1,400 words about an unusual death?
Haha, I'm in.
|# ¿ May 29, 2013 01:45|
|# ¿ Dec 7, 2021 15:32|
This is my first Thunderdome so please, by all means, give me everything you got. I took an honest whack at it so this is representative of where I'm at (And while I think it's good for where I'm at, where I'm at is not good).
Title - A Meal Fit for a King
Subject - ADOLF FREDERICK, LATE KING OF SWEDEN
The king died on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, kippers and champagne, which was topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish school children as "the king who ate himself to death."
Word Count - 679
I am dying. I lay here recounting this evening’s spectacle to my most trusted and loyal attendant. He sits bedside continuing to listen dutifully. No one would dare tell him of what transpired (for reasons best left unsaid). But as he has been loyal to me to all these years and has shown genuine kindness to my family, I believe he is entitled to the glorious tale of my undoing.
“That’s when I felt it, all four inches of lobster tail ease into my mouth. Never before has lobster been so delicious! I remember savoring every ounce of it, slick with butter. I remember the pain of gulping it down,” I said.
"But my king, why did you not stop if it hurt you so?"
I recall my fingers squeezing a napkin tightly as I surveyed the table of caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and, yes, even more lobster. While such pain may be too much to bear for some, it is a delight. It is something I want more of.
I replied, “I was hesitant to continue at first, but then I closed my mouth around the first toast point and felt the delicate caviar explode against the roof of my mouth. I almost moaned at the heavenly flavor and feel! Rhythmically feeding in toast point after toast point I became more confident with every bite that tonight was to be the greatest meal of my life.
“As the sweating set in, I realized that I would need ever more chilled champagne to steel my resolve. An ocean poured forth for guests and all at my command! Throughout the evening I would often find my fingers around a champagne flute as though by their own will. An endless stream of the finest kept me going, I’m afraid, until I was disturbingly aware of every square inch of my own stomach.
“Were I not king, someone likely would have stopped me. Were I not king, my dinner sweats would have drawn alerting gazes as I dove into the smoked herring and sauerkraut. Were I any other man I would have stopped. But as I am not, I did not. I pressed on to ever greater heights of indulgence.
“I had eaten past fullness and nausea. With the amount of champagne in my veins I had hardly considered stopping at all. I, in sheer hubris, ordered a dessert of 14 servings of spiced buns in hot milk and consumed them all. Even a king must submit to the laws of nature.
“And it was thus I sealed my fate! I now lay here sweating profusely as the greatest meal of my life slowly works its way back up my neck. I can hardly move my body. I’ve tried to vomit but I can’t seem to anymore; there is something wrong. My legs are becoming numb. It is increasingly difficult to breathe. I have at several points had to cough up food to clear my airway, my friend."
"My king, is there anything which can be done to ease your regrettable suffering?"
“Though I will concede to having erred in dessert, I would have you know that I regret nothing. But if you would, take this down. I would like it recorded for posterity that I, King Adolf Frederick, have lived a life of indolent hedonism. I would like to express my admiration and eternal gratitude for the extraordinary support shown by the Swedish government and people in general, as well as to express total solidarity for those who have known the sufferings of glorious excess. I speak only of my death, as all other affairs are seen to by a living will. Should it become- should it- ”
A painful shock ripples through my abdomen and I can’t breathe anymore.
I can't move anymore. I can't so much as move my eyes. The lace canopy above is becoming an undifferentiated field of white. I can't...
The sounds of distant wind and nearby words are gone. There's a sort of strained thumping and I think- I think someone may be shaking me.
Edit: Fixed reference link.
Edit 2: Changed Title.
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 00:30 on Jun 3, 2013
|# ¿ Jun 2, 2013 22:58|
Personally, I expected more swearing.
This wasn't a bad story. A little heavy handed? Yes. Bad? No. Shoved down my throat? Yes. Terrible? No. I don't really have much else to say.
That being said, I agree about the subtext getting a little blunt (now that you mention it). Thanks for the feedback.
|# ¿ Jun 4, 2013 22:25|
In, in, in.
|# ¿ Jun 5, 2013 13:52|
Between preparations for moving and having to come up with something that wasn't just erotica, I'm coming in well under the word limit.
12 hours left.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2013 14:55|
In: "In married life three is company and two none."
|# ¿ Jun 12, 2013 00:49|
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'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.
|# ¿ Jun 17, 2013 02:42|
My initial plan was affectionately dubbed 'The Megatragedy' (and was even worse).
