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Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


I'm in, needed a reason to poo poo out more poop

Also can we get a hard due date and time in the OP? While I love words I'm terrible at math/just plain lazy!

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Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


A little bit over and I'm not in love with it but I did what I could within 24 hours.

The Silence of the Potatoes - 1123 words

Ed didn't own a car. He didn't own a cellphone, nor a computer, nor a television. Ed knew what many knew but chose to ignore, that these so-called advancements in technology were only tools for the corporate elite to subvert the minds of the populace at the behest of their reptilian overlords.

Plain and simple.

Ed owned a bed, he owned a radio, a few books written by minds that had woken up to the world, and a garden of everything he needed to sustain. A clear plastic tarp hung over the garden and kept out chemicals seeded by passing aircraft and it was the same material he sealed over his windows, his ventilation, his doorways. He would occasionally leave to collect a newspaper and gasoline, but much of his time was spent reading, writing his own manifesto, and preparing food from the garden.

He sliced tomatoes and diced carrots and chopped onions but the one he liked the best was the potato. It was among the oldest of vegetables and as one book said "all a man needed to live on". The Incas had thrived with it and the Spainards had brought it to Europe and ever since the hidden rulers centuries old had tried their best to squash it out, to rid the world of its brown rebellion, but they could not quench even the Irish of it and so it was to this day. But most of all he liked them because they never screamed.

"Do what you must." The potato said as he took the peeler to it.

He cut the vines and plucked the eyes and stripped the skin for later, boiling the white lump for a stew. They'd hum a tune as he worked under the sun, the plastic hood dripping condensation which he wiped on his face to cool off. He'd pluck one by hand and listen as it told him the way of the world and he could not help but smile when they were willing to give their all for him. Sometimes he'd speak to them, sit among the furrows and read to them, and they would listen and thank him when he finished and went back inside. They knew as much as he did and maybe more but when he asked questions they were quiet or playful. He never argued with the potatoes and was only angered by one long ago who would not speak but was delicious all the same.

He had gathered a sackful and returned inside when there came a knock at his front door. Ed stopped and stared and his heart beat through its cage.

"Answer it." the potatoes said, repeating themselves quietly in their sack by the oven but Ed was motionless, silent, hoping it was a mistake.

Another knock came. And then another, quicker than before. Ed clenched his hair.

"They wouldn't knock." said a potato and the others repeated the phrase and they were right.

Ed checked the peakhole and didn't see anything. He nudged the door open, pulling the chain tight so only a sliver of light from the hall broke through. A boy was bent over, holding a dog back by its collar.

"Is this your dog?" The boy asked.

Ed slammed the door shut. They had found him. The dog was for sniffing out excuses to bust in, this much he knew, but why send a child? No, he knew why. They were evil, moralless, perfectly willing to use children to lure him in. But how did they find him? His building was forgotten, tenatless, a rotting fortress on the outskirts of town. But they had planes, satellites, they must have seen the reflection from his garden cover. The tin-foil hadn't been enough, they must have squared him in. Ed moved to his bed and loaded his rifle and sat, watching the door, waiting. He watched for hours but his eyelids grew heavy and not panic could resist sleep.

The moon hung pale and he looked out over his garden all bathed in blue light. The potatoes were singing and muttering among themselves but they were not speaking to him as they did. They were speaking to each other and among them Ed saw the secrets float and he knew none of them. He tore at the plastic seal and opened his window as they went silent.

"I want to know!" he shouted to them and they rustled in their roots, squirming from the soil and writhering until they stood tall, their sprouts stretched out like the arms and legs of men. They climbed to his window and he fell back against the wall screaming as they slithered into his mouth and nose and then he was awake and sweating, the rifle falling from his lap.


Ed stomped to the window, the plastic seal still in place, the fruits still buried, the potatoes still potatoes. How could they have found him, he had made every precaution against their prying claws but still they had come to his door, seen his face through its crack. He had checked for every bug, every delicate sensor, every ear and eye digital, alien, or natural and still-

He paused and from within the pit of him a swelling stole his breath, lumped in his throat, and made him clench his hair. The eyes, it was the eyes. Before him was a watchful garden, eyes that could speak, pass a secret, safe harbors for any agenda if the price was right. Ed knew the market but not the moral price a potato held and he steadied himself against the wall as the floor seemed to fall out from under him. He had accounted for every liability but the one his heart and stomache blinded him to.

He grabbed a shovel and went out into the garden. The potatoes were humming joyous and he spared them any more lies and swung the shovel, knocking one from its root and bouncing it against a sheet metal wall. He swung and sliced another, white chunks splattering against the deep browns of soil. Their humming stopped and he flattened and smashed and severed like some knight of old, a blind rage that left no veggie untouched and not even the tomatos or carrots knew his mercy. The shovel dented and crusted with juice and their sprouts stuck from the ground bent and withering, pleading arms that he uprooted wholesale and tossed or buried under mounds never to see the sun again. He finished them off with the hose, watching the water run over the furrows until only a brown muddy pit remained and there were no survivors he could see. His eyes watered and he wiped them and stood for a long time in the silence.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


This being the Thunderdome I think some smacktalk is reasonable.

Best Bad Line:
"We are yet to meet our masher"
Surreptitous Muffin for "Horticulture at the end of the world"

Runner-up:
"Now I become death, the dude who fucks up your world." Little Jones had said, upon first successful detonation of a tater. "
T-Bone for "Formula 1845"

Most Literal Interpretation of the Prompt:
SC Bracer for "A Potato Bet"

Best Title for a Competition About Potatoes:
Martello for "Avocado"

Best Autobiographical Work:
Honey Badger for "Room 418"

And You Thought This Was About Potatoes Award:
Tie between
Jonked for The Priest's Choice and
youarecontagious for The Tenant Farmer’s Lamentation

The What Award:
toanoradian for "Man Who is Immune to Tranquilizers"

Story Best Read in the Voice of Captain James T. Kirk:
Starched Earth by Bad Seafood


heh, later losers~

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


For someone without a familiarity in creative writing and with only 2 hours work that's pretty okay. I've certainly seen worse.

Posting to say I'm in for this though. I have no experience in chick-lit so expect a dystopian version of Gossip Girl

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


This was fun

The Department of Female Affairs - 423 words

"She called you fat." Andrea said.

