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Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I'm throwing my honor down on the line like it ain't poo poo.

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Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Life Under Soil, 857 words.


It was gradually passing noontime, and Mike was in his bed trying to shield his eyes with a sock. Sunlight was pouring in from the slats of his venetian blinds, and he wanted to nail his blanket over the window entirely, though that would require him getting up from his half-fetal-position sprawl, which would require untangling himself from the sheets. The oncoming night terrified him. He had allowed himself to be invited to a dinner party, and he had allowed himself to have the suggestion of bringing a side dish placed upon him. His throat was filled with stomach acid. He had decided on mashed potatoes, solely because he felt they would have the smallest probability of offending any one of the strangers and friends he knew would be at the party. His lungs hurt, and he wondered if his stomach acid had gotten into them. He clenched his eyes and felt his lashes thread between the poly-cotton fibers of the sock. He laid there for some time.

He opened his eyes and saw grey, and he felt his heart pumping stomach acid through his body. The noise of his front door opening and footsteps, when he lived alone, had this effect on him. He dragged the sock off of his face, and peered out the slats of his venetian blinds. There was a clean white SUV outside of his house, reflecting clean daylight in all directions. He almost couldn't look at it, so he looked down at the windowsill, focusing on the dead flies there. Out of the corners of his vision, he noticed that the SUV was full of people. Next to the SUV was a woman in a black pantsuit, with a gold necklace, and a gold bracelet, and gold earrings. In her hand was a bible, and he could only tell this because of the gold trim on the pages. He didn't want to have to talk to this person. He heard footsteps in his kitchen. Even his fingertips were full of stomach acid now, and as he untangled himself from his sheets and tried to stand up, the heels of his feet were soaked with acid as well. He draped himself in the bathrobe he never washed and slunk down the hall, leaving slick footprints of caustic sweat on the cool tile. Mike dreaded what he would see in the kitchen.

The kitchen was as it always was, and would be, outside of one key thing: There was a child here, wearing a miniature suit that fit him surprisingly well. The kid opened his mouth and spoke in a way that left Mike puzzling out that, no, this was not someone that would normally wear such an outfit.

"I need to go to the bathroom, and my mom said it was an emergency. We're on our way back from church."

Mike took a moment to swallow before replying, and indicated where the bathroom as calmly as he could manage. He felt some measure of anger, having his solitude broken. He reflected on the possibility of getting the SUV's license plate number, and later calling the police to complain. His anger was dampened as he inadvertently realized he was listening in on a child pissing, flushing the toilet, and then coming out of the bathroom.

"Thank you! Have a blessed day!"

Mike spent some minutes reassuring himself that he had made the ethical choice, letting the child use the restroom without fuss. He tugged at his bathrobe and tried to let the stomach acid run its course. He was in his kitchen now, and the venetian blinds here, too, were showering him with light. On the counter he noticed that the sack of potatoes he had purchased the previous night in preparation for the dinner party. The sack was opened, the green plastic wrapped wire that held it closed crumpled up neatly next to it. One potato was, through no mistake of physics alone, placed at the far edge of the counter. It was clear to him that the child had handled at least one of potatoes. And the stomach acid flowing through his brain ran cold. Could he prepare these, now? The child clearly had no hygiene protocols, having not washed his hands just minutes ago. But he had touched the potatoes, at least one of them, before urinating. What if he'd grabbed one from the bottom of the bag? Would it be ethical to waste food? They would have to be boiled, anyways. But would it be required of him to tell the strangers and friends at the dinner party that their side dish had a possibility of being tainted by a small child who didn't belong in a suit? He couldn't take that risk. Mike knew deep down in his spine that he would have to tell each and every person who had so much as a dollop of the mashed potatoes what they were possibly consuming. He knew how it would make him look.

He dug a large saucepan out of a cupboard and began to pour tap water into it. He was crying, and the tears burned his face.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I am sitting in meditation, sweat steaming off of my muscular body after hours of harsh physical training. My eyes snap open and I surmise a wet tablet of clay in front of me. I am prepared for the next challenge. I will not settle for less than victory.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

It's a fix, is what it is.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Well actually if you re-read my submission you'll notice a certain similarity to an episode from a little show called Stargate SG-1...

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Bloodtime. I'm in.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Tagged for Love, 467 words.


Shelle's typical workload had been thrown off by what she could only assume was bad luck. The real reason for her being transferred over to something that required less brainpower was that that her metrics in carton sorting had slipped over the last few weeks. This wasn't her fault, of course, since due to various totally natural biological processes arising within her, her daily medpacket dosages had been changed to keep various totally natural hormonal urges in check. These had the side effect of making her drowsy. She would never know any of this, beyond the fact that she now reported to crate tagging duty six blocks west of her usual dropoff point.

It was a brisk walk alongside the grey concrete buildings she never had reason to know the meanings of, and then she found the one with the correct set of numbers on it. She double checked her workload sheet, and then meekly made her way inside. She settled into the routine quickly, as everyone had the basics of crate tagging drilled into them at an early age. She was proud of herself nonetheless; only a few hours in and she was confident that she had memorized the name of her manager, Cincinattus. She was close enough when she whispered it to herself, images of his broad shoulders and almost out-of-code length black hair.

She had correctly identified a crate of wheatlike, and had unspooled a square of red tagging tape, when a small green rat burst out from between the slats of wood. It reared up on its back legs and sneered, its whiskers drooping with wheat dust. She was a woman, completely untrained in the ways of martial arts, especially against such a verminous creature as a rat. Luckily, she had the proper instincts embedded within her. She screamed.

