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perpetulance
Mar 24, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I be scrubbing out this week. Insert excuse here.

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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Just not cricket

“Not Jonno, he bowls like a loving Aussie,”

and that was it. You bowl like an Australian, you get sent to the part of the field where you'll do the least harm. It shows a weakness of moral fibre: their ancestors were criminals after all. That's how they keep stealing all those runs. I trudged across the yard, kicking aside empty beer cans until I met Winnifred, the blowup doll. She was tied to Graham's fence with a bunch of colourful ribbons, wearing a deeply shocked expression and little else. “Guess it's me and you, Winnie,” I said.

To add insult to injury, Graham, who actually is Australian, got called up to bowl. The smug stinkyhole was wearing a helmet, zinc, pads- the whole deal. We're playing in the back yard with plastic bats but he wanted to show us all how it was done, by coming to the game in a white SWAT outfit. Graham, with his blonde hair and effortless charm, had come over here to steal our jobs and instead decided to just steal our women. He was rooting Jackie, who was French or some poo poo: one of the countries where the women don't shave. We couldn't pronounce her real name. Tits like a pornstar and a moustache like, well, a pornstar. Half synthetic, all natural. Where was I? Oh yes, perfect Graham with his perfect smile. Me, jealous? gently caress off, mate.

Something cut through the fog of indignation. “Jonno, Jonno mate,”

“What?”

“Go get us a beer.”

“I'm not your loving missus, Graham.”

“Don't be a prick, Jonno. There's a pack of dou-bros in the fridge. Get yourself one too.”

Oh yes, just because Graham's married and he's got a house with a backyard that he lets us play cricket in on Sundays but only after church because you can't play cricket sober and you can't pray drunk and-

just because all that, he thinks he can order people around. It's his house though and I didn't want to cause a fuss, so I headed inside to grab the drinks. Jackie's watching some soap opera in some language I don't understand: she barely even looked at me. Stuck up Portugese bitch. There's a fireplace in the lounge, boarded up. The only useful bit left is the mantlepiece, which is stuffed with junk. There's a bunch of medals his dad won in Crete, a jam-jar filled with coins he's collected off street corners all over the world and right in the middle, a musty old cricket ball with half the stitching come loose. Some real primeval poo poo, that ball: like an apple left a century in the sun. I reached out to pick it up, to know if it felt half an old as it looked.

“Don't touch that,”

“Piss off, Jackie, I wasn't gonna,” I said.

“Charlie Bannerman, he hit that ball into there stands in the eighteen-seven-seven. Graham, his father wins it in drinking contest in Burpengary against a fat man collector from England. He drinks him under a table.”

“Graham's full of it, Jackie. He found it in a bin somewhere. It stinks. Why don't you chuck it back out?”

“I try once. Graham is almost the crying when he finds it not there. He goes through trash, wash it then put it straight back. I don't touch after that,” she said, then went straight back to her Hungarian TV crap. Bloody women. While she was distracted by some new-unfolding drama, I slipped the ball into my pocket, picked up the box of beer in both hands, then headed back outside.

We're another hour in and the yard was looking like a beer-can recreation of Gallipoli. We've switched over and Graham's taking the bat. “Let the Aussie bowler take the Aussie down!” howled Bevan, who was having trouble standing up straight. They all looked at me, these big poo poo-eating grins on their faces. Oh yeah, real comedians. Well, I've a big joke in my pocket: a hunk of old leather than stunk like a dead rat and I reckoned I was just sober enough to throw straight. My fingers were drumming on it and it felt almost warm, alive.

I stepped up to the wickets and slipped the ball out of my pocket. Quick as you like, I wound up and let it loose. Graham's got just long enough to realise what's happening but his arms were already in motion: muscle memory from a thousand games of backyard cricket sent him flying forward like Hercules. His face was twisting and screaming, but it's not about faces or brains at this point. It's about something older than that, a stew that's been brewing a long time, ever since he stole Jackie the Singaporean out from underneath me. I felt a little bad, 'cos stealing's in his nature. It's in his genetic as an Australian: he's just born bad.

Bat hit ball with a wet thunk. I barely had time to suck in a breath as the ball whistled past, millimetres away from taking my drat head off. It's gone by me, it's gone by Bevan and Timbo, it's heading straight for the fence and surely the drat thing can't survive an impact like that. It smacked into something, then a naked woman was illuminated in a ray of sun, flying through the air, angelic, arms low at her sides. Winnie came down to earth on her back. She was knocked into the air so hard, the ribbons and the fencepost were torn to pieces. She looked more pleased than shocked now, the old ball caught squarely in her toothless mouth.

