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  • Locked thread
May 7, 2005

I've never participated in this - can I jump in for the song prompt?


May 7, 2005

Word Count: 1235

Thanks to Uncle Avi’s efforts, we had blown through the majority of the Passover Haggadah. It was supposed to be a solemn night, where everyone took turns reading the story of Passover from their photocopied Haggadah, either in Hebrew, phonetically spelled English-Hebrew, or plain old English. But uncle Avi was hungry, and almost half the people at the table weren’t even Jewish.

“Ok, we done, let’s eat,” he’d bark in his thick Israeli accent.

“Read the whole goddamn thing!” Aunt Beth screamed from the kitchen.

Uncle Avi would stare down at the table, running his hands over his bald head, his watch dangling loosely from his wrist, and try to jump ahead a paragraph if the next person around the table wasn’t fast enough in reading their section. Cousin Mark wasn’t fast enough in reading the four questions, and when after only asking, “Why is this night different than all other nights,” Avi jumped in.
“Because it Passover! Let’s eat!”

“Read the whole goddamn thing!” Aunt Beth screamed from the kitchen.

Uncle Avi muttered an obscenity in Hebrew as Aunt Alli excused her son’s slow reading in her thick Long Island accent, “Mahk was always bettah at Mayth.”

And now here we were at Dayenu, the final stretch. We had made it through all the plagues God cast down upon the Egyptians, the Jews had packed up their unleavened bread, and they had high-tailed it out of Egypt. It was time to sing thanks to God and then eat. I glanced at my wife sitting next to me to see how she was holding up. She was flipping back and forth through her Haggadah, furrowed brow, trying to match up the mumbled singing from around the table with a block of phonetically spelled Hebrew. I felt a twinge of guilt for dragging her out to this Long Island circus. It didn’t last long. I had been dragged to my fair share of Christmas and Easter masses with her family.

“Day, dayenu!” the table shout-sang the chorus, the only part they really knew, pronounced “Die, die-ay-new!” Enough, it would have been enough, it means in English. If God had only brought us out of Egypt, that would have been enough.

They launched in to the next section of the song, mumbling and muttering and sputtering about the miracles of parting the Red Sea and sending Manna down from Heaven to sustain the wandering Jews for 40 years in the desert. Then, “Day, dayenu!” Enough! That would have been enough! Finally, He gave us the Torah and brought us to Israel, etc. Although that’s all the song covers, there’s still the final “Day, dayenu!” of course.

“Beth, let me help you with the soup,” Grandma Eleanor said, before even Uncle Avi could turn to the issue of food again.

“Read the whole goddamn thing!” Aunt Beth screamed from the kitchen.

“It done!” Uncle Avi shouted back.

“Let me help you with the soup, Beth,” Grandma Eleanor repeated.

“We’re not doin the soup yet!” Aunt Beth screamed from the kitchen. Aunt Beth appeared in the doorway in a stained apron. “Everybody grab a plate. We’re doin it buffet style.”

Some relatives shuffled off to the kitchen. I waited for the first wave to die down. So did Grandma Eleanor.

“Isn’t this nice, Ben?” Grandma Eleanor asked me. “Being with your family? Seeing everybody?”

“It is, Grandma,” I said. Dayenu. That would have been enough, Grandma.

“But your father,” she continued. “He had to move and take you and your mother across the country. You grew up not even knowing your family! I hope you don’t turn out like him.”

My wife returned to the table with an empty plate. I investigated the first course in the kitchen. Chicken liver. A purplish horseradish-like substance. A cucumber and tomato salad. Mounds of ground-up fishy meal called Gefilte fish. I returned back to the table with my plate covered in chicken liver.

“Try the gefilte fish!” Aunt Beth implored. It looked like regurgitated fish, like something a Jewish bird fed to Jewish baby birds.

“No thanks, I don’t . . . eat that,” I said. I couldn’t think of a polite lie.

I ate the chicken liver, ignoring the chatter around me, only stopping half way through to check on my wife again. She was frowning disapprovingly at me. I looked down at my dark sweater. I inspected my khaki lap. I hadn’t spilled any food.

“That’s very fatty,” she told me. Dayenu. Enough.

I ate the rest of it.

“So, when are you having kids, Jessie?” Aunt Alli asked my wife as Aunt Beth passed around matzo ball soup bowls.
Her husband, Uncle Brian elbowed her. Dayenu. Enough.

“You’re not getting any younger. You and Ben should move out to Long Island by us. Start a family.”
“Not yet, Alli,” I said.

“They kill you with the taxes in the city,” Grandma Eleanor exclaimed. “And they kill you with taxes out here! They’re all crooked, those politicians.” Everyone could agree to that. Dayeun, Grandma. “The Republicans are the worst of all,” she said, pointing at Uncle Brian, her conservative son-in-law. Uncle Brian didn’t rise to the bait. He took his plate and went in to the kitchen.

“How college?” Uncle Avi barked at Cousin Mark.

“It ok. Classes are hard,” Mark replied. Dayenu.

“Classes - who care. How are the girls? You meet lotsa girls? You take them to bed?” Uncle Avi erupted in hoarse laughter.

Mark laughed timidly. “Well yeah. There are lots of parties, and,” he trailed off.

Aunt Beth joined everyone at the table. “There’s brisket and Chinese Chicken set out for after the soup.” She started in to her soup. “How’s work Ben?”

“Busy. I may have to go back to the office after this.” It was true, but I was also planning my exodus from this place. “Plus we couldn’t get a very long rental on our zipcar.” My wife kicked me. Dayenu. I was spouting off too many excuses for an early exit.

“You’re kidding me,” she accused me. “It’s Passover.”

“Well, I’m the low Jew on the totem pole.”

“You people work so much these days. You had to run out early on us on Yom Kippur as well,” she reminded me and my wife. “I tell ya, people work too hard and too much,” she addressed the table.

Uncle Avi shrugged his shoulders, palms up. “Cars need fixing. I fix.”

“Not you. People. Kids. We start burying them in work so early.” She was attempting a segue for some personal work kvetching. “One kid at my school was so sick and tired of all the homework his teacher was dumping on him – I don’t give my students a lot of homework, what’s the point? They hate it and they don’t do it! Anyway, this kid, let me tell you what he did, he threatened the teacher. Physically. In front of everybody!” Great story, Beth. Dayenu. “I wish the kid had done it!” she continued with a laugh. “I would have gotten to go home early!”

After the main course, I reminded everybody I had to leave early to head back to work. “It’s good to see your family. It’s good that we came,” my wife said in the car on the way back. She meant it. And it was, but perhaps seeing them for Yom Kippur would have been enough.

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 17:51 on Mar 31, 2013

May 7, 2005


Nubile Hillock posted:

Word Count: 1235 A hard limit is a hard limit. Tough poo poo.

Whoops, thought there was some leeway. Won't make that mistake again. Thanks.

May 7, 2005

In -

May 7, 2005


Uninvited Guests
word count: 890

Jeremy sat at the top of his basement stairs staring down at a small wooden door. He had been afraid of that door at the foot of the stairs for as long as he could remember. His right hand trembled as he felt for the glass bottle next to him. His left hand touched the aluminum can on his other side. His tools comforted him a little, but not enough to give him the courage to go down the stairs and execute his plan. Jeremy only had another 15 minutes before his mother came home with his little brother Dylan.

Four months ago Jeremy’s dad spent the better part of a weekend cleaning up the basement. Jeremy had attempted to open the door, hammer in hand, ready to face whatever horrors lurked behind it, knowing his father was there to protect him. When it didn’t budge after his repeated tugs at the tiny brass knob, his father remarked, “Doesn’t open, Jer. I think it’s just a silly little door the last owners attached to the wall.” Jeremy knew better. It was probably sealed with some evil magic or sinister spell.

Jeremy squinted down at the door. Too afraid to head down the stairs and turn on the lower light, only the dim bulb at the top of the stairs provided illumination. He reached in his pocket and removed his father’s lighter. He lit it, but it didn’t provide any better illumination.
One night at dinner Jeremy had tried convincing his parents he heard mice scurrying around behind the door. He implored them to hire an exterminator to check it out. When they told him they weren’t worried about it and that it would be too expensive, he started crying. “Are you scared of the door?” his dad had asked him, in the same tone he took when coaxing Jeremy to go to bed and assuring there weren’t any monsters under it. Embarrassed and defiant, Jeremy said he wasn’t. Dylan admitted he was. That’s when his mom butted in. “What if there’s a little magical world behind the door? Like Oz? Or Narnia?” What a bunch of stupid kids’ stuff. Only one thing lived behind doors like that in basements: monsters, demons, or unnamed, undiscovered terrors. Jeremy knew of countless tales where small carnivorous monsters emerged from basement holes and ate the kids and other inhabitants of the cursed house. Jeremy knew it was only a matter of time before they came for him and his brother.