Terror froze her like ice, until Cincinattus rounded a corner-- then something inside her began to melt. Clenched in his pale, muscular arms, was what Shelle knew as a utility bucket, made solely for the disposal of expired tag tape, and he fell into a low crouch, gradually stalking towards the rat. She knew his usage of it in this new, inventive fashion, was out-of-code, but she was enthralled by his manly ingenuity. He whispered to the rat, calming it, and slowly brought the bucket towards it. With one whipping of his muscles, he brought the bottom of the bucket down onto the green little beast, triggering an audible liquid pop, and what Shelle could only imagine the sound of treebranches snapping was supposed to be like. Despite her womanly urges being chemically suppressed, as Cincinattus began scraping the crushed rat off of the utility bucket she could only think to herself how much of a hunk this prime specimen of male power was.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

You can't have a Randian superman without an illogical weak female, aspersions of sexism aside. I won't blame the prompt for my so called failure, and I will simply use my current position of weakness to redouble my efforts and seize the moral victory.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Better to burn out than to fade away. -Diogenes

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Cardboard Wings

(1365 Words. I am a white male, between 20 and 30 years of age, living in suburban California)

Dayton, Ohio had been changing for years. Urban planning had gone for something new, in a fit of free market lust. Special industrial zones, with especially lax worker regulations had sprung up line tent pegs around the city's borders, and around those were the typical low income housing towers. The architecture itself was sparse (though some enjoyed the sharp right angles and ultra-utilitarian geometry), but their clearly defined lines were often marred by ersatz shanty towns encircling them, for those who arrived to work off of the books, or couldn't afford rent.

There were the obvious problems of sanitation, crime, food, pollution, and police brutality. They were the background of this sort of urban lifestyle. But there were less tangible things, such as the non-skilled jobs not granting any avenue of escape. With that, plus the utter banality of everyone around you having the same or similar manufacturing job with no extra resources to lend, financial escape just wasn't an option on the table. Mariandre thought about this often as she walked home after the night shift, through slick black streets clotted with cardboard and tents. More and more people came, and very few of them seemed to move anywhere better.

She had wanted, since the time she could start recognizing what the pictures in her coloring books meant, to see places in the world where the skyline wasn't cracked up with smokestacks and highrises. She'd wanted to go to school and get the training she needed for the job she saw as being the closest to freedom while still being a job- a charter pilot. It was especially hard for her given her skin color. It wasn't that the majority of her peers weren't black as well, per se. She was an equal among any of them, outside of determination. It was that her skin color brought on a wealth of other deficits. She was lacking in connections, given that most of her friends and acquaintances were poor like her. It seemed to her that the borders between being black and being white were, for reasons she could only make guesses at, tied more to wealth and opportunity more than the idea of race itself.

She perceived, in the back of her mind, a sort of cultural divide she saw between people who, for the majority of the time, ate the same food, spoke the same language, watched the same television shows, and, in a lot of ways, worked the same jobs. They walked in the same doors, and wore the same uniforms, but those cultural lines seemed to spring up even inside the factory she worked in. She'd say hello, passing the inspection tables where mostly white people worked, put on her gloves and apron, and sit down at the assembly line folding pieces of cardboard around notebook paper to be stapled by the next person in the line. Sometimes she got to staple, and sometimes she got to cut the cardboard, but she never got her name pulled to inspect.

Breaks were called at different times, and when the inspection team was in the cafeteria filling it with cigarette smoke, and emptying the coffee carafes. She'd always try to speed up during this time, just to make sure they had a little bit of extra catch up to do when they'd get back. It wasn't entirely mean-spirited, she felt, because her own break was next and it would be unfair for them to have nothing to do for that extra fifteen minutes. Why should they deserve two breaks? She didn't know many of them anyways, despite greeting them and being that sort of passive work-politeness you feign until real friendship, or even just basic acquaintance develop. They all seemed to get moved to different, better paying positions before long. Six months tops, and some kid working his way towards saving up for school is making more than her, despite being 'loyal' to the company for years. It was enough to make her wish they would take an entire hour for break, just so they'd have an impossible pile of notebooks to prod with their rulers to work through when they got back. It wasn't just anger at people who she felt had an easier job, of course. Most of the guys she worked with on the line would often get called up to load trucks or organize freight in the warehouses. It was frustrating in a way she had no idea how to deal with, but she knew she was best to keep her mind off work as she walked home.

The busses didn't run at night even though it was technically morning. Night shift ended at at five in the morning and walking home while the sun rose was almost a treat, especially during this time of year. It wasn't freezing or sizzling, often, during springtime. It took almost an hour to get home, and even though her route never changed, the scenery always did. She would usually try to shut her mind out to the fact that she would probably never get to be a pilot, much less train to be one, much less ever be on an airplane. Money was an issue she could deal with, with enough planning and saving, and maybe borrowing some money. Time was less forgiving. Ten hour shifts took up the majority of her day, transport and sleep were likewise immoveable. There was a flight academy in Akron she had looked up in a phonebook once. It seemed like the best bet, despite being hours away. She had the plan to get Fridays off for sixteen weeks in a row. She could take a bus there, and do the weekend courses. She could get her sleep in on the ride back and ready to work Monday at 7PM. But even after calculating the thousands of dollars in bus fare, and the idea of taking a taxi to and from the stations, and the fact she'd need a place to stay between Saturday and Sunday, the plan fell apart. All of her friends were in the same situation as her, and she simply couldn't pull together enough support to get any traction. Every morning after leaving her job she ran through this plan, and reminded herself not to think about how much pain her work caused her.

