Stink Purse.

Anyway, I bring that up because it’s worth mentioning that no one else knew I was staying at Rosa’s. I didn’t tell anyone else my lease ended, I just stopped inviting anyone over. Rosa’s place was perfect because it was a secure building, so you couldn’t get in without a resident buzzing you in. So I moved my suitcase into Rosa’s studio apartment. I also moved in my two cats, Cookie J. and Spotucus.

Okay so Spotucus was an angry teenage cat with an angry boy cat bladder. He expressed his displeasure through urination, and he was displeased often. He didn’t like moving into the tiny apartment, so he peed in my purse.

Luckily, I never used my purse so it was completely empty. It was an old, tattered purse I had been given by someone who had gotten it at a thrift store. A hand-me-down hand-me-down, now drenched in boy cat pee. It was absolutely not worth trying to clean and save. It was also stinking up Rosa’s tiny apartment, and the dumpster outside had mysteriously vanished. I had rehearsal a couple hours later so I planned to throw it away in the dumpster outside the theater. In the meantime, I just put Stink Purse on the roof of my car.


I went back inside and completely forgot about Stink Purse. I did some homework, played with the cats, and completely lost track of time. Before I knew it I was running late to rehearsal!

I dashed out the door of Rosa’s apartment, bidding farewell to Cookie J. and begging Spotucus not to pee on anything else. I ran to my car, the roof of which was tall enough that I didn’t see Stink Purse.

I was about eight blocks away when I saw Stink Purse fly past my back window. I had forgotten about Stink Purse! It was now empty, ragged, stinky, and lying in the middle of the road. But I was running quite late now. I had never littered before in my life, but I decided to simply abandon Stink Purse in the middle of that Fargo street.

I got to the theater and joined the rehearsal. I was Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a dream role for a waifish weirdo like me. We rehearsed the forest scenes and I was having an absolute blast. My friend Blaine Blaine was Demetrius and it was so much fun to have one last show together. Now Blaine Blaine works at Universal Studios and I never get to see him.

Oh anyway so we get to a break and I check my phone. I have a text from Rosa. It says “....is this yours?” and then a picture.

The picture was the outside of her apartment door. There, sitting on her welcome mat, was Stink Purse.

Stink Purse had somehow traveled eight blocks. Stink Purse had somehow gotten into Rosa’s building. Stink Purse had somehow known which apartment I was staying in. Stink Purse simply waited there for me.

I told Rosa not to touch Stink Purse, to just go inside and lock her door. I called the police and told them everything. They thought it was stupid and did nothing.

After rehearsal finished, I cautiously went back to Rosa’s apartment, staying on the phone with her my whole way home and entering the building. Stink Purse was still outside the apartment. I grabbed it and ran outside. I went two buildings over and threw Stink Purse in their dumpster.

I went back inside and washed my hands. I never saw Stink Purse again.

To this day, I still have no explanation. Over a decade later, and I still lie awake some nights and think about Stink Purse. I silently scream at the universe “WHAT THE gently caress WAS UP WITH STINK PURSE.” I get no reply. The universe will not explain Stink Purse to me. It is a mystery that will never be solved.

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PhantomMuzzles
Jun 23, 2022

It's a puzzle.


I would like a flash rule for Ladder Prompt #3 please! Also spin spin spinnnnnnn

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





In for Prompt 3, flash and #spinthewheel

kaom
Jan 20, 2007

Ask me about ordering milk in a pub...four times.



In for vanilla, please fill in the blanks for me!

Albatrossy_Rodent
Oct 5, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!


Omega prompt 2
Flash: protagonist knows their behavior is destructive, and yet…
Hell: the narrator is one of the fundamental forces

Gravity and the Grouse
347 words

1. The rock is launched at 1.54 meters from the ground, almost perfectly horizontal in its initial arc. It is travelling at 17.4 meters per second. The grouse is standing 5.38 meters away from Tyler's hand outstretched hand. I am pulling the rock towards Earth at 9.81 meters per second squared.

2. The rock is launched at 1,987,465,903,782,001.54 meters from the ground. It is travelling at 19,420.71 meters per second. I am pulling the stone towards Earth at 9.81 meters per second squared.

3. The reason Tyler throws the rock is that Tyler is bored.

4. The reason that the grouse is wandering the forest with its many chicks in a perfect line is because that is the sort of thing that grouses do.

5. The more specific reason that Tyler throws the rock is that there was a divide between the Tyler's friends, and the folks that did not smoke weed instructed the folks that did some weed that all the weed they brought had to be smoked within the first two nights of the camping trip. The weed-smokers brought 14.74 grams of weed, and they fulfilled their promise. It is now the fourth day of the camping trip. Tyler is bored.

6. The reason the rock is heading towards the Earth is me.

7. One of the grouse's ancestors once ate one of Tyler's ancestors. The grouse's ancestor was a big scaly thing and Tyler's ancestor was a little furry thing. Tyler does not remember this incident. The grouse might.

8. I wish I knew the reason I am dragging the rock to the Earth. The rock will kill something beautiful. I am the way that I am. I wish it was within me to make exceptions.

9. When the grouse's ancestor ate Tyler's ancestor, Tyler's ancestor was not served with ketchup.

10. All of the people on the camping trip will eventually smoke weed.

11. There is no difference between gravity and fate.

12. The rock hits the Earth, and dinosaurs die.

Tars Tarkas
Apr 13, 2003


Week 522: Omega Prompt #2
Wheel Prize - - $10 to the charity of your choice - I choose Friends of Watsonville Animal Shelter (FOWAS) https://www.fowas.org/ as they helped us when we found a bunch of kittens we couldn't keep and have been donating to them annually ever since


Some Might Say I Am A Fan Of Cinema
1159 words

It was 1:30 AM when I stumbled across the list of film titles. The website was in Bengali, which at this point auto-translated poorly. Luckily a different film blog had put up the titles of their films in both English and Bengali script, and after some Find commands I knew what part of the title looked like in Bengali (or Bangla as almost everyone who spoke Bengali wrote it as online) and had a few potential candidates. A few Google searches later, and eight of the ten potentials were uploaded to YouTube or other streaming sites. All I had to do was flip through the timeline for a clue and identify the target.

The thing about Bangla films is they usually star the same few people, who will often appear in hundreds of films. This was actually very common in South and Southeast Asian cinema. It did make identifying which film was which all the tougher, as the star Manna was in every single candidate. Give each film a minimum run time of 150 minutes, and the prints looking like they were dragged behind a motorcycle through a swamp, the action films started to blur together. Then, by 2:30 AM, I spotted it. Manna was being operated on, and ancient computer graphics showed a robot. I had found it, a Bangladeshi knockoff of The Terminator and Robocop called Machine Man. I quickly downloaded the YouTube file, then safely stored the quarry away on an external hard drive.

What, watch the movie? My friends, I don't have time to watch. I'm too busy tracking down other prey. An Indian Spider-Man movie sponsored by a Milk Company? A Turkish version of Flash Gordon that aired on Turkish MTV when it was thought lost? An Indian film called King Kong, which co-stars a wrestler who was billed as King Kong, but is mostly influenced by Italian Peplum films despite star Dara Singh battling a random giant dinosaur in the first few minutes? I have them all. Some I've even watched! Over the years I have discovered, the joy isn't in watching the media, the joy is discovering it. The chase, the hunt, the thrill of discovery. I spent countless hours plugging away as my wife sleeps, the investigations keeping me awake more efficiently than any caffeine. Okay, I do admit I drank a lot of caffeine. In service of the hunt!