Since his parents didn’t seem willing to help, Jeremy searched for the means to open the door on his terms. According to an online excerpt of Portals, Doorways, and Demonic Gates all he needed was to say “apredo portalis arroha” The author, simply known as “Cyberw1ccan,” in the section Dealing with Monsters of the Dark, hypothesized that some kind of nocturnal, light-averse creatures most likely lived behind such a door. The article recommended several ways of dealing with them once access to their realm was achieved with the door-opening incantation.

Jeremy picked up the aerosol can next to him. He didn’t have much time left now before his mother brought Dylan home from day care. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. His heart was pounding. He was sure he had seen the door knob turn. The door creaked open. “Jeremy,” something whispered. Jeremy screamed. A tiny shape emerged from the door. Jeremy leapt up and jammed his thumb down on the nozzle of his mother’s can of hairspray as he bounded down the stairs, screaming. He ignited the stream of hairspray with his father’s lighter and unleashed a river of fire upon the creature. The creature’s shrieks mingled with Jeremy’s. Jeremy’s shrill screams transformed into a guttural roar. He sprayed a nonsensical torrent of vowels and consonants at the door as he bathed the crack in streaming fire. Jeremy could hear screaming now on the other side of the door. His roar transformed to, “gently caress you!”

“gently caress you! gently caress you! gently caress you!” he shouted through tears of shock, fear, anger, and adrenaline as he ran back up the stairs. He dropped the can of hairspray and grabbed the glass bottle he had filled with gasoline from one of the cans in the garage. He leapt back down the stairs, two at a time. He wrenched open the tiny door. He could make out small sizzling lumps in the darkness. The thing that had poked around the door had crawled back a few inches. It was hideous and smoldering. It resembled a small naked guinea pig with a humanoid head. A murderous kid-devouring gremlin, Jeremy thought. Or a harmless gnome from a little magical world. Like Oz. Or Narnia. The hideous thing looked up at Jeremy. It tried to speak, but only emitted a soft gurgle. “Shut up!” Jeremy shrieked as he lit the gasoline soaked rag sticking out of the glass bottle. He threw the bomb in to the darkness and slammed the door. A chorus of anguished shrieks followed him up the stairs. He slammed the basement door as his mother entered the front door, holding Dylan. Jeremy threw himself into his surprised mother and buried his weeping face in her stomach. He wrapped his right arm around his mother and his left arm around his little brother.

May 7, 2005


Kaishai posted:

Jagermonster, "Uninvited Guests":

Your writing is rough. I don't remember noticing so many errors in your entry last week. Your use of the imaginary book disappointed me too, although maybe it shouldn't, since I wouldn't be surprised if Googling +"Portals, Doorways, and Demonic Gates" actually got me somewhere.

('Your search - +"Portals, Doorways, and Demonic Gates" - did not match any documents.' Thank you, Google. It's good to be wrong now and then.)

The point remains: the book is relevant for one paragraph. The story doesn't need it at all, which goes against the spirit of the prompt.

You've certainly used the picture, however, and Jeremy's ultimate level of violence was surprising yet believable to me: he's afraid and hates what he fears, so he bends everything he has on destroying it. This moment could be his transition out of childhood. The deepening voice and sudden expletives suggest that too, not to mention the business of having just roasted Stuart Little alive. The mouse-things can symbolize youthful innocence, more or less. Jeremy gets angrier when he realizes what he might have done--I like that too; I'm guessing that consciously or subconsciously, he realizes what he's lost, with no one to blame but himself.

So your symbolism is pretty effective. The prose, less so. You too should remember to use the past perfect in your flashbacks. Your third paragraph is a wreck: 'Too afraid to head down the stairs and turn on the lower light, only the dim bulb at the top of the stairs provided illumination. He reached in his pocket and removed his father’s lighter. He lit it, but it didn’t provide any better illumination.' The first sentence tells me the light bulb is afraid, and both sentences use a variant on 'provide illumination,' which is much too distinct a phrase to repeat so quickly. Only one person should speak in a given paragraph, but two people speak in your fourth. You say 'Only one thing lived behind doors like that in basements' and then list several possibilities. You left a period off the sentence containing 'apredo portalis arroha.' Later, you don't capitalize 'gently caress you!' Etc. I would also split your final paragraph into two and put the break after 'Or Narnia.'

Why did the mouse-things know his name? Why did they choose that moment to emerge? It strains coincidence a little. I would rather he'd knocked or something before the knob turned, though I suppose he's too scared for that.

This isn't on my high-score list, but it isn't bad. It's a decent take on the picture, and the action has energy behind it. You should haul this over to the Farm if you want to work with it further.

Thanks a lot for the crit. I had intended that the imaginary "book" (here, internet article) have a more significant role in the story by contributing to his fear and providing him with the knowledge of how to make the improvised incendiary weapons, but I guess that didn't come across. That leaves my score at 0 for 2 at effectively following and implementing the prompt in full. Third time'll be the charm.

May 7, 2005


Sitting Here posted:

Also since I'm feeling capricious, from right now until whenever I get bored I will assign a story to anyone who asks. This may work out well for you, it may not.

Can you assign me one, please? Thank you.

May 7, 2005


Nevermind, didn't see the change. Will find one.

May 7, 2005

Nothing is grabbing me as I go through these old threads. Anyone have any stories in mind that they'd like to see rewritten? I'll take the suggestion of whoever is the first to post. Feel free to be as sadistic as you want (terrible story or really good story).

May 7, 2005


Jagermonster posted:

Nothing is grabbing me as I go through these old threads. Anyone have any stories in mind that they'd like to see rewritten? I'll take the suggestion of whoever is the first to post. Feel free to be as sadistic as you want (terrible story or really good story).

Since no one has suggested anything, and it was a lazy move on my part to solicit suggestions in the first place, I'll do Kris Kruel's losing entry Vambraces at Sea from two rounds ago:

May 7, 2005

Original: Kris Kruel's Vambraces at Sea (957 words), Loser of Week XXXIV
That song:

Rework: Pursuit of Honor (1040 words)

Olaf’s sails flutter uselessly against the feeble breeze. He is not surprised he has drifted for hours in a calm sea. The haste with which he departed prevented him from sacrificing an animal to All Father to ensure a blessed voyage. Black clouds on the horizon indicate a squall approaching from the East. Olaf’s idle calm will soon be replaced with chaos. Having sailed in storms so violent the water turned to a frothy white, he is not worried. What worries him is the ship also approaching from the East. It could only be his brother Erik.

Fraternal twins, Olaf was minutes older than Erik and therefore the rightful heir to their father’s title. According to their custom, any other younger twin would have been abandoned in the wilderness. Their father, the Jarl of their clan, had ordered Erik’s life spared. Erik thus dedicated himself to becoming a greater man than his older brother to regain the honor thought lost by that original, inescapable act of mercy. He had relentlessly trained in all forms of combat. He had joined every raid and skirmish in which their clan fought. Erik had gained glory on the battlefield. His people respected him.

Their father had kept Olaf close and relied on him for counsel. While Erik had proven himself on the battlefield, Olaf had planned those battles. Olaf was not only bigger and stronger than Erik, but more naturally adept with a blade. Olaf mastered fighting techniques in days that Erik spent weeks drilling. Olaf’s kindness and affection toward Erik had been the greatest insult of all. Erik saw it as more acts of mercy, further eroding his honor.

The coals from their father’s pyre had not yet cooled when Erik challenged Olaf for their father’s title. They were surrounded by their father’s closest lieutenants. Olaf was caught off guard.

“I’m not going to fight you, Erik.”

Erik had already drawn his sword. “It is my right. You have but two options: fight or exile yourself.”

The decision was easy. “I always wanted to explore the lands to the west.” Olaf turned and left.

“Coward!” Erik shouted after him.

Erik’s ship is now close enough that Olaf can examine Erik’s crew rowing toward him. None of them are warriors from their clan. Instead, Erik must have hired mercenaries or purchased slaves. Olaf wonders if their people even know Erik went after him.

