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Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Consider me signed up. I wrote my piece, but I'm going to take some time to edit and rewrite it at least.

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Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Yes, I am quite clever. If I get declared the Loser, I can claim this piece was just an experiment. And I don't even have to say what the experiment is, because that would screw up the results! (oh god I hope I'm not the Loser)
It also bent the prompt a little bit, but it was literally the first thing I thought of when you told us to write 'potato stories', because I am secretly a 12 year old boy.

The Priest's Choice - 688 words

"It's just that... if I give up my potatoes, will I...? It's not that simply, you have to understand. It's a big deal." Renaud stared into the sunset, trying to ignore Gerald's presence. His scent.

"Aren't you a little old to be using euphemisms like that, Father?"

He couldn't ignore his body... his masculinity anymore. Not once he started talking. "I don't like how you say it, that word."

"What word?" Gerald smiled. "Father?"

"Yes. You know that. I don't like it when you mock me like that. I wish you'd understand."

Gerald's smile faded. He knew it was cruel, throwing out barbs like that at a time like this. He grappled for words, his hand clenching at nothing. "I'm sorry. But you said it yourself, it's a big deal. Can't we talk about it like adults? And anyway, you don't have a choice. There's only one option."

"It's not that simple!" Renaud turned, his hands halfway between a prayer and trying to wring Gerald's neck. "Faith isn't that easy! I'm dealing with something that's... look. I know you don't buy into it. I'm fine with that... I'll admit it, I like that. But it's important to me, don't you see?"

"Isn't it what you've always wanted? To be free of your 'burden."

"It's not that simple." Renaud repeated, slumping down against the balcony. "They say it affects your sex drive. Dampens it. What if I no longer feel the temptation?"

"Temptation?" Gerald whispered, "Is that all it is?"

"You know it isn't, you bastard. If you're going to be cruel, you can just leave right now. I've had enough, right now. I don't need you.... pulling me apart like that."

Gerald stared down at his hands, feeling the hot rush of shame and guilt across his face. Renaud was right, he was being cruel. He couldn't understand what the priest was going through. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I just thought you'd be happy. It's always been a burden for you. Isn't it God giving you relief?"

The silence stretched out before them, interrupted by the quiet sounds of the country side and low rhythm of the forest. The cry of an owl was the only interruption, the solo in this grassland jazz.

"'Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.' It's quite clear - the crippled, the blind, the disfigured... the castrated. He should not approach God. Why would His relief take me away from Him?"

Gerald stepped forward, gently placing his hand on Renaud's shoulder. "That's not the scripture you always preached. 'The one who can accept this should accept it.' Isn't that what you always told me? Every time I asked you if you'd... that's what you always said. Isn't it the same?"

"I don't know. How can I? On the one hand it's a curse... on the other hand it's a blessing. How can I know what to do? How...?" The man, still young and handsome, wept. Silent tears wracked his body, great shuddering gasps with only the deep intake of breath to mark their coming and going.

"It's not just God you're worried about, is it?" Gerald whispered. "You're afraid that it's all... that we're an illusion. A 'base desire', you called it. Right?"

Renaud stayed silent, the tears streaming down his face.

"You know I don't care about that." Gerald pulled him into a tight hug. "I wouldn't still be here, if that was what I cared about. It'll change you, I understand that. But you'll still be you. It'll still be the same man underneath... I know that."

Renaud finally let loose a cry, a low sad groan of anguish. He gasped, and another one escaped his lips. "Why me? Why me?"

"I don't know," whispered Gerald, squeezing him tighter still. "I don't know. We've just got to live with it. I don't know why the cancer... I don't know. But I'll still be here. I promise."

Gerald held him like that, something beyond a mere lover, as Renaud cried into the night.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


This competition is really scary! So many good stories... and I'm already down 20 points! Am I... destined to lose!?

Edit: Also I'm probably going to lose another 20 points for editing my post four minutes after posting it. I just couldn't help myself!

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


No! NO!


Actually that would probably be better than this old as hell avatar. I demand some sort of avatater with it though.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Ugh, the wait is killing me. The more I look at my piece, the more things I notice that are wrong. The beginning has all the subtly of a sledgehammer, the ending is schmaltzy as all hell... I'm at the point where the only part I'm halfway proud of is the middle. Just declare me the loser already!