"What?" Melissa looked to Andrea across the round table, shawled in darkness with the sound of heels clicking down the hall giving way to the hum of the central fluorescent light.

"Sophia, she inserted a regulation saying party official suits for women must be size 3 or less." Andrea brushed her hair behind her ear. "You're a size 5."

Melissa drew heavy on her cigarette and her eyes narrowed to the steely-eyed gaze that state traitors feared and party loyalists respected. "What the gently caress."

"I couldn't believe it either."

Melissa looked to the Chairman's portrait which watched over the board room, his eyes on some distant horizon, a small smile on his lips. It was a youthful vision of the geriatric that reigned now, his lack of heir sending chills throughout the many departments of the party. The state needed a son. The Chairman needed a wife. And the buzzing rumor was that his choice of advisor for the Department of Female Affairs would serve this role, for the good of the party.

"Has Sophia been seeing the Chairman?"

"She's been seen with the Chairman."

Melissa stubbed out her cigarette and crossed her arms. "What's that poo poo she always wears to board meetings? The lipstick."

Andrea quirked a brow, "Revolutionary Rogue?"

"Right." Melissa flipped on her console and tapped through. "I think we'll be rationing that brand this month."

"But the meeting has adjorned you can't make adju-" Andrea was silenced by a glare from above the opposite terminal.

"She's mentioned her cellulite too hasn't she? Stockings may be hard to come by for a while."

"She has such a large bags under her eyes from late nights working." Andrea bit her lip.

Melissa smiled, "Eyeliner and concealer shipments quaratined."

There was silence as Melissa finalized the document and sent it away. She collected her things, applied some lipstick, and undid the top button on her blouse before heading for the door.

"Meeting someone?" Andrea said.

"I think I'll be visting the Chairman on the way home." She smiled again and left without another word.


Andrea logged the night's actions and shut down her terminal. She stood, walking around the table, passing the two chairs of former board members who had disappeared the previous month. When the Chairman and the judges heard about the feuding between Sophia and Melissa, they would follow likewise. It was a state-approved anthem to Andrea's ears. She stopped before the portrait and ran a finger down the Chairman's cheek, a smile of her own curling at her lips.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Honey Badger posted:

Chick lit was definitely a rough prompt.


Thunderdome should consist of only the roughest, meanest, rusty sawbladeist of prompts there is so this was a good one. It revealed a person's true character.

And congrats to the winner I hope you die

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


All I can say is yes, your initial impression was on, but I still I went for the cliches and hated myself for it. As I said earlier I'm not too familiar with chick-lit so the nuances people are highlighting here now are a great primer.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


I'm in. If you thought the entries on women were terrible I can't wait to see the reaction to people writing on entirely different cultures.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Really whittled this down to get it near the count. I'm WASP east Canadian and this is in the north. If that's too close then too bad, this is thunderdome.

Inuition (1594 words)

Living in the north country had its ups and downs but when Pavlo and his red constable lapdog came 'round things usually went south. The only reason townies like them came to the reserve at the end of the world was for one of two things: doing research or making trouble, and these kringmerk weren't exactly scientists.

Today they had me digging up a body above the 66th parallel, only a petrified limb jutting from a mound of snow, a demarcation of the dead.

“How about some help?” I said over my scarf.

“Sorry, ain't our jurisdiction.” Even through the slits of my snowgoggles I could make out Pavlo's sneer in the whipping white. He was some east Russian mongoloid who came running after the collapse of the big SU and became mayor of a town outside the reserve, but only because the two guys above him walked out into the snow and never came back. The constable standing stoic behind him was a Sikh, RCMP, dropped here after some drug bust gone wrong and his every expression spoke only of a distaste for the assignment. With his purple turban and bright red coat he stuck out in the tundra like some cartoon character, Dudley Do-right without the Do-right.

“It is if it's murder.” I was a one man department, a new age angakkuq for the law but a badge could only do so much. With the only jail around, Pavlo had the final say in things and he knew it.

“Coulda been a polar bear, we told you eskimos no more igloos, now look.” That wasn't concern in his voice, only a mock musing tinged with a palpable sense of pity.

“We wouldn't make 'em this time of year.” I said as I threw another shovelful over my shoulder. “Besides, we're out of the igloo game.”

I had the torso uncovered now, the expression on its face one of frozen fear, a scream turned stone cold. This wasn't no slow snow death, it had been quick, merciless. I grabbed his collar and pulled, leaning back until the legs came loose and slid from his grave.

There. A dark spot staining his abdomen, trickling rivers of red evident down his animal leather pants.

“Guess who's doing the paperwork now.” I said, looking to Pavlo but finding him and the constable gone. I stood and looked around but the wind was picking up and the snow was a tempest, veiling everything in the fury of the flurry. A glint caught my eye but I was too slow, a harpoon with my name on it slicing through my parka to sink deep into my gut.

My first bad decision was trusting those two behind my back, but my second was all reaction, yanking the metal rod and tossing it away. Immediately I felt a gush of blood run under my clothes and no pressure would stop that, not through four layers. I fell back into the snow, already beat from the digging, the rattling and wheezing in my breath taking on a new, sudden, grave meaning. It was amazing how quickly you could give up, ignore the snow and cold for the numbness and heat, just yearning to shut your eyes and rest. Just dying to shut your eyes and sleep.

*

I awoke to the kiss of an angel under a blanket of stars and curls of green. She pulled back, a young face of tight leather and full red lips, black braids tumbling out of her fur-trimmed parka, and I knew it could only be Sakari.

“Hello Illiivat.” She said.

I sat up and cringed, new bandages pressing into my wound. She sat on her knees.

“It's Michael now.” I said, knowing it wouldn't go over well even before she rolled her eyes. She was my old winter flame, my first everything, and the toughest gal I knew. She had lived eighteen years under an alcoholic tyrant then fled into the tundra, making her own way on the old ways, convening with nature in a way long thought lost.

“What happened?”

I looked around and found we were on a small piece of drifting ice skirting across a black mirror, a thin white horizon glittering behind us as it floated away. Her kayak was overturned nearby with several sacks containing all of her worldly possessions if I had to take a guess.

“Something rotten.” I said as I pinched a cigarette from inside my parka before realizing I had nothing to light it with. She didn't seem impressed.

“Still playing whiteboy?”

“I'm playing the law.” I showed her the badge but she nabbed it and tossed it into the water, shattering the surface into ripples.

