Oh, put me down. I started writing about potatoes and forgot to post.
|# ¿ Aug 7, 2012 20:24
|# ¿ Feb 24, 2024 02:01
Alright, I'm throwing my hat/potatoes into the ring. It clocks in at a portly 571 words. Come ye sacrificial lambs.
The gunny sack lay empty and forgotten on the floor. Stuart was frantically trying to push himself backwards through the closed doors of the kitchen cabinets. After a moment, the voice came again.
WHAT DO YOU SEE? The question rattled his skull like the belch of a cathedral pipe organ.
"I d-don't understand," Stuart whimpered.
WHAT DO YOU SEE? It rumbled from everywhere and nowhere.
"I see four potatoes sitting on a table." Which was true. It was Monday. Monday had been Meat and Potatoes day for as long as Stuart could remember. It was the fixed axis of the weekly cycle, a monolithic hub around which all other events moved with deference and predictability. Then Stuart's mother had died and he switched from red meat to Shitaki Mushrooms in a Sauce and Potatoes.
THERE ARE FIVE POTATOES, the four potatoes said.
They were all ordinary enough, lumpy and slightly larger than a man's fist. Each was dotted with empty eyes, except the left-most potato which featured a small sprout.
"I count one...two...three...four potatoes," Stuart said, then added "I'm sorry." Pain lanced through his skull and he fell to his knees on the patterned linoleum floor.
THERE ARE FIVE POTATOES, the potatoes thundered. YOU SEE FIVE POTATOES OR YOU WILL SUFFER. Stuart cried out. The whole world was pain and fields of yellowing tile. FIVE. FIVE. FIVE. FIVE. Each syllable felt like a shower of potatoes falling on his head. FIVE. FIVE.
The haze of pain resolved itself into static like snow on a T.V. screen. FIVE. FIVE. YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO GET MARRIED. FIVE. Stuart couldn't tell if his eyes were open or closed, but a woman's face materialized out of the fuzz in his mind, teeth gnashing behind wrinkled lips. FIVE POTATOES, his mother bellowed with the voice of the spuds. WE BRIBED YOUR FRIENDS TO COME TO THE PARTY. FIVE. HOW CAN YOU HAVE YOUR PUDDING IF YOU DON'T EAT YOUR MEAT. Thoughts, mother, potatoes; they all blended together as though whipped by an electric mixer.
Stuart found himself crawling belly-first to the fridge. "Meat marriage," he muttered. "Mother marry the meat..." He opened the refrigerator, flailed his arms at the contents until milk and packages of turkey and bologna rained down on him. "Four mother, it's four." He opened the bologna and stuffed a clammy slice into his mouth.
Back inside his head, the potato-mother screamed. FIVE. YOUR VIBRATING MEAT BOWELS DISGUST US. FIVE. Stuart writhed in a growing pool of perishables and bits of lunch meat. FIVE POTATOES. FIVE...POTatoes.....
His gut churned around cold cuts and he sweated from nausea. But the voice was fading. "More. Four. More meat. Four meat," Stuart said to the ceiling. Five. Five..F..ve. His eyes were open. The horrible vision of his mother was gone. He squinted. The air around the potatoes both swirled and was still, like an ever-receding invisible spiral that pulled the world in its wake. Stuart fell unconscious.
The afternoon sun shone into the kitchen when Stuart woke. A word, an imperative, resonated in his mind. Five. But it was a blunted, painless thought. He reeked of sweat and spittle crusted his chin. Slowly, tentatively, he raised his eyes to the table where the potatoes caught shadows in the divots of their skin. Stuart pushed himself to his knees, wiped filth from his face. He screamed.
"THERE. ARE. FOUR. POTATOES."
|# ¿ Aug 7, 2012 23:18
I think I feel alive for the first time in my life
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2012 05:05
Is there a bonus if the agony is inflicted directly by the potatoes? This is important.
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2012 05:38
Y'all are a bunch of tater tots.
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2012 17:50
We're finalizing our decisions right now. I'll show my work:
I come from a family of potato seers, and I like to think that it bodes well for my usename to be nicely centered above a potato.
|# ¿ Aug 12, 2012 01:01
So it was foretold, so it came to pass. I am THE POTATO SEER and with my tuberous inner sight I will take your measure, at the sacred hour of [approx. one week from now].
Update: And the SA forums shook that day, down to their very core, so that none could enter in the wake of the victorious. (Anyone know why the forums disappeared?)
