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Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Misread the time, rushed to finish, submitted late, and I already found a typo.

Thanks in advance for the new avatar.

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Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Wow. Actually kinda surprised I didn't bite the bullet on that one, though I wouldn't think by much.

And Sebmojo, the emperor returns. Congratulations man.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


In.

This week (or whole October actually) is supposed to be pretty busy for me, but I came down with a nice little idea and some unexpected downtime, so I really don't have any excuse.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


I fully expect to lose for not being transgressive enough. Still, it is a thing.

Stale Bagels (1,091 words)

The No. 47 was a dull and faded copper, the better parts of it having been scrapped long ago. It was an old military model, discharged and repurposed for use in the civilian sector. Moss gathered along the roof and the window panes, unconquerable. Danielle didn’t mind. He liked to think of it as a garden on wheels.

Not that anyone ever used the Dullahan Express for its looks.

“Hey. You. What’s the hold up?”

“Sorry, sorry.”

Danielle always counted out exact change. Arriving prepared was meaningless. He’d just count out the coins again. It was the kind of habit you tried to shake but never could. Like smoking in movie theaters for some people or swearing in good company.

“Come on now, any time this century lady.”

The voice came curt and coarse and a good four feet separate from the seat where the headless driver tapped his fingers rhythmically against the steering wheel. In an overhead compartment perched the speaker, the driver’s head, hawk-nosed and beady-eyed.

“Sorry,” Danielle again excused himself, mentally calculating the amount one last time. He closed his fist around his fare and shook it, once for luck and twice for love, before placing it in the driver’s outstretched glove.

“Alright, let’s see here.” The head frowned in concentration, the body making out the size and shape of each coin by touch alone. “Hmm, seems in order. No gold, good, good. Alright now GET yourself on board. We’re late enough as it is. And the Dullahan is never late. YOU HEAR ME? NEVER!”

No one used the Dullahan Express for its manners, either.

Danielle stepped lightly onto the bus. The driver stacked the coins and fed them one by one into that gaping black abyss beneath his collar. Satisfied, he pulled back a lever, and the doors shut tight. Danielle kept a hand to his back to ensure the length of his skirt wouldn’t be caught.

“What are you standing around for, HUH? TAKE A SEAT.”

“Sir, yes sir!”

Danielle could always tell who used the No. 47 regularly; or rather, who didn’t. The tip-tap of his heels against the cold tin floor never failed to draw at least a few unfamiliar glances. The repeat customers simply kept to their newspapers. A trio of freshmen witches whispered to one another as he passed. It must have been the start of a new semester at the Imperial College. There was giggling among them, and from atop their collected suitcases their chaperone, an owl with the face of a man, looked on disapprovingly.

Already the No. 47 had begun to move.

Danielle never had trouble finding a spare spot. Sam always kept one open for him.

“Danielle!”

Sam extended a hand and gestured towards the seat beside her. Sam. She refused to be called Samantha. Danielle noticed she wore a new suit, an impossible black and freshly creased. The whole of the night seemed to exist in there, yet her manner was as kind and forward as ever. On her lap rested a small package, loosely wrapped.

Danielle straightened the wrinkles in his dress as he joined her. It was a secluded section of the bus near the back and almost empty, save for a sulking doppelganger beside himself. To Danielle it was their whole world.

Some people used the Dullahan Express for its timely arrival. Some for the cheaper fare. Danielle used it for this. Sam always took the No. 47 on Monday. So Danielle, too, took the No. 47.

“Good morning, Danielle.”

“And you, Sam. Looking chipper this morning.”

“The bakery downstairs made too many bagels for an order. I managed to snag a few for breakfast.”

Sam undid the package and produced a chocolate chip bagel with a light spread of peanut butter.

“Hungry?”

Danielle accepted. He took a bite and nearly choked on the staleness of it. He coughed, hand to his mouth, his gaze incredulous to Sam’s.

“Well I didn’t say they were fresh bagels.”

Sam laughed as the bus turned left onto a bridge that never existed and shot out across the surface of the bay. The water churned calm beneath them. On the horizon where the sky meet the sea stood moored several imperial aircraft carriers fueled and prepared for flight. Framed against the rising sun, even they were beautiful.

Danielle continued to eat the bagel despite himself.

“Is that a new suit?”

“Tailor-fit. Elvish even, if you can believe that.”

“Elvish? Aren’t those expensive?”