Over the years, the methods have changed. The late nineties was filled with scouring flea markets, thrift stores, and neat stores in ethnic neighborhoods. By the Napster era, DVDs had made film distribution much easier, and overseas a cheaper format known as VCD allowed studios to pump out hundreds of their back catalog into the hands of eager consumers. Many of those disks made it overseas, and I probably flipped past them with my fingers while tracking down something or other. Ebay opened doors that neighborhood shops could not, and fans would gleefully trade knowledge of which foreign movie shops would ship to America. I soon owned more VCDs and DVDs than I could ever watch in a lifetime. I had boxes of old VHS tapes, with artwork to delight or terrify, bearing no resemblance to the films they advertised in the slightest. The arrival of bittorrent made trading films easier than ever. Sure I want to buy a legit copy of the Turkish Wizard of Oz, but it was only released legally on VHS thirty-five years ago.

Digitizing became essential. I'd moved beyond the need for thousands of discs taking up space when they could be put in just a few hard drives. Out came my rare tapes—alternative cuts of Godzilla movies, recordings of television horror hosts I made as a child, Mystery Science Theater episodes with rights issues, corporate training videos—all dubbed to huge mpeg files and converted to custom disc images and stores in duplicate. Soon a few hard drives became more than a few, but they were all there, backed up and redundant. Plenty of discs I couldn’t give up even with backups in place. Physical media is superior, just takes up too much space. Yet the hunt never stopped. There were still films out there to discover. Whispers of new, weird and wonderful features. The lure, it pulls.

I've made a comfortable home in the tiny niche of people who watch global pop cinema. I run a site talking up all the things I found to let others know they exist. I've made friends across the globe due to shared interests. It became even an icebreaker, suddenly talking about movies from someone's homeland. Through that, I've found even more friends and more leads on neat films to find. There are dedicated film lovers who will throw a hundred Hong Kong films from the 1950s up on YouTube, all recorded off of network broadcasts and none released on any format ever. One of my local good friends was even more obsessed than I, and more importantly, a much better writer. He died way too early, but not without gifting the world with a massive amount of creative output. Cancer is a motherfucker. I'm attempting to live up to his example, worried I can only be a pale imitation. He’s even why I started writing fiction again, something I loved in high school but hadn’t touched in twenty years. Giving up never gets you anywhere, so I continue to strive. Working to become better, as a writer, as a promoter of neat and overlooked cinema, and at welcoming newcomers. Recent changes has made discovering new film harder than ever, and anything to break open that barrier is a win for everyone.

Even now, blessed with a young child, even less time than ever to watch strange things, the temptation is there. The list of celluloid targets to find never went away. There's even a list Holy Grails, lost films that will never be seen again by humankind. Yet, occasionally, one turns up. Hidden away in an attic, miraculously surviving world wars and mild humidity, meticulously restored by lovers of cinema. Often the films aren't even good or entertaining, but they exist, and they're fun to find and fun to talk about. I can spend hours explaining scattered history of Thai, Korean, Taiwanese, even Filipino cinema. They become more than just movies, it's a whole cinematic experience played out over hours, days, years on my laptop. I have a laundry list of films I search for news on every few months, and sometimes I get lucky. I don't think this impulse will ever go away, it's become a part of me. I'm just better at channeling it into being useful. After all, it is late at night again, and I got a lot of words to type up to get them out of me and where they belong. Then it’s time to check some film archive accounts on YouTube. See what got posted the past few weeks...

Tars Tarkas
Apr 13, 2003


In on Omega Prompt #3

and SPIN THE WHEEL!!! #Spin #the #Wheel

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:



Birthday Omega Dome Round 2

Ski Jump
898 words

Wheel spin: -400 because maths failed me

Welp. I hope I don’t break my back, she thought as her skis went out from under her.
__

She woke up screaming, but not the way people in stories wake up screaming. She woke up bitching and yelling. “Call my husband! Call Jay! Somebody tell him what happened!”

“Yes!” Tan snapped. “I’m doing it!”

She quietened, laying her head down on the snow. “Oh.” She looked at the blood. Her helmet was broken. She wasn’t wearing her jacket anymore. She squinted up at ski patrol. “I’ve been saying that for a while, haven’t I?”

“Yup,” he said. “It’s okay. Yelling is good. Better yelling than unresponsive.”

Hmm. Yes. Good. “Sorry, Tan.”

“It’s okay.” Poor Tan. She’d hosed up a good day. “I told him what happened, he’s heading our way.”

More ski patrol guys showed up with a backboard sled. “Great,” she said to Tan. “Did you give me drugs? I don’t feel right,” she said to the ski patrol guy.

“That’s the concussion talking,” he said. “But also, yes we gave you drugs.”

“My leg hurts.” Understatement of the year. Something was deeply wrong inside her thigh. Her knee was pointing a bad direction. She amended: “My leg hurts a lot.”

“You’re alright,” he said.

Yes, she thought. I’m all right. Everything is fine. Everything will be fine. The backboard sledge they’re putting me on is just for security, I’m sure. Just liability. Just in case. Ski patrol gave Tan some information to pass along to her husband and then they were going down the mountain.

The ski jump from which she’d awkwardly flung herself was close to the lift lines. People stared. She waved her fingers and grinned up at horrified faces. “Wear a helmet!” she yelled. “I’d be dead without a helmet!”

Everything was funny. They hauled her to an ambulance and some EMTs fussed over her, having conversations she couldn’t follow. She made a joke. One of them made a joke back. They let her sip some water, some coffee. They chatted about dogs. She told them they were her favorite EMTs ever. They asked if she wanted morphine, but it didn’t feel that bad now that she was strapped down. She knew her bones weren’t poking through the skin because if she twinged her leg she could feel the broken bits of bone scraping against muscle fiber. That wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world just because it was the worst thing she’d ever felt.

The helicopter arrived. The helicopter guys were not as cheerful and talky as the ambulance guys. She asked for a seat next to the window and they looked uncomfortable.

“It’ll be hard to turn your head on the backboard, you probably won’t be able to see much.”

“I can turn my head, nothing’s wrong with my neck, see?” She whipped her head back and forth. The helicopter guy’s eyes widened.

“Please don’t do that.”

They didn’t strap her head down, but it didn’t matter. She could barely see out of the side of the helicopter. Just a tiny stretch of land and the curve of the skis on the bottom of the helicopter.

She tried to be funny in the hospital, but the ER nurses didn’t have time for her poo poo. She made jokes, they smiled, thin lipped, and left. She was tired. She was nervous. Three people crowded into her space, two of them grabbing hold of the ski boot on her broken leg and one of them holding her shoulders.

“This is going to suck,” she said. “I’m… I’m probably going to be loud about it.”

“We wish you wouldn’t.”

Well, tough poo poo, she probably didn’t say, and she screamed her way through it. The pain was unreal, descriptors failed her. The world was red and hazy and she was still drunk on a concussion and whatever opiates they gave her in the helicopter while she wasn’t paying attention. The pain stopped so abruptly when the boot came off that it was like pleasure. She thanked them. They patted her good ankle and told her they were impressed she was still conscious.

“I’m running on fear and adrenaline!” She chirped. Two of them left, one stayed behind to look over her chart. The silence made her anxious, threatened to turn off the manic, concussed cheer that was holding back a flood of tears and self-recrimination. “So, how bad is the break?”