Martello: I want you to know I will keep this forever and drat that there isn't a way to hang it on my refrigerator or something. Sorry I forgot to mention it in the [super secret judge]PM, you did great. Also I like your scoring breakdown.
Next week is gonna be bloody as gently caress hopefully so wear your kneepads.
|# ¿ Aug 12, 2012 06:33
Well I could explain what I think of as the actual "plot" of it, but I feel like that would kind of ruin the effect. I wanted the potatoes to be a mix of vaguely Lovecraftian, Orwellian, and just kind of absurd. I wouldn't say it's a parody, I just couldn't think of a better way to end it and that popped into my head.
Martello please don't be disappointed
As for the Pink Floyd line, I wasn't sure if I was intending to write a good story or a bad story and I wanted the potatoes/mom to say something about meat and I thought why not? I was thinking about a random phrase that might pop into someone's head if that person had a history of meat as a contentious issue between they and their mother, and further, if they were at that moment being painfully assaulted by extrademinsional potato beings(?).
|# ¿ Aug 13, 2012 05:21
Yes. I DO smell your fear.
|# ¿ Aug 13, 2012 06:02
The Next Prompt Is.........
Pending til Martello gets online
|# ¿ Aug 13, 2012 19:39
I will alter my score for any story that includes an Ayn Rand-esque Superman character or espouses the superiority of objectivist thought. How will I alter it? That's for me to know and you to agonize over until the hour of your forthcoming doom.
|# ¿ Aug 14, 2012 03:32
I like you, kid. You've got pluck. Sadly pluckyness is not an accepted currency in the Thunderdome. Just grit, tenacity, and pocket change.
Pipes! is the god at whose right hand the judges sit. All hail Pipes!
|# ¿ Aug 14, 2012 22:01
Apparently chick-lit means having a female protagonist, oh and um maybe chocolate or clothes or something . Unless you are all writing really good Rand-fiction. In which case carry on.
Oh god I can feel the judge-rage flowing through me. The power. So beautiful.
|# ¿ Aug 15, 2012 19:03
Sorry, it's Hempfest in Seattle. Which somehow concluded in me and some people forming a band called the Bob Dolemites and recording a song called "Pizza Barrage." It's been a long day.
My judgement shall rain upon ye shortly.
(Oh and I'm a she, not that it matters)
|# ¿ Aug 19, 2012 07:33
It's still in its nascent stages but I think it's everything anyone could hope. We're just missing a mic to get the awesomely talented flawless vocals down.
|# ¿ Aug 19, 2012 08:51
IDK, I wouldn't be in such a hurry to find out if I were you guys. If the judges were starving villagers and this round of Thunderdome was the mostly-decayed corpse of some animal, we'd be trying to sustain ourselves on marrow and intestines. I am literally sifting through gore, trying to decide which part is least covered in poop.
|# ¿ Aug 19, 2012 18:33
Oh god I can feel the arcane winds passing from my body.....BLLAAAARRGH *shrinks down to mortal size, pocked and cratered skin returns to its supple, youthful glow*
Nautatrol, you are a more worthy wielder of this penis scepter than I.
To the newly anointed victor....I'm excited for the next prompt. Thunderdome rules
|# ¿ Aug 20, 2012 00:44
I ended up being really busy this week and haven't had a second to do a scoring writeup like I wanted. I just wanted to add that Surreptitiousmuffin and Wrageowrapper were also close picks for me.
But see, if we starve you of victory now it tastes so much sweeter later.
I also forgot to congratulate budgieinspector. Try not to go mad with power. It can really take hold of you.
Martello, count me in to participate this week. I dunno if it's bad form cause I just got to judge, but I'm really enjoying the prompts and practice. Plus procrastinating on my piece for the August contest.
|# ¿ Aug 20, 2012 07:26
If this gets double posted I'm sorry. SA basically works, but I have to reload each page every time I try to visit it.
Also I went over the wordcount (1800 words)but gently caress yeah Thunderdome, I have tasted the fires of judgement and come through them unscathed before so bring it.
I am a white mostly hetero 23 year old female from a pretty suburban background.
Also edit, somehow one or two words went missing when I copied and pasted so I put them back. Please forgive.
