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Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Found Sound posted:

Let's do this.

The optimism/avatar combo is magical.

I'm down for the ruckus.


Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Sincerely, "Enturbulated in Ronopolis" (500 words)

“You’re lookin’ a bit enturbulated, lady.”

Jonnie Tyler stepped from the shadows and leaned against a grimy column in his orange coveralls. I work so hard to remain upstat, but my epaulettes hung askew and I hadn’t even thought of sleeping since I received his message to meet here in this empty parking garage in Old Wogtown at exactly three a.m., and he was late. Of course I was enturbulated.

Then he grinned that infuriating grin-–all sparkling teeth and stubble and deliciously dirty. Adjunct Commodore Lewis, with the Sea Org’s Pacific Fleet at his beck and call, had no such weapon in his arsenal.

I found myself wrapped in his arms without making any conscious decision to move. As an OT-VI, I was supposed to have control over matter, energy, space, and time, but he held some kind of telekinetic sway over me.

“Don’t just stand there looking pleased with yourself,” I said, hoping my tone counterbalanced the sudden weakness in my thighs. “Why did you have to come waltzing back into my life tonight, of all nights?”

“I couldn’t bear the thought of that pompous windbag Lewis promenading you around the Gala tomorrow like a show pony--”

“You’re calling me a horse?”

His smile wavered.

“Like a diamond-encrusted--”


“Like a bejeweled trophy?”

“Better. Go on.”

“So I blew from the RPF.”

“Oh, no. No, you don’t just blow from the Rehabilitation Project Force. You’ll be Declared!”

“My Goldenrod Order was on the net five minutes after the eleven o’clock station check. I’m officially an SP, my dear.”

“Are you Type III? You’ll get us both killed!”

“Look.” He reached into his coverall pocket and produced a tiny speck of circuitry. He turned around. Now I could see the bloodstained back of his collar; the rust-red flakes leading to a hole behind his ear. “I’m off the grid. They can’t track me. Listen, I’ve got a Havana-bound hovercraft waiting. I want you to come with me.”


“Beyond the Atomic Curtain, where men walk free. Please. Samantha.”

I shivered at the way he said my name. His longing, his desperation--it was overwhelming. I looked up into his eyes, the irises a faded blue winter's day, and I knew.

“How does it feel?” I asked.

“How does what feel?”

“To be a Suppressive Person.”

He smiled that dirty smile.

“Honestly? I’ve never felt as free as I do right now.”

“Oh, Jonnie. Let me see your neck again. I’m sure a touch assist will make it feel all better.”

He turned.

That’s when I hit him with the micro-taser and called in the Office of Special Affairs.

As they dragged him into the Bag Van, I could hear the accusation in his muffled screams. That’s life in the big city, Jonnie. You thought I’d go on the run just because you’ve got something that makes me quake when I see you, but you forgot:

I work so hard to remain upstat.

Realized I should add a glossary.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Stuporstar posted:

the world is broken and i am meat

This was loving amazing.
I slotted you for winner for this, even though it barely meets the criteria, but BudgieInspector's was in my top three and the other judges liked it better.

Seriously. Mind-blowing imagery and jokes? I was positive that the Muffin would take this round.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

What do I do if I'm a cultural mutt with a little bit of a lot of things?

What can I say? My family gets around.

Are you an albino transgendered Zoroastrian Ethiopian-Inuit?

(If so, I know a nice intersexed Rastafarian Einu-Sami you ought to meet.)

We give no shits what your ethnic background is, except in the sense that you make an effort to get the hell out of your comfort zone. There has to be someplace where one of your ancestors didn't get freaky with the locals.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Autumncomet posted:

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

Bring it.


EDIT: Just re-read and caught the non-white bit. You can have white characters, just not able-bodied, hetero, male, white Americans. Subtracting any of those elements will work fine.

Canadian Surf Club posted:

If you thought the entries on women were terrible I can't wait to see the reaction to people writing on entirely different cultures.

Failure to research will be severely punished. It's not as though the entire world isn't online. Having a character find it difficult to communicate in Rio de Janeiro because he or she doesn't speak Spanish is a stupid mistake. Having a character easily obtain a ham and cheese sandwich in Jerusalem is another stupid mistake. Having your character on the island of Yap pay for everything in stone Rai is a less-stupid mistake, but it's still something you could fix by reading the drat Wikipedia article.

Also: However exotic your characters' cultures may seem to you, they will not seem the least bit exotic to your characters. If you want some insight on how weird your day-to-day existence seems to the group you're writing about, try to find a message board for expats living in your country. You're the freaky foreigner here.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Martello posted:

Noir detective stories set in off-the-beaten-path locales, on this planet.

set in off-the-beaten-path locales

off-the-beaten-path locales

I better see some filmed-on-location, Travel-Channel-type poo poo pretty drat quick.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

I'm posting a 10-point Research Bounty.

If you or someone you know is a member of a group or resident of a locale discussed in this week's batch of stories, and you see a blatant error related* to your group or locale, be the first kid to share the following with the thread and earn a 10-point bump on my own, personal score sheet:

1) What the error is;
2) Why it's an error; and
3) Why you're qualified to accuse your fellow goon.

Be warned, though -- if you suggest that a particular thing "would never happen that way", but the author can source what they assert in their story with a reliable publication, you'll lose 20 points for being (A) wrong about a subject you ought to know and (B) a rat.

*Error must be significant to the culture and environment of the story. A misplaced left turn doesn't count.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

As a judge, I'm disqualified -- but I put in the effort to finish this goddamn thing after three false starts. It won't win any beauty contests.

The Last Resort

I don’t do cold. That feeling when your toes won’t thaw? When the wind whips across your eyes, dragging tears out the wrong corner, and they freeze on your temples? Yeah, no. My toes are made for the sand and my tears are for the departed.

So when I tell you that only one thing could drag a Windward Island gyal like myself up to an English ski resort in the middle of the French Alps, you might want to take my word.

You remember Holly Anderson? That low-res shot on the news, cropped to extract her from the rest of her herd of Alabama sorority sisters–-some of whom were with her the night she went missing from the Gold Bar in Marigot, on the island of Saint-Martin. Five-foot-two, blonde and blue; adieu, cherie, adieu, doux-doux.

How about Olivia Brooks? Nine years old, green dress, all grin teeth even with the braces? Disappeared on the way home from school on the same island about a month earlier? No bells? I’m not surprised. The media—-American, British, French, Dutch—-they were hunting lost white girls that spring and summer, and Olivia was too dark to mention. My niece wasn’t the story they wanted to sell.