“Which one?”

There was lead in her lungs. She couldn’t breathe. Somewhere in the ER a baby was screaming. Oh, god, she hoped the baby was okay. She forced some energy into her voice and forced her voice out of her throat and said: “I only know about one. What about the other?”

The nurse knew this was bad. Her professional mask cracked, she wasn’t here to give bad news. But gently caress it, this was an ER, she was giving bad news daily she could suck it the gently caress up just tell me just tell me come on just loving tell me

“Well you broke your leg. And…” don’t loving pause dramatically you witch “Your back.”

The nurse said it. It was real. It was in the world. “Thanks,” she said.

She didn’t cry until the nurse left, and didn’t stop when her husband arrived, ashen faced. He held her hand and let the tears go.

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:



spIN for ROUND 3!

Albatrossy_Rodent
Oct 5, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!


Round 3 spin flash hell

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




A [driver] agonizes over [anatomical heart]
Flash rule: Your character must describe perfection and find something positive in its opposite
Wheel prize: $10 to the Trevor Project

The Thief of Opportunity
863 words

"Consider the city as a living being," Dr. Reyes had said, "the streets its veins and arteries, the buildings its organs."

Though that lecture was fifteen years ago, it always came back to Jomo when the roads were on his side. Not an architect or a town planner, he was far more vital to the city. He raced his way through its beating heart, taking just the right turns and back-streets to skip past busy junctions and speed cameras, savant of the urban cardiovascular system.

Even when he didn't look at it, the box on the passenger seat fought for his attention. The heart that mattered most today wasn't the metaphysical heart of the city, but the very real lump of muscle in the box. That heart was going to save a life.

He'd been given just fifteen minutes to get this heart from the donor at Mercy — about whom he knew nothing — to Harborview, where it was going to Patient #19457, about whom he was supposed to know nothing. But Jomo had friends, one of whom was a nurse. Normally, mere friendship wouldn't be enough to leak a patient's identity, but Patient #19457 was Daniel Ryde, and that name broke a lot of rules just by existing.

Daniel Ryde hurt people by existing. Maybe he didn't mean to; all the biggest bastards don't. Maybe he genuinely thought that gentrification was a good thing. Maybe he thought that knocking down a slum and replacing it with luxury condos was helping out. And hell, maybe he even thought that the smack he moved through the city would help the people he'd just made homeless.

Jomo hated Ryde for a different reason. Six years ago, Jomo's brother spent a night in Ryde's bed. Poor taste, but not enough to engender hate. No, it was what happened after, when his brother tried to block one of Ryde's re-zoning plans at the city council. The official paperwork called it a terrible accident, but people knew Ryde had bought his way out of trouble. Jomo knew.

And now he had Daniel Ryde's heart in his passenger seat. A heart put there by years of work as a courier, three bribes, two favours, and one dislocated shoulder — which Jomo was not happy about inflicting, but the guy just wouldn't take a hint.

So far, the drive had gone perfectly. Better than any other delivery in his life. His car was one with the pulse of the city, every light green, every incident and annoying pedestrian happening to someone else. This was what Dr. Reyes was talking about, this state. If everyone could move like this, drive like this, the city would be perfect. Everything would flow. No crashes, no accidents, nobody opening their door into a bike courier, nobody getting rear-ended because the lights turned red at just the wrong time. The smoothest travel from anywhere to anywhere, like a scifi movie full of self-driving cars and easy transport.

The box caught his attention again, reminded him that, in this case, perfection is the thief of opportunity.

All it would take is one slip. Suddenly hitting the brakes at the wrong moment, taking a wrong turn, hell, even a light fender-bender would be enough to delay him. Anything to make sure the heart didn't arrive on time.

Was that murder? Maybe. Was it murder when a car turned Jomo's brother into so much meat? Ryde wasn't behind the wheel, but Jomo knew he was guilty nonetheless. So what's the difference? Take that opportunity, interrupt the drive, and he'd still be killing Ryde. His actions would end Ryde's life.

Didn't Daniel Ryde of all people deserve that? Didn't Jomo deserve a chance to avenge his brother? Or would killing in this way lower him to Ryde's level, remove whatever difference lay between them.

Jomo couldn't answer, just kept putting it off. Making the turns and darting through intersections. He turned the music up, signing along to some terrible song to drown out his thoughts. Driving not to answer the question, but to avoid it.

Until suddenly, he didn't need to answer.

Perfection, after all, is the thief of opportunity. A soccer mom in an SUV is late for picking her kids up from practice. She hits the gas hard to catch a late yellow light. Her phone pings, a text from her eldest daughter. She looks down involuntarily, doesn't see that she's still accelerating a good two seconds after the light turns red. The first time she notices Jomo's car is when her own vehicle buries its nose in the side of the courier's compact, wrecking the passenger seat and leaving Jomo with serious injuries.

In the sudden quiet after the crash and roar of tearing metal, Jomo draws a ragged breath. It hurts, but he's able to suck in some air. He looks down, at where the box used to be. Now just a tangle of smashed plastic and meat.

Maybe he would have decided to be the better man. Maybe he wouldn't. But at the same time, as the shock takes over, he's just glad the universe chose for him.

gently caress Daniel Ryde.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







kaom posted:

In for vanilla, please fill in the blanks for me!

Wups, almost missed you.

A [telepath] agonizes over [calendar with all the dates scratched out]

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.



Prompt #2. Rule: Create a world


The True Nature of Reality
745 words


When Phoenix rode in the car, staring out the window, bored, because car rides were boring and reading in the car made him nauseous, a ninja would run alongside them. This was pretty standard. It was really no effort for the ninja to run along the power lines, hoping from roof to roof, speeding up and slowing down as the car did.

One day, a thought occurred in the mind of young Phoenix: What if the car wasn’t actually moving at all? The car windows could be synchronized T.V. screens. Each place he visited would actually be a set. When he got in the car, they would play the journey, complete with haptic feedback and the Beatles blasting on the oldies station, while his previous place was disassembled and the new location built by the same clever teams.

Well, except, sometimes the windows were rolled down, and he could stick his head out like a dog and feel the wind closing his eyes. Also, Tacoma, when they made their way down past it, always smelled horrible, and no T.V. could simulate that.

He abandoned this fantasy, and moved to the next.

Phoenix was quite sure he was special. After all, Martin the Warrior was special, Luke Skywalker was special, Garion was special, and all the animorphs were special—so why not him? Over the course of years, many LEGO battles, and plenty of boring car trips, true nature of reality unfolded in his mind, unpolluted by evidence or rationality.

Phoenix was actually quite old, he reckoned, but was merely experiencing this life as a simulation (later, movies like the Trueman Show and The Matrix would confirm he was on to something, but he had imagined it first). For entertainment, people of the future simply lay down in simulation chambers and experienced another life. When they awoke after their “death,” they would laugh and shake hands with all their friends in the true reality, and talk about what they experienced. What wisdom to be had by living so many lives! Naturally, this society, able to simulate another reality so vividly, would have long ago defeated aging. Death would not happen to young Phoenix.

Perhaps that was why he was fearless. Many friend’s parent had clutched their hearts as he scampered up trees, then clung to the top branches, swaying with a smile on his face. Young Phoenix crawled across the preschool graduation ceremony stage to get a laugh. He scolded high school trick-or-treaters for scaring his brother, with a fury only a hero could manage. He was scared of nothing except—

Well, okay, when the 101 Dalmatians were in trouble, he had watched from the safety of “around the corner of the next room,” because that Cruella lady seemed bad news. But that was just rational.