“Typically. Well above my pay grade, at least. But the bossman was pretty pleased with my work last week, so the whole shebang came as his treat.”

“What happened?”

A sly smile drew across Sam’s features, her hand playfully smoothing out her hair, short and frayed.

“Weeeelll, I don’t want to brag or anything, but a couple Castilian diplomats—you know, those tightwads up north—agreed to speak with the regent about surrendering their claim on the border territories, a firmer part of the language in that little arrangement courtesy of Yours Truly.”

Sam raised her eyebrows, knowingly. Danielle wouldn’t have believed it from anyone else.

“S-Sam! That’s incredible! The Castilians have refused parley for months!"

“Not no more, baby. Not no more.”

There was a lurch as the bus reconnected with the land. It would only be a minute longer now.

“You must be excited. Will you be getting any recognition?”

“Nah. The papers should likely just list the firm, possibly the bossman. Useful or not, I’m still just a cog in the well-oiled imperial machine.”

If that line of thought troubled her, Sam didn’t show it. Instead she glanced at her wristwatch and panicked.

“Woah! Nearly my stop. I always forget how fast this guy is.”

Danielle agreed it was fast. Too fast.

The No. 47 made a sound like it was about to collapse in on itself, and parked gingerly across from the Royal Arcade where the bronze angels sang from the rooftops. The passengers began to rise and collect themselves, all except Danielle whose stop was still a ways. Sam clicked her tongue.

“Welp. As always, it’s been fun.”

She stood and brushed the bagel crumbs from her legs. Danielle nodded and said nothing. This was always the hardest part of his day.

Sam joined the crowd. Danielle looked to his shoes and thought I love you.

“…Hey. Hey!”

Danielle looked up. Sam was already at the exit. She winked and snapped and shot him with both fingers.

“Love you too, babe.”

He’d never had a better morning, Danielle decided.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


sebmojo posted:

Sick as gently caress, still cranks out a piece. Thunderdome. Consider my stern cybernetic nod of approbation duly bestowed.
If death is certain, better to stand than cower.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


sebmojo posted:

Bad Seafood
This feels like an early draft that needs a thorough rogering followed by a nice post-coital Gauloise to work out the kinks. Too much detail in the wrong places, no heft to the core of the story. Some nice images and turns of phrase as usual.
Ouch.

Sitting Here posted:

This week's prompt can be any genre you like, but your pieces must feature Betrayal . Because I don't want to read a bunch of whiny "slice of life" stories, your writing must in some way be informed by the art of Zdzislaw Beksiñski.
In.

Maybe this time I can write something Sebmojo can read without turning to stare at the wall for extended periods of time.

EDIT: Shoot but this Zdzislaw guy has some great paintings.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Rainmaker (405 words)

I held his heart in my still-beating hand. My love. My one and only.

“Now you see how the magic works,” he said smiling still.

They had called him the Rainmaker once. The last. A ridiculous story, sewn to breed hope in a hopeless time. Yet it had not rained in so many years we would believe anything. That in his blood churned the miracle that would save us. That our salvation might be secured with a single sin. We had one bullet. One shot. Dust exhaled the marksman, aged rifle in his hands. Said he could not miss. Swore it. He Would Not Miss. Only someone had to bring him closer. Just in case.

And so I was chosen.

The gods were silent that day and all days thereafter. In their placed echoed the gunshot forever. The bullet burst through his chest, his lungs punctured and filling with blood. He faltered, stumbled, but did not scream. His face remained calm and adamant.

“Now you see how the magic works.”

I held his hand and remembered him as he was, as he had been, tall and strong when I so weak. They had crippled me, an accident I was supposed to say. I required assistance. My village was not far. He listened and said nothing. Only smiled. He reached down and lifted me from the earth. His muscles were tanned and raw, clothes stitched together with his own skin. To his back he grafted what few possessions he still held dear. Memories of a younger world he'd said when I asked, splintered now and torn asunder. I felt the shoulder where I had rested, where he had laid me, carried me, as though I were nothing. As though I were everything. I had looked into his eyes then. They were cool and clear. Like distant stars.

I had forgotten my mission. Myself. I asked him if it were true. The Rainmaker. Was he? He laughed and said he might be. He laughed again as he lay dying in the sand, the blood a gentle trickle.

“Now you see how the magic works.”

