Three shalt be the number of judges, and the number of judges shall be three.
I've taken a break due to holidays and other projects but intend to jump back into Thunderdome cannonball style and finally put a win under my belt.
|# ¿ Jan 10, 2013 00:17|
|# ¿ Jun 25, 2019 23:49|
Flash rule: Has to begin and end with the same word
|# ¿ Jan 10, 2013 01:02|
Palindromes can go to hell. Also my first poem in years so I kept the rhyme scheme simple.
The Fish on the Shore - 407 words
Just as the minnow swims wide-eyed and free,
But knows no meaning of the wide open sea,
So goes the sailor before each morning's glow,
To find his own meaning between each row,
And on the distant shore a family arrives,
To build monuments which live the shortest of lives.
The sailor casts his line and waits for a fish,
And the minnow encounters a savory dish,
The parents lay tanning under a distant flame,
That ancient candle burning long without name,
One scene among many; countless in time's span,
But only questioned by that which we call man.
The minnow is hooked but it does not understand,
Any more than the family who ponder the sand,
The sailor smiles and brings in his next meal,
And the sun jumps another notch on the wheel.
Flopping and choking the minnow waits to die,
Catching its first glimpse of a wide open sky.
A gust of wind casts waves on the shore,
And the children go diving with a scream and a roar,
The boat in its whistling path bobs to and fro,
And the minnow flops into depths below,
Free of the hook and gasping for water,
No more aware of how it avoided all slaughter.
The sailor grumbles and curses his lousy luck,
Thinking he was better at hunting quail and duck,
The children swim and play in the cool water,
And the parents call out to their son and their daughter,
As the sun burns low with an orange glow in the distance,
An hour's chime from the grandfather of existence.
As night sets in and eyelids close,
Hooked by exhaustion in its final throes,
The sailor and the family lie quiet to dream,
Submitting themselves to the void's regime,
And while water reminds us where we're from,
Sleeping lays bare what waits when we succumb.
And in their sleep the children dream,
Of a dying minnow who cannot scream,
And a sailor smiling at a hook of gore,
Under a cloudless sky far from shore,
They wake in sweat and mutter a prayer,
Free of the dream and gasping for air.
Name now one man,
Who understands fate yet ran,
More than the sailor fishing for gold,
Or the minnow evading since times of old.
Just as they are gifted meaning by the sea,
So to does the void gift meaning to thee.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Jan 14, 2013 around 05:10
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2013 04:51|
Good prompt, I'm definitely in.
Still owe twinkle cave a critique on his poem. That's coming tonight for sure.
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2013 18:03|
WEEK XXIII crit - Canadian Surf Club
Glad you liked the line, I thought it would fall flat. I have to say though, there was a palindrome in the poem and it wasn't really about a fisherman, so I question the closeness of your reading. I agree about the rhyming and beats, it could use some sharpening up, but I sacrificed clever rhyme scheme to focus on drawing the extended metaphor more. Either way, I'm glad I won't have to do poetry again soon.
This will be less of a critique, because I'm sure you got a better handle on this style than I do, and more what I thought was good and bad and what my thoughts/interests were. Make of it what you will.
Sets the scene and puts up front all the sorts of conflict found in the poem. At the scene because we're like a detective deciphering the landscape detailed. I probably would have used a different word than forevermore though.
But once Bernanke worked there,
Effective stanza, you get the lowlife/deadend sense and I had the chlorine smell in my mind when I read this.
Where station wagon’s trolled the super lots
Had to think about that last line for a moment and got the sort of cheeky retro exploitation you find in old casinos and motels down south.
Envision Pedro’s asiatic stereo-caricature
Everything is fake and full of distance and there's really no escape
The coarse enunciation of racial slights
I get the 50ish time period you're referencing back to but not entirely sure on the 'unpacking excessive compression'. Those are rather technical terms, maybe there's a better way to image it.
Above Virginia there is gene mutation from richy
I really got that modernist/contemporary poetry style with this stanza. It referring the following passage and the usage of the forward flash and dashes are something I've seen more in recent poetry. It's neat but don't know if I entirely agree with the use of the forward slash just because the words you're using here and kind of redundant, there's nothing changed or nothing new expressed by the substituting overlap with cancellation or vice-versa.