The rain is now coming down in sheets. Olaf’s sails billow in the wind. He uses the wind’s locomotion to rotate his craft for easier boarding.
“How goes it, brother?” Olaf calls out. “It does not appear that All Father blesses our travels today. First dead calm and now this tempest approaches.”
“You would take my honor and run!” Erik shouts back. “You dishonored us both by not fighting me!”

Olaf realizes there is no way out of this. His attempt at self-exile merely delayed the inevitable. Although Olaf doubts it will soften his brother’s rage or slow his desperate pursuit of honor, Olaf shouts back, “I merely wished to spare our people pain and turmoil, Erik. We both would have been fine leaders. That’s why I left. Neither of us need die.”

Erik is no longer listening; he is giving orders to his crew. Erik and his men are heavily armored. Olaf adjusts his leather wrist guards. They are the only armor he brought with him. They are the only armor he ever wears. He feels sluggish and therefore more exposed in anything heavier.
The boats are close enough now that Erik’s men can join them with a wood plank. Two start across. Olaf shifts his vessel with a tug of a rope. The splash of the doomed attackers cannot be heard over the squall’s din.

It is reckless to fight out at sea like this, especially in a storm. But, Erik is not stupid. He will exhaust all of Olaf’s tricks by using these thugs as fodder and then face him one on one. If there are any survivors, Erik will kill them. He only needed them to catch Olaf.

Erik’s men create improvised grappling hooks with spare rope and weapons. They throw daggers, swords, and a mace across the gap between the boats, the weapons find holds, and the men starting pulling the vessels together. Olaf draws his sword. When the crafts draw close enough, Olaf charges Erik’s men. The attackers are unsteady from the violent rocking and ill prepared to deal with someone as skilled as Olaf. Olaf runs the first boarder through with his sword. Grabbing a second with his free hand, Olaf hurls him back into the others. Olaf uses a swell for momentum, and leaping onto Erik’s ship, slashes at the disoriented men. Sea spray, rain, and blood mix, showering the men.

Half a dozen men lie bleeding on the deck. Olaf stands facing his brother. Erik’s two remaining soldiers put down their swords and surrender. Erik stabs one through the back. When the other turns around to plead mercy, Erik slashes his throat. Olaf laughs at their cowardice.

A wave hammers the ships, soaking the brothers. Erik charges. Olaf stands his ground, parries, and thrusts at Erik. Erik nimbly jumps back, dodging the attack, but not as fast as he should have. Erik’s rain-soaked furs and heavy armor compromises his speed, the one advantage he had over his brother’s size and strength. Inch by inch, Olaf backs Erik to the bow of the heaving ship. Lightning flashes with each swing. Thunder crashes when their swords meet. The sky remains black, the howling wind undisturbed, when Olaf’s sword cuts through Erik’s armor and abdomen.

Erik falls to his knees. He drops his sword. He looks up into Olaf’s face, whispering something Olaf cannot hear. Olaf kneels down to hear his brother’s last words. Striking like a adder, Erik draws a dagger from his boot and buries it in Olaf’s rib cage. Olaf slumps against his dying brother.

“I had to,” Erik wheezes. “You took everything. By being first.”

Forked lightning dances across the sky. Thunder rattles the ships. A fine sacrifice for All Father, Olaf muses. He wonders if this was the only way. He looks forward to feasting in Valhalla with his brother.

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 13:58 on Apr 14, 2013

May 7, 2005


Erogenous Beef posted:

The problem is that you shoot a giant Viking-sized hole in your plot right at the outset. You present Olaf with a choice: battle or exile, presumably abdicating his throne. He chooses exile - why? It's unclear to me what he wants or seeks. Then Erik pursues him, even though he seems to have gotten what he wants.

Oy. Looks like I completely failed to make clear that: Olaf loved his brother and wouldn't kill him. At the end Olaf realized it was inevitable when Erik chased him down. Erik pursued Olaf because without actually defeating Olaf, the throne and everything else would be a Pyrrhic victory. Their father doomed them both the second he spared the younger brother. Thank you for the crit.

May 7, 2005


May 7, 2005

The Mysterious Lawman vs. the Untouchable Kingpin 1126 words

A dozen defeated men sit slouched in metal folding chairs littered across the precinct war room. They sip cold coffee. They squint at their smart phones. They do everything but make eye contact with me. They pretend I’m not here. They act as if I’m not their last goddamn hope in cleaning up their mess.

A glossy photo of Steven “Hollywood” Hernandez hangs pinned to the bulletin board behind me. Hernandez’s toothy movie star smile mocks the LAPD from his perch. If this were a TV cop show, strings would snake down from his photo, connecting it to pictures of all his lieutenants, distributors, dealers, and henchmen. Instead, a few unconnected pictures of “known associates” dot the board.

“I only have a couple more questions,” I say. Some look up. I smack the dais with an open palm. “Hey! Listen up! This won’t take much longer.”

A slovenly cop sagging over both sides of his flimsy chair grunts, “You got all our files. What else you need?”

“Detective Morehouse, I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page for the op tomorrow,” I say. “Do we have confirmation Hernandez is definitely proceeding tomorrow?”

“Yes,” someone in back barks.

“Detective Reboro,” I call out. “Thank you. And we’ll be fine just showing up.”

“Oh yeah,” he confirms. “Ol’ Hollywood opens his home to all law enforcement for these get-togethers. Just another way he likes to mock us and stick his thumb in our eye.”

“Good,” I tell him. “I expect all of you to be there.” Groans. “I may need backup. Plus, you won’t want to miss the show.”

“You sure you’re going to be able to nail him,” a wrinkled, hunched detective to my left asks.

“I’ve got some leads,” I assure him.

“All we need is Hernandez out of the picture for a little while,” the wizened officer says. “Once he’s gone, his lieutenants will try to fill the vacuum. No way they’ll be careful as him. The whole empire’ll fall.”

I nod. “Dismissed.”

I have one lead. And one hunch. The rest I’ll have to play by ear. As the detectives shuffle out, I take a manila folder off the pile in front of me. I scan its contents for the third time. What are you going to steal tomorrow, Mr. Hernandez?

The next day a cool breeze and a cloudless sky bless our outdoor operation. I raise a hand to my forehead to shield the LA sun as I step out of the Agency van. I can’t take in Hernandez’s entire mansion without craning my neck. I remove a picture from my breast pocket for comparison.

“The party is being held in the back grounds,” a valet directs me. He notices me admiring the architecture. “The façade is a replica of the famous Castigili manor in Italy. All the building materials were imported.”

“You don’t say?” I put five bucks in his hand. “Thanks.”

Even Hernandez’s driveway looks expensive. Interlocking polished stones wind their way through a buzz-cut lawn of delicate grass. A giant green Mickey Mouse greets me as I round the bend. Other topiary Disney characters frolic with Mickey.


The party is in full swing as I approach the wrought iron gate to the “back grounds.” The torso of either a very tall man or a man on stilts bobs along in view over the wall. “Feliz Cumpleanos, Nicki!” says a hanging banner. Children’s squeals and the dull murmur of adult conversation drift over. One of the tuxedoed bouncers smirks as I walk up.

“Law enforcement?” he asks me.

“You got it,” I say.

“Some of your friends are already here,” he says, grinning. He eyes the fancy silver badge attached to my belt. “I’ve never seen that one. Who you with?”

“I’m not from around here,” is all I give him as I slide by.

Acres of manicured verdant lawn stretch out before me. Groups of children swarm magicians and acrobats. Groups of adults swarm the portable bars and celebrities in attendance. Someone taps my shoulder.

It’s Detective Reboro. “He’s over there, by the cake.”

I spot Hollywood. Nicki’s over there too. Perfect. “Thanks.”

“What are you going to do?” Reboro asks as I start over to them.

I just motion for him to follow.

Hernandez is surrounded by a throng of fans. His son Nicki sits atop his shoulders.

“Any other requests?” Hollywood asks.

“Do the one from Annihilator!” Nicki shouts.

Hollywood puts him down. Nicki runs a few steps and does an about face to watch the performance.

Eyes closed, chin down, Hollywood raises a bent index finger to his forehead. Once in character, he drops his hand. He opens his eyes. “Give up, Goldstein,” he growls. “Your henchmen are dead. I’m taking you in.” He pauses for the bad guy’s line. “Have it your way.” He pantomimes a shotgun. “BOOM! Adios, pendejo.” Some people actually murmur along with the one-liner.

Brilliant. The sycophants all around clap like trained monkeys with cymbals. From telenovela heartthrob to b-movie action hero to dope kingpin. Only in this town. Hollywood Hernandez motions to one of his men.

