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  • Locked thread
Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Kayfabe, yada yada. It's a three-round challenge. Windy is the warm-up, but also the tiebreaker if necessary. Your fellow first-week competitors, myself and Bad Seafood will be your judges for the real competitions, with the assistance of a top secret mystery advisor whose true identity is a secret to all. Even me. Bad Seafood won't tell me who it is.

An excellent idea!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

I accept.

WHAT SAY YOU MOJO

DawnOfMinstrel
Jun 27, 2013


I'm in and I'm sporting my Passport to Danger, whatever it may be.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


In for High Stakes

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Horrible Butts, your surreal story is becoming reality:

FouRPlaY
May 5, 2010


Time to quit lurking and get in the game. Maybe I'll finally get an avatar out of this.

I'm in with "The Hidden Staircase."

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In with The Secret of Mirror Bay, in which our heroes discover the secret of Mirror Bay isn't so much a secret as a small puddle of lard.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Kaishai gave me permission to use two titles, one as the subtitle to the other, so I'm in with Evil in Amsterdam: The Wrong Chemistry.



Erogenous Beef fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2013 around 17:21

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Anyone else who wants to combine multiple titles may do so; there's potential for glory, disaster, and glorious disaster in the likes of The Search for Cindy Austin: Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

I would like to enter with Courting Disaster. I have an idea that will probably get me the losertar. I'm going to do it anyway. NO REGRETS.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

High marks for compassion, low marks for survival skills





In with Wicked for the Weekend.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in with Stay Tuned For Danger.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Ooh, double titles you say?

In that case, could I beg permission from the judges to upgrade the generic High Stakes to the far ritzier High Stakes: Buried in Time?

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

ThirdEmperor posted:

In that case, could I beg permission from the judges to upgrade the generic High Stakes to the far ritzier High Stakes: Buried in Time?

Permission granted!

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

I'M ESCAPING TO THE ONE PLACE THAT HASN'T BEEN CORRUPTED BY CAPITALISM...

SPACE!


In with The Secret in the Stars

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Flash Rule for the first taker, incorporate Doobie's Dog House in your story.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2013 around 11:40

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


I'm in for Murder on the Fourth of July, on the last list.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

For those considering entry, twenty-four hours and more than ten times as many titles remain.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


Lord Windy posted:

I WILL JUDGE!

The battle between Sebmojo and Sitting here that is. If you don't like it, go gently caress yourselves!

Prompt: Powerful women and stilettos.

Words: 500max

Due Date: Saturday the 29th, 12PM Australian Eastern Standard time (GMT+10)

There is two hours left, however I did see that I said the 29th rather than the 28th so I'll extend the date forward a day if you guys need it.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Lord Windy posted:

There is two hours left, however I did see that I said the 29th rather than the 28th so I'll extend the date forward a day if you guys need it.

I had assumed I had more time, yeah. I was actually thinking you meant midnight your time, so in like 14 hours.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

I had assumed I had more time, yeah. I was actually thinking you meant midnight your time, so in like 14 hours.

Let's go with this. 13 hours and change from now.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


Ya'll a bunch of racists towards Australia time!!!!

(That is cool, I picked a weird time. I'll probably be asleep when you post your stories though).

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In and Courting Disaster...





with this misbegotten title: Crime in the Queen's Court: Win, Place, or, Die

With the judges permission, I would like an exclamation mark to follow that "Die"

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

M. Propagandalf posted:

In and Courting Disaster...





with this misbegotten title: Crime in the Queen's Court: Win, Place, or, Die

With the judges permission, I would like an exclamation mark to follow that "Die"

Oh, I thought I was gonna have to fight you for a second there.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

M. Propagandalf posted:

With the judges permission, I would like an exclamation mark to follow that "Die"

Exclamation mark granted!

Sign-ups are now CLOSED. Good luck, entrants. We look forward to seeing your dangers, secrets, evils, clues, and crimes, even if the latter will doubtless be against the English language.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Sitting Here V. Sebmojo Brawl of the Century

Lord Windy posted:

I WILL JUDGE!

The battle between Sebmojo and Sitting here that is. If you don't like it, go gently caress yourselves!

Prompt: Powerful women and stilettos.

Words: 500max

Due Date: Saturday the 29th, 12PM Australian Eastern Standard time (GMT+10)


Meanwhile, in the Fempire
500 Words

The boardroom was thick with smoke and tension. A solid thirty seconds had passed with nothing but narrow stares and the clinking of chilled whiskey stones to mark time.

Suzanne Summit was reclined in casual defiance, her crisp white Nike Ultimatums propped up on the edge of the long brushed-steel table, her luxero-ergonomic reclining roller chair as horizontal as its manufacture would allow. She let out a long puff of cigar smoke.

"This company has values, ladies. Values are--and I'll ask you not to laugh, I'm being candid here--priceless. Here in these walls, this is the one place I feel like I have some autonomy. Some goddamned liberty in this hellhole of a country. Karen--"she jabbed her cigar toward the C.O.O"--I want you to go back to that rear end in a top hat Lorrence at Execusoft and tell him the merger is off if we can't retain the policies, the liberty, that made us great in the first place."

Karen Cuddy waved an errant tendril of smoke out of her face. "Madam C.E.O., if I'm understanding you correctly, the fulcrum of this whole deal is a slight change in personnel policy?"

"It's cultural imperialism, is what it is. First they make our people dress like them. Next thing, we'll be floating ourselves as a shell corporation while Lorrence and his dogs suck up our market share."

