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Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Bear Sleuth posted:

Fanky your story is going to be so bad people aren't even going to want to read it any more. They will probably hold their noses like they smelt something that smells bad. This is because your story will be so bad that it will remind them of a bad smell. I am 100% serious about this.

I'm going to dig out your eyeballs with a rusty spoon and then eat them. And then poo poo in your mouth. You see if I don't.

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Greatbacon
Apr 9, 2012

conquistador wuz heer



Peel posted:

I can't remember if Greatbacon is anyone but I am ready to chow down.

No this is my first time writing in the Thunderdome.

Also death to capitalist pig dog Peel.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Fanky Malloons posted:

I'm going to dig out your eyeballs with a rusty spoon and then eat them. And then poo poo in your mouth. You see if I don't.

Rusty spoon eyeball dig is such a cliche. You should probably avoid cliches if you want to write a story that doesn't smell bad FYI.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Bear Sleuth posted:

Rusty spoon eyeball dig is such a cliche. You should probably avoid cliches if you want to write a story that doesn't smell bad FYI.

OBVIOUSLY I am getting them all out of my system now. Jerk

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Rose Wreck I'm going to make you..a...wreck..

MY BEST STUFF IS IN THE WORKS

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Jeza posted:

Gonna eat your bones and wear your skin as a stylish cape and cap combo, Jonked.
Jeza, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I don't edit. I don't plan ahead. Literally every story I wrote for the the thunderdome, I've written within hours of the deadline. But for you?

For you, I've already started writing.

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:

Benagain v Noah

Caprice Pays Paul an Unexpected Visit, with Motives


V for Vegas posted:

Action. I want these stories, no matter the prompt, to have some movement, some weight, some kinetic bloody energy. Write a story with two people standing in a room talking to each other and I will knock you down to losertown for seven generations.
Sucks to be you two.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

THEY SHOULD BE HAPPY I DIDN'T SPECIFY SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE WITH A HEART OF GOLD AND HE WAS A WORKAHOLIC WITH MARRIAGE PROBLEMS.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


V for Vegas posted:

THEY SHOULD BE HAPPY I DIDN'T SPECIFY SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE WITH A HEART OF GOLD AND HE WAS A WORKAHOLIC WITH MARRIAGE PROBLEMS.

So, every minimalist style literary short story written from the late 70s to early 80s?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Just to be clear, we're not allowed to submit for 18-ish hours yet, then we have a day.

I'm not done yet or anything, it's just for reference.

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Student of the principle art of posting

Fun Shoe

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Sucks to be you two.

"Paul," said Caprice, striding towards him heavily, "I'm going to slam into you because of inertia and the fact that I'm preggo with your baby."

"Holy poo poo!" said Paul, staring off into the distance. "This heroin's amazing and I need to leave right now to get some more."

The rest writes itself.

edit: NOAH DON'T YOU DARE loving STEAL THAT.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Just to be clear, we're not allowed to submit for 18-ish hours yet, then we have a day.

I'm not done yet or anything, it's just for reference.

You are, for want of a better term, a Lemur.

sentientcarbon
Aug 21, 2008

OFFLINE GAMES ARE THE FUTURE OF ONLINE GAMING

The numbers don't lie. 99.99% of every Diablo 3 player wants the game to be offline. This is a FACT.

OH SHIT IS THAT A WEBCAM? HOLY CRAP GET THAT AWAY FROM ME! (I am terrified of being spied on, because I am a very interesting person)


V for Vegas posted:

THEY SHOULD BE HAPPY I DIDN'T SPECIFY SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE WITH A HEART OF GOLD AND HE WAS A WORKAHOLIC WITH MARRIAGE PROBLEMS.

Thunderdome: Workaholic prostitutes

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


All the animals come out at night--whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Benagain posted:

"Paul," said Caprice, striding towards him heavily, "I'm going to slam into you because of inertia and the fact that I'm preggo with your baby."

"Holy poo poo!" said Paul, staring off into the distance. "This heroin's amazing and I need to leave right now to get some more."

The rest writes itself.

edit: NOAH DON'T YOU DARE loving STEAL THAT.