“Who's law? Their law.” Her words had confidence and wisdom beyond her years. Always a question followed by the answer. My judge, jury, and executioner. The Sakari I remembered and the Sakari I wanted to forget.

She stood and walked to the kayak.

“Pavlo's killing us, running us out of the reserve.”

“Good. Maybe you learn.” She collected her things and seated herself before slipping back onto the water in one fluid motion, barely disturbing the dark silk.

“I don't suppose you have room for two?” I said with a grin but her expression was all pity, not the Pavlo kind but the real kind that knew only a hurting no bandage could mend.

“The current will take you back.” She pulled a rock up from between her knees and tossed it to me. “Take that, start your inuksuk, find your way.”

The rock was wide and flat, covered in frost except for two dark wet spots in the shape of her lips. She paddled on and I watched her go for a long time in the calm clear night.

*

I arrived on the outskirts of the reserve, a layer of sweat and heat merging my clothes and skin. As I watched, angry trucks labeled in Cyrillic and fuming black smoke rumbled down a make shift road carrying massive drills and other wrought metal, off in search of a gold that did not glitter. Greed was predictable and I knew as long as I had been around nobody was going to start poking holes in our land. But with me out of the picture, it seems Pavlo had other ideas.

A crowd had gathered outside my station and Pavlo was shouting through a megaphone, behind him the constable at the wheel of an idling bulldozer, just waiting to release its pent up aggression.

“We will have you relocated into town by next week.” Pavlo said, an attempt at reassuring the crowd who were already shouting him down. “No law, no land!” He proclaimed, shaking his finger and repeating as people protested.

I'd seen enough as the boiling inside me frothed over. I walked into the street light and roared, “I am the land, I am its law!”

Pavlo's face stopped then sagged and the crowd gasped, angry faces turning back to Pavlo in disbelief.

“Piktaungitok! Piktaungitok!” They cried, surging forward. Pavlo dropped the megaphone and ran, leaping onto a snowmobile and darting off.

I stood in his path defiant but saw him pull a gun from his parka. I rolled to the side, the buzzing crotch rocket zipping by with a bullet or two just whizzing by. He slipped between two shacks and motored down a hill, skidding out onto a wide frozen plain.

I caught up with him, the snowmobile slipping and turning in circles as it stripped away the snow to reveal thin blue ice beneath. He saw me coming and stopped, the gun shaking in his naked hands.

“It's too late, all I have to do is sign the contracts and this land is ours.” He said, that sneer presenting itself again. I'd always hated that sneer.

“Our elders have a saying,” I said, slipping a hand into the fold of my parka as Pavlo cocked his gun with a click, “If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.”

“Then lets dance.” Pavlo said and crack of the gun was his first note. The bullet went wide as I gripped my rock and tossed it, one end landing a solid hit on the ice at his feet.

“You missed.” He said but even as the words left his lips he looked down and cursed, the ice cob-webbing outwards then snapping, sending man and machine tumbling into the black water.

I widened my stance and watched. His head bobbed once, arms flailing as his heavy parka dragged him down. He may have sputtered a cry for help and if he did I don't remember hearing it. The ice and the waves bobbed then calmed as if nothing had happened at all.

The crowd had stopped the bulldozer with only light damage to the station. The Sikh was stern but silent, allowing himself to be arrested and carted back to town. No one there asked what became of the mayor and from what I could see it was more of a relief, a burden lifted from sad sagging shoulders.

These days I have a lot more to do, looking after both my post at the reserve and handling the daily affairs of the town. In the back of my mind though, I know none of this could have happened without her, and on some nights, when the sky is snaked with green and silent as the desolate tundra beyond, I look up and try to remember that kiss from an angel.

###

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Hey I'm in

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


quote:

2) Tell me about this bird that's quite fond of liver. It's most famous for punishing a thief.

eagle :911:

quote:

1) Made of smokeless fire, this type of being is notably met by a man on a journey to find the herb of immortality in a well known piece of literature. The journey takes him from paradise to hell, through the sea, and even to other worlds. What creature is this?

Going to take a stab and say the Jinn? From The Monk or Vathek, I always get them mixed up. Oriental demon.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Black Griffon posted:

This is of course the eagle, who fed on the ever renewed liver of Prometheus, professional fire-stealer.

Canadian Surf Club can suck it, because he provided no context. :smug:

I have to be quick on the draw with the way these threads go

Fastest postin' in the west :clint:

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


kangaroojunk posted:

I was feeling a little patriotic. After I post this, it will be Viva, Las Vegas! I'm one, ya'll!

Fishing for Pineapple Salad

[...]


contest over, wrap it up everyone

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


A deal with the devil story? Maybe~*

Osiris
999 words

“It's called Osiris because it knocks 'em dead.”

I'd been dealing long enough to know Jimmy liked to talk big and sell cheap, but when his new stuff hit the streets it had even the white dudes in their ties and BMWs rolling back into the projects for more. The junkies were always a good measure because they'd buy from somebody new every time as long as it was cheap and when they started lining up around the corner I knew Jimmy was onto something. Every re-up I asked him where it was all coming from and the answer was always “someday Oscar, someday.” followed by a yellow grin just itching to lose a few teeth.

Well on someday I got a call from Jimmy saying his boss wanted to meet. I almost said no but was too eager to cut out the middle man and start earning the big bucks so he picked me up and we drove to the outskirts of town. On the way out he ranted about a bunch of conspiracy bullshit like always but as we pulled up to some dingy clubhouse off the highway he looked me straight in the eyes and said something like, “No loving around, this gang is old and serious, they're going to want only two things: your trust and their money.”

Inside it was empty and dark save for a bunch of fellows sitting around a poker table who Jimmy introduced me to. I'd come to figure everyone at the top of the food chain was a fat dude in a suit smoking a cigar and this table wasn't any different and only one smiled and stood and slapped me on the back, calling me son and laughing about it like he'd known me all along. They loaned me some cash and we played a few hands, talking Osiris and business but they didn't seem all that interested in city corners. I even came out with some extra dough and when their cigars were done and drinks were empty the don looked at me said, “So our product earn any trust?”

“Matters how you spend it.”

“An investment then, we got a special job for you.”

