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  • Locked thread
Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



In to death.

Edit: Limerick

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Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Hahahaha writers having money.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Didn't hit the word count but didn't feel like forcing fetid puke out of my brain just to lengthen a poem.

Wound Man

(274 words.)

The blade can cut its way down into
muscles, tendons, sinews, arrayed vessels.
The rash can spread its way across
the arms, the legs, the back, the breast.
Catalogued the body's scrapes and markings
upon one man to show inner workings.

Wound Man's virtue is his freedom from shame
which lets scholars memorize sufferings.
To carry pain and steel and illnesses,
burdens that grow and weigh upon the spine,
kind to us, open, as life's been to him.
He is just one man, to which all pain goes.

Cut back flesh reveals sick innards through gore.
Though his mind's state remains surreptitious,
through years of pokes and prods, scaldings and scrapes.
One can't help but wonder about Wound Man.
Broker body than mind, or vice versa?
No one really wants to figure this out.

But still, he's there in stained pages and minds.
Our thoughts dance around his bloodied body,
focussed on all but the sum of his parts.
To learn from him is to deny insight.
Lessons that blind (beyond gouged out eyeballs);
studies that numb (outside of torn out nerves).

Recoil, subconsciously, from what he means.
Implacable in face, just drawn that way.
Quartered by thousands of horses, to teach.
No mind, we hope, placed in that head, or else
it too, wracked with trauma, madness, and pain,
we find ourselves wanting to help. Too late.

We've seen that no blade, gun, or germ affects
Wound Man's deathless stasis, at least for long.
Stagnation is his shameless pride, always.
Envy of immortality is fair,
scholars might all agree; aside from that cost.
Wound Man is a cut above, and below.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Peel posted:

Capntastic: Scheduling (Death)

This was amusing, but you could have engaged more strongly with the idea of Death as transformation rather than just death. Also Im having trouble visualising the mechanics of the dude killing himself by bumping a table from underneath.

It was a glass table that, when he knocked over (the umbrella's weight dragged it down faster than normal), shattered into a bunch of shards.

SWAZILOO: I'll do your crit up eventually, I have to re-read your story to do it up proper. Just letting you know I hain't forgot.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



BlackFrost posted:

Mountain Climber

ONLY DEATH IS REAL

I also don't know poetry for poo poo, so I'll just give my general impressions.

The tone seems really distant, and I'm not picking up a lot of texture or vibrant detail from this. I'm not sure how much of this was intentional, given the subject matter and your compositional constraints. It all seems sort of watery and empty. I can kind of dig it on the level of someone hyperventilating with their mind racing and generally being neurotic as gently caress, but I'd really love to have some more flavorful images to luxuriate in. But either way, yeah, a solid and honest attempt at working with "Poetry".

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Since I can't quote from the locked thread, here's my late-as-gently caress crit for last week's deal, SWAZILOO

swaziloo posted:

Sus Scrofa (967 words)

I liked it, it has a solid mix of the sort of details that make a story fun to read (cultural bits the read might not be familiar with, the relateable sensation of the protagonist getting hit in the face with leaves, etc.)

I don't know if this counts as "lacking importance" since it seems like the sort of story that might end up in a memoir or something, but one could easily argue that getting dinner ain't poo poo for one person while it's a cool experience for someone else.

Either way, there's a thread of clarity and honesty through it that carries it somewhere good, I think.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



I'm all in.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



The judges are gonna get spooked to death this week, I can feel it (in my bones!!)

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Deep Sleep
(1743 words, Vonnegut points 2 and 3.)


Travis's heel hit the ground, and though he felt no movement in the layers of densely packed dust, it sent up a little cloud around his ankle. Someone had told him that the state got its name from being a zone that was inhospitably arid. Even though he looked it up and found the rumor to be false, it still had a halo of truth to it. Not that Travis was seeking anything beyond a job, a home, and freedom from family drama, friend drama, and cop drama. Money and priorities accounted for, Arizona was the only place he could afford to live.

Here on the outskirts was a wind blasted skeleton of a residential neighborhood. A small grid of empty dessicated houses unseparated by lawns, fences, or pavement. Just staked down into the beaten dust and left to dry in the sun. His own house, on the corner, was diagonal to the only living thing between his own heartbeat and the horizon: a meager electrical substation, gradually being affecting rust to allow it to blend into its environment better. Until some money came in, this would be the closest he'd have to a television. He creaked up the steps towards his new home.