I will not steal that. I am looking forward to our competition, and hope that the challenge can bring out the best in both of our stories.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Weren't there supposed to be a bunch of chucklefucks reporting in from the chickencheese thunderdome session

Ha! Saddest Rhino? LAMEST Rhino more like. My story will inevitably prove superior.

Inevitably!

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


sebmojo posted:

Ha! Saddest Rhino? LAMEST Rhino more like. My story will inevitably prove superior.

Inevitably!

The only transgression that can happen in this contest is your story being written and read.

Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


If testicles were dollars, Capntastic would be on food stamps. Just sayin`.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


LordVonEarlDuke posted:

Martello ure a cool guy and i look forward to locking wits w/ you in a friendly competition of writing oh jolly

gay lol

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Cool dudes chill in the Thunderdome even when the forums are hosed up.

I am the only cool dude.

Etherwind
Apr 22, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 1944 days!


Soiled Meat

I have severe doubts about parts of that.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Oh gently caress it's you.

Also you're right, I wasn't being cogent.

Cool dudes chill in the thunderdome when the forums are hosed up, but not all dudes who chill in the thunderdome when the forums are hosed up are cool.

Just to clarify, I am the cool dude in this syllogism.

Etherwind
Apr 22, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 1944 days!


Soiled Meat

Sitting Here posted:

Oh gently caress it's you.

I look forward to the same reaction when we're posting our stories. No worries, though: I'm sure you'll get a second chance to get it right.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Etherwind posted:

I look forward to the same reaction when we're posting our stories. No worries, though: I'm sure you'll get a second chance to get it right.

That wasn't like a "oh gently caress a giant tyrannosaurus etherwind is chasing me" it was more like "Oh gently caress someone left a big pile of etherwind all over the toilet."

SOrry sometimes my internet cadence isn't very clear, anyway I look forward to our honorable and good-sportsman-like literary writing match.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Zack_Gochuck posted:

If testicles were dollars, Capntastic would be on food stamps. Just sayin`.

At least I'm using 'em.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

People can now submit their entries - I had some more rule changes planned but you can thank your lucky firmament that the forums conspired to thwart my plans / I had passed out.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


V for Vegas posted:

People can now submit their entries - I had some more rule changes planned but you can thank your lucky firmament that the forums conspired to thwart my plans / I had passed out.

What if I don't wanna.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


1000 word minimum sucks. I am a literary premature ejaculator. You know I'm not built for the long haul.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Well poor old 'Boneitis' Boner isn't even going to submit so just write 'BONER IS A JERK' 250 times and you win!

Rose Wreck
Jun 15, 2012


I might not have understood the challenge. If it doesn't make sense it's probably a failed challenge reference. Here is what I set out to fulfill:

I want these stories, no matter the prompt, to have some movement, some weight, some kinetic bloody energy...

...write a noir story using the oeuvre of Trent Reznor – AKA Nine Inch Nails...

...Less than 800 words.


Word count 799. You Know What You Are.

The town was sleeping except us, her walking, me following. I’d been waiting for Mary down on the docks. We’d faced a gang of forgers and a pair of corrupt detectives together. But suspicion had buzzed at me until I finally checked the safe in my office. She’d taken the papers proving the gang’s links to Monty’s corrupt jazz empire. When I followed her clicking heels at first I thought her nerve had cracked. I’d thought she was going to take them to the press and save us a long battle against his lawyers. Instead she’d cut north, through the nighttime streets, to the little underground trolley system. I knew she was taking the evidence and running right to Monty.

The streetlights vanished as I descended. I’d only taken the new underground once or twice. I wanted my familiar rhythms. I could barely see the shape I was following against the grungy walls. I wanted to hear her reasons. She wasn’t going to give me the slip. Head down, I followed the downward spiral.

We were too far from development to be near the trains. There was just the scraps and bones of civilization, new lights and old metal. And there I was, following her down, for all the good it would do me. I’d drawn my gun when I’d stepped into the underground, but now, with everything to lose if I’d misjudged her, I had to think again. What was I going to do, shoot her in the back? I stood there stupidly, big man with a gun, until she turned and saw me.

“John!” I couldn’t hear her, but I saw her lips move under the flecked veil that hid her face. I had the odd sense that it wasn’t really her, that I’d followed some ghost, but she turned and started running and I knew things were falling apart.