Walking home this early as day was just coming up over the peaks of the buildings, she felt a bit safer than at night when it was dark. She knew groups of teenagers drove around looking for trouble. She even felt safer than the daytime, when everything was crowded and loud, and strangers would occasionally shout rude things at her. The worst she had to deal with at this hour were garbagemen and homeless people strolling about. She felt bad for both of them (she also felt bad for the roaming teenagers, in a way), because they were stuck in Dayton like her. Everyone she'd ever been friends with was the same way.

Ten blocks later and four stories up, she waggled her key into the lock. She always had to quietly fight with it to get it open. Once that hassle was done, she locked it back up behind her. She snuck two cups of water from the tap, drinking one and rinsing her mouth with another, before flopping onto the couch to sleep. Once her roommate left for their own job, she'd stumble to the bed. Until then, she didn't want to wake her. She fell into sleep quickly, from her point of view, before being woken up two hours later as her roommate struggled to get the lock shut. She automatically switched to the bed, and fell back asleep even quicker, despite the day's heat starting to fill the room. She dreamed, this time. It was a work dream, which she usually hated, for all of the same reasons she hated even thinking about work while she was off the clock. This dream wasn't so awful though- Mariandre was folding the cardboard into wings, which were then flapping themselves into birds. The people in the inspection room had no idea what to make of them.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I'm in.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Eventual Eden

Bloodshot eyes reflected in the meter, watching the thin black indicator waggle towards the red line. The eyes compressed into a glare as it drew closer, and then relaxed as it slowed. The pressure on this line was good. He moved on to the next line, using a length of stainless steel pipe to lever a valve open. Underneath the layers of everything-resistant materials and internal temperature control meshes, he could feel his callouses scratching away. Every day they seemed newer to him, as if he'd have recognized them better if they were older. It was the same with his muscles and ligaments feeling sore in new ways every time he had to manually adjust the lines. Beyond the shocks of pain he associated with headaches, he never noticed the wear and tear on his eyes. He wouldn't stop long enough to look in a mirror.

The fields were supposed to be automated, Major Layard knew. It was the last thing Major Layard could consider as having been 'supposed' to happen. It wasn't even his job. The four technicians in charge of operations on base had given up and died, so Layard woke up and did it every morning. Morning for Layard was whatever time it was after eight hours of rest, and rest only happened when it was absolutely required. It was very often absolutely required to rest when his work in the fields would otherwise bring him face to face with a sky full of Earth. Oily clouds swirled around it, distorting what landmasses he could see. It had been several years since global conflict had made it a hell. Returning there was the second to last thing Layard could consider as having been 'supposed' to have happened. He wouldn't stop long enough to look up, very often.

Creating pockets of arable lunar soil, through a series of chemical processes and aeration, and then growing different strains of genetically modified plantlife was one of mankind's truly noble goals. The implementation of this concept, the lunar base Layard had been assigned to, was a joke. A proof of concept at the most, and a comical waste of taxpayer dollars to some-- the base was more of a farm than anything. A prefab building connected to several acres of opaque plastic tarp enclosures. The corner pegs of these tents were designed to be dragged along the ground by small tread mechanisms, stretching the enclosure further as new sections of tarp were woven in. This was designed to be automated, along with the air scrubbing, water recycling, even the angling of the solar panels. Some months after radio silence from Earth, after a series of gut wrenching nuclear strikes, none of these things worked anymore.

He'd cut doors open, rigged whatever hardware he could to support life within the main structure of the prefab building, and gradually pushed outwards, salvaging and securing whatever he could. He had enough water, and could scrub enough clean air, and could grow enough grain and soy and corn to forge a liveable situation. This had all taken dedication, and constant upkeep. The technicians that hadn't killed themselves along with Earth both were glad to help-- programming crude interfaces for the reclaimed sections of the base. Simple switches in the computer to dictate what fields would be watered, which soil needed to be enriched, and just how much power the machines providing these luxuries were allowed to use. Layard was grateful as humanly possible for these tools, but these tools were useless once the technicians gave in to the dismal visage of Earth. Machines wore down, and needed to be jerry-rigged. Even simple tears in the plastic sheets from the occasional micrometeoroid needed to be sealed with a heatgun. And this took legwork. The sort of legwork where every minute of travel time meant cubic square feet of air mixture being lost. Slow and meandering mile long treks hauling bulky equipment. The only noise he'd hear would be his own heart and lungs and the creaking of his knees inside of his space suit. He had trained himself not to think about what noises might becoming from Earth.

Layard checked the lines, and when he saw that Field Eight's pressure was down, he exhaled sharply in sympathy. He strapped his heatgun and spare sheets of tarp to his back and began the moonwalk that he knew would tire him out the more he thought of it. Each bone in his feet reacted alongside their muscles as they flexed, each cautious, conservative step bringing him further out into the field. Rows of grain all to his right, and blank white to his left. A sweep of the perimeter could take hours, and he always started along the left side, putting as much of a green barrier between himself and Earth's perpetual disk of grey. Hours passed, and he hit the edge of the field. He turned right, and continued along the far rim, searching for a tear. More hours and no luck. Turning right again, he began trekking back towards the prefab structure. Half the day spent, and the clean black rip showed itself. This one was not particularly large, and as he stepped towards it, feeling the slight hiss of gasses flowing out onto the moonscape. It was trouble. Earth was aloft in the sky, and he clenched his eyes while repressing an endless scream as his heatgun warmed up.

