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  • Locked thread
budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Wait -- I've participated in less than a third of the Thunderdome challenges so far?

loving hell. Last semester was a waste.

budgieinspector fucked around with this message at Jan 10, 2013 around 00:25

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budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



In.

Flash rule: Must contain the words "mouth-friend" and "frigorific".

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



BlackFrost posted:

Flash rule: Must be a haiku (can be longer than three lines, to meet the criteria of the thread. So just go 5-7-5 over and over). If someone deems this rule as "Terrible Garbage" then too bad, this is the loving THUNDERDOME bitches.

M-M-MEGAHAIKU?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I will Thunderbrawl all poetic challengers. If you want to fight me, step up.


'Sup, Muffin?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



MUFFINBRAWL (ROUND 1)

Loss, redemption and milkshakes in 350 words or less.



Regarding the Second Girl in the Second Verse of "Five Years" (332 words)


The cathode phantom in the expensive
suit choked out an explanation
about how a geyser in Siberia was
perched atop a newly-discovered
subterranean supervolcano soon
due to erupt with the force of Krakatoa10
and how the extinction of a
type of phytoplankton led to the
extinction of a type of krill and the
long and the short of it was that
Life on Earth had just enough time
to earn a Bachelor's degree and apply
for an entry-level position somewhere
respectable, before sputtering its last.

She switched off the telly, wincing
at the cold bloom of pain from her ribs
and the hollow where hope used to live.
Alone in this flat with the horrible
wallpaper; alone with the bruises she
could easily conceal; alone inside herself
for the first time in two months--she drew a bath.

She was ready with the iron heft of the pan
when he came through the door, bellowing for
his tea. He hit the tobacco-shag carpet, his
tattooed arm weaving a drunken "en garde"
before dozing across the barrel of his belly.
She stripped him of oil-stained trousers and
poo poo-stained Y-fronts, dragged the battered
Philips set over, and Super-Glued his tackle
to the teak veneer while the flickering
face of a weeping vicar looked on.

The girl in the mirror wore a crisp primrose
blouse, chestnut hair dancing at her shoulders,
face painted peach and lifelike. And when the man
on the carpet stirred, she lit the curtains on fire
and left him to choose his life or his balls.
Down in the market square, desolated flocks of
dowdy sparrows waddled in their housecoats and
rain bonnets, but she felt like a parade.
An end to pain! An end to disappointment!
An end to crying in silence while your child
dies inside you! Hooray oblivion!

She chose a seat in the malt-shop window,
oblivious to the haunted looks outside, she was
safe behind a particolored row of milkshakes,
smiling and waving and looking so fine.

budgieinspector fucked around with this message at Jan 12, 2013 around 02:37

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



FLASH RULE: Every third line must contain an enjambment.

pre:
Itlacoanotzalhuan (821 words)


The arbors of Mictlan shine an oily blue beneath
  the ghost of the moon; an anthracite shimmer like
    the back of a crow’s wing. The stems bleed when
      cut, but the fruit must be harvested and the vines

stripped.  It is here in the sweet, black grapeflesh
  that we find the glass seeds, bitter and lethal, which
    the god’s blind miller grinds beneath an opal
      wheel into a fine flour of stars.

You and I are the lord’s guests.  We walk arm
  in arm from the daylight dream, as though we were
    old friends. You totter along on a crutch of
      hawthorn. I drag palm leaves behind us to make

the path forget our passing. The hall has no door. 
  It reeks of dust and jaguar piss. Faceless maids in
    tattooed peccary skins offer a cup of peppered
      chocolate, then lead us to a room tiled in turquoise. 

They stroke the gorge of an amethyst owl’s head. 
  Its beak parts, sluicing green water,
    steaming, and strewn with orchid petals, into a
      crystal bath.  Silently, they divest us of our rags.

They hang your crutch on the owl’s talon;
  it grasps the offered prey. Naked, we sink back—-
    our tired, knotted bodies brining in perfumed
      emerald; sweat licking the road from our skin.

You doze, and I study your rutted brow, the hollows
  beneath, the pinched and seamed ruination of years
    spent wanting. Your thicketed nostrils flare above slack lips
      and a flecked stream dribbles into the snowy scrub beneath your chin.

I can see why the lord called you; your wheeze and rattle
  marks you as his.  But I am still young enough to hunt,
    plow, and fight—-to sow as many sons as there are hours
      —-what claim has he on me?

We dry and dress in maguey paper suits, following
  the maids to the master’s table—-a giant obsidian
    tortoise shell, overturned.  The glassy slats of its
      belly suck the light from a ring of tallow candles wafting

sooty smoke.  We stand, listening for the approach of our
  hosts, but our only reward is the crackle of fatty hempen wicks.
    A shudder of the air marks their arrival.  He is freshly-flayed, slick
      and resplendent in gold bracelets and a headdress of owl feathers. 

