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Jun 24, 2011

This looks like a good jumping-in point for my first thunderdome ever.


Uuuunless it's too late. Is it too late? Because then I'll just watch.


Jun 24, 2011

EDIT: I guess since I'm being published now I should probably not have this up on the internet because I'm selling it to those magazine guys so this is where Darcy and Lucy Among the Flowers once was! Maybe I'll put it back up, but only Allah knows and sees all!


Jun 24, 2011

The suspense is killing mee

Jun 24, 2011


Jun 24, 2011

Black Griffon posted:

Also, cover letter:

"Hello Mr. Gonzalez

Thank you for considering [title] for the CIPHER collection. My work has been featured in:


Obviously cut out the "work has been featured in" part if you've never published.

Michael Paul Gonzalez is the editor, I guess it's up to you if you want to run with full name or Mr. Gonzalez.

My cover letter wasn't nearly that professional! Oh well! My only regret is my relative lack of regrets.

Jun 24, 2011

Cowards hiding they names. Stand unafeared!

Jun 24, 2011

budgieinspector posted:

I hope you fuckers all used spellcheck and proper manuscript format on your submissions.

God dammit.

Jun 24, 2011





Jun 24, 2011

This here literary mag got thunderdwnd.

Jun 24, 2011


The Bear (749 words)

A long enough time ago that there ain't many around to remember it anymore, back when the sky was closer to the world and the wind didn't carry any cold with it, there was a people, a tribe, you could call them, if you were feeling tribal, called the Yuqiik. Every man and every animal agreed, agreed because back then people and animals were on speaking terms, that the Yuqiik were the friendliest, and slyest, folks you'd ever meet. More sly than friendly, if you asked Shark, who had traded a full third of his teeth to be Yuqiik arrowheads and ended up with a net he didn't have the fingers to use and a gummy grin that made all the groupers nearly drown themselves with laughter.

One Yuqiik man in particular, Judlow was his name, was the slyest by far. His eyes glittered so bright you could see them like hot coals through that filthy blonde mop of his. Folks said he stole his buckskins right off the back of the biggest bull moose on the Kuskokwim after a wild night of party and drink, and he cut the fringes with the big tooth of Walrus, who he convinced he was a dentist before dentists existed.

Now the Yuqiik didn't stay in one place for long as not to wear out their welcome, and Judlow was the most welcome-wearing of them. Because of that, and, to be fair, because he had a decent head on his shoulders and a keen pair of eyes, he was the Forward Scout of the Yuqiik, going on ahead to suss out a good setting down place for his kin.

One day Judlow was out on the riverbank, hacking it ahead of the tribe, shiny eyes on a swivel, when he came across a great big bush with bunches of huge red berries hanging off of it, big as your fist. Now the Yuqiik were hunter-gatherers, but you'd prefer gathering over hunting too if you had to chat up your meal before you slit the throat. He whooped and sang and started pulling those berries off and into his satchel when he heard a thunderous roar from the other side of the bush. Too late Jud noticed that this particular bush was growing up right in front of a great big bear hole, and out the hole with no delay came great big Bear, mouth all at froth.

“Who's this carcass picking through my shitter?” Bear asked, and Jud realized where them berries got all their nutrition and what he was standing in: Deep poo poo.

“Judlow of the Yuqiik,” said Judlow of the Yuqiik, “and if you happen to have a mat I could wipe my feet on I'd be powerfully grateful.”

Bear chuckled, low and dangerous. “Now I've heard of you, Judlow, and I know you're trouble on two legs. So I'm going to put aside pleasantries and just get right to inviting you to dinner.”
Bear took a step forward. Judlow took a step back. “You want I should bring the berries?”

“Now what kind of question is that for a self-respecting carnivore?” Bear said, and suddenly he was on top of the man, pinning him down and raising a knifesharp claw to shred the life out of him. “How're them sharp eyes of yours helping you now, buck?”

Bear never could help gloating over a fresh meal, Judlow remembered, and he said, “They're getting a good view of them razor claws of yours, Bear.”

“Scary, huh?”

“Scaring the daylights out of me. And those chompers.”

Bear leered. “Pointy, neh?”

“Pointy and intimidating.” Judlow's jaw dropped. “But not nearly so scary as them barbarians coming over the hill out there!”