So if this was your goal then mission accomplished.
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 12:56 on Jun 18, 2013
|# ¿ Jun 18, 2013 12:41|
In for what will be my fourth piece of fiction ever.
|# ¿ Jun 18, 2013 13:25|
As soon as I got some traction on an objectivist bed time story (Re: Prisoner's Dilemma) I kinda felt dirty. Not sure I'm going to finish either.
I struggled with this prompt and couldn't do anything worthwhile... failing to submit second time in a row.
I was modeling it off of Nazi children's propaganda, too, which, while appropriate, didn't help with the moral turpitude
|# ¿ Jun 23, 2013 23:25|
|# ¿ Jul 30, 2013 21:49|
Netflix has Foxy Brown.
It's also got Detroit 9000 and The Black Godfather. Disco Godfather. The Black Godfather and The Black Klansman. Bamboo Gods and Iron Men.
|# ¿ Aug 2, 2013 16:02|
That's great; Black Dynamite is hilarious. I'm shooting for robomiscegenation.
v edit: Awesome, cause that's what I was basing my story on.
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 19:56 on Aug 2, 2013
|# ¿ Aug 2, 2013 16:24|
Keepin' a Man Down
Smog and moisture collected beneath the over-structure, giving way to brown rain. Little droplets fell the kilometer to the ghettos below. Onto crowds. Onto a brother leaning against a narrow pylon, gazing up into the neon-lit haze. Feeling the vibrations of the city above, John shut his eyes and inhaled deeply, lungs full to bursting, and then exhaled.
“Smells like burnt loving plastic. Sheeeyit,” he muttered.
Slim quiet bodies threw furtive glances at him as they shuffled down the sidewalk. John was large and muscular, but no taller than 6’6” and no broader than a refrigerator. Lighting a cigar, he imagined the sun-lit districts above. The end of his cigar glowed. The stale tang of the street gave way to smooth tobacco and vanilla. Once his cigar was down to a nub, he flicked it to the sky, tugged on his leather waistcoat and strutted through the crowd to a noodle stand.
The cook faced away from the street, staring vacantly into space. John knocked hard against the counter and, waiting, turned to look out over a stream of down-turned heads all red and orange with throbbing neon. He faced back to the clean fluorescent light of the stand and the smell of salt and chicken fat. He saw the cook’s shaved head and his hardware spikes arrayed behind one ear, blinking - he was jacked in.
“Hey, sparky! Wake up,” he shouted. A sudden shift of posture. Blinking slowed to a stop. The youth turned around; he was back.
“Whoa, hagwei, take it easy! What do you want?“
“Chicken lo mein takeaway, my man,” he said.
Chinese food and chopsticks in hand, he meandered through the dimly lit crowds and alleyways with his head held high. And there she was, standing in a cone of light from a rare working street lamp. Straight hair, brunette, cocktail dress. Clean. White. John dropped his Chinese food and sauntered up, smiling.
A little flirting. A subtle mention of money. Big surprise – a working girl.
“How much you lookin’ to squeeze me for?”
“Twenty-five credits for an hour,” she said casually.
Credits? There’s no terminal access for this, he thought. It hit him.
“Ah, poo poo shortie, you’re android, ain’t’cha? That’s some serious strange.”
But the disavowal of strange is foreign to the protean brother.
A little negotiation and she took his arm. Walking into a nearby motel drew looks from passersby. The reception desk was empty save for the light and sound of a television spilling out from a back room. A lone flickering bulb hung from the ceiling and lent flashes of matching shadow to the mold of peeling wallpaper. She led him up the stairs.
As they turned down a hall, he could hear the wrong kind of boots hitting tile below. It was then he realized they were being followed. He’d been in this hotel before. He was thinking of exits when doors burst open at either end of the hall. Cops stormed out, batons in hand, blocking both ends. The girl quickly disappeared into a room.
“Hands up,” one shouted nervously.
The ranking man slowly started toward John, looking him over, noting his size, “You’re under arrest for three violations of the Prohibition of Sexual Misconduct Act: attempted miscegenation, solicitation and robosexuality. Keep your hands where I can see them.”
“Well, AIN’T THIS SOME HONKY poo poo!” In a flash, John turned and kicked a door clean off its hinges.
This is only the second floor.
He sprinted through the room and jumped for the window.
That long-rear end no-lid dumpster’s this side, right?
