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Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




SC Bracer is on Something Awful. :staredog:

Count me in. I need to get better at words.

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Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Martello posted:

Autumn, bring JHM in here. :frogbon:

SC Bracer posted:

I dunno, having all three of you in one thread sounds beautiful. :v:
Don't you bastards tempt me. :colbert:

This is my first attempt ever at a present-tense narrative. :v: Figured I might try something new; I've been doing low fantasy third-person for forever.

Sacks, 653 words
“One potato, two potato, three potato, four…is that how it goes?” He tugs at his sleeve, trying to remember, but gives up. The memories are too hazy at this point.

The man pushes the gate open with a light touch. A path heavy with dust and memories winds its lazy way through what looks to be the last survivors of a garden. On the other side of the gate, sack in either hand, lies an elderly man, hair white and wild like a proper scientist, wrinkles like a swimmer’s hands after a long day. His chest moves up and down.

“Mister Zivon Venera?”

Venera’s eyes open, widen. He stands up and backs away, holding the sacks behind him.

“I assume so…will you come with me Mister Venera?”

Venera backs away even further, back against the pitiful remains of a hedge. The sacks are clutched in front now, tighter than any mother would—should—hold her new-born. “Get away!”

The man clicks bony fingers against the handle of a scythe. “Come now Mister Venera. That’s not fair.” He has heard this before and rather would not hear it again. “There is nothing left you know,” he adds, not unkindly.

“You—you…they…they can’t—”

The man moves forward and holds his free hand out. Venera pauses, jerks a hand back, moves to hand it over, jerks his hand back, hands over one of the sacks, letting it drop into the other man’s hand. “I know.” He sets the bag down gently and opens it. Potatoes. About six or seven of them, still coated with dirt.

Venera shakes his head, like the sun has finally peeked out from behind a cloud. But that is impossible. “Do…do you want one?” Venera asks, unclenching the hand with the other sack and leaning back against the hedge. He slides down into a sitting position, head in hands, letting out a long sigh.

“I would not be able to enjoy it if I did have one. Mister Venera, why don’t you try?”

“No…no… I couldn’t. I couldn’t.”

The scythe-man tilts his head to the side and peers at Venera. “And why is that?”

“There’s a little boy and girl, Drake and Rowena, no parents, over there.” He jerks his head to the right, further down the dusty path.

The man says nothing at first. He bends down and grabs Venera’s chin with a bony hand. Eyes meet nothing. “I will bring them over.”

“Thank you.”

Venera pushes the second sack towards the standing man, who is upright again. Venera’s breathing is more ragged now. His eyes are cloudy. “What is your name?”

“Don’t you know?” he says, genuinely surprised. “I thought it was obvious.”

“I know who…what… you are… I don’t know your name.”

The man picks up the two sacks and slings both over one shoulder. He starts forward to help up Venera, but the old man shakes his head. “Are you sure?”

He nods. “Don’t want them to see.”

“Well, in that case Mister Venera…” He shifts the sacks slightly. “My name is Azrael.”

Venera smiles, briefly. “I see. A bit of a let-down.” He pauses. “Will it be fine, for—” His hands shake and his voice catches. His breathing grows heavier. “I—I…” He shakes his head again, trembling. The cloud is back.

Azrael stops. “Oh dear.”

With what should be impossible in his current state, he leaps up and tries to snatch a sack back. The scythe-man steps back swiftly and lets Venera fall, face-down, into the dust. Venera shudders and says nothing.

Azrael turns away from the gate and starts down the path. “I will be back,” he calls over his shoulder. He adjusts the sacks’ position over his shoulder again, letting them hang lower.

A potato rolls out. Azrael considers stopping to pick it up, but he knows they will not need it.

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




How long is this glorious competition going to last?

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Sitting Here won and Arivia lost.

I'm between the winner and the loser in the graphic. What does this mean? :ohdear:

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Ah, I see. I didn't know whether to take the prompt seriously or not and suffered accordingly. :negative: I will redeem myself in the next round of this glorious competition. :argh:

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Thanks pipes! :)

Never read chick-lit before, so this'll be interesting, but the Thunderdome calls me back for redemption. :black101: Let's do this.

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Chick lit. :psyduck:

The Captain, managed to get it down to 499

“Captain Bonny, the last of it’s been loaded.”

The captain polished off the final chocolate. “About drat time. Okay boys, let’s go.” She slammed a container of sea salt in front of the bartender and headed out, followed by her men, letting the door swing on its remaining hinge.