“Coming over the-” Bear stood up and turned around, squinting, but his eyes were beady things, and certainly not as sharp as Jud's. He saw nothing, but when he turned around to say as much his meal was already glassy-eyed and oozing blood from a thrown dagger stuck in his side.

When Bear saw that grisly sight he jumped full ten feet in the air and his shiny black coat turned white with fear. He hightailed it, all the way to the arctic they say, where the seals still give him poo poo about it, while Judlow chuckled and pulled the walrus tusk knife outta his satchel and sucked the berry juice right off, thinking it's life's little victories.

Them berries tasted like bear scat.

Jun 24, 2011

Chicken Cheese; Chicken
Cheese; Chicken Cheese; Chicken Cheese
Chicken Cheese, fuckers

Jun 24, 2011

Wait, what? I'm sorry
Is chickencheese a thing?
Is it a thing now?

Jun 24, 2011

Hooray! I think!

I probably wouldn't have been able to judge and prompt and stuff that well this week anyway what with it being gobbler week. Hark! my little chicken, see, sits in in a cheese, and waits for me.

Jun 24, 2011

Chairchucker posted:

Congratulations to the winners and losers I guess. Does this also mean that this week's winners get losertars?

I'd honestly welcome any 'tar.

Jun 24, 2011

Thanks for the kind words and the win despite Sebmojo's story being clearly better than mine! Thanks for nothing for depriving me of my rightful seat on the Council, weak fools!

If I recall correctly we were promised a drawing of whichever story Sitting Here liked best and I for one am a) waiting for delivery and b) that her favorite is Noah's because I want to see lizard people in dresses dammit

Anyway, I've licked my winnerloser wounds and I'm in for this prompt. It's probably better than anything I could have come up with anyway.

Jun 24, 2011

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

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

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

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

“Not really.”

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

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

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


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

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

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

“Why are we whacking an actuary?”

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

“The Waco coverup again?”

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

Victoria's face did not shift. “Hm.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did she?

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


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

Jun 24, 2011

This beats haiku, but not by too much

Jun 24, 2011

Yeah, for real, I felt like Oxxidation's was way better than, say, mine.

If this trend of winnerlosering keeps up I'm going to make my next submission fifth grade quality.

Jun 24, 2011

I probably shouldn't be in during finals but whatever! In.

Jun 24, 2011

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

Jun 24, 2011

I don't know why everyone's ignoring the word count but whatevs!

Shipping and Services (1160 words)
The third receptionist (Ms. J Lilles, under the employ of Ms. R Rodriguez, under the employ of Ms. A Larson) is unhelpful. She gazes at her nail file from beneath her acutely purple eyelids. She tells Waldo, “Ms.Rodriguez is very busy receiving other clients.” The file grinds its way across her nails and Waldo can see tiny flakes of polish falling scattershot onto her desk.

“Clients with appointments.”

They're getting all over the papers.

“Clients with pertinent issues.”

They're on his face, fisheyed and passive and emblazoned onto the document like a witch doctor's fetish. Waldo's eye twitches. He tells her, “I've been trying to get through for an hour. I don't have much time left.”

“You'll have to wait. Did you purchase the warranty? Are you a preferred customer?” Her eyes flick back up to him, and narrow. He can hear the silty movement of the file.


“You'll have to wait.”

“I can't.” He brushes the paper off and stabs a finger at the time of death. “You need to fix this.”

“It looks perfectly fine to me,” the receptionist says. “It matches our records and the records we have on file.”

“I'm right here. Talking to you.”

She grimaces, and picks up the phone on her desk. Her hand hovers over the button pad. “I'll see what can be done, Mr. Estock, but these seem in order. Whether you have failed to pass on is not the filing system's fault.” She puts the mouthpiece to her tinted lips and presses one button. “Mr. Stone,” she says. “A... Waldo Estock is here and he has an issue with his file. Yes. I know. Yes. No, he didn't. Yes. I told him he'd have to wait for Ms. Rodriguez but he is very insistent. Yes. Okay. Yes.”

She replaces the phone.

“I'm going to send you to Mr. Stone in Databases,” she tells Waldo. “Go out the door you came in, round the hallway, take a left at the end, up two floors and he'll be in the second office on the left in the far side of the room.”