It wasn't repetition that had made this sort of work dig into his body so harshly. It was the knowledge that he was in a race. The moonbase's systems were not designed to deactivate via some sort of dead man's switch. He knew the mechanism well enough. Someone on that blasted planet above him had sent the code with their intentions planned in full. Layard's hands and his callouses and his muscles and his bones, all working in unison to close off this window to Earth, he worked fast and efficiently. His actions were perfectly automatic.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I don't know who Gary Numan is so I'll let someone else choose my song for me. I pre-emptively choose the next song someone posts as their own.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Stuporstar posted:

I'm assigning you "We Have a Technical" because it's the longest song I can think of, and if it turns out you don't like Gary Numan, it'll make you suffer for being too damned lazy to look him up.

I'm familiar with Gary Numan, but I'd still hesitate to say that I or any others really 'know' him. Regardless, if you won't let me snag someone's choice (forcing them to snag someone else's), I am fine with this. I love technicals!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

In many parts of the world a warlord's power is measured in technicals. Here in the Thunderdome I intend to let my prose do the driving and shooting. Well, most of it.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I have spent a good deal of time in deep meditation on Gary Numan's ceramic legacy, and my assigned song. I have refined the essence of that experience into my submission here, as follows. Peace be upon you all.

Gunfarm, based on Gary Numan's "We Have a Technical". 1171 words.

Gunfarm is on neutral turf. Decades ago that name might've evoked some sort of dopey franchise title, but no, now Gunfarm is just the right place to get your blazing poo poo bought and built. Thick and grimy tank traps made of graffitied concrete blocks ring the Damned place, and parking is a Bitch, to say the least. First off, you need an appointment, which means you need to know a guy who works there, or a guy who does. Second, well, you touch something that's not yours when you pass those graffiti rings, and you get your rear end blown the gently caress back. Well, it's fair that way, I think. They do good work there.

What happened was, when I was laying low there, was I saw a dude get killed. Not like, shot or beat the gently caress to death for his own Damned insolence, but really just an honest mistake I think. Anyways, how it was, was that this was a few years ago, and I was "packing heat". That's a joke really, what I mean is, I was sorting parts out and putting together what I could. This goes with that. Taking broke poo poo and making it work out. Taking care of small orders. We need some rifles, or we need some claymore mines or whatever the gently caress. Sometimes some rear end in a top hat would just want his gun cleaned with jojoba oil or something. Suits them, so why not? We got good trades, too. Clean gas, batteries. None of that Bitcoin trash, like we'd just give some twitchy rear end Fucker a grenade just for making us laugh at the offer. poo poo, we'd even get cracked videogames and descrambled porn. Life on the farm is good, and I'd be a Damned liar if I said I didn't miss it every day.

Well, the thing is that we worked on cars too. Putting in batteries, clearing out lines, getting some Shithead's tires to spin right, whatever. It was all about connections. You know how you can't get anything at all without knowing the right people, right? Well it's like that everywhere, and Gunfarm's one of those places. Some boss's boss somewhere, and his guys, they needed us to rig together a technical for 'em. Not a fifty cal, like some guy who killed the right Fucker. No, he had a rocket launcher. One of those nasty rear end things like a beehive hosed a boombox. It was, truly, a beautiful thing. Four dudes hauled it into one of our workshops in a big loving crate stuffed with newspapers. Pulling the trash out the holes, I gotta admit, I was afraid I'd come eye to eye with some bees or a rocket. No such luck. Anyways, the thing is that it was a one night job, and we had to get the poo poo in and out fast, and we were working in a pair. Me and Kirkman got assigned this top tier job and that Fucker died because he didn't keep his eye on his work.

It was warm and we had the flood lights on so we could see what we were doing. The truck was in good enough shape I think, and was ringed with barbed wire and cow catchers and poo poo on all sides. Not bad work, though some of the welds were a bit crummy. Like people don't know that you gotta melt the loving metal all the way to get it sticking right. I dunno. Anyways, we were gonna break the engine down and clean it up and make it new and all. We had the electric winch putting it back in and it did the whole thing, and I remember the crisp shadows the contours the lights made the engine cast as we put it back into the truck. Well anyways, break time I guess, right? And Kirkman is telling me all this poo poo about how he doesn't love the big engine or the rocket launcher or what the gently caress ever, but he loves the 'idea' of 'em. Saying that guns and engines and poo poo are all the same, that they combust a thing to make another thing go. The sacrifice of one stable thing to propel another Damned thing. Skinny Fucker always running his freckled mouth.

So I'm in the cutting room with the laser torch trying to get this stupid as poo poo control box rigged together, since we've gotta make room for an LCD display so you can target from the passenger side instead of just ramming your hippofist onto the big red button and hoping you kill a Fucker. Honest enough work, getting these control systems set up. You start with the box, then make spots for the switches and buttons and whatever, and then wire it up with the conduit facing out to connect it to the juice and to the rocket launcher itself. Where the gently caress were we before microprocessors? So I'm cutting away at this box, making rings in the brushed aluminum, and I hear Kirkman shatter his boney rear end. I run into the garage and he loving deserved it, I think. What he did was he was standing in the bed of the truck, trying to use the winch to balance the rocket launcher on its mount and it tipped over and crushed him.

Not like it crushed him entirely, but the whole thing was resting on its corner and that corner was pressing down on his collarbone somehow. What a loving idiot. Blood's just pouring out of him and he's trying to talk. I hop up into the bed of the truck with him and his hot blood is soaking into my denims. I'm trying to pull the thing off of him but that just makes the blood spurt out more. I put it the gently caress back, and hope he goes quickly. He doesn't, somehow. He tells me all this poo poo about how he came to Gunfarm to be safe, and how he hated all the fighting "out there". Saying how he doesn't even mind dying this early, since poo poo was so bad all over. Saying how he just wanted to make a decent life and go somewhere quiet. And now, he's screaming out whispers through all the blood in his throat, saying how it's not even the launcher that's crushing him, just his own Damned body. I nodded as he finally kicked off.

