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Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in.

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Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Rescue (679 words)
The episode of JAG cut to a commercial for an ab-squeezer. Constable Angela Pearson glanced down at her latest coffee, and when she looked up Maggie was opening the night entrance to the station and approaching the desk.
"Morning, Maggie," Pearson said.
"Hey, Ang," Maggie replied. Maggie was dressed for the evening. A sparkling black dress clung to her sides. Around her shoulders was a man's leather jacket, mustard coloured and faded. In one hand she carried a brown-paper lunch bag and two heels, each shoe dangling from a manicured finger.
"You just take a seat," Pearson said, "I'll go and fetch your Christian."
Maggie nodded and parked herself on the edge of a plastic, grey bench. "Is he being charged?"
"No," said Pearson, pulling keys from a drawer. "But, can you ask him to pull his head in? He's running out of chances."
"Okay," Maggie said without confidence. She delicately placed the paper bag on the seat beside her. Pearson left her alone, a boat chase on the television screen above her flashed and reflected on the surfaces of the station.

Maggie heard Christian's laugh before the doors opened. He was dressed in blue jeans and a white undershirt. His belt, watch and shoes were all missing. When Pearson pushed open the door for him he saw Maggie and stopped chuckling, but his face stayed frozen in smile. When he saw the paper bag beside Maggie the fresh stubble on his cheeks surfed as he grinned.
"Baby," like she'd shown up to the oval at sunset with a slab.
Maggie stood, walked half the distance between them and stopped. She was a foot shorter than he was. She looked at the floor and spoke softly, "Angela says you need to pull your head in."
Christian's smile stalled. "Yeah, yeah," he said. "I'll be good." He looked at the bag on the bench. "I'll be good, if you'll be good."
"I'll be good," said Maggie.
Christian winked.
Pearson dropped a plastic bag onto the counter, the belt buckle inside clunked against the surface. "I'll need to go through the inventory with you, Mr West," she said. Pearson fossicked in a drawer, and Maggie winked back.
"Yeah," Christian said. He picked up a pen from the counter before Pearson pulled out the right form. He wrapped his other arm around Maggie's waist and gently pulled her closer. She wove her arm around his waist in return. He initialled the form where Pearson pointed, then signed the bottom. He exchanged the paper for the plastic bag.
"Thanks," said Christian.
"Christian," said Pearson, "I need you to seriously listen to me here, I don't want to see you..." she trailed off. Christian was focussed only on Maggie.
"Let's go home," Maggie said.
"Let's go home," said Christian.
Maggie waved quickly to Pearson, then led Christian out the front door. Pearson looked over at the television where a Navy trial was progressing, and saw the brown bag abandoned on the bench.
"Hey," she called out through the closing door. It didn't reopen.

Outside, under the purple sky that precedes a rising sun, Maggie reached over and squeezed Christian's hand. He grimaced, and pulled his arm away.
"Sorry, sorry" she said quickly, putting her hand on his belly as he nursed his fingers.
"It's okay," he said.
"Ken's not pressing charges," she offered as pain relief.
"Not surprised," said Christian. "He was going through beers like a cricket bat through a watermelon. He probably reckons he doesn't remember what he did."
"Yeah," Maggie paused. "But, he knows what he did."
"He knows," Christian said.
Maggie faced Christian. He smelled. His natural odour pushed through yesterday's cologne, the bar's smoke, the lock-up's disinfectant. She inhaled deeply and she took his hurting hand carefully between her fingers.
"Thank you," she said.
"Every time," he said, deadpan.
"Even if-"
"Every time."
Behind them the door to the station swung open and Pearson stepped out onto the footpath. "Hey," she called out and raised the paper bag in the air.
"Oh yeah," said Maggie. "Our breakfast."

Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in.

Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Aware 494 words

I ate so much food, but I must eat more. Father dragged the branch into the cave and all of us strip the sour leaves and chew. Mother and cousins scrounge seedpods that fall loose and open them with rocks to eat the insides. I squeeze between warm bodies and grab a handful of pods and move away to my own place to eat.
I find a sharp rock and I lift it, but then I stop. Seeds can be eaten when old, if not broken, I know this. I stare at the pods and the feeling in my head happens again.