The whole thing has been really fun and educational though. Never really messed around with subtext before, or did flash fiction. I'm seriously amazed at how much story everybody was able to fit into ~600 words. Plus all the stories are fun, I think I like Chantilly Potatoes the best.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Apparently!

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_eSwq1ewsU

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Chain of Command is a seriously good episode and I couldn't help but imagine Patrick Stewart snarfing down lunch meat and screaming at his mom's ghost.


...poo poo, I have a thing for insane creepy french guys

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


We should get bonus points for getting in on the first day. Early bird special.

Also I'm in. Gonna write a story about menopause in a fallout shelter.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Martello posted:

-5 points for asking for bonus points.
Nautatrol Rx's avatar is better

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Thanks Pipes!, the avatar are awesome.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


The More Things Change... (445 words)
Jerry had been drafted into the Surface Expedition Force, and I was a wreck. I mean, really, eating puree and sobbing in front of the entertainment center! What am I, a walking cliché? It didn't help that my mother had decided to stay over at my habitation pod to "lend a shoulder to cry on." So far that had meant sighing in disappointment and picking up my utiliforms.

"You know what you need, dear?" She said cheerfully while shaving away the stubble on my head.

"I swear, Mom, if you start talking about careers again, I'm going to scream!"

"Oh, come on, don't be like that. Ruth's daughter Lizzie started working in the nitro-pits, and she hasn't been happier."

"That's because they implant a serotonin injector in your head before they send you down there." I replied grumpily. "I don't want to be a career woman! I want--"

"Yes, yes, you want to be a mother and raise a family. It's great that you're trying to be one of those 'new wave' feminist and all, but really. You're almost twenty two! You really should have your first rank promotion already."

I scowled, and went back to eating my puree. I really hoped she would take the hint and leave me alone, but no such luck.

"Emily 921! Stop being such a... Well! I'm just saying, when all the other mothers get together at the Nutrition Center, they all talk about the wonderful careers their children are having. And what do I get to say? 'Oh, she doesn't have a career, my daughter is trying to find a man and settle down.' It's unseemly!"

"There's nothing wrong with wanting kids, Mom! It's not like forty years ago, the Vaults don’t have population controls. We're allowed to reproduce freely!"

She sighed, and gently applied the aftershave to my scalp. I had to admit, it was a very nice gesture to use some of her rations on me. I had dropped my bottle down the sink two weeks ago, and resigned myself to an itchy skull. "I know you want to be a breeder, dear. But a woman's place is in the workforce. When you put those newfangled ideas out of your head, I've got a friend who works at the re-filtration plant and I already set you up an interview--"

I screamed and stomped into my refreshment bunk. Why couldn't she just understand? I didn't want to spend my life working. I wanted to be a housewife. But with Jerry gone, that wasn't looking very likely anymore. Why was it so hard for a young woman like me to reproduce?

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


quote:

A fresh chopped avocado dressed with lime juice, crushed red pepper, and salt
:woop: gonna ignore all your other criticism and focus only on the positive!~

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


I don't know about anybody else, but the prompts that force me outside my comfort zone combined with the small word counts really put the flaws in my writing on display. I hope it'll make me a better writer, but at the very least I know where I suck.

(A woman in a society that looks down on having kids, represented by her mother, is hella incoherent and if I had more space I probably would have made it her boss or something, I don't know)
(Also it's not reverse feminist, it's feminism in a setting where gender roles have been reversed :colbert: )

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


It's going to be so fun in a year to do a 'Best of Thunderdome' post. Count me in too.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Tried to write a story focused around Xeer in Somalia, but it could work. So I took the easy route instead. Hopefully I didn't gently caress up the Portuguese too badly. Either way, it's a pretty mediocre story.

Cracolândia, 1178 words

Afonso stared at the stocky, caboclo man laden with gold chains. The meeting was making him nervous. The boys from Comando Vermelho had pulled him out of his apartment and brought him here. Outside, a couple teenagers manned the stalls, selling marijuana and cocaine in small bags.

"Do you know who I am?"

Afonso shrugged. "A traficante, I guess? I try to stay clear of the CV. I don't poo poo where I sleep."

The man laughed. "Yeah, you're right, daquele jeito. You stay clean so you don't become an alemão. I'm a big man in the CV. This is my corner."

"The big man got a name?"

"Gaspar. You know why you're here?"

