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  • Locked thread
Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


My Wilde quote - "Those whom the gods love grow young."

The Price of the Favored - 1198 Words

Theo perched high above his target in the night, scanning the building’s grounds for any sign of a defense that he had not identified. The mansion was an older one within the walled part of the city, owned by a Favored family who had inherited it but was not blessed with enough riches to keep it modernized. Mere human guards and mechanical locks discouraged thieves, not complex sensors and invisible lasers. Theo grinned. It was time.

Theo swung down into the courtyard, specially padded shoes absorbing any noise that might have been made. He quickly ducked behind a row of hedges, using the Favored’s own garden to screen his movements. Theo made his way to the interior wall in moments, creeping silently towards latticework that reached up to a third floor window. Reaching his goal, Theo scampered up, the latticework emitting small groans of stress as his weight bore down on it. Theo was short and light for a 17 year old and he worried if there was a growth spurt yet to come that would prevent him from using things like this. A light and small body was a key for success in his profession.

Pushing his worries off, Theo jimmied the latch and gently pushed the window open. He slipped inside and scanned for the cabinet he had been told about. He found it pushed against a wall and, his heart pumping furiously, his fingers brushed the surface, tracing the carved birds until he found the correct bird and pushed, hearing the satisfying click of a lock disengaging. The top popped open, revealing his prizes glittering golden in the moonlight. Theo reached for the centerpiece of the collection, a magnificent necklace with a blue gem at its heart. He lifted it up to examine it in the light. The only warning he had was a soft ‘click’ as the necklace slid out of its place.

Alarms blared, terribly loud in the otherwise quiet night air, and Theo could hear the pounding of boots running down the hall. Theo’s instincts kicked in and he grabbed the rest of the jewelry and stuffed it into a small bag in one swift motion. He ran to the window and kicked it open as the door burst in and a very large guard charged into the room, his hands twisting as if he already had Theo’s neck in his grasp. Theo summed up his chances against the guard in one quick glance and promptly jumped out of the window, landing painfully but somehow staying on his feet. Guards were collapsing on him from all directions and Theo desperately wove his way through the courtyard garden. He was able to outrun his pursuit to the mansion wall where he had previously strung up an exit wire. Theo jumped onto his zip line and waved goodbye to the frustrated guards as he sped off into the safety of the shadows.


Later that night, Theo came to another mansion but this time went up to the front door and knocked loudly. A servant answered soon after, a grimace on his face. “Who is knocking at this hour? Oh, it’s you.”

“Yes, William, only me. Where is Sofia?” asked Theo.

“I’m sure she’s asleep, Theo. Come back at a normal time,” said William as he started to shut the door.

Theo’s foot stuck out, preventing the door from closing fully. “Really, William? Do we need to do this every time I come?” asked Theo as he craned his neck around, trying to look behind William. His face brightened and his heart leapt as he saw a wisp of silk appear on the upper level. “Sofia!”

Sofia swept down the stairs, a vision of beauty in a flowing white silk shift that left little to the imagination. “Theo, my darling!” she exclaimed. “William, let him in!”

Theo stepped past the subdued servant and staggered as Sofia flung herself into his arms, his knees buckling, still painful from jumping from the window earlier that night. Sofia felt Theo stumble slightly and asked, “Theo, what happened? Are you okay? Did you get me something?”

Theo grinned and said, “Sofia, I’m okay, really. I had to make a quick exit tonight, but yes, I brought you presents!”

Sofia took a step back from Theo, looking at him slightly askance. “What went wrong? Did they see you?”

“I didn’t see a pressure trap and I set off some alarms. Got chased a bit. But they have nothing on me!” Theo responded.

“So someone saw you?” questioned Sofia.

“Yeah, some guards saw me, but it was dark. It was fine, really. You don’t need to worry about me!”

Sofia made an unhappy sound at that but said with some of her previous excitement, “Well, I’m sure it will be alright. Let’s see what you brought for me!”

Theo pulled out his small bag and handed it over to Sofia. “I brought the most beautiful treasures I could find for my beautiful girl!”

Sofia smiled sweetly at him but her smile quickly dropped off as she pulled the necklace out of the bag. “It’s fake.” She let the necklace drop to the floor and reached into the bag, pulling out the other jewelry. “It’s all fake! You idiot!” Sofia yelled at Theo as she threw the bag at him.

Theo was dumbstruck. “I’m… I’m so sorry Sofia. I didn’t have time to check.” Theo took a deep breath. “I’ll find some other stuff for you tomorrow!”

“It’s too late for that, moron. I have a holy renewal tomorrow and I needed to sell these before then to pay the indulgence! You’ve ruined everything!” Sofia screamed at him.

“Wait, what?” questioned Theo. “You weren’t going to keep them? Do you keep any of the things I’ve ever given you?”

“Oh, grow up Theo. You knew what this was,” said Sofia.

“I thought I did, Sofia. I thought you loved the things I brought you. I thought we could have had… something,” said Theo, staring disbelievingly at Sofia.

Sofia laughed. “What, us? A Favored and a Lowtown thief? You poor, deluded boy. What did you think would happen, that you would grow old and watch us Favored stay renewed and young, but we’d be in love so it would end up being okay?” Again, she laughed, cruelly, and Theo flinched at the sound.

“You Favored all think you’re special just because the godship happened to land near your families hundreds of years ago and gave you the secret of renewal. But without us, without Lowtown, you don’t have anything! No goods to buy and nobody to lord over. Without me, you couldn’t even pay for your youth. You live in this aging mansion with nothing in your life. You’re not favored people who are blessed by the gods. You’re pathetic. Enjoy your life of misery.” Theo spat back.

Sofia’s face twisted with hate. “You arrogant little prick! I’ll show you who is pathetic! William!”

Theo had halfway turned when William brought down the heavy club on his head. As everything faded to black, he saw Sofia turn her back to him and curtly tell William to call the police and dump him outside.

Walamor fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2013 around 01:34

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Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


yeah screw editing amirite guys

quote:

"The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you."

Monsieur Musée and the Loss of the Lexicon (Or; The Benefits of In-House Security)
(1,199 Words)

Marcel Dubois tore a hunk off the end of his baguette. He buttered it, then dunked it vigorously in his pot of gravy before taking a bite. Mon dieu. C'est magnifique. He was about to prepare his second bite when the hotline rang. He put his bread down gingerly, wiped his fingers and then picked up the receiver.

“Dubois.”

“Thank heavens, Curator! An incident has occurred which requires your immediate attention.”

“Incident? Of what sort?”

“One of grave importance to the entire art community. Sir, someone has stolen… Le Lexicon.”

Mon dieu! Do you have any idea where the book has been taken?”

“Let me see, sir… according to the tracking device, the knave who stole the book has holed up in an abandoned chateau. Curator, should I inform the military?”

Dubois frowned. “No, I don’t think that would be wise. Le Lexicon needs to be found, not run away from. No, I think I should handle this one myself.”

“Very good, sir. Bonne chance.”

Dubois slammed the phone down and raced out of his office, sprinting down the corridors of the Louvre. He needed to find a piece quickly, one that would stir his brain up with musings on the creative nature of the universe. Ah, yes, of course. Vermeer’s The Astronomer would work very well. The man in the painting, absorbed in the act of discovery, felt very close to Dubois. He found himself caught in the rush of mystery, eyes drinking in the frame’s little world, divining what Vermeer meant to say as well as the unstated. It was like a hydrogen bomb igniting his very soul.

Not a wholly inaccurate simile, as it was. Formerly your everyday curator of the most renowned museum in the world, a fateful trip to the Monet exhibit at a nuclear plant left Dubois a changed man. Now, when he immersed himself in the work of a genius like Vermeer, his muscles bulged and his jaw expanded until it was blocky and handsome. His clothes burst off, revealing a stylish black jumpsuit with “MM” emblazoned on the front. A wine-red cape flowed down his back. Finally, a beret materialized on his lush, dark hair and a svelte line of hair sprouted just over his upper lip. The transformation was complete. Dubois was… Monsieur Musée.