I wondered when the lines had begun to blur. Maybe things had just been on this curve since I’d met her, I thought as I hurtled a piece of scrap and pelted down the half-built tunnel after her. She stumbled, kicking off her shoes, and I thought I’d caught up. As I got near she fell against the tunnel wall and rolled around the corner. When I got to where she’d been I could see her shape down the way, pulling something onto her foot as she hobbled. I looked down. She’d dropped her purse, now empty. Her spiked heels lay beside it, the squared nail shape seeming nine inches long, useless and heavy. I kicked them aside.

Her new shoes made her silent. I couldn’t believe she recognized me. But then I hadn’t thought she’d play me like a cheap harmonica, like every instrument but the drums. I could feel the air starting to move. There was a train coming.

That goaded me on, the thought she could whip into my life and right back into the void. I scrambled across the track that would be a train and followed a pitching shadow down a side tunnel. When I came around the corner she’d gone too fast, too far, and was slipping. Her arms went out, but she was falling sideways. She rolled twice with a little cry of pain.

“What’s this about, Mary?” Adrenaline was running through me but I had to pick each step now. I couldn’t see the ground clearly between us.

“It was never about finding forgers,” she said. Her hands were shaking, I saw. “It was always about who made a profit. I’m gonna be a star, John, unless your stupid mouth puts Monty’s lights out for good.”

“What kind of hold did they have on you?”

“They forged me a contract to trade for the real one, and then they blackmailed me. My boss was just making money off me. Treating me like a work animal, not an artist. Monty’s going to introduce me to a friend of his when I show up and then I’ll get on any stage I want. I’m gonna be a star, and nobody’s holding me back.”
I knew there were a million miles between us. I stepped forward anyway. “Nothing’s going to change. He’ll just sell you to a bigger audience. I love you like you love me. Just come home with me. I’m testifying against Monty no matter what.”

That did it, switched angry woman to pretty hate machine. I saw the change in her eyes and the way her mouth went to a thin line. I started forward because there was nowhere else to go. She was faster, little gloved hand snatching a pistol from inside her coat and swinging her arm up at me. The hole of the muzzle covered her head.

“Love is not enough,” she said. And she fired.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


It's 850 words and it's the best thing I've written for Thunderdome. It's a loving masterpiece and if I posted it as-is Bonerman would bow down and put my dick in his mouth straight away but NO, I'm going to spend the next eight hours editing to 1000 words and it'll be a big bloated mess I promise you.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

It's 850 words and it's the best thing I've written for Thunderdome. It's a loving masterpiece and if I posted it as-is Bonerman would bow down and put my dick in his mouth straight away but NO, I'm going to spend the next eight hours editing to 1000 words and it'll be a big bloated mess I promise you.

Suck this, slowhand.

-------------------------------------------

The Mark of Jessica

Frank and Charlie sit on a log by the fire whittling points to the ends of sticks. Charlie glances back to the Rico, as they had named it, to make sure it had not been defiled further. Across the fire, Jessica cradles her newborn daughter while crying into to her face. The baby coos and moans alternately.

* * *

They had remembered for the first time three moons past. That is, they hadn't been able to remember anything for more than five minutes until they left the chamber. There were ten of them at the time, children in body, in a world that was a bare, white concrete room, never changing. When the door finally opened on the chamber, they stepped out. They began to remember some of the things that happened in the room and their lives before the experiment.

There was one movable item in the room that they all jealously fought over: a large, green orb. There were five boys and five girls, each gender scratching and biting to be the next holder of Rico. Frank bit into Betty's arm as she grasped at Rico and tore a large strip from it, swallowing the meat. Jessica grasped Johnny's hair and tore the scalp back, exposing his skull. Five minutes later, they forgot that anything had happened, and the wounds were healed. They would find themselves suckling at hoses like rubber nipples sticking out from the wall, the nutritious paste that kept them alive.

* * *

Frank and Charlie rise from their seat, spears in hand. They approach the three girls, huddled together. There were only seven of them now: two infants, three girls, and two boys. The rest had left the group and went on ahead. They were found shriveled like dried out leaves beneath the eternally overcast sky. All that was left of them were wrinkled bags of decaying flesh.

“The child,” Frank says.
Jessica turns and arches over the baby.
“Give her to me!”