“I-95 is an accelerated axis of mutation polarized with opposing filthy indulgences”,
Well that puts it bluntly. Stripmall stripperclub is a nice little connection expression.
In my room are
I can relate with the thin walls and carpet imagery and enjoyed how you put it; "mutually assured horror of counter-opponent's addle". Been there.
Out the window, past skin peel curtains,
skin peel curtains is really evocative. I can't even begin to imagine where rompleshit comes from. Also thought the "cause no attractive woman..." line was one of the strongest ones of the poem.
Me, deep now, beyond raising, plumed in Pedro’s musky crotch
Some scat level stuff, I just hope you're not referencing the snuke.
Half-life. What bullshit. What an rear end in a top hat.
No war but generation war. 43nd, downard typos? I think he might be right. I'll also have to remember shitteration.
I hear the trees boughing and black, down
See, I was initially skeptical of the whole shape thing because it seems pretty gimmicky, a way to break out of the line-by-line mold with something, but I got what it was right away and the shape might have helped with that. It's also not excessive with its shape so as much as I want to condemn it, it shall pass.
And I’ve seen the eyes of gently caress buckets
The strongest stanza I think. We finally get something about this I you keep bringing up.
Gasolining the room brings to mind that first beaterbox
Maybe there's hope in fixing things up, getting them going on nothing but spit and ingenuity, and maybe there's good things to be found here but god drat it everything's all on fire already welp.
Suicides crouch in a dark corner festering
I'm a sucker for homophones so everything else in this stanza is second to the last line.
Life meant nothing;
Think you could have gone without this.
Leaving behind only rear end in a top hat’s tainted radiation pellet,
More radiation terminology which plays into the whole theme of slow decay and degradation. Also like the zero but never zilch bit.
Organism vapid and dispersed beneath
So overall you have something that touches on lowlifes, degradation, a land settled and left behind too quickly, the corner of the world where dust people settle to be swept away. But also purification, maybe redemption, your narrator is obviously not of sound mind and is simply observing everything around him in reflection of himself and by at least the beginning of the poem he's come to be disgusted with it. Palahniuk mixed with some McCarthy. But you know, I've been here, I know this cast, and I've seen how these things are and what they say. A good contemporary poem with some solid imagery and interesting lines, but cast in a familiar mold.
|# ¿ Jan 17, 2013 04:20|
Do you really think reading this piece of poo poo any closer is going to make it less of turd? No, I don't think so. Suck it surf club.
No, but for something so poo poo simple you failed to grasp basics concepts and the best critique you could offer was "don't rhyme" (wow, thanks!) before meandering off into your own bullshit and beating your chest so the other gorillas know you're Hard Stuff. It's a waste of time to work on something and post it if all you get is empty first glance shitposting in response.
This is for future reference.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2013 around 15:55
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2013 15:52|
Ashamed I missed this one because I had a decent idea I thought I could build on. Ended up being away all weekend so didn't get any time to work on it. Going to read all these entries though because I'm interested to see where people took it.
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2013 20:11|
Since you think my crits are worthless, why don't you see if your mom will let you crit some instead of just "reading". (your crit of mine was pretty good, but until you've felt the pain of THUNDERCRITING a big lot then you have no legs to stand on)
I'll take that for now and see you in the next go around. If your past Thunderbrawl efforts are any indication then I have little to fear.
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2013 22:00|
|# ¿ Jan 22, 2013 17:25|
Authorial Intent - 1499 words
On the inside cover of Boston Blood was Davis T. Werner's old signature, printed with the t not quite crossed and the e's not quite looped, little imperfections shipped with the millions of copies sold worldwide. Will shook his head and chuckled at the sight and added his signature beneath, making sure it was neat and legible; William F. Duncan.
"Thank-you, thank-you, you do such a wonderful job." Said the plump woman standing before him.
"Davis was a close friend, it's been my pleasure." He closed the book and handed it back as he rubbed the joints on his signing hand. The woman scampered out of the way and the next person approached.
"Big fan." The man said as he handed his copy over. "Your writing works so seamlessly with Werner's own."