There's a silence, then Bevan raised one hand in the air. “YEERRRRRRRRROUT,” he said. There's a burst of laughter from all the lads. Graham dropped the bat and grinned. “Fair enough,” he said. He was looking square at the ball, completely undamaged.

Bloody women.







[999 words]

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


The Beast in the Woods

Words: 980

I was always afraid of Billy Scruggs and his straight razor. But I thought I was in love with Sarah Hartline more than I was afraid of that blade. Billy talked Sarah into skipping school with him, to see the hobo tents in the woods, and I didn’t want to let her go alone. So I took little Ricky Banters along too.

“I bet that isn’t even that sharp,” Sarah said. Billy had been flicking his razor blade open and closed the entire way. Schwick. Clack. Schwick. Clack.

“I strop it every day,” Billy said. He held it above his head, looking at it with one eye closed. “Gotta take care of the stuff that’s important to you.” He winked at Sarah. “Even got my first shave with it.”


“What’s so special about that?” Sarah said.

“My dad got it in the war. German steel, French round tip. Right before he went to prison, for robbing a bank, he gave it to me, had it engraved,” he said. “Do you want to see it?”

He walked over to Sarah.

“As close a man can get?” she said. “That’s dumb.”

“It is not!” Billy said, snatching it back. “It means that, it means that even though he’s not here right now, he’s still close to me. That he’s still my Dad!”

“I’ve heard that on a—“ Ricky started to say, but I gave him a look.

I would learn, over my first scotch with my father some years later, that Billy’s dad hadn’t actually gone to prison. Nothing as romantic as that. Just up and left one day, leaving Billy with an alcoholic mom, a little brother and a pile of bills. I don’t know why Billy thought prison sounded better, but then again, I’m a coward, and I feel like prisoners might be better people than me.

So we kept walking in silence.

In the middle of nothing, thick with trees, mostly dirt and dead leaves, a dog was tied to a tree. Wheezing and patchy, its ribs were showing. I could see the grooves in the dirt where the dog had fought against the rope, and circled around the tree hundreds of times.

“That poor thing,” Sarah said. When she got close to it, the dog went crazy. I would have gotten between the two, but I was stuck back by Ricky, who was hiding behind me. I would have, I mean, but Billy was already there, arms spread eagle. Sarah always told the story that way.

“Do something!” Sarah said, talking over the dog. Saliva foamed all around the dog’s mouth, spittle, big globs of it, flying everywhere as it fought the rope.

“No way,” Ricky said. “It’s dangerous!”

“It is not!” Sarah shouted.

“Guys, keep it cool. I know that look,” Billy said. Billy dug into his ratty backpack and pulled out a half-eaten sleeve of saltines. “He’s just hungry.”

Billy crept closer, and we held our breaths. Ricky held onto the back of my shirt, and I wanted to hit him, but the touch felt reassuring. Sarah stood there with her hands over her mouth. Out in front were the crackers, and the dog had stopped barking so much. It got a whiff, and calmed down. Maybe it just wanted to be fed.

Once it got its nose into the bag of crackers, it relaxed. Billy patted it and moved over to the rope, holding it tight in one hand. Back and forth, Billy worked the razor. The dog paced slightly, slobber dripping from his mouth. When he was almost through, he turned his head and flashed a wicked smile at Sarah.

“Told you it was sharp,” he said. “I take care of what’s important to me.”

And finally, the rope snapped as he got the blade through the last little bit. He was still kneeling, one knee in the dirt, the other holding up the forearm of his other hand. His head swiveled. And then that hulking mass leapt. I saw Billy’s eyes go wide, and he tried to put his hands up, but the dog was on him. Jaws clamped down on his neck so fast I didn’t have time for my heart to stop. The dog took him to the ground instantly, and Sarah later told me there was so much blood. That it hurt. And then she’d take a drag off a cigarette and finish her drink. The only time she’d let me touch her was when she drank.

In truth, I didn’t watch. I only saw the razor, glinting as it passed through a beam of sunlight. Even with that dog all over him, I couldn’t keep my eyes off that blade. When it landed, unceremoniously in the dirt, Ricky grabbed me by the wrist and told me to run. So I ran. I ran and I didn’t even look back, even when I realized Sarah wasn’t with us. I never told her that. I told her I was the one who made Ricky run.

One day I went back to that spot, more by accident than anything I like to tell myself. I wouldn’t have really known, except the rope, all frayed and mossy, was still tied around that tree. I looked around for the razor, but I never did find it. I’ve been back a couple of times over the years, I like to think I’ll find it, half buried in the dirt, covered in rust, and I’d clean it up, maybe. Polish it until it reflected the sun like a mirror, and then I’d give it to Billy’s little brother. I would tell Abe, I would tell him, “Your brother would want you to have this,” and I would tell him what those words meant on the razor. I would lie to him, or I like to think I would.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

wordcount:897

Forgetting Clementine

My hunting rifle hangs above the fireplace, locked in the display rack where she’s rested for the last three years of my tour. I unlock her, release the latch, lift the bracket and take her into my hands. She’s a lot lighter than I am used to. “Hello again, Clem,” I say, cradling her.