My commandant wouldn’t let me work her case and he wouldn’t let me near the press conferences. I tried talking to the news producers. “Such a tragedy, we’re so sorry--anything new on the Anderson case?”

They’d long since gone when, four years later, a group of nudists found her half-buried skull in the waters off of Orient Beach, caved in by a blunt instrument. My mother wrapped her VW Golf around a telephone pole on the way home from identifying her granddaughter’s remains. You know who cared? The life insurance company. They wanted to prove she did it on purpose, but the sharp trails of burnt rubber indicated otherwise. Tears, said the M.E.; her collar was soaked with them. She reached for a tissue at the exact wrong moment.

I had them interred in the family vault. My mum next to my dad, Olivia next to her mother, Camille.

After making a few discrete copies of items in Olivia’s case file, I quietly resigned from the gendarmerie. Kicked my girlfriend out of my condo. Got down to business.

I spent a year going over witness statements, casualty ward admissions, airline and cruise passenger lists, Harbor Master’s records, and hotel registries. I pared down my lists, cutting the very young and very old, the hospitalized, the tourists who were running for the docks or waiting in the terminal at Princess Juliana when Olivia vanished. I looked at the neighbors, my former colleagues, my extended family, the dirty old man at the end of the row who stared a bit too long at the schoolgirls. The process of elimination was slow.

Spent the next year running skip traces on the likelies. The businessmen, the gamblers, the overnighters. Background checks on the locals-–even the ones I’d known my whole life. Had to freelance for a local P.I. to pay for the work. Got to know some unsavory fellas well enough to ask advice.

Then, in October, I got to know Remy Ballieux.

Belgian, mid-forties. Tax records showed investment income averaging two hundred thousand euros annually. He rented a villa that spring on Grand Case Bay. He left for St. Thomas the day after Olivia disappeared. I made some calls. Two little girls went missing from Charlotte Amalie that summer. One was abducted by her father after a custody hearing didn’t go his way, but the other was never found.

I pieced together his past decade’s adventures as best I could. Curaçao, Santo Domingo, Port-au-Prince, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Bangkok, Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Trondheim, Ibiza, Tenerife, Mallorca, Cannes, Monaco, Morocco, Dubai, Banff, Aspen, Disneyworld. I scoured the online archives of the local papers—-the ones I could read, anyway--for mentions of missing kids during his stay. Every single time. The few bodies recovered had heavy cranial damage.

Could be a coincidence, sure. But when I found the property title for his Alpine chalet and saw that the utility bills jumped every December, I started saving for a long Christmas abroad.


He’s all the way on the other side of the restaurant, sweating in the fireplace’s glow, tucking into a raclette, scooping up cheese with thin slices of jambon cru. Even if I didn’t know about him and his appetites, watching that fat bastard shovel an avalanche of cholesterol into his mouth would still make me sick to my stomach. But I guess you don’t need to worry about your arteries when you ain’t got a heart.

I’ve been tailing him around Méribel for a week. It’s hard being inconspicuous—-I stand out like a lone flake of poivre gris in a salt factory. There’s no issue with keeping up with the mark. He can’t go a block at this altitude without panting like an asthmatic bulldog. He leans over his walking stick, gulping the thin air, sometimes reaching into his boot to rub his leg. The fact that I spent so long chasing a man who can barely walk was only a laugh on the first day.

Watching him eat makes me want to scream. I barely keep it together long enough to “l’addition?” the waitress, pay, and get to my rented panel van up the lamp-lit road. It’s deadly cold inside. Beating seven shades of poo poo out of the steering wheel doesn't warm me up at all. I start the engine and turn on the radio while it warms up. A few seconds of blippy techno, then the deejay announces that grand mauvais temps are heading our way. The storm should hit shortly before midnight.

I have to approach the chalet from the back. I can’t have Ballieux spotting boot-prints leading up to and through his front door.

Getting in is easy. Our man stocks his icebox past capacity and hangs the excess out the kitchen window. Tonight, as usual, he forgot to thumb the lock. I throw my duffel bag through before climbing inside.

The place is cozy but impersonal: No photos, no souvenirs, no indication of a personality. No record of kids missing from the area, either, so at least he knows better than to poo poo in his own nest.

I wait in the dark living room, squeezing my old collapsible baton. After two hours, I wonder if he had a cardiac arrest on his way home from the restaurant. The wind picks up outside. Midnight isn’t far off when the outer door bangs open and he squeaks “Merde!” over the sound of the tempest. It takes him an age to unwrap himself in the foyer, even longer to remove his boots, and when he finally opens the living room door I pong him hard up the side of his head before he can turn on the lights.

He’s too fat to lift onto the kitchen chair, so I slide it under him. I go to peel off his left sock and have a bad moment when the foot comes off with it. I take off his trousers to get a better look; his leg ends mid-shin in a knot of scars, bruised from supporting his weight on the prosthetic foot.

Ten minutes later, he’s vertical, naked, plasticuffed, and ratchet-strapped to the stout chair. A straightened wire hanger glows red on the stove’s front burner. Ballieux wakes up when I stuff the sock in his mouth. He tries to spit it out, but I’m faster with my roll of duct tape. The rip-pop-squeal it makes as I wrap it three times around his head is oddly satisfying. His muted protests, doubly so.

I lean in close to his red ear, so close that my breath waves the tufts of white hairs inside, and whisper, “Bonjour, ya mudda skunt.”

I move around so I can look him in the eye for this next part. Oh, he mad, though. Trying to sell me wolf tickets with his stare. I hold up the first picture: Olivia in her last Christmas pageant, dressed in a white choir robe. He looks, then looks back at me without a flicker of recognition. I wonder for a split-second whether I’ve got the wrong fella. I hold up the next photo: Olivia in her school uniform, flashing her braces at the camera. There. Just a twitch, but something clicked. I pull the last card from my deck: Olivia’s skull in profile on a stainless steel table, cracks spreading from a hole about the size of a guilder, braces with bits of seaweed stuck in them.

His eyes bulge. He shakes his head frantically. He’s doing his best impression of an innocent man. But he keeps looking at the picture.

“Oh, you like that one, eh?”

More head shakes. I hold up the first pic again. Boredom falls like a curtain. Switch to the evidence shot. Sudden interest. Maybe a soupçon of pride? I hold up his cane.

“You did it with this?”

The head shake no, but the eye say yes.

I grab a tea towel from the counter, wrap it around the cool end of the wire hanger, and wave the wisp of red metal before his eyes. He screams through the gag.

"You ask her name?"

He's not even listening. He's fixated on the wire. I give him a taste right below his eye. He hollers.

"Listen good, now," I say. "Her name was Olivia."

I tag his forehead with the hanger.

"Olivia. Got that?"