"The less I'm noticed, the better." Will said as he opened the cover. As his eyes flitted down the page a lump caught in his throat and the pen froze in his hand. The words 'I KNOW ABOUT' were written neatly next to the old signature in red ink.
Will handed the book back. "I'm afraid your copy's been vandalized, signing it won't do much good."
"Oh please, I insist." The man slid the book back across the table.
Will flipped the lid open and scribbled a series of loops and squiggles before slapping the cover shut. "Thank-you, good day."
The man quietly left the line but not Will's mind. Another thirty people came and went but he hardly noticed any of them, their comments provoking only a few grumbled words and each signature performed by muscle memory alone.
Outside Will tightened his tartan scarf, the one he wore for all his events and promo shots, and corrected his gold rimmed glasses before crossing to the parking lot. He had a spring to his step, thankful that no one had hung around to pester him with questions or ask about future projects, but that subsided as he drew closer to his car. A lone figure stood nearby, just outside the glow of the streetlights, the end of his cigarette burning bright in the shadows as he took another pull and flicked it away. Will came to his car door and fumbled with his keys, his hands shaking as he searched for the right one.
"Mr. Duncan." The figure called, now starting his approach.
He found the key and unlocked the car, sliding into the driver's seat and reaching to close the door behind him but by then it was already too late. The man was leaning on the window frame, bent over and peering in. He was young-looking, maybe late twenties, with brown hair combed to the side and thick rimmed reading glasses that sat above a five o'clock shadow and teeth that needed flossing.
"I thought we could talk."
"Who are you?"
The man extended a hand inside. "Steven Morgan, journalist."
Will didn't return the gesture, instead snapping back. "For who?"
"No one, right now."
"You have to go through my agent for interviews."
"It's about Davis, I thought we could chat."
Will's grip on the wheel and door handle went white and it took some tongue biting to keep them from swinging. "You got some nerve bringing up his name around me."
"Doesn't seem to bother when you use it though."
Will felt like he could have yanked the door shut and driven off right there and then, maybe even dragging the fucker down the road by his coat sleeve for good measure, but a fire building under foot was better put out before it spread. "Get in then."
Steven complied and they set out for the highway, not speaking for the first few minutes, Will waiting for his passenger to make a move.
"So Boston Blood hit best-seller lists yesterday." The journalist finally said. "That's what, Davis' fifth? Sixth posthumous work."
"Man was a genius, writer of our time."
"With a little help from you of course."
Will gave him a sideways glance. "I add in scenes and do some edits, Davis had them outlined years ago."
"Must be quite a few of them. Tell me, is there a box in his house marked Bestsellers? Magna Opera?"
"Mystery thrillers are always in."
Steven smiled but didn't say anything else. They drove outside the city and in another few minutes came to a two story house in the suburbs with a semi-circle driveway and greco-roman columns decorating the front porch.
"Is Margaret around?" Steven asked.
"No, she's away." Will said, gritting his teeth over his passenger even knowing the name.
They entered the foyer and Will led him up to his study on the second floor. He put on a fire and they sat opposite each other.
"So, how did Davis Werner die?" Steven asked.
"Fell, while mountain climbing in Tibet, but you know that."
"Maybe. And he left his estate to you?"
Will frowned. "No, to his wife, Margaret."
Steven's palms went up. "But here you are, living in his home."
"I'm ensuring his legacy, I have no shame about it."
"You married his wife."
Will shrugged. "Grieving brings people together, I knew Margaret well before his death and we've always been friends."
"But more than that now."
A rush of heat ran over Will's head. "Did you come here to insult me?"
"Well I was brought here actually. Maybe there's something you'd like to tell me?"
"I'm sure you have it figured out."
"We'll see." Steven reached inside his jacket and pulled out an envelope full of papers. "What's weird is, I can't find much mention of you from Mr. Werner's past interviews. And the only books you've written are highly suspected of being ghost-written by Davis himself."
"That isn't a crime."
"No, but he gave you your career, and I suppose you're just paying him back now, is that it?"
Will closed his eyes and shook his head.
"A week before his death, there was a domestic disturbance call to this house. Margaret reported that Davis had gone insane."
Will steepled his fingers.