Lan lit up her last cigarette. It had been a long day. “Do we really need that much chocolate and…shiny poo poo? Salt’s been fetching bunches since th—”

“That ‘shiny poo poo’ is prime bribe material.”

“And the chocolate?”

“Who the gently caress doesn’t like chocolate?”

Next to her, Jonathan opened his mouth, then promptly closed it again. “Fine,” the quartermaster conceded, giving Jonathan a look.

The small party soon arrived at the bay area, seagulls screeching overhead. Lan made a killing doing one-off betting with pigs at one of the Americana Stock Exchanges. Her subordinates had drifted off for taverns, whores, and, reportedly, history books. As the sun set, the crew trickled in, mostly sober, and the ship prepared to leave New Boston.

***

The two circled each other in the alley, eyes never leaving the other. Bonny held a handgun. So did her opponent.

“Miss Bonny, radiant as ever.”

Bonny was against a wall. “gently caress off Drake, you god-drat-”

Drake kicked her in the stomach before she could react and shoved her against the wall, gun to her throat. “Miss Bonny, we’d like you to come back to the Moroccan Empire.”

Bonny spit. “Like I’m listening to a piece of poo poo corsair like you.”

“Do young women learn manners these days?”

“Were you always such an rear end in a top hat?”

The L.D.M. chip above Drake’s right eyebrow twitched as he raised his eyebrow. He lowered his handgun by an inch. “We’ll chase you and your crew down. Even if you went to the furthest reaches of the sea, to Tasmania or to Suderland, you won’t be able to run forever. Come back. Now.”

“When hell freezes over.” She kicked him in the nuts and hightailed it out of the alley. He didn’t give chase.

***

“Where’s the captain?” Jonathan asked.

Lan leaned over the railing. “Dunno. We can leave soon as she gets her rear end up here.”

Right on cue, Captain Bonny’s head appeared, as she climbed up the rope that led to the deck. Jonathan ran off to make sure everything was running smoothly.

Lan pulled her captain up. “Why’re you—?”

Bonny sat down on the deck, panting as she leaned against the railing. Filthy, but otherwise unharmed physically. “Drake. Remind me to get another gun. Preferably not a handgun.”

“D-Drake? The corsair? What does Morocco want with you?”

The captain bit her lip. “I helped gently caress them over in the past,” she said evenly. She walked towards her cabin as Freedom pulled out from port. “I’m going to eat some chocolates now. Don’t bother me until dinner.”

Lan thought about arguing, but said instead “We still heading for Sucreland?”

Bonny paused, hand on door handle. “No…change course for Gibraltar.”

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Martello posted:

A really ugly beige couch for jumping on the Bracer Bandwagon and claiming “chick lit is :psyduck:” despite also being a chick
Digging a hole for a concrete piling by hand in stony ground for just throwing chocolate into a pirate story to try to fulfill the chick-lit requirement
Sitting on the toilet after a nice big fiber-dump and thinking there’s no more toilet paper, but then turning around and seeing a whole ’nother roll on the tank for making your not-chick-lit and only vaguely dystopian pirate story interesting enough that I want to read more
Total: Smelling roses in a parlor and then suddenly catching the whiff of something not-so-fresh

Stuporstar posted:

Hmm, strong female character present, but something puts me off about this.
Wait, I know what's wrong with this picture: TOO MANY DICKS ON THE DANCE FLOOR.
Thanks guys (in the gender-neutral usage). Guess I'm still having some issues nailing prompts, but at least my story was better this time around. :unsmith: I kind of want to get the backstory down, write the full story, polish it up, and make a thread in CC.

I'm still a bit confused about the 'chick lit' genre, despite being a woman. I thought chick lit was humorous fiction about women dealing with issues in their lives?

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Stuporstar posted:

You're not wrong there, just missing something. Chick lit is the lighter, pulpier bratty little sister of women's lit. Much of it is shallow and terrible, which is why the genre has cooties. It's not romance though. More often it involves dumping douchebags because Girl Powah.

