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WHR 49.5
Oct 21, 2012




As long as my math is right, five hours left for signups.

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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

So I've been working all day but I managed to bang out a couple quickies. Sorry about the picture quality, I never did get the hang of those new fangled photoshops and tablets and other CG fuckery.


LordVonEarlDuke


Noah

I might keep doing this. It's fun.

Also sorry these are huge, posting from my cellphone so it's not particularly fun or convenient to do anything aside from post them.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


Sitting Here posted:

So I've been working all day but I managed to bang out a couple quickies. Sorry about the picture quality, I never did get the hang of those new fangled photoshops and tablets and other CG fuckery.


LordVonEarlDuke


Noah

I might keep doing this. It's fun.

Also sorry these are huge, posting from my cellphone so it's not particularly fun or convenient to do anything aside from post them.

Looks like somebody took two scoops from the ice-cream bowl of talent

WHR 49.5
Oct 21, 2012




Signups Closed

A day left for submissions for everyone who hasn't posted up their story yet.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

A small, orange flower on the corner of west 34th street 749.


In 1743, the German naturalist Traugot Gerber unexpectedly left his teaching post at Moscow University and attempted to flee the country. He died suddenly in the city of Vyborg, near the Finnish border. His herbarium of 2,400 different species, which he had collected throughout his life, was never found.

In 1884, in South Africa, the orange gerbera daisy (Asteraceae) was discovered growing naturally on Table Mountain. Its taxonomy was classified as the same as a flower collected by Gerber on the Volga river over one hundred and fifty years earlier. No one has explained why it was growing at that latitude.


The hothouse flowers reached up to the lie of the cold December sun that broke through the conservatory's glass ceiling. Lara shuddered briefly as she moved inside the humid, equatorial room from the brisk New York morning outside. Rows of orchids, Amazonian lilies and begonias filled the roof-top greenhouse, obscuring the view of the nouveau skyscrapers outside.

Lara pulled off her coat, hanging it on the small rack next to the door. Moving through the lush vegetation she emerged into the centre of the room where an old man sat at a table, potting saplings in small terracotta urns.

'Jean-Paul' said Lara smiling.

'Ah, mon cheri, Lara, bienvenue to my garden enfolding spots of sunny greenery.'

'This is a true pleasure dome Jean-Paul. It even has its own caves of ice.'

The white-haired Frenchman gave a brief smile and turned back to the plants on the table, picking up another seedling and gently tapping it out of its pot, encouraging it to take its first steps in the world. Lara sat down on the opposite wooden bench and took up another seedling, teasing out the roots for transplanting in the waiting pot.

'I see you have not lost your les pouces verts, your thumbs green since going to Langley' said Jean-Paul.

'You didn't ask me here to spread mulch Jean-Paul. What do you want?'

Jean-Paul sat back. 'Non, no I did not.' He pointed to the seedling Lara was potting. It had sprouted a small, orange flower.

'What is the plant you have there now?' he asked.

Lara looked at it more closely. 'I'm not sure' she said. 'It looks like a genus of daisy.'

'Qui, tres bien. It is a member of the Asteraceae family. An interesting fact about the Asteraceae family - they all have either fifty-five or eighty-nine petals based on the Fibonacci system which...'

'I know Fibonacci numbers Jean-Paul, I watched The Da Vinci Code.'

A slightly pained look crossed Jean-Paul's face. 'Well then, count the petals on that flower.'

Lara paused and studied the small flower in her hand. A mayfly meandered over the table.

'Sixty-one' she declared. 'That can't be right.'

'Non, it cannot be right. Yet there we are having. I have been cultivating that plant for over a year now, and each cutting will produce flowers with different numbers of petals. Any odd number from fifty-seven to eighty-five. But never fifty-five. And never eighty-nine.'

'From the same cutting? But that is just...'

'Matériellement impossible! D'accord! But it is fact.'

'There must be some explanation. A mutation?'

'Non!' said Jean-Paul. 'There is not, it cannot happen in nature this, this, obscenity.' His face had become flushed. 'This is something else.'

'What do mean 'something else.'

'I have studied the taxonomy of this plant, its history. And let me tell you Lara, it has a very strange history. I even went to the length to give it to my friends at MIT to complete a cellular analysis. And what came back...'

'What was it Jean-Paul?'

'It is not a plant, mon cheri. It is a machine. And it is everywhere now you know' he said. 'Wedding bouquets, street corners, potpourri. Just another flower that is kind of nice to look at, nothing more.'

Lara looked down at the delicate flower cradled in her hand and dropped it as if stung. 'What do you mean it is a machine?'

'Just so. An object mechanicale, a device with a creator, unknown and unknowable that can do two things.'

Lara's voice sank to a whisper. 'What two things?'

'It can reproduce' replied Jean-Paul. 'And it can absorb and store information from the environment.'

He picked up the flower that Lara had dropped, crushing it between his fingers.

'It is watching us.'