Everyone stood and he led me by the arm into a back hall, Jimmy and the others watching us go. There were no lights until we turned a corner where I could see a dim glow coming up from the bottom of a stairwell. The steps were old and worn and creaked as we slowly felt our way down.

“My grandpa had an expression,” he said with an arm wrapped around my shoulder, “In Heaven, ain't no beer, gotta drink it here.” he snorted to himself but my attention was on the room we were coming into. The floor and walls were rough stone and candles stood on iron sticks in each of the corners. He stopped here, turning to me.

“You'd think it'd be different in Hell, but it ain't.” He proceeded down a smooth tunnel cut through the rock and I followed close behind. “There's a lot of fiends down there and I'm not talking the horn and hoof kind.” On the other side was a larger room with more candles gathered in bunches and a stone slab about waist height taking up the center.

Figures robed in black came at me from either side and pushed packages onto my torso and legs, securing them in place with long strips of duct tape. I looked to the don and he held up a hand, “No need to worry, the Egyptians did this all the time.”

They led me over to the slab and laid me on my back, everything in my gut sinking and telling me it was wrong but something in the don's deep eyes keeping me calm.

“Now this is important,” he said, leaning over me and squeezing my cheeks, “Get the money and find Alexander, he'll tell you how to get back.” His breath was hot in my face as he asked me if I understood and I nodded.

The robed figures backed off chanting and the don produced an ornate dagger, its hilt studded in jewels and the blade mixed with swirls of obsidian. Before I knew what was happening he slammed it down on my chest, knocking the wind out of me. There was no pain but a dull itch and I could only choke as my blood ran, filling a network of canals cut into the stone. Something heavy lowered itself onto my chest and my eyelids and I wheezed once more before letting go.

When I coughed I coughed up ashes and I was very thirsty, pushing myself up from a soil that burned like embers. Everything ached and when I looked up somebody was standing over me, his skin hanging off his bones as if he had been melting for a very long time.

“Oh good.” he said and I heard him tearing away the duct tape across my back to take one of the packages.

I sat up. “Alexander?”

He didn't turn from the package, tearing it open to get at the uncooked powder inside.

“You going to pay for that?”

He cackled and looked at me, “Sold you that sob story too huh? See any money around here?” I looked around and there was only yellow fog and shimmers of heat and the screams of distant things. “Nah kid, those Joes deal in something a lot darker than money.”

He set the powder in a spoon and left it on the soil until it bubbled then poured it into a needle, jabbing it into his arm before withering into something helpless. There was still some left and he took the needle, weakly extending it up to me with a graveyard smile. “Welcome to Hell, want some?”

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


With the judges gone we must make a NEW Thunderdome, a Thunderdome for the posters, by the poste-:commissar:

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Congrats to everyone who got something in, some of them really shine through

I respect poetry. I've done poetry. I cannot do poetry. So this was all a good lesson.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


I'm in

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Continuing my crusade to bore the Thunderdome judges into submission

To Depart and Be Apart - 1107 words

Submitted

I decided to go in disguise but was unsure why, maybe to test her, to see if we shared a distance other than time. I must haved looked the spy in my sun hat and sunglasses over a dark blue blouse and white skirt slipping into the cafe. The bustling lunch crowd was my camoflague as I took a seat in the corner to watch over the patio entrance. Lucy had chosen the rendevous which struck me as coincidence; it was the same cafe where I lunched for years during work. It was an open air affair near the boardwalk with vines weaving through the patio planks and the wrought iron fence and when the waiter came over he did not recognize me.

"A drink to start?"

"Chai Latte please, I'm still waiting on someone."

The waiter smiled and said we all were and left to retrieve my order.

I had been waiting on Lucy a lot over the past few months, that's just how it is with letters. The first came as a surprise and though only written in ink it still broke a silence of years. It was light on details and had all the sound of a shot in the dark, asking that I write back only if I had the time. It mentioned the Berlin Wall coming down the week before and I wrote back saying I had watched it on TV but didn't catch her meaning at the time. I wrote that I was good, that I worked, painted, and still loved the city. If she still found resentment in that she didn't say and her reply was
more of a confession, an offering of peace through absolution. She wrote how she hated that I was the first girl on the boy's baseball team, how it was she who had spread those lies about me and Cory Steiner behind the school fence, and how she had stolen money from my purse when we lived together. We had shared everything with each other from looks to friends to the smallest secrets so each story was a new surprise, my letters and her replies peeling back the layers of our lived lives.


Lucy was late by now and the waiter returned with my coffee and I watched as people came and went. A man straightened his jacket and winked as he went by, a lady laughed and hugged and joined a table of friends, and an old woman in a rain bonnet took a seat by the entrance. I expected her to come walking in at any moment, to see me and we'd embrace and she'd call me Dawcy like she used to. Like Darcy with a texan accent and my name for her was Lucky as in lucky to have me. It's easy to forget the little things like that which form in the safe harbor of another. Mom was a memory and Dad was an old story we'd tell to scare each other and that kept us together for the longest time but at twenty-five you're not so scared anymore. I couldn't even remember the argument that sent us on our separate ways, but it had been brewing for so long that we both knew what the other would say until eventually we parted without saying anything at all. She moved up the coast far away from home and tried to settle. She had been living with one fellow who ran off with another gal and later she got engaged to a soldier who ended up dying in Vietnam. I moved into the city and worked my butt off at an advertising firm and made an honest living and new friends. Having no one left a lot of time for other things, for late hours and early mornings at work or weekends with friends in the country, but you can only spend so many empty holidays hardening over before thinking of your other part. She would come in my sleep and I would see her across the street and every bathroom became a gallery to her, her likeness perfectly captured in a portrait of crystal, every make-up session or waiting for the shower to warm punctuated by a lingering stare into eyes I knew were seeing things elsewhere.


I finished another coffee and the last of the lunch crowd were siphoned off leaving only the young and the old. Her last letter had been almost as short as the first. It mentioned she would be coming into the city for a procedure and wanted to meet. She didn't give time for a reply and now she was late. More than late. People had ordered and chatted and eaten, lived and died and were mourned in the time I had to wait. But with Lucy you had to wait, I understood that now. It wasn't fair but at least I understood. I had waited on her resentment, waited twenty-five years for any word at all, and now she had me waiting on letters and secrets and waiting on her. This sister I kept framed on the sill, this sister I made excuses for, this sister whose signature I memorized and forged, maybe it was her turn to wait. I left coin on the table for the coffee and a tip and made for the exit with hidden tears welling at a new wound.