In the meantime, Phoenix continued to ponder what the real world would be like. Flying cars, of course. Space ships? Almost certainly. There was be aliens of course, that went a long with space ships. In fact, perhaps he was an alien, a hyper-intelligent species, and was merely experiencing reality as a human to better understand them and their cultural history. That made sense.

Future societies all had laser guns; he was sure of this. It also would have towering sky scrapers, so stall it made the Space Needle look like a toy, and the Columbia Tower a primitive relic. These spires would be connected in a network of skybridges, complete with monorail-guided bullet trains, and big helicopter pads and hangers for all the ships and flying cars. Evidence of this was all around him—the true reality had left clues to remind him of the world he would return to in his books. Oh, he couldn’t wait to return!

Sometime around high school a stray thought hit him like a train.

This imagined world was not real. He knew he’d made it up. And god, it had been fun but—

poo poo, he was going to have to become and adult. He was going to have to get a job and… get married? Raise kids? How the gently caress did anyone learn how to do those things? Phoenix’s classes only focused on learning the parts of speech and graphing parabolas. The quadratic formula was no help here. What was he going to do?

By then, he was no longer fearless, hadn’t been for some time. The last vestiges of innocence fell off him, like a molting spider.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.



In for Prompt #3, and I will Spin The Wheel.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



Omega Prompt #2 - Sleepwalking
800 / 1,000 words
Wheel: -300 words (1,000 total)
Flash: Your protagonist has not slept for three nights straight.

Andrew had been awake for 73 hours, some minutes and a blurry number of seconds. The second hand on his watch slid slowly round and the numbers it traced raced ahead of his lagging mind. When a leaf landed on his watch face, it took him … time to realise. More time to think to brush it away. More time to do it.

He stepped into the cool shade of the forest at something minutes past 10 in the morning. The rush of dawn energy had carried him from his static flat, every inch of it explored over the past three, fruitless nights, and to here, the edge of the forest, in search of … something. Sleep. Something that would help him finally, finally sleep. The rocking of the bus hadn’t done it but surely there had to be … something.

Andrew’s mind crawled as he stepped under the canopy. The inside of the forest matched the inside of his head, all soft lights and fuzzy edges. The trees twisted around him and dark shapes darted through the corners of his vision and when he had finally escaped the sound of traffic he collapsed into the roots of the nearest tree, pushing his body into the bark. He scrunched up his eyes and willed the pounding in his temples to stop and just let him go.

He drifted - until the crying of a bird startled his thoughts alive again.

He dozed - until his twisting leg found a thorn that shocked him awake again.

He dreamt, almost - until the crunching of a branch hit ancient instincts and he pushed himself groggily into a sitting position, scrambling for his glasses.

A viking warrior stood in front of him.

The warrior’s metal helmet glinted in the dappled light. Chainmail clinked softly under heavy furs; one hand rested on the head of an axe looped through a belt. The warrior stared Andrew down, eyes dark and hidden, face shifting slowly in the half-light.

Andrew’s watch read … something after 10. Unbidden, a word trickled slowly through his head.

“Hello.”

The warrior didn’t speak. Didn’t move. Just stared at Andrew until Andrew had pulled his leaden body up the side of the tree and to his feet. Then, the warrior turned, silent, and stalked off along the path. After some time, they stopped. Turned. Looked back.

Andrew’s mind was the world’s slowest pinball machine but eventually a thought bounced its way to the forefront.

Why not?

He stumbled after the warrior, who waited until Andrew had almost caught up before turning and stalking off once more. Andrew followed - the pace was slow but oh so challenging, fatigue pulling him down and down. The trees churned and for a second Andrew thought he saw someone walking beside him - it took him a second longer to be startled and several seconds more to realise his mistake.

The warrior trudged on.

Through glade and brook. Under low hanging branches and over rotting stumps. Andrew never quite caught up to the warrior, whose stride was long and confident, but never quite fell behind either. His thoughts were still slow and they eventually congealed.

Where is he taking me?

A distant rumbling. Andrew’s watch still read 10 … something.

Do I care?

By the time they reached the curtain of light between the trees, Andrew’s thoughts had stilled almost entirely, his legs trudging on through inertia alone. The viking warrior gestured for Andrew to step through, into the unknown and Andrew almost stumbled to a halt - but then his legs carried him through and he was blind, heavy arms raised in a vain attempt to ward off the light.

When his eyes adjusted, slowly, he found himself a dozen metres from the bus stop. A car rumbled down the road past him. The digital display over the bus stop rolled a new message around.

Next bus in 13 minutes.

A leather glove clapped Andrew on the shoulder - the viking warrior pulled him close and gestured at a sign at the side of the road. It took Andrew several seconds to focus and the words to filter through.

“Trail ahead. Map recommended.”

The weight lifted from Andrew’s shoulder as the viking walked away, tapping the word “map” as he passed the sign. Andrew could only stare as they walked to a waiting car, climbing inside after a short bark of conversation. The car pulled out and away and left Andrew alone.

Next bus in 12 minutes.

The sudden absence of the viking warrior left an inexplicable hole in the scene. His feet found the pavement and his body found the bench; Andrew slumped against the side of the shelter and his eyes slid down to his watch. 10:49. Exactly.

A yawn rose from his throat and grew into a smile.

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.




Prompt: A [beloved member of the community] agonizes over [a bottle of oil]

Wheel Spin Flash Rule: Your protagonist seeks revenge on whoever murdered them in a past life

A wonderful day
866 words
It was a wonderful day. The thought crossed Mary Willmore's mind as she took a seat at the uncovered dinner table, making sure that her dress didn't catch on the edge of the bakelite seat. In front of her rested a bottle of Chef Reale olive oil, deep green glass and a paper sticker fading gently in the sunset light filtering in through the window. Birds are singing outside, there's the sound of the Franklin's lawn mower humming away a few doors down.

Just a few feet away, the body of councilman Roy Harken was still, half his face missing. Blood and brain matter leaked into the varnished hardwood, covered his rich tailored suit, and threatened the corner of her living room rug. She looks back at the thick, deep green glass of that olive oil bottle, a smear of blood still visible on the bottom edge.

To think, this was the instrument of her revenge. Centuries of hatred, an untold amount of death. At one time he was Hakkan, A brutal Barbary pirate that'd came ashore one stormy night and raided their village, his sneering grin seared into her soul on the night he'd ended their lives. Then he was Charles Hanson, a French Soldier who'd had a drink too many and decided to test his aim on a widow and her child. A smiling knife in a back alley, a heated exchange leading to blows. Time and time again, it'd always come to that final burst of anger and her body going cold on the ground.

Mary couldn't stop the laugh that rose in her throat. This time, she was the one standing over the dead body! Her laughter echoes around that empty kitchen as her hand pounds on the table, knuckles white, heart beating out of her chest, tears flowing from her eyes. She won! After countless lives, that sneering grin burned into her eternal memory, she finally won!

And it'd been so simple! He had come to her, discussing the upcoming monthly meeting for the neighborhood association and her role as the PTA head. William was at work, Margaret and James were still at school, and she was wondering what she'd do for dinner tonight when he came knocking. She invited him in, one thing led to another, and before he knew what was going on she'd used that heavy bottle to knock him senseless. Then again, and again, and again and again and again and again and again until he stopped moving.