Today's weather is unremarkable, not hot, not cold. I remember other times though, freezing times when trees have no leaves. Hungry, sickness times. What if that happens again? I scoop up my pods, release them, scoop them up again. The feeling in my head is making me nervous. I clutch the pods to my breast and hustle deeper into the cave. I find a small hollow in the rock where it is dry. Beneath dead grass I hide the pods inside.

When I turn back my cousin is standing behind, watching. I step away from the hollow and he leaps forward, his hand reaching for the store.
"Don't," I yell at him.
He pauses. "Food," he says.
"Food..." I want to say "Tomorrow", but I don't have a noise for this.
He shrieks like a raven and stands up tall. He is younger, but he is growing faster than me. He exposes his teeth. "Me," he says.

He thinks only of his now hunger, I realise. How can I know what he feels? This empathy makes me very nervous. I grab my pods from the hollow and run, clambering over rocks until I leave the cave. I look back, I don't see him.

Down the hill is a lake. I find a new place for my pods among the stones on the shore and I cover them with fallen leaves. I walk into the lake, the cool water up to my ankles. I stoop to drink and as I lean forward I see a creature in the water below me, staring up. It has large eyes, big ears. Its round face is circled by dark hair. It stays frozen until I reach forward a finger and it extends its own finger too. The surface of the water ripples where we touch. I jerk my finger away and my head feeling comes back the strongest. I know that the creature in the water is me. I know that I am a creature. The reflection of the land behind is the world.

Behind me, on the shore, my cousin cries out. I point to the water.
He looks, then turns away.
"Food," he says.
He doesn't comprehend. Would anyone? What if I am the first creature to understand?
He fossicks my seeds from their reserve and cracks them open. A wind blows, leaves fall.

Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

It's been a while, but seeing that Fanky is judging I am in.

Genre: Scrambler
Grade: 4-6
[Describe a day in the life of] [a sunburned] [police officer] [who rides comets]

Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Ah, Thunderdome, where three human people are forced to read stuff that I write.

A day in the life of a sunburned police officer who rides comets 1275~ words

The shuttle wove through the asteroid field with the casual grace of a pigeon in a carnival crowd. On each side of the hull the words 'Tibee System PD' were manifest. Beneath the hatch Comet was printed smaller on the white and neon-blue paint job that all Tibee police shuttles, jumpers and patrol vehicles wore.

There was a major asteroid, an oblong lump of iron and rock nicknamed "Daddy" by the residents of Tibee Earth. Comet clung close to Daddy's dark side as it patrolled. Pearsons could see the surface boulders from the cockpit.

"Sun's coming," Claude warned from the control sticks.

"Huh... gently caress," Pearson said as the horizon of Daddy submitted to the fiery magnitude of brightness from the Tibee system's star. The air-conditioning kicked in with extra power, but not before both constables were washed with sweat.

"I'm melting my balls off," said Pearson.

Claude raised a silver eyebrow at her.

"Lady balls."

"Ain't so bad," said Claude, a bead of sweat sliding through the broomhead that was his upper-lip. "You got to realise the bosses did you a favor sending you up here."

"Tell that to my skin."

Pearson looked at her arms, already stained pink after six months. The UV shielding only did so much. Claude turned Comet along the ridge of Daddy and Pearson monitored the automated drillers below as they hewed deeper into their pit.

"All quiet below," she said. "As usual."

The shuttle's communications beeped, "Tibee Base to Asteroid Unit."

Claude tapped the communicator, "This is J9, go 'head."

"Sixty-35 reported, small craft smashing up the rocks."

"What's the location, Tibee base?"

"Alpha-West."

"Ten-four, we're responding. Five minutes."

Comet was small, the size of a studio apartment, and she moved nimbly through the asteroid field towards the Alpha-West sector. The perpetrator was easy to find here where the asteroid field was sparse. Pearson spotted scatterings of pebbles and ice tracing a path to a rock hanging below them. The map identified it as A726. Claude piloted closer until the skyscraper sized asteroid filled their vision. An explosion of geological sharpnel caught their attention and Comet zeroed in.