Down the table there was a shuffling of defense-grade nylon tracksuits, more clinking of now-warming whiskey stones, and general fidgeting and throat clearing. One by one, all eyes fell on Karen, who sighed, straightened in her seat, and adjusted the elastic holding her ponytail in check. "Suzanne," she said plaintively.

Suzanne Summit, who disliked being addressed by her first name, swung her eyeball-rattlingly white Nike sporting shoes down from the table and came to an upright position, fingers steepled, mien dangerous.

"Right," said Karen. "What this really comes down to the dress code. We're ahead of our time, Suzanne, that's all there is to it. Our clients call us avant-garde, even aesthetically dangerous. It's Lorrence who's afraid that we're going to be the catalyst that rocks Execusoft's whole paradigm in the long haul. So our grunts wear different shoes--isn't that worth the opportunity to move the battle closer to Execusoft's front doorstep?"

Nods and assenting puffs of smoke from around the table.

Just then, the door to boardroom swung open; Suzanne's receptionist, a handsome, well-formed man in his early thirties, tottered in on lethal-looking three inch stilettos that matched his burgundy suit vest. He barely had time to breathlessly introduce the woman, one Janet Killjoy, who shoved her way past him through the door to face the board of directors.

"I'm not too late to make you an offer you can't refuse, am I?" she said, hands coquettishly on her hips. "Or had you already decided to be the lint in Excusoft's pockets?"

Suzanne leaned forward to peer down at Janet Killjoy's footwear, which were the latest in chic but utilitarian all-weather rain bootage, and smiled. "Shoot," she said.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


I'll do a proper crit tomorrow, but I'll give you my very first impression.

"Why is she wearing bags on her feet and drinking whisky with stones?"





EDIT

"And I want an assistant like that when I'm rich. Would be really interesting."



Lord Windy fucked around with this message at Sep 28, 2013 around 05:58

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Well that's what I get for making up fake Nike shoes without googling first I guess

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here V. Sebmojo Brawl of the Century

Supplemental Assistance
489 words

Eloise devoted her life to body building the morning after she saw Ros Walthamstow win the United Kingdom Cup. At the time she was halfway through her morning bacon croissant: her last, as it would turn out. Ros' superbly cut abdominals were the well-defined punchline to the flabby joke that, Eloise realised with the suddenness of a thunderbolt, was her own life to date. A spasm of self-loathing pulsed through her Medial Epicondyle, contracting her Extensor Carpi Ulnaris along the way, and her baked treat went flying.

She was in the gym four hours later, competing by the following July, and found herself in the changing room with her hero fourteen months after that.

"It's all been so sudden," said Eloise. Ros said nothing, just stretched her endless spray-tanned legs across the bench. She was wearing the reddest, shiniest stilletto heels Eloise had ever seen.

"I mean," said Eloise, "it's a dream. Come true, sort of thing?" She smiled hopefully at Ros, who closed her eyes.

Out on stage there was a smattering of applause as Ros took the stage for the compulsory poses. Eloise gasped at the audacity of her Front Lat Spread and Overhead Abdominal. This, the poses seemed to say to her. This is why you are here. And, integral to every pose, the shoes. Glistening, crimson, precise.

Eloise looked for Ros to congratulate her, eventually spotting her down the road in the Clarendon
Arms behind an immense, greasy plate of fried fish. Torn, Eloise peered in the window before retreating to the gym and her vitamin supplements.

Three hours later it was down to Ros and Eloise in the final. Ros beckoned her over from across the empty changing room; "You've got form, kid. You could take it all the way. Take my shoes. You need them more than me."

Eloise kept smiling, not sure this wasn't the sort of jokey hazing she'd been told was common on the high-end posing circuit. But Ros seemed sincere, her wide, slightly bloodshot eyes steady beneath her false eyelashes.

"These shoes... I've never lost a contest wearing them. It's like they won't... won't let me lose. Here." Ros tugged them off, first on then the other. She looked, Eloise thought, almost afraid.

Eloise cleared her throat. "Aren't you worried about losing? I mean thank you, God, where are my manners, but I can't take--"

Ros cut her off. She looked relieved, lighter all of a sudden. "No. Really. It's fine, I'll see you out there. Excuse me," she said, picking up a barbell, "I really need to do some curls now."

Ros' subsequent collapse onstage and tragic death in the ambulance on the way to the hospital sent a shock through the entire Southern and Southwestern Counties female posing circuit. There were murmurings about forbidden supplemental assistance, about steroids and HGH, but not from Eloise. Eloise was riding high on her upset victory and tipped to go far.

And everywhere she went she wore the reddest, shiniest stillettos that anyone had ever seen.

(Edited to fix names.)

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Sep 28, 2013 around 22:28

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

The Riddle of the Ruby Gazelle 630 words. Don't feel like rushing a story in the one hour I'll be at home before the deadline tomorrow.

“This really isn’t all that much like Woodstock.”

Drew shrugged. “I dunno, there are some similarities. Bunch of people crowded around a stage, recreational dr-. Uh. Mostly just the people and the stage.”

Drew’s Nan frowned, but didn’t comment about the recreational drugs thing. “The difference is Woodstock had music. Do you really like this stuff?”

Drew shrugged again. “Nah, but a friend of mine was gonna meet me here.”

“Oh OK, what’s your friend’s name?”

Mumble.

“Speak up, I’m old.”

“Wait, over there!”

Over there was someone in what appeared to be a onesie. One of the ones with ears and stuff. Well, over there was a whole bunch of people, but the onesie was what waved back when Drew waved to the group of people, and the onesie and its wearer was what walked over to Drew and his Nan.