Time for the bleach bath again. I dabbed a rag into the watered down mixture, grimaced around my cigarette at the feel of chemical water on my skin. Rain thundered on the roof of the little apartment like the impatient drumming of a woman's nails. It was date night, but all I could think of was washing away the bleach and sores in that warm downpour.
Bath time over, I tossed the cigarette into the toilet and started the long, slow lurch back to the living room. My chair was busted, the little joystick that was all of my mobility in the world unresponsive at the best of times. Normally that was where I'd conk out in the bathroom for some shut eye, but I had a rendezvous to keep. I rolled haltingly past the kitchen with its chorus of flies, over dirty laundry that had been ignored for so long that there were tread marks from my wheels.
I was halfway through the living room when the sound of car doors froze me in my tracks. Strangers. What did they want? I felt stupidly exposed there in the living room, and the few feet separating me from the drawer containing my handgun may as well have been the grand canyon. I was no Evel Knievel, that was for damned sure. I strained my ears, sure that my heart was going to give out for the raw tension in my body. Footsteps in the hallway connecting my apartment to the others, then a sharp knock a few doors down. I breathed again. Someone else's problem, whoever they were.
I jerked and jolted the rest of the way to my desk and liberated Chastity from the drawer that she usually shared with her bestie, Jim Beam. Chastity all but purred when I spun her chambers, and on better days I would have cooed and told her how pretty she was for an antique.
A knock at my door, soft, hesitant, feminine.
"It's open," I called. Sweetness knew as much, of course, but the knocking was part of the ritual, her way of showing me the respect that others didn't.
It was date night, but the jig was up as soon as I saw the look in her eyes.
"What's wrong, babydoll?" I asked. Sweetness slumped down on the couch and crossed her legs so that her little shift dress showed scrawny ankles and bony knees.
"So you know my girlfriend," she said as she took one of my cigarettes from the mostly empty carton.
"Yeah. A little." I knew the girl, though like Sweetness we hadn't got around to exchanging names, just monikers.
"I think there's someone else in the picture. A guy." She exhaled smoke, looked at me with those expectant blue eyes like I already knew the story.
"I'm sorry to hear that, darlin'. Sadly I don't do couples counseling."
She shook her head. "Aint like that. I think she's using again."
"Ah." I tried not to look at her mottled arms, tried not to see the slippery slope starting to tip under Sweetness like it had one too many times before.
"I know you...you know people around here. I was wondering if you could find out if this guy is dealing for one of them."
I sighed and leaned back in my chair. Outside, the rain had passed and left the smell of damp garbage in its wake. I'd always thought that the name Colorado Springs sounded more like a retreat for whitebread suburban types, but for me it was just another corner to rot in.
"And then I'll ask him real nice to leave the pretty girl alone, huh?" I regretted my tone, but Sweetness had been around long enough to know what she was asking of me. She didn't flinch from my look. I sighed again. "Alright then."
"Look, I know if it comes down to it you can't do much. But you have a way with talking to people. Maybe I could--" she swallowed. "Maybe I could work something out. With the guy."
Though Sweetness wouldn't know it, I was strung up between furies in that moment. I wanted to explain to her what it felt like to connect a sock full of batteries with someone's face, but I knew that would come across as empty bravado. I wanted to tell her to forget the pretty junky because I'd seen this all before, but then I'd just be condescending. No, she needed the cripple with a way with words.
We played cards for the rest of the evening and listened to some C.D.s she had brought over, Disney songs and nostalgic 90's pop. Later, as she was leaving, she turned to look at me from the door.
"You know I think you're more than this." She gestured around. At my apartment. At the poo poo neighborhood. At her predicament that had somehow become our predicament.
"I know, darlin'." Then she was gone.
Old Jay was my first visit. He opened up right away when he saw it was me, trying to conceal the apprehension in his eyes by being pleasantly surprised. I knew better. In Old Jay's world, pleasantly surprised was finding out that the bullet wound was only a graze. Or that they meant to pump led into someone else's house, no hard feelings about the windows, alright man?
"Naw, I know the one you're talking about, little tomboy-lookin' thing," he said of Sweetness's errant girlfriend. "Know the guy too. His poo poo goes deep in this area, know what I'm saying?"
"I don't buy that his racket relies on a bunch of hoodrats to stay afloat."