"Dawcy."

The word rung like an anicent bell and I turned to see only the woman in the rain bonnet. She peeled the plastic covering back and had no hair beneath but her eyes were my eyes and her nose was my nose and her lips were my lips, everything else a luchador's mask decorated with stress, sickness, and age.

I removed my sunglasses but stood speechless and Lucy stood and we embraced and I could only describe it like the last two pieces of a jigsaw come together. We laughed and cooed and when she pulled back she had tears cresting on the shore of her eyes and we sat with our hands still clenched. She was wearing a dark blue blouse and white skirt and her arms were so skinny and so pale and I could see in her eyes the shame, the worry.

"I'm not okay." She said and that's all she needed to say.

"I'm sorry I shouldn-"

"You didn't fool me." She patted at her eyes with a napkin. "I just wanted to wait and see."

The waiter came by and asked if she wanted more Chai Latte and we said yes in unison and he nodded with a smile and continued on his way.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

Word.


Is not including full physical address "going against formatting". For online submissions I usually just put name and email address there, hope that isn't an auto-toss.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Yeah I'm in

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Record time for me

WALTHEN - 902 words

"If you go digging into history you'll end up tripping and falling in."

"Would that make it a grave?"

They both laughed and Walter offered Enoch some more whiskey which he gladly accepted from his wheelchair. He poured under the light of the small desk lamp they sat by for it was past the sleeping hour and all the lights in the Berlin home were dark. Enoch lived in the room next door and had made it a tradition to come share an after hour drink whenever he or Walter could sneak in a bottle.

"Take a look at that." Walter was rummaging through an old Cold War shoebox he'd left in his closet and had now found a photo which he handed to his friend.

It showed a young woman smiling in dust stained sepia tone with big doe eyes and hair of white golden curls and and lips so red they came out black, their true shade lost to all knowledge.

"Mrs. Walter?"

"Ah no, the one that flew away."

"Was that your spy name?" Enoch pointed to some words in cursive on the back, 'to WALTHEN'.

"Maybe, maybe she thought it was, I can't remember." Walter drank and found an envelope. "She left something with it, in code." He pulled the letter half way out but stopped then slipped it back in. "Never could figure the drat thing out."

"For some other schmuck then, this Walthen."

Walter smiled and took the photo back and set it aside. "Now this," he pulled out a medal of red and white with the hammer and sickle set in the center, "this they sent me after I caught their spy and traded him back. Had no family, they said, so you keep it." He handed it to Enoch who turned it in his fingers.

"Did they say what it was for?"

"No, I tossed it, forgot it." Walter ran a hand down his stubble. "But you know who would know..." He pulled a cigarette pack from the shoebox and clicked on a butt sticking above the others. There was a low buzz and he let go of the button and replaced it in the box.

"Who?"

"Sergei from upstairs, he should be coming."

Enoch didn't hide his surprise. "But all the doors are locked. The staff will spot him."

"He was with intelligence, he will get through."

"So you were with him then?"

"No." Walter topped off his own drink. "Against."


They made guesses about the medal for a while each more wild than the last until Sergei slipped in, his entrance a surprise even to those expecting him. He sat beside Walter on his cot and looked at the medal.

"Twenty years of excellent military service." He declared. "But not the military you think."

"I was hoping I caught a hero of the union." Walter said as he set it back in the shoebox and poured a third drink.

"No hero of the union was ever caught." Sergei saw he had nearly sat on a photo and he picked it up and his face sagged like an old mask when he looked at it. "Who is this?"

"A girl I knew, from the city." Walter said.

"Hey you're not Walthen are you?" Enoch said but his chortle laughter was choked out by the dead silence of the room, Walter's eyes flitting over the Russian's every tick and hesitation.

Sergei flipped the photo in his hand. "This word, an old cipher, Walthen, one of many we used."

"What was her name?"

"Izolda, I brought her to Berlin." He exhaled and chewed at the corner of his lip. "And I sent her back."

Walter's fingers had forgotten his glass and curled back around the letter. He handed it to Sergei and together they started from the top, Walter writing to Sergei's instruction and slowly a confession appeared before his eyes and when he came upon the word double Walter tossed the pen aside, unable to continue. He shook with an inner turmoil but there was no strength to him anymore so he only looked sad and weak clutching the edge of his cot.

"What happened to her?"

"There was no way to know."

Walter shot up, sending the shoebox tumbling over and scattering its contents around the room. He asked them to leave and Enoch averted his gaze as he wheeled backwards into the hall with Sergei's help. By the next hour all three drinks were gone and so was the rest of the bottle and Walter was on the floor collecting those things which should have stayed in the closet like he said. The last item was a long yellow pencil with a needle point tip which had rolled under his desk and when he retrieved it he paused and gently pressed on the eraser and as he did a clear liquid welled at the lead tip.

The next day everything was fine and nothing was different but the next night Sergei died in his sleep sometime after lights out. The coroner deemed it a heart attack and joked that it was a drat shame; the Russian had been in good health for his age besides a bad liver and a mosquito bite on his neck. Back at his desk he scribbled out natural causes in the file with a flourish from his new blue pen, its true shade lost to all knowledge.

###

Submitted to a place found on Duotrope http://www.themysteryplace.com/eqmm/

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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quote:

I don't like the word "for" in a sentence like "He poured under the light of the small desk lamp they sat by for it was past the sleeping hour and all the lights in the Berlin home were dark". It's dumb and archaic and you shouldn't. Too many run-on sentences.

Yeah that sentence changed forms a lot and I agree that that's a pretty archaic connector.

Congrats to sebmojo, well deserved

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Put me in for this, going to dig deep for this theme

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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The true horror of this piece is me senselessly beating the idea over the judges' heads.

Memory Lane - 667 words

The two of them were walking on the sidewalk and he felt like he should wake up at any moment now but it never happened. A car the likes of which he'd never seen puttered past, long and painted teal with round headlights and hubcaps of shining chrome. He pointed to it as it went by. "What's that thing?" He said and the woman by his side laughed and patted his arm. Andrew waited for an answer but it never came and they kept on, his eyes focused on his feet, avoiding the cracks as he one flat foot in front of the other. The leaves were turning red and yellow and falling onto the lawns and into the gutters on either side of them, the branches of the trees reaching for something he could barely fathom.