They located the ship, a jumper painted glitzy like an ice-cream van, attached to the rock face. There was even a big, fake ice-cream cone attached to the roof which shot green lightning outwards against the surrounding rock canvas.

Claude whistled. "You might want to avert your eyes, ma'am."

"Shut it Claude, I've seen cocks before."

A fifty-metre long penis was what the arcing green energy was carving into the face of A726. It was immaculately detailed, the chiseled veins almost glowing as the rock's spin took it around to face the omnipresent sun.

"He hasn't seen us," Pearson said as Comet approached from behind the jumper.

Claude flicked the comms, "Unknown craft, identify yourself."

Silence. Then a response, "Oh crap."

The laser etching ceased and the jumper's stand retracted.

"He's running," said Claude.

"He can try," said Pearson, already lining the jumper's engine up on the EMP.

The shuttle's computer announced in a friendly voice that the EMP firing had been logged. The glitzy jumper hung dead in the air, waiting to be docked. The sun beat down on it all.



As Comet towed the disabled jumper to the spaceport in orbit above Teebi Earth the children inside the terminal crowded around the windows, watching.

After landing, the airlock opened and Claude emerged into the corridor to chants of, "Ice-Cream!"

Pearson followed. She pushed the shackled vandal ahead of her, aware that his clown costume was not going to win her any fans among the spaceports youngest residents. When they saw his bulbous red nose, painted on smile and steel restraints they became a harmony of boos.

"Don't dawdle," Pearson commanded the clown.

"Wait 'til my mother hears about this... this brutality," he replied.

Claude led them to the station and took the vandal away to be processed. Pearson passed through security and headed to her desk to record their report. When she arrived she found Detective Miller leaning against her cubicle wall flicking through his communicator.

"Szj'lorksd," she said.

Miller looked up. "You look like poo poo, Sally."

"It's the sunburn."

"Yeah. Asteroid Unit? With your skin? That's a 180."

"Guess I asked the wrong questions. Or the right questions, to the wrong captain."

"I heard about it," said Miller.

"You here to shoot the poo poo with me, Szj'lorksd, or did you want something?"

"You got time for a drink?"

"No," said Pearson. "Writing case notes on a bored carbon heir who thinks giant dongs are some kind of grand artistic statement is my number one priority in life."



The light in the spaceport bar were dim. The bartender pulled two syrups and brought them over with Miller's jelly pastry. The pair sat along the bar that faced the wide window open to the Teebi system, the distant stars twinkling.

"I'm looking for one of your old cave girls, Sally. Jag. You think you might know where we can find her?

Pearson sipped the warm syrup before replying. "Jag. What do you want with her?"

"We know she runs with Brick Daddy's crew. We're trying to run up on one of his lieutenants. She's a known POI, we're hoping we can flip her."

"Good luck with that. She hopped a cruiser to New Bombay a year ago. That was last I heard from her. She's light years gone by now.

"Ah. poo poo," said Miller.

Pearson nodded, and sipped again. Miller took a bite of his pastry and felt with his teeth the ejection of jelly out the back end. They both watched as the purple goop shot into his lap.

"Ah, poo poo!" said Miller. "Sally, can you pass me a loving napkin here?"

Sally sat frozen, watching the dark jelly seep into the neon-blue slacks.

"Teebi base to Pearson, hello, are you on this space station anymore? Help me out here."
Sally looked out the window at the starscape and the looming sun. She stared, but her eyes didn't see.



That morning a year ago the smell hit her the moment the bulkhead door slid open. Bodies didn't really decompose, not that far below the surface, but decay had it's own signature in the caves and it had overwhelmed Pearson. She adjusted her ventilator and switched on her torch.

It wasn't clear who had started the fight, but no one had won it. Corpses were scattered throughout the living quarters, both humans and the white, hairless shapes of the cave's native Klixli. Moles. Most of them had been reduced to piles of body parts by the laser fire. One human body sat on a sofa facing into the room. Everything above his waist was gone, vaporised save for a forearm a metre away. He was wearing gore-splattered neon-blue slacks. Sally crossed her eyes as she approached, not wanting any definition of the scene to be etched in her mind. It took a steel stomach for her to free the wallet from his back pocket and check the ID, a stronger stomach still for what it confirmed. The cage in the corner of the room had four lifeless children in it, three boys and a girl. Each was naked, brushed with makeup and their lacquered nails filed smooth.