Betty and Olivia beat Jessica's arms with their fists, kick her shins. They wrestle the baby away and hold him high. Charlie plants his foot on Jessica's neck while she claws and howls to reclaim her child.

Frank puts the tip of his spear into the fire, letting the tip burn until it glows orange, “In the past life before the room, before the transformation, my god was named Smack, and he entered my life through this arm,” he raises his spear high, “but then we came to know Rico.”

All but Jessica speak, “Rico.”

“And Rico has blessed us with eternal life that we would live outside the Big Times forever.”

“Rico.”

Frank approaches Charlie and Jessica, “Charlie, bring her up.”

Charlie scratches the beginnings of a beard forming on his chin. The wrinkles of his brow seem to increase by the hour. He reaches down and lifts Jessica to her feet. Jessica wails without an effort to struggle.

Frank stands face to face with Jessica, “Your infant child, born of the blood of the traitor Zach, has committed a crime against the people of the world that we had no words for,” Frank spreads his arms wide and turns to the other children, “For this, you will be marked eternally and cast out from the love and grace of our god, where you shall suffer the Hell.”

* * *

Frank pulled at the dark symbols on his arm. There were words written there, “Saved by grace from smack”, written around a large T and an arm with a stick in it. It would seem that the T was grace and the stick was smack from the way it was arranged with words.

He'd become their leader soon after the left the room. His way with words filled them with reverence, and the other boys and girls would sometimes put their hands together and look at the ground after he spoke.

“We were saved by Rico's grace, and we shall love our god and one another as he has loved us.”

The children nodded, some putting their hands together.

“We were ignorant and fought one another for his love, but his love is eternal, and he has given us the knowledge of our ignorance.”

They spoke often of clips and phrases that came back to them from the Big Times. It was just images, but some saw that they were kept in rooms smaller than the white room, and they remembered the nourishment laid out on platters. The memories hurt, and they were glad to be away from the Big Times when their bodies ached and they were filled with fear.

“Today, we leave to find The Others in Heaven, and Rico shall guide us.”

* * *

Frank presses the hot ember against Jessica's forehead. She screams through the smoke of her burning bangs and passes out. Frank turns the spear perpendicular to the first line and scorches the T in.

“Take her,” Frank says. Charlie drags her into the trees.

“The child,” Frank says.

The girls submissively hand the child to Frank. Olivia looks back to her own child, Charlie's child, and tends to his crying. Frank holds her in his hands and stands before the fire.

Pushing his voice deeper, Frank says, “For you are a child and know not what you do, but you are guilty of defiling Rico, and you have condemned all of us to hell.”

Frank looks to the green orb. The tip had once glowed red, but it stopped when the child crawled on top of it.

“For your sins, the price is death.”

Frank holds the child over the fire and drops her feet first into it. Agonized screams rise from the flames, and sputters of ash and ember fly out from the pit into a cloud. The wails cease as the flame rises in a smoky blur and the scent of burned fat fills their campsite.

“His will is done,” Frank says, “And now we must pray to Rico that our service has quelled his anger.”

Frank kneels before the orb and places his hands on it. He rolls it back and forth against the grass, repeating the prayer written on the side, “Terminal Age Negation Entity.”

"Amen," Frank says.

"Amen," the girls say.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


God I feel so mecha-kawaii right now.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


a poor player who

When I was nine, we lived in the city. I hated the way the lights drowned out the stars- how a relative few cheap fluorescent bulbs could kill a monstrous, heaving God of light and fire- how the light of heaven could be extinguished by the million tiny stars-of-men. As a family, we'd drive out every weekend to a lonely island on the coast, just to see the stars. I looked forward to it all week. It was the best time of my life.

Out on the island they had these rusted barbeques set up. During the day you couldn't move for jostling families and sizzling meat but at night the place was abandoned. If it was overcast or some light on the ground kept us from seeing the stars, we'd light sticks in the barbeque and make our own stars-of-men-of-sky. It was dad's idea- always a man with a fix, our dad. As the flames burned down, we'd struggle to hold them higher and higher, to keep them close to heaven. Once they'd burned down completely, we'd climb the nearby trees and lace the burnt wood in through the thin upper branches; to give the stars back to the sky.