I felt his breath on my face. He raised a finger to my cheek, bleached and dried, and shut his eyes. His soul dissipated into that eternal bronze sky. It was my turn to hold him.

I wept. For the first time and last time. It was the only rain we deserved.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Sitting Here posted:

With that, the judges step into the air itself, into a whorl of screams and the torn stuff of reality. The inner sanctum, where none but the hoary eyes of judgement may see.
How do they do that anyway.

SurreptitiousMuffin always made me take the stairs.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Sitting Here posted:

Hey, keep the judgechat to the Invisible Judge Forum

Or did they not show you that either? Man, hazing has really got out of control since last I took the throne and gavel.
Man, I had to climb thirty-eight flights of stairs, that had better have been the Invisible Judge Forum.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


sebmojo posted:

The quality of your burnt offerings was pleasing, this week.

Vying for the victor's nail-crown were Jeza, Velyoukai, Bad Seafood, Peel and Capntastic.

Jeza ate their hearts with his perfectly paced progression of images and character, and by not getting lost in the seductive grimness of the prompt.
Neat. Congratulations Jeza.

sebmojo posted:

Bad Seafood: Rainmaker

The tropes evoked by the image prompt are so compelling that many contestants have gotten a bit lost in them. This one doesnt't fall into that trap, revolving around a single, layered action. Rich, nasty stuff.
Also neat. It is of some comfort to me to know my ability to write dreck is slowly improving.

This is a good prompt, but I'm afraid I'll have to retire for a little while. My two-year contract is up and I need to prepare to cross an ocean and several countries to return to the motherland. Then there's NaNoWriMo and completely readjusting my sleeping pattern.

Should be able to return sometime in December, so I suppose I'll see you all then.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Next week will be Chairchucker fanfiction week.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Previously had about fifty metal folding chairs with the legs sawed off at random lengths. Now we don't even have that.

Chairchucker.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


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:
My Son Before the Firing Line I Close My Eyes and Whisper (1 word)

"...Ff-fire..."

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Canadian Surf Club posted:

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)
The moral of the story is never post your first draft.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


That is true. Canadian almost had it then.

Untitled, "Trespasser!"

There we go.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


budgieinspector posted:

What does this mean? It means that, if Bad Seafood gets an acceptance as well, then I am demonstrably the worst psychic ever:


:banjo:

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


All Thunderdome is
Alcohol and chickencheese
And writing sometimes.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


It was the end of the world and we'd only just begun.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


I'm back on the inside.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


That would be incredibly unhygienic.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Sit down on 'em Amos.

Make it count son.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


V for Vegas posted:

Write a story set in the far future with fantastic technology. The kicker, they still have to deal with the same bullshit we have to deal with, technology just makes it worse.
So just straight science fiction then.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Hope you're ready for some experimental mumbo jumbo, because I'm not.

Understanding (419 words)

I don’t love you I never said. I didn’t have to. Didn’t need to. It was the 41st century and we were no longer slaves to our needs. The attunement a success, we understood each other perfectly, the alternative long impossible.

I know you didn’t say. Couldn’t say. Didn’t have to say. Our forms hung limp, adrift in the monochrome; placeholders for the abstraction we had become. You said nothing, but the chemical signature of your soul betrayed you. As did mine. Your eyes unseeing stared at nothing in particular, but the electric contours of your thoughts danced madly across your cortex releasing fumes of emotion enough to choke me. Yellowing clouds of pain and regret laced with red, dark red, and hate. I gasped for breath in the sea of information, but I would not drown. I could not drown. And I could not find it, the one emotion I wished to see. There was no sorrow.

The very thought cut across your psyche like a razor. You want me to be upset?

I only thought you might be. We shared some good times.

Those times are meaningless now.

I know. I know.

That curt pragmatism. Even before we’d had the procedure. I’d loved that about you, yes. I still did. Your pragmatism. Love it. But you yourself no longer.

The soul between your synapses churned darkly, your next thought a surprise to no one.

You don’t even know why.

I knew this was true. It didn't even require acceptance.

You’re right. I don’t.

I could withhold nothing. Not even that. Tact and deception had become a foreign language to us. We only had each other. Our thoughts were one. We could hurt no one but ourselves.

It should have troubled me, but it didn’t. That I didn’t know why. I didn’t know why. Still I extended my consciousness to trace your psyche, but could not hide my reason for doing so. Comfort. My own comfort. I was searching. Searching for the flaw, the imperfection. The reason I didn’t love you. Not anymore. Your mind struggled under my caress, yet you could not escape it.