He impacted the window hard. The frame shattered and polycarbonate inserts flew across the alley as he tumbled straight down. He landed in a thick mash of compost with flecks of plastic and brown droplets raining down all around him. Between the window and the fall, he had the wind knocked out of him. He gasped, desperate for smog to fill his lungs again. He writhed over the edge of the bin and landed in the filth below. He locked eyes with a homeless man as he rose and then disappeared into the fog.
|# ¿ Aug 4, 2013 01:41|
If you like his entry, you'll love Neuromancer
I had a good feeling with my story until I read Fumblemouse's submission. So outclassed.
|# ¿ Aug 6, 2013 04:13|
|# ¿ Aug 6, 2013 13:21|
You don't say?
I will crit the last round entry of the next person to ask me.
|# ¿ Aug 7, 2013 22:34|
Title: May your wishes be granted.
“Hitler! One man who will to put an end to this comedy. Thirty two parties!? Thirty two parties,” the Beggar said to no one. “No wonder we can’t get anything done. Clean this whole mess up! Put Germany back on its feet! Harrumph,” he was shouting now.
The sun was rising. The aged Beggar pocketed some bills from his hideaway and donned a hat most suited to being upturned and used for collections. He crawled out from his hovel and forced himself to his feet underneath the bridge which he called home. With no small amount of effort, he began his march towards his favorite plaza.
The sounds of a city coming to life soon gave way to the sounds of a commotion. He could see a crowd where there’s usually a newsboy. He hurried along to see what all the fuss was about. As he drew nearer, he began to pick out varyingly concerned and enraged voices from the crowd but, most importantly, was the newsboy’s.
“Herr vom Rath, diplomat to the German Embassy in France, assassinated by a Jew! Read all about it!”
The Beggar approached a nearby police officer, “You have heard what has happened! The Jews have struck again! What are you going to do?”
“You can be assured that we do not intend to offer the Jews our protection today. Now move along! I don’t want to see you begging here.”
And move along he did. As he continued toward his favorite plaza, the scent of the city began to give way to the scent of burning timbers. He could see another unusual crowd now, as well, and this one in front of a fire station, blockading the engines.
He approached one of the men in the crowd and asked, “What is the meaning of this?”
“We have made a bonfire for the Jews! Surely this will make them aware that we will tolerate them no longer. I heard about the Jew’s murdering of our Diplomat in Paris last night. I could not sleep! I will not turn my back on the Fatherland. The message must be loud and clear! To protect the national health of Germany from this disease must be our highest goal. And so we will not permit these firemen to interfere!”
“Time someone finally cleaned things up,” the Beggar said.
Notions of panhandling gave way to curiosity. The Beggar set out toward the source of the now visible plume of smoke.
As he drew nearer, the sounds grew louder, all the better to hear their seething anger.
Rounding a corner, it came into a view: A burning synagogue.
“Ha! Finally, someone is cleaning up the city,” he said.
“What’s that?” A young and muscular Brownshirt approached.
“I see that you Brownshirts are men of action! A commendable effort!”
“What are you to commend me, outsider!”
“I am no outsider! I am a German, born and bred,” the Beggar exclaimed.
“Yet you are disheveled and crippled before your years. Surely as soon as I would turn my back you’d be begging for money with which to buy alcohol! The sicknesses of the common degenerate are well known,” the Brownshirt stated. He turned and raised his arms in the air, “Ho, gentlemen! A degenerate has to come unto us like moth to flame!”
“I’m no degenerate! Like the story of the German who found his way to Nationalist Socialism, ‘I shall stay with Hitler as long as I live!’ I-“ A fist caught the side of his jaw and in a seeming instant he was on the ground, dazed, trying to get up. He heard laughter and the sound of his femur snapping under a firm heel. He tried to scream but found no voice.
“loving, subhuman! Shut your mouth,” another Brownshirt bellowed as a number of them gathered around with a certain spring in their step and hatred in their eyes. The Beggar lifted his head from the cobblestones and saw a group of police officers standing idly by, watching.
“What a piteous sight! We should put him somewhere he will feel comfortable,” said one of the youths while gesturing to a nearby Jew home.
The Brownshirts picked him up and began carrying him toward the house.
“Think of it,” one Brownshirt said, “If he has sired any children, there may be hundreds of descendents who will be indigents and Beggars, criminals and murderers!”
The Beggar was heaved through an already broken window. He landed atop broken glass and writhed in agony.