Richard 'Rick' Gunn worked with dad at the power company, in the accounts department. He was a tall man with glasses who looked good in a suit. He smiled often but not well. The day of my 12th birthday, he walked in on his wife with her lips around another man's cock.

We didn't always go to the island, but if there were no stars, we always did make our own. A little wood, a little fire and we become priests performing a solemn rite. It was a rite of great love and I still do it today if I can find the time. When there were no trees, we'd clamber up to the highest place in sight and put the emberdead sticks there. One time, dad had a few beers and fell asleep leaning against the car- an off-yellow '88 Toyota Corola. We took the chance to scramble up a nearby telephone poll and put the sticks in an old crows' nest left behind by an engineer. It's still there today, rusted and clinging to the wood-and-steel. As I put the burnt-down sticks in the little metal box, I saw a shooting star; an answer from God, sending his star down to earth. It is the second most fierce and beautiful thing I have ever seen. It left a white-gold trail behind it. I did not see where it fell.

He was shouting and she was screaming while the other man looked dumbly on. After a few minutes, Rick ran to the kitchen and came back with a bottle. He tried to smash it against the bedhead but the wood shattered and the glass did not. His wife was crying now and the other man was trying to apologise and gather his things at the same time. Rick would have none of it. “I'll burn you, I'll loving cook you alive like the animals you are,” he was shouting as he splashed them with whiskey, then upended most of the bottle onto the bed.

Dad's dad came from Greece after the war. The man lived 50 years being too quiet except for when he screamed at night. He got cancer and the doctors gave him six months, so he lived another ten years just to spite them. I brought him a book of Greek myths and legends, to remind him of home. He didn't cry. We flipped open to a random page and came to Prometheus, who stole fire from heaven to light the earth. When the Gods found out, they chained him to a rock where birds will peck at his eyes and his guts for the rest of time. “At least he's not alone,” Grandad said, smiling. That's the most he ever said to me at once. His eyes were fire while he spoke, though I forgot that until much, much later. I never saw that fire again and for that I'm grateful.

The star-of-men that Rick made burned fierce and beautiful and all three screamed so overcome with love. He left the house drunk and rageblind. By the time the fire trucks arrived, the star had burnt itself out.

Dad was late home from work, so me and my sisters were having a practice party. They stuck candles in a loaf of bread and I practiced blowing them out. I would apologise every time- it felt almost profane to end stars-of-men with so little pomp. Out, out brief candle and all that bullshit. We take the gift of fire, the gift that Prometheus to this day is getting his guts spread all over the mountain for, and we destroy it with barely a breath. A moment is all it takes and the star goes out. After we had finished, I collected the candles and bundled them in newspaper, then climbed up onto the roof of the house and laid them out one-by-one. The fire had warped the wax and they crumbled under my small hands.

Rick saw only fire when he ran the red light and smashed into the driver's side of an off-yellow '88 Toyota Corola. The car crumpled like emberdead wood. At the moment of the heat death of the universe, every last star will have stopped shining.

From the roof of our house in the city, I saw a second shooting star leaving a white-gold trail behind it. To me, it was proof that what I was doing was righteous. The candles belonged on the roof- the fire of heaven belonged in the sky and the stars-of-men had no say. It was the most fierce and beautiful thing I have ever seen. I wished on it that the stars would find rest and God spoke to me then, though I would not know until later.

The Corola went over onto its side, skating across the road trailing white-gold behind until it at last came to a stop. Both men died on impact; two constellations-of-men extinguished in an instant. The cars stayed alight in motion for several seconds, long enough to forge a bridge of light and fire between heaven and earth. The lights died together- man and steel and star. “At least he's not alone,” Grandad said, smiling.

As the star-of-heaven fell over the city, the lights-of-men wrestled with it until at last I could see no more. It vanished behind a maze of offices and houses- made dull by the lights of men. I did not see where it fell. Kahlinikta. At the heat death of the universe, every last star will have stopped shining. For that I am grateful.










[1120 words]

SUCK IT DOWN.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


didnt read but they both sucked

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Ok, once I finish Muffmaster's story, we can decide who won on how many children were killed in each story.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Adults are worth like, ten kids each. Checkmate.