LordVonEarlDuke
Jun 24, 2011



This was going to be called Victoria's Secret but then I rediscovered my dignity.
Coverup (748 words)
Victoria came stateside in 1993, aged four, with nothing to her name but the photo of her mother, slipped to her by one of the Ukranian nurses as they shuffled her out. Her dead mother, heroin overdose, they told her, gave Tori her eyes. Her foster family gave her the name and all the love and affection a young girl should need, Pace gave her an architecture degree, and her bright silver nose stud she got from King Billy's Tattoo and Body on 11th street. Where she got her disregard for human life was less clear, Dani told her, not that the Order didn't appreciate that. Nurture it, even. Cigarette?

“Hm?” Victoria looked up at her handler, leafing over a page in the dossier to cover the dully accusatory mugshot of the target. Dani looked for all the world like a normal, boho-chic New York floozy, canvas shoes on up.

She held out one of her Gauloises. “Cigarette?”

“Only if I'm going to be point shooting later. The nerves, shakes: they're good, you know?”

“Not really.”

“It's like: be in the moment. Focused on what you're about to do.”

“What I'm about to do is get my nails did, Sister Dyanova,” Dani laughed as she lit #2 with the embers of #1. “You have fun wetworking.”

She sat on the other side of Victoria's mini kitchen practicing her french inhale as the assassin turned the page. “Did you know,” she said. “Did you know these were the same brand McClane smoked, in Die Hard?”

“Mmm.”

“Yeah, I switched to them after I rewatched last month. Hey, consider yourself lucky you aren't dealing with a motherfucker like that. This guy's a, what.”

“Actuary,” Victoria slid a paper across the counter.

“Yeah. That. They make e-cigs, now. You plug them into a USB. What the gently caress?”

“Why are we whacking an actuary?”

Dani spun the page around and gave it a cursory glance. “Who knows? Well. The Council. Duh. Me, I'm just a motor neuron and you're just the trigger finger and it's the brain who does the justifying. He probably just got too close and found something out he shouldn't have. Stick to your TI-84 next time, uh,” She checked the name. “Bill Hickey. Ha! Hickey?”

“The Waco coverup again?”

“Probably. We're always covering up that loving coverup. Oh: here's something you'll like. The guy's bus stop is right next to: check it out:” Dani pulled the street printout from the back of the stack and tapped one manicured nail on the intersection. “Victoria's Secret! Huh? Like that?”

Victoria's face did not shift. “Hm.”

“Come on, Sister!” Dani gave her a playful punch on the arm. She twitched, repressed the animal urge to catch the wrist and twist it full circle. “Live a little! You're the closed fist of the Order! It's cool, yah?”

She headed for the door, paused at the mantle, turned and delivered the Salud. Hand on her shoulder, no trace of the usual poo poo-talk. “Per modum maiores nostri.”

Victoria snapped her hand up to mirror the gesture. “Quocumque modo, Sister.”

She lived a little, though, she thought later as she looked up at the neon lettering over 34th. She caught Bill Dicky or whoever in her peripheral vision, and broke away from the display, walking a little in front of him. She shouldered her imitation gucci murder weapon, syringe nestled inside. Point out. Live a little. She'd lived more in twenty three years than most did all their lives. She had a purpose. poo poo, she'd killed for it. Often.

Some tool was walking across the intersection with a camera: reflexively Tori pulled a hankie out of her bag and pushed it up to her face, hiding that attention-grabbing stud of hers. Just in case. Then it was just pull back behind the target, who was talking to some mousy wife-type, cruise with the crowd, and bump. Happens all the time on busy streets. Bill looked up, all poo poo, who just banged me there? And locked eyes with a big Puerto Rican guy. Victoria had already turned the other way.

She didn't know what he'd done. Did he? Tonight, when the swelling started in the middle of date night with Mousey, would he? Before he choked to death on his own tongue would he see the purpose behind it all?

Did she?

She pulled out one of Dani's McClane cigs. Her hand shook.

EDIT:

Sitting Here, that is incrediby awesome and basically exactly how I pictured Judlow would look.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


What Else Can You Do - 703 words

Richard taps his pen against the pad, pretending that he hadn't memorized the license plate number months ago, didn't already know the make and the model and the year. A kid was walking by, holding a camera in front of his face, and Richard studiously ignores him - just somebody trying out a new camera, or getting stock footage, or the like. He begins to fill out the ticket. Illegal parking without a permit - the meter had expired just over twelve minutes ago. He had restrained himself, drove the squad car around the block once, before coming back to the silver Benz on the corner of 46th.

Arnie had gulped down some of his whiskey soda and nodded his head. "It's the same guy. I'm telling you, it's the same guy. Tiberius Derbyshire III. When you pull all the strings and get to the center, the guy who took my pension took your 401k. It's the same guy."

"Hey fellas, what's that you're talking about?" Tony had yelled, barging into the conversation like he usually does. Richard explained how Arnie was a CPA, figured out who was at fault for his decimated pension, how Richard had given him his financial information and the same guy had ruined his retirement plans. Tony had laughed in that boom of his and asked Arnie to figure out where his stock portfolio had gone.