“Someone needs to clean this whole mess up,” was the last thing the Beggar heard before flaming branches and boards landed around him. The scent of burning timbers and searing flesh the last thing he smelled.
|# ¿ Aug 12, 2013 03:44|
Ha, nice - In.
|# ¿ Aug 14, 2013 01:01|
A Dog Eat Dog World
Flash Rule: Right of Succession serves as an impetus
The cityscape streamed across opaquely reflecting rear-windows as two men discussed business.
Alexei thumbed his cell phone a bit before speaking, “I want the apartment.” He closed the partition behind the driver.
“It is in a good location,” said his friend, Charles.
Alexei thumbed his celled phone a little bit more before muttering, “I deserve it.”
“And I can’t believe that rent-control.”
“I’ve put up with her for years. She hired me on as an assistant eleven years ago, I believe,” Alexei said.
“And she still thinks it’s some favor to you. At first everyone thought, Oh, she hired her dog-catcher nephew, how quaint, but then you turned out to be quite the fixer,” Charles said.
“I’ve been keeping all the penny ante corruption quiet and profitable for years now. You want to know why the esteemed Commissioner for Legal Affairs of the Business Integrity Commission never ended up as front page news? Me. I know people and I don't let problems get away from me. My dearest Aunt doesn’t and can’t. Awful person. No one likes her.”
“Wasn’t she married once,” Charles asked as the car jerked from a sizable pot hole.
“Briefly. That’s how she ended up with the apartment, actually,” Alexei muttered, holding onto the overhead grip as the car took a hard turn.
“That’s not right.”
“You’re god damned right it isn’t. And it’s a great apartment. I talked to her lawyer? Tells me she’s thinking about leaving it to my sister instead now.”
“You got her lawyer to talk to you!? Jesus, I think I need a drink for this conversation,” Charles removed a flask from his jacket pocket. “You want a swig?”
“No, thanks. But I needed to know if what my sister told me was true. She told me that my loyal Aunt was thinking about leaving her the apartment. Doesn’t like me. I figure, after all these years of putting up with her, I’d better have more to show for it than being about halfway to a pension. I deserve it.”
“I agree but messing with her lawyer is pretty serious. What if she finds out?”
“She’ll never know,” Alexei said.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Make sure not to repeat this to anyone: He’s my guy. I made sure he was there when she happened to need a new one.”
“Well, that works,” Charles said. “Where’d you find the guy?”
“That’s an unnecessary question.”
“Understood,” Charles said, “but, what are you going to do about the apartment?”
“Let me tell you about my aunt. She loves her cats. Hell, I told the lawyer some of her cat stories and he knew just what to say. She thinks he has a hairless Egyptian or something and they get along fabulously,” Alexei said.
He continued, “But her building doesn’t allow pets anymore. She was grandfathered in and the landlord hates her for it. His brother is the super and is horribly allergic. He’s been looking for any reason to get rid of her. I gave him one. Her apartment’s on the second floor, restaurant’s on the first floor. Last week, I plugged up her ventilation a little bit so the odor would track down into the kitchen below.”
Charles began laughing.
Alexei continued, “I was just texting with my friend at the health department and it’s all sorted out. She’s going to have to either get rid of her cats or move. And she loves those drat cats.”
“When does he find out?”
“Should be sometime today. At the very least, she’ll be looking to sub-let. My sister’s in no position to take it so it should go to me. There’s no one else. She may not like me but she’s not comfortable unless she feels I owe her. And she really enjoys having a rent-controlled apartment to her name, particularly one with a view of Central Park. And by the time she’s dead, I’ll have enough of a claim that it’ll be no trouble convincing my sister that the apartment belongs to me.”
“That’s some good work,” Charles said, laughing.
Alexei chuckled, “I want that apartment.” He opened the partition behind the driver.
|# ¿ Aug 19, 2013 05:02|
In - The Academy for Sudden Bursts of Motivation while Depressed
|# ¿ Aug 20, 2013 18:55|
You have exactly one post to justify how this qualifies as a serviceable trade or you're getting stuck with Dr. Mombasa's School for Telepathic Phone Operators.
I want to shoot them into space.
A machinist spends most of his time putting parts into a computer-controlled machine and pushing a green button. If enough time needs to be spent this way, you can automate that process. But you can also hire a minimum-wage, parts-loading/unloading, button-pusher and come out ahead on cost. How much of a spaceship's operations can be automated so that the crew can sleep for years on end? How much hardware would you need to automate rudimentary tasks such filter changes, wiring fixes, the spackling over of minor exterior damage and so on and how much would it weigh? A depressive may weigh not even 150 lbs and would require less support than a conventional astronaut!