Old Jay shook his head. "Your guy goes deep with Tomboy too. She grew up here, you know. I seen her with him a few times over the years, and toward the end she was looking real haggard. I wasn't too surprised when she started laying up with your Sweetness, truth be told. Tomboy cut her hair, started mean-mugging all the men in the 'hood, the track marks healed up." He leaned back, fixed rheumy brown eyes on me. "But some folk don't know what to do with theyselves when they aren't owned by something. When she's using, selling, being used..."
He trailed off and I nodded in agreement with his unfinished thought.
It didn't come up again until I was leaving. "I know you think there's something you can do," Old Jay said, looking down at me from where he stood at his front door. "Get that chair of yours fixed. Find a nice girl. Get out of this poo poo hole. Go home. I know it aint here."
"Jay, I'm still here 'cause folk only help themselves. If there were any mercy for me I'd be gone in a heartbeat." I looked out across the apartment complex, saw oil-filled puddles glittering iridescent under the patchy sky. "You gonna haul my rear end and this busted up chair thirty minutes down the road to the airport? Don't think so. I figure if I help the right person, maybe there's help for me too."
Jay laughed and shook his head. I limped home in my chair, praying for rain.
I hadn't seen Sweetness for days. Finally, it was Tomboy that I ran into on one of my rare and ambitious dumpster runs. Before I could figure how to react she had turned on me, spraying accusations like spittle.
"You stay out of my business, you hear me? That bitch knew what she was getting into and no one needs you sticking your goddamned nose into it."
"I just wanna know where she is," I said quietly. "You'll do what you'll do."
Tomboy laughed. "Where she is," she repeated, then leaned close. "Where she is is getting railed by my man for dope. What did you think this was all about?"
"She only wants to be close to you. Protect you."
Tomboy's eyes flicked up to the windows to the apartment above us. Someone was watching the commotion through parted venetian blinds. Sweetness? But it wasn't her apartment. I figured I didn't need three guesses to get who she was with up there.
"Look, I know people out West. I can't get to them but you guys could. I could call, set you up." I swallowed. Feeble.
Tomboy looked me like I was something repulsive, confusing. A door opened and closed around the corner and the man himself appeared. I could smell the sex on him. He put an arm around Tomboy without looking at her and glowered down at me from towering heights.
"Lay off, brother." His voice was deep, authoritative, with the calm certainty of the habitually violent.
"What are they to you?" My voice shook and I clenched my fingers around the shank wedged between my leg and the arm of my chair. "Do what you gotta do to get by, but this isn't that."
He laughed, full and low, and I knew that in his mind there was no confrontation here. "You think you can promise them something else? Promises are words. I take care of my own. I got proof. What do you have?"
My gums itched with a predatory craving for a fight, but I knew my chair wouldn't clear the distance between he and I quick enough to take him by surprise. My grip on the shank slackened.
"Smart boy," the man murmured. He pulled Tomboy closer. "'Sides, I like having a full pair. It's like socks. Just one aint gonna keep you warm the same as two will." Tomboy giggled, batted at his chest like he'd just made a bawdy joke.
I looked up at the window where two delicate fingers made a peephole in the blinds. Then like that, they were gone, retracted into the darkness of the room within. The man knelt down to be eye level with me, still out of the reach of my knife. Should've brought Chastity.
"Now I know we're not gonna have anymore problems regarding what belongs to who around here," he said.
"Naw," I rasped. He nodded, stood, and escorted Tomboy by one shoulder back into the apartment. As soon as they were around the corner, I looked up at that window one more time. My heart thrummed a sinking song when I saw the blinds pulled up and Sweetness standing there framed in the window like a fairytale princess.
I need to find my mercy, her eyes seemed to say. She regretted getting me involved, I could see that much. Some happening inside the apartment caught her attention, and the blinds dropped. Wash your hands of me, that's what she would have said. Wash me away and leave me to find my mercy.
The clouds were heavy overhead when I turned to lurch back to my apartment, the air heavy with moisture and the warren-like feel of humanity. My chair sputtered and sparked when I threw the joystick forward as far as it would go. I inched along across the empty parking lot, trying to beat the rain home.
When it came, it came hard, and promises were all that it washed away.
|# ¿ Aug 25, 2012 01:18
I clicked all the way over to page 11 for some hardass thunderdoming and instead I see...an act of....mercy????
I see the judge's spiked and twisted throne has perhaps grown cushier.
|# ¿ Aug 25, 2012 06:25
This is the best. I agree your voice is chill as hell and this is awesome.
edit:n I'm also imagining you as very dashing based on your voice, accent, and the fact that you thought my story is cool.