"And I have records that show Davis' last booking was to Northern Italy, not Tibet."
"Did Davis ever make it to Italy, William?"
"Or did you murder him?"
Will relented a long, deep sigh then stood and leaned on his fireplace mantel.
"I can understand a crime of passion William, maybe to cover up an affair? But I think you owe him, and everybody, the truth."
Will rubbed his forehead and smiled. "The mafia is still an issue in Italy, and there are companies there that aid police in witness protection." He unbuttoned his jacket and tossed it on the chair. "They hide people in a very unique manner, a manner that with a little camouflage." He pulled off his scarf and glasses, tossing them to the fire. "Can aid in creating something else entirely." He gripped the base of his neck and pulled, the skin ripping and peeling away, his whole face coming loose until even the scalp and hair went with it. Will tossed that to the fire too and turned back. "At a certain point, no matter what you write, it doesn't get through, doesn't ignite interest the way you used to."
Steven had sunk into his chair but tried to keep his composure. "Stephen King syndrome."
Will waved a hand. "Right, unless something drastic occurs, something that reignites the popular interest." He seated himself again. "And that's why I made William."
Steven ran a hand through his hair. "But..Davis, how long can you play this? Six is pushing it."
"Boston Blood was the last, I'm through, the arthritis is too much."
Steve sat up quick. "Well, that's perfect. Let me do this story, you get your catharsis, I get my scoop."
Will wiped the sweat from his cheeks and brow. "No, no that would not do. I have Margaret to consider."
"But I need this, I've been out of the job for months, I need that one big thing to get me back in with a magazine, a newspaper, anything." Steven was on the edge of his seat, ready to be on his knees at a moment's notice.
Will nodded. "You seem inquisitive, an eye for detail, and you have experience in writing do you not?"
"Yes." Steven said, trailing off as he tried to anticipate what the old man was thinking.
"Then, how would you like a job?"
The bookstore was bustling again, with people packed into the entrance and a line forming out the door and around the corner. A staff member opened the inner doors and ushered the first person towards the table. There she handed over her copy of The Killing Season to be signed.
"It was amazing, I can't wait to see what you do next."
The young author smiled and opened the book. "I can't wait either."
On the empty inside cover he signed his name with a flourish; Davis Werner Jr.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2013 around 00:26
|# ¿ Jan 28, 2013 00:23|
These sound fine but I'd take issue with the second point. Anybody should be able to win the contest they enter. A rule like that would probably work towards discouraging new entrees who just want to test the waters and see how they stack up, and not have to worry about looking like a genius in the next round, or who may simply not have the time to commit to back to back rounds.
I feel like the pair judging was a good system but understand that it can lapse due to no shows. Maybe a combo system wherein people who are okay with critiquing (because we seem to have a few) can pull double duty on top of critiques we'd get from judges. There should of course always be at least a few critiques of maybe just the top (what they really liked) or bottom (what could be improved/worked upon) stories from the judges of that week.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2013 around 21:40
|# ¿ Jan 28, 2013 17:48|
Thunderdome is a honeypot and we are but its bees
|# ¿ Jan 29, 2013 21:44|
Maybe it's time for a Thunderdome IRC? That could actually solve some problems re: judge collaboration, communal critiquing, etc.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Feb 2, 2013 around 18:55
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2013 18:47|
|# ¿ Feb 4, 2013 07:01|
Deadlines? We don't need no stinking deadlines. What kind of wretched time zone is GMT +8 anyway.
Encounter - 1000 words
Miao found the assassin on the mountain's plateau, overlooking a valley of cloud and peaks of cypress. The years had not been kind, robbing him of his hair color, the fat under his skin, and scratching deep ravines across his face. He had taken up pottery in the years since they had last met and was surrounded by shelves of white porcelain stenciled with scenes in blue.
“I spotted you on the pass and made some tea.” The assassin said.
Miao was given a cushion and a warm cup and they sat together at a low table. The young watched the old as he finished a design, cutting in detail and slicing away the excess with an obsidian knife.
“You may recognize this.” The assassin said and he handed the plate over for Miao to inspect. From the center a story spiraled out, depicting a payment, a long search, and eventually a murder. Miao's hands trembled and he tossed the plate out over the plateau's edge, the two of them watching it sail and disappear into the clouds.