I bought Clem for hunting deer, for the trips my father and brothers took into the mountainous woods that surrounded our town. She was growing up, freedom and indentured servitude all rolled into one. After a decade of borrowed rifles she was the first thing I bought with my first paycheck from the Corps, just hours before I got told I was shipping out the next day to complete Basic Training elsewhere. On tour I shot a lot of guns at a lot of people; pistols at close range, mortars with shells larger than my fist, sniper rifles with laser sights. But not Clem. As far as I know, she's never been out of the rack, never even been fired.

I like that about her. I like the idea of a weapon that never fulfilled its purpose. It doesn’t seem incomplete, more alive with possibility. Maybe I’m a little jealous. Once shots are fired it’s a matter of history, you hit, you miss, you kill or you’re dead. It’s all there in your permanent record, a part of what you are, a killer or a failure or a corpse. But before that - before your finger has tightened on the trigger and the ‘contained deflagration of explosive compounds’ begins - history is a wide open book.

I take Clem out to the car, cleaned and loaded, and place her in the bay of the passenger seat. My brothers all named their rifles after girls they liked, and when I borrowed one for a hunt they told me to “Take good care of Lisa”, or “Look after Ellie.” I named mine Clementine and told them it was because she was a .49 caliber. I sure as Hell wasn’t going to admit that Clementine was the girl who’d promised to wait for me until after my tour. They figured it out once I shipped, they saw her posts on my wall and LOLed.

I slot Clementine into place so she can’t be seen, tell her to sit tight, and then head south to the city center. The sun rises early this time of year, shafts of light through mountain clouds, and I’m mostly alone on the road, maybe a few trucks heading somewhere else, a couple of cyclists doing their thing. Nobody pays us much attention.

I pull into a side street off the town square and behind the cathedral. The church’s back door is locked but six years in the choir taught me where the key is kept. I let myself and Clementine in, locking the door behind us.

The church hall is vast and empty. I wonder if Clementine, the real Clementine, married Whats-his-name here or on some romantic beach somewhere. No matter. That trigger has been pulled.

I climb the stairs in the back to the bell tower and lean against the balcony. The square is starting to busy up with people heading to work. I’m not so high above them that I can’t make out faces; a little tired, a little bored, a line of them outside the Koffee Kart making small talk and blowing steam.

I get down on one knee and bring Clementine up to my shoulder. She has a scope, a good one, though not the bionic eye of my old standard issue. I peer over the edge, make out the moustache of the coffee vendor but he’s moving around too much. A good hunter never shoots moving prey if he wants one shot, one kill, and I’m a very good hunter of men. It’s all I am now that I am no longer a weapon.

The wind picks up and I adjust my position to compensate. My finger moves toward the trigger. Sound carries up from the street below, from the people beneath me and from the world beyond the small town I’m zooming in on. I hear them again, my men, not like I hear them in my nightmares, alive and near and burning - but whispers of their screams, lost on the breeze. Mist passes over my eye, but I wipe it away and recheck my sights. I shift the cross-hairs over the heads in line, standing there waiting for me to write the final lines in their books and fulfil our purpose. I find one - a girl at the end, slight build, blonde hair. I can feel her endless possibilities collapsing into one.

She turns and I recognise her face in the scope. It takes me a moment to place her. A couple of years down from me at high school. Jesus. It’s Jessie, Clementine’s little sister. My hand starts shaking and I sit down, my back to the balcony, that drat song stuck in my head. With Clem in my arms I laugh and laugh at the message the universe has decided to send me, the joke it just had to tell. I laugh until the tears come at last.

How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine

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.

Why I Was Unable to Submit on Time: The 100% Real and not at all Fabricated Account of Chairchucker's Excuse for Tardiness

So there I was at my desk, right. On my good chair, the one that's bolted down real firmly to prevent any unfortunate rage fueled mishaps. And I'm totes ready for some hardcore writing, flexing fingers and everything. Just as I'm about to start writing - and it's gonna be real amazing stuff - I hear an annoying laughing sound from back in my heirloom room, where I keep all my heirlooms. There's some really neat stuff in there, but a kookaburra is not usually one of them. On this occasion though, that's what I hear. I go back and have a sticky beak, and there's the thieving varmint getting his filthy claws on the bag that holds my prized sea shell collection. I make a lunge for the mangy thing, but nothin' doin', he's out of that room like a shot and away.