Eyes squeezed shut, he nods like his neck was a spring. I put the hanger back on the burner and pull the folder out of my bag. His eyes are still closed. I slap him.

"You want to pay attention," I say. He opens his eyes. I hold up the next picture, printed from the V.I. Daily News website. "Her name was Gwendolyn. Remember her?"

He stares back, the hate trying to edge out his fear. I show him the stack of pictures, almost an inch thick, then reach back for the hanger.

“Don’t fret, now,” I say, as he strains against the straps, “we got aaaaall night.”

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Am compiling my notes and grading according to the time-tested method of assigning arbitrary point values to smilies and then representing the total as a fruit, vegetable, or tuber. I expect to have these ready tonight.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

If anyone gives a poo poo, now that the next round's been announced, here are your scores (have to multi-post, due to smiley-limits):

Bodnoirbabe -- "Control Within"
Setting: Inside someone's head
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Depending on how you define "main character", either (demon) or (transgendered, lesbian, Otherkin)

for being the first contestant to finish.
for not running spell-check before submitting. ("emptyness", "prefered", "adonis", "immedietly", "I wont get a job ")
because I think it's meant to be humorous.
because I'm not entirely certain.
for "Calisto swiped his claws across Esphaerel's neck, opening a large cut." A "large cut" is what you get when your hand slips while slicing a tomato. You're talking about the sort of damage that a "muscular" jaguar-creature can inflict on an exposed throat. Use words that convey severity.
for name-dropping Dashiell Hammett in the first sentence, then completely abandoning the noir portion of the prompt.
for being "Bodnoirbabe" and not noir-ing the everloving poo poo out of this.

FINAL SCORE: lima beans

Chairchucker -- "I Still Get Paid, Right?"
Setting: An office
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: vertically-challenged, either asexual or gay

for ignoring the "off-the-beaten-path" prompt.
for using 618 words to tell a joke about a midget and a blind African-American ("jive turkey" leads me to believe that the character is supposed to be American... and stuck in the '70s) psychopath who run a detective agency.


areyoucontagious -- "Heart of Darkness"
Setting: Johannesburg, Soth Africa
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Bhaca(?) -- the last name's Bhaca, but he refers to Xhosa as his "native language" and makes no mention of the isiBhaca dialect.

for having all of your South African characters living in South Africa pay for everything in euros. Except for the "gold coin" in the first scene, which I suspect is meant to be real gold, as both the 5-rand and euro coins are bi-metallic.
for "Most people ‘lost’ in Africa met untimely deaths, usually at the hands of unscrupulous criminals." (A) As opposed to the principled criminals who kill people? (B) Really? You have a source to back this up?
for "They are worth millions, but he refused to listen. He would have sold them to this stupid jeweler for a pittance." -- The entire story is predicated upon an amaXhosa(?) man not knowing that diamonds can be worth a lot of money, and being so determined to sell them for the cost of a pack of chewing gum that he ignores any attempt at independent appraisal?

FINAL SCORE: Brussels sprouts

Wrageowrapper -- "Special Forces: The Case Of Nia'Tufus Head"
Setting: Tarawa, Kiribati
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: mentally-challenged, women, Micronesian (I-Kiribati) (?)

for choosing the most "off-the-beaten-path" location this week.
for creating a character with Down's who makes more sense than 90% of people on the internet. Who do you think you are, William Faulkner?
for not doing your research. Everyone knows that all people with Down's live in a penned-in Dutch metropolis.

FINAL SCORE: a suggestively-shaped turnip

Seldom Posts -- "Gin and Blood"
Setting: Johannesburg, South Africa
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: transgendered gay male, African

for so much gender-bending that I'm still not sure who has what genetalia
for building an intricate plot of double-crosses on top of a scene where the main character is close enough to smell booze on a "corpse", but can't be bothered to check for a pulse... or even notice that the body's breathing.

FINAL SCORE: water chestnuts

As Nero Danced -- "No Coming Back"
Setting: Georgetown, Guyana
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: gay male of African descent, disabled

for making the lead character an "ethnic outsider" in his own country.
for having such a character deck a cop at a murder scene and still be able to walk afterwards. Unless you have a source to back up your depiction of Guyana cops as the least coplike cops to ever cop?

FINAL SCORE: cauliflower

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

HiddenGecko -- "The Cave Bear and the Lion"
Setting: Prehistory
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Caveman,

for cavemen
for loquacious cavemen. “My people! A great tragedy has befallen us, the younger son of Lim was murdered,” Gasps and angry yells followed, “he was killed for the selfish reason of bringing me alone into the forest so your only recourse would be to appoint Lim’s family in my stead when I didn’t return!”
for leading me to expect Der to produce a top hat and monocle and invent agriculture. Disappointed.

FINAL SCORE: teosinte

Bad Seafood -- "Brittle Butterfly"
Setting: Afghanistan
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Afghan, Muslim, female, transvestite (but only for practical reasons)

for butterfly bombs
Gonna need a or a to tell me whether an Afghan street urchin would be quoting the Quran in Arabic, or whether the Pashto or Dari translations are used instead.
for collateral damage.

FINAL SCORE: grape leaves

kangaroojunk -- "After the Promise"
Setting: Haiti (?) or Martinique (?)
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: female, insect

for coming up with a story that reminded me of the Anansi tales.
for doing so when the prompt was for noir.

FINAL SCORE: roasted corn in hell

Honey Badger -- "Ghost"
Setting: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: bi-racial (Cambodian & African), gay (?)

for writing the first chapter of a promising cyberpunk story.
for only writing the first chapter of a promising cyberpunk story.

FINAL SCORE: bamboo shoots

sebmojo -- "Lion, in the rain."
Setting: Bangkok, Thailand
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Thai, female (short)

for making your main character a chipper little street urchin, and somehow pulling it off.
for writing an actual story with a beginning, middle, and end (unlike that cocktease, Honey Badger)

FINAL SCORE: sweet papaya

Canadian Surf Club -- "Inuition"
Setting: The frozen wastes of Up There
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Inuit

for Inuit crime stories
for deus ex machina wilderness chicks who can patch up a harpooned man lickety-split and get him on his feet and running in time for the finale.


Noah -- "Pineapple Fields"
Setting: Hawai'i (Kawaii?)
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Hawaiian

for Hawaiian slang
for pre-WWII Hawaiian slang that sounds pretty much like modern Hawaiian slang. You got a source?


Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin -- "Bring-your-daughter-to-work day"
Setting: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Puerto Rican, gay(?)

because I honestly can't tell if you used the feminine "loca" to signify that he's calling Paulo a "crazy bitch".
because I honestly can't tell if I'm missing shitloads of subtext in the dialogue, or if I'm trying to add subtext where there isn't supposed to be any.
because I have no loving idea what Sonia saw in the cemetery.
for the dramatic reading.