Now a foot taller and five hundred percent more muscular, M. Musée pranced back to his office and stood in the back right corner. He swiped a hand against the wall and the tiles he stood on sank down into the floor. Intense darkness pervaded the chamber until the platform came to a rest on the floor. Guide-lights popped on, revealing a vast horizontal tube that curved upwards at the end. Musée bounded forward, getting a nice running start before pushing off and launching himself down the shaft. When it looked like splatting against the wall at Mach-2 was a near-certainty, Musée wrenched himself upward and shot up toward the spot of light in the distance.

Tourists puttering around outside the museum froze when the ground started to rumble. The famous glass pyramid shook like mad, scattering its admirers in all directions. The museum patrons brave enough to look saw the pointed structure split down the middle, the halves pushing apart until a wide space was left. M. Musée flew out of the center, only a black-and-purple blur to the foreigners. The Parisians, however, cheered their hero on as he zipped off to combat the enemies of art.

Musée scanned the landscape. He didn’t have x-ray eyes, but his vision was capable of zooming in to ridiculous distances. He picked up menacing vibes from one region in particular and peered into the chateaus and villages there. At first he saw only distractions. Some of the little shops being robbed, a fool jumping from a top tower—a terror squad seemed to be overtaking the guards at Villandry as well. Ho hum. But wait! There he was, a despicable knave clad all in white, standing in front of a stained-glass window. He clutched an aged book to his chest and was seized in a fit of maniacal laughter.

Mon Dieu! There he was, the foul criminal, practically asking to be put away from his crimes. M. Musée picked up speed and streaked towards the window. Fifteen seconds later, he crashed through, shattering the lovingly crafted window and knocking the villain across the room. Oh, zut, he thought. I’ll be sure to get a restoration team on that.

The knave, recovering quickly from being viciously slammed into a stone wall, dusted off his lab coat. He picked up the Lexicon and examined it before flashing a menacing grin at Musée.

He chortled, “You buffoon! You think you can stop The Vivisector that easily?”

Of course, Musée thought, The Vivisector. That deranged mad scientist obsessed with slicing living things apart whom I’ve had many tussles with in the past and who many would say is a primary member of my “rogues’ gallery,” if they were compiling such a list, was sure to be the culprit. But why steal The Lexicon?

“I suppose,” the Vivisector said, “you’re wondering why I would steal The Lexicon. Well, part of the appeal of art is its mystery, no? I could peel that veneer away, slice by slice, letting loose all the psychological ooziness inside! Just think of all the secrets in this book waiting to be shared with everyone. Let a few slip and those great works will be rendered dead for eternity!”

Mon Dieu!” M. Musée exclaimed. “Vivisector, I beg you, that book was locked away for a reason! If people think they know every facet of every secret of one of my museum’s great works, they’ll become utterly bored! Even I don’t know the banalities kept inside that volume.”

The Vivisector sneered at him. “You don’t, do you? Well, maybe I can enlighten you. Did, you know, for instance, that,” he paused to flip through the pages, “da Vinci ate nothing but plums as he was working on the Mona Lisa?”

“Please, stop! The understanding is killing me!”

“Pablo Picasso painted such distorted human forms largely because of a long-term affair with a contortionist? Fascinating.”

“Oh, merde, please! Throw that book away, I beg you!”

“So, Van Gogh’s missing ear? Not because of a woman. As a matter of fact, he had it cut off because doctors of the time really didn’t understand ear infections."

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” Musée shouted. He reached for his utility belt; a veritable rainbow of paint tubes was strapped to it. He grabbed the orange tube and, without even bothering to twist off the cap, pointed it at The Vivisector and squeezed.

At first the knave wanted to laugh; the cap popped off and he found himself and the book splattered with orange pigment. However, his skin started to tingle, and then sting, until he noticed that flames were licking his arms and face.

He let out a wail and dropped the book, itself crackling with fire. Monsieur Musée ignored his nemesis and stood over the Lexicon, the book filled with such wretched, pointless secrets. He smiled as he watched it turn to ash.

Nikaer Drekin fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2013 around 03:02

Jopoho
Feb 17, 2012


Quote: "Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives."

Incompetent - 1138 Words

Competent. Competent. Competent.

Eric swore that he was making a real assessment of every swimmer in his scanning range, but he admitted that it did start to seem more like a mantra and less like an honest attempt to spot drowning victims with each passing iteration. This held especially true with the cacophony of pool pumps and loud children melting into and endless white noise. Still, he reflected that a mantra might not be such a terrible thing, as it might alleviate the pain of chlorine burning one’s eyes while the sun burned everything else.

Competent. Competent. Lifejacket. Competent.

He knew somewhere in the back of his mind that a lifejacket wearing patron could only be distinguished from competent swimmers by a few bits of foam. They were in no more danger than the competent ones, but setting them apart helped break the monotony. In lifeguarding, anything that wasn’t a perfectly capable swimmer or children screeching about a game of Marco Polo made the day infinitely better.

Lifejackets and competents comprised the vast majority of the pool population, leaving incompetents sadly under-represented. A good drowning spiced up any day at the pool.

Competent. Competent. Competent.

He shifted in his seat so he could sneak a look at the clock. To his dismay, clock number two for the year ceased functioning. Fried in the weather, presumably. He knew by his spot in the guard rotation that he couldn’t have more than a half hour left, but nothing else. The end of the shift would arrive in its own sweet time.

Competent. Competent. Competent.

The day hadn’t been a total loss though, by Eric’s estimate. It had been slow enough that he could use his breaks to show off what four years experience could do for one’s water slide riding skills. He insisted to other lifeguards on duty that this helped him cool off, and that he only raced kids to make sliding extra fun for them. When the races started, however, he threw himself down the slide, careful to only keep his shoulder blades and only one heel touched the surface (Reduce friction. Stay in the water stream. The twofold path to waterslide victory is easy to learn but hard to master). In each of three races, Eric had nearly finished his victory dance before his opponent made it across the finish line.

He also helped stage a fake emergency in order to test a new lifeguard. The head lifeguard on duty, Brian, wanted to make it a simple drowning. Eric made a case for making it an unconscious pregnant lady with a broken spine in addition to a venomous snakebite. Eventually they settled on a disgruntled mother and her choking baby. The new guy handled it like a pro, and their baby mannequin lived on another day. Still, it was a nice diversion.

Competent. Competent. Lifejacket. Competent.

The pool thinned out. Not unusual for the time of the evening, but it happened a lot more suddenly. Moms and Dads gathered their children up and marched briskly to the edge of the facility, with near flash-mob precision. He glanced over his shoulder to find the crowd gathering at the wrought iron fence around the edge of the pool area. In his time, Eric never saw anyone so interested in that fence.

Brian was also there. Every muscle in his body was tense. His eyes caught Eric’s sunglasses and he mouthed something, but the words didn’t break through the sound of running water. Brian did not stick around to clarify. Eric knew there was some kind of issue in progress, but not sure what. He desperately wanted to chase down his head lifeguard and question him. He could also simply run over and check on the matter and trust that nobody would drown in his few seconds of absence.

Either option was infinitely more exciting and fulfilling that sitting around and doing nothing. Still, he knew that anyone could run into trouble in a pool for a myriad of reasons. He had been charged with the safety of the pool, not some mystery problem he knew nothing about. He continued to count competents, this time calling out swimsuit colors to distract him from the unfolding excitement.

Competent: Blue. Competent: Red. Competent: Dora the Explorer Pattern.

He managed to avoid looking away from the pool again. No one even came close to drowning. The shift ended without incident. Finally relieved of his responsibility, he went to find Brian, who was sitting in a lawn chair in the shade.

“What happened exactly?” he said.