Edit edit: wrageowrapper, your story made me laugh and I'm glad someone did a reading of it. You have a really fun writing voice that is really absurd (in the awesome way) and I guess I just wanted to say I've enjoyed reading all of your submissions.
But uh, down with careposting, all hail thunderdome etc.
|# ¿ Aug 25, 2012 17:52
Awful quiet around the 'dome...
I started MS painting my alt entry, Dragonum PI (a purple non-cis dragonoid pansexual ethno-queer detective) but work keeps happening.
|# ¿ Aug 26, 2012 03:54
Ready to flagellate myself in the church of Thunderdome once again.
|# ¿ Aug 28, 2012 00:26
I'm ok with hominy.
The dealer wasn't white though Question, if I may: Why not assume the other male character (Old Jay) was white? I didn't describe either person's appearance much beyond things the character would pay attention to, so what was it that evoked the image of a dealer as a white guy?
But lest I sound ungrateful, I lay myself prostrate before the Thunderdome and thank you for delivering me unto pain, that it might liberate me from lovely writing.
|# ¿ Aug 28, 2012 17:19
Hence the reason I phrased it as a question. The dialect straddles the line into redneck/Southwest, and my understanding is that Colorado Springs is hugely honkified. But rather than assume, I asked.
Ah, I see.
As for Colorado Springs, I chose it in particular because of acquaintances who've lived there and had somewhat similar dealings. I was thinking of a location that was kind of between the cracks. The dialect in those areas in my personal experience tends to be a mix of things, kind of a stew of slang and mannerisms from different backgrounds brought together by class.
Colorado Springs is pretty honkified, as you say, but there are definitely areas where that is not the case. Like most cities, I guess.
But here I am writing all these words that aren't my next entry. For shame.
|# ¿ Aug 28, 2012 21:15
Is that a prompt, or does the story need to contain that line?
|# ¿ Sep 2, 2012 22:32
Ok, I had to pull a goatse to poo poo this poo poo of lovely proportions, but here it is, 950 words if you take out the hyphens.
The fetid smell is too much for the oxygen scrubbers. I've given up cleaning the entertainment module, never mind how long ago because the vacuum above doesn't change. The cold void is the nail I hang my hat on, the backbone of lunar life. I stare out (because there is no up) and see things happening on a scale of time that obliterates me from the picture the way that our macro scale obliterates atoms.
I stand over them for hours each waking cycle, watch how they wither into sacks of atrophied muscle on bone. Even the PodCorp people plugged in eventually. Nearly forty adults plugged in for twenty-four hours a day, frolicking in visions of a perfect earth even as the planet and their bodies are both dying. I do not know why I am awake.
One of the PodCorp shills died today. His enviropod red lined and hell, I'm no doctor. Looked to me like he just stopped breathing and didn't start again. His name was 'Steve.' I want to suit up and go out to the lip of the crater and whisper it into the perpetual night, but I just can't bring myself to do it because 'Steve' just doesn't cut it as a name you utter reverently into the blackness of space.
I used up the last of the hygienic-grade water today (tonight?). In a few cycles, I'll be using disposal-grade. I had wiped steam off of the mirror, noticed the whorl of a fingerprint on the glass. This gives me an idea.
Steve rides again. I'm holding his severed hand, trying to figure out which finger his computer access is imprinted to. There is a trick to it, a certain rolling motion across the scanner that is hard to do with the severed hand of a corpse. There's a chime when I finally get it (the ring finger of all things), and the interface springs to life with administrative options that I've never seen before. Protocols to alter the day/night cycle, life support, average water temperature and even our food's nutritional content, among other more opaque functions.
There are unread communications from the earth office. Months of them, if you're going by earth standards. Has it been that long?
I've been sitting in my chair contemplating my situation. The day/night settings, which are supposed to cycle over the duration of one earth day, seem to pass in moments. Dark. Light. Dark. Mining had been put "on hold," we were told. Problems with the extractors. Then it was delayed due to a territory dispute between lunar mining corps. Then the metal yields were lower than predicted. Excuses that sounded reasonable at the time had been spoonfed to the PodCorp staff and dispensed to us with no hesitation.
There wasn't even a subfolder for mining yields. No readings on the moon dust. No topographical data.
Take advantage of the down time, the techs had said. We had been encouraged to use the immersion units, the enviropods, to keep our minds off of things. Keep us from missing earth too much, turning into space cases.