“It was only a matter of time then.”
The assassin took a sip of tea and then was over the table, planting a hand and vaulting into a Striking Scorpion. Miao pushed himself up and swiped the backwards heel aside. His open palm met the assassin's exposed rear, sending his opponent spinning back across the table. He followed by jumping off the table's edge, rising high into a Hunting Falcon. The assassin stuck his landing and slid back towards his shelves just in time to catch Miao's downward kick, using the momentum against him to throw him into the stacks of porcelain. The shards slashed a thousand tiny cuts across Miao's skin but he scrambled to his feet and returned with a Leaping Panther. The assassin was slow this time and took a blow to chest and chin before spinning and striking with his heel again. Miao, concerned with blocking the obvious attack, did not see the closed fist that followed, the wrinkled right hand coming all the way around just as he dropped his defense and shattering his cheekbone. The side of Miao's face drooped and he stepped back to create some space but the old man was on him again, this time with a Pecking Crane. It was an old technique, a forward double jab that every apprentice learned to counter and he reflected it easily but had no follow up, allowing the assassin to go low and sweep his legs. Miao leapt, but that's what his opponent wanted, and without any time to counter, he was grabbed midair and thrown flat to the ground in submission.
Miao sipped his tea.
“Your master taught you poorly.” The assassin said and smiled.
The insult could not be allowed. Miao flipped his end of the table and channeling his inner strength stepped forward, sending a straight fist through the center of the wooden panel. The entire block shattered into a million splinters and the punch resonated an audible crack from deep within his opponent. Pressing through, the cloud of debris obscured his vision just long enough for him to lose the old man, who tumbled backwards then crouched into a Patient Frog. Miao plucked the obsidian dagger from the air as it tumbled downward and sent it flying towards the assassin, who easily deflected it into a plate behind him. The Patient Frog pounced, Miao flipping back and staying low to avoid the two open palm strikes coming from either side. With a quick spin on the ground, he kicked upwards and caught his opponent in the chest again and sent him careening overhead, but before the old man could tumble, Miao rolled with him and snatched his ankle, flipping him back the way he came and smashing him into rocky surface.
The assassin quirked a brow. “An abnormality, I assure you.”
He threw the steaming tea towards Miao's face, then sent cup and saucer and dagger flying after it.
Miao knew many of the martial arts but little could prepare you from the coward's way. Quick cover from his sleeve absorbed the tea but the dagger flew true, slicing through the garment and drawing blood across his cheek. He tumbled backwards and saw the assassin coming on. He tumbled again and again, avoiding each swipe and kick sent his way and the two of them inched closer to the plateau's edge. Miao snatched a handful of loose gravel and tossed it into his opponent's eyes, blinding the assassin who stumbled back as Miao slid into a Fighting Monkey. Jabbing upwards with the base of his palm, the old man caught it without looking and twisted, snapping bones all the way up his arm. Miao screamed but did not relent, spinning his mangled arm back and opening the body's center. With his free hand he chopped at the base of the throat, cracking the collarbone and damming the blood in the jugular vein. The assassin flew into a fury, releasing the twisted arm but following with an endless number of punches across his body. Miao deflected them with his good hand, the blows quick but predictable, fueled by rage. He stopped one low, then high, then straight on, then to the side, a knee towards his thigh, then another one high. He saw an opening and took it, turning to avoid another straight and uppercutting into the exposed armpit. The shoulder popped and the collarbone pierced the skin, a lettuce work of nerves curling out and blood gushing over the assassin's clothes. A quick spin and planting of the foot at his heel and Miao flipped the old man around, one last kick sending him hurtling over the plateau's edge and disappearing into the clouds below.
The assassin finished his tea. “Then it is inevitable, your master is avenged.”
Miao watched as the old man grabbed the obsidian dagger and slit his own throat. A wind blew over the plateau.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 18:40
|# ¿ Feb 10, 2013 18:33|
In for this
|# ¿ Mar 13, 2013 17:43|
Thomas Patt - 859 words
"You've been so strong Samantha," The mayor's wife said as they clenched hands. "If you ever need anything, just call."