For a while each of those children's faces had haunted her dreams. Now, as she remembered, they all blurred into one face and even that face fuzzed when she tried to concentrate on any of the details.



"I heard your dong-lover drives a Mr Whippy jumper," Miller tried to change the subject, wiping his lap with his own sourced napkins. "Sally? How do you stand the sun up there?"




PS: Because I am in a nice mood I am offering a no-strings attached crit to the next story posted below me

Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'll play.

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Baggy_Brad
Jun 8, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The Ultimate Intimacy (666w)
Diesel fumes roused Bailey to consciousness, he thought he was still on the helipad. Bailey surveyed the patch of jungle he lay on, spot fires from the downed copter illuminating the the foliage against the darkness. There was gunfire, not close but loud enough to hear over the ubiquitous cicada drone. Bodies were down by the wrecked Hewey, the warm air stank of poo poo. He tried to sit up but could only flop.

"Your back's broken," said a weary voice behind him. "Can't you feel your legs?"

Bailey twisted around, thinking Charlie. Prince was leaned up against a tree-trunk, his face pale and his uniform soaked maroon. He was holding his stomach two-handed. Dried blood lead to his lips.

"My legs?"

"Definitely broken," said Prince.

Bailey examined his splayed legs like they were twin flat tires. "We're goners?"

Prince tried to speak, but coughed. He nodded. "Me tonight. You tomorrow, probably. Gooks coming."

"Bugger," said Bailey.

They sat, unspeaking. Minutes passed. The throb in Bailey's spine was starting to penetrate his ringing head, like a viper eating through him.

"Distract me," Bailey begged.

"How?"

"You got a girl?"

Prince's head lifted. "Yeah, I got a girl."

"How'd you meet?"

"We met at thirteen. Her father was a pollie, owned a grain farm south of Perth. I worked the silos that summer and found her one afternoon reading Enid Blyton underneath a willow tree."

"Love at first sight?"

"Hardly." Prince cringed through a wave of pain. "She asked me to leave without a look. She was withdrawn, quiet. Five brothers, no sister. Normally on the land that turns you into a tomboy, but she wasn't like that. Maybe it was her weight, she couldn't run or bush-bash like her brothers. I worked the silos again next summer, read Famous Five books all spring. One day, late afternoon and me dirty with grain, I found her under that same tree and asked if she wanted to take off for an adventure, foil some smugglers. We never solved any crimes, but she respected me after that."

"Probably the first hand who could read."

"Yeah. After that we were inseparable. Four years of holding hands. She was adamant, nothing more until she was eighteen. I hated it, but it was worth it. She lost the weight. She was whip smart, beautiful, she was going to be something special and I loved her. I wanted to be part of it."

"What did she want to be?"

Prince coughed up a clot of blood, spat it. "I don't know. She'd never tell me those dreams, kept them bottled up in case they wouldn't come true. Wanted to work things out herself first. Then she got sick. ALS, and none of it mattered."

"Mate..."

"She hid it at first, shaky hands, a few stacks. Even after I piqued she wouldn't see a doctor. Wouldn't tell her father. It was too much, eventually she could do nothing but quiver. We put her in a hospital and she despised it. She wouldn't even let the nurses bathe her, and our savings vanished. That's why I enlisted. Serve, earn a paycheck and hope they found some cure by the time my tour was over."

"What's her name?"

"Allison. Last I ever saw her, when I said goodbye, that was the first time I ever saw her cry. And she poo poo herself. She had no control by then. I soaked a towel and washed her clean. She let me, finally. She bawled and struggled through floppy jaws to tell me everything she'd kept silent all these years. I wiped her spotless as she professed her limitless love, how she wanted just one more adventure. It was the closest to her I've ever felt."

"She still alive?"

Cicadas.

"I think I've been pretending she is." A bubble of blood flashed on Prince's lips. "She probably died that night, when I left. Wish I'd died there too. Not like this. Wiping her butt, that's how I want to die."


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