“Nan, this is Ruby. Ruby, this is my Nan. I’ve gotta go to the loo, why don’t you two talk about whatever it is women talk about, OK brb.”

“You know, saying ‘brb’ isn’t actually any quicker,” said his Nan, but he’d already left. “So,”
she said to Ruby, gesturing towards the stage, “you’re into this kind of thing then?”

Ruby shook her head. “Not really, but I wanted to catch up with Drew.”

“That’s good,” said Drew’s Nan. “Personally I think it just sounds like noise. Drew tried to tell me DubCon would be just like Woodstock, but I don’t see it at all. Too many young people with stupid haircuts and the music turned up way too-”

There was a moment’s silence, and Ruby said “Sorry, you kind of cut out in the middle of the sentence there, was there more?”

Nan shook her head. “I just realised I sounded like my parents. How depressing. Nice goat costume, by the way.”

“It’s a gazelle,” said Ruby. “I’m a gazelle. It’s my spirit animal.”

“I don’t know what that means,” said Nan. “It’s cute though. Don’t know that I’d wear it here, might make it difficult to clean.”

And then Drew returned from the toilet. “Hey, you ladies great friends now?” He turned to Ruby. “Ready to step some dub?”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Ruby.

“Actually,” said Nan, “I think I feel a migraine coming on. Yes, definitely a migraine. From this terrible music. We’re going to have to make a move, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, OK,” said Ruby. “A shame, we just caught up.”

“Well,” said Nan, “if by any chance you find you’ve had enough of filling your ears with this trash, I’d be happy to give you a lift from here. In fact, why don’t you come have dinner with us? I always make too much.”

“OK sure, my legs were getting tired anyway. I’ll just call my mum.”

Ruby wandered to a different corner of the festival grounds where she’d managed to find a couple of bars of reception earlier. “So, do you like her?” asked Drew.

“At least she doesn’t like dubstep,” said Nan. “Seriously, whose idea was it to come here?”

“I don’t remember. Wait, I think it was Tommy, but then he couldn’t make it. Really, she doesn’t like the dub?”

Nan shook her head. “I’m sure people are getting dumber with every generation.”

Drew ignored this slight on his intelligence. “So you didn’t mind the gazelle thing?”

“What? Oh, the onesie?”

“Fursuit.”

“Whatever they’re called. I don’t mind, it’s kind of cute, somewhat impractical to wear at a music festival though.”

“So it doesn’t bother you?”

Nan shook her head. “No, why would I care?”

“I’m back,” said Ruby, who was back. “Mum said it’s all cool. What’re you guys talking about?”

“Dinner,” said Nan, walking towards the gate out. “What would you kids like?”

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

With 12 hours remaining, the sole story in the arena is about dubstep and furries. If that's not a call for bloodshed then I don't know what is.

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


Murder on the Fourth of July 1,203 words. It's actually my first successful attempt to write any story longer than a page or two.


History will say that John Adams and I died on the Fourth of July, exactly fifty years after our nation’s independence was born. History will say that we died as friends. History will say many things, but in this, it is wrong.

We kept up appearances to the rest of the country, but our hatred for each other burned brightly through those five decades and longer. And death? Death was but a mere inconvenience for two men of our intellect. We cut our ties with the world of the mundane, and found our own ways to cheat the Reaper: Adams, with secret technology from his beloved Boston, and I with my taste for the occult.

Our immortality transformed our hatred from a mere distaste for each other into more murderous inclinations. No year passed without one of my attempts on John Adam’s life, or Adam’s attempt on my own life. No continent was left untouched by our feud, and nearly every nation felt the weight of our rivalry.

We clashed in Paris when the House of Bourbon was overthrown for the second time, at Veracruz and Huamantla when the United States shattered the dreams of Santa Anna, and at a hundred nameless battles across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The world never knew it, but much of the nineteenth century was a war of Jefferson against Adams.

The only conflict of that century that we did not take part in to fuel our vain attempts at murdering each other was the War Between the States, a decidedly uncivil war. Instead, we went to Europe, where I whispered into the ear of the great revolutionary Garibaldi, and Adams arranged the great monarchs of Europe against me.

The last time we involved mortal men to help us in our feud was in Russia, where we accidentally caused the explosive occurrence now known as the Tunguska Event. After that debacle, we came to the agreement that we should not involve others in our fight, and that we should have an appointed time and appointed place to carry out our battle. I believe it was Adams who suggested that we should fight on the fourth day of every July, to amuse ourselves in the irony of one of us dying on the same day that we both provided an obituary for history’s sake.

Since then, every Fourth of July has come and gone with a vain attempt by one of us to slay the other. We were both too wily to die to easily, so death never came, and we gradually forgot the reasons for our feud. Still, we continued our private war, being so used to this grim routine that it never occurred to us to stop.

When the Fourth of July inevitably happened once more, I traveled to an isolated portion of California’s Pacific coastline, the appointed place we had agreed to meet at on the fifth of July the previous year. Traveling through eldritch dimensions, I appeared there at the crack of dawn. However, I was not alone.

Adams was there, sitting on the cliff of the coastline, along with his son John Quincy. Adams himself appeared as a portly, middle-aged man, as he had been on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. John Quincy cloaked himself in the guise of a nine year old boy, the same age he had been when the Revolution began. From my centuries of dealing with the two Adams, I knew better than to trust their appearance. Their skin was entirely artificial, and beneath it lurked not the organs of mortal man, but technological marvels the world could scarcely conceive of. Though I am hardly one to talk; the less said about my own form, the better.

