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Chillmatic
Jul 25, 2003

always seeking to survive and flourish

Thunderbawls Chillmatic vs. Crabrock or Ike Vs. Tina or some poo poo.




Worthy--748 words.

Follow me around for ten minutes, and I’d be lost for nine. My friends say that, and, in fairness, that had been true until a year ago--the day I met Evelyn.

I had taken a new job in Chicago, and even as I stepped off the train, I was hopelessly disoriented and fumbling in my backpack for the paper map I’d packed. The first time I saw her was in front of the train depot; she was in her car, rolling slowly past me as I stood fighting the wind to keep the map from blowing out of my hands. I heard a laugh and looked up.

She was brushing aside her dark bangs and taking off a large pair of sunglasses. She looked at me, and right then I learned that it was impossible to appear sophisticated while wrangling a flimsy paper map in front of a beautiful woman.

She called out, “You look lost.”

“I am!” I said, having to shout over a departing train.

She smiled, put on her hazard lights, and summoned me over.

She asked why didn’t I carry a smartphone. I told her, three seconds before the map blew out of my hands and onto the roof of the train depot, that cellphones weren’t always reliable and that I could, at least, count on this.

Then it was gone and we both laughed.

And for the next 359 days, we would laugh together--for 359 days, she tolerated my wandering indecisions. With her to guide me, I didn't get lost. Not even once.

***

On the 360th day, our apartment had once again become her apartment. Our things had divided, becoming either hers, or mine. Mostly hers.

What little there was of mine was packed into a small U-Haul sitting in the potholed parking lot of a downtown diner.

What little there was of us was packed into a small booth, sitting on opposite sides, neither of us touching our food. I’d arrived late. We’d been here dozens of times before, but she had always driven; I could have sworn it was on the other side of the highway.

Last night I dreamed of a man on a ship, lost at sea in a storm.

“The mail key,” she mumbled, twisting the paper wrapping of her straw into a rumpled spine. Last week, sitting in that same seat, she’d grinned and blown the wrapper at my cheek.

“The what?”

“The mail key,” she gestured to the envelope on the table. “Did you remember to leave it? With the key to the front door?”

I hadn’t. I pulled out my keys, and she watched me fumble unsuccessfully with the ring. After a minute I said, "I don't think I can get it. Can I mail it to you?”

“This was the only copy,” she said, flatly.

“Oh. Right.”

The god Poseidon took pity on the man, and gifted him his most beautiful, detailed nautical map.

Our voices were tired. Yesterday morning we would have laughed, together, at the irony of one’s only mail key sitting inside a locked mailbox.

I wanted to go home. To our home.

But, so the man could prove himself worthy of a god’s intervention, Poseidon sent also a tremendous wave to crash against the man’s ship.

I’d experienced Chicago like I’d experienced Evelyn: I had failed to learn the shape of the city as well as the shape of her mind, never quite knowing which dark alleys, which arguments, to avoid. But even still she’d helped guide me as I’d fumbled through my choices and my life, and she’d done it with grace.

I'd lost it all in nine minutes. One decision. One wrong turn.

The man’s grip was weak, his spirit unworthy.

Finally I removed the key and put it in the envelope, and Evelyn said, “I guess that’s everything.” She started to stand.

“Eve, wait--please.”

The roaring, blistering water tore the map from the man’s hands.

Her sigh was a mother’s frustration at a toddler with a full diaper. “You can’t ask me to be there, Alex, to take care of you anymore. Not after yesterday. I need to do this while I’m still angry enough to go through with it.”

She grabbed the envelope and turned to leave and I never heard her voice again.

Soon after, the man sailed off the far edge of the earth.

Outside the diner I unfolded and stared at the new map I had bought.

It began to rain.

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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Lord Windy posted:

I'm asking about the prompt, not a crit on my piece.

... okay. Didja Redo is doing some crits, so s/he'll probably address it there.

I thought that Zack's was definitely better than yours as a response to the prompt. See Sitting Here's in the other thread for another example of how to do it right.

It's a hard bastard to do well, no question - you have to create an atmosphere by the interrelationship of things, without being really allowed any personality in the way you observe those things (which is where most people fell down). It puts the focus on the small, well-observed detail, which is what Zack did best.

Specifically, there was an emotional kick from Zack's, a feeling of desolation and decay and forgetting, that was completely absent in yours. I think you had quite an involved story in your head but the point of that prompt is you can't tell an involved story in that form. TEll a simple one well instead.

quote:

THE SPECTACULAR CRABROCK V. FUMBLEMOUSE V. NIKAER DREKIN DUEL FOR THE HONOR OF NOT BEING DISQUALIFIED COMES TO A THRILLING CONCLUSION!

I will crit these (and your prompt stories) presently. I've come round to accepting maybe 15% of the blame for telling you the wrong time, so I may walk the disqualification thing back but probably not WE'LL HAVE TO SEE.

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Sep 10, 2013 around 01:18

Didja Redo
Jan 24, 2010

Wanna try my freedom meat BBQ meat?

Lord Windy posted:

I'm asking about the prompt, not a crit on my piece.

It's a fair question. Think of it like this. I, as your reader, am a lone detective at a crime scene. No witnesses. I don’t have a bunch of people around to re-enact what happened for me. All I’ve got is a bloodied knife and a torn bag of white powder.

Let's take the second half of crabrock's piece, for example. An understocked fridge, dry toothbrush and unused bathtub all paint a picture of someone not taking care of themselves. Given the first half, we infer that the person is a depressed widow whose husband died in battle. But we’re never actually shown the widow or told how she’s feeling. It’s all conveyed in those incidental details. I think that piece fell down for other reasons, but I’ll get to those in a bit.

That’s the kind of thing I wanted this week. It’s easy to set a scene, but it’s harder to have the details mean something.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


Thank you Didja.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Hey judges, nuts to you

*thumbs nose*

*puts dog poop on your doorsteps*

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

Hey judges, nuts to you

*thumbs nose*

*puts dog poop on your doorsteps*

sitttiiiiinnnnggggg HEEEEEERRREEE!!!!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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

Fallen Rib

sebmojo posted:

Is that the Nubile Hillock no-show? About the coffee plant?

Warming up the judgment lazer.

Can't get it up?

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Capntastic posted:

Can't get it up?

Pshaw. I'll give you erectile dysfunction!

quote:

Cultivating de Clieu
(Word count: 1011)

On some God-forsaken ship This vagueness doesn't belong at the head of the story headed for Martinique, Gabriel de Clieu glared at a glass box for the glory of France. The soil inside was dark, and its moisture was fogging up the interior. One could hardly see the small green eyelash of a plant living inside. De Clieu tugged at his collars, and retrieved a small brass key secreted within them. He unlocked the box, and began draining this day's water ration into it. Feeding this thing was taking its toll on his humours, but the headaches and fevers were insubstantial at this point. His mission was clearer than the last few drops sliding out of the decanter. I was gonna make a snotty comment about how humoralism was a mediaeval idea, but I see from Wikipedia (best friend to writers everywhere) that it lasted until 1858. HUH WHO KNEW

The previous year had been a procession of rich food and drink exciting discussions at the salons, brilliant maneuvers that increased his social status, and every other good tiding that a series of promotions could bring. A handsome and intelligent man in loyal service to the navy would need the Devil's own luck to do better. To these ends, he celebrated often, and after one overlong discussion concerning, chiefly, the best ages and grapes for brandy, he failed to find himself What does this mean, what blindly and madly rampaging through the streets until dawn. He awoke struggling to make out the glare of sunlight in his sleeve buttons. The freshly scuffed brass would be replaced without second thought; though as he made to stand he began contemplating the source of the hundreds of hand-sized shards of glass surrounding him. Beyond that ring of destroyed glazing, there were numerous rows of plants arranged upon squat wooden shelves. I think you could have done this transition better. Make the smashing a consequence of something else he says or thinks, not just lol random musta bin pissed

Swaggering down one of the aisles presently was an older man in simple linen garments accompanied by a densely muscled black dog. Though the latter had spittle glistening teeth and flaps of tar-like torn lips, it was the man who had the sterner look of the two by some measure. Too many adjectives here. Trim, trim.