Well I ain't havin' that, of course, so out the window I go, and down the gum tree on which my treehouse is built. I whistle for the nearest emu, then hop on and chase after the avian thief. Now a kookaburra's not a slow bird by any means, but an emu cannot be beat for transport, let me tell you that for free. We've gotta dodge the occasional wombat hole, but we're gaining on the blighter.

Up ahead I see where the kookaburra's heading; should've known that dumb bird wouldn't be acting of his own volition. It's old Bazza's super tree fort. Real swish place, this is, but built on a bunch of bloody introduced trees, pine or something. Just awful. No class at all, Bazza. I slow up the emu, then stop, get off and send it on its way.

I crouch down and have a butcher's at the treetops near the entrance to his tree mansion. I'm sure Bazza wouldn't leave his place unguarded, and it turns out I'm right. Big dropbear just near the top of the best climbing tree, waiting for some drongo to try to climb in that way. Quick as a flash I grab a fallen stick and whittle it into a boomerang; not the most aerodynamic thing ever, but she'll do in a pinch. I take careful aim at the dropbear and then let fly.

Does it hit? Do dropbears poo in the woods? Bang on. The dropbear gets a little dazed, then falls towards me like... well, like a dropbear. Which goes to show that even I don't plan things out too well all the time. So the dropbear's coming down all fur and claws, and I whip out my whittling knife and prepare for its onslaught. The scuffle that ensues is brief and violent, but suffice to say I emerge triumphant, if a little bloodied. No sense wasting a perfectly good dropbear though, so I skin it and make myself a fearsome looking dropbear hat, with the fierce looking eyes looking out over my own and all. Then I go over to the tree and get to climbing.

Now, say what you will about these bloody introduced trees - and I will, strewth they're awful - but bloody hell they make climbing much easier. I'm up that tree like a shot, and on to Bazza's front veranda. I walk in his front house, as bold as you please, and make my way towards his pool room. That's gotta be where he's got my shells, I'm reckoning to myself.

Well, nothing could prepare me for what I find in there. A few of the other blokes had mentioned some of their heirlooms had gone missing; well every single one of them is somewhere in Bazza's pool room. The blighter'd been stealing them all, and there he is placing my shells amongst them.

"Oi!" I says.

He turns around, and then, seeing me, puts the bag behind his back and says "Oi, what? This is private property, mate, now clear off before I sick me dingo on you!"

"Hand over the shells, you cretin. My old man collected those shells, so he did, and he didn't do that to have some bloody galah put them in his family room in pretty patterns."

"Family room?" His voice is raised now, and he's forgotten about trying to pretend he hasn't nicked my shells. "I'll have you know this is a bonafide pool room, and probably the most grouse one in this district!" He steps down on one of my shells, hard.

"Oi, hang about now! What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"

He's ignoring me though, and stamping all about on my shells in a rage. Just then I spot it.

Sleek. Wooden backed. Cushioned. Aerodynamic. The perfect chair. It's closer to me than it is to him. I'm upon the perfect projectile before he realises what's happening, and, well, you can guess the rest.

But in case you can't, I hurl the chair at him. It bounces off of his noggin with a pleasant walloping sound, and down he goes like a sack of spuds. "Bonza," I shout.

My foe dispatched, I bend down and assess the damage. It's quite severe. I scoop up the shattered remains of my shell collection, give him a friendly kick in the ribs to be going on with, then out of his treehouse again and down the tree, stopping only to key his Toyota.

And then when I get home, Neighbours is on, so what can you do, eh?

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Submissions are closed. Even gave you guys a little extra time cause I like you so much. Here's looking at you, Chuck.

Magnificent 7, Perpetulance, you are not my kind of people. Saddest Rhino, Sebmojo, Radioactive Bears, Impermanent, and Black Griffon, you've also got a lot to answer for. 1,000 words to answer for, to be precise.

And Erik, man, come on dude, you're a judge. Gotta set an example for the community here.

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

To the rest of you, good job. I'll see to it your results are posted in 24 hours or less, though expect the crits to be awhile longer in coming.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Nubile Hillock posted:

Mark Zak: Lime & Ice (994 words)

The door was splintered, snapped right off its hinges. Giant chunks of drywall were missing all down the hallway. Mark began to suspect something might be wrong. He slipped the straight razor from his J.Crew boat shoe and flicked it open.

He kicked the door into his condo and lobbed himself in after it, swinging the razor blindly.

“Come at me, bro!”

The door knocked over his kettlebells and slid to a stop. Mark opened his eyes. It was dark, drywall dust filled the air. He popped his collar and breathed through the built-in filter, his upside-down visor beeped and a tight beam of white light cut through the room.