What pisses me off is that nothing seemed fishy. Not a thing. We exchanged high fives and plugged in with all the enthusiasm of little kids getting to play a new console before the release date. We were on the payroll either way, so what harm was there in passing the bleak lunar days inside a shared illusion?
I had to hack off another hand, this time some communications techie. It took a cycle of rumination on the ethics of maiming a living dead man, but what I found using his clearance makes it a moot point.
A while ago, months in earth time, communication with PodCorp headquarters stopped. It didn't make sense for PodCorp to cut their little focus group loose with all this experimental tech, but Steve's inbox didn't have any answers. I had to go deeper. The techie's login engendered a whole mess of controls, including the enviropods themselves and the communications satellite. Urgent communiqués overrode the display, desperate instructions from HQ to modify the satellite's orbit. The date stamp meant nothing to me, but verifying it against the enviropods' data, I found the messages had come some time after the Podcorp staff had plugged in with the rest of us.
Decaying orbit, they said. Collision danger. Gravitational anomalies in surface composition. A grave likelihood, they said, that the crash landing would be close enough to disrupt the colony's structural integrity if the satellite's orbit wasn't stabilized.
For the first time I wonder why they haven't come for us. I look out at earth, wonder if she is as dead and silent as she looks from luna. I notice the satellite now, and its spiral orbit reminds me of a wolf circling in on prey. I watch the emaciated colonists in their delusional slumber and wonder if their visions of old earth are all that remain of life on the blue green dot.
Too late for the last-minute reprieve. The least I can do is go out on my terms. I take a deep breath, open the airlock, step out into nothing and scream silence.
|# ¿ Sep 2, 2012 23:40
Yeah it looks better in the original document. I am gonna try to edit it to look a little better, so if you see any changes it's just that, I promise.
|# ¿ Sep 2, 2012 23:46
Says you. I'm part way to cracking The Thunderdome Code and basically have predicated a quadruple armageddon plus space dragons with helicopters for faces, and I'm only halfway through the week 1 banter.
|# ¿ Sep 3, 2012 18:00
The judges are fair and wise.
I agree with the flim flam assessment, I just wanted to show that I'd read a wikipedia article about physics on the moon
|# ¿ Sep 5, 2012 02:02
Oh boy. I'm in with I die: you die
|# ¿ Sep 5, 2012 05:05
What is Illuminated
I'm on my knees and the light is there. For the first time, it's there. It casts a honey-golden circle in the otherwise boundless black and I am in the very middle. The light gives me shape. I reach back, over, under to feel all of these facets and planes of myself that the light illuminates and makes solid. Infantile, adult, I touch my mouth and know that I am smiling.
From inside my circle I see that the darkness beyond seethes. I hug myself, careful to stay away from the edges of the light, grateful that it shines on me and sets me apart from the formless, infinite sludge. So it goes, and my whole being is the trifecta of light above, me within, and dark without. The light offsets the dark, my form defies the formless.
Then a fourth quality emerges, a pearl of awareness that grows in the tension between the light and the black. Resent. I grow to resent the darkness.
I strain my eyes to peer past the curtain of light, look for others like me in that hideous beyond. I see no one, only the now-hackneyed press of nothing against my kernel of something. For the first time I scent something familiar in the black, something bovine and tart, fetid and sweet, like the contents of some carnivore's belly.
There is no other light.
Soon staring at the glory of it isn't enough, so I crawl. I reach out. I touch.
Screams, a noise louder than thunder, then the darkness erupts into pulsing flashes, little spherical bursts of lightning that leave scars of color on my eyes when they pass. I look up and out, see that the void has taken on the quality of an arena where thousands upon thousands of the little flashing lights flicker on and off, some close enough to touch, others far enough to be whole galaxies away.
And, of all this, I am the center. I try to move away from the edge, back to the middle of my little golden oasis, and the screams grow louder, more agitated. I feel something forming on my tongue, a weight made of days and nights and faces and colors. It grows bigger until my jaw almost unhinges with the effort of ejecting it.
There, sprayed in the spatter of vomit, is a life. My life. I see dreams: Mechanical wings extending outward from the edges of my peripheral vision, the hum of a motor. A patchwork toy world spreading outward, and no backyard or back road or greenbelt or hidden pond is forbidden. I loop and twirl and the engine is my song.