"I welcome you to the Jardin des Plantes botanical sanctuary, sir. I pray that you've found the greenhouse to your liking on this fine Summer's day?" he said.

No outrageous snarl or despair was issued, Gabriel noted to some displeasure. He had wronged the man, and they both knew it fully.

"I apologize, of course, and I will make reparations of course," de Clieu stammered. "Simply allow me to compose myself, and I will send for a check to be cut without delay." I actually quite like their restrained interaction and slightly frenchified diction. I will trust that 'cut a cheque (note sp, cheers) is not anachronistic.

The man did not react, being more wary of his hound snuffling at a pile of glass than the plaintive drunkard before him. Nice observation.Seeing that, for the moment, the situation was fairly neutral, Gabriel pressed his luck.

"Might I trouble you, sir, for a cup of water?"

At this, the gardener raised his eye to the man before him before turning away and calling out over his shoulder. Blocking.

"See about piling up all of the glass you've destroyed and I will see about getting you something."

Surveying the task before him, Gabriel removed his coat. It was hellishly hot in the greenhouse. He shook the coat out, noting it to be covered in debris and sweat, before unceremoniously tossing it to the ground. He set to work, on hands and knees, flinging the costly mistakes of last night into a heap on his jacket. His head, pounding as it was, felt as if it was at the receiving end of each of the gleaming fragments' arcs. His honor was at stake, as a man of the navy, but what's more, he felt some displeasure at being responsible for causing harm to this place. Overly warm and humid as it was, in a way that Gabriel had never quite experienced, it was somewhat calming, despite his current case of nerves. I know you're doing old fashioned verbosity, but a lot of that talk is very carefully constructed and balanced. You lose the effect if you don't cut excess words.

Gabriel continued his task with steady progress until The man returned, heralded by his dog. He held a stout clay mug, steaming with some dark elixir.

"Drink up," the man said. "It will help relieve the current imbalance of your humours."

Gabriel narrowed his eyes at the proffered beverage.

"Coffee? I've sampled that before, and I cannot help but feel you're adding to my punishment here. Though I do deserve it."

"No, I doubt you have had coffee such as this. What you've had, almost certainly, is a putrefied sludge scraped from the bottom of a barrel, brewed in Araby, and boiled down for transport. It is like comparing turning down a fresh loaf of bread, for fear of recieving hard tack."

The man folded his arms and waited, and Gabriel chanced a small sip. He burnt his tongue, though the taste itself was sweet and perhaps reminiscent of fruit. Compared to his memories of the stuff, which was like coal dust mixed with the ashes of the stove that heated it, it was remarkable.

"I assume, then, that this is your produce, sir?"

The gardener in linen smiled.

"And from there, I further assume the need to meticulously regulate the environment within this place?"

The gardener nodded.

"Then I have truly done you, and perhaps the world, a great disservice this morning."

The gardener whistled to his dog, grinning, and then gestured for Gabriel to follow.

"Come; I've called for a banker to arrange for the check. Though I know from the insignia on your buttons that you might have a better form of payment. You see, only so many of the plants can be cultivated within this artificial biome I have constructed..."

Gabriel knotted up his coat into a bundle of broken glass and followed the man. Already his head was clearing and the day began to seem much brighter,bad choice, it was bright in the greenhouse even as he left the greenhouse.

En route to Martinique, with his precious glass cargo, Gabriel de Clieu beamed at the glory of his mission. The fertile soil, warmed by the sun and moistened by tender rains, would serve wondrously well for the cultivation of coffee plants. France would, with Gabriel's assistance, secure a source of coffee of its very own. Placing the key back underneath his shirt, he noticed that the scuffed buttons upon his sleeves had developed a golden patina in the salty sea air. There's a nice subtlety to the buttons at the end, a sense that a wastrel has found a purpose.

Okay this abounds with minor infelicities, but it's actually not bad. I like the restrained conversation in the middle, and the sense of calm in our dude at the end. It falls down on not having much point to the flashback - there's no change between the beginning and the end, so why not start back in PAris? You could have used the words to make a cool ironic argument that then got flipped around by the way he feels at the end. But a likeable piece. Nubile Hillock will have to do a good job to beat--

Nubile Hillock posted:


CAPNTASTIC IS WINNER!!!!

Didja Redo
Jan 24, 2010

Wanna try my freedom meat BBQ meat?

Lord Windy posted:

Metal Men
302 words

The back end of the ship had been blown open. The engines and storage were unsalvageable. Dozens of metal men had flooded into the cargo rooms. Lockers, cabinets and even the metal men had been shoved into every rend and breach. Others in yellow overalls with welders in their hands stood around sealed doors.

Life Support lay beyond the sealed doors. Metal men in yellow overalls, the same as before stood inside. Each had cables flowing directly into the large machines that lined the room. One of them, surrounded by bottles and open containers stood at an intake. In his hand was a canister labeled isoflurane.

Life support lead into a long hallway with three rooms on each side. Inside every room were two occupants. One, always radically different looking to the other, was a human strapped into their bed. The other was a metal man, hunched over their bodies.

An old woman with free flowing white hair lay in Room 4. Her eyes are open unlike the rest. She is frozen in place, with her hands on either side of the metal man’s head. The metal man had one hand gently on the side of her face. Fingers tangled in her hair. The other held a syringe in her neck.

Finally the bridge. A figure in a space suit is slumped at the helm, looking out to space. A syringe and an un-opened envelope lay next to the chair. Metal men were gathered at the figures side. They were looking at a blue screen.

The metal men, lightly covered in dust, who had gathered around it did nothing. They stood in silent vigil.
Here’s what I’m getting from this. A spaceship explodes for some reason, and a bunch of robots arrive to do something to the dead people. Autopsies? Organ harvesting? Borg assimilation? One old lady is still alive, so they anaesthetise her before doing whatever.

Meanwhile, a computer in the cockpit suffered a blue screen of death. The pilot wrote down the error message, then killed himself with a needle. Robot men huddle around the corpse and silently reminisce about Windows 95.

If this is correct then fair enough, and I don’t get it. If it isn’t then I just don’t get it.

Use of past perfect tense and occasionally awkward sentence structure made it feel clunky. Bolded some offenders.


The Saddest Rhino posted:

Technicolour Saturday Morning Daydream (approx. 600 words)
I’m pretty sure this is a parody of haunted video game creepypasta. With that in mind, I’m not sure how to judge it.

Your prose goes from purple to ultraviolet in a few spots, and you’ve got some really weird sentences that just read like mistakes, but I don’t know how much of that was intentional. Example:

quote:

The television cabinet door is ajar, and from within spills out open boxes of the console’s games, adorning colourful art of mascot animals and caped supermen.
What?