You failed this round because you pretty much wrote a straight up pirate story with a lone female protagonist. If you'd filled out your cast with more women, for example had another woman kick her in the stomach instead of a dude, or another female crew member to talk to, it would have met my criteria. One woman in a sea of dicks is not chick litshe must interact with other women to make the genre cut (lots of people failed here though). :colbert: Though you did have the douchebag dumping part down.
Thanks for that explanation. I'd just like to point out that Lan is a woman's name and therefore the quartermaster was also female, but I guess it's not obvious if you're not Vietnamese. v:shobon:v

Oh well. I just have to do better next time. :unsmith:

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Martello posted:

Check Your Cis Privilege in Swaziland

Noir detective stories set in off-the-beaten-path locales, on this planet. Mild cyberpunk allowed, nothing too crazy. Except for sebmojo, no cyberpunk for you. No able-bodied straight male Caucasian American characters are allowed anywhere in the story. All characters must come from one or more specific groups which are underrepresented in literature. If the writer chooses to write about a straight white American guy in a wheelchair, the experience of being chair-bound better come through authentically. Points accrue the further away you get from your own cultural group, which you must specify for full points. Extra points for "recombocultural" protagonists.

So basically, you're handicapping non-white writers and saying we can't write about our cultural group or white people. :colbert:

Bring it. :black101:

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




I'm a Vietnamese-American woman, bisexual, college-aged. My first language is Vietnamese, and I've lived throughout many states in the Southwest because money and jobs :smith:

A Newer Generation, 1349 words
The passenger van rolled away behind me as I turned to face the cafe designed to resemble a boz uy. The owner, a Dungan man, a Han He, squatted in the doorway. No one appeared to be with him.

“Hello. Are you Madam Isakovna? I am Han He.” He stuck out his hand. He spoke Kyrgyz, not Russian, but very well.

We shook. “Yes sir.” I removed my shoes as he led me inside. Spacious for a boz uy, beautiful shyrdak on the floor, low tables and seats for the cafe laid out for the evening rush. Mister Han turned on the rest of the lights and let a patterned curtain hang over the entrance. “How long has your daughter been missing, Sir He?”

“About two days, Madam Isakovna. Duo came back from Naryn, from the university there, a month and a half ago. I thought everything was as normal as it could be. She went to stay with some university friends in Bishkek proper a few days ago, to visit. I called and called her on her cellular to check in, but no reply. I went to the address she gave, of her friend. They said she would be back, but I watched all day. My wife had to work double the hours.” He pursued his lips and blew.

“She didn’t show up. I asked some neighbors, they did not see a girl of her description the entire time she was supposed to be there. Bishkek is large, she could be anywhere, doing anything. Please madam, I don’t have much, but I have enough to pay you for your services. God is good, the cafe does well. Everyone wants Huihui food,” he added, a small smile crossing his face.

I asked some more questions of him: names, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, how her studies went, places she loved to visit. He gave me photographs, some numbers, a small sum of money, and the blessing of God; I left, twenty som for my next destination, the Dordoy Bazaar.
***
I had done some thinking on my way over, standing up in the passenger van, crammed in next to too many passengers. Han Duo, or Albina as her friends called her, by all accounts an above-average student, ambitious, maybe a bit naive, but not overly so. She hadn’t disappeared on her own by any means.

I bought some naan from a vendor on the outskirts of the market. Duo’s last confirmed location was this market a month or so ago, shopping and visiting an old friend that ran a clothing box.

The market had grown much, much larger than the last time I was here a few years prior. As always, Russian and Kyrgyz filled the air, with the smells of the small produce stalls selling food to shoppers. A variety of goods from all over central Asia, China, and Russia filled the aisles and containers. Some of the older vendors cast me looks, one woman unescorted, wearing jeans and a kerchief, but most didn’t care.

Duo’s friend was named Andries Bakiyev. He was doing this temporarily for his elderly parents, to make money to fund university studies. Mister Han said that he was part Afrikaner as well as Russian. I really could not tell, and perhaps that was the idea. “Hello. Andries Bakiyev?” I stuck out my hand.

He raised an eyebrow but shook it all the same. “Yes, I am he. Who are you?”

“Kurmanjan Isakovna. I am here to talk to you about Han Duo.”

“Duo…oh, Albina? I saw her a few days ago. What has she done?”

Interesting that he should assume that. A few days was the wrong timeline. “Nothing that I know of. It seems she has been gone for a day or so though. Her father sent me.”

He visibly unclenched, a relaxing of the shoulders and a small releasing of the breath. “Really? She came to the bazaar, looking for clothes. It was the day after Eid. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and Albina wanted to meet my boyfriend but he wasn’t here; he works in the center of the city. She was with some girlfriends, Roza Babanova and Ma Xiaochen.” Eid had been three days ago, but Duo’s father said she had been here, that he knew of for sure, only before Ramadan.

I knew that they were university friends. “Who are they?”

“Xiaochen’s an old friend of Albina’s. I am not sure about Roza.”