Brian didn’t look up. “Kid got hit by a car. I saw his head smack the ground. He wasn’t moving.”

Eric’s jaw dropped. He wanted to ask why the hell no one saw it fit to close the pool, activate emergency protocol, and get everyone on duty out to help. Instead, he said, “Is he going to be okay?”

“Maybe? His mom picked him up and drove away.”

Eric’s head was spinning. He heard another lifeguard talk, but he wasn’t registering whom. The voice said, “The kid’s head was bobbling around a lot. If there was any damage at all…”

The thought didn’t need to be completed. Each and every one of them knew that moving the spine after such an injury could very well mean the difference between life and death. Eric could almost see the kid being peeled off the pavement, his head rolling to the side, threads of his spinal cord coming undone with even the slightest movement.

“Why didn’t we stop her?” he asked.

“I tried to get somebody on it,” Brian replied, “but nobody left the pool.”

“We couldn’t hear. There are procedures for this.”

“I know!” Brian’s gaze finally lifted. His eyes were red, but that was not uncommon thanks to the chlorine. “I saw them. I called out to you. I didn’t wait around to see if it worked because there was a life on the line. I went and got our trauma bag. By the time I came back, she was gone and you hadn’t moved.”

Eric couldn’t help but think about it. Brian would not have called him for idle chat. It wasn’t protocol, but it was clear something was wrong. Leaving would have risked pool safety, to be sure, but there was already a real problem. He felt sick to his stomach.

“Look, everyone did the right thing in their own way. You stuck with the protocol created to save lives, and I ignored it to save lives.”

It was true, of course, and the manager of the facility told everyone that she was proud of their actions. The fate of the child was never disclosed.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Well, not gonna make it tonight. I blame these two:




I'll put the story up tomorrow anyway.

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



The perfect is the enemy of the good and the good is the enemy of the done.

Oscar Wilde posted:

In marriage three is company and two is none.

The Last Maid - 1,200 words

“Sarah, you’re pregnant!? And by my son?”

“He’s just as amazing as his father. He’s just so passionate. One day we're--”

“You do not need to be more specific,” Conrad took a deep breath. “This is serious. What are your wishes?”

“Believe it or not, I am almost thirty now. I’d like to raise this child but Samson isn't ready for fatherhood. I haven't told him anything. I don’t know what to do.”

“I’m glad you came to me. You won’t be able to remain a maid. I will make arrangements for you to work in a subsidiary which I own outright. In the interim, I have money. Don't worry.” He sighed. “This means I'll have to tell my wife of our history, of how we met after my divorce. And why I insisted on helping you with this job.”

“What will you tell Sam? Your wife?”

“Sam mustn’t know of the child. Not yet. I’ll think of something but you shouldn't see him before you go. And I’ll tell my wife it wasn’t working out. I can make arrangements tomorrow morning. You should leave once we've gathered for dinner.”

“I understand. Thank you for everything.”

As she left, he sat down and called out, “If it isn't too much, could you find my wife? Tell her to come see me?”

He tried to focus. He still hadn't when she arrived.

“Tabitha, it isn't working out with Sarah; I've decided to let her go but haven't told her. If you could, let me handle it. I don't want any fuss.”

“After you were so insistent we hire her?”

“She's not suited to this work. Inattentiveness. There's wood polish on stationary, some windows washed but not others.”

“This is the first I'm hearing of it,” she chirped.

He could see this wasn't working. “Yes, well,” he paused. “Most importantly, I believe Sam may have taken a liking to her. A maid. I'd rather not discuss this further and don't tell him of this yet. I want to be the one to do it.”

Something is wrong, she thought. “I see. I'll leave it to you then.”


It’s mid-afternoon the following day and Conrad is at the office. Tabitha is rifling through his desk.

She thinks of how distant he's been as she fingers through his Rolodex. Of how oblivious he's been as she opens a drawer to the sound of clinking glasses and a half bottle of scotch. Of how much time he's been spending with Sarah when she sees a fresh entry in a check register.

A tidy sum from an account he never touches, she thinks, what is this?

She takes the checkbook and hurries to her office. She drops the checkbook on her desk and hurriedly grabs a pencil and thin sheet of paper. As she takes a rubbing of the next check down she feels a heaviness on her chest: Sarah's name is coming into view.


Tabitha bumped into the wrought iron railing as she stalked up the marble staircase to the maid's quarters. Sarah thought she may have heard footsteps as the checkbook struck the back of her head. She turned around to see Tabitha looming in the doorway. She was speechless. Tabitha began moving toward her.

“You're not doing this to me,” she hissed.

“What?”

“What's happening between you and my husband? He tells me you're being fired for poor performance then that his son may have his eyes on you then writes you a check for twenty-thousand dollars!? This isn't severance pay, what is this!?”

“I, what are-,” Sarah can only stammer as she backs away from Tabitha, trying to see a way past to the exit. Her mind fills with everything she isn't supposed to say. “He's helping me!”

“Why would he help you?”

“He- So that I won't end up homeless; I needed this job,” she almost doesn't realize the slap until there's a burning across her face.

“Because he's such a philanthropist? I've seen how familiar he is with you, why are you lying to me!? What are you hiding? Blackmail? Did you seduce him!?”

“I'm not hiding anything!” she says, pushing past Tabitha.

Sarah's head snaps back as Tabitha reached for her collar, clutching only hair. Sarah's body continues forward and Tabitha releases her grip. Sarah staggers through the doorway and falls sideways down the arched staircase. Tabitha freezes in horror as she watches this scared woman tumble down to the marble floor below and whose head lands against the railing with a single sonorous knell.

She rushes down after her, speechless, but there's so much blood so quickly. She can taste metal on the air. She didn't need to check for a pulse. In complete shock she walks up to her husband's office at the other end of the house to wait for him.

Several hours later, she hears someone pull into the car port below and her heart starts pounding. The house has been silent for hours. She can hear the driver's door open and close and she begins to sweat. Her husband's door opens, a brief pause, and then shuts. She can hear them talking loudly, laughing as they enter the cloak room. Her chest tightens and tears return to her eyes as she hears them open the side door and begin up the office stairs. She can't face them. She can't tell what she did. She flees to the sounds of ascending laughter.

“And I believe that will be all for today, my friend. Enjoy your evening,” Conrad says as he opens the door.

The driver takes leave as Conrad settles into his desk. He doesn't realize anything is wrong until his driver comes back completely pale saying they need to call the police.

He hands his driver the phone who dials 911 as a gunshot echoes through the house. Conrad dashes to the fireplace and grabs a poker. He springs out of the room and down the hall and stops dead in his tracks and dropping to his knees. The poker clatters down the staircase as he stumbles forward, moaning in terror as he draws nearer to Sarah's cold body. Kneeling in her dried blood, cradling her in his arms, there isn't a sound. All he can hear is a steady ringing. He notices a small trail of blood, gently sets her down and lurches forward through until he sees the body of his son laid out in the next room across a sofa, syringe hanging from his arm.

Everything is numb. His tinnitus is roaring, pulsing with silence with every pounding of his heart. The police arrive quickly. They find him in shock, ambling from room to room looking for his wife.

They would later tell him that Sam must've arrived home shortly after Sarah died. They would say it looked like someone had tracked blood into her room and pulled an at-home pregnancy test out of the trash. That he died of a heroin overdose. And they would tell him of how they found his wife in the den with a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head, still breathing.

And the doctors would later inform him that she would never wake up.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

My quote: "No man is rich enough to buy back his past."

Flash Rule: Duplication must play a role in your story.

Look, There Be Gold - 800 Words

"They are the ravings of a mad man," Uncle Jack shouted from the rooftops. Uncle Jack himself was a mad man, so we all figured he had some sort of prescience in situations like these. These situations were of a mundane sort, but as the Raggy Blue Enigma Bunch it was up to us to solve them. Well, it would have been up to us had we actually been up to the task, but we were not.