Ultimately, I can’t give this a good score because the goal was to tell me a story. Parody or not, I never get a sense of what actually happened here besides some vague scary 8-bit poo poo. Go read TEH DAY OF ALL TEH BLOD and try again.


M. Propagandalf posted:

No Respect

Something is wrong with Master.
Okay, so we’re a dog and master’s dead. I suppose I have to give you credit for getting that across in five words. On the other hand, you could almost have stopped there, because from this point on we’re just confirming that yes, we are a dog, and yes, master is dead. I feel like there’s some commentary about the dog being neglected even though he’s the loyal one, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere beyond “Doesn’t that suck?”

That isn’t why you lost, though. You lost because you missed the spirit of the prompt by personifying the dog. Your dog is a character. The prompt was called “No characters allowed.” I know I said animals were fine, but that just meant “It’s okay for a dog to be there.” Otherwise everyone could have just written about talking dogs.


I hope I’m missing something here, because otherwise you just took 381 words to say “A torpedo explodes prematurely.”

It’s descriptive, but to no real end. The detail implies nothing beyond “this is happening.” I could probably squeeze 500 words out of a door being opened if I described the texture of the wood, the shape of the knob, the sound it makes, the internal mechanisms, but so what?


Zack_Gochuck posted:

Class of 2002
While I do think this could be trimmed in places, it’s technically competent, doesn’t lead me by the hand, leaves enough to the imagination and follows the prompt well. You provide a clear picture of an utter shithole with every detail hinting at something more. Well done.


docbeard posted:

Impermanent Record
You kinda got it? I took exception to the voice rather than the story itself. It veers close to being dialogue in some places, like a character is recounting this to someone else and injecting their own opinions. No characters allowed, dude.

Even setting the prompt aside, I don’t think it’s necessary. You’d still have a clear, coherent story (well done there) without little asides like this:

quote:

Not that future missions are likely any time soon. Lightbringer was controversial at best before it ever launched, and has only become more so in the wake of what happened.
Also like 50% of your prose is sentence fragments. Why?


Technically solid, and you got the prompt right. Nothing in particular to criticise besides a few issues that sebmojo already pointed out. It just wasn’t very interesting.


Fumblemouse posted:

Tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper

There is something subtly wrong with this picture. It’s nearly impossible to put your finger on quite what, but once you know there is no escaping the unnerving sensation of displacement as it brazenly hangs against the museum wall, like a cuckoo’s egg in a foreign nest.
Those opening sentences are pure, distilled “Take my word for it." It’s really strange man, like there’s just something off about it but you can’t really say what, but once you know, man, it’s so weird. Once you know. You know?

I don’t know. If I’m supposed to feel unnerved, unnerve me. Don’t tell me I should be unnerved. I’ll decide how I feel, fucker.

As for the rest of it, I’m seeing purple and extraneous words all over the place. Gonna take an excerpt here to demonstrate:

quote:

To create a perfect facsimile is no easy task. Vast amounts of work have gone into the duplicate, hoping to achieve a replica that would fool the casual eye and give a more experienced one little cause to look closer. Yeah, that’s generally the point of forgeries. Colours are one thing, but what goes into them, what makes them shine the way they do? I don’t know. How about just giving me the answer rather than wasting time with the question? The atoms of the molecule of art, the materials from which the work is constructed, the paints, the canvas, even the brushes, have been created only from materials available at the time of the piece’s creation. Pigments and palettes, canvas and frame, all remade religiously via science and history. Even the effects of time and light have been carefully emulated with as much precision as possible ”Religiously”, “carefully”, and “with as much precision as possible” mean the same thing. You also don’t need any of them because you already explained that a lot of work went into it.


crabrock posted:

The Things They Left Behind
You could have taken it this week if you hadn’t laid it on so thick towards the end. As I said to Lord Windy earlier, the details paint the picture well enough. The additional musing about an unfair universe and how you can’t turn the clock back blah blah blah adds nothing. That last line was so heavy handed and awkward that it alone might have knocked you out of the winner’s seat.


Here, the animal perspective works, because the gull is more a pair of eyes than a character. You pushed your luck in a few places, but overall the gull is just a gull.

HOWEVER, the “dead man with gun sitting next to him” scenario is about the most obvious thing you could have done with this prompt, so right away I wanted you to surprise me somehow. You didn’t. It’s not really explored. I guess he just got tired and gave up. Blah.


Mercedes posted:

Counter Clock Wise
This never had a chance. Not because it was late, but because you have a bunch of animals banding together to help a human and no jaunty tune. Why even bother?

That aside, it feels empty. You give us this bizarre situation and then don’t really tell us anything about it. They build ligaments. Then they build blood vessels. Then they build flesh. Then they build organs. How? What the gently caress does any of this look like? There’s no clear image. Just “this happened, then this, then this.”


Sitting Here posted:

*puts dog poop on your doorsteps*
If I didn’t like to eat poo poo I wouldn’t be judging. Thanks for lunch, sucker.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Didja Redo posted:


If I didn’t like to eat poo poo I wouldn’t be judging. Thanks for lunch, sucker.

Dang this dude reached Thunderdome enlightenment* in just one incarnation.

And they said the Kwisatz Haderach couldn't be born this generation. tsk tsk reverend mother Crabrock.



*A mix between experiencing Stockholm syndrome and being a permanently damaged misanthrope




where is the prompt

edit: The prompt must flow

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

PPPPPPRRRRRRROOOOOOMMMPPPPPPTTTTTTT

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet


What's the attitude towards reusing characters for different prompts if all the stories stand on their own? I have a couple characters/situations I'd like to revisit with more tact at some point, but I don't know if that's cool.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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

Fallen Rib

sebmojo posted:

Pshaw. I'll give you erectile dysfunction!


Okay this abounds with minor infelicities, but it's actually not bad. I like the restrained conversation in the middle, and the sense of calm in our dude at the end. It falls down on not having much point to the flashback - there's no change between the beginning and the end, so why not start back in PAris? You could have used the words to make a cool ironic argument that then got flipped around by the way he feels at the end. But a likeable piece. Nubile Hillock will have to do a good job to beat--


CAPNTASTIC IS WINNER!!!!

Thanks for this.

As much as I'd like to soak up the easy win, the actual duel that Hillock dropped from was Cyberpunk Blaxploitation 2.0. It'd be unfair to Jagermonster to not have this three-way settled proper, even if it's not you stepping up to judgement. Entries were this from Jagermonster and this from me.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


I wasn't late! You were early!

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Anathema Device posted:

What's the attitude towards reusing characters for different prompts if all the stories stand on their own? I have a couple characters/situations I'd like to revisit with more tact at some point, but I don't know if that's cool.

Do what you must.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Anathema Device posted:

What's the attitude towards reusing characters for different prompts if all the stories stand on their own? I have a couple characters/situations I'd like to revisit with more tact at some point, but I don't know if that's cool.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=somethingawful+thunderdome+bronco

Yeah I didn't like this prompt because you weighted it towards an aftermath scenario, which I found boring and played out. I tried something different and it didn't really work, so I'll take my lumps and shut up n-

Where is the prompt.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


Yes, give us a prompt!

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


sebmojo posted:

Crikey, I kind of hated this one too. You're a solid writer, Rhino, but this is melodramatic and overdescribed where it isn't pompous. Also a possible loser.