She, in her aspect as Queen of Bones, wears a gown of purple
  cornsilk and a beaded onyx sash.  For the occasion, a delicate
    moonflower winks from each socket. You creak to your swollen
      knees.  I follow, pressing my forehead to the tile.  In a voice

like an empty well, she bids us to rise. Servants bear rich
  savories for the feast: Rabbits stuffed with cactus and
    huitlacoche; troughs of acocil in lime; baked duck eggs
      rolled in chipotle and masa; cool tejocotes; stewed iguana;

roasted tapir, rubbed with achiote, on a bed of boiled squash.
  I do not see who gives me the scorpion pipe, but I suck at its sting,
    and its venom is a lavish stormcloud in my lungs, driving lightning
      through my head. You pinch the corner from a tamale and grind it

to the floor in honor of Tlaltecuhtli.  Our host rolls his eyes.
  “Idiot!” I hiss.  “These lands are beyond the earth; crumbs dropped
    here cannot ease her suffering!”  You bow your withered head in
      shame.  You cur, you wretch—have you no pride?  You are a slug-trail

pretending to be a man!  Show your belly to the ditch-dogs,
  that they may roll you over and mount you from both ends
    like a spitted pig!  Contempt wrings my guts.  I eat without tasting.
      The lord speaks in a gristle whisper: You may find the next course more toothsome.

Then before us, a terracotta morning glory—-red
  petals huge and folded tight.  Masked servants gently peel
    them away, revealing a pyramid of black glass.  Brilliant
      spirals, brighter than any jewel, rotate lazily within.

Perhaps your friend might break the bread?
  “He is no friend of mine,” I say.  “I found him squatting
    beneath a hawthorn tree, lashing together a crutch from
      a green bough, and I took pity on him.”

Oh?  You think him a stranger?  Perhaps, but he knows
  you well.  You are the new nation; he is the crumbling ruin. 
    Your scars are scattered jungle trails; his are wide and twisting
      roads, branching byways, forgotten and faded.  But your maps match.

In the longest of your possible lives, it is his face you wear
  when your heart finally forgets how to beat.  I give you the meat
    of my mills, risen in the living fire of the sun, cooled in the space
      between worlds.  If you hate your companion, eat.  You will

die young and strong, never knowing the indignities of age. 
  If you are brave, though, pass the plate to him.  Call him friend. 
    Forgive his infirmities.  Rest the crust on his gray 
      gums. He will become as starlight; a burning pulse in the freezing void.

Now... choose.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Iroel posted:

It's because I believe that my work will stand on it's own that I can allow my self to be annoying.

But again it's not a defense, it's an attempt to understand why I'm misunderstood. And again, I'm being misunderstood.

I had to learn the lesson a long time ago that, if more than one reader doesn't grasp what I'm trying to say, the work probably doesn't stand on its own. And readers who don't understand what you're trying to say can't tell you how to communicate what you want to communicate... because they don't understand what you're trying to say. Best to break everything down to first principles and keep rebuilding from the bottom up until you get your point across, then work backwards to figure out why the original configuration didn't do what you wanted it to do.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



sebmojo posted:

Symptomless Coma:Regarding the Second Girl in the Second Verse of "Five Years"

?

IDENTITY THEFT!

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Etherwind posted:

982 words of gently caress

Don't know about Coma, but I'm fuckin' whackin' it like whoa.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



sebmojo posted:

BUDGIEINSPECTOR vs Surreptitious Muffin Thunderbrawl: Round 2: Shakespearean love sonnet (14 lines) .

Modern language, no thees or thous.

Wasabigasm


She drowns her plate in soy, selects a pink
pontoon of pickled ginger, launches it
into the onyx ocean. As it sinks,
she toasts ("Kampai!") the valor of the ship.

And now--oh, yes; I've seen this trick before--
a maelstrom of wasabi whirls the brine
and thrusts a wave beyond her dish's shore;
the grainy, green tsunami breaks on mine.

She raises well-dredged Toro to her lips.
Palms flat against the table, she takes leave
of sense; eyes roll in tandem with her hips.
Her nostrils flare. Her chest, flushed crimson, heaves.

Insatiable, she lifts her sticks again.
She's traded me for this delicious pain.


EDIT: Goddamn apparently-incorrect regional syllabic-stress variation...

budgieinspector fucked around with this message at Jan 13, 2013 around 18:02

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



And now, the Ceremony of Ascension. Begin the Sausage Tossing Ritual!

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



HiddenGecko posted:

Dem Bones, Dem Dry Boners

Flash Rule: Must be a limerick
(197 words)

The Nantucket Tourism Mafia wants a word about not paying them their due--especially in a piece with the word "boners" in the title.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



monkeyboydc posted:

Man, gently caress iambic pentameter.

Everyone always says that it's Babby's First Meter, but for some reason I'm wired to default to tetrameter. Adding that extra foot makes everything sound off, to me.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



twinkle cave posted:

why are so many DOMERS resorting to schticky sword days scenes

...Tell me this is kayfabe.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



areyoucontagious posted:

Edit: Like for real, I've read and enjoyed poetry before, but this feels like I'm watching the poet masturbate with the english language. I'm not sure how that makes me feel.

I'm not familiar with Armantrout, but this is exactly how I felt throughout the entirety of the poetry class I took last semester. The instructor's value system was skewed toward avant garde pieces which eschewed communication for personal expression. She kept offering bizarre line-rewrite suggestions that had nothing to do with the voice of the student. (On a piece that used religious cliches to condemn sectarian violence, for instance, she wrote: "Instead of 'Jesus loves me, this I know', try 'Jesus loves me because he puts candles in my mouth'.")

Lead us not into pretension, but deliver us from wankery.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



sebmojo posted:

Judges for next week are twinkle cave, budgieinspector and Surreptitious Muffin, plus a secret judge who will make their presence known.

twinkle cave to the black courtesy phone. Or, y'know, message Muffin and me.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Okay, it can't be as bad as all th--

Your Sledgehammer posted:

The Long Grass

The last gleam of light left the big cat’s eye
All alone now, I began to cry
For soon, too, I shall die.