We were the successors to a long line of Raggy Blue Enigma Bunch sleuths. Everytime one of the bunch was cut down in the line of duty a new team was formed. It was always randomly selected and always perfectly matched up. We had been made for each other in the image of the great ones.

Now it had seemed that one of us had broken away from the tribe and in the words of Uncle Jack (no relation to us) he was a mad man. He must be brought in for decommissioning.

"Where should we look," Ben wondered aloud. Ben was our leader and planner and, more often than not, his plans always left one of us across a wall; chunks of our former living flesh splayed out in the universal sign of the R.B.E.B. It was actually sorta cartoonish, or at least that's what the focus groups said (they also said one of us should be black).

Now Ben looked utterly stumped. He might as well be Ronnie for all his usefulness. Wait a minute, now that I think about it: where was Ronnie? I hadn't seen her for hours. My gut told me that she'd probably found our target. I mean, everyone knows Ronnie's a gold digging whore and our target just happens to be the wealthiest duplicate to ever leave the program. Of course she would be where the money was.

"Hey Ben," I said, "Do we still have the tracer on Ronnie?"

"Yeah," Ben said. "Where is Ronnie anyway?"

#

"Look," Ronnie said to the older Bagger, "maybe, me and you could work some things out? I'm pretty and attractive. You're a rich Bagger. We can work some things out, I
think."

"No," I said.

I really wasn't interested in working anything out. Leastwise not with that whore Ronnie. As interesting as "some things" sounded it would be way too weird having my girlfriend cheat on myself with me.

"I'm actually disappointed in you, Ronnie." I said. "How quickly you've decided to trade up. It's a bit of a shame."

"It's not just your money," Ronnie said, "it's your freedom."

Of course, it would be my freedom. A whore is as turned on by freedom as she is with money and nice things.

Of course, I was not as enamored by my freedom as she seemed to think. In fact, I was more interested in the things she and all the others thought better left alone. A man with no past is a slave to the mistakes of his future. Once upon a time a man named Jack told me that, and then he was shot in the head by our friend. His eyeballs were used to make the Bs in R.B.E.B.

The plan was brilliant.

#

"So, look," Ben was saying,"my plan is brilliant. There's no way it can't work."

Ben often said that, and he was often wrong and the team was often disbanded after one of his failures. Of course, the plan was often mandated by some higher authority to involve a death and, when a higher authority demands, what is a lowly Ben to do?

I could see several glitches in the plan, but that was sort of my role. I was the coward. I was designed to find the flaws and I was designed to never point them out.

"Well, then," Ben was saying, "we should move."

#

"Haha, they're already here," I said to a now dead Ronnie. Even in death, she was radiant. It was always easiest to speak to a dead Ronnie, because then you could get a word in edgewise. I got a whole edge in. You could see where it made it's impression right there in her stomach. The hole was pretty big.

The Bunch had arrived and now I must make my grand entrance.

#

"Hello me," I said to me. "You killed Ronnie, I see."

"Yes," I said to me. "I did."

And then I dueled to the death. Ben's plan played out in the background.

#
As I lay dying, I knew then that I must hold her hand. I held her hand in mine, and death looked good on me. The eyeballs on the walls made the perfect Bs. Even while they watched me I was turned on by a particular sort of freedom.

Voliun
May 31, 2012


I need sleep badly. Gonna have to sit this one out.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

One hour to go.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

quote:

The well-bred contradict others. The wise contradict themselves

wordcount:1200

The Proposal

Lord Samuel, with the ring still burning a hole in his pocket, saw the Dowager’s feather catch fire as a waiter passed behind her with the Flaming Meringue a la Provence. He barely had time to say “Terribly sorry, Lady Alice,” before he flung a glass of Alsace Chardonnay over her sizzling accessory. Most arrived successfully, dowsing the flames. The Dowager sat, carved in teak, as the remaining 1936 vintage white dripped down her face.

“Young man,” she said while the Maitre d’ first patted her hair with a towel, then ineffectually waved it at the foul-smelling smoke. “I feel we should talk. Outside.”

“Certainly, Lady Alice,” said Samuel. Beneath the table Angela squeezed his hand in support. He stole a look in her direction as he rose from his seat and saw the concern on her face. He gave her a wan smile, nodded to the various family members in general and then took the Dowager’s arm as they left the restaurant, her sleeve like a handkerchief wrapped round a matchstick

Once the front door was shut behind them, the Dowager withdrew a cigarette from an engraved silver case. Samuel whipped out a lighter and ignited it with a flick. The Dowager bent, lit her cigarette, and then stood, drawing heavily upon the end. “I have never understood,” she said, exhaling loudly, “what on earth the Government was thinking when they made smoking illegal in eating establishments. Food, drink, tobacco - the simplest pleasures make life endurable. At my age, Samuel, making one’s remaining life endurable is only worthwhile pastime -- except, of course, for making one’s children’s unendurable.”

“I hope,” said Samuel with a chuckle, “that when I have reached so venerable an age as yours, I will not be too happy to delight in the misery of others, nor too unhappy to cause it.”

“Please don’t play the wit, Samuel. Your father was no good at it and neither are you. It’s rot anyway. When one reaches as ‘venerable’ an age as mine, one hopes only to expire, quietly and without scandal, in your own parlour so as not to put out the Maitre’d. That is the long and the short of it. But it’s cold out here and I do not wish to prolong this conversation to the brink of pneumonia. Tell me about your designs on my daughter - and bear in mind I’ve met too many fools to suffer them at all, gladly or otherwise.”

Samuel took stock of the old woman. Short, sharp-featured and dressed in black brocade as she had been for the last twenty years, she resembled a blackbird covered in fairy dust, but formidable none-the-less. Perhaps, he thought, he could blunt her edge with honesty, with the truth of his heart.

“Lady Alice, Angela is my soul. Truly a creature of the divine. Angelic, if such an unpardonably cliché comparison can be drawn. Worlds might collide before my love for her lessened one iota.” The Dowager snorted at that, but Samuel continued. “If anyone has the chance of keeping me happy beyond happiness, it is her. I was hoping, in fact...” Samuel took a deep breath and brought forth the ring box in his pocket. “... to make our relationship official. Tonight. With your permission, naturally.”

The Dowager exhaled a long stream of smoke into the cold night air, gazing at something unseen beyond the pools of light beneath the street lamps. Finally she spoke. “You’re not the first, you know.”

“She has mentioned her past,” said Samuel.

“Ha! It seems to me entirely unlikely that she has mentioned all of it.” She studied Samuel, taking in every detail of his face as she talked. “You heard about the Games Master at Chiltern House?”

“Yes. A childish crush, surely?”

“I’m sure his wife thought so. There were others. Did she tell you of the son of Lord Bosie?”

“I think his name came up.”

“He asked for her hand. Twice. Awfully peculiar looking man - a face like two cabbages that got in a fight. She told him to come back when his father’s gambling debts were paid off. So he did. He made his own fortune off his own bat, and she laughed in his face and said she’d rather marry a tadpole.” Samuel’s eyes widened at this blatant rudeness, and would have looked away but the Dowager’s gaze was horrifyingly magnetic. “Are you, perhaps, the tadpole she was thinking of?” she asked.

Samuel attempted to speak, but the Dowager shushed him. “I inquire only rhetorically. Then there was Roger, the newspaperman. Shocking amounts of hideously new money. Whisked her away to the Bahamas without so much as a thank you note. I’m sure the details are torrid, but all I know is that she came home alone, if being pregnant can be considered alone. We took care of it. Or was the Bahamas the banker?”

“I really don’t think...” sputtered Samuel.

“Neither does she - that’s the problem. The Junkie Musician was next. We were so proud! All that money on public schools and she ends up in a bedsit in Kent with a needle up her arm covered in her own sick. She wouldn’t have forgotten to tell you about that, would she? Or the Hepatitis?”