“Please join Steven and Nicki for the cutting of the cake,” a loudspeaker beckons.

People flock over. I start shouldering and elbowing my way to the front. It’s almost show time. When enough partygoers have joined the throng, Hollywood takes a deep dramatic breath and throws his hands in the air.

“Haaaaaappy!” he bellows.

The crowd joins in, “birthday to you!”

I close my eyes as they sing the rest to Nicki. The coup de grâce. I thrust my badge in the air.

“Steven Hernandez!” I shout. “By the power vested in me under article 5.2 of the 2020 International Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Treaty, I hereby place you under arrest.”

The crowd gasps. He throws his head back and laughs. I grab him by the arm. His men take a step toward me. The LAPD detectives move in to form a wall between Hollywood’s goons and me.

“In accordance with the IIPPET,” I say as I slap on the cuffs, “you will be taken into custody to await judgment by international tribunal. You are charged with the following crimes: unlawful reproduction and display of a copyrighted and trademarked architectural work; unlawful reproduction and display of copyrighted and trademarked characters; unlawful performance of a copyrighted screenplay; the unlawful performance of a copyrighted musical work; and the unlawful inducement of others to perform a copyrighted musical work.”

I give him a shove toward the van where my men are waiting. He stumbles as he tries to turn around to face me, to show me his furrowed, confused brow. I lean in close, “next time, license the rights to ‘Happy Birthday,’ motherfucker.”

May 7, 2005


sebmojo posted:

Crabrock has done you the huge favour of making GBS threads out something so terrible that you're probably already safe from the loser av. That's not a luxury you get every week, don't waste it.

As cutesy and smug Crabrock's entry is, it's way better than yours.

May 7, 2005


CancerCakes posted:

Preemptively in for whenever systran gets off him butt. Like last week the last entry under the deadline will get a crit from me, the statistically worst writer in the place.

Also I am pretty sick of people in here not having PMs, and those that have them not using them (or i seek you or em ess en or what ever the kids use nowadays, it has initials) to coordinate their circle jerks.

I will brawl anyone who doesn't already have PMs, you win I buy you the upgrade, you lose and you buy it for yourself.

Your prompt, word count is 450, judges and deadline tbc
if you read this spoiler congrats you are a judge, report for duty at the button under this post that says "message", unless you ain't man (or woman) enough. limited availability

Thanks for the crit kaishai, I don't want to poo poo up the thread talking bout it though.

I'll take you on for the upgrade.

p.s. thanks for the crit, Kaishai

edit - just looked back and saw the "your prompt" part. I feel weird picking a prompt for a brawl - will let whoever judges pick something

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 03:44 on Apr 24, 2013

May 7, 2005


May 7, 2005


Black Griffon posted:


CancerCakes vs. Jagermonster

Pick a picture from the PYF Awkward/Ugly thread and write a story about the "a day in the life" of the chosen unfortunate(s). I want something that's either hilarious or has a genuine emotional punch. Anyone can write lazy sarcastic satire about a sweaty nerd, you have 450 words to give me something more.

Word oval office: 450
Due date: 23:59 GMT, Sunday April 28 (sooner is better)

That thread is the worst, but that's what I get for punting on the prompt. I may go blind before inspiration strikes. I'm on page 7.

May 7, 2005


Black Griffon posted:


CancerCakes vs. Jagermonster

Pick a picture from the PYF Awkward/Ugly thread and write a story about "a day in the life" of the chosen unfortunate(s). I want something that's either hilarious or has a genuine emotional punch. Anyone can write lazy sarcastic satire about a sweaty nerd, you have 450 words to give me something more.

Word oval office: 450
Due date: 23:59 GMT, Sunday April 28 (sooner is better)

Best Worst Office Party Word Count: 391

Nancy smirked as the Birthday Boy walked into the conference room. Her half-assed party spread lay haphazardly strewn about the conference room table. She protested her duties as the official Office Birthday Party Organizer with a chocolate Bundt cake and four foot-long ham and cheese subs. Let Bill complain to Mr. Forester about the lousy party. Maybe he’ll make some other secretary take care of this poo poo. Jackass Forester never even bothers to stop by these things anyway.

“Happy Bir'day, man,” Dave from Maintenance, the only other attendee, grumbled.

“Happy Birthday, Bill,” Susan muttered from her corner perch. Enjoy your day old discount grocery store cake and white bread value subs.

“Oh man!” Birthday Bill squealed. “Chocolate Bundt cake! I love these!” He swiveled his head back and forth, showing Nancy and Dave his stupid grin. “My mom used to get these when her friends came over to play bridge. They’d never eat all of it and the next morning I’d polish it off watching Saturday Morning cartoons! Blast from the past,” he chuckled. “How’d you know?”

Nancy shrugged and noticed she was smiling too. So what if he likes it? He got a cake he likes instead of the usual birthday cake from the bakery down the block and she pocketed the 10 dollar difference. Win win.

“And Suuuuuuubwaaaaaay!” Bill grabbed one of the subs and held it against his chest.

Nancy laughed and involuntary clapped her hands. No way. Nancy hated the usual greasy pizza everyone shoveled into their faces at these parties, but thought she was the only one.

“Looks like I’m not the only one who was getting a sick of eating pizza every time.” Bill winked at Dave. “Eat fresh!”

“Mnyeah,” Dave said through a mouthful of sub. He hadn’t even waited for Bill to show up to grab one and start devouring it.

“Thank you, Nancy,” Bill said, beaming. “I really appreciate the thought you put into this.”

“My pleasure.” She realized she meant it, despite her intended sabotage.

Bill took a deep a breath. “I wish for more personalized parties like this!” He dramatically blew on the three unlit candles.

“Happy Birthday, Bill,” Susan said from the doorway.

Susan’s birthday was in a couple of weeks. Maybe Nancy would ask her what kind of cake and food she wanted in lieu of the usual.

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 17:04 on Apr 28, 2013

May 7, 2005


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Also singing happy birthday isn't a criminal violation of copyright law, but I'm giving you a pass on that one, since maybe they'll make it criminal by 2020. Disney topiaries should be an arrestable offense anyway.

Thanks for the crit.

Kaishai pointed that out too. That was the fantastical profession part - that in the near future IP laws would tighten to criminalize things that now only incur civil liability, and there'd be some sort of cooperative international enforcement squad. Lame, I know, especially considering how much leeway the prompt provided, but I'm a lame IP litigator and that is unfortunately where my mind went.

May 7, 2005

Didn't get it done this week. Sorry, Kleptobot. Looks like you can go against the other duelists whose partners were no-shows though.

May 7, 2005


May 7, 2005

A Prayer (877 words)

General Ibiso rolled a wooden bead between his thumb and forefinger. The prayer beads attached to it idly danced in the dimly lit barracks. Watching the General examine the contraband, Alistair could see the scar that ran from the General’s thumbnail up his hand, disappearing under his sleeve. The General's index finger lacked a fingernail, and was perhaps a couple centimeters too short.

“How do they work?” the General asked.

“They, uh,” Alistair said. He winced. “They don’t really work .” He would have used air quotes to emphasize “work” if his hands weren’t tied behind his back. “Religious men. They hold them while they pray.”

“These grant wishes?” The General stared at him, daring him to mock the question.

“No, they merely,” Alistair closed his eyes to concentrate, “they merely help them to pray, to meditate.”

“They help propagandists commit crimes.”

Alistair said nothing. His head ached from beatings, his arms were cramped from restraint, and his tongue was dry and swollen, occasionally snaking uselessly against cracked and bleeding lips, but this questioning was worse than his physical pain. Why didn’t the General just ask for a bribe and send him on his way? Alistair assured himself that if the General was going to kill him, he would have killed him already. This mantra was growing less comforting as the hours crept by.

The General tossed the prayer beads into Alistair’s confiscated duffel bag. They snagged on a crucifix, slumped on a bible. He nodded to someone behind Alistair.

Alistair grunted. He knew he had been hit in his head, but the pain cut at his neck. Slowly, he felt the throbbing work its way up the base of his skull to the upper left side of his head. He retched.

General Ibiso asked, “Do you think you can strut into my country and spit on my law? Spit on me?”

“Forgive,” Alistair said. He grunted. He took a deep breath and almost choked; he couldn’t say on what. The General’s eyes, burning white spots in a sea of deep black and camouflage, narrowed. Alistair tried to focus on the white spots. Alistair feared that if he passed out the General would ensure that he wouldn't wake up again. Alistair feared another blow. Alistair feared saying the wrong thing. While he juggled his fears, he fumbled for placating assurances.