"Probably because I hosed up," Afonso replied. "Probably because I pissed you off some how. Not sure what I did, really. Like I said, I stay clear of the CV."

"Wrong. You pissed us off, you'd have caught a bala perdida. Naw, I just want you here for some papo reto. I need you to do something for me."

"A job? Why can't one of your boys do it?" Afonso scratched his beard and leaned back into his chair. He didn't have a chance to shave before this 'meeting' - the water wouldn't be on for another few hours, at dawn.

"My boys might be part of the problem. Can I get you something? Pó? Maconha?" Afonso nodded, and grabbed a bit of marijauna. He carefully rolled up a joint while listening to Gaspar the Big Man. "You know the deal we've got with the other gangs and the BOPE. No crack in the comunidade. We put it in years ago, and people have been following it. Except somebody is selling that poo poo in my territory."

"And you want me to find him? What if it's one of your boys?"

"Then I'll deal with him. You just find out who. I'll pay good, and the CV will owe you. I just don't want that poo poo coming back around here."

Afonso scratched his beard again, and thought about it. He didn't really have much of a choice - he lived in Comando Vermelho territory. If they wanted his help, he'd have to give his help. "Yeah, I'll do it. Just don't be mad about what I find."

"Good," Gaspar smiled, flashing his teeth like a shark.


The sound of kids tormenting a dog woke up Afonso. It was late in the morning, and the strange meeting early felt like a dream. The roll of reais in his pocket meant that he had no such luck. He groaned, and lurched over to the small bathroom. A private bathroom was a luxury around here, but Afonso was a private man. Besides, he could afford it. There was always lots of work for guys like him.

He carefully shaved and rubbed coconut oil into his scalp. Fortunata had promised to braid his hair, but then he had gone and pissed her off again. It was his own drat fault, of course, but he just wasn't the type to settle down. Even if he was old and worn out, long past his prime.

He rolled up some erva and smoked it before grabbing his chumbo and heading out. He figured that to find a crack dealer, you'd just follow the crack heads, and that meant walking along the Gaza Strip in Manguinhos. Afonso wasn't expecting any trouble, but he'd still want some protection.

The Gaza Strip, an encampment of crack heads along the rail line, smelled like dog piss and vomit. The zombies wandered around shamelessly, not caring who saw them gently caress and poo poo in the open. Why would they care about one more set of eyes?

Gaspar seemed to be right. Small groups would break off, slowly shuffling towards his territory, looking for a hit. Afonso laid back, watching the slow migration. He'd follow for a few blocks, and then break off, waiting for the next group to come on through. It took him a good part of the day to follow them up the morro.

Finally, it seemed he found the place. The zombies would shuffle into a small building. A bit later, he saw them wander out again. A negão come through every now and then, chasing them off. Whoever was dealing in them didn't want the zombies hanging around.

Afonso settled into an out of a way corner, waiting for night to fall. The darkness turned the area into an open-air putaria. The tarados and gatas were out in full force, buying and selling sex like it was going out of business. Afonso debated grabbing some rabo, but he had a job to do. Pleasure could come later.

He picked out a coruja watching out for police or thieves. He was young and prado - Afonso saw a bit of himself in the kid. But he was off by himself, and he'd know who was inside.

Afonso slammed the coruja in the back of the head, and hauled him off into the dark alleyway. He kept his chumbo pressed hard against the kids throat.

"Who do you work for?"

The coruja stared back at him defiantly. Afonso slammed the butt of his chumbo into the kid's face, right above the left eye. It made a sickening crunch, and the rusty smell of warm blood filled the air. The coruja tried to look strong, but tears were streaming down his right eye. His left eye was a ruined mess of blood and gore.

"I'll beat you to death if you don't tell me. Try me."

The coruja sniffled for a bit, then broke. "Big M. Marcelo. He runs the place."

"He sells crack, right?"

"Yeah."

Afonso stepped back and pulled the trigger. The kids throat splattered against the wall. He grabbed a small wad of bills out of the kid's pocket, and walked away. Nobody was going to care too much about a gunshot, not around here. By the time they found the coruja, Afonso was long gone.



"Your guy is named Big M. You were right, he's selling out of your territory. Has a building where the crack heads come in and get high, then he chases them off so they don't hang around."

Gaspar leaned back in his chair. "Big M. You're sure?"

"I can take you out to where they're getting high, you can tell me who runs it. But the name I heard was Big M."