He settled in seconds after he turned the key, throwing his blanket down into a corner and his backpack full of clothes down on top of it. He sat down against the wall on top of his nest and began poring over a newspaper he'd lifted from a gas station back in town. Without a pencil or pen with him he had to jab out the job ads that looked appealing and stack them in a crinkled little pile which he held down under his boot. Dust from outside got on them, but there was dust from outside on everything inside already. He'd have to get a broom, when he got his paycheck, along with everything else.

Sleep came easy enough. No lights making his animal brain thinking it was still day helped. The electric white noise surging in from his window was constant. The coldness of the night air filled his lungs as he slept, dragging him to a deepness in his mind. When he awoke, his dream that night was nothing more than a heavy blackness. He only tried to recall them to gauge how long he'd slept, and when faced with the stark lack of details, decided to simply get an alarm clock. To make that happen sooner, he pulled his boots on, put his stack of prospects into his denim pockets, and drove into town.

Four "No thanks, it's been filled.", four "Come back tomorrow when the boss is here.", one "You don't have your own refrigerated van?", and one "I'll give you twenty dollars to wash all these dishes." let Travis knock off from his quest with a healthy ten attempts, and twice that amount in cash in his pocket. He returned to his shack with an alarm clock, a box of cereal, and jug of water, and some toilet paper. He sat on the steps of his domain wishing he'd slipped and splurged on some cigarettes. He focused the pitch of his frustrations to that of the substation's song, and found the shadows growing longer within minutes.

He plugged the alarm in, set it for seven, and rolled up in his blanket. With his cash stuffed in one boot and the next day's leads under the other, he felt entirely in control of his life. With the electric lullaby outside, Travis went to sleep. There was blackness, again. Travis recognized this blackness; he had assumed it was simply the haze that washed over dreams as they were forgotten. Experiencing it again, there were other sensations. He was being pulled down. Not fast at all. There was almost friction between him and the blackness. Trying to turn his head, he found it to be impossible. It was as if the entire mass of the world was contained within it. Terror knifed its way through his spine as he sunk. There was a loud bang, and his eyes opened.

He was on the floor of his house, rolled up in his blanket. There was the buzz of the substation. There was light coming in through the windows. He rose, trying to remember the dream. The blackness was there still. The banging noise was familiar too. He glanced down to the floor, seeking the red display of his alarm clock. It was past noon. He'd missed the alarm. The work ethic in his mind spooled up and began moving him to hurry into his clothes, damning himself all the way. Just as he made to lace his boots up he heard a loud banging outside. He stepped to the window, and didn't see anything at the tangled jungle gym of steel and wire out front. To the side of his vision, he saw the door of the house next to him swinging open. The boards he'd seen cordoning the house off must have fallen loose. He'd have to get nails and a hammer, whenever he got around to buying the broom.

Still no work. The bosses he was told to return to visit were still gone. The new leads didn't pan out. No dishwashers had called in sick. Resisting the pull of tobacco, he poured the last of his money into the tank of his car. He took care of the house next door by putting a big rock in front of the door. He didn't stick around to poke his head in for a look around.

His own house was cold, and he ignored it as well as the humming as he picked through a more recent newspaper. Some new listings that looked decent had him setting his alarm for 6:30, making sure he dragged the thing as far away from his nest as the cord would allow. The rest of the paper, which he read until it got too dark to manage, had very little to reassure him that this town was a good stepping stone back to prosperity. Only a few pages of local news, minor crimes, a restaurant closing down, and some school administration drama. It bored him. He filled his mouth with dry frosted flakes and then finished off the last of his water.

Sleeping deeply, the dream occurred again. Slowly falling, laces of friction brushing against him. He was there for it all, conscious. He tasted the warm grittiness of soil and stone. His tongue, abstract as it was in this state, was covered with silt. He was deep in the earth, falling through it, sinking. He was being dragged through the textures of fine grit and sludge and stone. He was filled with the inertia of his descent. Miles and miles rose above him, and he was lost in thought. He snapped awake. There was the bang again. The dull wooden impact pierced through the infinite coursing rhythm of the substation. His alarm showed him that he had four hours of sleep left in him. He stood, wrapping his dusty flannel sheet around him, and cramming his feet into his boots (one of which had a few coins stashed in it), and made his way out into the dark.

He waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness before realizing they wouldn't. He made it halfway across the packed dust road before he considered what he was doing. The rock he'd used was pretty heavy. It wouldn't have just rolled away on its own. He didn't see any lights on in the house, but that didn't mean anything if he was dealing with strung out squatters or wild animals. He simply didn't know the area enough to be sure. Pinning the ideal of safety onto his fear, he turned back into his own home and huddled up in the corner with nothing to do but watch the glowing red of the alarm clock tick towards morning. He felt braver when the sun was up and he investigated the door. The rock was moved onto the steps. He opened the door a crack. There was a large brown shape in the corner of the room. He opened the door a bit more to size the beast up, and felt stupid when he realized it was a bed made up neatly with a rough wool blanked. There was a table with a hotplate and a kettle. The surprise that it wasn't rusted or full of mold was second to the surprise that Travis had a neighbor.

Fearing to be taken for an intruder, he slipped into his car and began a third day of searching for work. On the drive into town he wondered why he'd never seen a car near the lot next to his. Or heard or seen anyone. The affairs of others wasn't something he was raised to care about, but it pressed on the insides of his mind alongside the ache of being tired.

No luck on the work front, and he had to beg for cash outside of a gas station to get enough in his tank to last him the next few days. It took a toll on his pride but better that than being stranded. He got home late, and decided to try to meet his neighbor. Knocking on the door did nothing, so he chanced a second peek. There was no one in the bed, still perfectly made The kettle on the table had been joined with a waffle iron. Someone had made breakfast in the last few hours. Travis figured the man worked nights.

Travis settled in, setting his alarm clock for 10:00 so he would have a chance to sleep in. The noise of the substation filtered in through his window, through his walls, through the floor and his skull. It was like a wind that never stopped blowing, an ocean of infinite waves; simultaneous inhalations and exhalations warm within his ear. It sucked him down into sleep, down into the blackness. As he slept, in a state of almost content apathy, he never would consider that someone else was living off of his energy. Doing the things he wanted to do. Owning the things he wanted to own. Travis wouldn't want to know anyways. He didn't want anything. He just slept.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Finally, after marinating in the blood that dripped off the grates into the dungeons below the arena, I've emerged lean and terrifying to look upon.

First order of business: I'd love to forge my own avatar, as I was gonna buy myself one to celebrate. Free never hurts.

I'll have to meditate on a prompt that will simultaneously elevate our ranks while crushing the weak into the ground. Expect messages shortly, fellow Judges.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



The altar has been lit.

PROMPT: I want stories of someone who tells the truth or doesn't tell the truth and gets What They Deserve. 500 to 1,500 words. You have a lot of room to work with this, so I want you to make it solid and strong. No finicky, watery bullshit. I want something you can read proudly without sounding like an rear end in a top hat.

SIGN UP BY: Saturday, Midnight, PST.

SUBMIT BY: Sunday, Midnight, PST.

YOUR JUDGES THIS WEEK: Myself, who will verbally castigate weakness, ESB, who will browbeat you for idiocy, and SurreptitiousMuffin, who will cut you with his tongue for any gently caress ups that fall between weakness and idiocy.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Who got Capn's new one?

Neonnoodle did, as a gracious act of "get off my back you fuckers." Thanks Neonnoodle!

Zack_Gochuck posted:

*Edit* poo poo, someone already got him one? You want Archives or something, Capn'?

If future avatars are gonna come out of our pockets, hold onto it until someone deserves one.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



aquavelva posted:

Nice frog.

You should be writing.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Those with skin in the game:
Sitting Here
Canadian Surf Club
Benagain
monkeyboydc
Stone of Madness
WilliamAnderson
GreatBacon
Chairchucker
Bad Seafood
Sebmojo
JonasSalk
SC Bracer
Frank Malloons
The Saddest Rhino
V for Vegas
Noah
BlackFrost
Beezle Bug
Impermament

AND TWO NEW CHALLENGERS:
Aquavelva and Governor_Guycott


If I missed you then speak up and become known.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



We'll just spoof email addresses and submit their stuff for them... without a cover letter!!