What’s wrong with you.

What’s wrong with you.

The chemistry of our thoughts exploded, the room filled with the bioluminescence of life. From within the flush struck the spear, infinite in length. Along every inch was inscribed the reason, my reason. It pierced your soul and mine, yet for all its majesty rung hollow.

We've grown too close.

...You're a pissant, Jim.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Wait, that probably counts as an idiom near the end there doesn't it. Shoot.

Congratulations Tender on your victory.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Tender Child Loins posted:

We've yet to see if bayou sci fi is legit enough for this competition! Thanks for the inspiration.
I don't want to live in a world where it is not legit.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Jeza posted:

Unless we change the losertar to be anime. That would be a punishment worth fearing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po77bJk1DdI

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


V for Vegas posted:

Bad Seafood v Tender Child Loins - Tender Child Loins.

Bad Seafood, you had me up to the final line! You needed an flawless performance to beat TCL's down home swamp techno story.
I am incredibly alright with this verdict.

Cajun science fiction should become a thing.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


I've got a distinct feeling my definition of humorous is not the same as anyone else's. But nonetheless.

The Proper Channels (500 words)

Henrietta was nothing if not a consummate professional. Bruce admired her for that. Didn’t let things get in the way. Not even their friendship of twenty years. Personally, Bruce didn’t think he could have done it. But that was the least of his concerns.

“Let’s see,” he sucked his fingertips, the final pages of the form spread before him. “Next of kin? I think you know that.”

“Please,” she insisted.

Bruce chuckled. He pushed aside the remnants of his grilled cheese and with a flick of the wrist produced a pen and began scribbling Elliot Coalman. His brother. As he crossed the T a thought occurred to him.

“Hey, none of this blows back, right?”

“How do you mean?”

“Old Eli. Not marked for anything, is he?”

“Oh, no, no, of course not.”

“Positive? I know how you people are about your fine print.”

“No, no, see here,” Henrietta leaned forward, her finger tapping against the relevant policy. “Weregild clause. Right there. Your brother’s fine.”

“Ah, right, okay, okay. Good. Good. Long as that’s settled.”

Bruce licked the pen and concluded his brother’s name. He handed the page to Henrietta who quietly shuffled it in with the rest. Bruce smiled and turned to the final page. The most important page.

“Alright, let’s see here. Date of death, September 3rd. Okay, okay. Time of death…leaving that blank for now. Location of body, 73rd Palm Street.”

Bruce paused. Henrietta fiddled with the buttons on her sleeves, eyes cold but concerned.

“Is there a problem?”

“Cause of death, SIG Pro semi-automatic. Nothing fancy, huh?”

“The firm likes to play things traditional.”

“Well, can’t argue with that. You know what they say, a classic never dies.”

“Indeed.”

“I just thought, you know. Poison pills. Car accident. Something.”

Henrietta shook her head.

“Guns send a stronger message. Deliberate. No room for doubt.”

Bruce raised his eyebrows knowingly, a careful nod in tune with each of her points just as something else caught his attention.

“A bounty of two million?”

“Two-point-two million, actually.”

“I’m worth that much?”

“Dead.”

“Still, still.”

Bruce finished his coke and signed his name on the dotted line as he read the final statement above it.

“Reason for termination…revenge? Revenge for what?”

He shot Henrietta an accusatory glance. She simply closed her eyes and shrugged.

“Confidential, I’m afraid. I’ve got the non-disclosure slip, if you’d like to see it. Censored, but authenticated.”

“Spare me,” Bruce handed her his signature. “Long as it’s accounted for.” He sat back as Henrietta discerned everything was in order.

“Well, that looks like everything then. Just the time of death.”

“Right, when is that?”

Bruce’s left eye exploded out the back of his skull. With a thud he collapsed against the table and slid onto the floor.

“Six twenty,” said Henrietta, eyes on the kitchen clock as she dotted it down. She tossed the pen onto Bruce’s corpse as she returned the gun to its holster.

“A pleasure,” she said.

V for Vegas posted:

Bad Seafood

'we'
I actually feel kind of stupid now for not thinking to do this.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


V for Vegas posted:

Bad Seafood

How funny was it? BS, your feeling was spot-loving-on.

Was it Satire? OK I'm getting some vibes here, I'll pass it.