Velyoukai
Mar 4, 2011


I hate Suits. All of them.


sentientcarbon is an illiterate, noodle-armed, premature whippersnapper because there should be a comma in their statement located before and a semi-colon located after my name. <-you also forgot this common punctuation tool<

^Title
780 word stinkyhole

(I hope you fuckers appreciate this. I finished off a bottle of 1918 whiskey to get this mindset.)

You don't remember everything before drinking with Dick and Eli, but you remember what's important. Dick shows up at your door, drunk and morose, and drags you and then Eli from your homes to his father's trawler. You know you should act more upset, show more concern, but Dick is tripping over his own feet and can't stop sobbing, and what you know is too much to keep up the act for long. He trips and stumbles into you, and it is good that he can't see you through the tears and shame, because his shaking body and shakier apology bring a grin to your face.

You set him down, and Eli drags a case of beers onto the deck. You take one, but you're too excited to open it and far too unwilling to spoil the night by forgetting it. Dick and Eli make up for it, though, and the pile of empty cans slowly grows in sync with Dick's obvious frustration and despair. Soon, Eli is half-asleep and mumbling into the deck, and Dick is pacing and ranting at you or at the night sky.

The night is perfect, with a clear sky full of stars and a crescent moon shining down. It is perfect for capturing every movement of Dick's frantic, wild steps and gestures. The moonlight frames his face, bringing every anguished twitch and livid sneer to life. He finally stops and turns to glare at you with maddened, desperate eyes, and faced with his despair, you can't help but smile in response.

The wail that tears through his throat is wonderful and you close your eyes to savor it. The sound grows louder, filling you with a long-awaited satisfaction, but it is interrupted by a sharp pain in your face. You fall backwards and land on your back, and as you open your eyes, the stars and the moonlit sky above you are violently spinning. The moon bobs up, then down, then grows even larger as the world beneath you is swept away and you feel the sky loom even closer.

Dick shakes you again and howls at you, but you are still too enraptured to hear his words. You have imagined this pain countless times, but the raw power of just how broken he is shakes you to your core harder than he ever could. You look down at him and drink in his distraught expression. This night has been long coming, and now that it is here, you commit everything you can to memory.

Dick's anger is beautiful, but the way it collapses into a brittle mask of fear and hurt is exquisite. His eyes are sharp with intent, but they waver from strain and the slow pool of tears that branch down his ruddy cheeks. His brow and jaw quiver once, but it only takes one time for his strength to falter, and in seconds he is shaking all over and you are back on your feet. You lean closer and listen to his shuddering breaths, and watch his beer-stained gasps leave his mouth as puffs of foul smoke in the cold, coastal air.

Why?

You do not bother to hold back the laugh, and this time, Dick's pain is more obvious with each passing moment. He would never understand why you are laughing, or why you have done everything so far. Dick with his simple, average, stable family and his simple, average, stable job and his simple, average, stable life could never understand why his suffering is so wonderful at this moment. Until this night, Dick has been happy and unaware of just how boring and average his life has been.

Your laughter continues to ring in the night air, even as Dick cries and strikes at you again. The moon and stars plummet down to your feet as you tip over the rail of the deck. You keep laughing, unable to stop the rush of success and vertigo from throwing your mind out of whack. Dick's voice is loud and wordless again, but it doesn't matter. You can see the hate and anger break again into perfect horror, and once you slam through the water, even his wordless voice disappears.

The world around you grows darker, but above you, beneath your feet, the moon's cracked face and Dick's broken mask are vividly clear. In the end, his mindless wife and the tedious affair you had mean little. It was never about her, or even about you. Just as it had always been, since the first day you both had met, all that mattered was Dick.

Because I made you human.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Martello posted:

didnt read but they both sucked
This is how I feel about your opinions.

That song contains bad words so if you're at work or your blood is milk or something don't click it (that means you Martello).

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Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Hey Jeza I know you think you're hot poo poo because you won once but lemme drop some goddamn knowledge on your head like it's hailing encyclopedias: you're not. Also I've got to work a double tomorrow so be aware that any weak-rear end back talk you attempt won't be read until after the deadline has passed anyway.

A Family Mythology, 2010 words

The young children bounded into the room, laughing and yelling. They crowded around the old man, sitting in his chair. He wasn’t that old, of course, not really, not in the ways that matter. He was in his mid-sixties, but was still spry and sharp, and quick on his feet. He smiled down at them, full of paternal pride.