Waldo wants to say something but he can't think of what. He turns and pushes his way through the door and back into the hallway. The fluorescents shudder and wink at him. They hum in frequency with the back of his teeth. He rounds the corner past three employees at a vending machine, discussing the lawn party of Anne Something. He climbs the stairs. He enters Mr. Stone's office.

Mr. Stone bounces a racquetball off of the wall behind Waldo's head. He is as solid and amorphous as his name suggests. “Wally. Look, Wally, once you're out of the database it's verrry difficult to put you back in.”

“It's a necessary difficulty, Mr. Stone,” says Wally. “It's my life at stake.”

Stone holds up the paper in one hand, forming a small crease with his thumb. The ball bounces off the wall again. “Wally. The database we have is verrry efficient. And it's saying:” he shifts his laptop to show Waldo. “Three dead in head-on collision on I-575. Boone L Dickinson, Abbey J Dickinson, Waldo D Estock. You're Waldo D Estock?”

“Yes, but-”

“Wally, I'm truly very sorry, my condolences, but you've passed on. It says so right here”

“No, but-”

“You can't raise the dead, Wally.”

“I'm not dead,” says Waldo. “I've never even driven on I-575. I had an English Muffin for breakfast yesterday morning and then I went for a jog and when I got home I read the letters of bereavement and I sent in the loving form.”

“The form?”

“The PD-46. I sent you people the thing and I haven't heard back and my funeral is in fifteen minutes. Fix this.”

“Wally.” Stone catches the racquetball in one paw and squeezes it. “The database doesn't make mistakes. I made the database. Are you telling me I made a mistake?”


Stone carefully places the racquetball on his desk. “You're going to need to talk to Customer Services.”

“I was just in line for customer services for an hour. Where's the form?”

“Ask the Mail Room. Two floors down, take the hallway to the right, it's the door in front of you. But Wally.” Stone rolls the ball off the desk. It lands percussively on the floor and bounces three times. “You aren't some sort of Lazarus rising from the pit. And check your watch: the funeral's in five minutes.”

Waldo glances at his watch then charges out the door and down the stairs. His feet spring off the vague green carpeting. He rushes past the drones at the vending machine. One of them says something as he passes to make the others laugh.

The mailroom is close and sweaty and the close, sweaty mailroom clerk snaps his gum. “PD-46? The resurrection notice? I think I'd remember one of those.”
Waldo is no longer listening. He rifles through the forms and pages and birthday cards on the sorting table. Watch. Two minutes. He gathers swathes of paper and pushes his way past the clerk, who calls after him: “I'm very sorry for your loss.”

He shoulders the door open and tears down the halls. Papers fall from him like leaves off a dying tree. The fluorescents sallow his skin. He mantles the receptionist's receptionist's receptionist's desk to her loud protest. He knocks over one of the jawing effigies at the vending machine. The other two low at him as he bounds up the stairs. He floods Stone's desk with funding reports and get-well cards and e-mail transcripts. “There. Look in there. I sent the form.”

Stone says, “Wally. It's time for your funeral, my man. My hands are tied now.”

“I'm alive. Look at me. Please.”

The receptionist is behind him, in the hallway. The clerk is with her, and four men dressed in black. They are dragging his coffin. Stone stands and puts one hand on Waldo's shoulder. He steers him toward the door. “Look, Wally. You seem healthy enough but in my experience (and I'm sure Ms. Lilles here will back me up) the world is a very complicated and chaotic place. The databases and spreadsheets we tender here at the department are binary and much less messy and in my experience (and Ms. Lilles will vouch for me) a lot more trustworthy than the real world.”

Wally starts to scream.

The men restrain him and lower him into his coffin. Stone stands over him. “If it's any consolation, Wally, this little issue we have will fix itself after about a week down there anyway. I think we all got very lucky, don't you.”

“Help. Please. No.”

“Thank you for visiting, Wally. I hope the service is lovely.”

The coffin lid closes over him with the sound of a filing cabinet sliding shut.

Jun 24, 2011

Martello, your piece masterfully transcribed despair and as a bonus how it feels to get high and your protagonist kept an admirable sort of tragic nobility, and I'm of the opinion that my story was too overwritten to edge yours out, but I ain't going to look a gift smackdown in the bruise.