Tiberius had taken it.

Richard goes into the squad car, finishes putting the ticket into the computer. It's a small fine, in the grand scheme of things, and doesn't even cost points. No demerits. It was a small thing, a minor inconvenience, but what else can you do?

He pulls out his cell phone, dials Arnie and tells him about the ticket. "No, he didn't see me. No. I'm just another traffic cop. Okay. Okay." He agrees to meet him later at the chapter house and hangs up.

Richard had found more victims, with only a scant few clues from Arnie. It was amazing how much information the NYPD kept on everybody and anybody. The concierge at the Pierre whose wife lost her job and her health insurance after a start up goes down. A couple dozen taxi drivers, all with the same pension plan that turned insolvent. There’s the sous chef at Atera, who had been saving up for decades. Each one gave Arnie more strings to pull, which gave Richard more victims to find.

"This is the man who ruined your life," he said quietly a thousand times. He slides the picture of the arrogant little bastard across the table. "His name is Tiberius Derbyshire III." He watched them carefully, was selective and cautious. Still, not yet has a single person turned him down. Zero times a thousand was still zero. But what else could they do?

Arnie found an IRS agent, does as much as he can. Richard recruited two other cops who suffered the same way, recruiting more in turn. They are all exceedingly careful. They can't risk losing their jobs, not in an economy like this. They do what they can.

He takes off his police cap and walks into the chapter house - Tony's old restaurant; they all chip in to pay the rent and keep the bar going. It's a rundown, dingy place, with few customers who aren't part of the conspiracy. It used to be the only chapter house, but now it's more the headquarters. First among equals.

"A parking ticket," he says while Tony pours him a drink. "What else can we do?"

Ahmed runs a corner store near 12th. "I ordered less of the Marlboros. We should run out of the kings before he comes in on Friday. It's something."

It's a small victory. An annoyed hedge fund manager buys pall malls instead, or walks to a different store. A minor inconvenience, but perhaps the straw that will break the camels back. Arnie would give him more names. He would find more victims. A warehouse foreman in Baltimore will 'lose' a shipment of Stolichnaya elit, headed for a downtown liquor store.

A thousand little cuts from a thousand little people. What else could they do? They do what they can. What else?

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Oh goddamn it I never fixed the street name.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Suggestion: those people getting published should take their stories down from here, otherwise there might be a copyright issue.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

I almost forgot I signed up this week! Was too busy drawing instead.

They're fun to do, so I guess I will informally ask people to informally suggest one or two stories and I'll do my best to illustrate them. Or not. Whatever you hordes want. This is Thunderdome.

Don't Bite the Eye that Feeds
746 words

I noticed him on a hot summer day, and at first I figured he was just snapping pictures of the girls in their little skirts and tank tops. But there was a look on his face, something intense and expectant. He would stop and sweep the camera around like it was a pistol and he had point in a zombie movie.

He always appeared at rush hour, right there at 34th and 6th, just when the sun beat down heavy from a thousand reflective windowpanes. That hungry camera eye would makes its sweep, taking in businessmen and shoppers and bums and traffic cops alike.

The first time I tried to follow him, an ancient old lady threw herself into the ground in my path. I say threw, but to the passersby it looked like I had tripped the wretch and people waiting at the crosswalk muttered and threw glares my way until I helped the woman up.

"Much obliged," I muttered at her profuse and completely feigned thanks. By then the camera man was gone.

The second time I was smarter. I caught him early on his route down 34th and tailed him, ten feet and a group of high school students the only thing between us. I didn't see what started the fight, only that there were people, strange people, and they were jeering and shoving the students and the camera man was far away and I was trapped on the wrong side of a sea of embattled limbs.

Just as quickly as it began, the fight ended, the instigators melting into the rush hour foot traffic.

The third time, I resolved, would be the last. My unseen antagonists apparently felt the same way, because this time the camera man led me into the trap. I was close, so close I could see the little hairs on the back of his neck, the damp of perspiration in his hair, the way his breath moved under his black T-shirt. I was almost pressed against him as the crowd built up on the sidewalk, waiting for the light.

It turned.

Or so I thought. The camera man stepped forward and I was so intent on him that I stepped forward too, not looking both ways, not seeing the van that bared down on me. He darted forward. Strangers gasped. Then I was falling backward and the van was passing inches from my feet and someone's arms were wrapped around me.

"Leave it be," hissed a man's voice in my ear. His breath smelled like clove cigarettes. "You don't want to know. Leave it be." Numb with shock, I nodded. The arms slipped away and I tried to turn around to face him, but then the light finally did change and I was carried into the street with the crowd.



I stayed clear of 34th and 6th, hell, the whole drat area. I set aside the unease at the feeling that I'd brushed up against something massive and horrible. I dreamed. A man's breath; the smell of clove cigarettes. A voice filled with sad compassion. Leave it be.

I wanted to.