Well, I disagree with him in a sense. I got fired because we didn't finish the job, severance package was a few rations and some water to try my luck elsewhere. Seems like I lost out on having the best loving job I could ask for. I'll always miss Gunfarm. On the other hand, I haven't seen a gun in months, and no one's asked me to douse their revolver in jojoba oil. What can I say then? Sometimes I think he did it on purpose. But Kirkman's stupid death set us both free. All it took was scuffing up one Hell of a kick rear end rocket launcher.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I will smash a beer bottle on someone's skull if it helps.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Martello posted:

Gunfarm

by Capntastic


What's up with capitalizing all the naughty big-boy words?

I like the line "like a beehive hosed a boombox" but I have no idea what it means. What kind of rocket launcher is this supposed to be? Post a photo immediately.

I also like the cool post-apocalyptic or at least dystopian warscape. The idea of Gunfarm is awesome, and the wandering road gangs or whatever coming in to order a nice technical or get their gun oiled up or whatever. But holy poo poo, Bitcoins? Seriously? C'mon dude. How the gently caress are Bitcoins still gonna be around in a dystopian world? I want more, without the capitalized swear words and cocksucking Buttcoins. It's like you had a great idea and then just executed it badly because you suck.


If you'll allow me to decompress my though processes, the idea of Gunfarm sort of came about from being a neighboring area to the place described in the song. Describing people as 'randoms' and similar made me think of gang affiliations and non-affiliated people. The line "And the young boys singing softly. Do they ever come back?" was what set me trying to visualize a slightly better place for people to go, and better, to me, meant safety, which meant Gunfarm.

As for the cusses and swears being capitalized, I'd originally expanded on the idea of the graffiti ringing Gunfarm and that, to these barely literate folk, swears and cusses were invoking some major stuff. So, to them, they are worth capitalizing.

Rocket launcher was based off of one of these:


Not that I'm trying to pull excuses, but for this one (as I mentioned on my website, where I've been archiving my entries) I hit the word count too easily. The core of the story would be too vague if I cut it down more, I think.

Also, the bitcoins jab was a veiled meta-reference to this bullshit from last month: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3499299

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I am in, I love transactions!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

High Profile Clients
(976 words.)


I'm outside of a closed corner store digging cigarette butts out of the sand of a grimy ashtray stand. This isn't my intention, it's not why I'm there, but it's something I do subconsciously while I wait. I check my watch, and it's still four minutes until midnight. I line the butts up along the rim of the tray, ordered by length. I've just saved a complete stranger fifteen seconds. I flick the grit from underneath my fingernails out back into the ashtray and start walking to the end of the block. It's warm but I'm wearing a heavy jacket with lots of pockets, and I'm walking fast and stiffly to avoid creasing the large manila envelope I've got pressed against my heart. I'm smiling, in part because I love that pockets let you keep your hands free, but also that after this job, I've got an extra long weekend.

At the end of the block there's a bunch of traffic cones knocked over. They're next to a manhole cover, and I can't quite tell if they're still supposed to be there or not. The hole's covered up, but I put the cones around it in a protective triangle anyways. That's as near as I can imagine it's supposed to be like. If not, they'll be easier to pick up whenever the time comes. That's probably another ten seconds I've saved someone right there, along with the hassle of kneeling. I've got more than enough time to clear these things up, usually, but my watch tells me I've only got about a minute and a half to get to the place I need to be. I hustle to the end of the next block, clutching the envelope to my chest.

There's a four way intersection here, the designated meeting spot. There is a man at the center. As soon as I look at him, all of the lights turn red. That's the signal to approach, so I do. As soon as we're both standing at the center of the intersection, he gets down to business.

"Is everything in order?"

"Of course. My clients are reliable, and I'm that and more." I say.

I pull the envelope out of my jacket and hold it aloft.

"Everyone signed. Set, Anubis, Thoth, Osiris, and the rest. Bes was even interested in doing the voicework for himself, if your production schedule meshes well with his plans."

"Good." he says. "But we've got our own talent lined up."

His utter terseness makes me wonder how long he's been at this sort of thing. This sort of meeting, beyond discreet, was typically only comparable to fictional spies meeting and making a game of one-upsmanship. Regardless, I admire this sort of outwards professionalism, since I've abandoned all pretense of that decades and decades ago. I got the job done, but my clientele and the people I dealt with on their behalf didn't need me to be some robotic man in black. It never did, and it took me too long to realize that. This kid will figure that out soon enough, despite who he's working for.

I hand the envelope over, and he untwists the little red string sealing it. He slides the contents out, two thick sheets of papyrus, fresh and springy. He brushes a few grains of sand off of them, though some are stuck to the ink. This seems to surprise him, since I imagine he's used to the typical "printer paper". Either way, he's been taught what the signatures he's looking for look like. His eyes dart up and down the pages, which reflect the red stoplight up onto his face. Moments are ticking by for us, and I'm not compelled to rush him. We've both got more than enough time, and, again, professional or no, it'd just be rude. He places the sheets back into the envelope and does the string back up. He's placing it into his own jacket, and I tense up for just a moment, until he returns his hand to sight with a second envelope. I know immediately that it's a different one, firstly because it's stuffed with stacks of cash, and secondly because it bears a signature I've seen thousands of times before. As soon as he hands it over and I've peeked inside, I turn to walk away in deference to his style of professionalism.

"What do they need the money for?" He calls after me.