It wasn’t this way at the start of the day
I quietly and expertly stalked my prey
Unaware of the horrible price I would pay.

The arrow was sharp and the bowstring was taut
I was too far now for this to be all for naught
I wouldn’t leave without the animal I sought.

I saw the black stripes through the long grass
A tattooed cat, powerful and fast
The savannah went silent as a Roman mass.

I fired my arrow and the great tiger lunged
Teeth, claws, and blood; my memory expunged
Howls from us both as over the side we plunged.

We lay for a while at the bottom of the ravine
The golden wounded cat the most beautiful thing I’d seen
And I began to reflect on the person I’ve been.

A great hunter, over animals I was lord
Pelts and heads and teeth I’d horde
Evolution’s finest product, king of the food chain I roared.

In my rush for status, there was much I failed to see
I didn’t understand how majestic my prey could be
My bloodlust reflected poorly on me.

The creatures I sought were valuable too
As worthy of life and respect as me and you
But instead we hunt them and cage them in zoos.

Only at the end did I realize the depth of my error
Lying next to the dying cat, I fought back my terror
Wishing for all the world that I had been fairer.

A shame that I learned the truth at so late an hour
We humans think we sit so high in our tower
But we do so much damage in our blind lust for power.

The understanding of this left me overwhelmed and shaking
But as I began to repent, the loose bonds of my consciousness were breaking
Spots danced before my eyes and the ground was quaking.

My painful self-understanding would follow me to my grave
And as the blackness took over, I tried to be brave
At peace with the knowledge that humans would never have the power they craved.



Dude. Just... dude.

I don't know where to start. You told a story; I can say that much. A Thing Happened. It had consequences.

Let's talk about rhyme. By rhyming, you make the end of each line a destination. Readers want the journey down the line to be smooth and exciting, and the destination to be the stuff dreams are made of. Take them on a pleasant enough journey, and most of them will forgive a ho-hum destination. But when you point them toward a hastily-laid road riddled with deep potholes covered by twigs and gravel, flanked on either side by high stone walls that look ready to fall down, it doesn't matter what the destination is, anymore--they won't want to go with you.

Your first job is to make the line feel natural and scan well. This:

For soon, too, I shall die.

...doesn't. It's the imposition of the "too". It's the faux-stoic tone. It's the scream of, "Look! This is dramatic!" It's the fact that you blurted this out in the first stanza of a death poem. But most of all, it's the fact that after "eye" and "cry", you chose "die". A trio of three-letter words for one of the most common vowel sounds in the language, and you didn't even have to work around any pesky consonants. The journey was tortured; the destination, unforgivably boring.


Meter / Momentum: Your meter is all over the place. At points, it seems like you're trying one out, but then you abandon it. So I have to assume that you weren't really going for anything particular in that department--which is fine.

So long as the piece has some kind of internal momentum.

It doesn't have to be a luge track, slick and speedy all the way to the end. You can stop, slow down, speed up--if you have a reason. What you can't do is clunk along for a bit, then add extra clunk:

Teeth, claws, and blood; my memory expunged
Howls from us both as over the side we plunged.


...is clunky as gently caress. Also, "expunged" has a lyrical value of, like, negative-eleventy.

Teeth, claws, and blood; my memory expunged
\ \ - \ - \-- -\

Howls from us both as over the side we plunged.
\ - - \ - -- - - - \

DUM-DUM-da-DUM; da-DUM-da-da-da-DUM
DUM-da-da-DUM da-da-da-da-da-da-DUM

Stressed syllables slow us down, chains of unstressed syllables speed us up. Set up a rhythm ("DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da-DUM") and it's a breeze to read along. It's like dancing through the line. Ignore rhythm and your readers trip over their feet.


Tone and Character: This was the one thing that your prompt foisted on you; you had to write it in first-person.

Who's your guy?

He's a hunter. He's hunting big game with a bow and arrow, which tells me he's either technologically primitive or loving nuts. He's hunting a tiger with a bow and arrow. Tigers not being known for the succulence of their meat, he's either starvation-desperate, trying to protect his people/livestock from a predator, or trophy-hunting. You want to make it sound like the latter. I don't necessarily buy it, but okay.

So, this mighty trophy-hunter is alone in tiger-infested lands with his stone-age technology. He fucks up, he and the tiger go over a cliff, and as he lays dying...

He has an epiphany about how wrong he's been to spend his life killing animals.

And he invokes evolution. And he talks about zoos. Which means that he's not some provincial tribal big-shot hunting dangerous beasts at some point before the invention of firearms. He's got at least some book-learnin' and lives in a time after zoos graduate from being private royal menageries. Which makes me wonder:

* Why doesn't he have a gun?
* Why is he hunting alone, if he has all this status?
* What the hell sort of person gets knocked off a cliff by a tiger and, in his last moments, pontificates on how nice it would be if man could just peacefully coexist with nature?


Wrapping Up: You have to give the reader something to mull over.

humans would never have the power they craved

Really? Again, your guy's dying, and his last thought is "Take that, humans! You'll never truly rule the Earth!"? What a preachy little fucker this glorious hunter turned out to be. Doesn't he have, like, a wife, kids, a sled--anything else to think about, aside from this sudden radical justice-for-the-animals conversion? Is that the idea you want readers to take away; that if your fictional and unlikely trophy hunter can repent his life of slaughter, they can at least eat a Gardenburger once in a while for the sake of ecological balance?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



V for Vegas posted:

You've never heard of 'in like Flynn'? Or ?