"Where are we going?"

"Just stretching our legs." Audrey said. "Was hoping to catch the children out trick-or-treating but it's probably early still."

"Mmh, yeah."

"Remember when we were kids? We'd be out by four." Her laughter was warm and he hooked his arm under hers.

"We used to wear black shirts and wear paperbags on our heads." He said. "Pretend we were robbing the neighborhood of its goods."

“And the sweets back then.” She tisked the wind. “Nothing like the sugar they have now.”

They walked past a wide open field where some gravestones still stood but the rest had fallen over, their names and dates indiscernible through the grit of years and there were so many gone you could barely tell it had been a graveyard at all.

"That reminds me, James Darcy died last week, would you like to goto the wake?"

The name brought the smell of cheap stout drunk by lantern light and he was about to tell her they should invite him out to the house on the weekend but by the next heartbeat he was gone. His gut wrenched and he thought he'd vomit but there was barely anything to throw-up anyway.

"Mmh, suppose so."

"Yes it would be good, Lauren will expect you. Jim will be there."

The names had a shape to them, like a cinder block half buried in the mud of his mind and no amount of internal, echoing swears could make them anything other than that. Lauren and Jim, Lauren and Jim, even the words became jumbled beyond recognition, just sounds, vibrations into nothing.

Andrew peered down into a deep ditch as they walked past. The bottom was all muddy from the day's rain and the culverts looked just big enough for himself to squeeze into. He looked up at a whistling sound in the sky, somewhere someone was yelling, and his legs shook and a hand grabbed his arm and when he looked over it wasn't Thompson but someone else entirely.

"There's Jason, wave to Jason." She said, motioning to a man across the street and he did just to be polite.

“He's engaged to that little blonde thing down the road from us.” The woman said and she seemed quite pleased with that. “We'll have to visit, especially when they have little ones pattering around.”

“Boy his age should be married already.” Andrew said with a grumble.

“Why, because you were?”

He furrowed his brow. “Was I?”

She tapped him on the arm. “Don't be a kidder.”

They came to a house and went inside without knocking, the woman guiding him to sit on a couch without taking their shoes off and no one came to greet them.

"Home again." She smiled handing him a pillow.

"Sorry?" He said looking up at her and he must have said something wrong because she turned and left the room without saying anything else. He was thirsty but didn't want to cause a fuss so he looked around and patted an old beat on his knees waiting for something to happen. He could hear a sobbing from the other room and knew she was crying but could never figure why.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Just caught up on the entries, some really good ones this time around. Got a definite The Cask of Amontillado vibe from Toaster Beef's.

I was trying to go for the horror of losing your life while still living but didn't really do a great job of getting it across. Not sure why I settled on that idea as I had a few others that might have fit closer to the prompt.

Keep the 'domes coming, they're a much needed break from current projects.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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The Qun-Qunor - 814 words

"He shouldn't be here." Maqqa pointed a bony finger to the other boy on the distant stone bridge. Aundis could only make out blurred figures through the night's heavy rain but the farseer was right, the Prince was not alone.

"Then it is not him." Aundis said and he stepped back under the rock outcropping where they hid from sight. Edgar sat under there listening to the ran, his hulkish frame barely concealed from the downpour.

"There is only one way." The old cook set the one eyed mask on his face again, gazing through prophecy and time, a view he denied to Aundis. "It is him, now is our time."

"We've wasted enough of it already then." He grabbed his sword resting against the rock and pulled his cloak over his head. "Edgar, ho!." He pushed through the brush and walked the road towards the bridge, Edgar and Maqqa stumbling close behind.

The boys were just coming from the fields, carrying pitchforks and wearing their solid wide brimmed hats that kept them dry. They stopped at the sight of Aundis, his robe soaked and clinging to armor that glinted in the riverlight. Edgar lumbered in behind him, silent and standing a full head and shoulders over the rest, unconcerned with the peltering rain.

"Julin." Aundis said and Julin stopped, his knees beginning to shiver from something other than the rain. "We've come to take you home."

"Home, sir?" Julin said.

Maqqa appeared holding a sickly pale hand in the air, fingers spread. "You are the Qun-Qunor, the Chosen Prince." His voice barely quivering over the patter of rain. "Cast from the mountain top throne of Tsuu, whose return will save us from the quickening and the invasion of the Restless."

The other boy stepped up, putting an arm across Julin. "Don't spit hexes at my brother you hag."

"The Qun-Qunor has no brother." Maqqa waved a hand to Julin. "You have the black stain on your arm do you not?"

Julin looked to his brother wide-eyed and slipped his arm into his bag.

"You must come with us Julin, it has already occured." Maqqa held up the one eyed mask, a simple mimic of a face crafted from bark and woven with knots of ancient metals, only one small hole cut through the right half.

"I ain't going with you, I'm going home."

Aundis shoved past Maqqa, placing a hand on his hilt."The firmament churns, you must come now or our chance will pass."

"These blokes are scabs." The brother said. "Their club's probably surrounding us in the woods right now."

"You insult one who is of the order. I have given my life to finding the Qun-Qunor."

"You're a piss hedge-knight looking to scam little boys." The brother spat back, leveling his pitchfork. "Get you and your dogs outta the way."

"I shall overlook your transgression only because we arrived at our goal." Aundis turned back. "Edgar, the boy."

The lug stamped forward and grabbed Julin by the collar, knocking away the boy's hat as he lifted him off the ground.

The brother never relinqushed a step. He turned, jabbing the pitchfork overhead and catching Edgar in the side of his tree-trunk neck. Blood gushed and spread with the rain, the man's protests gurgling in his wound and he dropped Julin, feeling for and missing the stone bridge's edge before toppling over into the river below.

"You welp!" Aundis threw off his cloak and unsheathed his sword, the rain flicking from the edges of the blade as he drew back and stabbed forward. Julin was on his feet and then in front of his brother, calling out before being run through, Aundis following through the swing blinded by rain and rage. The brother jabbed his pitchfork into Aundis' armor but it shattered on contact and sent him reeling to the ground.

When Aundis stopped to breath the Qun-Qunor slid from his blade and fell into a heap in the dirt. Maqqa squealed and skuttled forth and he flattened the boy out to check him over. He spoke all the venerable words he knew but it couldn't start the boy's breath or stop the boy's blood.