I smile, not just because of my long weekend coming up, but because his tone has some actual curiosity in it.

"Well. Jesus was a carpenter. Muhammad was a merchant. Everyone's gotta get paid, you know?"

This seems to sate him a little bit. He almost nods. I take this as a chance to return the favor.

"I gotta ask though, why the Egyptians? I thought you guys had a good thing going with the Greek pantheon. Couldn't get Zeus to re-up his contract, or something?"

He almost lets himself smile.

"Steve Buscemi, actually."

I'm laughing. The deal is done, and we both walk away. The light turns green, and within a few seconds the wind picks back up. As I get back onto the sidewalk, a car passes entirely unaware that time had stopped at all.

It's a slow enough walk back to my car. I stop next to a trash can, putting a can I found on the way into it. I empty the cash from the envelope into my glove box. I spend a considerable amount of time deciding if I should throw the evidence away face down or face up. In the end, I decide to leave the signature on it visible. Some little kid might pass by and get a smile from seeing the familiar scrawl that is known to represent "Walt Disney", even if it is in a trash can.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

bigmcgaffney posted:

I am stuck at work until like 1030 ET, so I probably won't be able to submit in time. I hang my head in shame beneath the 'Dome. I'll try though. Don't take this as me giving up.

I spent all last night drinking beer with a dog and a pig, and didn't get home until 5am. If you can't power through and crank out 1,000 blood filled words on your phone, I just don't know what to say.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Black Griffon posted:

What the hell, my clock says it's 9:00. Fuuuuuck.

Edit: This was provided earlier in the thread: http://www.thetimenow.com/est/eastern_standard_time

Hahahahaha that's cruel, since it even says "Hey use the daylight savings time version"

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

bigmcgaffney posted:

A View of Mt. Fuji from Beneath the Wave (769 words)

BLOOD! I knew you had BLOOD! in you.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Though I didn't participate this week (having to work 2AM shifts constantly is bad for your brain!!), it's been interesting seeing those that put themselves out there twist and contort to do poems. It'll be more interesting still to see where the hammer drops this week.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

In it to twin it.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

So apparently I had to be in at work at 4AM this morning to unload a truck and didn't know until I got a call at 4:15 saying I need to get my rear end in there. I also have mild food poisoning. I just got home. I haven't slept. I have a sheet of paper with some vague outline notes. Some people say suffering is fuel for art. Let's find out. See you in 6 hours.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Three hours left and I'm sweating and shaking and my eyes are hot and tearing up and my brain alternates between having too much and too little electricity in it. Time to edit. See you in three hours.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

My brain is loving broken. Somehow I managed to turn my sparse outline into nearly 2,000 words. I started with a few key themes and motifs and things got too flabby for them to really pop out. I'm in no state of mind to reliably edit it down, and I feel that the majority of the following is completely bland and artless. Regardless, I offer it up for judgment, since it's what I've created this week. I truly do think that I can spiff this one up at a later date, when I'm not getting crumpled by my own damned frail body. Don't go easy on account of the weakness inside of me. Scour it out of me with fire, why don't you?

Modern Appliances, 1946
1968 words.

The house was instantly filled with a dull noise that receded to an almost tinnitus pitched tinkle as deadbolt of the door slammed into the frame. Lucy had tried to kick it shut with her heel, since her hands were full, and knew that it hadn't worked as soon as that terrible noise triggered a simultaneous burst of adrenaline and memories of similar mistakes. The bolt was always popping out like that, and as much as she hated the idea of repeating the same mistake, she knew her twin sister Darcy just hated the sound. It never occurred to either of them to have someone come out to fix the lock's mechanisms, since it was, ideally, the sort of problem that could be fixed by being more cautious and considerate. That's why whenever it happened, her heart would speed up and hurt a little.

She set the heavy stack of two boxes she was carrying down on the kitchen counter, taking a second to turn around and shut the door properly, before sliding the top box off, laying them down side to side. She called for Darcy to come out to the kitchen with no response. She used the fingernail on her thumb to cut through the beige piece of cellulose tape and opened the first box. It was packed tight with wiry straw, like a nest. Deeper inside was something smooth and white, and this was what she dug out. It was a Belmont radio, a beautiful thing with a pristine Bakelite shell. It was the cleanest thing in the house. "Come and look at 'em!", she called to her sister. She began unpacking the second one, knowing her sister wasn't feeling up to it for whatever reason. It was one of those nights.

They both loved music, and had wanted a radio since the war had ended. They'd been too poor to get one before, and too afraid to get one during. But luck finally had given them the chance. It wasn't good luck, though. Horace Brader's wife had fallen ill with tuberculosis several months prior, and Horace had been trying as hard as possible to keep strong for his wife, keep sane for himself, and keep his ledger in the black, for Brader's Appliances, which he owned. He worked like a madman during the weeks, and every Friday he would come to the florist shop where Lucy worked. He called ahead each and every time, to tell Lucy to make the best arrangement she could, given the season and available stock. When he arrived, he'd have her show her the get well soon cards he had her order, sometimes having to seek out companies and distributors from out of state just to keep from having any repeats. He'd borrow her pen, always, to sign the card "I love you, Horace" before putting it into the envelope, and then head off to dedicate the entire weekend to staying next to his ailing wife.