Should these crits have more guns and violence in them? That seems to be what all the cool kids are doing. You cool baby, you cool.
THUG LIFE.

Normality in the face of absurdity is funny to me, but even by that standard this wasn't very funny.

This has not been a good week for me.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Sitting Here posted:

It is amazing how hard it is to be funny on command. Does anyone know any good articles/books/pamphlets on humorous writing or is it sort of one of those things you're born with? People say I'm a funny person but that mostly relies on responding to an existing situation. Much harder to set one up.
A lot of humor relies on a sense of immediacy that can be difficult to cultivate when it's not there.

Stop me and stay awhile, forced to think on my feet I'm told I'm pretty entertaining. Give me a piece of paper and an hour though and I've got nothing.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


In.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


This is what I get for not clicking links.

Story submitting shortly.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Click for music.

The Moonlit Garden (610 words)

Shachi stole through the desert, her scarf adrift in the cool of the evening. The lantern jostled limp and unlit. The moon shone bright above the meeting place, and the stars alike. There would be no need for earthly light.

Shachi said nothing. She had lost the ability along with the need. But in her heart and in her eyes burn a song both fierce and quiet. The day was done. The night had come. They were finally free to see each other.

Padma sat cross-legged beneath the trees. Shachi found her in prayer and waited. Her words complete she turned and smiled at her guest.

“Ah, there you are. Shachi. My Shachi.”

Padma’s voice was weary and shaky. It sounded more and more like that these days. But Shachi’s face was all she needed to smile.

“Come, come.”

Shachi joined her beneath the trees, close and comfortable. Before them stretched the whole of the night, that starry expanse so clear and distant. Padma leaned on Shachi, arms draped around her. Shachi didn’t mind. She never minded. The day was done. The night was theirs. The moon their witness and the stars their children.

“The hospital is emptying,” Padma said. “People are getting better. We’ll have more time, for a little while.”

Shachi nodded, her smile as vibrant as it had ever been. Her work too had subsided, if only with the seasons. Soon the night and the day would belong to them. Padma, too, understood this. Without even a word she knew it to be true.

“What should we do first, then?”

Shachi’s eyes lit up, a powerful gesture in her fingers.

“The river? There is that festival.”

Shachi shook her head.

“Something more secluded, then?”

There by the river was a place where the trees dropped their blossoms. By the time they reached the city, the festival, they had all be collected or drowned. But there, fresh from the trees’ embrace, they gathered for a little while a garden on the water. Even Shachi who did not care for flowers found the sight to be beautiful. It would be her gift to Padma. Padma who loved flowers but had not the time to raise them. Padma looked into her eyes and quivered. They kept no secrets. She did not know what was waiting for her there, but knew that it would be something.

“Very well then. I’ll follow your lead.”

Padma closed her eyes and rested against Shachi’s shoulder. She had been so tired lately, but felt no guilt in it. Shachi gladly supported her, her weight as nothing. As Padma’s thoughts began to drift Shachi ran her fingers through Padma’s hair.

Dear, dear Padma. She thought of so many people other than herself. Now she would let Shachi think of her.

The night seemed to last forever. Shachi wished it would never end. In the brilliance of the moon she saw the two of them reflected in each others arms. The sun would arrive and with it fresh problems. But the moon always seemed to sweep them away. And around it, the stars, each a couple in their own right, the light and the fire of their love piercing through the black fabric of the sky across the universe for all of creation to see. Candles in the dark, quiet and strong.

Shachi felt her own eyes grow drowsy. She could only feign energy for so long. In her arms slept Padma, each trace of her breath a gentle caress. Shachi bowed her head and wrapped the two of them in her scarf. Huddled together they were as one.

And the night went on.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


At least you can read a watch.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Only cure for a slump is to climb out of it.

I'm all in.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Sitting Here posted:

Ps no Californians allowed
To be honest I've lived here for years and I wouldn't invite us either.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Chairchucker is a national treasure.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Peel posted:

Bad Seafood: XVII, The Star

I think I invented a word in here somewhere. Also, subtlety is apparently not something that I do.

Broken Pieces (845 words)

I came in from the cold to the smell of scotch and cigarettes. The scotch was Mattie’s, sleeves rolled up past the elbow, but the lingering scent of cinder we both knew belonged to dad. I shuffled off my coat as I turned to his chair, empty, a single stub still smoking in the porcelain ashtray. Must’ve just missed him. Poor dad. He’s been trying to cut back for Christmas. For mom.