“The what?” said Samuel. “I’m sorry, the what?” repeated Samuel.

“Hep C I believe they are calling it these days. His parting gift. That and the HIV, but, to be fair, we can’t be sure that came from the musician. He wrote a song about her, you know. Lady BJ Backdoor. A fearful racket, absolutely fearful. I don’t pretend to understand the lyrics. We had to call in that guttersnipe Roger to keep it out of the papers. Expensive business.” She coughed twice, threw the cigarette in the gutter and proffered her arm. “And now we must go back in. We’ve denied them our company too long.”

Samuel took her arm, and one of the staff opened the door for them. As they made their way back, the Dowager tapped his hand and smiled sweetly at him. “And here you still are. Lord Samuel Shepperton of the Beaconsfield Sheppertons with your heart on your sleeve. Perhaps the hour of Angelic Redemption is nigh.” She beamed. “You may present your proposal. I give my permission.”

They arrived at their destination. Samuel assisted the Dowager into her seat and then took his own. Angela reached for his hand under the table, but found it curiously placed elsewhere.

“I believe Lord Samuel has a proposal he would like us to consider,” announced the Dowager to the family at large.

“Ah. Yes.” said Samuel. All eyes turned to him. He looked at Angela. He felt the ring box in his pocket. “I should, ah, like to propose that we ... that we adjourn to my club for cigars and port.”

By the time the bill was paid, coats retrieved and reproachful glances from ex-future-fiancées ignored, only the Dowager was still seated. Further investigation revealed she had quietly passed away, eyes open, sitting bolt upright, smiling. If the Maitre d’ was put out he did not show it in the slightest.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


MY WILDE QUOTE:
Moderation is a fatal thing; nothing succeeds like excess.

Helping Death -- 1172 goddamn words.

— My first death was a fortunate accident —
I saw a kid get beat to death in seventh grade.

One minute he was running down the hall screaming at us to get out of the way. Next minute some Special-Ed kid with a wrench beat the poo poo out of him. Blood went everywhere.

While teachers pulled them apart, the dying kid looked at me and his eyes faded from shock to… to nothing at all. Just like that.


— My second death showed me my path —

Senior year, me and some friends cut class and walked to the drugstore to get cokes and smokes. When a car screeched at the red light, I looked around in time to see an old bum arcing through the air, all coats and beard and long hair flying.

It felt like forever before he come down on the street. Hard.

The driver jumped out of his car and ran over to him. There was nothing he could do. The bum was coughing blood out onto the asphalt and trying to sit up. He had the look of a man kicked out of bed during a dream.

Me and other folks moved in closer. His eyes flicked through the crowd of rubberneckers and when he settled on me I couldn’t turn away. Time unwound and all I could do was stand there, staring back as his life slipped away from him. I smile at him, the way I think Jesus would’ve; a mixture of comfort and peace.

Somebody stepped in between us, and that moment was gone. He went ahead and died. Wasn’t nothing anybody could do to save him.

My friends headed on to the drug store but I stayed. I found a spot on the lawn of the baptist church and sat there for hours, while cars drove through the blood. Nobody cared. They just kept going their own ways, didn’t know how lucky they were.

I kept thinking about how I helped him into death. Felt like I done something good. And Death appreciated that.

I had a purpose in life.



Somewhere between the death of that bum and this train wreck, things changed. I changed. It wasn’t enough to watch a man die by accident. I knew Death was satisfied with my work, the way I helped people move on, but I worried.

If I didn’t keep Death satisfied, he’d come for me instead.



I took a job at the drugstore and kept an eye on our oldest customers. When they didn’t pick up their meds, I’d pay them a visit. Most times it was nothing; they just forgot. Or I’d get there, and they’d already died in their sleep.

But twice I got there in time to watch them die. I sat by their beds, and helped them let go.

That second time, I finished up and was slipping out the back door when headlights lit the driveway. The car rolled halfway down, and then turned off the engine. I stepped back into the house and stood still while my heart blew up my chest.

Somebody rang the bell and banged on the door. When I heard keys jingling into the lock, I ran out the back and escaped into the woods.



It was the next week when my boss, Mr. Johnson, figured me out. He saw the way I slipped out early to check on Mrs. Langdon.

She was 96 and her home was four blocks from our store. She’d drop off the scrips every Sunday after church. We’d fill ‘em, and she’d pick ‘em up the next day.

When she missed her pickup on Monday, I knew it was up to me to help her. I got off work and all but ran to her home.

I walked down her driveway to the back porch. Most old folks around here left their back doors unlocked. I could go in, help them die, and nobody on the street would interrupt us.

But Mrs. Langdon, she was on the porch on her rocker, watching the birds eat scraps of bread.

“See ‘em all out there?”

I jumped a little, didn’t know she’d seen me.

“You hear me boy?”

“Yes ma’am,” came out of my mouth before I knew I was saying it.

“Everyday they pick up my scraps. I bet If it wasn’t for me, they’d starve to death.” She clapped her hands and cackled.

“You think so?”

“Lord yes! They’d up and die. I’ve been feeding them for sixty years. Not these exact ones, but you know what I mean.”

She smiled at me and I said, “You ever seen one die? Or seen ‘em after they died?”

“No.” She said it in a way of wonder. “No, I never seen a single one of them die. That’s odd, ain’t it?”

Before I could answer, Mr. Johnson called out behind me.

“There you are, boy! What you doing here, bothering Missus Langdon?”

My pulse jolted through my veins. “Making sure she was alright, that’s all.”

Mrs. Langdon said, “Don’t beat him up, James, we were just talking!”

“Hmm.” He said at me. “Mrs. Langdon, I can bring you your meds by tomorrow if you’d like.”

“Don’t worry.” She said. “I’ll be by to pick them up. I just got sidetracked today is all.”

His bony hand settled on my shoulder. “Give you a ride home. boy?”

I climbed into his pickup and he said, “Lately, I notice that when our older customers died, you slipped out early the same day. That seem strange to you?” The flap of skin below his chin waggled with every word.

“I’m not saying you killed nobody, but I’m saying it’s a damned odd coincidence. A coincidence we can’t have at a drug store.”

I didn’t hear his words, he sounded so far away. All I could think of was Death getting closer, catching up to me.



Hidden in the woods, I heard the train whistle coming. The warning arm was down with lights blinking and bells ringing, but the train hit that truck just the same.

I found the conductor on the ground beside the engine. His face was a mess of blood and skin and his hands opened and closed at me while he snatched his last couple of breaths. I helped him let go.

Then in the first passenger car, I stepped over the dead, looking for ones who were still moving. I was able to help seven people into death. Not a one of them thanked me, they just groaned and had that surprised look on their face.

Once I heard the sirens, I slipped back into the woods. The ambulances and police arrived, picking apart the dead and the living. When they came back to the truck, it took them awhile, but they pulled out Mr. Johnson’s body. His snapped neck would look like the train done it.

In just one night, I’d put death far behind me.

Just like that.

---

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2013 around 04:23

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

quote:

The well-bred contridict others. The wise contradict themselves

Tsk.

Out of a Wildean desire to exalt the languid, you may have another hour to issue forth your verbal effluvium.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

And, fin. Kaishai and I will now put our impeccably bred heads together and determine your fate. Shame be upon those who did not submit. Shame.

toanoradian
May 30, 2011

The happiest waffligator


No reason is enough for my error. 1199 words.

Quotesman No More
In this moment, I am euphoric, Lawton repeated in his mind. He could hear the laughter of the audience even on the dressing room. He picked up his paper cup and drank air.
The wooden door opened and a buff woman, dressed in floral house dress, limped across the doorway. She sat down on a nearby chair and sighed. She looked at Lawton. “Not a good audience,” she said. “Apparently misquotes are enough to kill any jokes.”

Well, duh. Professional quotesmen, Lawton thought. He bit his thumb.

“What are you doing?” the woman asked.