"Alright," Gaspar muttered, leaning back into his chair. "Alright. Alright. Let's take care of this. Pio, take care of Afonso here. After that, we'll go talk to Big M."

Afonso went to stand up, but felt a huge grab his face. Before he could react, Pio had slit his throat like a pig, and dumped him on the side of the chair to bleed out.

Gaspar dialed a number, one he never dared to call before. "I need to talk to the boss. He's nephew is dealing crack in my neighborhood. No, don't worry, nobody knows. But I need to know what to do. Thank you."

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


OH! Yeah, I forgot to mention. I am a straight, white, male, upper-middle class America who lives in a Northern state and has never been to Brazil or a favela

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


The Gaza Strip refers to a particularly big shantytown of crack addicts in Rio, not the actual occupied territory. Expect an in-depth GBS post about the issue of addiction involving inner-city communities and marginalized groups that will totally not turn into a pile of poo poo soon!

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


That's one hell of a prompt, but no guts no glory. Maybe this time I can escape the confining world of mediocrity.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


sebmojo posted:

:siren:FLASH RULE:siren:

The next story posted is exempt from all other rules, but must be truly terrifying.
Motherfucker.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Mad Dog on the Moon, 1000 words

"Suicide. A goddamn mass suicide. Goddamn it!"

"Jesus, Jones, calm down. Come on, we've only got 48 hours until the shutdown, we need to get this place ready to leave, and... the hell are you drinking?"

"gently caress off, I'm on rec time. You want a sip? It's my own special vintage. Jone's Hobo Moon Wine, Vintage 2036. The first, last, and best year for it, you know." Jones held up a beaker full of some clear liquid that smelled like rubbing alcohol. His uniform was a rumpled mess, and Jones himself looked hammered.

"How the hell did you manage to smuggle in... Jesus, this stuff smells like a Vladimir knock off!"

"Didn't smuggle it, Selina, brewed it. Mind if I call you Selina? No reason to be formal anymore. The whole mission is kaput! Don't need to worry about everybody getting along without going into a murderous rage or rampant loving, yeah?" Jones casually tossed a shot glass - really a miniature graduated cylinder - over his shoulder. In the low lunar gravity, it drifted slowly before shattering against the far wall.

"Christ, Jones, call me whatever the gently caress you want. Did you steal supplies to make that, Jones? You know we can't afford any waste!" Lt. Garcia - Selina - could feel a pounding headache starting in the back of her skull. The last six months had been stressful enough, she didn't need the temperamental engineer pulling a stunt like this. Not when the final exfil was so close.

"No, no, you think so poorly of me Selina? I'm hurt. I just saved my sugar rations and asked Wolowitz for his. He's diabetic, he didn't mind. Then I borrowed some unused drums, made an airlock out of spare parts, used my personal allotment to get some yeast cultures, let it ferment, and ta-da! Hobo Moon Wine. It tastes like poo poo, but if I did my math correctly, it has 19.8 percent alcohol per volume. Come on, have a shot."

"We don't have time for this, Jones. We've got a tight schedule to maintain if we're going get this place ready for--"

"It doesn't loving matter, Selina. We could leave this place a loving wreck, and nobody would care. Nobody would loving know."

"You don't know that, Jones. The NASA timetables call for a second round of lunar missions by 2040. We need to prepare the base for a future team."

There was a pause. Selina watched Jones pour himself another shot. The engineer observed it closely, like one of his crystal experiments, before violently shooting back down his throat. "BULLSHIT! loving BULLSHIT, SELINA! Don't tell me that you buy that loving load! We're not coming back, get it? If we were coming back, we'd never loving leave! Do you know how much money it took to get this place going? Huh? Do have any loving idea how much it cost? And we're flushing it down the toilet! All that hard work, wasted! It'll cost just as much as before this get this place up and running again! No, no loving way, this is it. I'm the last man on the moon, stuck here with some drat military bitch whose pissed off because she'd rather be blowing up spics down in Nicaragua instead of making history. So don't you loving tell me that--"

Lunar gravity does strange things to the martial arts. The punch was slow, practically telegraphed, by Selina's reduced leverage. It didn't matter though, Jones didn't even see it coming before her fist smashed against his nose. The force was enough to lift Selina a few inches off the floor, while Jones floated through the air like he was in a comic book. Real punches didn't do that to people, but this was the moon, and here Jones only weighed thirty two pounds soaking wet.