FLASH RULE

V for Vegas, your story shall contain a character from Jakarta who is incredulous that the characters in your small town aren't familiar with Indonesian customs and colloquialisms.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



toanoradian posted:

Also that's not fair, budgieinspector, he didn't even mock the Judges.

I briefly considered decreeing that you use the cast of Scooby-Doo as your main characters, in order to even things up. We may have different ideas of "justice".

quote:

i expect fairness and mercy from thunderdome: the cuddly edition

As well you should. Good thing such a travesty does not exist, yes?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I said no flash rules.

If there is a guiding principle to Thunderdome judgment, it is that capriciousness trumps any contract, explicit or implied, that any judge enters into with the contestants.

quote:

show them who's boss.

sebmojo posted:

Muffin/BudgieBrawl: Round 2

Final Judgment

Budgieinspector wins the second round and the Brawl.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



STONE OF MADNESS posted:

Ok this is more or less as polished as it's going to get by deadline.

Y'all still have, like, thirty hours. Given thirty hours, you ought to be able to polish your balls well enough to blind unwary pedestrians.

I wanna see those balls SPARKLIN'!

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Meis posted:

Tear it to shreds so that I may one day work it into becoming a decent story.

You have seven hours. Double-space your paragraphs and dialogue, at least. Message board spacing =/= manuscript spacing.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

I want to read an exciting novel or collection of stories. Suggestions?

Well, the upcoming Cipher Sister anthology sounds like a hoot.

I hear it's due out in early summer.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Muffin thought he could punish me by making me write a story in a day and a half. He was wrong. Written in accordance with Vonnegut's Rule #7 because I pity you poor bastards.



Mercy (1,748 motherfucking words and you'll take it and goddamn LIKE it)


The reel whined as Muriel cranked it; a mosquito's complaint in the last sharp hour of this dull November dusk. She paused, listening to Lake Cullen slosh against the Alumacraft's hull. She checked the chartreuse spinnerbait, then whipped the rod back, and sent the lure flying toward the end of the dock. It smacked the nearest post, just above the waterline, and dropped. Muriel reeled it back slowly enough that a sluggish largemouth bass could catch up.

It was Thanksgiving Day. She had the lake to herself. Football and family kept the punters away, but even the most die-hard anglers of Mercy County, Texas, could be cowed by the chill in the air (or their wives’ glares) into staying close to the homestead. Which suited Muriel right down to the ground. One day away from the phone and the computer and all the need, need, need that went along with it. One day for her to take off her I-care mask and not have to worry about whether the solicitous, sympathetic tone of voice that her clientele expected was in-key.

She cast the line again. A submerged log bumped and scraped its way along the bottom of the boat.

###

Some people were in so much pain that they wanted to die. If they couldn’t do it themselves, they could contact the various right-to-die groups, where some generous soul might hear about the terminal illness that wracked their body. And that person might offer to help them slip away quietly, with dignity. But sometimes the pain wasn’t a byproduct of a wasting disease, and there were fewer sympathetic listeners to pleas for deliverance from Morgellons, fibromyalgia, and good ol’ fashioned clinical depression.

If the petitioner was persistent enough, someone, somewhere might suggest that Muriel Timmons could help them. And the dance would begin.

“You see them from across the room,” Wally used to say, “and you know you’re destined for each other. You go to them and take their hand and lead them to the floor as the band plays ‘We’ve Got Tonight’—Bob Seger, don’t ya know. And I ask what Bob asks: ‘Why don’t you stay?’ And they cry on your shoulder and tell you all their reasons. If you’re truly open to the world and a caring person, how can you refuse to ease their burden?”

She’d nodded along, but it never reached any part of her. Wally Gundersson was short and soft everywhere a man could be, she thought on the day he hired her to be his assistant. He was ordained through an online divinity mill, and liked to style himself as “Reverend”. He considered what he did to be a spiritual calling, asking for nothing beyond expenses. He couldn’t really afford an assistant—he barely supported himself by selling whatever geegaws someone would give him a commission to hawk. But he was fighting extradition after helping a woman in Dublin reach her eternal reward, and couldn’t handle all the paperwork alone.

He seemed pleased to have Muriel around. She wasn’t at all put off by his mission. A preacher’s daughter from Vidalia, she could sing the Jesus tune convincingly enough. She never let him see her roll her eyes when his clients jerked him around for months on end, committing then weaseling out. She even ran his errands: scoring pills when pills were around; picking up oxygen masks and propane tanks when they weren’t.

It wasn’t long before he took her along on the real business. He introduced her to the clients as his “spiritual amanuensis”—which, in practice, meant “valet”. She was six feet tall, broad-shouldered, and twenty years his junior. She could haul all of their luggage in a single trip from his champagne-colored Buick LeSabre, whereas he often struggled with a single roller bag.

One day, after a particularly-difficult farewell for a particularly-difficult client—the woman suffered terribly from chronic fatigue syndrome, but always pepped right up as soon as they made arrangements to visit her in Albuquerque—Muriel noticed beads of sweat stippling Wally’s receding hairline, where the blond was turning to gray. Something hungry burned in his root-brown eyes. She was still surprised when, on the ride back to the motel, he reached over and let his palm rest on her thigh.