"This is, this is." He repeated and giving up, he grabbed for the mask and set it to his face. In the next moment it dropped from his grip as he was wailing to the storm above. "There is nothing." He said. "There is nothing."

The brother ran and Aundis watched the blood on his blade disappear in the rain. The storm above opened up with thunder and lightning that scorched the earth, setting fires to forests and driving man and beast from them. It was like that for days and weeks like nothing anyone had ever seen and when it cleared the sun shone as bright as before but even then Maqqa knew those days were doomed.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Martello posted:

good job and whatever but that's not as few words as possible that would be 1 word try harder next time loser :smug:

The Story of Anne - 1 words

"Trespasser!"

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Bad Seafood posted:

My Son Before the Firing Line I Close My Eyes and Whisper

"...Ff-fire..."

This would actually be great without the I close my eyes and whisper part (great in a 'I could see it in one of those Hemingway 6-word contests you know what I'm talking about' sort of way)

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Can you define "this sort of stuff"? Light Fantasy? Something else?

Also the results seem oddly misaligned with the critiques (unless other judges had way different opinions) but good effort on everyone's part, especially those sub-700 entries. Braver men than I

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Toaster Beef posted:

Light fantasy. I didn't take that into consideration when judging it overall, especially since it was very well written and I'm not that lovely a judge, so no worries

Yeah it's cool, just wanted to make sure.

Interesting prompt, count me in

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Rejected here too, congrats to those who got in, had completely forgotten about it and was surprised to see it pop up in my inbox.

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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why am I writing
this haiku when I should be
writing my entry

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Men Who Steal - 747 words

"Fuckin' midtowners mang," Ortiz squinted into the hundred dancing lights of the Metropolis Theater across the street, looking for a face among the crowd, "Always pick poo poo spots."

Ramos didn't acknowledge him, pre-occupied with the rest of the parking lot and the slim jim that was making its way from his sleeve into a nearby car's window well. He was biting his tongue, searching for the sweet spot.

"Cut that poo poo out." Ortiz snubbed a joint on his heel and flicked it. "Gonna trip something."

"He ain't coming Ortiz." Ramos ripped the slim jim out leaving a nice long scratch on the passenger side window and waddled over to where his accomplice stood.

"Del Toro knows he's gettin' a poo poo deal but he knows product's good too. He'll be here."

Ramos rolled his eyes and offered a cigarette but Ortiz waved him off.

A voice echoed off the high brick walls around them. "Need a light?"

They turned to catch a man weaving his way through the cars towards them and at the sight of him Ramos snickered but Ortiz could only sneer. He was wearing a tan trenchcoat over a loosened tie and hastily buttoned white dress shirt, his hair a perfect comb-over with a curl on the end sitting above a set of thick-rimmed glasses, the kind Ortiz used to crack with a single punch back in juvy.

"You Del Toro's man?" Ortiz said.

"Yeah."

"Del Toro never sent a whitey."

"Well he does now."

The man stopped on the other side of the car's hood, hands in his pockets and eyes steady. Ortiz knew the affect he had on people, had watched for years the way they clenched purses around him or crossed the street like he couldn't see. He saw none of that in this man here and even if he was hiding it he had to give him credit.

"You jump the fence or something?"

"I've jumped higher."

Ortiz snorted and looked the man up and down again one more time. "You're for real ain't you?"

"Lets get on with it shall we?"

Ortiz shrugged and went around to the other side. He opened the rear door to reveal two large metal briefcases in the backseat.

"You like what you see, leave the dough and get outta here."

The man clasped his coat and slipped into the backseat, Ortiz closing the door after him and standing watch, hands held together.

Ramos had gone silent and bug-eyed all of a sudden, the cigarette hanging cold in his lips.

"Would you get your eyes on the gate or something, jesus."

Ramos seemed to wake up at that, scratching his head and looking around. There was a dim amber glow from the backseat that Ortiz caught in the corner of his eye and he thought the dude might be lighting up. "Mother fucker'll be here all day."

Just as he was finished moaning the door opened behind him and the man stepped out, his hands empty of any briefcases.

"No." The stranger said.

"No?" Ortiz's face screwed up, a mixture of insult and disgust. His hand moved to the sling just inside his tracksuit.

"No deal friend, sorry." The man was starting to look for an exit.

"What, off to tell a pig now?"

"Ortiz."

Ortiz looked around and Ramos was standing off to the side, still high on something, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

"Jus' let him go man, we'll jet."

"We'll jet? Back me up mang."

Ramos shook his head, his eyes jumping between the other two.

"Listen to your buddy, he's smart." The man slipped past and disappeared in the dark from where he came, never giving a look back.

When they were clear, Ortiz wheeled back on his friend. "What the gently caress?"

"You didn't see?"

"See what, idiot?"

"The blue man, he was wearin' blue underneath."

"Blue, like a cop or some poo poo?"

"No, like, bright blue." Ortiz stood silent, staring. "Man, maybe you should read a newspaper sometime."

Ortiz growled and went to check on the product. The briefcases were still there but the air inside the car was stifling hot and when he touched their brushed metal casing he whipped a hand back from the scorching heat. Using his sleeve he popped the cases open and found the bags of pure white colombian had turned to grey watery mush, their plastic seared through and leaking all over the place.

"What the gently caress."

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Stuporstar posted:

^^ He's been convening with evil spirits (aka contract work) for the last couple months. Also, he hates you all.


Why not use Goonreads? Combining efforts between these two CC-born projects would bolster both. A Thunderdome omnibus would probably work best monthly. That would make 4 prompts per collection—a good number to mine, seeing how so many great stories come out of every week. Winners and runners up would benefit—if they choose to volunteer their stories.

I'm in on this. I'll chat with the other TD founders as well. Doing a behind the scenes editorial will be fun, and guaranteed to be full of amusing bullshit—you know, to keep the kayfabe fresh. ;)

Also, I have a good handle on epub conversion through Scrivener.

This sounds like the best platform to start out with, always a plus when goons can help goons

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Sitting Here posted:

or the inexplicable blue man

I was hoping it wouldn't be that much of a mystery, went for the hinting angle but I usually end up being too vague.



Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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quote:

They have nothing tying them together in any way.

Not even...




fate?

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Throw me in to even it up.