I was at Madison Square Park when I saw the camera woman. Same sweeping motion, same hungry lens. She swallowed strollers and children and sun bathers, and when she turned that glass eye on the William H. Seward monument, and I swear that it was diminished somehow. One moment it had been there, fixed in the here and now. The next moment it was less itself, less a part of the living present.

I tried to shake off the black spots in my vision, and suddenly the pavement was rising to meet me. She looked at me. She looked at me. She raised her camera. I smelled clove cigarettes, and dimly remembered that they'd been banned in the U.S. some years before. Odd.

He stepped in from of me, the man with cloves on his breath, and I could see that he held what could only be a mirror. I saw the woman's mouth form an "O" of surprise, even as her lens turned to capture us.

It swallowed itself instead. The whole world shifted inward to make up for the sudden gap in reality that had moments before been a woman. I lost consciousness in earnest that time, and in my last seconds of wakefulness I felt him kneel, smelled the exotic flavors on his tongue.

"Well done," he murmured.

I could only sleep and wonder.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


probably what Hell smells like




Corner of Bond and Bowery when I saw him, walking slow but moving quick up the other side of the street. Dark suit, dark glasses and even from a distance a death miasma that jigged and fought the air. If anyone noticed, they didn't comment- Manhattan has no room for fragile souls. Walking north, I picked up the pace and clutched my jacket tight but he kept pace and never dropped that big ole' smile that's more teeth than love.

A 747 took off from LaGuardia at 11:51am exactly and I was not on it. While headed up-up-off into the sky it cast a brief shadow over the city and everyone tried not to look. He was unphased, He the Smiling Man- He moving north like a road-train left the road. His mighty love toxic, violating the air. I covered my nose and mouth with a tissue and it helped a little but not a lot.

Woman with a camera moving the other way. She saw him and he Smiled for the camera if only briefly. Hell of a Smile, Hell of a Smile. Down forever, that Smile on a microchip shown to friends and friends who will clutch at their jackets and wonder what that drat smell is and shown to the world who pretend they can't smell that smell for the sake of things. He's smiling because he knows today's a big day, the day he goes down in history and the day history goes down with him.

Godspeed.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Strangers when we meet

A roiling torrent of humanity surged and eddied, pooled at traffic lights, bubbled along the dirty streets, pipetted itself into buildings and cars. It flowed around Victoria, who was standing still, transfixed by the words on the building above.

She pegged a strand of hair behind one ear with a careful hand. Glanced round, casual as she could make it. Across the street a man looked up from the newspaper he wasn’t reading. Nodded at her. Victoria turned her head back, started walking. Past the parked taxis, past the Chinese girls talking about their lunch date, past the fat businessman yelling into his phone.

As she walked she sent her awareness ranging, wide and long. The strands of reality had been pulled – the building had had different words on it when she first looked. She was certain. Then it changed, almost as she watched. “Victoria’s Secret”. Cute. It could be Continuum, of course. But why would they signal her so indirectly? She’d been quiet, hadn’t made any pulls. Just as she’d agreed five years previous.

She’d waited, solemn in penitential grey smock. Around her, cold walls of blue light.

“Your transgression was severe, Agent Halab. But you have … many friends. Representations have been made on your behalf.”

The Continuum Invigilator had laid out the terms of her confinement in clipped, sour phrases. A single Virtual, no pulls, watch the walls. She’d accepted them, of course. The alternative was unthinkable.

She rounded the corner, risked another look back. The man with the newspaper was still there, but his face was different. That settled it. It this wasn’t Continuum it was an assault. She crossed her fingers, reached out and pulled. She felt the thin bones of this world creak, then respond. She started running.

Behind her there was a shout and a car door slammed. She didn’t look, jinking hard left into a junk-strewn alley. Ahead was a ladder, hanging off a fire escape that hadn’t been there moments before. Victoria tweaked local gravity as she leaped, fumbled it from lack of practice, went soaring up into the air. She slammed into the top of the rusty ladder, winded.

A bolt of purple energy slapped into the rung above her and clung there, hissing. She tensed and leapt, getting the balance better this time. She caught the edge of the railing, flinching as another shot hit the brickwork beside her, then flung herself over the rail and pelted up the stairs.

Victoria was wheezing for breath as she reached the top of the stairs, dismissed the ladder to stymy her pursuer. Five years of soft living had claimed her edge. But as she hurdled the parapet there were enough vestiges of her training that seeing a woman standing on the roof produced an instant response. Victoria slammed her hand out, palm first, sent a rolling wave of force to knock the stranger flat.

The woman yelped, flung out her own palm. The two force bubbles met and obliterated each other with a muffled thunderclap.

Victoria crouched, hand outstretched. The woman who was standing in the middle of the roof looked familiar. Her hair was shorter, a lighter shade. The face more careworn than the one she saw in the mirror every day, but…

“Yes, Victoria,” said her double.

Victoria Halab, disgraced agent of Continuum, opened her mouth. Closed it again.

“They said you were destroyed. They said that doubling up the timestream always killed the –“

Her doppelganger smiled faintly. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “They lied about almost everything. Vic. I’ll explain, but we need to go. We need to go now.”