"Don't you loving talk to me like that, you dipshit poindexter white boy rear end in a top hat! I had a poster of Ellen Ochoa on my wall! It's all I ever wanted, to be a loving astronaut! I worked hard, I studied hard, I did everything I loving could! So don't tell me that just because I'm the pilot that I don't understand what's loving happening here!"

Jones wiped a smear of blood from his nose, and got up on shaky feet. "So the ice queen finally melts down. You know we had a pool going on how long until you snapped and either killed or hosed one of us? Wolowitz is going to be really happy. But I'm still on rec time, and so are you. I'm not getting back to work until I finish my drink."

She wanted to punch him again, maybe kick him in the balls a few time. She poured herself a shot instead. It tasted like rubbing alcohol, alright, and burnt the entire way down. "You're still an rear end in a top hat, Jones. Just because you'll never get back up here doesn't mean somebody else won't."

"You think that's what I'm mad about? Are you kidding me? I never thought I'd get to outer space. That's not what it's about. I'm getting drunk because the human species decided that change is hard, so we'd rather all kill ourselves instead. The Earth is being used up, and those idiots back home decided that getting another planet is too expensive. Not when cruise missiles cost over a million bucks. The hope for the future of mankind has to wait, we've got a war on."

"They're planning another mission, though. They're planning to come back." Selina poured herself another shot. It was terrible stuff, but the warmth in belly felt nice.

"Yeah, planning. That's why it's suicide. We have two choices, Selina. We could either keep living how we did, and get to Mars before the Earth runs out. Or we could give up on space, realize that we've only got one Earth, and started living like it. But that's not what we're doing. We're a smoker who tells himself he'll quit after the holidays, right until it's too late."

"You're a sad drunk, Jones. Cheers to the last man on the moon."

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


I guess I'll jump in with "Music for Chameleons".

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Martello posted:

2) Who used to act out the title of the Volbeat song "Angelfuck" until an angry old man cut the angel's balls off?
This kinda sounds like Uranus but not really, since he wasn't an angel, and Cronus wasn't really 'old' at the time, nor a man. Hmm. I vaguely remember a myth about a sea god and a pissed off fisher, but not details on that one.

edit: Also my internet is back and I guess I'm in. I have such special plans for this prompt.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

Was the original idea a shy but intelligent woman making a deal with the devil for her soul to get a magical pen that allows her to write incredible short stories, but the twist ending is that she tricks the devil and wins her soul back and realizes that the talent was inside her all the while?

As everyone knows, I loving love those stories.
Nope, gonna write a dick joke story instead. Hopefully the most amazing dick joke story ever.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


This is probably a terrible idea and going for gross-out horror is probably going make me lose/get an actually legit embarrassing avatar, but oh well. Sorry if this offends anyone.

Lasting More Than Four Hours – 553 words

Nathan Cook carefully recited the strange Greek and Latin words that witch had taught him, and ritually slit the donkey’s throat. Nothing happened immediately, besides a big sticky mess of blood on the floor of his basement. He started to feel a bit silly, wearing the toga and holding the lotus plant in his other hand.

“It appears I’ve been made the fool,” the elderly Bostonian muttered to himself.

“Fools aren’t made, they’re born,” came a deep rumbling voice behind him. The esteemed Mister Cook turned with a start, panicking and wondering exactly how he would explain the heathen ritual to the intruder. His hurried excuse died on his lips as soon as he saw the… thing.

It looked like a man, but exceedingly hideous. Its eyes were dim and drooping, nearly hidden beneath a sloped brow. His nose was wide, with bristly hairs sticking out like wires. Its mouth was too small for its face, and its teeth were a crooked mess of yellow daggers. It stood hunched over, with gangly arms that nearly brushed the floor.

Mister Cook wasn’t looking at the horrible thing’s face, however. His attention was drawn to the more immediate issue of the large, turgid member that jutted out between the creature’s legs obscenely. He stared at it, transfixed. The Prick – it could be described no other way but by the most vulgar word Mister Cook knew – was as hideous as its owner, covered with weeping sores and slowly dripping a foul-smelling discharge. He saw it twitch, as if it knew it was being watched. It was lewdly over-sized, like the genitals of a syphilitic mule.