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



No, that was midnight on Friday

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Sign Ups Closed, 28 Hours Left

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Two Hours Left.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



It's one of those keep it simple and you can't gently caress up things.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Once it hits midnight I will begin the final phase of my Judgment Process. Having submitted counts for a lot.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Yeah there's a lot of bad stuff here. Lots of stories where someone tells a lie / the truth and then some other stuff happens. No real karmic euphoria of Justice Being Dealt or anything.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Chairchucker posted:

You're saying that sometimes, someone getting what they deserve doesn't involve any karmic euphoria?

I'm saying that some people didn't make the crux of the prompt worth writing about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHVqxD8PNq8

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Jeza posted:

If you really, really cannot spare an hour for crits

Crits are important and super useful but only when they're actually loaded with some care and detail. Giving that sort of attention to 25+ stories either takes a huge amount of time or is close to worthless.

I took a handful hours just to go through the stories and make some notes. Giving anything more in-depth would require a lot more time and a lot more effort. If you absolutely need critiques beyond "here's what sucked" or "here is why this won", then there's other places for that.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



I'm of the opinion that it's usually only worth critiquing something if it's good with some flaws that need buffing or altogether bad and needs correcting. There's a lot of stories here that are simply decent, competent, and without much to really comment on. What's more, I don't think any participant would step up and say that every story they've done is at the stage where it's worth holding onto, much less developing. If it is, take it to the other thread.

It might seem harsh to say that not every story is going to be worth a line by line critique by our rotating cast of judges, but that's Thunderdome for you.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Yeah, I agree that crits on the whole are good and should be applauded, but feeling an obligation to piss out three lines of "that sure was a story" for every entry no matter how bland is just going to lead to bad crits.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



"Am I doing this right?" the neon limned warrior shouted from atop his screeching hover-lance.

The other combatants were phasing across the battlefield, obliterating each other with precision charges of force or direct application of physical brutality.

"Please, can I get some feedback?" the warrior signaled with upraised hands, letting his unthinking steed stall near the outer edges of the battle.

None of the combatants, with their minds focused through their devices to seek only the bloodshed of their foes, could even recognize the slow warrior as a target.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



A young man from the village tread lightly through a desolate valley, knowing that his steps could not be tracing any lines on any map, save for what the elders spoke of. After a day and of walking through piles of stone which tripped the foot and laid traps for the ankle, and a night of laying awake amidst reeds which might hide snakes or poisonous insects, the man completed his journey. They found themselves at a small hut. Summoning up their courage, they knocked. They exhaled much of their courage when the old man, said to be wiser than any, answered.

Finding the man's wrinkled face to be expectant, the young fellow could do nothing but explain his predicament: "I am from the village. A matter of some importance lay heavy upon my heart. Our village has grown quite large after many generations, and our need for water is great. It is nourishing, as you know, and none can live without it. It is focal to our way of life, and to our spiritual growth. Our well, which was once center to our village, is over-used. Many cannot justify spending time to abandon their posts to reach it, multiple times a day, to fill their buckets and dishes. But we are simple folk; scribes and scholars. We know nothing of the way of well digging. We require your help to know how to cut into the soil, deep and true. We need the knowledge of how to quarry stones, to provide a solid framing for the well. We need you to share this wisdom with us, as well as the wisdoms of well-digging that we surely do not know we lack."

The old man, with the face worn and eroded into the hard pan look of a once youthful valley dried up for ages, sighed.

"Your village is less than one horizon away from a river. Just use that."

The young man was enlightened.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



None were free of the sickness's grip, though all were too fevered to see it.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



The other members of the triumvirate hain't responded to messages sent last night, so I might have to pull the trigger pretty soon. If I don't have responses by the time I get back from work (around 10 hours from this time), I'll go rogue and take the shot.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



This week was a boneyard, picked clean of most nourishing bits. I wanted to sink my teeth into something. I wanted to savor the brine of souls being damned or washed clean or struggling against the compulsion to do either. There was very little fresh meat to sustain my fellow judges and myself, outside of a few scraps of dessicated flesh, we found quite a bit of maggot ridden offal.

For providing us with the absolutely gut-sickening line of 'HOW!? shouts the enraged Austrian, ', which is all caps, uses an interrobang, telling us the guy is enraged while also telling us he's shouting, our loser this week is CancerCakes.