“Do you know where they went after they visited with you?”

“To Roza’s apartment in the center of Bishkek. She’s very well-off.”

Something was not adding up. “Thank you Sir Bakiyev.”
***
The door opened on the third knock. The woman was tall, with dark hair. “Who are you?” she asked in Russian.

“I am Kurmanjan Isakovna.” I was doing a lot of that today, introducing myself. “I am here to ask questions about your friend Albina.” This must be Roza Babanova.
“Albina is not here. Please leave.”

I grabbed the door as she moved to close it. “Then where is she now?”

“I don’t know.”

I pushed back. Babanova stumbled and gripped her forearm, apparently in pain. I had not pushed that hard. “When did she leave?”

“Why does a drat Kyrgyz girl ask me so many questions and barge into places? A few days ago.”

“Do not call me girl. Why did she leave?”

She pushed herself up. “I don’t know.”

“Do you not?”

“Just leave.” She tried to push me down, but I swung my bag and hit her in the torso. She fell back again, winded.

A thought hit me. “Madam, who are you?”

She glared from her undignified position on the floor. “Who do you think? Roza Bubusara Babanova. This is my apartment. Leave or I will holler for people to come.”

She looked nothing like the pictures of Duo, and only a couple of days ago Duo’s father had visited and spoken to the residents of this apartment, but he had never seen his daughter’s university friends. “Ma Xiaochen? Why are you in your friend’s apartment? You do not live here. How stupid could you be?”

“That is ridiculous. You’re insane. Leave now.”

I moved to block the entire doorway. No one else was outside that I could see. “Madam Xiaochen, where are Babanova and Han?”

“I am Babanova! Albina left a few days ago, like I said. What evidence do you have?”

“I have been in this business for a long time. Why did you tell Albina’s father she would come back when she had obviously never been here? Where did you take her after you left the Dorday Bazaar?
***
“Keep your money.”

Han He did not say anything, but he did stuff his wallet back into his jacket. The shadows lengthened even more as the five of us squatted in his boz uy.

Ma fiddled with her fingers. “I don’t know about visas. I told them…”

“And you should have told me!” Han stood up, shoving against the table and nearly breaking his dishes as he did so.

“They may come back. Perhaps they just want the marriage. I don’t care if she is married to another woman, I just want her back,” his wife said, moving to silverware and catching the chopsticks.

I stood up too. It was far past time to leave and this was not my job. “Many Americans do that, go to another state to marry and then return to their home. You will have to see in a few months.”

Andries Bakiyev looked suitably ashamed. “I knew their feelings, and I knew I had to help them. They’re smart if reckless.”

Han said nothing, although he was in the process of snapping several chopsticks.

“You may as well get used to it. Your daughter has good friends, if reckless ones. I think she will be fine.” I should not have said it, but… “I have some friends in South Africa. I will let you know if they hear anything.”

I pushed aside the curtain and hailed a passenger van.

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




My studies have eased up a tiny bit and I wander back to the Thunderdome to find a new prompt? :black101: In.

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Used to be ~1300, but I got it down to this. Feels good to be back in the Thunderdome. :unsmigghh:

October Sorrows, 982 words
17 OCTOBER 1961
It was the third body Darcy had seen in the street just that hour. She hugged herself even tighter, clutching her bag, and continued down the road.

Lucy was working late, translating then transcribing using one of those fancy new Selectric typewriters. The money was stacking up quite nicely; in a year or so, they would have enough to move into one of the nicer arrondissements. Or maybe not, those other arrondissements wouldn’t be so nice, if Papon had his way. Well, they could always go back to America in that case.

Ahead…oh god. Darcy bolted down the rest of the road. The fuzzy outline of a mob—fire, shots, gunshots, no, no—made itself clear on the Pont Saint-Michel. Police officers hemmed in the group. And were they dumping bodies in the Seine?
She eyed a flash of blonde hair a little away from the bridge, hiding in the doorway of a small shop. “Lucy! Lucy!” Darcy cried and then clapped her hands over her mouth.

A head of dark hair turned and then bobbed in surprise. Darcy ducked into a doorway and motioned frantically. The mob did not look friendly.

Lucy made her way over quickly. “It’s a group of Algerians. They’re protesting the curfew,” she explained, sticking her head further past the edge of the doorway than she needed to.

“You talked to them?”

“Before the shooting started, yes.”

Darcy opened her mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. “Let’s go.” She tugged Lucy’s arm. “You could have died.”