Hearing the faint crackling noise of my arrival from realms best left untouched, Adams turned his head towards me, smiled the broad grin of a man who has not smiled in years, and waved me over to where he and his son were sitting.

“Jefferson! Come, sit with us!” He seemed like a man without burden or care. My suspicions immediately rose, for we had tried to kill each other for nearly two centuries. Surely this was a trap; while our murderous hate had subsided somewhat over the years, it can’t have had faded entirely. Still, I strode neatly over to the two, and sat on the right side of Adams, while John Quincy sat on his left. As I sat, Adams calmly turned to me and said six words which I never expected to hear in two hundred and seventy years of life.

“I want you to kill me.”

I shook my head vigorously, to make sure I had heard him correctly.

“You want me to what?”

“Kill me, Jefferson.”

“But why?” I felt tongue-tied in an astonished way, like a schoolboy being told that his favorite teacher had gone into the woods and been eaten by a bear.

“I want to die, Jefferson. I’ve had a good, long life. I’ve lived through centuries, just as you have. I have learned every language there is to learn, I’ve meddled in wars without count, I’ve seen countless generations of my family die, be born, and live full lives in between. I have done everything I have ever wanted to do. and now I want to see what lies beyond life. Haven’t you felt the same after all these years?”

I barked out a short laugh. “Adams, if you had met the beings I had, and made the deals that I have made, you wouldn’t be so eager to leave this earth.”

Adams smiled wrly. “Perhaps not, but the fact still remains that I would like to die, and I can’t think of a better man to kill me. Besides, you may be the only man alive who could actually ensure that I stay dead.”

I laughed again, though my mood sobered by another thought. “What about your son?”

John Quincy rolled his eyes at me in a particularly petulant manner that he probably learned from the teenagers of this decade. “Jefferson, I’m two hundred and forty six years old. I believe I can take care of my own matters. What my father does is his own business, though I will miss him.” Quincy’s somber face contrasted with his father’s pleasant mood, but a grin quickly dominated. “But before I join him, I think I shall go beyond Earth, and spend a few centuries among the stars.”
Adams smiled brightly, once again unnerving me with his cheerfulness. He had never been as content as he was in that moment, even in the old days.

“I believe that answers that! Now Tom, will you do the honors? Try that fire you nearly ended our feud with back in Berlin.”
Seeing that I could not change his mind, I called forth in my hand an inferno hotter than the sun, and as tainted by the occult as the grand old trickster I had dealt with to gain it.
“Goodbye, John. I hope I’ll see you again one day.” I thrust the flame into the face of my old rival and newfound friend.

It was quick, this murder on the Fourth of July.

Gygaxian fucked around with this message at Sep 29, 2013 around 17:07

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Lord Windy posted:

I WILL JUDGE!

The battle between Sebmojo and Sitting here that is. If you don't like it, go gently caress yourselves!

Prompt: Powerful women and stilettos.

Words: 500max

Due Date: Saturday the 29th, 12PM Australian Eastern Standard time (GMT+10)

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Evil in Amsterdam: The Wrong Chemistry (1279 words)

Herbert Evil, Ph.D., sat at a coffee counter with the formula for his Irresistable Attraction Tonic spread before him, trying to decipher whether he’d imbalanced any cyanobenzines and if that explained Karen’s odd behavior this morning. He supposed her shock at seeing his evil lair was natural. Who else had a leopard-print uranium-centrifuge/spinning-bed combo?

For two weeks, he’d spent his evenings beside a stunning woman, enjoying the raised eyebrows, pursed lips, and rolled eyes of her colleagues. He winked at them. She was the pinnacle of beauty and he, being the pinnacle of intellect, deserved this.

He’d rented a spare flat - you can never be too sure with Interpol around - and, with the aid of his own Intimacy Elixir, volcanic sex had capped each night. Each time, she’d been gone before dawn, mumbling something about a law firm.

This morning, he’d found Karen sprawled on the lair’s couch in a borrowed t-shirt, munching frozen Hot Pockets and watching Geordie Shore on his eighty-inch World Domination Monitor/television.

His smartwatch buzzed - Karen wanted to see him again tonight. So the Tonic was certainly working, but was this a long-term side effect? He toyed with van der Waals forces.

A shadow darkened his papers. “That won’t work either.”

He shuffled notes back into binders. “Wonderful manners, as always, Lisa.” He waved at the waiter, ordered coffee and a joint and flashed his forged ID. For a man of Dr. Evil’s intellect, mastering Dutch had been a week’s project.

“As good as your physics, Herbert,” said Lisa Nefarious, Ph.D. “What’s the project this time?”

“Go away.”

“Are you still sore about the shrink ray?” She laughed, ordered a coffee and a joint in Dutch and stuck her tongue out at Herbert. “It was a dud. The power core blew before Monaco could fit on a truck, let alone in my pocket.”

“I’m not sore.” He was. The theft had been bad enough, but, worse, the machine she’d stolen was supposed to be a male-enhancement device, not a shrink ray.

“What’s your next failure?” Dr. Nefarious flipped open a folder and snorted. “Oh, you miserable bastard.”

Dr. Evil shoved his work into a bag. “None of your business.”

She smirked. “That must be your first attempt.”

“Yes. Batch one. Experimental. What would you know about neurochemistry, anyway?”

“Grow up, Herbert. You’ve stooped to love potions. It’s pathetic.”