She'd always felt odd, making all of these decisions for him. It almost seemed like he was cheating by having Lucy select the flowers and cards for him. Even so, she did her best, and Lucy had never felt so trusted with anything so important before. It had been six months of these romantically gratuitous orders, when Horace didn't call or show up. Completely unsure of what to do, Lucy brought the arrangement (zinneas and lupines in orange and purple, just the thing to bridge Summer and Fall) to the hospital herself. A nurse led her to the room and let her in. Horace's wife was in an iron lung, and though he'd described it to her, she was unprepared. Seeing a human being completely immobilized, needing an enormous machine just to breathe, was something she didn't think you even could be prepared for. She saw Horace's wife's face, upside-down in the mirror above the iron lung, and made eye contact with it. She told her that her husband would be a little late, and that she'd brought some new flowers. She left the flowers on the table, next to the card (cleverly kept discreetly unsigned within the envelope) and quietly excused herself, trying to brush the devastating sadness of the encounter off of her mind by focusing intently on what the flower arrangement must look like upside-down.

Horace called the shop the next day from the hospital, apologizing for being late, and welling up with absolutely pure appreciation for the gesture. He invited her to come on down, and to have anything she wanted, on the house. She tried to turn the offer down, but eventually relented, deciding that it would be fair to take one radio for free and pay full price for the other one. No haggling, even.

Lucy was wondering if her sister was even home as she set the radio up. It fit nicely on the bedside table in her room, though she'd have to put her hairbrush somewhere else from now on. She saw a small spark light up the inside of the socket as she plugged it in, and there was a low hiss of static emanating from the radio. It sounded something like gas from an un-lit oven, and she slowly turned the knob up, filling the room. And then it was the other knob's turn. Voices and instruments came and went, forming and dissolving out of the blur of pure noise. She went from one edge of the band to the other, absolutely pleased and dismayed at what her sister was missing out on. She brought the second radio to her sister's room, and found Darcy sitting at her desk reading. She didn't seem too enthused so far, so Lucy went through the same ritual as before after plugging it in. She slowly moved the dial up and down the band, presenting the entire range of radio entertainment to her sister. Halfway through the return trip as the needle homed in on a station, Darcy looked up and said "Stop; leave it there." Lucy did so.

It was a jazz station, broadcasting some raunchy, surging performance. They'd both heard the song before, in "Gilda", the recent Rita Hayworth film. "Put the Blame on Mame", which juxtaposed the 1906 San Francisco earthquakes with one woman's raw sexual power. The film itself was definitely more of a Darcy thing than a Lucy thing, though they'd both joked about wanting Hayworth's dress from it. Darcy was more of a Hayworth, anyways, preferring to be moody and trying to appear sultry. Lucy could never quite figure out the appeal. It was too impractical.

The new radios were used constantly, the sounds mingling between the two rooms, filling the house the twins shared. Though Darcy kept it tuned to the jazz station, turning the radio on or off when she chose to listen, Lucy preferred to scan the entire spectrum available to her, often enjoying a radio drama or adventure. Nero Wolfe quickly became her favorite, because Nero Wolfe reminded her however slightly, of Horace. He certainly had an affection for food that rivaled Horace's devotion to his wife; and she couldn't do anything but respect that. That deep, serious appreciation for something always seemed to elude her, and it was impossible to tell why. She knew she wanted to develop specific tastes, like Nero Wolfe or even her own sister Darcy, but it always seemed like getting too involved in something would prevent her from enjoying other things. She didn't want to become withdrawn and moody, like Darcy. She was content to respect that mindset from a distance.

Weeks later as she was raising the volume to truly enjoy an episode of The Adventures of Superman, without any noise or physical resistance, the knob simply popped off in her hand. It would never have occurred to her to take it into Horace's shop to have to have it fixed, since she did not want to bother him about something that was free. She assumed that one could reach in and move the little metal rod with their fingers, although she was absolutely terrified of the dangers of electricity. She simply learned to deal with unplugging the radio when she was finished listening, and plugging it back in again later. She learned to deal with the small sparks in the outlet, and never noticed that when her radio was plugged in, it was always louder than Darcy's.

Eventually, as Christmas grew closer, Lucy received a visit from Horace at the flower shop. He was more than joyful to announce that his wife would finally be coming home, and that, unfortunately, he would not be needing her services anymore. She was pleased to retort that his was the sort of business she would be glad to lose. He had brought her a new gift- a German invention called a Starmix food processor. "Leave it to the loving krauts to invent a garbage disposal that lets you keep the garbage!" he joked. She would never be able to tell how someone could mix anger and joy so easily, when the war had only ended four years ago. After his burst of jovial hatred, his expression softened and he assured her, winking, that it was made as a way of repaying American women for borrowing their men for so long. Taped to the side of the box was his wife's special apple tart recipe, perfect for the cold weather. She couldn't help but accept it.

Once she made it home, she plugged her radio in and let Nero Wolfe drown out Darcy's jazz with an adventure, while she got down to the business of preparing dessert. As she was giving the Starmix its inaugural run with half of an apple, the house filled with the sharp noise of plastic shattering. Her heart sped up and hurt a little, as she (and this would become a joke for years) wondered if the Starmix was actually a device created by the Germans for revenge. But no, the noise was coming from her room. She smashing continued as she ran to see what was happening.

Darcy had torn the radio from the wall and was ramming down onto the bedside table over and over. Thin shards of white Bakelite were spilling everywhere, and Lucy could see the dark gleaming insides of the radio, despite it being rapidly shaken back and forth. Crying already, and with none of the vocal composure Rita Hayworth would have in such a situation, Lucy shouted "Stop; leave it there." Darcy did so. They didn't hug. They didn't talk about this until years afterwards.