The sky overhead was darkening, and Victoria looked up. A pinpoint of purest black was forming in the centre of a gyre of dark clouds.

“They’re going to wipe the Virtual, aren’t they?”

Her double nodded. “The whole branch, even. I shouldn’t be possible. We shouldn’t be possible. If we go now they'll hold off. Now hurry!” She held out her hand.

As their fingers touched a jolt of fire shot through Victoria’s nerves, and she fell to her knees. Struggling to her feet, she clasped the other Victoria’s hand and took two steps. On the third step she fell into the charged and humming darkness.

And in the street below, the river flowed on.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

LordVonEarlDuke posted:

This was going to be called Victoria's Secret but then I rediscovered my dignity.

Haha oh god you too

Some kickass stories this week. A Good Prompt.

Though I'm itching to red-pen V for Vegas' French. Itching.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

sebmojo posted:

Haha oh god you too

Some kickass stories this week. A Good Prompt.

Though I'm itching to red-pen V for Vegas' French. Itching.

Quelle horreur!

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


sebmojo posted:

Though I'm itching to red-pen V for Vegas' French. Itching.

Only if you do it en francias

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz0JpiGGo9M

I hate it when writers show how foreign a character is by having them randomly code switch. Als you shrieben a Deutsch guy who keeps switching zungen like this is comes off super hokey. People do switch back into L1 from time to time but not on that sort of level. I know a few girls from Hong Kong who use la like it's going out of style (e.g. 'that movie was good, la?') but they don't throw random Cantonese words into every sentence.

Vegas, you're a pretty good writer otherwise so you almost get away with it but it really bothered me. Sorry dude.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thought I would experiment with that, but it didn't quite work out how I thought it would.

Oh well, THAT'S THUNDERDOME!

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Small Details

Words: 710

“Right here, right here is good,” Max said, setting up a tripod.

In the middle of a busy sidewalk, Max started filming while his friends Joey and Natalie did their best to not be noticed.

“Max, come on man, we’re in everyone’s way,” Joey said, getting pushed by a woman walking out of Victoria’s Secret.

“Don’t start, I need all the footage to set the scene. Without it, it’s not New York enough, it’s just some random city.”

“Hey, you, you can’t be filming here,” said a cop on the corner.

“The gently caress I can’t,” Max said, straightening up. Two men in jackets came up behind Max. One of them reached for the camera.

“Hey, what the gently caress!”

Joey stepped forward, realizing the men hadn’t seen him or Natalie. Natalie grabbed his arm at the last second and shook her head.

“Give me the camera,” the original cop said. Max wrenched the camera away, and Joey saw him pop the SD card out deftly. One of the men grabbed Max by the shoulders and kicked the back of his knees. Another man grabbed the camera as he placed a knee into Max’s back.

Max flicked the SD card towards Joey before his arm was wrenched behind his back. Joey stepped forward, placing his foot over the SD card.

“Hey, what’s going on here,” Joey said.

“Nothing, move along,” the cop said, squaring up to Joey and flashing his badge. Joey nodded, and when the man turned around, he quickly knelt down and scooped up the SD card. Joey and Natalie melted into the crowd as the men turned the camera over, pawing at buttons and clasps.

“Holy poo poo,” Natalie said, plopping herself into the passenger seat.

“What do we do?” Joey asked.

“Tell his Dad, wait for a phone call?”

“I guess so,” Joey said, starting the car.

They heard the explosion from several blocks away. The car rattled and shook, and for a moment everything was silent. Car alarms warbled through the screams. Joey looked down at the SD card and looked at Natalie with wide eyes.

***

“I don’t know what I’m even supposed to be looking for,” Joey said, playing and replaying the video.

“You’ve been at this for two days, there might not be anything,” Natalie said, sitting in bed.

The phone rang. Joey picked it up.

“Are you okay?” He said. “Jesus. Really? Okay. Yeah. I do. Yeah.”

He put the phone down. Tapped on the keyboard several times and popped the SD card out of his computer.

“Make a copy of this video,” Joey said. He grabbed his keys and put on a jacket.

At a corner a mile away, Joey saw Max wearing the same clothes he was when he was grabbed the police.

“Do you have the SD card? There’s something really important on there I have to see,” Max said. He had bags under his eyes, and he looked worn down. His hair matted to his head with grease and the street lamps made him look jaundiced.

Joey nodded and handed him the card. A gray sedan screeched around the corner pulling up next to them. Joey stood still as Max walked to the back door and opened it. He mouthed the words “I’m sorry,” and the car peeled away.

34th Street replayed over and over in Joey’s head as he walked back home. What was he missing, he wondered. Something was on that footage, something he was missing. Stepping onto the darkened porch he paused. He had left the lights on when he left.

He heard thumping from upstairs and took off running. Natalie sat at the computer chair thrashing at the plastic bag wrapped around her face. A man in all black leaned into the choke, tilting the chair backwards.