FINAL SCORE: a can with no label. Could be peaches, could be spinach.

Sitting Here -- "Charity Case"
Setting: Colorado Springs, CO
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: disabled

for choosing the Hard Luck Harry path, rather than the straight-up cop/criminal/P.I. one.
because, with an entire planet to choose from, you picked Colorado Springs.
-- do my eyes deceive me, or is the dealer a cisgendered, able-bodied, hetero, white American male?


Jonked -- "Cracolândia"
Setting: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Brazilian

for the local flavor.
for being pretty much what's on the label: drugs and violence.
for wasting an opportunity to push your boundaries a bit. Because you know what's more badass than a favela gun-for-hire? A transvestite favela gun-for-hire in full Carnaval regalia.

FINAL SCORE: tapioca

Autumncomet -- "A Newer Generation"
Setting: Kyrgyzstan
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Kyrgyz, female

+ because loving Kyrgyzstan
for women who love women eloping to Vegas.
for "Why did you tell Albina’s father she would come back when she had obviously never been here?" Was it obvious? I missed the Miss Marple-ing.

FINAL SCORE: fried garlic

Capntastic -- "Cardboard Wings"
Setting: Dayton loving Ohio
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: African-American, female

for Dayton. The whole goddamn world to choose from, he picks Dayton.
for not bothering with noir.
for not one line of dialogue, not a fleck of action, just a lecture from a white guy on the topic of "It must suck to be a poor black woman."

FINAL SCORE: raw potato

toanoradian -- "Cord"
Setting: Java
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Javanese, shaman

for shamanic sleuthing.
because I can't properly berate you for switching verb tense, since your English is a thousand times better than my Bahasa.
for the dramatic reading

FINAL SCORE: jackfruit

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

bigmcgaffney -- "Lionel Messi’s Righteous Left Foot"
Setting: Argentina (?)
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: Argentine, disabled, gay

for burning a bull alive instead of just asking for a date.
for weird burned-animal description. Is there some reason that a fried bull doesn't just smell like steak?
because, if the bovine is blackened to the bone, what the hell are the maggots eating?
for South American international prejudice.

FINAL SCORE: broccoli

Black Griffon -- "The Girl and the Sordid Pictures"
Setting: Kapala, Uganda
Under-represented group(s) to which the main character belongs: disembodied brain, asexual... which I guess comes naturally to disembodied brains.

for Ugandan cyberpunk.
for even considering making your female lead another goddamn Otherkin.
for killing a roomful of dudes over naughty pictures.
for the dramatic reading.

FINAL SCORE: ligonberry

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Wait, that's actually right? Yeah, I was trying to imply they were gay by using the feminine ending but my only source of that being a thing is wikipedia.

I'll leave that to Martello's P.R. pals to say, but you don't really hear it in Mexican Spanish. At least, not with the folks I know. I can't properly say what the "rules" are within the gay community -- whether they have an equivalent of the quintessentially-queeny "girlfriend", or whether Latin machismo inherent in the language rules out the gender modification. It might not sound right to me, but my Spanish is piss-poor.

Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

On the topic of Afghans and quotations/common phrases relating to Islam in Bad Seafood's story, speaking in Arabic is on the money. Some Afghan men were sentenced to 20 years in prison for translations that did not include the Arabic alongside the other languages, so keeping the original text--along with knowing it--is considered very important.

Good to know; thanks for chiming in -- I was scratching my head over that, as I've run across a few stories set in Afghanistan written by people who've never been there, which have the locals speaking speaking exclusively in Arabic. I knew that wasn't what Bad Seafood was going for, so I'm glad to hear that it's correct as-is.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Sitting Here posted:

The dealer wasn't white though

Hence the reason I phrased it as a question. The dialect straddles the line into redneck/Southwest, and my understanding is that Colorado Springs is hugely honkified. But rather than assume, I asked.


Question, if I may: Why not assume the other male character (Old Jay) was white?

It's more that I didn't have any particular reason to assume he was straight or able-bodied, whereas there were plenty of indications that the dealer was both.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

loving in this bitch.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

budgieinspector posted:

loving in this bitch.

Dibs on "Are 'Friends' Electric?"

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Fanky Malloons posted:

You better believe it. I might forgo writing a story entirely and go berserker up in here snapping all your spines as I go instead. In the name of being metal, obviously.

In that case, you'll need the Afrika Bambaataa version.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

gently caress. I've gotta leave the house, so I'm not going to finish before deadline. Here's the incompleteness. May Thunderdome recognize that I went down swinging.

"The Ballad of Puree Tomateaux"

It was late January when I offered to let Puree Tomateaux stay in my spare room.
I barely knew the guy. Hadn’t even thought about him since I dropped out of the LA industrial club scene five years before. Our mutual friend, Dez, called me out of the blue.
“He’s had a bad run,” she said. “Bad divorce, lost his job, moved into a flophouse on Skid Row. Finally found a new gig a couple days ago, but he had a bad allergic reaction to something and had to visit the emergency room. That used up the last of his money just in time for his rent to come due. They kicked him out. He slept on the roof of a Petco, last night, before getting in touch with me. Now he’s sitting on my couch with everything he owns in a duffel bag.”
“Ouch. Sorry to hear it.”
“So, can you put him up? The new job starts on Monday. I’d let him stay here, but my family’s coming to town tomorrow.”
I hemmed and hawed. My girlfriend had just left me to live with some mook in Philly that she’d met online. I wasn’t in the mood for company.
It started raining. I pictured Puree, all of 5’5” and 110 pounds, trying to find shelter in downtown LA on a rainy Friday night. I caved. Dez drove him over.
He was wearing his trademark ruby-red sunglasses and too-large black blazer, a bright orange duffel slung over his shoulder with “CAUTION: LIVE COBRAS” stenciled on it.
“You don’t actually have cobras in there, right?”
“Not at the moment,” he said.
“Hope this’ll work for you,” I said, as I led him to the room I’d been using as an office.
He set his bag down on the futon.
“My last place had signs in every room warning against hoarding urine. This is a definite improvement.”
“Cool. Well, you’re welcome to whatever’s in the fridge. Towels and extra blankets are in the closet in the hall. And fell free to use the computer.”
I indicated the eight-year-old Dell on the desk. He glanced at it, tsked, and produced a laptop from the duffel. It was boxy, obviously homemade. He plugged it in and it booted up faster than anything I’d ever seen.
“What’s your WiFi password?” he asked.
“Er… not sure anymore. Let me try a couple things.”
He hesitated, but handed over the box. It thrummed powerfully in my hands, but hardly made a sound and was cool to the touch. Three attempts at variations on my standard passwords later, and it connected effortlessly to the router.
“I can upgrade that dinosaur for you,” he said, staring at the Dell like it crashed his party.
“Nah, that’s okay. I mainly use my laptop, these days. Don’t really need to sink more money into the desktop.”
“No charge. It’s what I do. Let me look around for parts.”
I warily accepted, thinking it a gesture of gratitude. There wasn’t really anything on the hard drive that I needed, in case he destroyed the thing by accident. But if he’d built his own laptop, maybe there was an advantage beyond human charity to letting him stay.
I woke at three in the morning. I could hear the unmistakable sound of Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” coming from the office. Beneath it, the whine of an electric screwdriver.