Someone had been inside. His beer pong table was knocked over, cups all over the floor. His CD collection was rearranged: A Perfect Circle was first on the shelf. The order now was alphabetical, but he always arranged it according to chillness; Incubus had always been, and would always be first.

Mark pulled the albums off the shelf, a few fell and slid across the faux-wood floor. He noticed his guitar stand was empty. His lime green acoustic was gone, the one he’d bought to play some Greenday at a bonfire for that bitch Vanessa. It had taken him years to get all the members of the Tragically Hip to sign it.

“gently caress! Why!?” Mark roared, hurling his cd’s across the room. He kicked over his couch and lobbed a kettlebell at the bigscreen, it exploded in a shower of sparks. He ran down the stairs, kicked open the front door and vaulted a planter. His truck was already running.

He parked diagonally across six handicap spaces and bolted up the museum stairs. He pushed past the afternoon crowd, overturning a stroller. A woman started yelling but he was already through the soundproof doors that read Staff Only.

“Professor! Professor! Those fuckers are after me!” Mark yelled.

The professor raised an eyebrow without looking up from his work. He stood over a gently bubbling box, like a greyed-out aquarium. Around the box was an impossible tangle of cables, hoses, sensors and things Mark didn’t know the words for. All of this fed into a giant panel of computer monitors showing graphs and strings of numbers.

“Are you even listening, bro!? They took my fuckin’ guitar, man!”

The professor walked over, slowly, before dropping to one knee.

“I’m sorry Mark, but you’re unmanageable.” He took a bottle of Smirnoff Ice from his labcoat and held it up like a chalice. “You've been iced, bro,” he said.

Mark took the bottle and chugged it; it was the bro code. If you were iced, you had to drink. He could feel his superhuman strength return with every swig.

The monitors now showed the video from Mark’s visor cam.

“I’ve synced it wirelessly,” the professor said before Mark could even ask.

“Hmmm, notice anything particular about your grammar here? Any sort of speech you’re not inclined to using normally?”

“No, bro,” Mark said.

“Well maybe Carl here can walk you through it,” the professor said.

“Carl’s dead you dumbass. Don’t you remember!? His face got punched in,” Mark said.

The professor gestured to the grey box.

“We managed to save his brain, Mark. In fact, he was the perfect specimen. We were worried that without a body the brain would not be able to cope with pure, unfiltered data. However, Carl’s way of life led to an almost complete atrophy of his neural motor controls. He’s quite happy here, in fact.”

One of the screens switched to an in-game view of CoD. Carl was dominating, 75-0 kill/death ratio. Mark gasped.

“Are you ready, Carl?” the professor asked.

A screen flashed YES.

“Voice modulators are active. Welcome back, Carl,” the professor said.

“Bro! you gotta come play CoD with me now. It’s clutch as gently caress!” Carl’s voice came from all around.

“Sure, bro. First I need my guitar,” Mark said.

“Why? You gonna fingerblast that Vienna chick again or whatever?” Carl asked.

“It was Vanessa, bro.”

“Sure. The Interrobang Instigator did it. That’s why you’ve been yelling questions like a downs kid,” Carl said.

“What!?” Mark yelled.

“The same guy that had the fighting trousers stolen. He’s probably wearing them right now.”

“I thought the cops had ‘em?” Mark asked.

“Nope. Vasily was bare-rear end naked when they got there. You better watch out, bro. Anyway, he’s probably going to be at the art gallery tonight or something,” Carl said.

“But why the gallery!?” Mark yelled.

The professor shook his head and took notes a clipboard.

Mark stood with one hand on Danica’s hip and the other holding a Heineken. He scanned the crowd: gay old fucks, girly lookin’ twats, book-readin’ fags. Typical art gallery homos. Some decent chicks, but they all looked pretty uppity.

Someone bumped into Danica, she spilled her wine.

“My shoes! What the gently caress!?” She screeched.

Mark took the guy by the shoulder and swung him around, but the guy kicked Mark’s fist out of the way.

“The fighting trousers!?” Mark yelled.

The man kicked a vase at Mark’s head. Mark ducked and rolled out of the way, finishing his beer. The crowd scattered; someone pulled the fire alarm.

Mark threw the empty bottle at the Instigator’s face. He missed. It tore through a watercolour panorama instead. The Instigator stroked his goatee and laughed before kicking the heavy frame to pieces. He picked up a long, pointed splinter and charged at Mark.

Mark knocked over pedestal closest to him and sent a bowl of fake rotted fruit skittering across the floor. Another alarm went off and a jet of yellow ink shot from the display. It caught the instigator square in the chest.

“My Armani!” He dropped the shiv and tore at his now ruined jacket.

“Mark! You will pay for this!?”

“Where’s my guitar, rear end in a top hat!?” Mark yelled.