Joey grabbed a lamp and bashed the man over the back of the head, again and again. Natalie ripped the bag off her head with a deep gasp. Joey kept hitting the man until the black mask held just a red pile of mush.

“Oh god, oh god,” Natalie panted. Joey wrapped his arms around her and pulled her head into his chest.

“Pack a bag, now. We’re putting this online right now, and then we disappear.”

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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


I have to rush some stuff at work so I'm not entirely proud of this one. This prompt turns out to be really difficult for some reason.

Dream of A Thousand Lights (750 words)

I have to travel a lot in my line of work. Frankfurt, Hawaii, Singapore, I have been to every city anyone could think of. I have slept in every terrible hotel and used every dirty bathroom the world has to offer. Don’t think I even have a real place to call home.

Regardless, I still make the effort to drop everything and spend a Saturday evening in New York City. With one hand holding the regional and seasonal gift of the last city I was in, I will have the taxi drop me at 34th street. She will always be standing at the intersection near that British chippy store, and we will go up to her apartment after the fortnightly kiss.

I don’t know how long we have been meeting at such leisurely, pleasant instances, but every moment I spend with her feels like forever, and forever is always too short.

Lately I have been looking at bathroom graffiti in the cities I visit. There used to be a time where there were just the usual gang signs, swears in the local language, or phone numbers soliciting all manners of good times.

But the graffiti are changing. There is one which starts with one line:

World is round.

I saw the first one in Dubai, written on the door of a rotting outhouse where the immigrant workers reside. Then the next one in Johannesburg, and the next in Prague, and the next, and the next.

Slowly, all the other graffiti are disappearing. Almost every single graffiti I see starts with World is round. And then they are appearing on the streets, written on walls and signs. I even saw one in Cardiff defacing a billboard of a local actress.

All of them, in clear, precise English, but none of them in the same handwriting.

I compiled photographs, notes, sketches. And they all go as such:

quote:

World is round. World goes round. Every moment is a city at night.

Cities sleep, and cities dream.

Cities dream one dream. Once one wakes up the others continue on. When the city goes to sleep it picks up where the other cities are left at.

This dream, they call it:

New York City.

This is because New York City does not exist.

The cities, they are not idealist. They don’t dream of the best city, the perfect city. They just dream of one that they all can share. So they put in their own sights, their own flavours, and their own smells into one fine city.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE STREET OF 34th:

A man riding a bike: Beijing.
Daffy’s on the corner selling fish and chips: London.
Brightly-coloured cabs driving across an intersection: Bangkok.
Sunburnt and blonde shoppers with pink shopping bags: Miami.
Tropical plant with solitary yellow flower peeking out, vines crawling up a lamppost: São Paulo.
Lady in dark hijab walking a meter away from bearded husband: Kabul.
Girls in school uniforms holding cellphones: Tokyo.
Another cyclist, with a briefcase: Seoul.
Ornate centuries-old building with a Victoria’s Secret retail lot: Barcelona.
Hanging flower baskets on signposts: Sydney.
Traffic warden writing up summons: Kuala Lumpur.
Suits walking to a sandwich shop: Washington.
Woman with pierced lip holding mannequin head in hand: Paris.
Skyscraper-high neon sign of basketballer: Atlanta.

And the list goes on, and on, and on.

And now I spend my time lying in bed, in every single city in the world, I thinking of the girl I love. I feel my hand touching her lips as she smiles, and her bright green eyes as we kiss. I look at my schedules and itineraries, I look at my travel documents and printouts. I remember how wonderful it is to love her and the scent she leaves on the pillows. I look at that single return ticket stub of a New York return flight, always arriving on a Saturday evening and leaving on Sunday morning. I recall the warmth of hugging her and the quiet voices she makes when she giggles. I look at the Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings of my other travel plans, always in a city faraway. I love her. I look at the hotel receipt in Jakarta, the taxi driver’s card in Melbourne, the hastily-scribbled café order in Paris, all of them, on the day I am scheduled to be in New York City, 34th Street, loving my girlfriend. I love her. I am trying to call her, but she does not exist in my phonebook. I love her. I love her. I love her.

SaviourX
Sep 29, 2003

The only true Catwoman is Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt.



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

[url]I hate it when writers show how foreign a character is by having them randomly code switch.

Except Liz isn't foreign. Also, the exception to this will always, always be Spanglish.



quote:

Only if you do it en francias

Qu'est ce que c'est? Francias? Quoi? Qu'est ce que tu dit? Vous etes comme un cochon anglais avec votre bouche plein de gras.

Ah, mais bien.

quote:

object mechanicale

Quoi? Qu'est qu'un object? Un anglo sale, c'est que vous etes. Ob-ject, vraiment? Dit avec moi, objet mechanical. Mon Dieu. Mon dieu, et tabernac.

Et c'est ne dit pas ce que l'enfer 'mon cheri' est. Moudite, est-elle un homme, en ces histoire? C'est Ma Cherie, comme un femme. Vous connaissiez? F-E-M-M-E.