And now, here she was. Blood on her dress, a body in her dining room and a bottle of olive oil staring back at her. Mocking her. You did so well, but what now? She could hear it chiding her, that paper sticker of verdant fields mocking her as she let her head fall in her hands.

She'd have to hide the body and clean up, first. Kids would be home in an hour. The basement for now, then to the trash heap with the weekly trip. She could explain away the blood on her dress when she took it to the cleaners, but the bottle. That damned bottle.

Chef Reale was one of the gifts William brought back for her after the war. He'd tucked it away in his pack while he and the boys were fighting Jerry on the beaches of Sicily. He'd notice as soon as it was gone, let alone the blood on the sticker or the bone chips in the glass. She'd have to do something.

Mary stands up slowly. It was a wonderful day, she tells herself, but she still had to work.

-------

William had to work late, pulling into the driveway long after the sun had come down. He smiles at the lights on in the house, lifting his briefcase out of the passenger seat and heading up those steps with pep. It'd been a good day at the firm, and after these next few cases he could be looking at partner.

As soon as he opens the door there is a lovely smell in the air, the television playing in the den as he sets his hat and coat on the rack. “Honey? I'm home!” He calls out, making sure the coat is nice and neat before he turns to the kitchen.

Mary is there, that lovely smile on her face as William walks over to give her a kiss, arm around her side. “What's for dinner?”

“Oh, not much,” She says, letting him sit at the table. A plate of roast beef and potatoes is there waiting for him, with a salad sitting in a bowl next to it. Bright red tomatoes, slices of mozzarella cheese, and a beautiful olive oil dressing over top of it all.

“I wanted to use the olive oil,” Mary says. “It was just there on the shelf, gathering dust, so I decided to give it a clean and what-do-you-know, one thing led to another.”

William grins, digging in to the meal. “Well, you've definitely outdone yourself this time,” He says, wiping some gravy from his lip before giving his wife a pat on her side. “So, how was your day?”

Mary smiles, leaning down to kiss his cheek before leaving him to dinner. “It was just wonderful, dear.”

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



In for Omega The Third.

Spin that wheel.

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.




Count me In for prompt two, I'll try to have something completed quick so I can get in on the Rule Three spin.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Both previous stories are in the works, so kindly spin that wheel one more time, for my sake.

Also, if I don't get a flash rule, give me a flash rule.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P



Omega Prompt #2
FLASH RULE: You must include romance in your story
SPIN RULE: -300 word reduction (1,000 total)

The Last Moment
983 words

This is a story I tell myself.

I am in a city. It could be any city because I’m in one of those unplaceable pre-fab office buildings, the kind of co-working space meant to appeal to middle-class, urban millennials. It’s all ferns and beveled edges with neon signs displaying vaguely inoffensive, motivational messages. “RESPECT the HUSTLE” is written across an accent wall separating two conference rooms. “RISE & GRIND” shines a few feet away near a complimentary coffee machine and keg, the latter of which is monitored by a single blinking camera.

But I’m not here for those things. I’m here to have fun. I’m here to play. I’m here because it’s the last day before Daniel leaves the city and stops hosting his lovely little tabletop RPG Meetup group. I want him to know how much I’ve appreciated him over the last two years, not the effortless confidence he exudes, the feeling I get when I see him. I am here for one last session with the group and not for anything else.

At least this is the story I tell myself to justify my silence.

I surround myself with other people, laughing and reminiscing between small sessions of play. I want to make sure that I am seen having a good time, that I am celebrating. As the time ticks forward and pint after pint of frothy beer vanishes from my cup, I want to be confident and comfortable. I want the moment to be right.

And then it comes. For a few minutes between sessions of play, Daniel’s standing next to a wooden carving of an eye. He’s trying to check his plane tickets on his phone. He doesn’t see me at first, too focused on his screen. I push my way through other conversations toward him. I deposit my frothy pint of beer on a counter so he won’t notice my nervousness.

“Hey,” I say in a mechanical voice that does not sound like my own.

Daniel looks up and gives me a radiant smile, one that seems meant for me and me alone. “Oh, hey, Alex. I was just…” He gestures at the screen as if it explains everything. “How are you doing?”

“Good! I’m just glad to be here. I’m glad to be…” I want to say, with you, but instead trail off. Wasn’t there a time in my life when I was good at public speaking? When I could actually compose a sentence that wasn’t some dumb cliche? “You know, just… remembering things.”

He laughs and slides the phone into his pocket. “Oh good, I was worried it would be a little awkward with everything going on. Everything has been so crazy lately with the move, I wasn’t sure if people would want to hold one last game session or not.” He looks over my shoulder as if looking for someone but they’ve already been banished from the scene. “But it’s been good seeing people. Say goodbyes. You know…”

“Yeah,” I say my mouth is dry. “Listen…”

He looks right at me. I see him in every moment of the last two years simultaneously. I see him laughing with me about his dumb figurines. I see him improvising a fantasy scene. I see him on the rooftop of a summer party and in the park and at a million other places where I could have done something.

“What’s up?” He says.

“I…”

I pause.

“I just wanted to let you know…”

The room and all its interchangeable millennial kitsch disappears.

“I really like you. I’ve always really liked you. I was just scared, I don’t know, of saying anything.” The words rush out. “I’ve never been confident enough with myself and I—. I don’t know if this all changes anything but I wanted you to know before it was too late. Otherwise, I’d just spend the next few months feeling bad and hating myself and…”

There’s tears in my eyes and I can feel them running down my cheeks. I feel so stupid, so disgusted by every missed opportunity, but Daniel doesn’t say anything. He’s quiet for a long time. He looks at me with an impossible expression on his face.

“Oh, Alex, it’s far too late. I’m not going to change my plans because of a confession uttered last minute. People don’t work like that. And besides…” He says in a voice of infinite compassion. “You never told me anything at that party.”

There is no room any more. There is nothing. All is silent.

“I never said anything at the party,” I say in a low, dead voice. “I let us go back to a room. We finished our game and then I left.”

“That’s right.”

“I gave you one last wave before I stepped onto the elevator and then I rode the subway back to my apartment alone. I never saw you again.”

“Just another smiling face on Instagram.” His voice is just a wisp now. “More an idea than a person. A memory. An ideal.”

“And this is just a story I tell myself. Interchangeable thoughts.”

All is blackness now, constant and uninterrupted. It pools around me and erodes me at the edges. An overwhelming emptiness.

“Can we pretend, though? For a second.”

There’s a kind of vocal shrug. “If it helps.”

“It does.” I say and the scene reconstitutes itself in my memory.

I’m in a city. It could be any city because it’s one of those kitschy pre-fab office buildings with pink accent walls and strange neon signs. I am there again and so is Daniel with his radiant smile. And it is my last opportunity to say something, to fix everything, to be more than a self-hating wreck. If I can just say something at the last moment, the whole world will tilt back on its axis. Everything will be okay.

This is a story I tell myself.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P



In for Omega The Third.

Spin that wheel.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Wheel Extravaganza Night #3 Results

Video inbound shortly. Just a reminder, to collect on any prizes (basically anything that isn't a flash or word bonus/penalty) you need to successfully submit a story!