“It’s not a—“

“Why all the selective prefrontal stimulants? Why the dopamine agonists?”

Herbert snorted. “Where’s your doctorate from again, the University of Phoenix? Why should I listen to you?”

“It won’t even cross the blood-brain barrier. You’ve screwed up the permeability equations. You’re welcome, you miserable twat.” She slapped her empty cup on the counter, told the barista Herbert was paying and left.

Dr. Evil took his notes back out. It was a simple ninth-order partial differential equation, how could anyone get that wrong?

He rushed outside, caught Lisa by the arm. “Hold on. Let’s prove this. It comes down to the Y tensor. I’ve got that program in my lab.”

“I’m not walking halfway across town—“

“It’s next door. Let me simulate it and if you win, I’ll bet you…” What? Dinner? God, no, that sounded like a date.

“Two of those rock-drilling robots you built for the Frankfurt caper.”

“The Bore Brothers? Okay. Sure.”

A few minutes later, he fished around in his pockets. He’d never misplaced his keys before. Weird. “Look away.” After he was sure Dr. Nefarious wouldn’t see his secret hiding place, he opened his fake-rock Hide-A-Key - thanks SkyMall! - and let himself in.

Inside, it was quiet and dark aside from panels of blinking lights. Karen’s things hung on a coathook. “Sweetie?” He crept down the stairs, then froze.

In the dark corners of his room, several flashlight-wielding men rifled through his files. Karen’s unmistakable silhouette stood behind them, pointing at folders and murmuring.

Herbert backed up the stairs and stumbled over her purse. Something shiny fell out. He picked up cold metal and held it in a shaft of light.

An Interpol badge.

“Herbie, is that you?” Down below, buttons snapped open, barrels whispered against holster-leather.

Dr. Evil ducked back out the front door.

Lisa stared at him, arms crossed. “No printout?”

Wheels clicked in his head. He grinned and slapped her on the shoulder, affixing a tiny hologram emitter to her back. “Too many pages. Come on in, I’ll show you on the monitor.”

He let her start down the stairs, then ducked into a storage locker.

Down below, floodlights clacked on. “Doctor Evil, you’re under arrest for crimes against humanity.”

#

He hid for hours, listening to men trample his Lair. Finally, they left and Dr. Evil emerged to toppled computers, scattered files and, the greatest indignity of all, they’d left his World Domination Monitor tuned to the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens.

He sat down, dazed. The formula had gone bad. But when? He’d paid attention to Karen’s facial tics the whole time, and not once had he seen true affection fade to feigned. Or had it not worked in the first place?

A keyring glinted on the floor. He grabbed it. ‘If Found, Please Return to L. Nefarious, Ph.D.’

The good doctor would no doubt extricate herself from prison in short order. Before then, he could get revenge for the shrink ray incident. He grinned.

Dr. Evil hurried to Nefarious’ lair - he’d mapped out her movements ages ago. While he favored a vast, mechanical space in the warehouse district, hers was a modern white-and-black penthouse flat. But the tools of science were the same and soon he was devouring her notes, comparing them to the ones in his bag.

She was right. His formula had never touched Karen’s brain. Deep in the absorption equation, he’d forgotten to carry the one.

Greasy disdain melted away under the heatlamp of enlightenment. Something altogether different, something alien to his brain, sprouted in its place.

#

Supervillain jail was not a nice place. A concrete cube with a concrete bed and a concrete toilet and a concrete sink. Still, Dr. Nefarious had begged a bedsheet, a cup of tea and some chalk off the guards. Math-graffiti covered the walls. The plan was simple. Once Chili Tuesday rolled around, she’d burn through thirty meters of solid masonry.

Her evening meal slid through a slot in the door. From the scent, it was boiled hamburger, collard greens and overheated silicates.

Wait, hot rock?

The floor glowed and she leapt away. A disc melted open, revealing a long dark tunnel.

Dr. Evil poked his head up over the lip, tossed her a pair of lab goggles. “Hurry up.”

They sped through the tunnel and soon were out in fresh air on a hill overlooking the prison.

Dr. Nefarious breathed deep, smiled at the sun, then glowered at Herbert. “Okay. What’s your game, Evil? You didn’t bust me out of there for nothing.”

“Of course not.” He looked away. “I had to test my latest formula in case they got me next.”

“Oh. Thanks? Bye, then.”

“I was looking at your notes.”

“You were in my lab?” She balled a fist, stepped forward. “What’d you take? I want it back. Now.”

“Nothing! I was checking and… look, you were right about the tonic. Sorry.”

Dr. Nefarious rocked back on her heels. “Okay… apology accepted. But don’t go in my lab again.”

“Well, I did notice these interesting plans for a hurricane device. But I think you’ve got a few third-order supersymmetries missing.”

Lisa said nothing.

“Want to discuss a joint project... over coffee? Friday, maybe?”

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer



Track 2: Topless Hoes on a Cigarette Boat
939 words


“The prosecution claims that my client didn’t just steal candy from a baby, but that he jacked a U-Haul full of treats from the loading dock at St. Jude’s cancer ward. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury...actually it looks like we have all men this time.

“What? Oh, I stand corrected. Seriously though, I apologize to you and all lesbians on behalf of the Fraternity of Public Defenders. But as I was saying, the police report claims that the truck was stolen by a Cuban immigrant, but everybody can plainly see that my client is Mexican.

“You are? That’s not in my notes.

“Oh, you’re right, it’s right there. Man, the surveillance photo they have looks just like you.

“You don’t have to tell me what isn’t helpful, Judge, may we strike my previous comment from the record?