Surprised—but not shocked, afraid, or aroused. Her awareness of sex was the same as her awareness of feelings: dim, distant, something that happened to other people, and something that other people figured happened to you. Men didn’t approach her. She didn’t seek them out, either. Women cruised her, sometimes, but she never bothered to contemplate the idea long enough to be flattered, much less intrigued.

All the same, she was curious about Wally’s ardor. When they reached the motel, he ushered her straight to his room. It turned out that he wasn’t entirely soft, after all.

As he lay next to her, snoring and loosing little pips of flatulence, she felt a tiny kernel of warmth bloom against her bruised cervix. She decided to call it love.

They tied the knot outside Steubenville, Ohio. One of Wally’s clients, an elderly Unitarian minister with severe arthritis, officiated the private ceremony in his own front parlor. Once all of the paperwork was submitted, Wally returned the favor with an overdose of Dilaudid.

The FBI was waiting in their driveway with an extradition warrant.

###

Muriel was chewing bologna on soggy Wonder Bread when the line twitched. She braked the reel handle with her right thumb and choked up her grip on the rod. Then the pull came—more force than she anticipated. But she was still nearly as strong as she’d been when she’d met Wally.

The fish’s olive scales glinted in the failing light. The mottled black stripe down its flank jerked and heaved as it tried to free itself. Its gills worked like the bellows of a hyperactive blacksmith. She watched them slow, the fight draining away. When the bass stopped breathing, she waited a minute, sighed, and threw it overboard. She didn’t like fish, anyway.

###

Wally was furious when he learned that she’d taken over the business while he was in jail. Even more so when he found out that she was charging the clientele for the service.

“I had to eat,” she said, trying not to show how little she cared about his pique. “And you were telling everyone you’d hang yourself in your cell before you’d let them send you to Ireland, so I did what I had to do.”

“We had savings!”

“We had a grand and the car needed an alternator.”

He should be happy, she thought. The federal judge in Austin agreed with Wally’s attorney that twenty-five out of the fifty states had no law against assisted suicide, and refused to ship him off to stand trial on the Emerald Isle. She even bought him a vanilla sheet cake.

“It ain’t right,” he kept saying. “It just ain’t—this isn’t how it works, Muriel! You don’t tarnish something as sacred as this with money!

She shrugged and picked up the cake to take it back to the fridge. He grabbed her elbow and spun her around. The cake flew against the wall. He had his hand up. Something sparked in the back of her mind that almost made her scream, Papa!

But she bit her tongue. And he lowered his hand. She glared at the frosting on the wall. He stalked off to the bedroom. She went to the medicine cabinet for a syringe and the bottle of veterinary-grade Nembutal that Wally would’ve wasted on one of the clients she’d trimmed from the roster. She waited for the snoring.

She held him all night, waiting for guilt, remorse—anything—to appear. But she woke up just after dawn, when his bowels emptied into his pajama bottoms, and took a shower before calling the ambulance.

That was ten years ago. Once the heat died down, she went back to work. This time, payment up front, and no more weaseling—the clients got what they paid for, whether they really wanted it or not.

###

The stars were out when Muriel turned to start the little outboard motor and head back to shore. Something caught her eye; a flash of white, bobbing on the surface of the lake about twenty yards away. She thought for a moment that it might be the bass, floating belly-up. But no, this was too large. A drowned deer? An albino gator?

Another log bumped the hull. Was she imagining things, or was she drifting away from the dock?

She turned to gauge the distance, and saw another slick, white mass shining in the moonlight, then disappear beneath the dock. Then another. She glanced starboard and just below the surface was a woman’s body, naked and face-down, white hair waving like seaweed.

Something scraped the underside of the boat and snapped her back to the present. She lunged for the outboard. Pale hands rose over the port side and grasped the hull. Before she understood what they were doing, the boat rolled, and she was overboard, upside-down in the dark water. The lake’s chill knocked the breath out of her. She struggled for the surface, but they were on her, dragging her away from the moonlight by the ankles. A hand pressed against the top of her head, like Papa had done when he tried to drown the wickedness inside her, singing, shall we gather at the river? in a voice that boomed against the bathroom tiles but was hollow and tuneless by the time it reached her ears. She opened her eyes, but Papa wasn’t there—it was Wally. Fat, naked; thin blond hair ringing his face like a dented halo, he brought his thin lips to her ear and whispered, You were so empty all this time. Just a space where a person should be.

“Yes,” she heard herself say, though she lacked the air for words.

We can fix that, he said, and pressed his mouth to hers harder than he ever dared in life. Pinprick explosions flashed behind her eyelids, and it flooded into her: All the sorrow, the humiliation, the agony, the fear—but also exultation, joy, and love so strong it crushed. Every cell in her body felt about to burst open.

That was a taste. That was a life in a heartbeat. There are so many down here.

He smiled as he sank.

Why don’t you stay?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Yo, twinkle cave -- please to be checking your email.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



toanoradian posted:

Judges! Hey judges! Are you there?

We are drinking in all of your feeble fears. Expect results tomorrow.

quote:

Are you going to pair us whiners/cowards/pantsdroppers up for critique symbiotic dick stroking?

I don't think so, no. If you want to critique anyone, feel free. Just keep all your crits confined to a single post so as not to clutter the thread.


On second thought, I want you, toanoradian, to crit V for Vegas's entry, and vice versa. Get a little of that cultural-exchange action going.


The rest of you should watch this and reflect upon your sins against the written word: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a17ul-afTCE

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Still working out a couple of minor details, but judgment looms.