Depressives would take quite readily to the metabolically efficient living best suited to long-distance voyages. Depressives the world over while away their days in bunks, beds and chairs, day in and day out, keeping their caloric and O2 requirements down, obviating the need for costly supplies. And the isolation and tedium of space travel can in fact lead to potentially mission crippling depression, so who better to send than men and women who've spent potentially decades acclimating to this condition?
Trained depressives will lead the way in space exploration and serve as cheap and expendable manual labor on distant stations.
Alternate Response: Is Dr. Mombasa Kenyan?
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 23:24 on Aug 20, 2013
|# ¿ Aug 20, 2013 23:22|
I took it as simply attempting to share a little moment in the life of a brain-injury patient. Accordingly, as it was effective, it was also depressing.
Meaning: This is the toughest part for me, since it feels like a meaningful piece but when I try to articulate the point, it's elusive. i/10.
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Sep 3, 2013
|# ¿ Sep 3, 2013 05:07|
|# ¿ Oct 7, 2013 22:07|
When I am President of the United States, I will create the Department of [The Homosexual Agenda].
Title: Of Malthus and Men
It was a clear evening; you could see the sun. President Miller watched it slide beneath a sea of arcologies from his office atop the Federal Spire. He pulled a glass of scotch from his desk and took a drink, appreciating the glow of the city fog. This was the most populous corridor of his nation: a megalopolis comprising much of the NE United States, a nation comprising approximately eight-hundred and fifty million hungry, breeding citizens.
“Command -- Windows to Screen -- setting 6,” he said.
The floor-to-ceiling windows turned a pearlescent white and began running national security informatics. He eased into his chair and gestured with his off-hand. Panes relaying the day’s food commodities prices, new births and new deaths moved to center screen. The president considered contacting his advisors again when a particular beeping garnered his attention. He smiled.
“Let him in,“ Miller said.
The screen switched to open-source national and global statistics and news. The white backdrop shifted to a rendering of what the streets and evening sky would look like if you could see them. A few moments later, President Miller’s son entered the room.
“James, what brings you by,” Miller asked.
“Dinner service is slightly delayed. You’ve been unusually down lately so I thought I’d tell you in person and keep you company, see how you were doing,” James replied.
The president gestured for the windows to return to transparency. He stood up and sighed as he looked out over the colossal expanse of rooftops almost a mile and a half above the earth.
“Son, have I ever told you exactly how old I am?”
“It’s always been a sensitive issue,” James said.
“I am exactly 138 years old. I was one of the first participants in The Project. Back then, they didn’t worry about much more than eligibility criterion and funding. A few thousand of us were treated before anyone thought to mandate the sterilization protocols and efficacy limitations. That’s not in the textbooks, you know. They’re still out there. Like me. Having kids and liable to live who knows how long.”
“How many children have you had?”
“Only two others, and as a young man. I’ve over 20 living descendents now. Of course, that’s not unusual anymore. Improved conditions mitigated population growth, sure, but no one saw treatments for aging on the horizon. No one thought linear projections from the 1970s, where people turning 50 would be starting the second half of their lives, would be right. That was a bolt from the blue. We had no way to process it, culturally, and we were suffocating under own mass before it was feasible to implement one-child policies, to promote sterilization and adoption and so on, and now here we are. Birth rates are sky high in the under city. Topside they may be flattened but everyone here lives until at least 110. We’re on the verge of collapsing the global food chain. We’ve got too many people.”
“But how do you solve it? Everything comes down to family. How do you fight people’s instincts to have families? For more life?”
President Miller stiffened his back and turned to his son.
The timbre of his voice became quite reassuring, “Research informed me last month of a new compound they developed. It absorbs through the sinuses. Goes straight to the limbic system,” Miller said.
“What’s it do?” James asked, puzzled.
“It will help solve our problem,” Miller laughed. “In about 85% of the population, it can be used to manipulate sexual preference. We’re making sexuality a choice, James.”
James was speechless.
“We’re announcing tomorrow and the program goes online Monday. We’re going to couple it with tax incentives and income guarantees, James, as well as legal protections for anyone in danger of reprisal. Birthrates are going to plummet without a single iota of human suffering or coercion. We’re simply going to coax them.”
“What will you call it?”