I see shame, toe-curling, bladder-loosening shame. Rejection. Incomprehension. My own arrogance thrown back at me in the form of editorial. Remoteness, myself as a facsimile human approximation.
The crowded darkness goes wild. I am on my knees, in the light, and all that I am is there, between hands planted like feet on the ground. Click. Click. Click. The storm of flashes is in perpetual climax, and I am at its center. I am the center.
I crawl, aching for the warm dark of the anonymous beyond, but the light follows me. The darkness peels away like the parting of the Red Sea wherever I go. I can feel the vitriol of the jealous, voyeuristic black, and I know that I am its focus because I am illuminated. Still, I can't escape the light.
I try to stand, but the weight of the brilliance overhead crushes me back onto my knees. And all the while, my mouth contorts around the purging of my life onto the perfection of the golden circle. The darkness beyond writhes and roars and flashes, lapping up my expulsions as they run in rivulets to the edges of the light.
Life running like blood; lifeblood. And then I understand. For there to be no spectacle, there must be no spectacle. I heave myself onto my back and my naked belly burns. Heat upon heat. Images of my life continue to gurgle out of me as if pulled, so I cover my mouth with my hands and breath deep. Psychic effluent seeps up through my fingers, but most rushes back into the vacuum below my trachea and now I am asphyxiating on the very stuff of my self.
I will myself to die so that this hell will die with me. The panic of suffocation is like a balm. Outside of my shell, the darkness first roars in affirmation of the indignity before them, then grows quiet, then begins mewling. The flashing lights stop. But it is too late.
The honey-gold light fades to a flickering orange, then a dusky pink, then nothing.
I die and without the light, the darkness dies with me.
|# ¿ Sep 8, 2012 09:00
I was really pissing in the pool with this last entry. I want a loser avatar.
edit: I will say this week did give me a true and meaningful appreciation of Gary Numan and the life and times of said Numan. Which is a kind of victory in and of itself.
|# ¿ Sep 10, 2012 00:58
I'm in. I don't remember life before Thunderdome and I don't want to start now. It's so cold beyond the arena of blood-spattered stone and sand.
|# ¿ Sep 10, 2012 21:04
Oh, we're supposed to be writing well?
I don't know if even your admin powers can help you escape the thunderdome. I've been here six weeks. You look surprised. I know. My haggard and worn expression and my thousand yard stare make it seem like it must have been 60 years. And sometimes I just don't know anymore.
But best of luck to you. Perhaps you can climb your way to freedom on the mountains of corpses. Careful not to slip on the entrails, they're a bitch. I've got a dude's intestines permanently knotted around my ankle cause we're not allowed to have pointy things so i can't cut it off.
|# ¿ Sep 11, 2012 22:10
An Indecent Swindler
"Unwieldy little bastard," I muttered. "Gods-damned son-of-a-round-eared-ape." The baby in my satchel writhed against my back and whimpered in guttural human tones. I raised my head, sniffed the air. Big folk smells. Their machines. Their iron. I hissed between bared teeth. But then...there. The smell of unearthly flowers and the honey-and-wine scent of magic.
I swung the sack around and clutched it to my chest. "Hush, hush little one, we've come to take you away. Hush, hush little one, until 'yond the gates of Fae," I said in a sing-song voice. The man-child went still like a frightened animal.
I was crouched between two rubbish bins behind one of the garish, angular huts that humans used to lock away their children. Beyond lay a wide, rough path, with parallel divots gouged into it where the heavy-wheeled machines plodded every day. Beyond the path lay a patch of forest, young at the edges but old and dark at its heart.
And within and below, the path to Fae.
I waited 'til all was quiet but the idiot babbling of the breeze and then darted across the stony path and through the bushes. The edge of the wood remembered naught but the world of man, but the trees were bigger further into the forest, and the brush gave way to soft, open spaces.
The air was thick with the hush of moss, sounds muted in the way of sacred groves of old. Soon the quiet was so complete that I found myself tip-toeing over the earthen carpet, afraid my footsteps would break the charm of my song over the manling.
So meticulous was I that I failed to notice the human reclining on a bear-sized boulder, his back to an aged and leaning pine tree, until I was nearly at his feet. He regarded me with sagging, red eyes.
"Erm," I said. He squinted.
"Wots in the bag?" He asked. "Are you some kinda elf?"