In the meantime, here's a list of paying fiction markets from LitReactor. The article's author has included his thoughts on some of them. You may notice that the first group is horror publications. Each of you now has a horror story under your belt.

In my feedback, I'm going to give each of you a couple suggestions as to how to improve your stories. Listen or don't, whatever--just know that there isn't a single story in this round that is perfect and precious just the way it is. Make your stories better. Then send them out to some of these publications. Then, while you await rejection, make your stories even better. Repeat until you've published the fucker.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



THUNDERDOME XXIV:KEYBOARD KINGS JUDGMENT

Prompt: Write a supernatural horror story set in a small town


We wanted you people to make us dread to turn out the lights. I tried to share some of your stories with my four-year-old niece, but she wandered off to make an imaginary omelette. Pretend eggs were more gripping than your offerings this week. Let that sink in and feel very, very bad about yourselves.

Nevertheless, we had to choose a winner. It was not a simple decision. For managing to create an eerie ambiance in the Arizona sunshine, we choose Capntastic as the victor.

The loser slot, however, was an easy decision. JonasSalk: On your very first Thunderdome outing, you managed to bring shame upon your house and the houses of your neighbors. Wear your disgrace like an albatross.

Judges for next week are Capntastic, ESB, and SurreptitiousMuffin. They will not be as tolerant of your failures. Please them, and you may yet live.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



CHUCKWAGON O' CRITIQUES! COME 'N' GET IT!

CancerCakes -- "The Hunter"

No idea what the hell is going on, here. (This will be a common theme to my critiques for this round.)

You've got a (what? private detective?) delivering a parcel to a Welsh village. The recipient of the parcel is a hermit. Who lives in a schoolhouse. Your detective knows this, but decides that he needs an introduction in order to deliver the parcel, so he enlists the help of a local innkeep. They get drunk and decide to open the package. It contains a thimble. They go looking for the schoolhouse, can't find it, and the detective pushes the thimble into his brain for reasons which aren't entirely clear. Afterwards, the hotelier wakes in hospital, reads an unenlightening letter, reads a newspaper clipping that somehow relates to what's just happened, discovers that the thimble is now on his finger, freaks the gently caress out, THE END.

First off, do whatever you need to do to get across the importance of the thimble--expand the story, tell it from a different angle; whatever. Likewise, I have no idea how Jones fits into this. Or why David doesn't just go up to the school, drop the package on the front step, and go the hell back home. You want your reader to care? They first need to know what's important and why.


Chairchucker -- "Hope You Guessed My Name"

Horror-comedy is difficult to pull off, but when it works, it works.

This piece doesn't work.

It's loose, for one thing. "A-ha! We have found a book on summoning demons! We shall therefore summon a demon! Whoops--you're dead! Now we're in a pub, where the local good-time girl tries to entice the demon into sex! But here's our nominal protagonist coming through the door! He's hosed! Now an old woman comes in and vanquishes the demon! She is a minister! But the survivors can't be bothered to go to her church! THE END."

Pick a character and follow them the whole way through. It'll at least give the piece a feeling of continuity.

If you're going to have Gloria kick arse for The Lord, introduce her earlier.


Etherwind -- "Nightmares"

Sleep paralysis has ruined a woman's life. She learns that it's not sleep paralysis after all, but rather some malevolent spirit that's attached itself to her neighbor.

Solid core concept. Hit-and-miss execution.

"The funeral is tonight!" -- No, it isn't. The wake or viewing might be, but putting people in the ground at night just ain't done in upstate New York. At least, not in cemeteries.

I don't know why I killed him. -- "Oh, hi!" "I don't know what you think you know, but--" BANG! Do better.


areyoucontagious -- "Amish Country"

"Let's go antiquing!"
"But I have to write a story!"
"Let's do both!"
"OMG, the Amish are demons!"
"I die!"

"Instead of the bearded face Ben was expecting, there was the face of a leering demon." -- No. Bad. "The face of a leering werewolf", "the face of a leering Frankenstein", "the face of a leering Creature from the Black Lagoon"; don't throw your hands up and say "it's a demon!" That's bullshit. Don't even write the word "demon". It only scares people who are frightened of those five letters placed in that exact order. It has no visceral impact. Tell your reader exactly why they should be terrified of this thing in the viewscreen.

[O]ne of the Mennonites had the face replaced with a horrible monster. -- see above.

“I’m going to loving kill you all.” -- Yeah, this is the reaction that will have readers' heads nodding. "I would so, like, get an axe? And scream at the demons? And then try to kill all the demons with the axe? Just like that?"


STONE OF MADNESS -- "A Threshing"

Is this a reform school? A mental hospital? Both? Give it a name and tell us straight-up what it is.

She glanced at the small object in his hand. It looked like he'd used his own hair. -- Shape? Meaning? Is it a cross, a Star of David, a stick figure, a phallus? Needs detail to have an impact.

Made it for you, Sarah.
To keep you safe
, he'd said, but that didn't make sense, she didn't feel safe at all, and it was moving, it was unfurling towards her, knots and clumps and tangles -- is she being attacked by his hair offering?

Good characterization with Sarah. I just have no idea why she's in danger.


supermikhail -- "R.A.W. F.E.A.R"

What is going on, here? Some sort of phone-transmitted memetic virus turns ordinary people into deranged Puritans? I mean, that'd be an interesting concept, but you've placed the narration too close to the characters to explain it outside of dialogue, and explaining something like that in dialogue would just be ridiculous:

"Hello, main character(s)! I am Professor Snori Snorensson, and I know what's going on! I am an expert in memetic viruses, you see. And also pilgrims."