“Hosting the award ceremony,” Lawton said.

“Anxious?”

“I feel so agitated, like a hamster in search of a wheel,” Lawton said. “Carrie Fisher.”

“Excuse me?”

“That was a quote. From Carrie Fisher’s autobiography,” Lawton said. He saw the woman staring at him, perhaps in disbelief, unlikely in awe. “Well, I am a quotesman. I mean, it’s not that incredible. You know some quotes. I mean, I know more, but that is only because it’s my job to know and make quotes.”

She stared.

“I’m Quotesman of the Year in 2008,” Lawton said, feeling his collar tightening.

She put her hands up. “Don’t ruin the make-up. Hell hath no fury like a make-up artist scorned. Calm down. Remember, concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety.”

“Jack Nicklaus,” Lawton said. Let the Congreve misquote go.

“Whatever,” she said. “Point is, don’t stress. Here’s a quote: When you’re on the stage, it gives you strength, it gives you some kind of control. You can do it.”

Lawton looked at her. He adored the faces of people who never realized they have misquoted somebody. They have no dull headaches. But the woman was right; he can do this. He had been on stage before. He had met most of the audience yesterday.

***

“By Han-Suyin, ‘there is nothing st-‘”

Lawton pressed the buzzer. “’There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.’ from A Many Splendored Thing.”

The crowd cheered as the judge put ‘5’ on his scoreboard. Lawton could see his rival, the Passaging Politician Bob Prescott, cringing.

The judge flipped a blue card from his set of multi-coloured decks. “Final question for this round, Quotesmen. Who says: ‘If ever there was a diamond in the rough, or good fruit enclosed in shabby husk, it was Abraham Lincoln.’?”

The crowd snapped silent and looked at Prescott, gritting his teeth. “The US Brigadier General…Keith?…” he mumbled, his bony hand just above the buzzer. He furrowed his brows. “Kane…”
Lawton pressed his buzzer. Prescott’s facial muscles all contracted, his neck popping with veins. “Keyes. Erasmus Keyes.”

Prescott banged his head on the table.

***

“Yes!” Lawton said. “In this moment, I am euphoric! Not because of any phony God’s bless-“

“Whoa, where does God come into this?” she asked.

“It was a quote I planned for the gig,” Lawton said. She didn’t know to never disturb a quotesman mid-quote. Don’t get angry, he thought. “Not because of any phony God’s blessing, but because, I am enlightened by my intelligence.”

She shrugged. “Okay.”

Another person opened the door and gestured to Lawton. It was finally his turn. She put her left fist up and said “good luck” to him. As he walked into the backstage, he could see the blinding lights and the silver podium.

Lawton entered the stage amidst applause. He had trained to stop scratching the back of his head or smiling randomly. He patted his tie.

“Welcome to Quotesmen Award of the Year.” The applause died down. “In the short years I’ve been a quotesman, nowhere have I been more awed, more impressed and more humbled than at Quotacon. In this event, we quotesmen, usually trapped between the bookshelves, have the chance to truly experience the beauty of Quotes. We played around with it yesterday, I won contests…“

In the audience, Prescott waved his fist.

“…there are galleries, speeches and gun duels. Today we award the worthy. In this moment, I am euphoric. Because of our intelligence, particularly of the four nominees.” Lawton opened the envelope on the podium.

Upon reading the first name, Aristotle’s ‘fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil’ quote blared in Lawton’s head. The words became fuzzy, his vision warped. In the end, it was useless. “Sophie Wickham, for her quote ‘Genius? Nay, merely a gene for ennui that breeds nuance.’”

There are other quotes from her and other quotesmen, but Lawton couldn’t care. His worst nightmare was coming. “The winner is Sophie Wickham.”

His lack of pause delayed the applause, but the rambunctious rumble appeared in the end. He glared at her, at her green-black gown, at her jewellery and her lips. Every step she took angered him more. Eventually she was few feet away from the podium. She waited for Lawton to give her a spot at the podium, but Lawton stood still.

“You don’t deserve this,” Lawton said. “That quote of yours is based on a typo.”

Stop that fake smile, Lawton thought. “Oscar Wilde. I have nothing to declare but my ‘genuis’.”

“So what?”

“Gene for ennui? You just stretched ‘genuis’! How is that creative at all?”

“True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision. “

“Don’t quote The Writing of Fiction at me! That’s not about making quotes. You just have enough learning to misquote. Lord Byron.”

Wickham backed down. The crowd looked at each other, baffled.

“Quotesman of the Year demand originality, Ms. Wickham. And you don’t have it. You snatched upon an easy mistake, abused it and then act as if it’s a gem! One writes in order to feel – Muriel Rukeyser – but the quotes you wrote are as cold and flat as graveyard stones. Elizabeth Browning.”

“This is ridiculous,” Wickham said. “Who are you to decide who deserves what?”

“I am responsible for my writings. And that typo in Wilde’s Oscar-isms is a disease, fear made manifest on my mind. Mary Eddy. Handing this award to you equals poisoning everyone in the world.”
Wickham stared at Lawton. “Misquote.”

“Excuse me?” The buzz of the dull headaches appeared.

“In the original quote from 1875 edition of Science and Health, disease is already ‘an experience of so-called mortal mind’. It is fear made manifest on the body, Mr. Lawton.”
As his name left her lips, his headaches sharpen.

“Don’t you have the – I believe this is Douglas Freeman from Lee’s biography – nobleness of self and mildness of character to let the past be but the past?”

“Shut up,” Lawton said. His headaches felt stronger, turning from white noise into loud pulses.

“Besides, ‘originality’ usually amounts only to plagiarizing something unfamiliar. Your typo is unfamiliar and, honestly, unbecoming of someone as quote-crazy as you.”

“Katharine Fullerton Gerould. I am not crazy,” Lawton said. His headaches felt like bullets; the loud metallic drumming echoed in his head.

“How long have your harboured this hatred, anyway? There is a stage in any misery when the victim begins to find it satisfying.”

“Storm Jameson. Wrong. Stop,” Lawton said. The headaches had invaded his head and he can smell burning. His tongue was bitter. His eyes saw vomit-green.

He vomited on the stage.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


sebmojo posted:

Also, when the judges take too long you tell them to WAKE THE gently caress UP

Sauce for the goose... How about it, cap?

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Erogenous Beef posted:

Sauce for the goose... How about it, cap?

Indeed. We're torn over which of you we hate the most. Results up in half an hour or so.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

THUNDERDOME JUDGMENT

Oscar is spasming louchely in his pauper's coffin at the offcuts and ragman's tat that you have chosen to embody his bon mots. However, the rules of the Dome are clear - one must stand triumphant, one must fall.

And in fact I lied, above: chosing the loser was straightforward. Although Mercedes made a potent beginner's luck play for the losertar with a raging black protagonist as sassy as she was embarrassingly cliche, it was OG fumblecluck JonasSalk who bought the failwagon round the front and left it there, engine running, while he leaned out the window and favoured the ladies with a gaptoothed grin and line after line of terrible incomprehensible pseudoprose. He has lost twice: speak with your if you think this should be recognised.

No, the hard choice was the winner. There were five that might have taken the crown and ascended the roughhewn steps to the judge throne. Let us consider them.

First: magnificent7. Yes, I know, loving hell. This was a drat solid piece, written with barely an ounce of fat, that only really stumbles in a clumsy ending and its failure to be comedy or tragedy. While this eliminates it from contention, future competitors should eye this one with respect - he has come far and may yet go further.

Sitting Here cracked her knuckles and rattled out a sleek, nasty piece that cut like a shard of blood-stained crystal. Again, though, no tragedy. Unless it's the inherent tragedy of the first world capitalist system that holds within it the seed of its own demise and by growing in heedless fervour only hastens its doom? No. That Marxist claptrap will not fly here, Here. Eliminated with honour.