I only saw him a few times over the next week. From what I could tell, he left the house before I did, came home before I did, and stayed in his room. Feeling like a bad host, I tried to coax him out during the first couple days.
“I appreciate it, but no. I’m working.”
Never really got an answer as to what it was he did.
Nothing was added to or taken from the fridge which I couldn’t account for. I assumed he was feeding himself on his own dime, which was great. I just wasn’t sure how he could afford to eat things that didn’t require cooking.
One morning, I woke up around 4:00 from a nightmare. Something about self-replicating machines giving birth. I got dressed, passed the room where the lights were still on and Neubauten’s “Halber Mensch” transitioned to And One’s “Deutschmaschine”, and went outside. I shivered on my step in the crisp air, watching the occasional car float down Ventura Boulevard. I heard a noise from the other side of the building, and peeked around the corner. I found Puree helping a girl through the office window. I cleared my throat.
“Oh,” he said.
“Hi,” she said, her voice flat as her expression. “I’m Mary.”


Mary was a dishwater blond with haunted eyes and razor-sharp clavicles that seemed bound to slice through her faded pink blouse at any moment. Puree had apparently been taking midnight strolls, and discovered her while wandering.
“Dude, I’m not going to say you can’t bring chicks home—”
“It’s not like that.”
“Whatever. Just, y’know, keep an eye on her. Make sure nothing goes missing from my house.”
He stiffened, indignant.
“I’m sure you don’t have anything she needs.”


A few days later, I came home to find a line of lost souls trailing up my driveway. I parked in the street.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Martello posted:

The Ballad of Puree Tomateaux

by budgieinspector

Finish the goddam story and post it here!


Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Well, poo poo -- half the reason I've been lax about Thunderdome for the past couple weeks has been the amount of homework and reviewing I've been doing for one poetry class in preparation for another that starts in ten days. Guess I'm in.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

When All Else Fails on the Campaign Trail...

O hearken to the midnight highway's roar;
the campaign buses chew the asphalt, draw
e'er closer to the overarching goal.
'Tis dim inside the forward coach, and o'er

a dozen paper coffee cups, they plot
a path to victory, assured. They trace
with pallid hands, the route toward
a mighty Super Tuesday landslide win!

"The Governor," they say, "hath screwed the pooch.
For half this land doth feel their nipples tweak
and panties do a-twist both near and far
at scornful words pissed down from power's wang!

Are not our countrymen, both high and low,
so quick to take offense at being named
as parasites upon the very rear end
of Liberty? And yet he shows no shame?"

All sigh; their fortunes rest on the conceit
that apology is weakness, so they must
march forward, brazenly, unto the breach
beneath a flag of ill-considered words.

How else can they unseat the dusky Moor
whose presence on the throne doth soil the land
than by uniting in a seamless front?
Then, from the shadows, comes a dashing grin:

"Fear not, my ivory friends; I have a plan!
The Governor hath called me to his aid.
We hie now to the battleground with haste
to find salvation in unlikely climes!

I've tutored our fair leader in the ways
of the low-born, as best I can recall.
Upon a wave of inner city votes,
we'll ride the crest to Glory in the Fall!"

“You’re mad!” they cry. “Now, wait – just hear me out,”
the Lord of Pies says, sipping Perrier.
“America loves naught more than a show;
we need but set the stage to win their hearts.

Imagine, if you will: the Gov’nor strides
up to the dais, decked in FUBU threads.
In solidarity, he holds aloft
one manicured fist o’er the masses’ heads.

“‘I’m one of you,’ he’ll say, and then he’ll prove
his street cred to the awe-inspired crowd,
by busting forth his funky-freshest moves
accomp’nied by the oeuvre of Kanye West.”

“Can this be true?” they ask, in disbelief.
“Is this the way to finally turn the tide?
And are the Gov’nor’s moves so def as to
now sweep the past five decades’ beefs aside?”

“The proof shall be at hand within the hour,
for even now, dawn breaks across the land.
This caravan draws closer to Detroit;
a perfect choice to implement this plan!”

And later, as the Gov’nor disembarked--
atop his head, a giant afro wig--
the Lord of Pies strolled, smiling, from the fray:
“You pass me for VP? Man, suck my dick.”

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

toanoradian posted:

Ooh, the winner is either budgieinspector or sebmojo? Finally, a guest judge will return! Will this return herald stricter, more evil judge or a relaxed dictator? We'll see.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

toanoradian posted:

Well, poo poo. This doesn't bode well. Or maybe it'll be a silly thing, like prehistoric romance.

I predict that one of you will break under this week's challenge. Who will it be? Look to the goon above you, then to the goon below. Do they look tired? A bit frayed around the edges, perhaps?

Death is listening, and will take the first man that screams.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

I'm not writing some cute little historical vignette where their prom dates can't tell them apart and hilarity ensues.


I swear, if this turns out to be a week of mistaken-identity stories, everybody starts at -5.


I will accept one -- and only one -- such story if the sisters wind up embroiled in a misadventure whilst visiting an English country estate, where they encounter an aging Jeeves and Wooster. Must be written in the style of Wodehouse.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

That's Showbiz

“And now, our trumpet player, Miss Harriet Shue, has written a loverly Mexican mariachi song all about yours truly, Spade Cooley. So let’s give a big hand to Harriet and the loverly Miller Twins.”

He sounds like he’s buying pork chops at the market, thought Darcy Miller as Harriet blasted the opening rip.

He sounds like he’s about to pass out in the corner, thought Lucy Miller as the bassist thumped in.

“Big smiles,” said Darcy.

“Left foot first,” said Lucy.

The sisters squeezed hands quickly and stepped from the wings.


“It’s falling apart,” said Darcy, as the taxi made a left onto Santa Monica. “Last week with the calypso number; this week, mariachi. What’s next? ‘Spade Cooley’s All-Girl Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue’?”