Meanwhile, for providing us with a well paced story with some fresher-than-average gore blasted details, while really embracing the "Gets What They Deserve" concept, I present this image I found

to this week's winner, Stone of Madness.

I'll pick over the rest of the corpses later.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Also, I'd like to point out that we had quite a few people sign up who failed to produce.

JuniperCake
Toanoradian
JGBEagle
Aquavelva
JonasSalk
monkeyboydc
WilliamAnderson


All weaklings.

Of special note is Aquavelva who was a same-day reg who, well, I expected some sort of effort from, even if it was the kicking and screaming of a terrified mule slowly drowning in a well.

They registered to signed up and did nothing.

Conversely, we have Governor_Guycott who has been lurking since 2008 and was moved by some unknown and possibly cosmic force to make their first three posts: All here. One to sign up, one to post their story, and one to show off their submission image.

Think about that.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Sedgr posted:

Are you still intending to post your notes Capntastic? I know you said you took some earlier when you were reviewing and you were going to go over the corpses later. I always like reading the tear downs but there were what, twenty-something entries? Makes it a lot of work even just to post notes so it's understandable if you aren't going to bother.

I still plan on doing it but for now I'm just posting to say I'm In

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



JGBeagle posted:

Alright, let's do this. I'm in.

EDIT: gently caress, just realized Midnight on Saturday was two hours ago. :smith: Guess I'll participate next contest.

Capntastic posted:

No, that was midnight on Friday

You called it quits a day early and I tried to correct you. My attempt to be magnanimous was wasted.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



I've heard 120 words a minute is a pretty common pace.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Here's some things from this week what stood out to me most:

Benagain: "There was a bit of an awkward shuffle because of that since no one wanted to speak first, but the" Finish your sentences. I like koans, though.

Stone of Madness: It's hard to indicate the being is nameless without using <NAMELESS> in line, but I think that transcribing it in that way sort of mars the effect, a bit.

GreatBacon: I feel sort of let down by the turn of events, I thought it was going to end on an O. Henry "They screwed each other over" point.

Canadian Surf Club: The sentence "Boston Blood was the last, I'm through, the arthritis is too much." feels like it could be broken up, or phrased better.

Fanky Malloons: The tone of this really comes out just from the style of words chosen.

The Saddest Rhino: I really dug on the progression of the story but the last sentence is sort of awkward. TO WIT: "leaving them aside to their fates." is the sort of sentence that I know what you're trying to convey, but I don't think it actually makes sense. Either way, it lacks the sort of clarity it requires to cap the story off.

V for Vegas: The truth/lie didn't really stand out too much, and I think the whole thing could've been smoothed out with another editing pass.

BlackFrost: This sounds like a story being told third hand, it's muddled. Tighten it up.

SuperMikhail: You don't just get to say "Sherrek told Marshall a story, sad, epic, believable, and false." Other than that, there's a lot of scene transitions and time skips for a flash fiction. Adjust the scope a bit and get a stronger effect.

Twinkle Cave: Okay so I know you were trying to do the cowboy dialect thing but you got too far up your own rear end and fell off the rails or whatever the gently caress. I can't tell if a lot of it is intentional or just loving up because it crosses from cowboy-speak to AOL.

I mean, look at this poo poo: "we've decided that your to attend," "Shut ur godforsaken sonofabitch mouf,"

In my mind your characters became idiot stick figures scratched into the sand by a child. You only avoided losing this week from what might as well have been a coin flip.

Nubile Hillock: The only note I have here is "whined" so stop doing that I'd suggest.

Sedgr: Over word count, and another "whined" note. Beyond that, the arena backdrop was sort of wasted. The story could've been two people in processing at a state prison or in the waiting room at an unemployment office.

These are far from comprehensive, since I didn't go out of my way to try to have something for everyone. Maybe another judge will step in with their thoughts, maybe not.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

How can I best reflect the general air of unyielding eroticism through my voice while reading?

Lift between paragraphs.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Aunt and Nephew
513 words, 3:52.



Special thanks to my buddy Joe McHugh for performing the reading.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Noah posted:

The Grumble Baboon

Do commercials you cartoon character.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



Stone of Madness gets his turn, yeah

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Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

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



In until the blood on my teeth stops tasting so good.

  • Locked thread