It was impossible to understand her sister, sometimes, Lucy knew. And she could guess that it was just as hard for Darcy to understand her. She had started to realize, albeit just a little spark, why Darcy was never particularly outgoing. If these two twins could only ever guess at what the other one was going through, what hope could anyone else ever have? But at the same time, she knew that if someone like Horace Brader, knowing nothing about his wife's favorite flowers or seasonal arrangements or even signing his name legibly, could express such a pure love to his wife through sheer determination and consistency, that there had to be something more to loving someone.

In the end, Lucy and Darcy forgave each other without ever needing to say it. They ended up trading radios, as the Belmont still worked despite the horrifically broken shell. Darcy was even clever enough to figure out you could use a screwdriver to adjust the volume up and down (though she used an oven mitt the first couple of times, to be safe.) The radios each stayed in their rooms for decades, long after the Starmix's motor eventually burned out.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I'm just glad I finished my business and can now pass on to the next life. . .

Some of the fancy tech from my story:

The Belmont, made in good old USA, out of supermaterial "Bakelite", one of the first plastics:



A video for the Electrostar Starmix, the first food processor, and released by a German company only four years after WW2. Talk about exciting stuff!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Well I just woke up and feel sentient again, so lemme take a few hours to edit last night's breakdown into something a bit more readable and I'll submit.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Are people double spacing their submissions??

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Marching to our deaths screaming is the Thunderdome Style.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Black Griffon posted:



Capntastic
The point is that this took me a minute and half, regardless if it's an improvement or not. You have too many words. Dull

Yeah, I won't even blame this on my physical state at the time of writing, I have a tendency to get pretty wordy. Sometimes it works out for very specific, complex actions, but stuff like unpacking a box doesn't need that attention.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

In it, of course.

Old people are cool.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

I screwed up



Judges on the left, Me on the right

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Sitting this one out, but already smirkin' at the ways people are interpreting the prompt. Good luck, folks!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

In, or else.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

ETA on the submission? Is it 2AM on Saturday Morning or 2AM tomorrow morning (the 19th).

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Hoar Frost
862 words

Faisal shifted his weight and pressed his palm onto the cold ground as he went from kneeling to laying on his side. He didn't break eye contact with his family. He enjoyed this position, closer to the ground, and slightly removed from the common eye level of the others. Together they all watched him bring his hand up, watched as the frost melted, and listened as it dripped down his arm and onto the ground. It was all he was able to offer at the time, outside of the warmth his wisps of exhalation brought. He knew the air was communal, and knew that those breaths were all that sustained them as a group.

No one had said a word about his change in position, and Faisal went back to listening. The breath of the older man, his father, had slowed in recent times. Deeper, more patient. Faisal couldn't imagine what could be waited for. His sister, who he loved dearly, was the epitome of rhythm in this regard. He often fell into synch with her, as a matter of course. She used to laugh when she noticed, and try to set herself apart. Mother's eyes were closed again, and this was normal enough. She was quiet to the point that all Faisal could do to reassure himself of her presence was scan the air to see her breath. He could make a noise of course, and her eyes would snap to attention, but he wanted her to rest. His own lungs rose and fell as always, and it was a burden to ignore this. He liked to keep his mind on other things.

He'd keep eye contact even when the others were sleeping. It was an automatic responsibility. Only when he slipped and looked past his family, beyond the small glow of light and warmth they provided, did he remember exactly why he had to keep at it. His sister used to spend time suggesting the things that might be out there, good or bad. It was known to all involved that this was a thought exercise meant to prevent the mind from falling into disuse. It was a courtesy, and perhaps a responsibility for her that she took on of her own will, automatically. Faisal couldn't stand it, but appreciated her intentions.

Eventually he slept, his eyes closing into a different type of blackness, breaking contact with his father. His body was dull and empty matter during this time, as lifeless as the dirt he was laying on. Faisal's limbs stiffened as his breath slowed to an imperceptible minimum. His skin grew cold as frost settled on it. His hair and fingernails grew. Eyelashes fell off. Every second of this period of blank repose was scrutinized by eyes he could not be aware of. He was sustained by the knowledge that his stillness would be observed, even while his slumber deprived him of knowledge.

When he opened his eyes, and rejoined the family, all three were focused on him. His father inhaled, paused for a second, and spoke.

"I've come to a decision. You will be leaving us."

It took until the frost of his father's breath touched him for it to register. Even then, Faisal's father continued to fill the air with his voice.

"You squander too much heat. You're lax in your duties to us. We will all be better with you gone."

Voiceless noises escaped Faisal's throat as he tried to form an argument, but he knew his father's nature. The decision was as solid and cold as the ground. His sister was looking down at the ground. Had she known this was going to happen? Had they spoke of the matter while he was asleep? How long had this been in motion? He wouldn't be able to know these answers. All he could do was comply with the decision.

He shifted his weight to his hands, and struggled to put his feet down underneath him. His tendons cracked, and he felt the cold and numbness as blood rushed to his muscles. He hadn't stood up in so long. He lurched forwards as his balance was thrown off by the sudden perspective change. Looking down on his family from this angle was entirely new. How much taller had he grown since this had begun?

He clutched at his shoulders to keep the warmth close to him as he began to step away. His own light was dim, and he could barely be certain of where he put his feet down. His family receded into the distance. For a moment, he considered staying just outside the edge of their sight. It would be too cold, and he would not be able to sustain himself once he slept. The blood continued to surge through his body. They had cast him out, truly.

His entire posture changed, as his body responded automatically to what his mind was focused on. His inhalations were pure, and deep. Knowing there was nothing out there in the cold and blackness, and knowing that his family could kill him with a single decision, he moved in a way he never had before. He began running.


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Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

At an initial glance, it looks like everyone selected different pictures. And no one picked any of the ones with his cross in it. Interesting!!

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