“That’s showbiz, hon,” said Lucy.

“How can you be flip about this? These are our careers!”

“This is us earning some summer pin money.”

“Darling, the first time we did the show, Mr. Cooley had seventy-five percent of the viewers in Los Angeles—”

“—Which was about a thousand people—”

“So? The show was bigger than Milton Berle!”

“We were ten. We bought a bunch of candy and ate until we got sick. I didn’t see you nose-deep in a copy of Variety.”

“Don’t you want to be famous?”

“No. I want to have a nice, quiet life. Maybe a dog, too.”

“Well, I want more.”

“That’s nice. It’s good to want things.”

“I want to audition for Lawrence Welk.”

“I’m sure Marty would be glad to set that up, so long as he gets his ten percent. Knock ‘em dead, hon.”

“But I want you to audition, too!”

“No, thank you. I’d like to spend the last summer of my high school career not hustling for work.”

“Please, Lulu? Pretty please? I’ll be your very best friend.”

Lucy sighed. If she didn’t relent, Darcy’s next tactic would be baby talk. Anyway, what could it hurt? Welk already had the Lennon Sisters, and there were four of them. Lucy doubted he’d need an extra matching pair of eighteen-year-olds on the payroll.

“Set it up.”


Marty Green’s office was just off Cahuenga. He ran his liver-spotted hands through what remained of his hair and looked across at the twins.

“I just got off the phone with Don Swenson, Welk’s producer,” he said. “He says he’s wild about you girls. ‘Get ‘em down here straight away!’ he said.”

“Well, great!” said Darcy. Lucy refrained from rolling her eyes. Marty lit a Chesterfield and leaned back.

“There’s just this thing. You know about Welk, right?”

“What about him?”

“Well – how strict are your parents about things? Chores, homework, clothes? Boys? Either of you have a boyfriend?”

They blushed in tandem.

“Okay, so that’s a no. But do your folks expressly forbid it?”

“No,” said Darcy.

“We just haven’t met the right--”

“No need to explain,” interrupted Marty, raising his hands. “You should know, though, that Welk considers himself head of his own little Musical Family. He’s got a morality clause built into his contracts and he’s real serious about it.” He held up his cigarette. “These, for example. Welk sees you with one of these, you’re out on your sweet patooties.”

“We don’t smoke,” said Lucy.

“Nor will you, if you get the job. No skirts higher than mid-shin in public, no salty language, and if you meet boys, the show insists on vetting them. If they don’t pass muster, they’re gone. I’ve seen kids much younger than you go spare trying to live under these kinda restrictions – it’s only natural – so I want you to really think about whether you can do it.”

“Absolutely,” said Darcy, faux gravitas behind each syllable. Lucy glared at her. Marty looked between the two and shook his head.


They auditioned at the Palladium, where Welk’s show was filmed. Neither of them could see into the gloom beyond the footlights. For all they could tell from the stage, they were performing “Tonight, You Belong to Me” to a completely empty house. Still – raven hair pin-curled and swept-back, dresses a bit frillier than usual, just enough makeup to pick out their eyes and not shine under the lights, and Big Smiles – they laid the wholesomeness on as thick as they dared.

Lucy held the last chord on her ukulele until its tones completely vanished from the room.

“Thank you, ladies,” came a man’s voice from the back of the room. He sounded about as enthusiastic as a proctologist on his tenth patient of the day. “We have your information.”

Darcy and Lucy left the stage, showbiz smiles frozen on their faces until they were safely out of sight. Lucy turned to her sister.

“Well, I certainly got the ‘just wild about us girls’ feeling. Didn’t you?”


“Great news!” said Darcy, as she barged into Lucy’s room the following Tuesday. “The Lennon Sisters are going on tour next week. Marty says the Welk Show wants us at rehearsals next Monday! They’re sending over the contracts now!”

Lucy felt a headache coming on. She’d been looking forward to a quiet week: A trip to the library, maybe take in that new Astaire picture with Cyd Charisse. Now Darcy would be pestering her to practice.

They’d been performing since they were six. Granted, it had its moments, and she loved seeing Darcy happy when things were going well, but she was tired of all the work that went into getting ready to do the work of looking for work that was ultimately just… work. She was pretty sure that most of the other kids in their class didn’t do summer jobs where you had to practice flipping burgers on your off-hours, or drill babysitting routines until you wanted to actually sit on the baby in question.

But she flashed Darcy a quick smile and said, “That’s wonderful, hon.”


Rehearsals were tricky. Everyone else knew each other; knew what was expected of them. The sisters took their cues as best they could, but Welk saw Darcy put a wink at the end of “Get Happy”.

“None of that, now,” he said. “This is a song about preparing to meet the Maker, not preparing to meet a sailor.”

“Don’t fret, girls,” said Alice Lon, Welk’s “Champagne Lady”, after the man had walked off to deal with another detail of the show. “He once docked me for doing the Charleston at a party. He’s a decent fellow, but he’s a bit stiff.”


Saturday, the night of the show, and Lucy couldn’t find Darcy anywhere backstage. She finally tried the alley behind the venue and heard the familiar trill of her sister’s laugh – so much more vital than her own, she thought – coming from around the corner.

Then she heard smacking sounds – kissing sounds – and crept quietly to peek.

Darcy was there, in a green taffeta outfit that matched Lucy’s, shoes like Lucy’s, hair done up exactly like Lucy’s. However, unlike Lucy, she was locked in a passionate clinch with Harriet Shue, the trumpeter from Mr. Cooley’s band.

Her eyes wide, Lucy stifled a squeak with both hands and quickly retreated. Before she had time to process, though, light washed in from the other end of the alley and the familiar sound of a camera’s flash echoed. Darcy and Harriet shrieked, and Lucy dove behind some pallets as they came running past in heels.


A runner brought them straight from the stage to Don Swenson’s office, Lucy still clutching her ukulele. The producer was holding an 8x10, fresh out of the developing bath.

“Well, girls? Which one of you is this?”

Darcy stared at the photo like a rabbit under the glare of oncoming headlights. Lucy could see her sister’s dreams of fame and fortune swirl down the toilet. She took a breath.

“Me, sir,” she said, ignoring Darcy’s gasp.

“I was afraid of that. We might’ve been able to use you and your ukulele as a solo act. Well, I hope you’re proud of yourself. Your moral degeneracy has cost you and your sister this job. If your behavior should, at any time in the future, be tied to Mr. Welk, I will see to it that neither of you ever work again. Please see yourselves out.”


Darcy knocked on Lucy’s door as she was getting ready for bed. Lucy sat down on the mattress and motioned for her sister to join her. Darcy sat, hands folded in her lap. When she spoke, her voice was barely a whisper.