“No? Why not?

“I’m pretty sure that’s not actually a law.

“Sorry, your honor. Romario, where were you on the night of the murder?

“Ok, ok, Grand Theft Auto and Larceny with Intent to Induce Sadness, whatever.

“Exactly, and as the jury will note, the Wendy’s is a full half mile from the children’s hospital. How would my client have made that half mile without a car. And if he already had a car, why would he bother to steal a truck?

“Well yes, your honor, he could have walked, but as you can see from this picture I have printed out from Google Maps, the most efficient route does not have sidewalks. Now my colleagues may try to paint a different picture, one of a drunken man stumbling down the road with a burger and frostee, in the middle of traffic, screaming obscenities at drivers--and I must admit, it’s a pretty convincing picture--but is that a crime?

“Then lock me up and throw away the key, sir, because that’s not the America I want to live in.

“Excuse me, it was just a joke.

“Yes I am going somewhere with this. My client may have been next to the hospital, drunk, full of burger meat and fast-food ice cream, but it’s all circumstantial. If anything, a pillar of the community such as Romario here deserves a little break now and then. If you take a look at his résumé, you’ll see a list of awards given to him by the state of Florida. November 2002: Breaking and Entering, for his debut album “Drugz, Thugz, ‘n Nugz.” September 2004: Aiding and Abetting, that was after Hurricane Katrina yes?

“Well to be honest sir, I don’t know what most of those words mean. Abetting? Sounds made up. I’d like to motion that we take a short bathroom break.

“Yes, that is why I’m doing this little dance. I forgot to go earlier.

“Thank you, sir.

“Excuse me, coming through.

“Oh, juror #5, fancy seeing you here. How do you think it’s going in there?

“Hey no need for awkwardness; just two dudes talking at a urinal. Totally natural.

“Well, I don’t agree with you, but I’ll respect your wishes. Just remember: Vote for me!

“Ok, see you out there.

“Make way, J.S. Templeton, Esquire coming through.

“Hi again Romario, anything interesting happen while I was gone?

“Just between you and me: I just talked with one of the jurors, and he seems to be leaning our way.

“No I didn’t wash them, I didn’t pee on them.

“Yes your honor?

“Yes I’m ready to start, was just having a quick word with my client.

“He claims I did what?

“A few words maybe, sure, just chatting between two guys in a bathroom. Innocent stuff.

“Attempting to influence him? That’s insane! Just remember, snitches get stitches.

“What? I was just playing around!

“Ok I get it, no more jokes. Though I think a mistrial is a very harsh penalty to threaten. I’m just trying to have a little fun in my job, but I’ll be boring and professional like you want.

“Mr. Romario, is it true that thou hast been recorded on a digital recording device in the state police cruising vehicle, admitting to and bragging about your exploitative crime of stealing this truck?

“Sounded like bragging to me.

“And were you thusly read your Miranda Rights, according to the United States Constitution of America?

“That’s right, and if we can watch this dashboard cam together, we will see that Police Officer of the Peace Mr. O’Brien, while taking the time to beat repeatedly about the face my client, never bothered to voice aloud my clients Miranda Rights, heretofore aforementioning disqualifying his admission of guilt as evidence. And hark, the driver of the truck was not able to identify my client from a police lineup, and furthermoreso vis a vis, describe the carjacker as having a mole on his cheek.

“Since I am forced to be boring and lawyery, I am not having fun anymore, and wish to rest my case. No further questions.

“So, client-lawyer privilege protects us when we talk, so I feel comfortable saying that judge is an rear end in a top hat sometimes.

“Pull what off? You liked that dullery? Whatever. Now we sit and wait for the jury to deliberate. Sometimes it takes hours, or days even. So don’t get comfortable. Oh, they’re back. Sit up and look sad.

“Congratulations! Come here.

“Whoa, settle down. Hugs are a time-honored client-lawyer tradition.

“Yes, your Honor?

“Wait, what new charges?

“Me? I told you the bathroom stuff was a joke.

“Excuse me Baliff, I’m sure it’s all just a misunderstanding. Do you have to do those so tight?

“I need to call my lawyer.”

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

Man, gently caress you google, you old crusty pervert:

Only registered members can see post attachments!

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

High marks for compassion, low marks for survival skills





My weekend turned out to be a bit more wicked than anticipated, so I'm gonna have to duck out this time.

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

It's looking like I'm going to be toxxing myself for the next entry. If I can finish before the night based on PST, I'll post it here, DQ be damned. Otherwise I'll ship it to the Farm.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

wordcount: 1018

The Secret of Mirror Bay

The bus hissed to a stop and tourists poured out in a torrent of colourful shirts and pure white legs. They made their way to the water’s edge and stood in a line along the rocky beach, hands across their brows, looking across Mirror Bay. On the far shoreline grew dark brush for several hundred meters and, above it, the rugged slopes of Mount Carabas climbed towards the cloud-masked sun. Beneath the ranges, painted on the surface of the bay and muddled by the ripples of the morning breeze, the famous spires and glistening turrets of the Golden City towered before a perfect blue sky.

“I don’t get it,” said one tourist to his wife. “What’s it reflecting? It’s some kind of optical illusion, like those magicians on the telly. It’s all done with mirrors.”

“That would be why they call it Mirror Bay,” said the Anthony, the Friendly Tours Tour Guide, belatedly joining the group. “Not that there are any mirrors involved, but that’s the first thing everybody says, right back to Crayson and Wick, the original explorers who found the bay. Apparently they thought a magician had pipped them to the discovery and set up the trick of a lifetime.” Anthony suspected that was the billion and seventeenth time he had told that particular anecdote.