So fukken suck it, idiot bitch.

Jun 24, 2011

It's gettin' pretty hostile here in the Thunderdome. Let's all take a step back then take two steps forward and kick each other in the head.

Jun 24, 2011


e: cool new av

Jun 24, 2011

Jun 24, 2011

mrs vonearlduke is a saint

e: the patron saint of MAD ORAL

Jun 24, 2011

V for Vegas, if you've got time I'd luv some critique shot my way (seeing as I only won on a technicality). Also I'm in for the next round, if we had to sign up for that?

Oh and not to hop on the Etherwild bashing train but I agree with Saddest Rhino's shameful carepost on the upper word limit. Overwriting is one of my biggest problems as a writer and killing your darlings is the key to the good poo poo. I don't know if there's anything I value in a story more than that good tight pacing. And stop being all pissed at the . I'm pretty new at this too and my shield remains relatively unblemished by bashing it into my battleaxe, but even if I choose not to keep up the kayfabe, this thread remains the obvious haven for quick cool writing challenges on the CC and, dare I say it, the internet?? Dare I??

Just keep in mind it's all in good fun and we all really love you and when you do good work we will let you know.

Except maybe ESB. I haven't figured that guy out yet but he'll probably molest you after he kills you and that's courtesy, of a sort.

Jun 24, 2011

The Frizzen (497 words)

Hendricks, second to the illustrious Lord Dursley of Shalecoat Manor, sighted down the pistol at Dawkins, second to that villain and slave, Lord Elsdury.

“So you just point and shoot?” he asked.

“Well, in the service they used to have us check the flint first, and you pour the powder into the breech measured all military, but I reckon they've do all that for us,” mused Dawkins, adjusting his position on the treestump.

“The privileges of hobnobbing with royalty,” said Hendricks. He flexed his fingers against the stock. It was lighter than he'd thought it might be, the pistol.

Dawkins nodded. He stood and adjusted his frock. “I wish you wouldn't point that thing at me.”

“We're going to be doing a whole lot more than just pointing at each other pretty soon,” Hendricks said. “And you're the veteran, Dawkins; I'm a cook. How d'you imagine I feel?”

“They sent a cook?” Dawkins asked, pulling up a stocking.

“Were they going to send the Lord? Course not,” said Hendricks. “They pay people like me to cook for them, clean up house for them, raise their brainless kits for them. If Lord Dursley could find someone with the nose for it, he'd get a professional bum-wiper, mark me.”

Dawkins chuckled. “Maybe if he had that much money he could hire a mercenary like milord.”

“What exactly are we shooting at one another for? Dursley never told me.”

“Nor me, but it's the talk of the court, apparently,” Dawkins made a brief masturbatory motion with the hand not holding the gun. “Elsdury, it seems, made a move on Lady Emmett in front of Dursley.”

“What kind of move?” asked Hendricks. “Like:” he humped the air.

“No, guv. Just a kiss.”

“A kiss?”

“A peck.”

“So they're dueling over a primary school tiff?” Hendricks rolled his eyes. “It almost makes me not want to shoot you for Dursley. Elsdury.”

“Yes, well. That's not the way, is it?”

“I suppose not."

"So, master gourmet, you're clear on how to fire that snapdragon?”

“Pull the hammer up, point, and pull the trigger?” said Hendricks, pantomiming. “Hammer scrapes the frizzen, spark comes out, boom. No offense, Dawkins, but I think I learn to shoot faster than you could learn how to baste a chicken.”

“You're looking to put a hole in me, Hendricks. Not poultry.”

“Why do they call it a frizzen, anyway? Why not an anvil or something with machismo?”

“Don't know.” Dawkins turned and waved at the proctor, who paced over to watch the two hired men kill one another. “It's probably just some archaic thing no one's bothered to change yet. Good luck, Hendricks.”

“I'll be buggered if I'm going to say the same to you, Dawkins.”

They shared one last gallows laugh before the proctor arrived.

At his prompting, the two men stood back to back, walked ten paces in either direction, turned, and fired.


Jun 24, 2011

I gladly accept this judgement.

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