"Nothing, and no, most certainly not," I snapped in the language of men, and made to summon a glamour. But the casting wouldn't come. Something glimmered at the edge of my ken, like a trinket half buried in a creek bed. Value. The lout had something of great value. I licked my lips.
He slid off the rock and glowered down at me, nearly twice my height. "That is," I said. "There's nothing in my bag for those who've got nothin' to trade."
"Crack yer head like a...Ants pouring and pouring...I could, I swear I could." He swayed on his feet like a mead-drunk troll, but I couldn't smell a whiff of the drink on him.
"Wots in the bag?" He said again. I clutched my sack close, like a djinn bottle or enchanted what-have-you.
"Something, ah, worth exactly what ye've got in your pocket." I could see it there, a small gossamer lattice of light surrounding his right hip. Protective of it, he was.
"What the gently caress you know 'bout wot's in my pocket," he slurred. "Tiny man."
"I'm no elf and I'm no man neither. I traded a fistful of magic beans for this treasure, and nearly got m'hiney skinned off in the doing." Which was nearly true. The babe had been sitting outside in one of those little wheeled contraptions, and his mother, the dumb sow, had gone inside for a tick. That was all I needed, and save for the little rat-dog nipping at my heels, it were a clean get away.
"Lad," I said, and willed an impish twinkle into my eye. "T'aint often a man gets a grab at Faerie treasure, is it?"
He stared down at me for a few more seconds, his look glazed and not just a little unsettling. Then he shrugged. "Alright then. Normally its four fer ten, Benzos and Morphine, but we'll call it even." He stuffed a grubby hand into his right pocket and revealed his own bag, a curious, clear thing full of smaller clear bags. Each of them had inside one or two smallish things, like little rounded teeth.
"No additives," he was saying. "So y'can eat em or bump em. Now lets have that magic sack of yours, yeah?" He tossed the benzos and morphines at my feet.
"Just one secret about t'bag, lad," I said as I hefted the babe up to him. "The magic is--it's that what's inside becomes exactly what your heart desires." As soon as his fingers closed around the sack I was off, scampering with treasures in hand deeper into the wood. I cast a sneak glamour just as I heard him bellow in surprise behind me, but he didn't follow. Still, I ran.
When I'd gone as far as my ancient knees could take me, I stopped for a sit and to inspect my acquisition. Eat em or bump em, he'd said. Well, I didn't know about no bumping, but eating seemed straight forward enough, and my stomach was nagging. Still, they were small things, so I tore into the whole lot and chewed up a dusty mouthful. I almost spat it out, so foul it was, but then I remembered m'granny's herb magic, which worked through the gut. So I clamped m'mouth shut and waited.
"You're under arrest," said the boot on my head. I tried to peel my face off of rough stone, but found myself quite immobile. My hands were bound behind my back, and something told me I was naked as daylight.
"Yer t'one bein' publicly indecent, you ape," I muttered to his accusations. Beyond the boot, the world roared with the rumbling of the heavy wheeled machines. Deafening thousands of them. A panic took me and I writhed like a fish, screaming. The loud, horrible world of Above, oh, how it pressed.
Hands took the boots place, and I was hurled bodily into one of the machines, into its very belly, and felt for all the world like a babe lost in a world of monsters.
|# ¿ Sep 14, 2012 18:17
Most of us had to earn that kind of sass in blood and tears Best to just close your eyes and open wide when poo poo gets flung. No really, you think you've got pluck now, but they will break you, they will show you yourself in the mirror of their cold, dead eyes and you will see a beast reflected back by the time they're done.
You don't just waltz in and change the rules of the 'dome, man. The Thunderdome changes you.
|# ¿ Sep 15, 2012 07:30
As the first Thunderdome victor, I'd like to offer my services as charismatic revolutionary leader. I promise, no, SUPER promise to not become another tyrannical overlord.
It'll be different this time, guys.
|# ¿ Sep 16, 2012 15:44
On one hand there is the spirit of democracy. On the other you won and the two others are first losers.
It's the spirit of democracy cause we gutted it and spit on its corporeal form.
But then again the judges need to show a disciplined front, or the rabble tends to get out of hand.
All I know is that the packed and sandy arena thirsts.
|# ¿ Sep 17, 2012 02:34
|# ¿ Feb 24, 2024 02:01
I'm in, I don't know what I'd do every week if I weren't panicking about an internet forums fiction submission.
|# ¿ Sep 17, 2012 20:29