Albatrossy_Rodent
-Spin: Donation to a charity of your choice
-Flash: Your story's title is "Denial and the Sexbots"
-Hellrule: Your character or characters know they are in a story

Bad Seafood
-Spin: Double shoe on head. You should feel honored.
-Flash: One day, the sun doesn't come up and it's your protagonist's fault

Chernobyl Princess
-Spin: Birthdatar

J.A.B.C.
-Spin: Shoe on Head. I hope it was everything you hoped it would be.

MockingQuantum
-Spin: New Monty winner!
-Flash: Time is a panopticon

PhantomMuzzles
-Spin: Birthdatar
-Hellrule: Your story exists during some sort of countdown

QuoProQuid
-Spin: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO loser

Sailor Viy
-Spin: LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOser (see what I did there??)
-Flash: Describe your favorite drink in fifteen words or less, then write a story inspired by that drink

Staggy
-Spin: Nothing! Tough... Don't blame us, blame yourself or God.

Tars Tarkas
-Spin: Birthdatar

Uranium Phoenix
-Spin: Linecrit of a story of your choice from a judge of their choice? They don't know they're on the hook for it yet, lol

MockingQuantum fucked around with this message at 04:21 on Aug 4, 2022

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit




Fun Shoe

Wheel night 3, no popsicles, just sand in my mouth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=video?0eX4-9OORfQ?edit

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.




Shoe-on-head pics for the thread coming before I put in my #3 story, but for now:

Old mountain road
1,186 words

One of the best things about my time in the military has been visiting and working with other cultures, and there's no where that really hit that sweet spot than a NATO mission. They are far and away some of the most interwoven, culturally complex missions that I've worked on, whether it was reporting about Australians providing security in Afghanistan to the Narva Soap Box Derby and the three days I got stuck in a swamp with a drunk Danish sergeant major with the most impressive beard I've ever witnessed.

You get an appreciation for a lot of different cultures there: the strict precision of the Brits and Germans, the gregarious community missions with the French and the Swiss, the fact that the Moroccans love to throw big meals for everyone. But the one I always love to talk about are the Ukrainians, because if you needed to get some poo poo done, you called the Ukrainians.

So, an explanation: Non-NATO members could take part in certain NATO missions, like in Mali and Kosovo, because they are technically under the EU umbrella but administratively controlled by NATO. It's seen as a sign of goodwill and a way to foster closer alliances while sending a relatively small fraction of your force. And Kosovo, still under the European Law mission in the wake of the war, was a melting pot. Dozens of nations coming together to train up the police and security force, push back on Albanian and Serbian pressure, work with local police and civil organizations to foster trust, and crack down on the crime families that had taken hold during the war.

The Ukrainians were one of those nations, a small combat engineer company brought in to help with construction projects in the north and west of the country. They worked alongside the Turkish, who were responsible for the south, east and Pristina areas, and worked with small squads of other nation's engineer corps. They had two jeeps and four old massive BMPs they had re-made into earth movers, the old Soviet armor turned into bulldozers just as effective as moving dirt as they are at moving roadblocks.

Standard process for Ukrainian engineers for roadblocks was simple: the riot control force would advance until there was a roadblock, issue a warning, then move aside. The Ukrainians would then drive the BMP full-force at the stacked-up cars. If you've never seen a sedan do a cartwheel after being struck by 10 tons of rolled steel armor and diesel engine, it is a sight to behold.

But they were also some of the most efficient and skilled civil engineers I've worked with. Late October in Kosovo is at the tail end of the rainy season, and the threat of mudslides is real in the mountainous west. It's made even worse by the presence of old explosives, buried for years until an unfortunate downpour digs them out. That's what happened near Zubin Potok: a mudslide destroyed the narrow road leading west out of town, tearing away the asphalt and making it completely impassible.

Without the western road, Zubin Potok had one major way to the rest of the country that ran through Mitrovica, a Serbian-majority town in the north. The western road also led directly to the capital, a vital trade lifeline for the small town, so they requested help from the capital, who then requested us.

The Ukrainian captain, a tall man with sunken features and a permanent scowl, only nodded when he got the news. “We'll handle it.” Nothing else, his presence known but not remarked on during our daily update brief. Our engineer on site, a major with nearly 20 years experience whom I shared office space with, offered assistance with the original planning for the new road, and we gave the project a month: Two weeks to set the new road and place in the supports, two weeks for the pavers.

And...that was that for about a week. The Ukrainians headed out with little ceremony, their in-barracks bar was locked, and for a week we only received reports. “Work is progressing well,” in that rough english, and that was that.

So after a week, the major and I head out. He's going to check on the progress, I'm going there to get some footage of machines moving earth and Ukrainians at work, and we're bringing some extra water, MREs and other supplies they asked for. We're on the road for an hour when we hit the narrow mountain road, turn the corner and find a smooth dirt road ahead of us. A bit of slow going and we're back on asphalt, ready to get to the site.

And we pass the site.

The major is confused. The road should be closed right around this area, and work was going to take at least two weeks before it was even passible. It'd been just over seven days, and they were nowhere to be found. It was then that I spotted the off-ramp, heading down towards the riverbank, with those old BMPs lined up.

All he does is laugh as he makes an awkward turn back towards their campsite.

Within a week, the Ukrainians had already cleared the rock slide, bracketed the downward slope and had a hardpack dirt road set up. It was going to be weeks before the paver team would even see the site and they had cleared it, spending an hour each morning and night to re-smooth the road and prepare for the next day. Our major was at a loss for words.

That tall Ukrainian captain just chuckled and said that they were enjoying the camping trip.

We reported our findings back that evening, and our report made it up to the Chief Joint Forces Command in Radio City, the base in the Capital. The NATO commander wanted to come down and see all the 'progress', which made our major raise an eyebrow.

“No, there is no progress. They're done with the work. We can call in the pavers now.”
“The general wants to see how they're doing.”
“He saw the photos! They aren't doing, they're done!”

But, no pavers. When we told the Ukrainians, his response was a simple nod. "We'll show him the progress."

When we drove up that day, a little before the general's entourage, we found the Ukrainians using those old movers to bring up scoops of dirt from the river bank. Four-foot-tall rocks, mounds of clay and dirt, dumped right back on the road. And when they were done, they started moving it all back down where it came. The captain, when we found him, chuckled again with that errie smile of his.

"Nothing's wrong, we're just making sure we have progress to show."

And the general loved every second of it. Great credit to the NATO mission, such a wonderful example of partnership, lots of handshakes and congratulations around before he drove off, less than ten minutes at the site.

We stayed behind for them to leave, watching them pull off the road as the Ukrainians just set up camp again to wait for pavers that wouldn't come for another week. Enjoying their camping trip down there by the river, working on a job they'd already completed.

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.




Double-post to catch up. Also, shoe on head:



Big
245 words

She holds onto her daddy's hand as if she would slip into the darkness if she let go. The lights are dim in this place, the sound of some unknown jungle playing through a speaker somewhere up above. A land that time forgot, a place that once was and now never could be.

He stops, and so she stops, hand tugging on his gently before she stops. She turns to look and he's smiling, his hand coming up to point at a space.

The roar is deafening. The lights turn on from below, shining against the ancient bones and metal wire on display. She'd never seen, didn't know that things could be so big. It's bigger than her daddy, bigger than the walls, bigger than her house! It's the biggest thing ever and all she can do is stare at it.

“Do you like it?” His voice, soft and reassuring as he kneels down next to her. “They call it Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

“It's big!” She shouts, giggling at the way her voice booms. She roars back, her voice small in the walkway in front of that fossil. He laughs and pats her head.

"And they weren't the biggest."