C'est tout pour maintenant. Je n'travaille pas avec les singes.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


V for Vegas posted:

Thought I would experiment with that, but it didn't quite work out how I thought it would.

Oh well, THAT'S THUNDERDOME!
To strive and fail nobly and then own your failure is a grand thing. We cool.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Toaster Beef posted:

I'm in. I'm in as hell.

Oh. The shame. Boo this man.

That's time by the way. Everyone submitted except for Toaster Beef, who is a jerk, and is certainly not in as hell.

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way


Chairchucker posted:

Oh. The shame. Boo this man.

That's time by the way. Everyone submitted except for Toaster Beef, who is a jerk, and is certainly not in as hell.

The weekend snuck up on me

but yes, there is indeed shame

WHR 49.5
Oct 21, 2012




As the judges deliberate, here's my comments. Because I don't know my broad side from a barn, I just picked different parts of each of the stories that I liked:

Found Sound:
"This was huge."
"He was going to walk. He ran into the street."

Erik Shawn-Bohner:
"Victoria's secret is that..."
"Put me in a smaller box for a couple months. I suppose they thought I'd grow to appreciate the squares I used to live in if I had a tiny square to live in with three squares a day, a square bed, and time squared off..."

Oxxidation:
"Martin knows tall, tall people."
"In Queens they found a red-headed girl whose red head had been hidden inside a duffel bag."

Jeza:
"eyes erratic for police presence"

V for Vegas:
"tapping it out of its pot"

LordVonEarlDuke:
"Her foster family gave her the name and all the love and affection a young girl should need, Pace gave her an architecture degree, and her bright silver nose stud she got from King Billy's Tattoo and Body on 11th street."

Jonked:
"I ordered less of the Marlboros. We should run out of the kings before he comes in on Friday. It's something."

Sitting Here:
“I saw the woman's mouth form an "O" of surprise.”

SurreptitiousMuffin:
"that big ole' smile that's more teeth than love"
"headed up-up-off into the sky"
"and it helped a little but not a lot"

sebmojo:
"The face more careworn..."

Noah:
"He mouthed the words “I’m sorry,” and the car peeled away."
"A man in all black leaned into the choke, tilting the chair backwards."

The Saddest Rhino:
"on the day I am scheduled to be in New York City, 34th Street, loving my girlfriend"

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


SaviourX posted:

Qu'est ce que c'est? Francias? Quoi? Qu'est ce que tu dit? Vous etes comme un cochon anglais avec votre bouche plein de gras.

Mon Dieu, how rude <>





(It's true, this is me irl )

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

WHR 49.5 posted:

As the judges deliberate, here's my comments. Because I don't know my broad side from a barn, I just picked different parts of each of the stories that I liked:

Found Sound:
"This was huge."
"He was going to walk. He ran into the street."

Erik Shawn-Bohner:
"Victoria's secret is that..."
"Put me in a smaller box for a couple months. I suppose they thought I'd grow to appreciate the squares I used to live in if I had a tiny square to live in with three squares a day, a square bed, and time squared off..."

Oxxidation:
"Martin knows tall, tall people."
"In Queens they found a red-headed girl whose red head had been hidden inside a duffel bag."

Jeza:
"eyes erratic for police presence"

V for Vegas:
"tapping it out of its pot"

LordVonEarlDuke:
"Her foster family gave her the name and all the love and affection a young girl should need, Pace gave her an architecture degree, and her bright silver nose stud she got from King Billy's Tattoo and Body on 11th street."

Jonked:
"I ordered less of the Marlboros. We should run out of the kings before he comes in on Friday. It's something."

Sitting Here:
“I saw the woman's mouth form an "O" of surprise.”

SurreptitiousMuffin:
"that big ole' smile that's more teeth than love"
"headed up-up-off into the sky"
"and it helped a little but not a lot"

sebmojo:
"The face more careworn..."

Noah:
"He mouthed the words “I’m sorry,” and the car peeled away."
"A man in all black leaned into the choke, tilting the chair backwards."

The Saddest Rhino:
"on the day I am scheduled to be in New York City, 34th Street, loving my girlfriend"

FAST JUDGIN' = GOOD JUDGIN'

vvvv REPORTED FOR NO SHIFT KEY vvvv

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


sebmojo posted:

FAST JUDGIN' = GOOD JUDGIN'

shut up

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

SaviourX posted:

Except Liz isn't foreign. Also, the exception to this will always, always be Spanglish.


Qu'est ce que c'est? Francias? Quoi? Qu'est ce que tu dit? Vous etes comme un cochon anglais avec votre bouche plein de gras.

Ah, mais bien.


Quoi? Qu'est qu'un object? Un anglo sale, c'est que vous etes. Ob-ject, vraiment? Dit avec moi, objet mechanical. Mon Dieu. Mon dieu, et tabernac.

Et c'est ne dit pas ce que l'enfer 'mon cheri' est. Moudite, est-elle un homme, en ces histoire? C'est Ma Cherie, comme un femme. Vous connaissiez? F-E-M-M-E.