Mattie sat alone and cross-legged amidst a handpicked forest of bottles. I recognized a few brands; Lagavulin, Macallan. We all drank a little. Very little. None of us had acquired quite the same taste for the stuff that Mattie had. Not even granddad. Mom certainly didn’t approve, but then she was the only one who still called her Madeline. Even grandma called her Mattie.

“gently caress that’s good scotch.”

She also talked like that. Mom blamed a lot of people for it. Dad personally didn’t care. I’d never minded though. She’d always talked this way. Said what she meant. I’ll admit it was difficult as kids, but having long since grown up it lent a certain stability to our relationship as siblings. Mattie said a lot of things, but she would never lie to you. I appreciated that, though it depressed me to think how much of a selling point it was.

Spread out on the coffee table was an assortment of glasses all small and uniform, each filled to an inch with her favorite flavors. I still don’t know where she keeps them all.

“What’s with the party?” I asked.

“Celebrating.”

“Celebrating what?”

“Fixed the loving Car Door and it Only Took Two Hours Day.”

“Ah. Always forget that falls on a Wednesday.’

There’s this expression Mattie makes. I’ve never been able to describe it. If I had to go with anything it’d be nonplussed, but even that doesn’t feel right. It cut deeper than that. But whatever its nature, its true identity, she liked to make it a lot. She made it then. I could feel the unimpressment oozing off her.

“Sit down,” she commanded. I complied. Mattie reached around and from whatever dark void she kept things in produced another smattering of glasses. I watched in silence as she measured into each a meager swallow.

“You know, I’m…not really much for scotch.”

“Nobody’s perfect.”

“I didn’t help with the car either.”

“Well you can help with this,” she nudged a glass forward. “Dad’s up with mom arguing over which service to attend and drinking alone’s the most miserable poo poo in existence.”

“I’m pretty sure there are worse things than drinking alone,” I said accepting the glass.

“Name one.”

I hesitated, my brain still stalled from the wind and the snow. Mattie waited expectantly, her own eyes slowly boring holes in mine.

“Well, er, I-”

I panicked and downed the Islay in one gulp. This proved to be a mistake. I spent the next minute coughing and gasping as Mattie laughed.

“You’re supposed to sip it Galileo.”

“S-sorry.”

“And here I thought you were supposed to be the smart one,” she took the glass and refilled it. A light coating this time, not even enough to swallow. Like she was painting the bottom of the glass with whisky. “Try this,” she said. I did. It went a bit better. Mattie leaned forward to swap glasses. And the subject.

“So I guess you’ve heard about Rachel,” she said.

Rachel?

“That she’s getting married?” she said.

Married?

“She…she is?”

“In Spring, yeah.”

“I, uh, I see. Well, congratulations I-”

I felt the glass slip from my fingers. I wasn’t fast enough to catch it. I watched it strike and chip against the coffee table, a hairline crack snaking all the way down. “Oh poo poo,” I heard myself say. Mattie didn’t respond. She didn’t say anything, least not immediately. I snatched at the glass and turned it over in my hands and in my mind.

“Let me see that.”

I placed the glass in her hand. She held it up to the light to examine the damage, then tossed it unceremoniously into the trash can. I heard it break against the interior.

“Try this one,” she pushed another in front of me. I didn’t take it.

“Mattie, it’s-”

“Just a glass.”

“What?”

“Just a glass. Come on man, I got like a million of these. Bought ‘em off a truck, this guy I know.”

“Still-”

“Look,” Mattie met my gaze, her eyes half-lidded. “There’s only two things you can do with broken pieces. Fix them if you can or toss them if you can’t. Holding on to something broken gets you nowhere.”

I listened and understood. I didn’t want to understand, but I did.

Mattie leaned back and eyed what she’d poured me.

“So are you gonna drink that or what?”

“…Give me a minute.”

“Too late,” she said and snatched it, an expression of knowing triumph in her eyes. She leaned back and downed it, and spent the next minute coughing herself.

It was my turn to laugh a little.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Shoot man, who's nursing the hate boner for Saddest Rhino?

Could've spent that twenty bucks on anything.

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Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


'Twas the night before Thunderdome, when all through the thread
Each contestant was stirring with thoughts filled with dread.
The submissions were placed by the deadline with care
In fear that Shawn-Bohner soon would be there.



In it.