“Wouldn't you like to know!?” The Instigator leapt through a window and ran off.

Every time someone writes a bro story I know it is based on this guy. http://youtu.be/TBvHbnhl3M8

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

quote:

"That's the rules of the jungle. That and no curls in the squat rack."

This man speaks truth.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


also always rerack, don't hog multiple machines doing a "circuit," and always spot a brother/sister in need.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

No oli lifts without an oli-lift area

Always sport a new haircut

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Bad Seafood posted:

Magnificent 7, you are not my kind of people.
I know.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

Thunderduel Prompt: Operation Circlejerk: Martello vs Sebmojo

Aight, boys. We almost have all the hands in the right places, so we can't break the chain. Aim for the cracker in the center, last one to finish has to eat it.

Prompt: In <1000 words, write a flash story that covers a specific point in time of about two minutes. It must pose a philosophical question that is exemplified by the story.

This Genejack

765 words

Kamakhya stood at her terminal, watching her genejacks labor on the factory floor below. Two minutes until her shift was over. A new group of 'jacks would move onto the floor and hers would retreat to their holding quarters. Kamakhya herself would knock off to a tea house and try to ignore Maoist-Confucian litanies played endlessly through hidden speakers.

A minute fifty. She zoomed in on two 'jacks lifting a heavy crate of electronics. Vat-grown, nano-finished muscles strained and pumped like swollen organic pistons under the industrial lights. Kamakhya knew that under their skin-tight briefs - clothing had been cut to what decency required as a cost-cutting measure - their genitals were shrunken, atrophied. Fit only for voiding urine. But Kamakhya sometimes liked to imagine otherwise.

Ninety seconds. The two 'jacks were moving the crate to a truck, one of the few robotic workers in the factory. Trucks and other robots needed fuel, maintenance, diagnostics. What did genejacks need but nutrient paste and a dark cell to sleep in? And only a few hours a day at that.

Eighty-five seconds. The genejacks lifted the crate, those gleaming muscles bulging. Kamakhya focused on the left-hand 'jack's face, watched his placid eyes tighten just a hair. His fingers slipped as the crate rose to shoulder level, and he fell backward. The other 'jack couldn't support the crate on his own and it smashed down on the other's legs. Kamakhya stabbed a three-button sequence, calling in the factory doc.

Seventy seconds. Kamakhya knelt beside the injured 'jack. His legs were pulped beneath the five hundred kilogram crate. A gleaming red pool spread beneath what were left of his thighs. Lights on his biomonitor blinked red instead of the usual green. The genejack's face was as flat as always, but his mouth was open and nostrils flared. She almost imagined he was in pain. Kanakhya looked at the other genejack. His face was just as still as the injured one, but his eyes didn't leave his broken counterpart.

Sixty seconds.

"Nothing I can do," Doctor Chang said. "He's already losing too much blood."

Kamakhya had her hands on the injured 'jack's shoulders. His heavy pale muscles pulsed beneath her dark fingers, and goosebumps rose under her worksuit. "They can't feel anything, can they tóng zhì Doctor?"

"Of course not." Chang stared at Kamakhya, eyes wide. "Why would you even ask such a thing? They are engineered, biological machines, they feel nothing. Think nothing."

"Look at his face, and look at the other staring at him." Kamakhya gestured at the other 'jack, his eyes still locked on his dying fellow. "It's not the way machines should behave."

Forty-five seconds.

Chang drew a deep breath. "Tóng zhì Kamakhya. I've always liked you. Please don't give me reason to report you to the Political Officer."

Kamakhya tossed her fingers and gave him a weak smile. "I was just thinking too much, tóng zhì. Of course I have no concern for the genejacks besides wasting useful resources. This 'jack is no more than any other, just as we are no more than any other citizen of the Hive."

Chang's mouth was a thin line, and his eyes narrowed a touch. "Very well. I'll send a clean-up crew to take the body to the recycling tanks. He will expire within the next five-to-ten seconds. Good night, tóng zhì Kamakhya. Enjoy your enlightenment at the tea house."

Kamakhya dipped her head. "You as well, tóng zhì Doctor."

Twenty seconds. As Chang's footsteps faded, so the light faded from the 'jack's eyes. The other sat there still, watching his counterpart die. The injured 'jack's eyelids never shut, but his chest finally went still and the biomonitor lights went dark. Kamakhya swallowed like there was a lump of sticky rice in her throat. The other genejack still hadn't moved.

"Get back to work," Kamakhya said. She stood, turned and walked away.

Ten seconds. Kamakhya looked over her shoulder. The other genejack had his hand on the dead 'jack's forehead. His lips were moving, but of course no sounds came. He wasn't capable of it.