“So how is it done?” asked the wife, rubbing her forehead beneath her straw hat, the way Ella used to. Dammit, thought Anthony. Head in the game.

“If anybody knew, they’d be more famous than the Bay itself,” said Anthony. “You name it, somebody has suggested it and someone else has proven them wrong. Underwater painting, fortuitous rock formation, malicious goblins. “ Anthony paused precisely long enough for the polite laughter to finish. “All theories suggested and discarded after close examination.”

“Is it some kind of portal?” asked an older gentleman, pointing at it with his walking stick.

Anthony looked him over, noting his sombre black slacks and shirt in contrast to the summer apparel of his fellow tourists. There was one on every tour, somebody who hoped that Mirror Bay would be more than an inexplicable mystery of no tangible consequence. Anthony deepened his voice a tad, the way he practised at home. “Some say it is. But a portal to where? And for whom?”

“Fish?” suggested another tourist, and the group laughed. Anthony began the tale of Crayson and Wick’s final expedition, and one by one the members of the tour group broke away, still listening, to stare at the Golden City’s reflection from another angle.

That night, in the bar of the Aurum Hotel, Anthony nursed a tall drink made of three kinds of coloured spirit. Ella used to like them. Two and she’d be laughing and joking all night. Three and she’d probably fall over trying to dance. Anthony almost laughed, remembering.

“Can you see details?” asked a voice from behind him.

He glanced over his shoulder at the older man with the cane, and shrugged. “Huh?” he asked.

“The Golden City? Details? Does anyone ever see anything more than buildings? Do they see people, or vehicles, or signs? Anything?”

“Look, friend, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m off the clock, having a quiet drink, and I’m lousy company when I’m not on the job. But no, nobody has ever seen anything more than stationary golden towers against a blue sky, twenty four seven for the past hundred and eighty years. Now if you’ll excuse me...” Anthony turned back to his drink and pointedly swizzled it with a cocktail stick.

“Oh,” said the old man. “I thought perhaps some people might have seen other people. That would make sense. Because I did, you know, see someone today. Look, I took a photo.” He thrust a tablet in front of Anthony’s drink, almost knocking it over in the process.

“Hey! Watch it!” said Anthony, whisking his glass away before calamity occurred. The barman turned at the raised voice, but Anthony waved him off, sighed, and looked at the photo on the tablet. Better get it over with, he thought, staring at his billion and seventeenth amateur photo of the Golden City. “OK, so what am I looking at?” The old man pointed, and Anthony widened the area with thumb and forefinger.

There was a face there.

In the window of a golden tower.

A face.

Anthony zoomed in as far as he could.

Hers.

“Ella?” he whispered.

“What’s that? You’ll have to speak up, drat aid’s on the fritz again.”

“Sorry - I, uh, hang on.” Anthony composed himself. “Where did you take this?” he asked, speaking as clearly as he could.

“Just now. I went for a walk after dinner. I like to keep active. A stick is no excuse to sit on your bum, young man, and don’t you forget it.”

Anthony made a small, irritated sound, and shrunk the photo, trying to judge from the perspective where along the shoreline it had been taken. Then he ran from the bar, from the hotel, from the street, until he stood ankle deep in the bay, looking at the Golden City’s reflection before him, dark green water shifting into rippling blue. There he stopped, scanning the wide, brilliant image, searching the distance for an impossible face in an impossible window.

He didn’t see it. But he heard her. He heard her voice in song, wrapping notes around his name, calling him through time. He didn’t stop to wonder how, or why, or why now. He strode into the deepening water, out beyond the shallows, then dived below the surface, breaking through the sky.

“Hi, I’m Edgar. Friendly Tours wishes to apologise for the sudden change but Anthony, our regular tour guide, is indisposed. If you could all please be seated, yes, you too, sir - oops, mind your cane, that’s right, and we’ll be on our way. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time with Friendly Tours so far and found Mirror Bay as fascinating as we do. What is its secret? I don’t think we’ll ever know, but, just quietly, my mother is sure it’s aliens.”

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Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

I'M ESCAPING TO THE ONE PLACE THAT HASN'T BEEN CORRUPTED BY CAPITALISM...

SPACE!


I wish I had more time to try and actually make this concept work a bit better within the allotted word count but like a lot of people real life kinda kicked my rear end this week. Here's my barely edited entry:

---


The Secret in the Stars

1,299 words (the asterisks and the title push the word count up to 1,325)

Francis didn’t know why he refused to look. At first he thought it was a joke. Later it seemed like Simon had simply lost it. No one carries a joke that far.

Then Lisa killed herself.

Sitting alone on his porch after the funeral, drinking his father’s beer and wondering why he couldn’t summon any tears for his dead friend, Francis’ mind had wondered skyward. What the hell had Simon been talking about that evening? What had Lisa seen on the other end of that telescope?

“Have you seen it?” Simon asked him on the night of the party.

“Seen what?”

“The secret in the stars.”

At the time it had been easy to make a joke and ignore Simon. Only Lisa had been willing to humour him enough to actually go upstairs and look into the telescope. She’d fiddled with the dials, moved the scope form side to side while Simon egged her on. And then, just as she was ready to give up, she had seen something. Francis could not imagine what it had been, but the blood had drained from her face and her eyes got watery, and after she told them in a wavering voice that she had to go home they never saw her again.