*puts on two brass knuckles that read WORD THUG*

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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

MY BEST STUFF IS IN THE WORKS

Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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^^^^Thems some of the weakest fighting words I've ever seen and I work in a baby fighting ring

Over a few words and maybe time? Deal with it, I'm Canadian.

Zero Year - 803 words

"Art is Resistance" screamed the posters on the alley wall. I liked the slogan, couldn't say the same for the movement. Revolutions had sparked all kinds of interesting styles, but I never saw the Mona Lisa throw a molotov. They were serious though and every lead they fed me on the Paepin case had worked out, right until the doors of the Cedocore boardroom turned into a dead end. Without knowing who was saying what inside, my case wasn't going nowhere. Didn't help that Homeland had busted into my place and bugged up everything that sent or received a signal. They were even kind enough to leave a notice on my door informing me of the surveillance, a subtle "gently caress you, back off" in a language I could speak. Without my computer, my secure wire line, or my listening gadgets, my days as an independent PI were over.

But these resistance guys were happy to prey on need and make sure you owed them one. Didn't win them any fans but it sure got them what they needed, even if it was by proxy. They had set up a meeting between me and an insider at Cedocore, some secretary or someone who at least handled paperwork before it disappeared into the furnace of deniability. What I expected was some scrawny kid just out of the state-run theocollege, what I got was a 6'4" tower of muscle and a white smile that set off all the wrong bells.

"You Angry Sniper?" I asked the silhouette at the end of the alley.

"Yeah." The man said, taking a step forward and offering a black suitcase to me.

I pulled it away from him and found it heavier than expected. I was used to the hollow feel of a suitcase full of papers, this one had something else, something thick and weighty inside.

"Didn't know hippies employed muscle these days."

"You'd be surprised what you don't know." The man straightened himself up but kept his hands open and loose, hanging by his side.

"Is there something I should know now?"

"Play your part, keep your mouth shut."

"Yeah? But I was told to ask for a codephrase."

"Get lost." The man snorted his indignation and waved me off.

"Sorry, try again."

I lifted the suitcase and undid the locks. Inside was a plastic bag full of silver Opal capsules, must have been a couple grand worth, and a pistol in black kevlar. I dropped the suitcase just as the first fist came at me, stepping back out of reach.

The brute wasn't done, closing the distant and thrashing like something primal had opened up within him, his face set stern but his beady eyes open wide and wild. I grabbed the nightstick off my belt but he swatted it away with a flat backhand and grabbed my shoulder, throwing me into the alley wall just to line up the next punch square into my gut.

"Snoops get snuffed." He growled, clenching my throat and waking me up with a few hits across the cheeks.

I popped the inside of his elbow and pushed off the wall, his grip buckling just enough for me to reach his noise with my widow's peak. He fell back and I clung to him, hands weaving under and groping inside his jacket until I felt it, the smooth worn leather of a grip. The holster's top popped with one tug and the next move was all instinct and reflex, twisting the pistol from its hole into his side and squeezing the trigger once, no twice, how about three times just to be safe. The man barely made a noise, just growled a pain that cut short as he fell headfirst into the wall and slumped onto the cold pavement.

I took a moment to compose, pocketed the pistol and rummaged through my assailant. In a secret pocket I found the ID that read Bureau of Morality and a silver badge censored with black tape, something he had probably applied with smug satisfaction. The possibility of a double cross lurked like every regret after a few stiff ones but I choked it down and kept my focus. Goons like this only got bags of Opal that big straight from the source. A secretary with inside paperwork was one lead, but a government goon with a connection to Cedocore was a whole other ballgame. I set the body to look like any other sleeping bum and tore off into the street, already piecing together my next conversation with the resistance boys. I had done my bit, got what I needed to know to keep living, so now it was time for them or the boardroom to make the next move. Only time would tell how this went down, and that dame wasn't the talking type.

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Canadian Surf Club
Feb 15, 2008

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Bar Wars - 498 words

Arnold once had high hopes for the themed swinger bar that opened around the corner from his place. He saw it as a chance to get out, meet new people, and under the banner of one of this greater interests. But after a few weeks of no luck in his best slim, black Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker dress, he was having second thoughts.

"Maybe you should try a different get-up." Vincent said from behind the bar as he cleaned out a set of dirty mugs.

"But it's my favorite." Arnold picked at the label on his beer bottle. "And it's the only one I got."

"You just need to pick your battles better then my friend."

Arnold groaned and glanced around. The low ceiling and dim lighting of the bar made the room behind him more like a pit than a place. A Lando and a Twi'lek with foam tentacles chatted over drinks at a nearby table, a Slave Leia and an original Jabba the Hutt huddled whispering about the scene Arnold was sure they'd recreate back at home, and a Boba Fett sat alone in the far corner buried deep into his smartphone. No droids or wookies were around tonight which was actually a rare occurrence.

"What about that one champ." Vincent nodded towards a girl sitting against the wall, a blonde in thick rimmed glasses, Arnold figured a five or a six, doing her best Hoth Leia in a North Face ski vest and bulging snow pants.

"Nah, she's probably waiting on someone." Arnold took a swig. "Or likes the prequels."

"You can't let the letdowns cloud your judgement."

"I just got a bad feeling about it, that's all."

"Don't be a chicken." Vincent slammed the empty mug onto the counter. "This one's free if you try."

Arnold groaned again and slipped off his bar stool, jamming his hands into his pockets and waddling across the room to where the woman sat.

"Mind if I sit?" He asked.

Hoth Leia smiled. "Not at all."

Arnold sat then realized he had to follow it with something. "Schnooer's a good beer." He said, pointing to her drink.

"Yeah, they don't sell these on Naboo."

Arnold relented a laugh and a smile but his insides were already clenched. "First time here?"

"Oh yes, was just passing through the system."

He nodded. "Where do you work?"

She was quiet for a moment, almost taken back. "I'm...Princess Leia, of the rebellion." She leaned forward over the table. "Want to come back to Hoth with me?"

Arnold slipped back onto his stool and Vincent passed over a full mug. "So?"

"Roleplayer."

Vincent bellowed a laugh and propped himself on one arm. "Well, just keep trying sport."

"Jesus, you sound just like my mother."

Vincent was quiet and when Arnold looked up he was dabbing at his face with his towel. "No," he said, the towel falling away to reveal tears welling in his eyes. "I am your father."