Five seconds. "Worker, back to your duties." Kamakhya's voice cracked like a whip. The 'jack stood upright, but like he was lifting a heavy weight. He turned to her, his face still flat. Thin lips moved again, and he made a sign with his hand. Then he turned and went back to the stack of crates.

As the shift klaxon wailed, Kamakhya pondered the Chairman's words on the opening of the first genejack factory.

How can you tyrannize someone who cannot feel pain?

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


Bad Seafood posted:

Saddest Rhino, Sebmojo, Radioactive Bears, Impermanent, and Black Griffon, you've also got a lot to answer for.

I got ill and bedridden, it became hard to think

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


THUNDERDOME WEEK EXTRA LARGE THE FIRST RESULTS POST

Having received a top secret cable from the late V for Vegas, the judges have "Convened" and reached their verdict. It was a close fight for the crown this time, but one must stand, and one must fall.

This week's winner is Noah. Congratulations, boyo. Someday all this will be yours to squander, and that day is today.

Honorable mentions are Fumblemouse and Cpt. Mahatma Ghandi, who fought like men and died bravely in the trenches of their prose. Dishonorable mention goes to SurreptitiousMuffin for ignoring his prompt and forgetting our anniversary.

Meanwhile, back at the Batave, the loser this week is Voliun. Voliun, boy, I just don't know about you sometimes.

Good work men. And godspeed.

Voliun
May 31, 2012


Bad Seafood posted:

Meanwhile, back at the Batave, the loser this week is Voliun. Voliun, boy, I just don't know about you sometimes.

If I manage to lose this time because of a simple error that I had forgotten, I swear I'll start using one of my grammar books along when I proofread.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Some strong stories this week. Fumblemouse, Oxxidation, Sitting Here, CantDecideOnAName, Martello, Ghandi and hell, even Chairchucker, were enjoyable to read.

Special props to Muffins for a valiant attempt, but tainted by racism born of a nation that couldn't reverse swing in a transvestite night club.

Cancercakes and Monkeyboydc, be glad Voliun was the back marker this week.


Voliun posted:

If I manage to lose this time because of a simple error that I had forgotten, I swear I'll start using one of my grammar books along when I proofread.

If that's your only concern then trust me, you have nothing to worry about.

V for Vegas fucked around with this message at May 21, 2013 around 06:53

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

V for Vegas posted:

and hell, evenespecially Chairchucker, were enjoyable to read.


Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Martello posted:

This Genejack

....

How can you tyrannize someone who cannot feel pain?

Well, never thought I'd see the day when one of the Original Three tried to sneak in some videogame fanfiction.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


V for Vegas posted:

Special props to Muffins for a valiant attempt, but tainted by racism born of a nation that couldn't reverse swing in a transvestite night club.
This is coincidentally my favorite type of racism.

Crits to be posted sometime tomorrow. Probably in the evening (my time). Be there.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Erogenous Beef posted:

Well, never thought I'd see the day when one of the Original Three tried to sneak in some videogame fanfiction.

I was hardly sneaking it.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Martello posted:

I was hardly sneaking it.

Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud we have become. And how blind.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Another week where I am not the worst. Yay!

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Erogenous Beef posted:

Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud we have become. And how blind.

Not only does God play dice, the dice are loaded.

Kleptobot
Nov 6, 2009


Huzzah, I fell somewhere around the median. Yay.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


V for Vegas posted:

Special props to Muffins for a valiant attempt, but tainted by racism born of a nation that couldn't reverse swing in a transvestite night club.
Actually, the protagonist (and recipient of the bittersweet ending) was arguably Graham the Australian.



Trust an Aussie to miss the subtlety.

monkeyboydc
Dec 2, 2007

Unfortunately, we had to kut the English budget at the Ivalice Magick Ackcademy.

V for Vegas posted:



Cancercakes and Monkeyboydc, be glad Voliun was the back marker this week.



Oh no, I actually kind of liked that story. I can't tell what's poo poo and not poo poo anymore! I look forward to you judges bringing the pain, I gotta know how to polish this turd.

monkeyboydc fucked around with this message at May 21, 2013 around 15:10

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

Kleptobot posted:

Huzzah, I fell somewhere around the median. Yay.

Sometimes all you hope for is to not see your name in bold.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Mary had a little lamb,
Little lamb little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


V for Vegas posted:

Cancercakes and Monkeyboydc, be glad Voliun was the back marker this week.

I deserve whatever I get for that piece of poo poo and expected to lose. I don't think it is possible to improve it as its flaws run about as deep as the Mariana trench, but crits are always appreciated.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Chairchucker posted:

Why I Was Unable to Submit on Time: The 100% Real and not at all Fabricated Account of Chairchucker's Excuse for Tardiness


You need a new avatar of a dude wearing a dropbear head for a hat.