“Thank you, Lulu,” she said.

“I wish I’d known, hon,” said Lucy. It took a moment to phrase the next part: “Do you… love Harriet?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so. She’s got strong lips.”

“Trumpet player.”


Darcy broke into sobs. Lucy cradled her sister, rocking slowly back and forth.

“Lulu?” she said, when she could catch her breath.

“Yeah, hon?”

“A quiet life sounds good, right about now.”


“I don’t want a dog, though.”


Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

I hope you fuckers all used spellcheck and proper manuscript format on your submissions. 'Cause some of y'all got some glaring typos 'n' poo poo, and others got they paragraphs laid out all funky.

Noah posted:

That magazine allows for another 3500 words. SIGH.

The magazine, yes. Not our patience.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Well, gently caress. Where were you an hour ago?



Sometimes, when the General sounds the charge, you just gotta head out and hope you're not marching to Little Big Horn.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Alright, I'm the typo king and I use weird formatting so I'm kinda screwed. How do you think the posted story in 11-point calibri will go down?

Bad Seafood posted:

Definitely looking forward to that rejection letter.

Listen up, cats and kittens: You're all getting rejection letters. The editor probably won't even read your stories; straight-up deletion awaits all your hard work. This is fact.

However, you spent -- what? -- four days, tops, on this? And when the drink-sodden Boner-Man called you to ride out like Mongols, you sacked up and did it. Some of you even popped your submission cherries.

So yes, you're all hosed. But that rejection's going to be because you didn't follow formatting rules. You might feel a bit stupid, but it'll fade. Now you know better, and you'll remember it for next time -- and there will be a next time.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

so yer still marking this week like normal, right?

Ayup. Gie's a day.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

I have a bad feeling that the Norwegian got shitfaced and set off in a longboat to try and plunder Ireland. Assuming that they have internet cafes wherever he lands, I'll wait another couple hours before making announcements.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be


This was a banner week for Thunderdome. Twenty-one of you mutants answered the call and rode out into the wasteland, causing ESB to pleasure himself so briskly that he broke something important. He'll be back -- although probably with a limp and a squeakier voice.

And so it was left to me and the errant Norseman to decide this week's winner:

Y Kant Ozma Post, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Black Griffon and I concur that we face a strange dilemma this week. While some of your offerings were tepid, amateurish, and bland, none of them stand out as being complete poo poo. (Bumper stickers saying "MY STORY WASN'T COMPLETE poo poo!" are available in the lobby.)

Therefore, this week's loser is Jimson. For turning in a weirdly-formatted and overlong piece with "their/there" confusion a full three days after deadline, and for standing there like the last Mongol on the steppe while the rest of the horde gallops off to sack Europe, you earn shame and derision. Boo unto you.

The ad hoc triumvirate will now discuss what sort of hoops to make you jump through for Week IX. Feedback will be posted as soon as our resident Viking can get his poo poo together. As you were.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

toanoradian posted:

sucks to be you, Jimson, but maybe next time you can show Thunderdome the true might of your non-broken fist

Ein moment, bitte.

If Jimson broke his hand and still turned in his story, that's pretty

Jimson may yet rescue himself if he posts a picture of the cast with "RAGGEDY MAN" written on it.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Jimson posted:

I'll have the pictures I took at the hospital uploaded tomorrow.

Jim-son! I want that cast to say "RAGGEDY MAN"! If it's gross, just send it to Griff; he'll get a kick out of looking at it while nursing his hangover.

Okay, first batch of cranky-rear end feedback:

Seldom Posts -- "Birds of a Feather"
You see that big block of italicized text? That's the story. The framing device is extraneous. Cut the fat and give your readers the meat. All of it. Every inch. Right there. Yes.

LordVonEarlDuke -- "Darcy and Lucy among the flowers"
Do you realize how close you were to winning this? Of course not. You just show up out of nowhere with some real, sho'nuff writing chops, and almost took home the gold.

Right up until you had them resurrecting an opossum.

Perhaps in hidsight, it might be clear why we were looking for stories based in the real world.

Also, capitalize your titles properly. You've got no excuse.

Bassetking -- "The Ones That Got Away. [Period. Full stop. For some reason, this piece of punctuation was important.]"
How the hell did you manage to take the prompt "Write about these twins" and skew it into "Write around these twins"? You could've done something like Clive Barker's "The Yattering and Jack"-meets-"Rumplestiltskin" with this story, making the mother the main character and building tension as the time to pay the awful price draws near. Instead, you chose to turn drama into bar-chat. You're not the only one who did this; you're just the one who used the twins' potential the least.

Permit me to "break it down", as the young people say:

Option 1: Write about a woman who's made a bad decision with huge consequences about to come due, or
Option 2: Have two characters talking about that woman after the fact.

Immediacy begets drama. Drama hooks readers.

Also, no apostrophe before "ya".

Chairchucker -- "Be Quiet"
On the plus side, you put the twins in the midst of a historical event which occurred in their lifetimes, and kept the action up. On the minus side, it's never made clear what they're doing in Vietnam.

Also, run a spell-check before submitting your stuff.

The Saddest Rhino -- "The Chance Meeting at the Backstage of the Apollo Theatre, Harlem NYC"
Good idea, clunky execution. "Even before she became 15, she had already known that she was adopted." Are you a native English speaker? Because the title and opening sentence are just off. Rewrite:

"A Chance Meeting (Backstage at the Apollo Theater)"

Even before she turned fifteen, she knew she was adopted.

There are plenty of other clunky sentences throughout. Running a grammar check might pinpoint a lot of them.

Also, did you intend for the twins to be white? Because not a lot of white folks played the Apollo, even in the mid-Sixties.

Jonked -- "The El Dorado Oracle"
Not bad. Although by the time JFK turned 43, he'd been campaigning for over five months. And he had brown hair, not black. And it's "drought", not "draught". Still, not bad.

Bad Seafood -- "Regular Earharts"
Cute. Nice characterization. Stumbled at "the cockpit had been enlarged, lengthened, made for two" -- lots of WWI-era planes had space for two, so it might've been better just to pick a model with this feature. No need to bunch up your dialogue when posting on a messageboard; it looks weird.

SurreptitiousMuffin -- "[redacted]"
I've read this three times, but I still don't get what's supposed to be happening. Kennedy's "big win" was in 1960. Even at the height of the McCarthy era, you didn't get thrown in jail just for being a communist -- an accusation could ruin your career and turn you into a social pariah overnight, sure, but not jail. And this is '62, by which time McCarthy had fallen. I just... don't get it.