Samantha gave a sombre thank you as George slid in, tears in his eyes.
"Thomas Patt was a good man, his loss hurts this town deeply. I'm terribly sorry."
Samantha nodded and the couple stood smiling politely, waiting for her to say something more. When nothing came, George squatted to look her son in the eye.
"You're the man of the house now Jim, go easy on mum okay?"
Jimmy hid his face against his mother's skirt. She held it there, stroking his short brown hair with her thumb, as George and his wife moved down the line. She didn't doubt a word they said. The whole town had come out to see Thomas Patt packed away, the line in the funeral home parlor winding its way out the door and around the corner, if what people said was true. Samantha hadn't been outside in two hours, hadn't moved from her spot next to her husband's closed casket except to use the washroom once. She hadn't spoken more than three words to anyone, already dry of tears and allowing others their time to grieve. Jimmy was quiet and shy but was always like that and Samantha couldn't tell whether he really knew what was happening or not.
The sheriff rose from prayer next and walked over with his head down and hat gripped tight. "Sorry for your loss, I want you to know we're on this and have some good leads."
"It means a lot Ernest, thank you." She said.
"I don't know if he ever told you," His eyes searched the corners of the ceiling for words. "But he helped me in my time of need and I intend to repay him."
"Ow!" Samantha's hand recoiled as Jimmy called out and she looked down to see him rubbing the side of his head, eyes and teeth clenched against pain. When she looked back up the sheriff had moved on, talking softly with Thomas' mother in the next chair.
She wasn't sure how much more she could take, this feeling of being used, propped up to soak in the town's backwash of grief and guilt. She was tired of looking from face to face, trying to find the masks among the meek, and finding too many confident in their grief, too sure of who Thomas Patt was and why he was in a box.
Even Father Abe, who knew more than most, came in his nicest plain clothes and looked her in the eye and said, "Know that Thomas always loved you."
The procession didn't stop. The farmers' co-op came next, led by Lenny in his blue suspenders whose embrace Samantha melted away from at the last second. He looked hurt but nodded and gave his condolences before moving on. The fishers' union all passed through as well as the teacher's assembly and every lawyer from Thomas' graduating class. All to see away a man they only knew through courtesy, business, and small deceptions. It was another three hours before the place was empty, all having paid their respects and passed on through, leaving Samantha with her son on the funeral home porch. No one stayed to chat, to see them home or buy them a meal. When it came to them, they were always just passing through.
At home she told Jimmy to run upstairs and pack the rest of his things. All the important boxes were in the station wagon already and she surveyed the house for any more loose ends. She threw out all the old pictures from the mantel and all her heavy make-up which had hidden so many wounds. She emptied the liquor cabinent and took the bottles out into the field behind the house. There she lined them all up on soap boxes and took out her pistol and shot each one.
She said those names and others with each shot and broken bottle. She buried the shards and the rest of her bullets among the rum soaked weeds, the smell choking her like it did when she stooped low to hear Thomas' final words. Back in the house, she wiped the pistol with a cloth and set it in a tin box which she tossed into the basement furnace, nudging it far into the corner with an iron poker until it was hidden among the ash. She made a light supper of chicken noodle soup which Jimmy always loved and after she left their dishes in the sink and took all his things out to the car. She got him buckled up in front and gave him a book to read before getting in behind the wheel and leaning forward to take one look at the whole house through the windshield.
"Where are we going?" Jimmy asked.
"No, away from that too."
It was just past dusk when the station wagon glided out of town. Everyone was huddled around their television sets to hear the evening news and no one saw them go. The investigation continues, said the anchorman, no suspect known.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Mar 18, 2013 around 07:52
|# ¿ Mar 18, 2013 06:17|
Thanks for the critique. I've generally tried to use commas sparingly but you highlighted some good instances where I could start using them again. Also noticed how you phrased a few things better and I'll try to work on that in future entries.
|# ¿ Mar 24, 2013 17:47|
In with Captain Tory
|# ¿ Apr 2, 2013 20:52|
OK it is on CSC. Better not steal my Mythbuster/Pirate fanfic idea.