“I thought I was still in South Sudan.” Alistair spit blood. “I thought,” his body jerked against the ropes restraining him as a coughing fit seized him. “I thought – I didn't mean to bring them . . . here.” He grunted. He tried to focus, to stay on his train of thought. “I didn’t know I was in.” Cough. “in.” A croaking gasp. “In.” A shallow breath. A hoarse laugh. “Where the gently caress.” His belly shook. He chuckled in short painful wheezes. “I don’t – I don’t even, even know what the, what this loving place is called anymore.” This was it. He didn’t care. His shoulders shook as he laughed silently. Tears streamed down his face.

The General leaned forward in his chair. “You are in the New Republic of the Sudanese Congo. And as Ruler and Commander-Chief of this sovereign nation you are under my protection.” The General smiled with bright white teeth. “But you must obey my benevolent laws.” The General leaned back. He unsheathed a machete and thumbed the point of it.

Alistair’s breathing evened out. He thanked the God his customers worshipped that General Ibiso hadn’t reacted more violently to his outburst. The General’s toothy smile pulsated as Alistair’s focused shifted from the white eyes. How are all these despots’ teeth always so loving white Alistair wondered. He lost himself in a series of smiling war lords, generals, and supreme leaders.

The General retrieved the prayer beads with his machete and dangled them in front of Alistair. “Why do you sell this trash?” He spit into the duffel bag.

“People can’t get them in many places in central Africa,” Alistair said. “They pay a lot of money for this stuff.” An idea, like lightning, flashed. A chance for bribery: “But I have other things! Gems! Liquor! Many valuable things. I can get much.” His second wind died. He coughed up blood.

“I tell you what,” the General said. “I make you a deal, smuggler.”

Alistair nodded feebly.

The General strutted around Alistair’s chair. He cut the ropes that bound Alistair’s wrists. “I will let you go. You will get me all these fine things you promise and you must also show me on a map the missionaries’ outposts that buy these unlawful goods.”

Alistair nodded again.

The General handed Alistair the prayer beads. “First, you will pray for their deaths.”

“I don’t believe,” Alistair said. “I don’t believe in God. I’m not religious. I just, uh, sell things they need out in the wilderness.”

“All the easier then,” the General said. He laughed.

The General’s laughter shook Alistair. With each bleat another missionary’s face flashed in Alistair’s mind. They weren’t just customers. They had been kind to him. They gave him lodging. They fed him. They blessed him.

“Well?” the General asked.

Alistair closed his eyes. He absent-mindedly fingered the prayer beads. He prayed for all his Christian customers’ deaths.

May 7, 2005


May 7, 2005

The Pride [1654]

After Man was cast out of God’s garden, but before the great human tribes scattered into the Wilderness, he, along with all the other animals of the Earth, lived under the dominion of the Lion. Having been stripped of his divine authority, Man proved no match for the Lion’s strength, ferocity, numbers, and organization. Like the mighty Elephant, the stalwart Rhinoceros, the clever Ape, and the swift Cheetah before him, Man submitted to the dominant lion pride, Superbia.
Superbia began as six lions with one conviction: lions were the greatest animal God created. Believing it their destiny, lions Luxuria, Gula, Avaritia, Acedia, Ira, and Invidia banded together to unite all Liondom in conquest over the lesser animals. Many ambitious lions rallied to their cause. Defiant rivals were defeated. Pride Superbia’s ranks swelled with the lionesses and cubs of assimilated prides.

Luxuria took on the role of official pride matchmaker. He was obsessed with perfecting the next generation of the pride in order to safeguard Superbia’s future superiority. He also directed the best mates to the six founding members’ harems.

Gula became the pride quartermaster. No longer would buzzards and hyenas profit from the hard work of lions. The lesser animals would find only clean-picked bones after Gula saw to it that every lion, young and old had their fill from fresh kills.

Avaritia managed Superbia’s territory. He divided it amongst the pride, rewarding the strong and loyal for their service. He also policed it, harshly punishing all trespassers. Disrespect to Superbia territory was challenge to its rule.

Acedia maintained order within the pride. He provided each member with a role to play in contributing to Superbia’s strength. There were no idle paws under Acedia’s administration.

Ira commanded Superbia’s sorties against enemy prides and species. It was not enough for either Ira or Superbia that the other lion prides fell in line or that the lions’ natural rivals submitted to Superbia’s authority. Ira did not relent in his campaign of dominance until all animals bowed to Superbia.

Invidia focused his energies on analyzing the other prides, and once they had all been conquered, the other animals. Defeating the rival predators came easily. Ira prevailed with strength and ferocity alone. Other animals, however, required Invidia’s and the other founders’ full strategic efforts, as well the full weight of the pride.

“Submit to Superbia’s authority or perish,” Invidia said to the largest bull of the dominant elephant herd.

The bull grunted with laughter. “Be gone, cat,” he said. “Go rule over your little fiefdom of hyenas and antelope. We have no quarrel with you. But I will not hesitate to trample you if you threaten me or mine.”

As the big bull turned to tend to his herd, Invidia pounced, clawing viciously at the elephant’s thick thigh. The bull elephant trumpeted with rage. He charged Invidia, but the lion disappeared into the jungle.

“I gave you a chance to surrender, oaf,” Invidia growled from the thick underbrush. He roared, giving the signal to his pride. Dozens of lions sprang from the jungle, ambushing the elephant herd. They clawed bulls, slashed the females, and murdered the calfs, before disappearing again. The elephants stampeded in panic and rage. When the elephants regrouped, the lions pounced again. After weeks of starving, sleep deprivation, and death, the big bull yielded. Bleeding, and dehydrated, the elephant bowed before Invidia.

As a dozen lions tore the former elephant leader apart, Invidia said, “That is for the superior animals you so recklessly trampled.” He addressed the rest of the kneeling herd, “Do not despair, elephants, soon all animals will join the fold. You now serve your betters.”

With the elephants under their command, Superbia was able to beat the Rhinoceroses into submission. When the tree-bound monkeys resisted and fled, Ira and Invidia stationed lions at all the watering holes until, out of desperation, the apes acquiesced to lion rule. Cheetahs, and other related cat families, were welcomed into the pride as equals. When they realized they were subjects like the rest of the animals, it was too late to flee, for they were now thoroughly surrounded by their suspicious superiors.

As Superbia’s victories mounted, their pride multiplied exponentially. Their rule grew increasingly tyrannical.

Luxuria diverted more and more lionesses to the six Superbia founders. Worse, he issued directives to the subjugated animals, limiting their reproduction, especially of those that could someday threaten the pride.

Gula rationed less and less food to the inferior animals. Many starved.

Avaritia relocated animals from their ancestral homes in order to give Superbia the choicest land.

Acedia blamed subordinates for any failures, yet continued to delegate responsibility. Lions and lesser animals alike were killed in mass purges when unforeseen natural disasters disrupted the pride’s progress.

Ira perceived tepid discontent from the subjugated populations as outright insurrection and publicly executed the agitators.

Lacking any more targets or enemies to analyze, Invidia turned his scrutiny inward, developing the best strategies to remove popular lions or lesser animals before they could challenge the original six’s rule.

Still, despite this ever increasing cruelty, Superbia’s reign endured, for none were strong enough to oppose it. Having only recently been expelled into the Lion’s domain, Man was the last to bend the knee to Superbia. He too lacked the strength to oppose the lions head on, but he had one thing that the lions lacked: knowledge. Man had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and knew sin. Although no names yet existed for them, Man saw the sins eroding Superbia’s integrity. Just like Man’s sin had led to his banishment from paradise, the Lions’ belief that it was the greatest, and that its greatness entitled Lion to its dominion, would be their downfall.

Since Man had once been favored by the Creator, the lions kept Man close as a trusted advisor. From his privieged position, Man whispered to Luxuria, whose authority over courtship and bloodlines had transformed into lecherous desire, “Look how the other animal families reproduce and flourish, while Lion must mate with the same stale population of lionesses. If you were truly the greatest, you would mount the females of every species.”

Man whispered to Gula, who had grown fat from feasting, “Lions rule the other animals yet still know hunger. You fast for hours and even days between fresh kills. If you were truly the greatest, there would be no time of the day the other animals weren’t serving you their best delicacies.”