Didja Redo posted:

I’m pretty sure this is a parody of haunted video game creepypasta. With that in mind, I’m not sure how to judge it.

Your prose goes from purple to ultraviolet in a few spots, and you’ve got some really weird sentences that just read like mistakes, but I don’t know how much of that was intentional.

Ultimately, I can’t give this a good score because the goal was to tell me a story. Parody or not, I never get a sense of what actually happened here besides some vague scary 8-bit poo poo. Go read TEH DAY OF ALL TEH BLOD and try again.

Brutal crit this time, and I can agree since this is possibly my least proud work in TD. I feel the inability to actually have characters hurt the story, since I wanted to write about the HAUNTED VIDEO GAME turning a kid in the 90s into a crazed zombie because HAUNTED.

I'm not entirely sure where you got the parody vibes from (other than the alternate ending), since this http://invisiblegames.net/archives/killswitch/ was the atmosphere I was going for.

Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


sebmojo posted:

PPPPPPRRRRRRROOOOOOMMMPPPPPPTTTTTTT

Am I supposed to make a prompt? I didn't even realize I won until this morning.

*Edit* I'm going to assume that I'm supposed to make one.


Week 58: Seeing vs. Seen


Traditionally when you write a piece of fiction, you tell the story from the protagonist's perspective. We'll call this a seeing character. I want you to write a story where the protagonist is not your seeing character. In other words, we don't get to see things from the protagonist's perspective but through an unrelated incidental character's perspective. It's pretty much open besides that. Extra points will be given if the your seeing character's perspective skewers our view of the protagonist in some way. If you structure your story in a way that the seeing character/narrator/whatever-you-want-to-call-them steals the spotlight from the protagonist, you lose, loser.

Limit is 1,000 words. Check out Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House if you need an example. He does this in a bunch of the stories in there such as "The Hyannis Port Story."

*Edit* Here is a good definition, but your story does not need to be in first-person:

quote:

A peripheral narrator is a first-person narrator who's not the main character. She gets to give us the lowdown on the juicy dealings of the true protagonists and antagonists, all while watching from a safe distance. Think Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

Judges: Me and whoever.

Signups due: Saturday, 14th September, 11:59pm GMT

Submissions due: Sunday, 15th September, 11:59pm GMT

Entrants:

Jeza
Lord Windy
crabrock
Mercedes
Ceighk
CantDecideOnAName
Benagain
sebmojo
Sitting Here
systran
Fumblemouse
Anathema Device
Kaishai

Zack_Gochuck fucked around with this message at Sep 15, 2013 around 21:59

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


I'm in.


Question: please say when you wrote 'skewers our view' you meant it literally?




finally my chance to write about a javelin-cum-jousting tournament, waited so long for this








so long

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


I'm in!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

In for protagonist-kebabs.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Gmt? Is that gonna be a 7pm est thing again?

I'm in btw

Ceighk
May 27, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In.

CantDecideOnAName
Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?


It's been too long. Hopefully life will allow me enough time to pound something out. Let me in.

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Student of the principle art of posting

Fun Shoe

Aright. Still wearing my badge of shame which I have vowed to undo honorably. In.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Benagain posted:

Aright. Still wearing my badge of shame which I have vowed to undo honorably. In.

If you win I'll buy you an av.

In.

Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


Who want to help judge this poo poo show?

Nyarai
Jul 19, 2012

Jenn here.


I can judge if you need it.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry


In.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Jagermonster posted:

HillockXCapntasticXJagermonster Duel

Cyborg Systa Settles a Score
Flash rule: Story must be cyberpunk in the vein of Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, and blaxploitation in the vein of Foxy Brown
Word Count: 788

Teddy Montag stroked his pencil-thin mustache CLICHE I mean yes we're writing lovely genre poo poo but if you're going to us clichés make them interesting juicy ones. as he stared at the six translucent human forms this is using three words to be sort of vague and floaty, but I guess it does the job. surrounding him. A blonde woman in a smart pantsuit materialized to his right. He maneuvered the glowing control sphere hovering in front of him BEEP BOOP MANIPULATE CONTROL PANEL ALPHA 4 and a leather wingback chair rose from the floor to seat him. The woman’s ghostly visage solidified.

“What happened, Gretchen? I thought you were right behind me.”

“Sorry, Mr. Montag. A customer came by just as you left and I had to get rid of him.”

He tossed the control sphere to her. “Let our guests in.” He straightened his suit and pocket square. okay, I take it back about the opening, that's not clear at all. So the six translucent human forms were just like stills or something? Keep it simple, have clear strong actions at the start of stories. Don't make people read it twice to work out what's going on.

A newly opaque black man in purple velour stormed up to Montag. “The gently caress up with that stasis-hold poo poo, man? I got poo poo to do.” Blaxploitation faux-negro talk rating: 3.41/10

“I require everyone to be present before entering my encrypted meetings, especially with the security breaches of late. If you don’t like it, you can find new business partners, Jealor.” So is he a nerd or a spiv?

Frankie Jealor. Gretchen traced his coordinates.

“Maybe I will, ya bitch rear end poser. You better have called this meeting to reimburse me for that crack-octane you lost.” Blaxploitation faux-negro talk rating: 3.10/10 Angry grumbles from the other guests joined Jealor.

Gretchen felt the hungry gaze of a predator fixed on her. VIEWPOINT SHIFT She looked up and locked eyes with a dainty bespectacled man. The corner of his mouth twitched as he stared through her. V. Viscone. Location untraceable. Player Character/Marty Stu: spotted

“True, there was an incident,” Montag said, “But my safe houses and storage facilities, real and virtual, are still the most secure sites in the city. We can renegotiate rates, but we share the losses in these joint ventures.”

“I heard some robot bitch is after you,” Big Boris Bobrov said. “Word on the street is she torched a brothel of yours and set the whores free.” I blew my mind, and got real kind and SET MY WHOOOOOORES FREEEEEEEEE

“Just some augmented stinkyhole with a chip on her shoulder,” Montag said. “Don’t worry about that poo poo.”

Viscone giggled. “You have no idea how thoroughly hosed you are, Teddy. Tell me, why is your ‘assistant’ over there tracing all of our locations and downloading the coordinates of your safe houses?”

Gretchen severed the guests’ connections. They froze, then vanished.

Viscone remained. He plucked a lit cigarette out of empty space. “What’s the rush, Systa?” He took a long drag. “So you survived the hit? At least partially. More than I can say for the other officers. I told you that was a sloppy job, Montag.” He flicked the ashes at Gretchen. Her veneer flickered, darkened, and then restored itself.

“Who?” Montag started. Gretchen hit a key on the sphere. He stopped, paralyzed, mouth agape.

Viscone flicked the cigarette at Gretchen.

Her façade burned away. Her skin pigments darkened. Her golden hair turned to ash and flaked away. A bushy black afro sprouted from her scalp. Her shoulders broadened. Her thin demure lips twisted into a full cocky smile. “An’ who the gently caress are you, Viscone?”

“Mmmm, its funny what the mind’s eye preserves.” Viscone’s image slowly disintegrated. “Have fun with Teddy, but trust me, you don’t want to gently caress with me.”

A muffled voice floated up from Montag’s throat. “Emergency disengage Tango Alpha.” He collapsed into a white speck.