Her eyes go wide at that. There were bigger? "Bigger than the house?"

"So much bigger!" He says, delight in his voice as his arms swing wide. "Like, two houses!"

She laughs at her daddy, and he stands up again.

"Wanna go see?"

She grabs his hand and pulls him along as those ancient bones roar again.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Omega Prompt Two

If I Knew You Were Coming, I'd Have Baked a Pie

687 words

Long long time ago, I can still remember
How that banner ad kept tempting me to write
And if I followed Spectres' lead
Then I could make those judges read
And maybe they'd find my words tight
But livecrit evening made me tremble
With every crit Crabrock assembled
Judgement in the morning
Can't say I had no warning
I sort of felt a little stomped
But I really should have read the prompt
A feedback trough, I chewed and chomped
The day the crits came in.

So type, type, one more Thunderdome tale
Start to write on Sunday night
Like Arthur seeking the grail.
With inner voices as I fumble and flail
Cursing, "This'll be the week that I fail"
This will be the week that I fail

So I wrote some cyberpunk
Then stumbled to a sweet slam dunk,
Clowning Hamlet for the king
Those three weeks turned to four or five
And each one kept the streak alive
Each pitch I'd have to take a swing
Well I wrote some clunkers in my time
'Bout a water bottle and a wedding crime
Getting better I suppose
Judges loved my fireflies and crows
I was heading into my writing prime
Doing wicked faeries and some cracks in time
And over-complicated crime
Before the crits came in

So type, type, one more Thunderdome tale
Start to write on Sunday night
Like Arthur seeking the grail.
With inner voices as I fumble and flail
Cursing, "This'll be the week that I fail"
This will be the week that I fail

Now for ten years we've been in this dome
A million word collective tome
With classic chapters running wild
Oh, a virgin died in a field of corn
And blue squares practiced puppet porn
And expected we would be beguiled
Elsewhere we found a golden bean
Dangling on a father's peen
Worth a million bucks
It must have been as heavy as gently caress
A necrophilic lycanthrope
A dildo in dire need of soap
And a decomposing cantaloupe 
All had their crits come in

So type, type, one more Thunderdome tale
Start to write on Sunday night
Like Arthur seeking the grail.
With inner voices as I fumble and flail
Cursing, "This'll be the week that I fail"
This will be the week that I fail

All those years we were all on our own
A brawling gloried thunderdome 
Great stories and sometimes a poem
So come on, Dave you really hosed it up
The locked-in bride and the beheaded pups
And Razak is the devil's only home
And two yuppie mages dying young
Behind a swarm of wizards numbered sixty-one
An orchid, don't you see
With quantum immortality
Two burning lovers that touched me raw
And kaiju wrestlers loving under law
And head-spiders are what I saw
Before the crits came in

So type, type, one more Thunderdome tale
Start to write on Sunday night
Like Arthur seeking the grail.
With inner voices as I fumble and flail
Cursing, "This'll be the week that I fail"
This will be the week that I fail

I met a bot in I.R.C
And I begged a horoscope for me
But it just said 'story not found'
I logged into the mothership
Where the stories came at a steady clip
But the judging post was not around
And in the chat, we said 'fj'
And 'prompt' 'pormpt' and of course 'gj'
An interprompt was posted
But it was sadly ghosted 
The five who might not quite exist
Cache Cab, Rat-born Cock and JOHN MADNESS
And racers two from their abyss
Await crits coming in

So type, type, one more Thunderdome tale
Start to write on Sunday night
Like Arthur seeking the grail.
With inner voices as I fumble and flail
Cursing, "This'll be the week that I fail"
This will be the week that I fail
So type, type, one more Thunderdome tale
Start to write on Sunday night
Like Arthur seeking the grail.
With inner voices as I fumble and flail
Cursing, "This'll be the week that I fail"
But this won't be the week that I fail

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




#spinthewheel for prompt 3

Antivehicular
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



Omega Prompt 1

The Archeopteryges and the Giant Freaky Dragonflies
796 words
A [dinosaur] agonizes about [bad album cover]
Wheelspin: Avatar cert!


"I dunno if I like this one," said Specimen TD10-0522, better known to the world as Theo Raptor. He pushed his ubiquitous sunglasses down his scaly snout, then looked up and down the mock-up album cover again, with an uncharacteristic level of consideration. "Yeah, I don't think I do. It feels... young? And silly?"

His agent Jamie sighed inwardly while remaining stone-faced -- a pointless gesture, in front of Theo, but a habit she'd developed with human clients and felt no need to break now. "Youthful vibrancy is your brand, Theo," she replied. "This cover is precisely in line with your aesthetics and stage presence. We're reusing the star field from your first album," she said, gesturing at the background, "with the hoverboard to add dynamism to your guitar action shot. The lasers are a lot, but lasers are very in this year. Are you concerned that it's too vaporwave? We can change the color palette on the lasers, go for something hotter, although it's going to look a little pizza-parlor."

"No, it's not the coolness of the color, it's just... it's so much color! It's so fun! I don't think this is going to be a fun album, Jamie. I was thinking, um, I dunno, greyscale? A lonely street? Maybe I could be walking with my hands in the pockets of a long wet coat or something?"

"If that's physiologically possible for you, I suppose we could talk to costuming, but..." Another inward sigh. It was time for the worst part of Jamie's job: trying to have a direct conversation with the talent. "I'm not sure I understand your concerns. I've listened to the new album, and it sounds pretty much like the other three: energetic party rock." Dumb as a bag of hammers, much like the pseudo-velociraptor who produced it, but who was counting? "It doesn't really seem un-fun to me. Could you talk me through your logic here?" Oh, God, did Theo think he'd written something meaningful? Something philosophical?

"Well, I mean, it's my death record, right? I'm gonna die soon. If it's the last one, it should be, like, a memorial, you know?"

The relief of oh, thank gently caress, I won't have to convince him not to get "deep" on the interview circuit faded fast. "Wait, what? What do you mean, you're going to die?" The lab liason hadn't said anything about lifespan. Did they even know how long their pseudo-velociraptors lived? Theo was a novelty act, to be sure, but they surely had a few good years left, and it'd be better to avoid him dissolving on stage.

"Yeah, the lab called, and they said they want me to go in and, uh, give genetic material? For the next generation? So they're gonna cut me up or spin me down in a tube until I'm goo or something, right?"

"I'll talk to the lab, but..." Jamie let herself sigh. "I wouldn't assume that, Theo. I suspect they just want a sperm sample. Maybe they need you to breed directly?"

Theo cocked his head, his sunglasses sliding off his nose and falling to the floor. His dark reptilian eyes betrayed no hint of comprehension.

"Breeding? Like having sex, Theo. With female pseudo-raptors, presumably."

Theo blinked, still silent.

"Don't tell me. You... you've written songs about sex, Theo. What did you think 'Get It On All Night' was about?"

"Oh, Bill wrote the words on that one," said Theo. "I just did the melody. So, uh, what do they want me to do?"

This time, Jamie allowed herself a real theatrical sigh, the kind she only let out at home for effect. "Sex is the act of intimate physical contact between two people to allow for reproduction, pleasure, or expression of affection. They're going to stimulate your genitals -- via someone's hand, a machine, or the genitals of a female of your species -- and cause the release of seminal fluid, which contains your DNA and can be used directly to fertilize eggs to produce offspring. It's generally considered an extremely pleasant experience and is hardly ever lethal."