Except that it's the Second Coming. I which case... gently caress, I don't know. You really want your main character to be a guy whose only in-scene fundamentalist-level-picky sin is whacking it? I realize that you're flirting with comedy, here, but you either need to beef up the laughs or beef up the drama. As it is, it just kinda sits there.


Chexoid -- "Sunrise"

I like the concept--sort of a frontier take on Pitch Black. The low word-count limit caused you to over-compress, though. You need to flesh this out, give us characters to take an interest in. I want to know about Lauren and Tyler Bradley. I want to see the parishioners chuck the clergyman out into the dark (although if you're talking Apache, then you're talking the Southwest, where the Catholic population tended to be Mexican, so you might want to change Father Lyle to Reverend or Pastor Lyle).

I'm not getting the correlation between Elijah Cartwright and his biblical namesake; might want to either make it more obvious or let it go.


SC Bracer -- "Hello, Grandma"

"Oh, cool--setting a Stephen-King-esque horror story in India ought to be interesting..."
[reads]
"...Maybe not."

Couple things:

* No idea what you meant the reveal to be, but it reads like she has multiple personalities. So not supernatural.
* Natural dialogue is not natural--there is a running narrative in all of our heads; doubtless, in many cases, employing a 2:1 ratio of curse words to non-curse words. The running narrative is not interesting unless you edit the hell out of it. Dialogue where every fifth word is "gently caress" sounds like this.


Meis -- "Extracurricular Activities"

Might as well say this here: Unless you really know what you're doing, don't write horror in the first person, past tense. You would think that being inside your character's skin while they go through these experiences would tie the reader more closely to the terror you want them to feel, but here's the thing: If your narrator is telling the tale, the reader knows from the first sentence that they survived whatever is about to befall them, robbing your story of tension. If your narrator tells the tale but dies at the end, it's a cheat--how are they relaying the information? You might say, "A-ha! But what about epistolary stories?" Again, your narrator not only survived, but got far enough from danger to sit down and write an account.

On to the actual story:

Here's what you could've had: A surrealist nightmare about that terrible space between childhood and adulthood, combining body horror with that old standard of the subconscious, "Oh My God, I'm Still in School!"

Here's what you came up with: Thing-thing-other-thing-thing-thing-GULP

Your narrator doesn't know what a parent-teacher conference is called. She doesn't have the imagination to relate the horror of what's happening to her. She's too preoccupied with processing the last event to process the event which just occurred. Try rewriting it in third-person.


JonasSalk -- "740 Words"

I don't have the time to do this line-by-line, even though it needs it.

* Don't play around with time until you can tell a linear story.
* "But we are getting ahead of ourselves." is bullshit. Don't acknowledge the reader.
* “Alright, guys,” Shep said, not leaving his point on the door, “you may remember me from a little while before. I used to work here, but that was a front. I was casing this place, and now I’m robbing it.” -- said no armed robber, ever. "Ha! You only thought I was a mild-mannered burger-flipper, but in truth, I am a MASTER CRIMINAL!"
* “I am Legion,” Legion said. -- no. As much of a clusterfuck as the story was before the conclusion, at least you had the small redeeming concept of a town peopled with shape-shifting monsters. Then you bugger that up by announcing the entrance of a biblical demon.


monkeyboydc -- "Everything Under Rocks"

Perhaps this is a personal thing, but the third-person, present tense just isn't working here. “What did they can here?” Clark asks.--that flip in tense just fucks me up.

What the hell is going on with the ending? We've been in the Alaskan wilderness, now we're in a child's room, and there's vermin? If there was a set-up, I completely missed it.


BlackFrost -- "Home"

First-person again.

What I got out of this was that you were trying to tell a sorta-surreal tale about a guy who gets a voicemail from his mother, in which she tells him that she and his father are evacuating his childhood home... so he decides to go look for them in the one place he ought to know they will not be. Only the father isn't really a concern. He wants his mommy. And the house traps him.

There's just not a lot to go on, here. The character's Mom-obsession makes him sound more creepy than sympathetic. It just feels really blatantly Freudian.

Maybe a rewrite in third-person will give the reader enough distance from the character to get some perspective about what's going on.


toanoradian -- "Sundel Bolong Udah Jalan-Jalan"

Flesh this out. Let us see at least a few days in Tukul's life--what he struggles with, what he wants, how he interacts with his peers. A little foreshadowing would do wonders; a sense that he's being followed, some encounter that tips the reader that the Caucasian woman is not what she appears to be, some speculation or mention of the mythical creature (it sounds almost like a Filipino Manananggal, but with significant differences).

Unless the last line is an essential cultural tip-off to the nature of this critter, trim it.


Noah -- "Blood for Blood"

You were thisclose to getting the nod. What happened to the parents? How did the kids "bring it on [themselves]"? How old are Aaron and Tiffany? Because he sounds five and she sounds like an extremely pissed-off fifteen-year-old.

Answer those questions clearly and interestingly, and I'd say it's ready to shop it around.


Sitting Here -- "Mother's Day"

Another near-nod. NOTE TO NEWBS: Notice how the people who took every last second to submit turned in more solid results, on the whole? Whether it's because they took the extra time to polish their stories, or lingered over first-draft ideas, or scrapped everything and rewrote, or even if they didn't get around to it until the eleventh hour, but are just that badass--it's not a coincidence. Take as much goddamn time as you can get away with.