Montag opened his eyes and saw the fuzzy outline of black woman. He shut them again to banish the hazy virtual after-image burned into his mind. When he opened them again she was still looming over him. Metal plating covered the right side of her head and face. A cable snaked from the back of her head to Montag’s. Another one attached to the real Gretchen laid sprawled out on the floor in a stained undershirt. So the cable has a stained undershirt on? This will be reflected in its performance review, presentation is important. Two armed guards lay dead in pools of blood at the door.

The cables retracted. Systa opened her eyes. One deep brown iris and one red beam bored into him. She grabbed him by the wife-beater and throat and ripped him from the wires attaching him to the mainframe. Plaster rained down as she smashed him against the wall.

“Who is Viscone? Where can I find him?”

A fat bead of sweat slithered along his wispy mustache. “I don’t know! The guy’s a ghost! You saw what he can do. I’ve never even met his employers.”

She slammed him to the ground.

“I can give you the names and locations of all my other clients!”

“I already have the ones that matter, Teddy.” She spit a burning glob of saliva and battery acid in his face. “You’re just another has-been cracker with blood on his hands.”

“Wait!”

She slit his throat with the jagged shard of metal that was once her husband’s Federal Drug Enforcement badge. Go for it here, describe the gruesome details. She kissed it. villain blood is the most cyberpunk lipstick of all. “One down, baby. But poo poo just got a whole lot more complicated.”

Okay, once you get everything set up then there's a nice tangled up roaring rampage of revenge yarn you're spinning here, but the telling really cripples it. Don't focus on manipulating and staring, have people do things.

Capntastic posted:

Professionalism
(800 words)



Colaman was someone you could get to do things you don't tell your parents about. Too scrawny to be hired muscle, and not detail oriented enough to be trusted with anything technical, he was left with the sort of jobs you could pay anyone desperate enough to do. What made him good at what he did is that he was always ready to take someone's money. No secret meetings, codes, signs, or introductions needed. Broad daylight or underneath a neon sign, you'd walk up to him with an envelope, he'd shake your hand and wouldn't even count the credits then and there. You can't look back and blame a no-talent brother for trying to pay his rent any way he could.

Ok, I'm onboard. You've set up a context (some person telling a story) and you're staying within that. We have a picture of the guy and the world he lives in. You could be a bit more street in your description though, it feels like you're peppering the slanginess in whenever you remember it, when you've actually got license to tell the story like that.

Colaman was posted up by whom? choose a different word here. by the pawn shop watching shows on the busted-rear end digiscreens there, waiting for that night's employer. What pulls up next to him is this big black person carrier, shiny as Hell. A real rare sight to see in that corner of town where Colaman worked, but that just meant the money had to be that much more exotic. He's right next to the mirrored window when it rolls down, and he's face to face with this chick with her eye makeup done up in metallics to hide the implants themselves. Fashion conscious lady, he had to guess. Rich too. So she offers him a job. Two thou in wired creds up front, and double that when the job is done. How could a hungry bastard like Colaman say no?

He climbs his rear end up in there, sinking into the big plush seats and getting a good look at the client and her associates. Easy enough to look past the chick's eyes, but her friends are two beefed up white guys with the neck veins and chrome look down solid. Wristbands sticking out underneath their suit sleeves hiding the scars, but not the clicks the motors were making. Colaman knew he was pretty outclassed, since the only metal he had back then ah, a hint of where the story might be going - doofus to cybersamurai... not sure you sell it, though, if you'd started with a 'when I first met him' you'd have better context was in his teeth. They're giving him the eyes too, filling up the back seat with a whole lot of that uncomfortable silence poo poo.

The woman tapped something into her PDA and the driver pulls off onto the freeway. Colaman was riding on the adrenaline of starting to realize he might've been over his head on this one, and it was the only thing keeping him awake. The ride was just that comfortable, at least in the cushion sense of things. They're riding past industrial wreckage and all of that where the old factories were, and Colaman finally pipes up. "So, are we meeting someone? I mean, I'm ready for whatever, but this seems a bit far out of the way."

The woman shot him a look, not entirely harsh, and gathered her words none of these words are good. "You come highly recommended. This job shouldn't be a problem. People speak highly of your professionalism."

Colaman nodded and straightened his spine out, because when someone touts your professionalism you gotta look the part. haha cool.

"I dig on that, but I'm used to less grandiose affairs. Apartments, motel jobs, cars, that sort of thing. Even some of the old warehouses, for kicks."

"This will be more intricate," she said. "We're going to an office complex. It is, ostensibly, a midware development firm for low-end cybernetic prostheses, but in reality it is a front for a sort of...chop shop. Last week they made the mistake of subduing one of my men when he was off duty. His wrist implant had some valuable data of mine on it."

Colaman exhaled, doing all he could to maintain his posture. This wasn't quite the job he'd had in mind. We already know this, you've said all you need to say with the 'posture' line. She continued with the details, about how his delicate hands and ability to maintain calm under any amount of pressure were legendary, and just the qualities that'd be needed for this. And then she talked up his street cred.

"We drove around for several hours, chasing up rumors as to who the best around was. You're practically a ghost. Most anyone would say about you was that you were up for anything, and that you never talked afterwards. I appreciate that integrity."

Hearing the word integrity Colaman slunk down in his seat. He was rolling the word around on his dried up tongue. They'd already pulled up next to the offices, and within seconds he was handed a duffel bag with a prybar sticking out of it, told he had one hour to meet them down the street. He saw them drive off in the reflection of the office's front window. This is genuinely funny, and a slick parody of oh let's see every cyberpunk rpg/story ever.

He couldn't, at this point, just say "Look lady, I thought you just wanted me to gently caress you." This is actually a double twist, and I'm not sure you need it. You've sold him as a small time criminal and he's actually a small time gigolo - if you're going to do this then don't have it as an OMG TWIST because you've sort of already had that. Still, it's funny as well. After all, she'd paid half up front, and our boy Colaman was nothing if not professional.

I really enjoyed this one, though it could do with a few tweaks. The idea behind it is better and less cliche than Jagermonster's, and the execution is way better.

So, again, CAPNTASTIC IS WINNER

Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


Nyarai posted:

I can judge if you need it.

Yeah sure, gently caress it.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I'm in.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


sebmojo posted:

I really enjoyed this one, though it could do with a few tweaks. The idea behind it is better and less cliche than Jagermonster's, and the execution is way better.

So, again, CAPNTASTIC IS WINNER



Martello posted:

THUNDERDUEL: Nubile "Canadian Rage" Hillock Jager "Snow Crash Sucks" Monster vs Capn "Hard Disk" Tastic

GET READY...

FIGHT!





Yeah this thing well dogs and dinner and honeymoons and whatever

Capntastic posted:

Professionalism
(800 words)

Your little introductory paragraph is a little expospeaky, but it works here. It's just short enough that I don't get bored, and now I know what kinda dude Colaman is. Short fiction is where we have to find a balance between showing and telling. Sometimes a characters backstory is important enough to summarize, and you did that quite nicely.

"Black Person Carrier" is either the most awesome name for a car or the worst. I think it's probably the worst.

This is awesome: "two beefed up white guys with the neck veins and chrome look down solid"

Starts to get a little too much into telling. It's sort of like a show/tell hybrid. It's tough because of the shorter word limit, but you could use a few concise descriptive sentences about the beefy white dudes staring him down and what the industrial neighborhood looked like.