“Are… are you a demon?” whispered Cook, as he slowly sunk to his knees in horror.

The man-creature chuckled, and shook its head. “I am not so Abrahamic, no. I am a god of the more… classical type. And you are a pathetic old man who lacks the virility to bed even his devoted wife, and far too proud to ask the advice of learned scholars. Luckily,” it pointed to The Prick, “that issue is well within my domain.”

“Dear God protect me.”

“I’m afraid he doesn’t have much to say on your current issue. The fact remains, you have summoned me here to restore your manhood, lest you become the cuckold of your younger bride. I am quite happy to oblige. It’s not often that I am sacrificed an rear end these days, especially one as fine as this. Your prayer has been answered, though I must warn you that my blessing is also my curse.”

“Then I am cured?” Cook reached down to fumble with the belt of his pants.

“Not yet. There is one more task required for my benefit, one I doubt you will enjoy. Barbatis non nisi summa petet.

Cook remembered enough of his school boy Latin to understand what was required. Choking back bile, he nodded his head in agreement.



“…leaving the city marshals with scant clues to explain the series of events that led to this point. At this moment, all is known is that Mrs. Nathan Cook and four other women have been hospitalized for extreme exhaustion, while Mr. Nathan Cook of Boston has died of what examiners described as acute and severe priapism of a bizarre nature.”

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Oh gently caress. I've got to admit, actually trying to write Iambic Pentameter feels me with a deep and abiding sense of dread, and seeing that prompt really made me consider bowing out. But I'm in this to push my own limits, so gently caress it.

I'm in.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

breaking kayfabe
Oh, I know it's not that bad. I got my head around it easily enough in that Intro to Poetry class half a decade ago. It's just actually trying to write using rules and shits, man. I'm a rule breaker, I don't follow what The Authority tells me to do.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Oh, hey, poo poo, it's Thursday already? gently caress, I thought I had another day to edit this. Hopefully I can get in before the wire.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


I finished editing it so that I'm pretty sure it at least meets the 'pentameter' part, but my accent is so hosed and I'm so bad at stresses that the 'iambic' part is a toss up. I guess there's nothing to do but throw myself to the mercy of the judges.

Milly goes to Work

No such trial err’ existed daily
As the fraught-filled travel of sweet Milly
She girds herself in that modern armor
Long overcoat at her neck tightly clasped
Fine black boots of leather upon her feet
To match the dull brownish gloves on her hands
Her helm, the dazzling crowning jewel piece,
A pink knitted unicorn was chosen.
Her face she wore a practiced expression
Blankly but for hint of indifference
This she faced her many tribulations.
The vulgar cat calls and endless jeering
From a diverse collection of fellows
Both girlish terror and maiden fancy
Stoically endured on her bus ride
“Oh, Show us your pretty smile, lady”
As they leer shamelessly her hips and breast
Young men gripped by ‘youthful indiscretion’
And more old men, well practiced at this trade
Some days they rested silently a bit
Other days they came in such multitudes
That the entire earth seemed ruled by brutes
And no sanctuary could yet remain
Her careful mask cracking, almost shattered
Just before her destination was reached
Released, she takes heart and is much relieved
Hopeful that her return no troubles meet
Removing her cover of mythic yarn
So, onward does she goes to her employ
Meeting those troubles of a different sort
But still cousin to those that came before

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Yeah, actually writing down in blank verse showed me that 1.) I actually can write poetry, it's not that hard, and 2.) Good poetry is actually harder than I thought.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Sure, why not, I'm in. I gotta know what's going to happen.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Bad Seafood posted:

Milly Goes to Work
By Jonked

Last
Is not
Least
Except sometimes (not this time).
The morning before
Is often much more
Of a trial than the trial
That comes after.
Gonna be honest, I'm not quite sure what these means, but I guess I'll take it as a compliment?

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Just going to warn you, this one is a bit of a stinker. It's been a rough week.

The El Dorado Oracle, 1027 words

The two young women watched the long black car. It slowly made its way up the dirt road, kicking up great clouds of dust that nearly hid the police car behind it. El Dorado County had been dry this year, just barely shy of a draught. Lake Tahoe itself seemed little more than a puddle. The sisters didn’t worry though. A rain would be coming soon, they knew.