“Yeye! Yeye! Tell us the story! Tell us the story!”

The grandfather motioned them to settle down, settle down, take your seats. He pulled out an old cigar. He didn’t light it, of course – his sons disapproved of smoking around the children. He just kept it handy, occasionally placing it in his mouth, or behind his ear, or simply holding it between his fingers. He began to tell the story – the greatest story of his life. The story of the Hole.

“I was a young man, back then, in the year of 1966. It was late summer, then. I was a successful poet, very successful. I had a fellowship at the Huizhou University. Oh, how I loved the city! I would walk besides the Pearl River, and think up very good poems. The local people, they loved my poems, because I wrote in Hakka. I was very popular, and many people were happy to say I was their friend. But I was also very lonely, because I had nobody to love. My parents – your great-grandparents – had died during the Revolution, and I had no siblings. So even though I was very successful and popular, I was also sad at times. My only true friend was a British administrator in Hong Kong named Sam. We had never met, but we were pen pals. We would constantly send each other poems. So I would walk by the river, and think up wonderful new poems for Sam, and the local people would love them.”

“But not all things could always be so happy. Mao Zedong, he was the leader of China at the time, and he had announced the Destruction of the Four Olds campaign - Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. Although I was a young man, I had a very old soul, so this was very hard for me. My poems were written in the classical style, and were written in Hakka. This would not do. If I was to be successful and popular, I needed to have new ideas. So I had written a poem in Mandarin, and had rejected all the strictures of Shi. I thought it was a very bold and courageous idea, and was very proud of it.”

“So I was feeling very pleased with myself when my dean came in. He was furious! ‘You idiot!’ he said, ‘You moron! How could you be so thick-headed!’ And he was pacing back and forth, waving his arms around, calling me very mean names. Finally, I interrupted him, and asked him why he was so angry.”

“’Zhihong Yu read your poem! He thought it was a vicious satire, that it was making fun of how Mao Zedong speaks in his speeches. He has declared you a capitalist roader and a counter-revolutionary.’ Zhihong Yu was the leader of the local Red Guard, and was a very powerful young man. I do not think he liked me very much, although I don’t know why. But everybody was afraid of him! I remember the look on my dean’s face, he was so sad. He looked like he could cry. He shook his head, and said – ‘Go home. You are on indefinite leave for suspicions of treason.’ So I gathered up my things – my poems and my letters, and I started walking home. “

“Oh! What misfortune! The people had heard about what Zhihong Yu had said, so people who had once loved me, now shunned me. Nobody would look at me, or talk to me. It was like I was a ghost. It was so sad, I nearly cried. I did not know what I was going to do. But my troubles had only just begun. I was walking by a construction site, where an old, old temple had been. It had been such a beautiful building, but now it was ruined and torn down. All that remained was a huge hole, that was very deep. I had written Sam a very beautiful poem about that temple and that hole.”

“The hole! The hole! You fell in the hole!” yelled the youngest child. His siblings quickly hushed him, and the old man resumed his story.

“Yes, I ended up in the hole. But I didn’t fall, I was pushed! You see, Zhihong Yu had laid a trap for me. Him and the rest of his cadre rushed out of nowhere, and began to loudly berate me. The street was very busy, so all the people could see me. The Red Guard would yell at me and interrupt me, not giving me a chance to defend myself. I tried to explain how my poem was a New Idea, but they wouldn’t listen. All the people simply stopped and stared.”

“Then they started pushing me and hitting me. It was like I was trapped in the middle of a tornado. I got so dizzy and confused, I couldn’t see where the sky and the ground were. Then somebody pushed me very hard, and I tripped. I went flying, flying through the air, and nobody was there to stop me. So I went flying, flying right into the hole. THUMP!”

The grandchildren all gasped, even the ones who had heard the story before.

“All the young people in the Red Guard, they were very shocked. They hadn’t meant to push me in the hole, it was an accident. And falling in the hole hurt very badly, and I couldn’t breathe. When I looked up out of the hole, all I saw was black and yellow spots. My back and head hurt a lot too. The people who pushed me in, they just stared in shock for a moment, then they started yelling how they were going to throw me down a ladder and get me out.”