PDA is the stupidist thing, PDAs have been obsolete since last century. Say "phone" or "pad" or "tablet" or something.

Seb already hit some of the other stuff I was gonna say.

I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with him on the double twist, though, because I loving loved it. Totally didn't see it coming and it's funny as hell. It also fits the flash rule of "gets in trouble because of a lack of way with words."

Overall this is a huge improvement on your "Hard Disk" story.


Jagermonster posted:

Cyborg Systa Settles a Score
Word Count: 788

I like the "everyone meets in cyberspace" thing, very GitS. Woulda liked a little more description of the cyberworld, but maybe you didn't have enough . You still could have said that the meeting place was "a void, because Montag thought it was intimidating" or whatever.

The dialogue is plain, nobody has any voice to speak of until Gretchen turns into Systa.

The story loses clarity halfway through. I get that the other dudes at the meeting are Montag's business associates or whatever, but who's Viscone? Is he Montag's boss? Was Systa one of Montag's whores but got burned half to death and is out for Kill Bill-style revenge? What's really going on here?

You have some decent potential here, but like seb said it doesn't really go anywhere.

REDUNDANT VERDICT

I'll have to concur with the grizzled Kiwi here and give it to Capntastic.

Jagermonster should have to buy a new av for Capn. Just sayin.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Okay so here's what happened there was some errors made and that led to some other errors and through the natural and organic process of the Thunderdome these three assholes had to crap out some stories and here they are.

But were they any good? Dunno! Let's find out!

crabrock posted:

THE SPECTACULAR CRABROCK V. FUMBLEMOUSE V. NIKAER DREKIN DUEL FOR THE HONOR OF NOT BEING DISQUALIFIED COMES TO A THRILLING CONCLUSION!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CLOCK

Goalposts (495 words)

Gerald yawned for the first time in two days. The hallucinations meant it was time to sleep. Exhaustion hit like a divorce: all at once and out of nowhere. He pulled back the curtains and squinted in the morning sun. This opening is pretty kickass, 'exhaustion hit like a divorce' is like a Chandler line. I definitely want to know more.

She I would put a name here bounded down the stairs, backpack already on and hair in pigtails. Gerald looked at his reflection in an old family photo on the wall. His oily hair was matted to his forehead.

“Are you coming to my play today, daddy?”

Gerald held onto the wall to steady himself; she seemed to grow and shrink with every syllable.

“Thought that was Thursday.”

“Today is Thursday!”

She wrinkled her brow in an adorable fashion. Three days--not two--since he’d slept.

“Of course I’m coming.”

She hugged him and then floated away in a bus. This is a great sentence. Devotees of endless firsthedidthisthenhedidthatthenhedidthis blocking: attendHer play was after lunch; he could make it.

Gerald dumped coffee into the filter--it didn’t matter how much. His hands trembled.

His ex-wife sat beneath the picture frame.

“You’re not making it right.”

“I know!” Don’t talk to her, she’s not real.

“You won’t make it. You could never be there for either of us.”

The sputter of the coffee maker drowned out her voice. Gerald splashed his face with cold water. He toweled off his face, and felt something linger. A spider. He [smacked] at it, sending the black creeper flying across the counter. It was a raisin.

“You’re not fooling either of us. Go to sleep.”

“Shut up!” He threw the wet towel at the picture, knocking it askew. The apparition of his ex-wife looked askance at the crooked frame. “Well that was useful.”

Gerald poured himself a cup of coffee and took a sip of coffee, even though it was too hot. He stayed active first misstep, 'active' is a vague and meaningless word here, ignoring most of his ex-wife’s haruanging. He made three pots of coffee--never measuring out the grounds. After his shower, his ex-wife laid on bed.

“Just lay down for a moment with me. We always had fun.”

Gerald shook his head and struggled with his buttons. Each felt like trying to shove a dinner plate through the eye of a needle. Trying to shove the key into his car’s ignition made him feel like he was manipulating a marionette.

Lights of all colors swirled and blended together as he drove. Red and green, red and blue, purple polka dots. Sirens, airbrakes, jackhammers, elephants and hyenas. He pulled into Abigail’s school.

He took a seat in the auditorium. His ex-wife sat down next to him.

“I’m surprised you remembered.”

The lights dimmed and the seat was comfortable. The hallucinations and the actual absurdities of elementary theater were impossible to differentiate. His daughter was a pineapple, or a shrubbery, or a slow-motion explosion.

He was sipping a colada on the beach. A piece of pineapple stuck on the rim of the glass. The waves thundered like applause. His wife laid on the sand in a bikini. She looked up at him and smiled.

“It’s about time you woke up.”

Holy poo poo did you just "anditwasalladream" me? Because if so you are loving dead. To me, but also in the regular sense.

Great story though, up until the last bit it hit every mark it aimed at. Rating: A pint of delicious creamy icecream sundae topped with LSD.


Fumblemouse posted:

THE SPECTACULAR CRABROCK V. FUMBLEMOUSE V. NIKAER DREKIN DUEL FOR THE HONOR OF NOT BEING DISQUALIFIED CONTINUES NOW!

wordcount: 500
The Sound of the Tone


Jenny stared at the smartphone with thinly concealed disappointment WHO IS SHE THINLY CONCEALING HER DISAPPOINMENT FROM SHE IS ALONE. It wasn’t the same thing at all. Still, it was nice of the boys at the phone company to think of her. They must be very busy, programming all the other phones she saw everybody using. All those young people, looking down into tiny screens, almost walking into older ladies a nice distinction on their way to the shops. Imagine being able to be reached anywhere, any time of the day or night. How horrible! What a century this was.

Jenny poked at the screen with her finger, but nothing happened. Not for the first time that day, she wished Bill were here to help her, but then she recalled what the young man had said, and pushed the inset button at the bottom. The screen sprang to life, showing a large digital clock with several icons below. “Well, this isn’t so hard,” she said. She squinted at the tiny characters beneath various icons but her eyesight wasn’t quite good enough. She spotted a picture of an alarm clock with a smiling cartoon mouth. That must be the one. She tentatively a rare example of the justified adverb in the wild. observe as it modifies its parent verb, watching for its natural predator, the delete key pressed it.

A picture of Bill appeared on the screen - the same one she had sent to the phone company. How clever! Beneath the photo was a single button labelled ‘Speak’. With a gesture that almost seemed confident, she jabbed at it.

“At the sound of the tone, the time will be … three … minutes past … twelve ...am,” said the smartphone in Bill’s voice. “Beeeeeep!”

It wasn’t right. That couldn’t be my Bill should stay in third person in that tiny box. When she’d called the speaking clock, sitting in her armchair, cup of tea beside her, it had been easy to imagine him at the other end of the phone, hard at work informing people of the time in his wonderful, mellifluous tones. I was gonna beef about how many commas you have here but I guess you kind of make it work. Now he sounded tinny, like a cheap radio, and for the first time in ten years he’d gotten the time wrong. Jenny felt a tightness in her temples and pressed the X at the top right of Bill’s photo. The digital clock and the icons returned. That clock was wrong too.

Jenny blinked, took a deep breath, and told herself not to be so silly. Bill would have loved this sort of thing, and so would she. She started touching anything that looked like it might help, until she found her way to the clock settings and deciphered their arrows. Then she made a cup of tea, sat in her armchair and dialled the speaking clock. Bill let her know the correct time, and she adjusted the phone accordingly. A stranger’s voice informed her that the service would be ending tomorrow after fifty years. I... don't think you need this? It is a tweeeest, but if you're going to have this then you need her to recognise it and have a reaction, as it is it just drops onto the narrative floor and flops around in a helpless sort of way.