And also this picture
You guys can try, but it won't stack up to my 900 word "schooner is alive and magic and the boy's best friend" rollercoaster.
|# ¿ Apr 4, 2013 06:06|
A Thunderdome eh? Two men enter one man. Leaves.
You're off to a promising grammatical start.
|# ¿ Apr 5, 2013 01:47|
Tried to make friends with the comma again and tighten up my sentence length. Echoing what others said about this prompt, it was great.
The Old Sadogue - 849 words (including title). Based on Captain Tory
"Where he goes, the fish follow in his wake."
Everyone in the outport knew those words from the story of the Old Sadogue. He was fat like a walrus and had tusks like them too, hidden beneath a great white beard that put every other beard to shame. He sailed in a dingy (before the mayor of St.John's gave him a schooner so he could travel faster, but that wasn't written) along the coast and stopped in each harbor only a few days, drinking with the sailors, settling disputes, and telling tall tales of the far white north.
I looked up from the book of black leather and yellow paper and asked if the thing about the tusks was true. Da' said the story had a way of shape-shifting as it went from mouth to ear, but if it was written on the page it was the truth. I was only eight then, and I believed him.
We were sitting on a wet beach just after dusk, the cold wind coming in off the shore and following the river inland. We sat just around the bend from the outport and I could see its glow over the hill, silhouettes of the tall, empty trees winding like cracks in the sky.
"You think he'll come?" I asked.
"We're in need."
"We needed last year too."
"Not as much."
And I believed him. Da' once said he planted me in mum when the Old Sadogue last passed through, because he knew the fishing would be good for that season and the next. When families could eat, families grew, and there were lots of boys and girls my age around the outport. But for the last three seasons the boats were coming back hollow and the sailors grew more sour by the month. By the time the leaves turned and the ice collected in the harbor that year, they had spent more time in the pub than at sea, drowning in something other than the waves. Every kid knew the Old Sadogue would return and our eagerness to see him never faded, even as we starved. Little Eld McCoy once told us he didn't exist, and was just a big dumb secret all the adults were in on. A group of us pushed him in the river and ran home, laughing all the way.
Da' was breaking down old lobster traps with his bare hands. He snapped the thin planks of wood over his knee and tossed them into a fire he lit with his lamp. He said the Old Sadogue would come in on a bout of fog, but when I squinted past the flame out on the ocean I could see the night horizon and every bright star in the sky. The fire grew tall as he built it up until it was our beacon on the shore.
Da' wiped his hands and came around the fire to me. "You hungry?" It was the first thing he asked me all night. When I nodded he smiled and said, "Not for long."
He gave me his salt crusted pea coat to brace against the cold and took the black leather book. He flipped through, mumbling as his finger traced lines back and forth across the pages. When finished he handed the book back and lifted his lantern from the sand. He walked down to the tide line with his pants rolled up to his knees and stood out there with the water lapping over his bare feet. He swung his lantern three times, the reflection like a wisp of ghost light rippling and dancing around him, bathing him in yellow glow.
We waited and the fire whipped with the wind, burning bright but slowly subsiding to the blowing cold. I watched Da' just standing in the water, looking out on the water, until the fire was nothing more than a scab in the sand. I could tell by now he was shivering and soon enough he came plodding back up the beach. He was grumbling all the words he saved for the sailors and the bottles, the ones I wasn't allowed to say.
He kicked sand over the humble embers that remained and swiped the book from my hands, gripping it between his finger and thumb. It was the same way he held any small cod or crab before tossing it back into the sea and I saw him look back out over the water, judging the distance. I wanted to say something to cheer him up, but knew better than to say anything at all when he was like that, and instead buried my face in his coat sleeves. I listened for the distant plunk but instead heard only a deep sigh, the kind that could have filled any sail. When I looked up Da' was looking down at me, his face fully of worry in the lantern light.
"Lets head in." He said, the book stowed under his belt.
"Not this season?" My stomach groaned like it knew.
"Next season." He said. And I believed him.
|# ¿ Apr 7, 2013 18:47|
I was going to choose this story because it has very symbolic meaning to me. It was the loser of the week I was In but didn't submit a piece and was branded with the Thunderdome Badge of Shame/Advertising.