Man whispered to Avaritia, whose supervision of territorial holdings had intensified into mania, “How can you allow the other animals to hold so much land if they are nothing but subjects to the Lion? If you were truly the greatest, you would control all the lands the other animals occupy. Your freedom to roam as you please is fleeting. The other animals do not respect you as true owners of all territory.”

Man whispered to Acedia, who had grown feeble and dependent through perpetual delegation, “You are taxed and overburdened for a creature of such superiority. Why do you Lions take on so much responsibility? What is the point of ruling, of having dominion over others, if you must still do everything yourselves. If you are truly the greatest, the other animals should be bound to your will, bent to complete servitude, enabling you to lead a life of complete leisure.”

Man whispered to Ira, who had become more bloodthirsty conqueror than tactician, “You have defeated many adversaries, but your victories are hollow while your enemies still roam about. They taunt you with their very existence. They think you weak. Lions can only be the greatest when the land becomes permanently stained with the blood of the weaker species.”

Finally, Man whispered to Invidia, whose constant analysis of others had turned into covetous obsession, “Look how the other animals strut about when you are not watching. They may fear you when you are upon them, but they laugh at your authority the second you turn your back on them. If you were truly the greatest, the other animals would have nothing at all, not even their lives.”

With those seeds planted by Man, the six ruling members of Superbia called a summit of lions and the leaders of the lesser animals.

Luxuria’s proposal of sexual conquest of all species horrified lion and inferior species alike. It seemed to all an abomination.

Gula’s plan of keeping all food for the ruling lions appeared unworkable to even the most fervent lion supremacists. They lions could not just starve all the other animals.

Avaritia’s new scheme of land division, giving all rights and titles to the lion ruling class, reignited old grudges and seemed unnecessary overkill to most lions.

Acedia’s desire to have the inferior species serve lions even more completely and subserviently infuriated lion and lower animal alike. Lions saw it as weakening their ability to effectively govern. The other animals perceived an increasing reliance on other animals as an admission of incompetence and weakness.

Ira called for all-out war and annihilation of the lesser animals. “Kill them all!” He roared. “Now is the time to strike.”

His increasingly rebellious lions hesitated in striking the other incensed animals. They turned to Invidia for guidance.

“Ira is right,” Invidia said. “Lions are the greatest creation of God. We are the only animal worthy of this gift of life. Kill the other animals. Kill them all.”

Seeing that their leaders and founders had succumbed completely to their madness, the lions joined their fellow animals in opposing Superbia’s ruling lions. In the ensuing melee the founding lions wore torn asunder. Superbia was fractured into hundreds of smaller prides. The reign of Lion ended.

Man reasserted his dominance over the animals of the world. Lions still know they are still a great and regal animal. However, they now fear buying into that belief completely. They know that where pride rules, all sin follows.

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 05:11 on May 27, 2013

May 7, 2005

In with Clement Vallandigham.

May 7, 2005


May 7, 2005

In. Please flash rule me. Thank you.

May 7, 2005

Birth, Curse, and Choice
Flash Rule: Fearsome creatures must find a kind of happiness in the story.
Word Count: 985

He knew sorrow. His grandfather tangled in barbed wire, the blood drained from his torn scales. He lapped up the blood with his father, trying to find nourishment in a senseless death.

He knew fear. Gun shots thundered through the darkness as he scrambled through the desert scrub, abandoning the goat carcass. His father never made it back to the burrow.

He knew hatred. A metal jaw with razor teeth, set for predators and trespassers, them, clamped on his mother’s leg. After she died he sucked the blood she had trailed through their tunnels, caked in the dirt.

The ranchers and villagers had never set traps or fired their guns so wildly in the dark. Everything had changed when the dangerous men came. They guarded strange crops. They patrolled trails that swelled with people and trucks hauling the crop, people, or bodies. The surrounding towns were now full of the dangerous men, men who killed other men, women, and children.

The men with guns did not drink the blood. They burned or buried the bodies. He came across men in a truck, bodies piled high in their payload. They hung them from a power line outside of a town. The blood dripped down and dried on the concrete. Such a waste.

He knew he would die soon. The ranchers had all fled, taking their livestock with them. Or they were killed by the dangerous men, their goats and cows and pigs butchered as well. He could not feed. He curled up in his burrow. He would die as he lived most of his life: alone in the dark.

A whistle. Six notes. Rising, then falling. Slow. Close. He picked himself up.

Delirious and feeble, he crawled from one of his tunnel entrances. Nothing but the hot night air greeted him. He heard the whistle call to him again. He plodded off in its direction.

When the whistling stopped, gunshots briefly replaced it. He followed the sound to a crumbling building. Two men lay on the ground, their stomachs torn open. Their guns rested harmlessly in limp hands.

A sack lay crumpled in the brush. It smelled of death. He tugged at it. Inside he found bones.

He turned back to the men. He had never drank human blood. He slurped it up, still fresh, oozing from their abdomens.

“Chupito,” something said with a voice of scraping gravel. “I thought you a myth.”

He screeched.

A pale man loomed over him. Not a man. He could catch no scent of blood. A walking corpse, with rotting grey skin. Bloody entrails dangled from its clenched fists. A black sombrero covered its face.

“Little one,” it said, “I am called El Silbon.”

He bared his fangs and growled.

“Such efficient tools,” El Silbon said. “You can put them to use tonight. There are wicked men in there.” The thing’s lip quivered. It looked hungry. “Men like my father who prey on women. Fiends like my grandfather who take pleasure in others’ suffering. Men I must collect. Nobody will miss them.” He extended his hands to the Chupacabra.

The Chupacabra did not understand El Silbon’s words, but he licked its hands clean. He wagged his tail.

El Silbon hefted the sack over its slumped shoulder and muttered to it, “Come, father.”

The Chupacrabra followed the shambling dead man.

The companions entered the hacienda. Raucous music reverberated from behind closed double doors.

El Silbon pursed its cracked lips and whistled. Six shorts notes. Rising then falling. He repeated it. And again.

A man poked his head out. He squinted at El Silbon in the dim light. “You a Sinola?”

El Silbon dropped his bag and shuffled forward.

“Zeta?” He raised his gun. “Michoacana?”

El Silbon grabbed the man’s head and twisted.

The man screamed and fired a shot before El Silbon silenced him.

The music stopped. Footsteps fell like a sudden rain shower.

El Silbon passed through the threshold. His body shook as bullets flew threw him. Small pieces of him fell to the floor, but he showed no pain. El Silbon looked back at the cowering Chupacabra.

The Chupacabra rushed forth. It had never attacked a human before. He panicked, unleashing all of his natural defenses. He released sulfurous smoke that choked the attackers. The men stumbled and lost all sense of balance and direction after looking into his glowing red eyes. He bit at ankles, calves, anything his three fangs could reach, as he scrambled around the room.

El Silbon advanced. As the men lurched and fired wildly, El Silbon snapped necks and dismembered those he passed.

When one man remained, cowering under a table, El Silbon surveyed the room. A pile of decomposing bodies lay in the corner. Children. Women. A bride. It grabbed the cowering man.

“Who were those people?”

He convulsed, too scared to speak.

El Silbon dug his jagged fingernails into the man’s arm.

“I don’t know! They were here!” He winced. “Please, don’t!”

“What were you doing here?”

“We were celebrating.” He closed his eyes. “The union of the Zeta and the Sinola cartels.”

“You slaughtered those people in their home. Then you mocked them.”

The man answered with screams as El Silbon tore his arm off. It stripped the flesh, and then put it in the sack.

“These groups,” El Silbon said to the Chupacabra, “they spread so much suffering.” It looked tired. “I am pulled in so many directions. They are everywhere.” It stroked a tuft of fur jutting from the chupacabra’s scaly head. “You are welcome to accompany me as long as you like.”

When El Silbon’s bag bulged with bones and the Chupacabra sated his thirst, they wandered back out into the night.

He knew joy, feeding on wicked men, feeling purpose for the first time.

He knew security, despite their dangerous quarry, traveling with El Silbon.

He knew love, helping his companion bear its curse.

Monsters hunting monsters.

May 7, 2005

I distinctly remember when Purple Mountain's Majesty was added and thinking it was the most ridiculous name for a color. In with that.

May 7, 2005

The Purple Mountain
Color: Purple Mountian's Majesty
Word Count: 1162

“Bibelforscher, come with us.” Two guards stood at the door of Thomas’s bunkhouse. Blonde haired, blue eyed, they both reminded Thomas of his brother Heinrich.