Finally, the car parked in front of the house, and the stately passenger got out. He was handsome, and looked much younger than his 43 years would suggest. His well-groomed black hair had become a bit mussed during the ride, though. He stood patiently by fence gate. It wouldn’t be wise to be impolite.

Lucy glanced over at Darcy, and they had a silent debate. Finally Darcy rolled her eyes, “Fine, you go flirt with him, I’ll get Mama.”

Mama was in the kitchen. Not cooking, of course – Mama never cooked. Just reading her paper and chuckling quietly at the comics. Darcy cleared her throat. She knew Mama knew that they had a guest.

“So Jack decided to show back up, Darcy? Good for him. I assume Lucy out there chatting him up, hmm? Well, bring them in. I suppose he’s thinking about another run at the convention. Isn’t that right, Jack?”

Lucy had known Mama wanted the guest brought in. “Not the same thing, Mama. He’s not playing second fiddle this time. He’s going for the top billing.”
“Well, isn’t that something? Lucy, you grab the sorte. Darcy, you grab the rooster. I think we’re going to need something more than tea leaves for this. Meanwhile, Jack, how about you and I catch up?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he replied in that Brookline accent.

-------------------------------------------------

“It doesn’t seem right, Darcy, is all I’m saying.”

“You say that every time, Lucy. Look, they know what they’re getting into. They come in here, they ask questions, we give them an answer. They’re happy, we’re happy, everybody’s happy. We never tell them it’s the answer they want to hear. Stop feeling so guilty.”

“I just don’t think we should make money off of something like this. Taking it just seems… wrong.”

“Sis, we’re oracles. We need to eat. They want to give us gifts and payment for a show, well, you remember the Hayride. This isn’t any different.”

“It’s very different. Jack isn’t a slime ball like Cooley.”

The two sisters cackled as they brought in the rooster and the small bag of animal bones. Mama looked up, smiled, and got to business. The ritual was both ceremonial and efficient. “Spirits, guide us! Lords of the Four Winds, come to us! Ethereal Beings, we beseech your wisdom! Apollo, we beg your blessing! Apollo! Apollo!”

Jack shifted uncomfortably in his seat at the call for Apollo, his knuckles feeling the phantom bruise of a nun’s ruler, but kept quietly.

“This man comes seeking guidance! He is faced with a choice, and wishes to know his fate! Darcy, the bones! Lucy, the liver!”

Darcy threw down the bones, clattering on the cheap china plate. She stared at them intently for a moment, and then looked up at the man. “If you do not try this year, you shall live a long and fruitful life, but will never achieve a higher office. You shall be known, and respected, and your family will be honored, for a time. But like all men, in time you will be forgotten. Your legacy shall be no great than it is now. But you will lead a long and happy life. This is what the bones predict.”

Jack frowned at this, and glanced over at Lucy. She broke the rooster’s neck with one swift motion, and grabbed the small sharp blade besides her. With practiced ease and a surprising lack of blood, she pulled out the creature’s whole liver, and carefully spread it out on the table. “If you strive this year, you will achieve, and no man will be more powerful. Your name will become legendary; your reign will be mythical, not unlike the reign of King Arthur. But you will not survive, and will die in office. Your legacy will be greater than you could ever imagine, but you will lead a short and tiresome life. This is what the liver predicts.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------

“I still don’t think it’s right, Mama,” muttered Lucy quietly as she cleaned up the blood. “I don’t think it’s fair to take their money like that.”

“Come on, baby-doll. It’s just entertainment! We just give the adoring crowd what they want, even if it’s only an audience of one. Did you see the way Jack’s eyes lit up? He wasn’t troubled a bit! That man’s going to do it, I tell you. He’s going to run for president. All we did was told him what he already knew. Not our problem if he takes this mumbo-jumbo seriously.”

“Well…” Lucy started, and then halted when she saw Darcy’s glare.

“Well what, baby-doll? Come on, you can tell your Mama. If you don’t want to do it anymore, I won’t force you. You’ll just have to get some sort of job to help cover the bills, but you won’t have any trouble with that.”

“It’s not that, Mama. It’s just… sometimes I’m not sure if it’s fake. Sometimes I’m not really sure I’m making it up on the spot. I mean, I just say whatever nonsense comes to my head, or goes off of what Darcy says, but it feels… Oh, I don’t know!”

Lucy gave up trying to explain her feelings as her mother’s peals of laughter filled the room. She blushed, embarrassed and annoyed that she said anything.