She returned to Bill’s photo and pressed Speak. Bill's voice came back to her, tinny but right. She placed the phone with Bill inside in her coat pocket next to her heart. Imagine being able to hear him anywhere, day or night. What a century this iswas!

Hm. This is a sweet, gentle sort of story where nothing really happens and that's just about okay. However the language isn't quite precise enough to put across the old lady vibe you're aiming at, and it falls just this side of the line where something really ought to happen to make the story worth reading. The bit about the service ending could definitely have been it, but it was unsupported and so did not. If you'd given her a reaction it would probably have inched over the line. Rating: a slightly curled but still tasty cucumber sandwich quarter, left over from the bridge club.

Nikaer Drekin posted:

THE SPECTACULAR CRABROCK V. FUMBLEMOUSE V. NIKAER DREKIN DUEL FOR THE HONOR OF NOT BEING DISQUALIFIED BEGINS NOW!

Mr. Margulies, Your 2:00 Is Here
(500 Words, Including Title)

Mitch slapped a piece of duct tape over Mr. Margulies's mouth and forced him to sit. “Hey, Kenny,” he said, “could you crack a window? I’m roasting.”

Kenneth unlatched one of the tall panes of glass and swung it out. The breeze came in surprisingly quiet, Kenneth thinking maybe even the wind gets vertigo this far up. Nice voice here. “You got the bomb vest on him? I can send the message whenever you’re set.”

“Yep, just a second…” Mitch pressed the center button. A harsh string of chirps emitted from the bulky black vest around Margulies, followed by steady, ominous beeps. “There, done.”

Kenneth lifted his phone and tapped a button. “And the cops have our demands… now. We did it, brother!” He wrapped Mitch in a tight bear hug. “The time’s all set? They have an hour to save the poor sap?”

Mitch grinned. “Yep. If they don’t give in by two o’clock, they’ll be scrubbing this prick out of the linoleum.”

“What do you mean, ‘two o’clock?”

“Two o’clock. The hour after one?”

“I know that, gently caress-head, but it’s almost two now.” Kenneth pulled back his turtleneck sleeve, checked his counterfeit Timex. “Yeah, right, it’s 1:58.”

“Bullshit. My watch says 12:58, and it’s never wrong.”

“You’re sure you didn’t gently caress with it?”

“What? No, of course I didn’t loving gently caress with it. I don’t gently caress around with my watch, Kenny, it’s the one Dad gave me.”

“Okay, well, what about daylight savings? You set it ahead, right?”

Mitch scrunched up his nose. “Oh poo poo, did I?”

“Are you kidding me, Mitch? It’s the middle of spring, man! As in fall back, spring loving forward!”

“Hey, don’t ride me about this. We’ve got one minute until Margulies is a crater, we need to work fast.” I'm liking the back and forth, but you need more of an emotional shift at the point where they realise they are both about to be blown the gently caress up.

“You can shut it off in time?”

“Nah, that takes too long, we gotta dump him out the window.”

Kenneth stared at Mitch. He wondered how many years they’d take off his sentence if he gave the bastard up. This is a nice frozen moment. They each grabbed one of Margulies’s shoulders and dragged him forward. He flailed his feet, Italian leather shoes squeaking on the floor. Mitch and Kenneth tried to ignore what they assumed were curses muffled by the duct tape. Kenneth pushed the window all the way open, and the brothers hoisted Margulies onto the brushed metal sill and shoved him out.

He plunged straight down, legs wiggling, until his head bashed into one of the windows and he spun away from the skyscraper. Soon all the brothers could see of him was a speck in an Armani suit. The clock struck two.

A fireball burst from the speck and hung in the air. The violent blast of sound reached the brothers a second later, shattering the windows and knocking them back to the floor.

Kenneth got up weakly and found Mitch unconscious and grimacing. He bent down, yanked the watch from his brother’s wrist, and chucked it out the window-frame. Ok, this seemed weak as an ending but actually ties back to the watch being 'the one Dad gave'.

This is breezy, but effective. You paint a tight picture of the latest excursion from the Fuckup Brothers and give good banter. Rating: A Whopper with extra cheese eaten in the BK carpark before the heist while arguing about football.

BRAWL JUDGMENT Crabrock steals the win, Nikaer Drekin and Fumblemouse in the rear. Were I to retro-disqualify anyone it would be Fumblemouse, but on the advice of my therapist I'm trying to make a new life where I don't do that kind of stuff anymore.

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Sep 11, 2013 around 06:23

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

no sorry, it wasn't "it's all a dream." I was trying to do a little riff on that. He fell asleep, and started dreaming at the end. I realize I didn't make that quite clear. But I would support you killing me if I had done that.

My chillmatic brawl piece:

Cities & Identity
511 Words


The city flows around us at glacial speeds. Steel highrises with reflective scales swallow homes whole. While we sleep, the metamorphosis continues. Sometimes subtly, sometimes entire neighborhoods erode in the night. Each morning we wake to find a stranger lurking outside. Machines scurry ahead of the looming behemoth, erasing the past beneath sheets of asphalt.

Men in orange vests rapt their fists on our door, a timeline of two children notched into the jamb on the other side of their insistent fists. We needn’t speak; widening eyes and twitches of our cheeks convey complex thoughts. Fleeting touches the equivalent of long embrace. We hold each other as colors flow through frosted pane, and finally fade.

The city’s two roads come from and lead to the same place. The young pick their favorite road through irrational and fictitious criteria. There is no demonstrable proof of greater prestige or utility of either road, but superstition, habit, and pride make the choice permanent for life. Our son emigrated using one road, and our daughter another. We have no interest in leaving.

The skyscrapers climb higher, and their shadows grow longer. I used to lay out in the backyard to tan; now there is only dark. The only remaining way to entrain circadian rhythms is the television’s terminator between primetime and infomercials. Even looking straight up, it is hard to tell where the night sky begins.

The haze washes out the stars; I gaze cityward for that same beautiful sense of insignificance. Constellations of flickering street lights snake around the darkened buildings. After watching the lights long enough, their ghosts persist in every blink. My view wanders, and the lights of reality amalgamate with the phase-shifted wraiths, creating an imaginary boulevard through downtown.

It both circumvents and penetrates buildings and plazas, vivisecting the sleeping giant. An artery and a sword, ferrying goods and slicing the city into pieces. But like health that deteriorates after youth, it too evaporates. Our son calls to demand we emigrate to the countryside, where he says there is still fresh air. Even with his medical degree, he can’t diagnose our condition through copper.

The monster grows in all dimensions simultaneously, and not in any discernible pattern. A third floor grows west while a fifth floor grows down. Buildings change direction, merge, disappear into the collective of the city. The skyline is Medusa’s hair.

The buildings converge to block the sky. We are being digested. Our daughter calls to say she is proud of our commitment, and to say good bye. On our wall she is immortalized in intermittent ages. Then the constellations begin to go dark like the houses before them. We are afraid to step outside.