"Oh, poo poo, nice!" Theo scrabbled to pick up his sunglasses from the floor and perch them back on his snout, the better to shoot her a clawed semi-thumbs-up. "They're gonna touch my dong?! That owns! I've been wondering what that'd be like!"

"I look forward to hearing all about it," said Jamie, and regretfully, she actually did. If they'd launched a great party-rock sensation with Theo this clueless, what were his records going to sound like when he'd lost his virginity? He was going to survive losing his virginity, wasn't he?

Tomorrow, she was calling the labs. It was time to make sure her meal ticket's dick wasn't about to explode. God, wasn't life a rich tapestry?

Antivehicular
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 for Omega 2, flash rule and wheel spin

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In for vanilla, please fill in the blanks for me!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Fumblemouse posted:

In for vanilla, please fill in the blanks for me!

A [lard] agonizes over [terrible weasel man]

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS



Nap Ghost

In for vanilla. Please fill in my blanks.
#spinthewheel

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit




Fun Shoe

Apparently the video isn't watchable everywhere so here's another link

https://photos.app.goo.gl/XEw9tLw7VvyF5mAbA

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Applewhite posted:

In for vanilla. Please fill in my blanks.
#spinthewheel

A [icon] agonizes over [tube of yesterday]

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME









At least 15 stories have been submitted! All ladder prompts are unlocked.

If you are in prompt group Alpha: Maybe writing CAN be self care? Put your feet up. Marinate that story. Listen to the burble of its percolation.

If you are in prompt group Omega: You still need to submit for prompts #1, #2, and #3 before you can submit for prompt #4!

New signups for both Alpha and Omega groups are still welcome, but, and I can't emphasize this enough, you have to write for prompts #1, #2, and #3 first if you're signing up for the Omega ladder prompt!

#SpinTheWheel procedures remain in effect.

Omega Prompt #4

It wouldn't be an historic clusterfuck of a week without going back to the biggest, baddest week of all time:

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: WEEK 142: BUT MOM, A WIZARD DID IT :siren:



This week, your task is to write me a story about a wizard. Not a mage. Not a magi. Not a Th'aum'onger of the ancient, magic-making GBS threads people from the land of Arcana Cadabra. Your story must be about a wizard, who does magical wizard stuff.

But wait. There's more. To zazz things up and give you a little inspiration, I will be assigning flavors of wizards. Genres. Think stuff like earth, wind, water, and fire, only less cliche and more interesting. If you REALLY want to be unique and special and make up your own kind of wizard, say so in your signup post. That's cool too. We're all chill here.

There's no genre restriction. Your story doesn't have to take place in ye olde fantasy tymes. There just better be a wizard, doing wizard things.

If you click through to the original post, you'll see a long list of assigned wizards. When you sign up for prompt #4, you will be randomly assigned one of the original wizards from wizard week.

Original 1300 word limit applies.

Now is the time to dig deep. The prompts are set. The wheel is spinning. Time is of the essence. Victory is wandering the bloodied sands wondering whomst among you will claim it for their own.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 18:24 on Aug 4, 2022

Kuiperdolin
Sep 5, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2022


In 4 vanilla : a database administrator agonizes over a trap

The least dangerous most dangerous game
385 words

Kevin wiped the sweat of his head and raised it over the stump. He was a database administrator and very rich men, mostly, were hunting him for sport somewhere in the Russian Far East. By now they would be catching up to him.

He looked at the thing, which was probably a trap, and then all around him, again. The thing was a disordered heap of pointy wooden sticks, some straight, some bent, with no discernible function. He tried to imagine a mechanism by which the points would somehow dart at him when he touched the whole and could not figure out one. Still he was scared. Once more he touched his knife, as if it might have gone anywhere in the last minute.

The undergrowth all around him was thick enough he felt like he could just stay motionless, and maybe let the hunters pass him, like a rabbit in the bush, and then maybe backtrack and escape that way?

The thing still did not move. Maybe he could use it, try to make something of it, if he dared. He was clever, he tried to feebly reason. So what? His dad was seventy and limping and he could still beat him up, easily. Why would they hunt him? What was even the point? Even with the knife he was no danger at all. They should have taken a soldier, or maybe a criminal, not a DBA.

He was thinking about that when something sharp tore through him, and he found himself dying before his next breath, which he could not take, and it made a horrible noise when he tried. A hunter detached himself from the undergrowth, in a place where he had in fact looked, a youthful middle-aged man with good-looking fatigues and an elaborate, scoped crossbow. Kevin’s shaking fingers let go of his knife and found the quarrel deep in his chest, its shaft slick with blood.

“You think too much,” his killer said as he came closer, but not too close, lean like a cat, smirking. “You’re not much of a prey.”
“No,” the dying man mouthed in silent bloody horror, then the hunter noticed the heap of sticks.
“Who made that?” he asked, suddenly alarmed.
“I’m bait,” Kevin realized as the world vanished.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.



Prompt #3: Wonder


Monument
250 words


They traveled in the early winter, when the sun didn’t feel like fire on the skin, but before the howling sandstorms blew across those barren wastes and sent rusty scraps harrowing troughs in the cracked earth. In that season of solace, the sky was azure, almost white.

They scoured the ground for rodent burrows and laid traps where they found them. A night, rows of rats hung by their tails and crackled in the fire, smelling like heaven. The elders would tell stories of this land, and how it was ever green, and the corroded steel bones around them were once beasts of burden that ran like the storms across black stone paths.

The young ones would have thought it rubbish, but for the ruins. The colossal spires, sunken in the ever-churning ocean, were visible for miles. They seemed unreal, but when they approached to camp on the hills, where hollowed stone remained to shelter them from the winter storms, the buildings simply got bigger. They loomed, like shards of a mountain, ribbed with jagged steel teeth, and piles of glass, glittering in in every crevasse. The children would gape and beg for stories about them, then just sit and imagine the world that built them. If they were lucky, at night, the phosphorescent tides would come and crash against those monstrous relics, the remains as shadows cast across the backdrop of the stars, and they would dream of that mythic place, and wonder at how it crumbled.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.



In for OMEGA PROMPT 4.

I would like a little wizard.

As a treat.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Uranium Phoenix posted:

In for OMEGA PROMPT 4.

I would like a little wizard.

As a treat.

It's LITTLE A, dam ur eyes!

:siren: FLASH RULE:siren:: someone gets their words in the wrong order, with cataclysmic consequences!

Your wizard: Your spells can travel forward or backward in time. Lucky you! You, however, cannot.

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flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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







prompt 3

Let us choke on ash

The world is ending so let’s laugh. The sky is stained red, ash piles like snow, so let’s laugh because we’re not supposed to.

We’re supposed to get on highways littered with cars, clock in and drive back all the way home.
We’re supposed to look at the blistering red sun and think, that’s no good, and fall into our chairs and watch shows and turn on our air filters, so let’s open the door, let’s walk down the streets with signs like friends in our hands, let’s shout so long that ash fills our lungs. We’re supposed to sit at the river banks and wonder where the fish went and remember the days when the sky was blue and the air was fresh, so let’s jump in and swim down the bank and taste the water. Let’s crowd up the rivers so much that ships can’t pass through and laugh so loud that everyone on the roads will hear us even over their radios.

We’re supposed to let the world end, so let’s go into our backyards and plant our trees and water it each day. Let’s sit under its shade and laugh under the red sky and say that this world is beautiful even when we’re not supposed to.

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