Nubile Hillock conjured an absorbing monkey puzzle of a story that pulled in themes of memory, addiction, physics and voodoo - who knows what it meant, or means (tenses!). Perhaps if it had been clearer the essential tragedy or comedy or tragicomedy would have too. It wasn't, and it wasn't. Eliminated.

Fumblemouse was the only one to essay a Wildean tone and succeed. Though it started clumsily, the wit was barbed, the contradictions elegant, the ending perfectly turned.

Nikaer Drekin told an inventive and hilarious tale that was flawed in every particular except the most important one, namely having an art-powered superhero who talks like Hercule Poirot to quote my co-judge. That poo poo's gold from here to Marseilles, brother.

So neither were perfect, but they both had the good juice. And which is the victor? Fumblemouse by a hair.

Pick your co-judges from the ranks of the honoured and select your prompt.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 11:29

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm a loser.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Crits

Mercedes: Anger Management

This is way clichéd as Kaishai will tell you. That said, there are recognisably human characters doing stuff and you can tell what happens so it’s not the worst of the bunch. But tragedy is not just bad things happening. Have the tragedy stemming out of the character’s nature. And what’s with the computer? I don’t care about the computer. Stop telling me about it.

PotatoManJack: Starting Over at the End


Competent writing, I guess, but this is dreary plodding nonsense. Full of irrelevant exposition about stuff that does not matter, a central conflict that really isn't and characters I don't care about for all the drama that surrounds them. Also not tragedy and certainly not funny.

Schneider Heim: All That They Can Do


Kaishai thought this was WH40K fanfic; the main character is called Abnett and do you know Dan Abnett writes WH40K stories. BUSTED, ALSO DISQUALIFIED: ‘NO FANFIC’ CLAUSE. Though this last line is funny so I guess that makes it a comedy. “‘poo poo’ was Abnett’s as a biter slayed him.” I also liked 'Be on the lookout for chittering!'.

PoshAlligator: The Importance of Being Greg


Painful attempt at comedy that falls flatter than a pancake. In future if you're going to open with conversation set up the location first. Also, never use phrases like 'talking quickly and easily about all manner of things'. It's telling of the most egregious and nauseating sort.

Auraboks: What Could Possibly Go Wrong


I thought this had a nice consistent tone, hit the jolly galumphing rhythm that this kind of story needs. The viewpoint was muddled, and it felt a bit too in love with its own cutesy details, but not far off honourable mention.

Nubile Hillock: and such


This was a splendidly rich collage of images that didn't quite resolve into a story. I would love to see it expanded, as I think there's too much in there for the story to actually hold.

Sitting Here: Symbols and Maps


This is a beautifully crafted story that creates an absorbing tension between itself and the prompt quote. Lots of nice images, too. It falls down on the comedy/tragedy side, as I said, and also in the dialogue - the man and his muse talk a bit too much like each other. Which is always a risk when you're Wilding, obv. But still, very strong indeed. My pick for third.

Crabrock: Manual of a Dream


I liked this a lot more on my third reading, which suggests there are some structural problems with it - I think it's around three stories locked in a death struggle. There's the psychosexual horror, the regular Joe chasing his dreams, the agreeably wonky Twilight Zone yarn. The confusion means it doesn't work, for all that it is full of nice lines and observations.

Walamor: The Price of the Favored


Clumsily rendered heist yarn, horrible cardboard characters, Shadowrun style plot twist. I like the rote sci-fi immortality element a little, but not enough to dilute my genuine loathing for this story. You could have fixed it by writing better (delete every second adjective, only put it back if the sentence stops making sense) and having the focus more on the immortality as that’s the only vaguely interesting thing in the story. Also… I suppose you’d call it tragedy but the tropes you’re using are action yarn, so we know he’s going to get revenge. HENCE NOT TRAGEDY.


magnificent7: Helping Death


It's hard for me to overstate how much I like your first three lines in this piece, that kinda pointless italic stuff aside. They just come out, say their piece, step down. Wham. And the story keeps it up - consistent laconic tone, a faintly occult theme and well drawn characters. It's not comedy or tragedy, which scuppered it, along with the role of Death in the piece (I feel like he's personified but not a character, if that makes sense?) but put something in like this next time and you'll have no problem wiping that losertar.

Nikaer Drekin: Monsieur Musée and the Loss of the Lexicon (Or; The Benefits of In-House Security)

Okay this is good. It nails the prompt, is genuinely funny, has a great arc and some hilarious ideas and moments (including, crucially, the central revelation). Where it fails is that it takes the crappy genre fiction too far – I loved the digs at the Da Vinci Code (REKNOWNED CURATOR JACQUES SAUNIERE!) but lines like ‘He found himself caught in the rush of mystery, eyes drinking in the frame’s little world, divining what Vermeer meant to say as well as the unstated. It was like a hydrogen bomb igniting his very soul’ are less hilariously bad and more just regular bad. Still – well done.

Accretionist: The Last Maid


We are nearly 400 words into this story before we get any sense of where the characters are. I’m all for cutting out endless scene-setting lines, but this is bad. There’s actually a competent, (if absurdly melodramatic), story hiding in here but it’s scuppered by the wooliness of the beginning and lines like: “Tabitha freezes in horror as she watches this scared woman tumble down to the marble floor below and whose head lands against the railing with a single sonorous knell.” Viz: Horror is telling not showing, why describe the marble floor if she actually hits the railing, and a person falling to their death on a railing should probably not make a bonging sound. Because if they did it would be funny. Speaking of funny… the ballet of bonging, and cars, and guns, and heroin, and pregnancy tests (!) and the final “SHE…. (…) WOULD NEVER WAKE UP….” at the end is pretty funny. So if this was your goal then mission accomplished.

Jopoho: Incompetent


You get me on board with the little ‘competent… competent’ mantra at the beginning, it’s a great example of the telling detail deployed well. However nothing actually happens in your story. All the drama is happening elsewhere, which I guess is the point, but it doesn’t make it fun to read. I think you could have rescued it (lol) with the ending, but that plonky little line at the end sinks to the bottom of the deep end and stays there, emitting defeated bubbles. Especially as law breakin’ lifeguard doesn’t end up saving anyone, so it’s not even accurate.

JonasSalk: Look, There Be Gold


I liked the first line, for some reason, but learnt the error of my ways as this weird little excursion into misguided PoV swapping stumbled towards its end. I've read it four times and am still no wiser as to what it's about.

Fumblemouse: The Proposal


This has some problems, but manages to sail past them with the steely grace of the featured dowager. For example, it doesn't really need the first paragraph, the implicit period setting (seeking permission from the mother?) clashes with the explicit modern setting, and there are a bunch of little errors. But the dowager is a great character and basically carries it for you. And that ending is pinpoint.

toanoradian: Quotesman no more


Though out of the running because of lateness this is brilliantly odd, and the way you work the misspelling into the story almost magical. You also do a good job of making the very dialogue heavy piece work with fine attention to the various voices.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 11:32

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.

Where's our prompt, you jerk?

toanoradian
May 30, 2011

The happiest waffligator


Whoa, Chairchucker, give Fumblemouse a bit of time settling in into the throne, it's a bit painful for someone who hadn't been a Judge.

sebmojo posted:

toanoradian: Quotesman no more

Truth be told, the idea of a person winning a quote contest by making a quote based on a misspelled quote was already made before you make your Flash Rule. I kept mum to not hurt your feelings.

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.


That was fun! Even though I almost lost... Onwards!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Chairchucker posted:

Where's our prompt, you jerk?

toanoradian posted:

Whoa, Chairchucker, give Fumblemouse a bit of time settling in into the throne, it's a bit painful for someone who hadn't been a Judge.

He twitched a little when the Judgecrown's spikes went in.

quote:

Truth be told, the idea of a person winning a quote contest by making a quote based on a misspelled quote was already made before you make your Flash Rule. I kept mum to not hurt your feelings.