“Everyone dies in the end,” she said, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear and grinning, but following in the opposite direction from the mob nonetheless. “Besides, you always come for me; it would’ve been fine.”

Darcy bit her tongue and did not stop biting until they were well away from the noise. They’d just have to take a different route further downstream, that was all. It was nothing to worry about. “I might not next time,” she managed.

“Mmhmm.”
******
18 OCTOBER 1961
At least 40 dead Algerians, Moroccans, and Tunisians, because apparently everyone from the Maghreb looked and acted the same or something. Darcy had known one of the dead, a nice Muslim woman named Hala who had lived in the next apartment over with her youngest two sons. They had gone around and given everyone in the building pressed flowers. When it should have been the other way around… Darcy gave a cursory glance around the apartment.

Lucy was packing the last of her bags. Darcy had finished ages ago.

“They might turn us away,” Lucy warned, but her heart didn’t seem into it.

“Then we’ll go to Canada. I don’t think we’d qualify to be refugees, especially given the business in South Vietnam. And there are quotas, but we have professional skills,” Darcy said, smiling much more confidentially than she felt.

Lucy made a rude hand gesture but began giggling almost immediately. “Professional skills. If you say so.”

Darcy felt a pout coming onto her face. “You know what I meant.”

Lucy giggled again.

Darcy ignored this and pressed down the length of her skirt, looking around one last time. “Let’s go.”
******
17 OCTOBER 1961
This street had no police and few riot units, because the bodies had already been piled up and permeating their stench for some time.

“Maybe we should move out of the city after this,” Darcy suggested.

“It’s not like there’s a riot every year or anything.”

“Hn.”

“Well, I rather like it here,” Lucy went on. “The people are nice and the food is mostly good. It’s a bit expensive, but we’ve managed worse situations before. And we’ve always been on our own anyway.” She deftly sidestepped a bullet-riddled hand.

Darcy did not reply. The two walked on in silence until the Pont Neuf came into view. There were police here, but no protesters in sight. Lucy hooked Darcy’s arm into her own and didn’t let go as they passed the (winking) police and made it onto the long bridge.

“You’d think de Gaulle would have better sense than that,” Lucy grumbled, still dragging Darcy along.
******
18 OCTOBER 1961
Darcy finished filling out the form first, neatly and carefully with that old fountain pen she had found somewhere, many years back. She inserted her coins into the machine and got an insurance policy to send to Lucy—just in case—for her trouble. Of course, if they crashed, she may not need it anyway.

Lucy was finishing up speaking with some of the stewardesses. She made her way back over just as Darcy shoved the envelope into a nearby mailbox. “What’s that?”

“Some last minute paperwork.”

“Oh, okay.”

The two had dressed up to the best of their ability. Flying was an event, after all, and hopefully it would be there last time in this country.

“It’s already on the tarmac!” Lucy said, making the woman at the ticket window glare. Darcy smiled at her, showing her teeth. It didn’t work.

“Maybe we should visit the observation deck first? The large board said it would be an hour or so before the plane takes off.”

Lucy needed no other words.
******
17 OCTOBER 1961
There had been no bodies in this part of the city.

“I want to go back to America,” Darcy said. She looked down at the cobblestones, worn smooth with the feet of hundreds of thousands.

“But earlier, I said—”

“I know, but I…I—I’d like to go back. I like it here too, but it’s not home.”

“New York isn’t home either!” Lucy said, flipping her hair in that strange way she always did when she got angry. “Home…home is here.” She pointed to her heart, completely seriously.

Darcy laughed and the corners of her mouth turned up. She was a mad woman. “Well, if you can convince me…”

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Does the universe implode if pipes! tries to change Ozma's avatar?

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Oh man, my first submission. Never thought this would be a thing I would be doing! (Seriously, thanks Nautatrol Erik Shawn-Bohner)

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Black Griffon posted:

Let's make it easy: If it's "Fun" I liked it, if it's "Dull" I didn't. Either because the chunk of life didn't feel defining or descriptive enough to be exciting, or if it was defining, it didn't come through properly.

Autumncomet
This is a good slice of life. It feels informed, and it's just drat interesting. Fun.

Slice of life is what I was going for, so yay. I've never really written anything of that type so I was worried I was going to gently caress up royally. I trimmed it down a lot from what it was (there were two extra scenes that I cut because they didn't really add to anything).

Now to await my rejection letter for not doing a header. :smithicide:

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Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012




Rejected, congrats to everyone that got in! :)

Black Griffon posted:

We will make chickencheese.
Oh god.