“But Zhihong Yu said No! He told them not to get me a ladder. I remember, he said ‘Let the poet build a ladder out of words if he’s so great,’ and he also said ‘The capitalist roaders are like snakes, and should hide away in holes.’ All the people heard this, and were afraid of Zhihong Yu, so nobody was willing to help me out of that hole. Instead, they left me alone.”

“I stayed in that hole for two days. The nights were cold, and I worried I would freeze to death. The days were hot, and the sun burnt my skin. On the first day, I would call out for help until my voice was hoarse, but nobody would help me. So on the second day I was very, very sad, and I started saying poems. I would yell them out very loud, so that the people on the street could hear them. Sometimes a person would stop and listen to my poem, and if he liked it a lot, he would throw me down some water, so I could drink. Other times, they wouldn’t like the poem, and would throw trash at me instead. So that’s how the second day went.”

“Then, very late at night, one of the Red Guards with Zhihong Yu came to the hole. She was very sneaky and cautious, and made sure nobody could see her. She threw down a bit of rope, and whispered that she liked my poems very much. I whispered back ‘Thank you!’ and tried to climb up the rope, but I was very tired, so it took a very long time. By the time I was out of the hole, she had disappeared. But she left me a Red Guard uniform, and a bit of identification saying I was allowed to travel where ever I wanted. I was very thankful.”

“I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I could not stay in Huizhou, because Zhihong Yu hated me so much and was so powerful. So I began walking west and south, towards Hong Kong. It was a very, very long journey, and sometimes I was afraid I would never make it. I remember I met an old farmer, and he let me ride in his cart. I would tell him poems and he would say, ‘I don’t understand poetry. Tell me another one, maybe I’ll understand it.’ I told him all the poems I knew, and he didn’t understand any of them, but seemed very happy anyway. So who can say?”

“But finally, after many, many days of walking, I made it to Hong Kong. I knew I needed to find my only true friend in the world, Sam. But I also knew that I looked like a vagabond, who had stolen a communist uniform. That’s because I was! So instead, I did something very bad and shameful. I snuck into a bath house, and I washed all the dirt off me. Then, I snuck into the lockers, and stole somebody’s business suit! I felt so ashamed, even today I feel guilty. Some poor man, he goes to relax in the nice warm water, and when he comes out, a vagabond has stolen his clothes! Listen closely, children. Stealing is very wrong. If you take something, the person you stole from is hurt by it. So try to not ever steal, understand?”

“So, clean and nice smelling, in my brand new – well, new to me – suit in the Western style, I went out into Hong Kong. All I had was a name, Sam, and an address in the Central District. I was very nervous, you see, because I had never met Sam in person before, even though they were my only friend in the world. So I took a deep breath, prepared myself, and gently knocked on the door.”

“The woman who opened the door was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She was as glorious as the summer sun, and twice as radiant. I was so bashful, I couldn’t say anything at first, and merely stared at my feet and shuffled. She became very annoyed with me, and demanded to know what I wanted, but I was too shy to talk. So, instead, I handed her the letter I had written to Sam. She yelled with excitement and ripped open the letter, fervently reading every word I had written. Then I realized my mistake.”

“After she read the letter, she looked at me, and demanded to know how I got it. I stammered for a bit, and finally managed to say in broken English that I had written it. She didn’t understand me at first, so I said it again, but I stuttered so much that she still didn’t understand me. She was starting to lose patience with me, so I did the only thing I could.”

“In haze the green hills half hidden, to afar the waters flow;
Though late in autumn in Southland, its grass is yet to yellow.
A night of bright moonlight o'er Bridges Twenty-Four, just
Where are you flaunting your flute, my handsome good fellow.”

“It was your grandmother’s favorite poem, she had told me so in a letter. I knew it by heart, and had recited it so many times, my voice didn’t stutter. Then, she instantly knew who I was. That, my children, is the story of the hole, and how I met your grandmother. We were married soon after, and we moved here to Oxford. In England, I became a popular and successful poet, and I had the love of a beautiful woman. So remember, if you ever find yourself in a hole, do not lose hope. Yell out poetry, and you might find yourself even better off.”

“Come get your snacks,” Nai Nai called from the kitchen, and the children ran off, leaving their grandfather alone in his happy memories. He stepped outside to the light the old cigar.

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