Pounds desk with a beefy fist, sending the photo of his family flying. Takes a deep breath, his face purpling: "toanoRADIANNNNNNNNNNN!

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



sebmojo posted:

So if this was your goal then mission accomplished.
My initial plan was affectionately dubbed 'The Megatragedy' (and was even worse).

Accretionist fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 12:56

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Thunderdome Round 35: A Child's Garden of WTF

I don't loving care what your story is really about. I don't give a poo poo about your narrative arc, or your conflict, or your lovingly crafted character moments. Sure, I entered the Thunderdome to carve those things into my soul via flensing tools wielded by its sadistic denizens, but now I'm in the chair, gently caress All That. All I really want to do is warp and distort the minds of the young.

So the only thing your story has to have is the embodiment of a Thought Experiment, Paradox or similar mind-loving construct. A real, previously-existing one, not some poo poo you thought up when you tried pot that one time at college and then forever after warned your church group about the dangers of Hard Drugs.

And when I say embodied, I mean it's part of the actual environment of the story, not just some fucker saying "You know, this reminds of a famous scientific conundrum blah blah I'm a complete tool". So Hiro J Protagonist is employed to work in the Chinese room, or is completely aggravated by being unable to outrun a tortoise, or something like this. The reader should be able to understand the nature of the paradox/Gedankenexperiment from the story without it being referred to directly.

DO NOT do a boring physics thing like The Monkey and the Hunter, where, SURPRISE!, poo poo falls at the same speed as other poo poo. You're not tied to those wikipedia lists, nor are all of them great examples.

And yes, it's ostensibly a children's story. But seeing as the purpose is to break young minds, I don't care if your virulent hatred of sprogs comes through in the slightest.

Max 1500 words - Confirmations close friday 11:59pm EST, Entries close 11:59pm Sunday EST.

Judges: Fumblemouse, Magnificent 7, and Bad Seafood

Stardust to the slaughter:

Schneider Heim
JonasSalk
Erogenous Beef
Symptomless Coma
Sitting Here
Accretionist
Chairchucker
sebmojo
Jeza
systran
asap-salafi
Walamor
toanoradian
Bachelard rear end
DoubleDonut
PotatoManJack Feebed before the first hurdle
Mercedes
Nubile Hillock
Nikaer Drekin
Blarg Blargety
Jonked
Kaishai

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Jun 22, 2013 around 05:04

Schneider Heim
Oct 17, 2012


sebmojo posted:

Kaishai thought this was WH40K fanfic; the main character is called Abnett and do you know Dan Abnett writes WH40K stories. BUSTED, ALSO DISQUALIFIED: ‘NO FANFIC’ CLAUSE. Though this last line is funny so I guess that makes it a comedy. “‘poo poo’ was Abnett’s as a biter slayed him.” I also liked 'Be on the lookout for chittering!'.

I wasn't hiding! Bugs and grunts and powered suits are generic enough, but I guess it really, really shows what kind of stuff I read.

Also I am not sure if you are being sarcastic in that last sentence, because I wrote that line entirely by accident, but I'll store it in the vaults!

I am in on the next prompt, by the way.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in.

sebmojo posted:

Crits

JonasSalk: Look, There Be Gold


I liked the first line, for some reason, but learnt the error of my ways as this weird little excursion into misguided PoV swapping stumbled towards its end. I've read it four times and am still no wiser as to what it's about.



The story is "about" a bunch of mystery gang knockoffs chasing down an older mystery gang knockoff. They are duplicates of an original stock of mystery gang knockoff. I wrote this is in a marijuana haze and neglected to edit out anything because I am a moron. But now I know that pot does not make me a better writer. Lesson learned!

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 13:16

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


In before my better judgement takes over.

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

Yes, in.

Yes.

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



In for what will be my fourth piece of fiction ever.

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.

Yeah OK I guess, and I'm glancing at the 'Thought Experiment' page and it looks just about vague enough to allow me to write whatever I please and then later justify it, outstanding.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Dans, avec la salle chinoise.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 13:47

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

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


Haven't touched writing in weeks. Shameful stuff, so I'm in.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

In.

asap-salafi
May 5, 2012

I wasn't driving down the wrong side of the street, smoking marijuana, waving my gun out the window.


In. I'm gonna force myself to write something

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.

Already got my idea, it's like, what if we're all actually plugged into a virtual reality in order to use us as batteries in some kind of power farm? Whoa.

Totes original. No one steal this idea OK.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


I'm in! Thanks for the feedback, Seb.

toanoradian
May 30, 2011

The happiest waffligator


I'm in! Are we only allowed to use one thought experiment/paradox? Can we combine them? Like what if the cat inside the possibly radioactive box is also falling and had a buttered toast butter side up strung around his back.

Fumblemouse posted:

DO NOT do a boring physics thing like The Monkey and the Hunter, where, SURPRISE!, poo poo falls at the same speed as other poo poo.

Wait, hang on...so even if the monkey drops down, the bullet still hits him

But then he couldn't help his infinite friends write that Shakespeare! But infinity minus one is still infinity

And then he couldn't tell the four monkeys stuck in the cage that climbing the fence is actually okay and their fear had been psychological programs all along

why is the monkey/bullet boring i learned parabolic movement through that

toanoradian fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 14:18

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

First: magnificent7. Yes, I know, loving hell. This was a drat solid piece, written with barely an ounce of fat, that only really stumbles in a clumsy ending and its failure to be comedy or tragedy. While this eliminates it from contention, future competitors should eye this one with respect - he has come far and may yet go further.

Crits

magnificent7: Helping Death


It's hard for me to overstate how much I like your first three lines in this piece, that kinda pointless italic stuff aside. They just come out, say their piece, step down. Wham. And the story keeps it up - consistent laconic tone, a faintly occult theme and well drawn characters. It's not comedy or tragedy, which scuppered it, along with the role of Death in the piece (I feel like he's personified but not a character, if that makes sense?) but put something in like this next time and you'll have no problem wiping that losertar.
Holy poo poo. Wow. Thanks for this.

What, you don't find crazy people killing people funny?

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

Thanks for the feedback. I don't really know how to change the structure to make it work better. I started with a rough outline of:

400 words about Joe and his problem
400 words about Joe getting an idea for a solution
400 words about Joe failing miserably

I mostly stuck to that, and added the neighbor stuff later when the story was too boring on its own. You're not the first person to tell me it was a little muddy, but i don't know what to do with it.

crabrock fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2013 around 14:35

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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.


I'm just gonna say this straight up because too many drat things I've read recently have missed Creative Writing 101: 3rd Person Past. That's this one:

"John went to the grocery story"

rather than

"John goes to the grocery store"
"I go to the grocery store"

or god forbid

"John will go to the grocery store."

3rd person past. It's a magical arrangement of tense that's

1) easy to write
2) invisible to the reader
3) allows for a broader view of the story
4) doesn't cut off the reader emotionally

Write in 3rd Person Past Tense. Simple, Continuous, Continuous Perfect whateverthefuckyouwant, so long as it's 3rd person past. Other arrangements totally work, you've just got to know exactly what you're doing. Italo Calvino gets away with 2nd person present because he's a loving master. You're not. Suck it up and do things the normal way.

In that vein, don't use passive voice. Again, it can be used well but you have to know exactly what you're doing and the majority of you don't. Passive voice is writing

"some milk was got by John"

rather than

"John got some milk"

and generally speaking it's completely lifeless and horrible to read. A book that Rhino and I won't name has a wonderful line like "As of now, the criminal is being punched in the face by the Chinaman," which is a combination of every lovely mistake that beginning writers make. If you're not sure what's wrong with it, read it aloud. It sounds like a boring news report or a textbook or some poo poo. Compare it to "The Chinaman punched the criminal in the face,": half as long, twice as interesting, though I don't think anything can save it from "Chinaman".

I'm not mad, just don't do it again.

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