Thomas chuckled at the thought of his brother having split in two and joined the Nazis. He chuckled at the inappropriateness of his chuckling in front of the solemn boy soldiers in their crisp uniforms. Somewhere misery and malnutrition had nudged and prodded Thomas’s mind into a giddy haze.

Everything moved on a continuum. Tragedy became farce. At some point, devotion to Christianity, an acceptable creed, became a threat to the Third Reich. Thomas did not need to look around to ensure they were speaking to him. In this Buchenwald bunkhouse, he alone had a purple triangle sewn onto to his shirt, an inverted purple mountain, branding him a “Bible Studier.” God could no longer form the foundation of a nation. The world had gone topsy-turvy.

Thomas pushed himself up from his pile of straw and followed the doppelgangers through the camp. He marveled that it took two guards to escort him. He fancied himself receiving a royal escort. Here comes the Jehovah’s Witness. Make way for the German American, decked out in Royal Purple. Purple Mountain’s Majesty. King Bible-thumper. Yankee Strudel Dandy.

To Thomas the procession stood as yet another testament of Nazi inefficiency and backwardness. Start a war with every country on Earth, and then lock up half the population of skilled laborers and craftsmen. Dedicate whole divisions of soldiers to guarding prison camps. Create a meaningless classification system for prisoners. The colored triangles still confounded him.

As they passed a group of prisoners adorning red triangles Thomas silently celebrated the one badge that made any sense: a red triangle for the Communist Reds. Surely that must have been a mistake. Everything else lacked logic. Pink triangles, suggestive of a woman’s privates, signified male homosexuals. Lesbians sported black triangles, so did Gypsies, drug addicts, and anarchists. What should have been many colors coalesced into black. The Jews of course, got not one, but two yellow triangles, which together formed King David’s favorite ornamental star. Green for criminals and blue for emigrants rounded out the prison rainbow. Perhaps the Nazis wanted to remind themselves and God of the covenant shielding their heinous acts.

The guards led Thomas to the barracks, gave him a piece of paper, and seated him in front of the warden. Thomas studied the declaration in his trembling hands. He mouthed, “I, Thomas Koenig, hereby renounce my.” He could not read on. He stared at the bone jutting out of the base of his thumb. He studied how taught the thin skin on his hand stretched across his tendons. “I can’t sign this, Colonel Wirtz.”

“You have been given an opportunity, Koenig.” Colonel Wirtz sighed. He lit a cigarette and stared at the burning tip. “No other groups have been given this opportunity.”

Thomas laughed. “I have studied God’s word and am forever changed by it. I am no less a Jehovah’s Witness than a Jew a Jew or a Gypsy a Gypsy. I cannot undo that with a signature. Besides, why would I leave my flock? You’ve put me with so many sinners that need to bear witness. The Gypsies are hopeless, but some of the other triangles seem genuinely interested in salvation.”

Colonel Wirtz smashed his cigarette into his ashtray. “You know your continued proselytizing is punishable by death you speak so freely of it?”

“You’re going to kill me anyway if I don’t denounce our Lord.”

“How many opportunities did you have to flee Germany before you were incarcerated?”

“I don’t know. It never occurred to me to leave. I came back to spread the word after the Great War. So many Germans needed to bear witness. I came and there was no turning back, despite the arrests and the war and the misery. My countrymen needed me here more than ever.”

“And your family? What did they think of your return?”

“They came to America for good reason. They thought I was crazy to return.” Thomas grinned. “I may be proving them right.”

“You are a good German, Koenig, a loyal German. I respect your aims and your sacrifices. Sign the paper. Many Bibelforscher have. After the war you will probably be able to resume your activities. You will not get another chance.”

Thomas crumpled the declaration, and tossed it on Wirtz’s desk. “Shame on the ones who signed. I’ll pray for them. If I signed this pledge to your false prophet Hitler, what would that make me? You spit in the face of God with your swastikas – broken crosses – mocking our lord and savior’s sacrifice. I can’t sign anything renouncing His teachings. So I can’t sign a thing pledging loyalty to this regime, or any other. ”

Wirtz clenched his jaw. He nodded to Thomas’s guards before leaving the room.

Thomas and his entourage reconvened with Wirtz outside of a large brick building with belching smoke stacks.

“I wasn’t bluffing, Koenig.”

“I never doubted it. I wrote a song for Germany, Colonel. America has a similar song and I thought Germany should have one too. Would you like to hear it?

“Oh terrible for droning skies, for rationed hunks of bread, for mortar cratered countryside, across the battlefield! Germany! Germany! Hitler spewed his hate on thee, and doomed thy sons with idolatry, from sea to boiling sea!”

Colonel Wirtz slammed the butt of his gun into Thomas’s head.

Thomas didn’t try to rise from the mud.

“I was too tolerant of you, Koenig.”

Thomas’s escort lifted him to his feet. They dragged him to a long line of color coded prisoners and left him teetering on unsteady legs. No one exited the building they waited to enter.

Thomas cleared his throat. “‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground! And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life! And man became a living soul!’”

Prisoners gathered around Thomas.

“You are not merely dust, but mighty mountains of will, imbued with grace by almighty God. Accept our lord God into your heart and you will be granted everlasting life. No man, army, or nation can take that away.”

More prisoners gathered around. A guard snorted, but made no move to break it up. They’d be dead soon enough.

“Let us pray.”

Thomas closed his eyes and prayed. He prayed for clarity before his death. He prayed for the rainbow of doomed men. He prayed for his brother’s doppelgangers in broken crosses. He prayed for America the Beautiful. He prayed for Germany the Terrible.

He prayed for strength for the other inverted purple mountains in camps across Germany: Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Never give in, never swear fealty; remain a sovereign beacon of dedication to Jehovah.

The Purple Mountain shuffled forward.

May 7, 2005


Sometimes it surprises me how many non-Americans post in this thread. But then when I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. I feel so sophisticated competing in writing contests with cultured Brits and weirdo Australians, etc., instead of arguing about tv shows/movies/comic books with my fellow Americans.

May 7, 2005

Thanks for the crits, judges. I never want to disappoint you again, Mr. Chucker.

In for this week. Can someone please throw a thread at me? Thanks!

May 7, 2005


Jagermonster posted:

In for this week. Can someone please throw a thread at me? Thanks!

I was hoping to avoid getting sucked into the SA forums and wasting hours getting sidetracked reading through weird threads. Since no one has assigned anything yet, I'll go with The Triathlon Megathread 2: More Aerodynamic Than the First Thread

May 7, 2005

The Finish Line
Word Count: 760
Thread: The Triathlon Megathread

Scott’s legs pumped at his pedals as he clenched his teeth, smiling. He didn’t feel the least bit fatigued. Energy coursed through him, from his chest down his torso, bursting through his legs, powering his bike. He’d been so scared he wouldn’t be able to finish this triathlon when he started training. He felt so good now he laughed, a big dumb loud guffaw that fell away behind him as he sped forward.

Scott marveled at his vigor. The mile swim hadn’t even winded him. Ten miles of biking done. And it wasn’t adrenaline. This stamina came from preparation, training. He earned this. Scott hoped his adrenaline, that magic mysterious natural jet fuel, would kick in during the run so that he could finish strong.
He thumbed his gear shift on his used hybrid bike. His quadriceps tightened against the higher resistance. The wind pressed harder against him. He hunched down like he’d read online to increase his aerodynamics.

Scott squinted into the thickening surge of air. Tears streamed down his cheeks. Brown and green foliage rushed past him. Grey road unfurled below him. A jolt, his handlebars jerked, twisted from his hands. He plunged into the grey.

He heard the thwack of his helmet slamming into the ground. Metal, rubber, aluminum, and pavement hammered against one another as his bike flipped end to end. Then, only the light rattling of leaves in the breeze.

He pushed up, detached his face up from the road. He felt no pain at first when he stood. Something thicker than sweat trickled down his forearms and shins. His gait felt crooked and stiff as he stumbled half a dozen quick steps to his bike and then collapsed onto rear end.

He gave his front wheel a spin. Agony danced down his black and red forearm from elbow to his wrist. A gash in the thick rubber caused the tire to sag and wobble as it spun, flat.

Deflated, Scott slumped down onto his back. He stared at the leaves dancing in the wind above him. He watched one bob and sway, no longer a verdant blur. He closed his eyes, considered staying like that for a while.

Scott rolled onto his side. He scanned the road for culprits. He dragged his hand along the rough asphalt around his bike.