“Baby-doll, don’t be silly! You told Jack he’d win the election if he tried, and last week you told that Richard fellow that he would be president too. Now, I might be a bit out of date with my politics, but I’m pretty sure only one of them can win.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right, Mama. It’s just a show.”

Lucy shared a look with Darcy, and the two sisters both knew they weren’t convinced.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Oh Hell Yes.

I'm submitting hopefully tomorrow, MAYBE tonight.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


I missed last weekend due to probation, but as a reward I get a nice interesting prompt to jump in with!

Count me in.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


V for Vegas posted:

Not so keen now huh, bub.
oh god it's the baker job all over again.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Well, I'm not going to win NaNo, might as well get back on the weekly grind instead. Plus you've only got seven competitors? Like, seriously? Did the collective non-gendered metaphorical balls fall off of CC?

But yeah, I'm in.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


What Else Can You Do - 703 words

Richard taps his pen against the pad, pretending that he hadn't memorized the license plate number months ago, didn't already know the make and the model and the year. A kid was walking by, holding a camera in front of his face, and Richard studiously ignores him - just somebody trying out a new camera, or getting stock footage, or the like. He begins to fill out the ticket. Illegal parking without a permit - the meter had expired just over twelve minutes ago. He had restrained himself, drove the squad car around the block once, before coming back to the silver Benz on the corner of 46th.

Arnie had gulped down some of his whiskey soda and nodded his head. "It's the same guy. I'm telling you, it's the same guy. Tiberius Derbyshire III. When you pull all the strings and get to the center, the guy who took my pension took your 401k. It's the same guy."

"Hey fellas, what's that you're talking about?" Tony had yelled, barging into the conversation like he usually does. Richard explained how Arnie was a CPA, figured out who was at fault for his decimated pension, how Richard had given him his financial information and the same guy had ruined his retirement plans. Tony had laughed in that boom of his and asked Arnie to figure out where his stock portfolio had gone.

Tiberius had taken it.

Richard goes into the squad car, finishes putting the ticket into the computer. It's a small fine, in the grand scheme of things, and doesn't even cost points. No demerits. It was a small thing, a minor inconvenience, but what else can you do?

He pulls out his cell phone, dials Arnie and tells him about the ticket. "No, he didn't see me. No. I'm just another traffic cop. Okay. Okay." He agrees to meet him later at the chapter house and hangs up.

Richard had found more victims, with only a scant few clues from Arnie. It was amazing how much information the NYPD kept on everybody and anybody. The concierge at the Pierre whose wife lost her job and her health insurance after a start up goes down. A couple dozen taxi drivers, all with the same pension plan that turned insolvent. There’s the sous chef at Atera, who had been saving up for decades. Each one gave Arnie more strings to pull, which gave Richard more victims to find.

"This is the man who ruined your life," he said quietly a thousand times. He slides the picture of the arrogant little bastard across the table. "His name is Tiberius Derbyshire III." He watched them carefully, was selective and cautious. Still, not yet has a single person turned him down. Zero times a thousand was still zero. But what else could they do?

Arnie found an IRS agent, does as much as he can. Richard recruited two other cops who suffered the same way, recruiting more in turn. They are all exceedingly careful. They can't risk losing their jobs, not in an economy like this. They do what they can.

He takes off his police cap and walks into the chapter house - Tony's old restaurant; they all chip in to pay the rent and keep the bar going. It's a rundown, dingy place, with few customers who aren't part of the conspiracy. It used to be the only chapter house, but now it's more the headquarters. First among equals.

"A parking ticket," he says while Tony pours him a drink. "What else can we do?"

Ahmed runs a corner store near 12th. "I ordered less of the Marlboros. We should run out of the kings before he comes in on Friday. It's something."

It's a small victory. An annoyed hedge fund manager buys pall malls instead, or walks to a different store. A minor inconvenience, but perhaps the straw that will break the camels back. Arnie would give him more names. He would find more victims. A warehouse foreman in Baltimore will 'lose' a shipment of Stolichnaya elit, headed for a downtown liquor store.

A thousand little cuts from a thousand little people. What else could they do? They do what they can. What else?

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


Oh goddamn it I never fixed the street name.

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Jonked
Feb 15, 2005


One-Line Autobiography

He knew enough statistics to know he wouldn't win, so he bought the lottery tickets instead.