Technically-speaking, there are a lot of little problems (spelling, grammar, a fluctuation between your natural use of 'inverted commas' to set off dialogue and the US "double-quotes" method) which I know you could've corrected with a spelling/grammar check. Also, and maybe it's just me, but a woman who grew up in Los Angeles and San Francisco probably wouldn't talk like a old-timey prospector.

You're a better writer than this.

Sitting Here -- "untitled"
Good. Solid. Agreed with Griff that it could use tightening. Kind of a FY;GM tang to the last dialogue exchange that didn't feel in-character.

toanoradian -- "What It Takes to be Mother"
You're doing a lot of tense-switching, here. You need to get a grip on that. Grammar-check your stuff, senor.

Some weird pseudo-pop-culture touchstones, here, ranging from the "huh?" (a butler on Superman?) to the bizarre (Drugnet, Hayridin' Hoff, White Children -- imagine a guy asked about his entertainment preferences: "Well, I'm really into White Children. Can't get enough White Children").

I can't tell if this is intentionally written in a disjointed manner in order to connote the narrator's breakdown, or not, but it's pretty difficult to follow along.

Fanky Malloons -- "I Think I'm Too Cool for Titles"
This is another poster child for Show-Don't-Tell. The framing device is not only unnecessary, but it actively sucks out the drama. Not only are you distancing the reader from the story's action by forty-eight years, but you barely get started before you have the guy flat-out announce that they conned him. I want to start in the middle of the action, feel the tension, then watch it all fall to poo poo, with the schmuck detective and the dumbass gangster left hanging in the wind.

Canadian Surf Club -- "To Depart and Be Apart"
Nice. Poignant. I wasn't able to divine the purpose of the last dialogue exchange, though:

"I'm not okay." She said and that's all she needed to say. [Eh? She states the obvious, but why? It just comes out of nowhere.]

"I'm sorry I shouldn-" [Shouldn't what?]

"You didn't fool me." [What sort of deceit is supposed to be at play, here?] She patted at her eyes with a napkin. "I just wanted to wait and see." [Again, "wait and see" what? Whether she'd be able to speak to her sister? Whether her illness would progress?]

swaziloo -- "1971"
Certainly a different direction, but fun. High price for rent, though.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

toanoradian posted:

On the grammar side, I blame nobody but myself. I am stupid.

There shall be no self-flagellation in this thread unless the judges demand it!


'Drugnet' refers to Dragnet

'Hayridin' Hoff' refers to Hoffman Hayride

'White Children' is a combination of two soap operas, Today's Children and Woman in White.

No, I got the first two -- they're just bizarre in the context of American pop culture. To wit: Calling a Dragnet analogue "Drugnet" is weird on two fronts.

(1) A "dragnet" is an actual thing, a type of fishing net, and the existence of the object led to a particularly-intense police search being called a "dragnet"; a "drugnet" isn't a thing.

(2) Jack Webb had a sycophantic relationship with the LAPD, using the popularity of Dragnet to give positive press to the department and espouse the official police position on the scourge of be-boppin' reefer addicts and hopheads. So in this context, "drugnet" is amusing because it conjures an image of Sgt. Friday lugging a huge bag of confiscated dope (possibly for his own use).

Here is an artist's rendering:

"Hayridin' Hoff" is odd because (in American pop culture, at least) "Hoff" almost always is used as a nickname for Knight Rider star and professional cheeseball David Hasselhoff.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

swaziloo posted:

I realize I'm in no way authorized to make demands, but if anyone plans to write (another of) these cliches, you better be certain it does not suck:


* In the future/alternate universe/parallel dimension everyone lives to be two hundred years old , and their habitat/spaceship/shire faces a dire threat.

That's a cliche?

How the gently caress have I managed to miss this particular scenario being run into the ground?

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Cranky Feedback, Part the Second:

HiddenGecko -- "Demi Lune Dirge"
Was wondering who the first person would be to use "twin language". Good job, but the ending seems abrupt and raises more questions. Is unnamed sister #1 killing unnamed sister #2 because she wants to release her, or because she wants the tables? Is this a murder/suicide? Perhaps a bit more clarification would be useful.

Autumncomet -- "October Sorrows"
Nice. A period piece that feels in-the-moment. Points for using the Paris Massacre as a backdrop.

Wrageowrapper -- "Beatnik Roadtrip"
There's just... not enough here to go on. Could've been good, could've made me want to kick a puppy; the world may never know.

Capntastic -- "Modern Appliances, 1946"
Dude, tighten yo poo poo. You can't ignore the "flash fiction" aspect of the 'Dome. It's right up there in the title.

Since Griff already took you to task for that, though, let me pick something else: Dialogue. Learn it, love it, use it. Let your characters communicate with each other. Studies have shown that alternating between text and dialogue leads to readers sympathizing with your characters, which leads to a more enjoyable reading experience, which leads to more indecent proposals for the author.

Noah -- "Never Wanted Twins"
I dug the idea of mid-fifties organ harvesting, and of the twins' mom being a distaff Vandal Savage. Solid writing. Good job.

sebmojo -- "Road Trip"
I can't put my finger on why this didn't grab me. It's cleanly written and involves lesser-known mythology; two things I enjoy. I just couldn't get invested in the characters and didn't get any sense of mounting tension prior to the... "reveal", I suppose? Although it's not really a revelation, more like the beginning of a mystery which ends abruptly a couple paragraphs later. I wish I could give you something more solid to go on, but that's all I've got.

Dr. Kloctopussy -- "I Eschew Titles for Jesus [Darcy and Lucy: Sex Assassins]"
There's an "I", there's a "Lucy" and there's a "Darcy"... and all three are twins. "I" is sometimes "Not-Lucy" and sometimes "Not-Darcy", which leads me to question whether "I" is actually supposed to be any of them, all of them, or if there even are twins. This got in the way of my reading about twins who kill with a magical sex curse, so I can't tell if I'm angry about that or glad.

Y Kant Ozma Post -- "The Last Postcard"
Brief 'n' creepy psycho-biddy goodness. A snapshot from a petty power struggle which we just know won't end well. Good stuff.

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

Right! As of two hours ago, Week IX's submissions deadline has passed!

The following have brought shame upon themselves and their families for signing up and then loving off:

Sitting Here

Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

With so few entries, one would almost expect the results to come out sooner rather than later.


Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be

toanoradian posted:

...I probably deserve to be hit on the head with each of those volumes. I'll be more careful next time. What's a good book/resource on tenses?

Are you writing directly into the Reply field? Because MS Word has a grammar check built-in, and I believe it's possible to switch languages.

Otherwise, take your pick. Verb tenses will be covered in each of these, I guarantee.

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