C'est tout pour maintenant. Je n'travaille pas avec les singes.

Ce qu'il a dit.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


sebmojo posted:

Ce qu'il a dit.

What's with all this gross frenchie talk.

It's starting to sound like mating season out by the pond.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

What's with all this gross frenchie talk.

It's starting to sound like mating season out by the pond.
Ja mann, Ik ook vind het mij niet blij. Wij moet zal Afrikaans praat in plaats darvaan.



Whoa that's a lot of js. I gotta go lie down.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

What's with all this gross frenchie talk.

It's starting to sound like mating season out by the pond.

I know srsly shut up with the pls tia

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Martello posted:

I know srsly shut up with the pls tia

V for Vegas started it so the rocketslugs should go his way

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

很明显我不会说法语!

LordVonEarlDuke
Jun 24, 2011



This beats haiku, but not by too much

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


While we wait, I offer that we can post pictures of our favorite inflatable animals.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

While we wait, I offer that we can post pictures of our favorite inflatable animals.

That's a great idea. No wait it's the other kind.

INSTEAD let's stay thematic and do ONE LINE STORIES.

Complete story arc in one sentence, arbitarily limited at 30 words.

Like this(from "Dominion Road" by the Muttonbirds):

Jane reached the point where she knew what he'd said before he opened his mouth; he couldn't say the same, or he'd have guessed she was moving out with one of his friends.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


sebmojo posted:

That's a great idea. No wait it's the other kind.

INSTEAD let's stay thematic and do ONE LINE STORIES.

Complete story arc in one sentence, arbitarily limited at 30 words.

Like this(from "Dominion Road" by the Muttonbirds):

Jane reached the point where she knew what he'd said before he opened his mouth; he couldn't say the same, or he'd have guessed she was moving out with one of his friends.
You chose one bit from Dominion Road and it's not

When he watched Jane's brother sell the house he felt no sense of loss,
More like a mountain climber looking back, having made it across the steepest face.
and he's still climbing; see him trying to cross the street-
he tests his footing like he was up 10,000 feet above the clouds,
Half-way down Dominion Road.

For shame mojo. Saw the Muttonbirds live a few months back. They were ok but Gin Wigmore was there and it turns out she does an amazing live set. It was at some vinyard out Tasman way and the crowd was all 50+ boomers. She comes on with a bottle of wine in hand and starts cursing like a sailor and threatening to assault the crowd, then launches into this amazingly gutsy set. All the parents were sheet white with their hands over their kid's ears. "You, you there. Yeah nah this song's real fuckeen romantic so you better pash your missus or I'll find you and give you the fucken bash. I can do that. I know people and noone will ever find out." It was glorious.

On topic:

for sale: baby shoes- never worn.

No wait, that's not mine.

"You trust me?"
"No."
"Good, you're learning."

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

You chose one bit from Dominion Road and it's not

When he watched Jane's brother sell the house he felt no sense of loss,
More like a mountain climber looking back, having made it across the steepest face.
and he's still climbing; see him trying to cross the street-
he tests his footing like he was up 10,000 feet above the clouds,
Half-way down Dominion Road.

That bit's awesome too, but I like the tight, symmetrical economy of the first line of the song.

My other favourite Muttonbirds line is probably from 'Too Close to the Sun':

Neighbour of mine
Got out of his car somewhere down
country in weather like this
Just disappeared
Left the engine running
Police came to talk to his wife
I watched them from my window

She was shaking her head
The cops were standing, with their
big hands hanging down


Take a moment to appreciate how 'big' works in the last line, it's astonishing.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


One-Line Autobiography

He knew enough statistics to know he wouldn't win, so he bought the lottery tickets instead.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

WHR 49.5
Oct 21, 2012




V for Vegas posted:

很明显我不会说法语!

他们的字母太多了,字眼更好看得多。

RESULT POST

Of course the results are in. The results are always in. The pollsters say that they coordinate. They lubricate. They bring voices to the public that otherwise wouldn't be heard. Otherwise how would we know? But, who asks how would we know what? Is it how would we know what others are thinking? Or, is it how would we know how to think? How to buy? How to desire? How your desires are being met is what they show you. What they don't show you is the cultivation of those desires. The cultivation of stimulation over reason. Desires over needs.

At the top of this round's polls is Sitting Here. It's almost too obvious that such an innocuous name would be used. As if there isn't a reason that you're able to just sit up there. While you know the wondrous addiction in the cracking of those sunflower seeds, we, my friend, know where they land at the bottom. And on piles of clementine peels, cigarette butts and watermelon seeds, we will rise.

Leading us will be the one at the bottom of this round's polls, Oxxidation. Oxxidation, you must choose the next prompt and two others to stand beside you. Remember, no matter how others try to convince you of what's good or right, you must hold true to that which got you to the bottom, and turn the polls upside wrong.

Winnerloser: Sitting Here
Loserwinner: Oxxidation
Next Round Judge: Oxxidation

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