“It’s called the Homosexual Agenda, son, and it’s going to save the world.”
|# ¿ Oct 14, 2013 03:33|
I'll take one!
Who wants a flash rule?
|# ¿ Oct 16, 2013 03:08|
Title: Expectation and Realization
Rules: “primarily set in a 1950's diner. All speaking characters are female. “
Jane stared at her newspaper, occasionally turning the page to avoid suspicion. The pitch of the town gossip made her as easy to pick out from the din of the teeming diner as the scent of burnt tobacco from coffee and grease. She regaled her husband with the juicy details of how a certain friend had seen a certain woman’s son driving opposite her on Thursday night with a brunette in the passenger seat. His girlfriend and her fashionably curly golden locks weren’t going to be happy.
Kids these days, she thought, but at least he’s getting out there. With a wry smile, she turned a page in her newspaper. An out-thrust menu pulled her attention away.
“Morning, darlin’! Joint’s starting to fill up so if you want to keep the table you’re going to have to order more than coffee, sorry,” the waitress said.
“That’s alright! Doris should be here soon. I’ll have the daily special with the baked beans, thankyou.”
“Coming right up!” Jane watched as she returned to behind the counter and shouted through the order window, “One special with whistleberries!”
She turned back to the sound of Doris taking a seat.
“Jane, how are you? How’s your son?”
“I’m fine, thanks. And Jim’s the same as he always is.”
“Is he still trying to control the house with his little routines,” Doris asked.
“Yeah,” she paused, “He’s 16. What’s he going to do when he has roommates? Or, god willing, a wife? John and I have been making sure he doesn’t get his way. He’s too old for this. He has to start growing out of it.”
“How’s he doing in school?”
“Oh, you know how teenagers can be. He never does his homework. He just coasts, otherwise,” Jane replied.
“Is he talking about college yet?”
“I think so. He’s always been good with numbers and lately he’s been talking about accounting or mathematics. I think it would suit him; he’s never been a people person,” Jane replied.
Doris nodded approvingly, “He’s always needed a lot of support, that’s for sure. But I’m sure Jim’ll adapt. He’s just a late bloomer! And one of these days, he’ll realize that socializing isn’t so bad and he’ll come out of that shell. He’ll realize there’s a whole world out there,”
“He just needs to figure out what he wants in life. All he does is sit in his room all day and night. I don’t even know what he plans on doing once his father and I are gone. We help him with everything,” Jane said.
“Well, you just gotta stay on him to do more. He may be stressed out now but this is nothing compared to the real world, and then it won’t be nothing like mowing the lawn or not being able to flick the lights a buncha times. He’ll grow out of it, I’m sure,” Doris said.
The waitress cut in with one special and one Bran muffin.
“Hi, Doris! Jane, I’ve got one special for you, and, Doris, I’ve got your regular, hon!”
The women thanked her and started into breakfast. After only a few bites, Jane stopped eating.
“Are you feeling okay,” Doris asked.
“Yeah, it’s just… I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder about Jim.”
“How do you mean?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m sure it’s just a phase.”
|# ¿ Oct 21, 2013 03:46|
I'm going to assume this now a binding agreement
Next two submitters from this week to ask get bonus crits from Can'tDecideOnAName
Also, I offer to provide 1x Amateur Crit* to the first person to ask
*It'll probably be bad and you shouldn't read it
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 05:22 on Oct 21, 2013
|# ¿ Oct 21, 2013 05:19|
Your writing's good enough that I can't really do a line-by-line, but -- As a reader, I got a little misty eyed. You successfully induced a physiological response thus clearing the primary hurdle. It's reasonably well put together and punchy. I never had to force myself to keep reading and there was a palpable sense of a sort of all-consuming, forever-empty.
That being said, something this length felt like it should have had tighter focus. You jumped right into walking me through a litany of sufferings, through different aspects of the dislocating new reality this woman found herself in. And you did this fairly smoothly and with good tempo, it felt like you were building up to something, but then you sort of dropped a beat and sharply concluded with a suicide attempt. It seemed to be lacking in global coherence.
Accretionist fucked around with this message at 07:01 on Oct 23, 2013
|# ¿ Oct 23, 2013 06:58|
|# ¿ Oct 28, 2013 03:53|
|# ¿ Dec 7, 2021 15:32|
Absolutely, you've got until November 20th to submit.
We can submit after we get our critiques, right? I'd rather see which parts are poo poo and need to be changed before sending it to a publisher.
|# ¿ Oct 28, 2013 21:05|