So if the gods speak our favor I'd challenge you to a Revision Duel, the greatest contest known to English Majors. Normal prize for the winner, but if I lose then I submit myself to further shaming and humiliation.
It is the only way.
|# ¿ Apr 9, 2013 05:14|
Hope the rewrite didn't have to keep to the original prompt, had this idea and ran with it. Even kept his structure because it was quaint.
BASED ON: JonasSalk's The End - LOSER entry
Original Word Count: 740 words
REWRITE: The End of Us - 715 words
I threw my shoulder into the door and found myself in the kitchen. The lights were dim and everything was stainless steel and white ceramic but otherwise empty. There were slabs of meat laid out on the counters before various cutting tools and a few pieces still sat sizzling in pans nearby. I turned away and tried to forget the smell as I made my way for the freezer in the back corner of the room. The thick, steel door opened with one heave and as the lights flickered on I could see eight people huddling inside.
"C'mon lets go!" I said, grabbing the sleeve of the nearest one. But as I stood closer I could see only whites in their eyes and they made no sound in reply.
I stepped back, mouth agape, and felt a hand slither over my shoulder.
"You know what they serve at this place right?" Jeff said. I hushed him as we turned a corner with our Gulani guide, its four eyes scanning every direction.
"It's all Grade-A, sizzling tenderloins of-"
"Shut it for gently caress's sake." He had a way of babbling at the worst of times, to the point where I had to remind him that I brought him along for his muscle, not his mouth.
The truth of it was I knew what they served down here, everyone did, and I wasn't going to stand for it. Ever since that pulsating mass of festering, thinking black stuff had floated out of the void and stuck itself to the bottom of the station, the lower decks hadn't been safe for humans. It took a particular interest in us, as the other species could come and go well after the quarantine without any trouble. The rumors echoing off the rusting hull of the upper decks about ETs flocking to this lower level canteen were just that, rumors. But when I mentioned them to our guide, the sweat glands on its outer-carapace had flared like bulging eyes.
"Hiveminds provide efficient service." Was the response it mustered.
It left us in a red-lit corridor near the canteen's steel hatch, the only entrance. We were well beyond the quarantine by now and I wasn't sure we could find our way back even if we tried.
"Shep," said Jeff, "are you sure about this?"
"Yeah." I replied. I gave a quick signal as we pulled out our atomizers.
"Alright!" I said, standing by the open hatch while Jeff jumped the counter. "No one move, we're here for the credits and whatever else you're hiding."
It was the start of the daily cycle and there weren't many patrons, but the ones present did what was expected. They froze instantly or looked surprised, the ones without faces shaking their antennas in confusion. It was the employees that weirded me out. They were human, covered in fist-sized tumors that pulsated and leaked black ooze, but none of them took notice of Jeff or I. They moved between tables and behind the counter, carrying dishes and with smiles stretched across their face.
"Hey!" I leveled my atomizer at one just as I heard the sudden crack of bone.
I looked over to see Jeff embraced by massive arms of ooze, slowly crushing him, his eyes popping from his skull as his mouth hung open in silent agony. I turned for the hatch to find it already sealed shut, one of the employees standing before it and smiling back at me.
The atomizer took a good chunk out of her chest and thigh, but it quickly replaced itself with gushing ooze.
I turned again and beat it down the aisle, past the counter and the tables, dodging the grasping arms of ooze which squirted from the employees' tumors. I leapt a buffet of human hair and dove towards the closest door I could see.
The hand on my shoulder turned me around to face the smile of an employee, her eyes dead but smile wide.
"Hello, human," it said, "Come, live eternally as nutrient. You shall be part of us, and we shall be part of you."
"What are you?" I gaped, the atomizer dropping from my fingers as a paralyzing cold filled my veins.
"We are Legion." It said.
Canadian Surf Club fucked around with this message at Apr 15, 2013 around 05:57
|# ¿ Apr 15, 2013 01:30|
In for this
|# ¿ Apr 24, 2013 06:27|
|# ¿ Jun 25, 2019 23:49|
Going to be That Guy for this week and pull out. Bit of a medical emergency in the family over the weekend and I'm dead tired now. Will try to cook up something special for the next round.
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2013 00:50|