Scott imagined himself chuckling when asked how his triathlon went. He’d reach into his pocket and produce the shard of glass, a sharp pebble, some jagged piece of metal. “This little guy sabotaged the whole shebang,” he’d say.

Another triathlete shot past. “The gently caress out of the road!”

Scott glared at the thin road bike tire as it shrank into the distance. The guy hadn’t even stopped to see if Scott was alright.

Scott abandoned his hunt for the perpetrator. Using his bike’s handlebars, he pushed himself to his feet. His swollen left knee resembled a cantaloupe more than a human joint. His hands trembled. He close his eyes and drew a slow, deep breath through his nose.

Brakes squealed. Rubber scraped against the road. “Hey, man. You alright?”

“Not really.”

“Move. To the side. I’ll tell the next emergency crew I see. To come getcha.”

“Thank you.”

Scott stared at the ditch along the road. He had a fleeting notion he’d walk the rest of the bike portion. Then he would walk the run portion. Throngs of inspired athletes and onlookers would cheer him as he staggered across the finish line.

His first painful step shattered the fantasy. The only finish line he’d cross lay a dozen steps before him.

A small voice in him whined. “It’s not fair!”

He didn’t feel like arguing with it.

“Life’s not fair,” retorted internalized parents, teachers, a hundred obnoxious strangers.

A tiny tantrum bubbled in his chest.

gently caress triathlons.

gently caress triathletes. gently caress these spandexed assholes and super-fit ultracompetitive weirdos. gently caress their thousand dollar road bikes.

gently caress him for trying to enter their world. gently caress his hubris. gently caress the last three years of post-college binge drinking, unchecked eating, and sedentary living. gently caress the last six months of endless swimming, biking, and running. There are other ways to get in shape.

He sighed, tried to expel it all.

He limped his hobbled bike to the ditch. Big stride, quick painful hop. Spin, thump, spin, thump. He crossed his finish line.

As he waited for an emergency crew to retrieve him, he could still feel energy streaming through him, crashing against a dam of misfortune and disappointment. "I would have finished it,” he said the ditch, his bike, himself.

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at 03:49 on Jul 29, 2013

May 7, 2005


Erogenous Beef posted:

Most importantly, you edited your story after you submitted - that's an instant DQ.

That can't be right. I see people do that all the time.

May 7, 2005


crabrock posted:

I didn't know that either, and I've done it a few times. Won't do it any more! Although sometimes there are formatting issues or misquotes or bbcode that needs correcting or else the entire post looks like butt (preview reply is for the birds).

Yeah, I've done it before too. Its almost always a missing return between paragraphs that I find on a quick scan. And I usually don't always get them all even with an extra edit. Real annoying.

p.s. thanks for the crit e. beef, I always enjoy your grading systems

May 7, 2005


Capntastic posted:

Sebmojo is scum

May 7, 2005

Jacking in, suckas


May 7, 2005

985 Words

Heroy Brotagonist strutted into Negro Recreational House 17. Nobody looked up from their cups of Alt Liquor. A timer behind the bar flashed. Four men sullenly collected their scattered credits and left the holodice table. Four men silently took their place.

The bartender alone took notice of Heroy’s swagger. “Heroy Brotagonist.” Antom Nance folded his arms across his tattered apron. “Pimp walkin’ like that will alert the whole Info Gin we got an uppity friend of the family needs a mindtazin.”

“Don’t you sweat ‘bout me, Tom. I don’t show up on the white man’s surveillance no more.”

Antom squinted. “Whatchu playin at? How long you been out and you already hackin’ again and causin’ trouble?”

“According to the official log, I’m still in.”

“Heroy, I haven’t had no trouble here in ages. Don’t you bring nothing down on me.”

“Be cool, Tom. Met some abonarchists in the cage. They gave me a little something to augment my talents.” Heroy showed Antom the epipad, a small keypad grafted into his skin, just below his wrist. “I’m on a mission, ya dig? I’m looking for some power.”

“Hackin or no hackin, you can’t tap into the grid here, Heroy. They’ll notice the drain.”

“Not that kind of power, man. The old fashioned kind.” Heroy turned around and rested his elbows on the bar. He scanned the sad crowd. Big, strong men with downcast eyes sipped mind-numbing Alt Liquor from paper cups. Thanks to the epipad, as well as his cerebral and ocular augmentations, Heroy could see the electronic neuralchain, an obedience algorithm embedded signal, sparking and dancing malevolently from microchipped head to microchipped head. The nueralchain not only disrupted violent or rebellious thoughts, but could instantaneously shut down their entire nervous system. Alt Liquor mollified them further. “They don’t know it yet, but these boys are itchin' for a fight. They crave revolution. Let’s start with turning off this poison.” Heroy pressed a key on the epipad, releasing a virus into the bar’s mainframe, shutting down the Alt Liquor taps.

“I want you outta here, Heroy, before you do sumpin’ stupid. Don’t make me call in the Klanstables.”

“They wouldn’t get your signal even if you sent it.” Heroy flashed a big mischievous smile. “’Sides, I already sent for ‘em.”

Seven Klanstables of the Neoconfederacy stomped into the bar. Their laser-repellent white cloaks shimmered in the dim haze. The commanding officer removed his pointed battlehood.

“I say, who’s the slave in charge of this friend of the family den?”

Antom put his hands on his head and stared at the bar. “I am sir.”

“Well whut is the meaning of this? A Beta 10-34 was called in. Don’t look like no riot ta me. Maybuh me ‘n ma boys should bust some heads anyway for ouwuh trouble.” The commander glanced back to his men sniggering under their hoods.

Heroy stepped forward. “I called you suckas here to deliver a message for me. Tell your superiors the black man will no longer serve the white usurper. We’re free and we’re going to take back what’s ours.”

The commander snorted. “That so, boy?” He drew his control rod from his holster and aimed it at Heroy. Nothing happened.

“Your toys no longer work on me, on any of us. You best get along now and deliver my message.”

The commander removed a cyberinge from his side satchel. “Hackin the neuralchain is a capital offense. You evuh seen whut a Lynchinjection does to a friend of the family? It scrambles up yuh Dee-En-Ayuh round yuh throat. Youah eyes bulge outta yuh skull, fixin’ ta pop, as yuh body slowly and painfully strangles itself.” The Klanstable took a step toward Heroy.

Heroy pushed a key on his epipad, executing a code he had programmed for just this occasion. Three riot supressing flazer canons lowered from the ceiling. “Halt, slaves,” they ordered in tinny voices. Laser sites painted the Klanstables.

“You hackuh, scum! Yuh gonna pay for this heuh effrontereh!”

Emboldened, a group of black men circled around the klanstables. Heroy called to the largest one, “Big man, what’s yo name?”


“You like bein neuralchained, Oscuv?”

Oscuv sneered. He opened his mouth, but only winced as his neuralchains restrained him. He closed his eyes. “Y-yes. I reckon I do.”

Heroy grinned. “Let’s try again.” He pressed a key on the epipad.

Oscuv blinked. His lips curled back revealing a big yellow smile.

“Oscuv, you like these cracka-port motha-jackas chainin up yo brain?”

“Hayell nah!”

Oscuv grabbed the Klanstable commander’s wrist and bent his arm back, sticking him in the neck with own cyberinge. The white man dropped to the ground, his eyes bulged out of his skull, fixing to pop, as his body slowly and painfully strangled itself.

Heroy turned to the fearful Klanstables backing to the door. “See, they can chain a black man, but that don’t shackle his will. Negroes are more than a fleshy mass of neurons in their heads. They possess an unhackable spirit that’ll never stop fighting. Go on, tell your masters what happened here today. Tell ‘em, Heroy Brotagonist’s comin’ for ‘em!”

The former slaves cheered as the white men fled.

A gravelly voice hissed in Heroy’s ear, “Why did you let those white men live. That wasn’t the plan.”

Heroy turned his face to the shadowy corner of the bar. “Looks like I just changed the plan.”

“We gave you your power.”

“You gave me a power. And I’m going to use that power to free my brothers and sisters. Then you’ll see what real power is. Dig it: the Neoconfederacy will fall. But Heroy Brotagonist ain’t nobody’s pawn. And my people won’t be slaughtered in some race war you abonarchist honkeys are tryin to incite.”

“You’re going to wish you never crossed us.”

“And you’re gonna wish you never hosed with Heroy Brotagonist.”

Heroy severed the connection. He turned to the freed men. He rallied his Negroes.

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