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Thunderdome Week XLII: Been Called Worse by Better

Judges: Me.

Stakes are going up this round. I've decided to do away with other judges not out of hubris or wrath, but because I want everyone to have an opportunity for the win.

I want a fable. The nature of a fable is a didactic story that teaches a moral at the end of it. Fables are also conducive to flash fiction due to their use of overt symbolism and anthropomorphism. Anything is game here for characters, including non-living entities. However, if you decide to forego the use of non-human characters, you have created a parable. Both are acceptable, but creative use of the fable will often be more interesting.

You will also be writing a fable that revolves around the idea of sin. Sin takes on many forms, so as writers you are free to interpret this more loosely within the confines of the fable.

And furthermore, I want non-conventional fable characters. None of this wise old owl, crafty crow poo poo. There is an entire world out there to use. You will be judged on your use of theme, symbolism, and characterization.

Guidelines:
Word count: 2000
Sign up deadline: Closed.
Submission deadline: 5/26/13 11:59pm PST.
Prompts: Fable (or parable), a clear defined moral, involving sin, and non-conventional characters.

And here's what's at stake.

I started an online literary magazine (https://www.albatrossmagazine.com) a year and a half or so ago, that unfortunately has been sitting dormant since the first issue. I've managed to secure a job that allows me more financial freedom than before, so I'm going to re-start my lit mag. The winner will receive publication in the next issue.

And x5. Yes. 50 boners, to be paid upon publication* (publication date, as yet unknown, but I hope to be done by summer).

There will only be 1 winner. However, I do not want that to dissuade you from making a good story. So have at it.

Sign-ups
JonasSalk
Systran
Sitting Here
Fart Particle
Chairchucker
FumbleMouse
Symptomless Coma
Jagermonster
HaitainDivorce
Thoren
Guildencratz
Black Griffon
Magnificent7
Jopoho
The Saddest Rhino
Nubile Hillock
Horrible Butts
Overwined
SurreptitiousMuffin
Jeza
Kaishai
Kleptobot
Dr. Kloctopussy
Truman Sticks
Greatbacon
Chernobyl Princess
Benagain
PoshAlligator
Crabrock
Chexoid
JuniperCake
MikeWorks
Sebmojo

*Publication will also involve working with me as your editor, to produce any edits/revisions/critiques necessary.

Noah fucked around with this message at May 24, 2013 around 06:29

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in. I won't win, but I'm in.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

In for the win.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Doing this.

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.

I shall write a thing that has a moral.

fart particle
May 14, 2013

by toby


In for the sin.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

You shuffle, then walk, then run, then sprint past the odd assortment of chronologically displaced persons and into the waiting arms of your family. You’re hardly puffed, the child you once were, and childish tears are in your eyes. They take you home for biscuits and cups of tea and they taste amazingly delicious. Your mother hardly stops laughing, hardly stops crying, and your dad punches you on the shoulder and says “Buddy” so often you start to bruise. Your sister picks her nose and shows it to you. You make sure she’s eaten it before you let her give you a hug.

You’re on your fifth cup of tea and half way through your second packet of ginger biscuits, when the cracks begin to show. They’re talking to you about things you’ve done, things you don’t remember doing, the life you never had. They asking about your first girlfriend, but they don’t mean your first wife, the strange but alluring exotic woman you’d married in a desert ritual, they mean the girl in class who you’d been sort of friends, sort of enemies with since you were seven. They talk about your University career, but they don’t mean the hallowed libraries of unknown arcana you pillaged looking for the glistering idol to cure the plague struck village, they mean your philosophy degree with the racist, one-eyed Australian tutor.

They’re talking and smiling to themselves, telling inside jokes they think you’ll get, when you realise what they’re seeing. This isn’t you in front of them. It’s the dream of you when you went away. Potential and and wishful thinking, rushing in to fill the dead space you left behind. The lack of you, the fear and the not-knowing, the hoping and the giving-up of hope has worn empty caves of time through their lives.

You creep away and leave them, still talking about you, not to you. You don’t really need to be there. Your dream self is left behind, still smiling, eating ginger biscuits and drinking cups of tea.

The Cave of Time is gone. There is no crowd, either, only darkness against the darkened cliff face. You stand in front of it, truly alone, truly yourself, feeling every minute of every year that you have lived. There are no choices left, only shadows.

Light bursts forth from the solid stone wall.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2013 around 06:20

DoubleDonut
Oct 22, 2010



Fallen Rib

Against my better judgment, count me in.

Edit: Disregard this; I'm awful.

DoubleDonut fucked around with this message at May 22, 2013 around 20:46

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

Very cool. In like an overcurious cat.

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Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


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