The water stops flowing, the food runs dry, the television is only static and the phone lines are dead. I recall our agent hammering a wooden sign into the lawn. Sold. Before we knew who we were. I thought I knew, but it only lasted for a short while. Like an afterimage, it becomes harder to grasp, buried beneath the city.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Chillmatic posted:

Thunderbawls Chillmatic vs. Crabrock or Ike Vs. Tina or some poo poo.

Worthy--748 words.

Follow me around for ten minutes, and I’d be lost for nine. My friends say that, and, in fairness, that had been true Until a year ago--the day I met Evelyn. I had taken a new job in Chicago, and even as I stepped off the train, I was hopelessly disoriented and fumbling in my backpack for the paper map I’d packed. The first time I saw her was in front of the train depot; she was in her car, rolling slowly past me as I stood fighting the wind to keep the map from blowing out of my hands. I heard a laugh and looked up.

She was brushing aside her dark bangs and taking off a large pair of sunglasses. She looked at me, and right then I learned that it was impossible to appear sophisticated while wrangling a flimsy paper map in front of a beautiful woman.

She called out, “You look lost.”

“I am!” I said, having to shouting over a departing train. Rhythm.

She smiled, put on her hazard lights, and summoned me over. Nice sentence. As you know.

She asked why didn’t I carry a smartphone. I told her, three seconds before the map blew out of my hands and onto the roof of the train depot, that cellphones weren’t always reliable and that I could, at least, count on this.

Then it was gone and we both laughed.

And for the next 359 days, we would laugh together--for 359 days, she tolerated my wandering indecisions. With her to guide me, I didn't get lost. Not even once.

***

On the 360th day, our apartment had once again become her apartment. Our things had divided, becoming either hers, or mine. Mostly hers. don't need this.

What little there was of mine see? was packed into a small U-Haul sitting in the potholed parking lot of a downtown diner. Rumtydumtydumty. nice rhythm.

What little there was of us clever but bordering on the arch? was packed into a small booth, sitting on opposite sides, neither of us touching our food. I’d arrived late. We’d been here dozens of times before, but she had always driven; I could have sworn it was on the other side of the highway. I love the construction of this paragraph.

Last night I dreamed of a man on a ship, lost at sea in a storm. While I love this part of the story it needs to come earlier, I think.

“The mail key,” she mumbled,<= well used speech tag twisting the paper wrapping of her straw into a rumpled spine. Last week, sitting in that same seat, she’d grinned and blown the wrapper at my cheek.

“The what?”

“The mail key,” she gestured to the envelope on the table. “Did you remember to leave it? With the key to the front door?”

I hadn’t. I pulled out my keys, and she watched me fumble unsuccessfully with the ring. After a minute I said, "I don't think I can get it. Can I mail it to you?”

“This was the only copy,” she said, flatly.

“Oh. Right.”

The god Poseidon took pity on the man, and gifted him his most beautiful, detailed nautical map.

Our voices were tired. Yesterday morning we would have laughed, together, at the irony of one’s only mail key sitting inside a locked mailbox.

I wanted to go home. To our home.

But, so the man could prove himself worthy of a god’s intervention, Poseidon sent also a tremendous wave to crash against the man’s ship.

I’d experienced Chicago like I’d experienced Evelyn: I had failed to learn the shape of the city as well as the shape of her mind, never quite knowing which dark alleys, which arguments, to avoid. But even still she’d helped guide me as I’d fumbled through my choices and my life, and she’d done it with grace.

I'd lost it all in nine minutes. One decision. One wrong turn. You deliberately don't tell us what this is and I think it's a mistake - it's distracting.

The man’s grip was weak, his spirit unworthy.

Finally I removed the key and put it in the envelope, and Evelyn said, “I guess that’s everything.” She started to stand.

“Eve, wait--please.”

The roaring, blistering water tore the map from the man’s hands.

Her sigh was a mother’s frustration at a toddler with a full diaper. That's a great line. “You can’t ask me to be there, Alex, to take care of you anymore. Not after yesterday. I need to do this while I’m still angry enough to go through with it.”

She grabbed the envelope and turned to leave and I never heard her voice again.

Soon after, the man sailed off the far edge of the earth.

Outside the diner I unfolded and stared at the new map I had bought.

It began to rain. Great ending, though as I said you need to start on the mythic stuff earlier.

With the caveats above, I loved this story. A nice evocation, with the involuted philosophising about cities tweaking my Calvino nerve nicely. My one issue is your decision to keep the misdeed secret, unless it was hinted at and I didn't pick it up. I can see why you'd do it but I think it's a mistake - feels... cowardly, not exposing the protagonist? Not sure.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

sebmojo posted:

BRAWL JUDGMENT Crabrock steals the win, Nikaer Drekin and Fumblemouse in the rear. Were I to retro-disqualify anyone it would be Fumblemouse, but on the advice of my therapist I'm trying to make a new life where I don't do that kind of stuff anymore.

Your badly programmed psyche is no concern of mine. I accept my retro-disqualification from the last round with humour, grace and absolutely no hint of a concealed weapon. Thankfully my detail piece was poo poo (4am turns out not to be a magical hour of wordsmithery) so no real loss to the dome. Congrats to the crab in the hat.

Clearly I'm on a downward spiral TD wise. I need a photo-opportunity. I want a shot at redemption. Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard

In for this week.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Inadequate brawl entry.

The Conference (188)

“And you are?”

Rachel tried not to stare at the large ring distending the purple-haired girl’s earlobe.

“Rachel Parsimmon. I’m the keynote speaker?”

The girl plucked a badge from the standing ranks of plastic as Rachel rubbed her trouser pocket between thumb and forefinger.

“Talking about Psychoanalysis I bet. I did it at school,” the badge changed hands, “Shag your mother and kill your father: Achilles Complex. That Fraud chap was crazy, thought everyone was a pervert or something.”

The girl winked. Rachel bit her lip.

“I’m Francesca, if you need any directions just let me know.”

She sat on the table and crossed her legs, a flip-flop dangling from her toe.

“You must be the best, they charge a load for this conference.”

“Well I’m quite well known, but there are probably people here who are better.”

Francesca arched back, grasped the back edge of the table, and yawned beautifully. Rachel fumbled with the badge pin and managed to attach it to her shirt on the third attempt.

“What did you say you’re talking about?”

“Cognitive Biases, specifically the Dunning-Kruger effect.”

“Yeah, I know all about that.”

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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

CancerBrawl: Inadequacy

Offside
200 words

Derek Wiblage had sex for the first time in the toilets of the Taumaranui Football Club just as Jeff Tamati knocked in a winning header. Derek heard the cheers. Bloody hell, he said, wilting and withdrawing. But it was too late, he’d missed it – and a local home game didn’t warrant instant replays. His paramour, Tracey from the chip shop, gave him a look redolent of hot fat and its effects on battered sausage. The relationship did not last; Derek moved to Chinese food. He struck up a conversation with Kelly Huang at the Golden Bowl Takeaway on Seddon Street ane thing led to another, which led to a knee trembler under the stands while Taumaranui battled arch rivals Pungapunga for the season decider. The penalty shoot-out went to extra time and Derek muffed his shot. He saw the red card in her eyes and went off, defeated.

Ten years later he saw the headline in the morning paper, embezzlement, fraud, malfeasance. Football club wound up. Misty-eyed, he tossed the paper on the floor; put in his old home video of their greatest games. As it played he unzipped his fly. The lads were flickering and golden through the static rain.

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Oct 8, 2013 around 19:55

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