Two days later her parents found her in the bathtub after she chased a bottle of painkillers into her gullet with a mickey of vodka.


* * *


The telescope had come along with an entire attic’s worth of junk when Uncle Phil died. Francis’ father, who never threw anything out unless it absolutely couldn’t be helped, had recruited Francis and Simon to clear out Phil’s stuff. It wasn’t a bad way to end High School and start their last summer together. They smoked joints in the backyard when Dad left to go into town, and he brought them beers for when the job was done.

It took them days to clear everything. Phil’s attic was a testament to his long career. Dozens of boxes of papers, old artefacts retrieved from digs around the world, and in one corner his framed diplomas from Harvard and Miskatonic.

What Phil was doing with a telescope was anyone’s guess. It was new and, according to a quick Google search, state of the art. A receipt that had been left in the box showed the telescope was purchased weeks before Phil’s death. The $5,000 price tag seemed excessive for a man who had never made more than $65,000 a year but Phil was known to be an eccentric.

Simon was better with those kinds of instruments. From the moment he first saw the telescope he had become obsessed with figuring out how it worked. Francis didn’t mind, it seemed appropriate that somebody was interested in learning how to use the drat thing given what it had cost. He’d even considered giving it to Simon as a gift, but the price tag had made him hesitate.

So instead he’d humoured his old friend, sitting on the porch with him, watching while he tried to get the god damned thing to work. Night after night they sat beneath a canopy of stars talking about girls, life, and the end of High School and bright future that was now barreling toward them at freight train speed. And all the while Simon had toiled away, adjusting the dials and interrogating the manual to learn the device’s arcane secret. But until the night of the party Simon never saw anything worth reporting on.


* * *


A week after Lisa’s funeral Simon called him. They hadn’t spoken since the night of the party.

“Have you seen it yet?” Simon asked.

“Simon? Is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me. Hope I didn’t wake you.”

“Where have you been man?” Francis asked. It was Simon’s voice on the other line, but it didn’t really sound like Simon. “You missed the funeral.”

“I need to know if you’ve seen it yet.”

“Seen what?”

“The secret,” said Simon, and his voice lowered to a conspiratorial pitch, “the secret in the stars.”


* * *


“When’s the last time you talked to Simon?” asked Francis, a couple of days later. He was sitting with Maya in the kitchen of her stepmother’s house watching the fireflies.

“I don’t know. I didn’t see him at Lisa’s funeral. The week before that is all a blur at this point,” she said.

“Yeah, he skipped the funeral. Then he called me the other night.”

“Is he ok?” she asked.

“I don’t think so. I was hoping maybe you’d heard from him.” Francis paused a moment, unsure of what else to say. “You know he was the last person to actually talk to Lisa? I’m think he’s feeling mixed up about what happened.”

“I’ll talk to him,” offered Maya.

Later that evening, after he got home, Francis realized that the telescope was missing from the balcony. It would have been easy enough for a burglar to climb up there but nothing else was missing from the house.


* * *


“He showed me,” said Maya. Francis rubbed his eyes and checked his alarm clock; it was 4AM. He hoped his father hadn’t been woken by the phone’s ring.

“Maya? Who showed you?”

“I talked to Simon,” said Maya in a distant voice. Francis was reminded of the way his mother used to speak to him when she was simultaneously trying to read the newspaper.

“Is everything ok?”

“Yes... No, maybe not. It just isn’t what I expected.”

“Maya, what are you talking about?” Simon asked.

“I’m getting sleepy,” Maya mumbled. “Just tell him I’m sorry. I can’t keep a secret like that.”

“Maya—“

But the line was already dead.


* * *


Maya was luckier Lisa. Somebody found her in time to call an ambulance and get her stomach pumped. Francis tried to go and see her but at the hospital the nurse on duty was adamant: family only, no exceptions.

On a whim Francis took the long route home, the one that took him right past Simon’s house. Uncle Phil’s telescope was sitting prominently in his bedroom window.


* * *


Francis found his father rummaging through the basement, surrounded by opened cardboard boxes that were all overflowing with the content of Phil’s attic.

“Hey Francis. Do you remember seeing a clay disk when we were clearing out Phil’s attic?”

“No. Why?”

“The museum called. They think your uncle might have taken an artefact out of the storage locker. Some kind of astronomical tablet. They say it’s very valuable.”

“Dad, do you ever find yourself wondering about Phil’s stroke?”

His father looked puzzled.

“Not really. Why?”

“Phil didn’t have a history of medical problems did he?”

“Not that we know of. But most people don’t swerve into a highway overpass unless something goes wrong, and there wasn’t any alcohol in his blood.”


* * *


“Have you seen it yet?” Simon asked him.

“You’re scaring me Simon,” said Francis.

“I need you to look.” Simon said.

“I need you to tell me what the gently caress is going on. What did you do to Maya?”

Simon laughed. It was the most awful noise Francis had ever heard.

“Don’t you want to see it?” Simon asked.

“You mean the secret in the stars?”

Simon nodded.

“You stole my telescope.”

“You weren’t using it.”

Simon stepped out of the door frame and allowed Francis to walk inside. His house was empty.

“Where are you folks?”

“They didn’t like seeing it. The secret, I mean.”

They went to Simon’s room. The telescope was sitting by the window.

“Simon, please tell me what’s going on.”

“No one can tell you the secret,” Simon said. “You have to see it for yourself.”

“Talk to me.”

“First you have to look.”

Francis hesitated. What was the worst that could happen?

“Fine.”

And there it was, in all its awful glory.

The Secret in the Stars.

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