This story begs for third-person. The end reveal? Yeah, third-person. Rewrite and shop it.


Capntastic -- "Deep Sleep"

You've built this great, almost-Lynchian atmosphere, using clear language and just the right amount of detail. The weakness lies in the ending:

As he slept, in a state of almost content apathy, he never would consider that someone else was living off of his energy.

Fix. Flesh out the concept, give us the clues, show us the "someone"--anything. Make it pop, and it's ready to shop.


swaziloo -- "Dog Days"

Here's what I do when I see strings of seemingly-random words: I look for acrostics. (Blame Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol and his "Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.".) So when I saw:

Bloody ugly damaged goods.

I read:

Bloody
ugly
damaged
goods.

"Bud-g"? You have some sort of message for me?

If the idea is "Rosemary's Baby, but with a schizophrenic", then it could use just a wee bit of expansion. If the random words are meant to be signs of possession, though, I'd suggest Greek, Aramaic, Sumerian--ancient languages that Kate wouldn't know.

Otherwise, it's solid. Another near-nod.


V for Vegas -- "Iakopo"

Again, it might be personal, but I'm not feeling the foul-mouthed kids in this tribal, traditional village.

Why does the only hit I'm getting for "Le Fe'e e! faafofoga mai ia" tell me that this is Samoan? Please don't tell me that you misread "Indonesia" as "Polynesia", or that you think they're in any way related.

It's not horror. It's more of a coming-of-age story, it seems to me.

As to the story on its own terms: Didn't get the end. "You have killed a man." But he didn't? Unless this is an actual SAMOAN ritual in which kids stab their elders and they just "ceremonially die", in which case that needs to be clarified.

All in all, though: pretty good. Clarify the end, ask yourself whether the cussing kids are necessary or an affectation, italicize Iakopo's thoughts rather than making them appear to be dialogue, and it ought to be good to go.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Etherwind posted:

Everyone look at this scrub who's never been to a funeral at night. Pro-tip: cremations can happen at any hour.

Poll for Americans: If you were describing the disposition of someone's remains by fire, would you mentally separate any religious service performed before or during into "funeral" and "cremation"? Or would you refer to the whole thing as "Aunt Ethel's cremation"?

Maybe it's a regional thing to combine the two under the one umbrella term; I dunno. But yeah, putting someone with the last name "Williams" into the ground after dark isn't something that falls under the heading of "business as usual" in the heavily-Protestant area of upstate New York. My friends in the funeral parlor business have told me interesting facts about non-Western funerary customs, some of which may involve night burial. But as something that's just thrown into the mix, it just rang odd enough to point out.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Etherwind posted:

So I got paranoid and ran it past some people I know in up-state NY and they all said it was cool, they didn't even think twice about it. That said, it's trivial enough that if it sticks out to more than one person I might as well change it.

Which bit? The cremation/funeral dichotomy, or the night burial? Asking for my own edification. Most of my remaining family migrated to upstate New York, three of them marrying natives whose families all use the blanket "cremation" and who haven't attended any night burials (unfortunately, the subject of funerals comes up quite a bit).

Yeah, it's trivial, but it's always good to know the details.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Putting my left foot in, shaking it all about, doing the Hokey Pokey, etc.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



twinkle cave posted:


Alfred Packer


Before you send this out, you might wanna change this to Alferd.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Tribal Politics (1,500 words on the goddamn nose)


“Councilman Fleming? Can you explain why you claimed to be Native American on your college application?”

Six-foot-two, blond and blue, firm of jaw and cleft of chin, Chad Fleming was an All-American Boy—just not that kind of All-American. He cupped his hand to his ear as Ernie Dekunder ushered the skinny dweeb with the combover out of Cedar Grove Middle School’s cafeteria.

“Sorry; didn’t catch that. The lady with the purple dress had the next question, I believe—yes, ma’am?”

He trained his attention on a shambling mass of a woman who’d decided to attend tonight’s town hall meeting in the guise of a giant grape. He let her rave on about utility bills and a lost schnauzer and how it was all the fault of the Mexicans, but inside his head, he was turning over sofa cushions and wondering where he’d left the file marked “CHAD FLEMING: SECRET INDIAN”. When he finally found it, he tried to jam it in the folder marked “CHAD FLEMING: CANDIDATE FOR DISTRICT 127 OF THE TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES”, but it wouldn’t fit.

#

“The geek had copies scanned on his iPhone, Chad,” said Ernie, once they were safely inside Fleming’s Yukon Denali. The campaign manager stretched the seatbelt over his expansive gut and rubbed his graying temples.

“Local rag?”

“Oppo. He wouldn’t say it, but I’m guessing Hunnicut.”

Fleming winced. The GOP race for the House seat had been so straightforward until now. But if Hunnicut threw his hat in the ring, life was about to suck. Fleming inherited a couple million and made a couple more in real estate, but Deacon “Deke” Hunnicut came from serious down-home money, with good ol’ boy swagger to spare, and had no compunction about chopping a man off at the knees if he got in the way.

“You’re sure it wasn’t a Photoshop?”

“I would love for you to tell me that’s what it is. Tell me you ticked the ‘Honky’ box when you registered at U.T., Chad.”

“Er…”

“Oh, gently caress. Really?”

“I don’t know! Maybe my hand slipped.”

“It’s on your financial aid forms, your application—you even wrote your essay on the alienation of growing up Native in an all-Caucasian suburb!”

“Look, maybe my girlfriend was a second-generation hippie, and maybe we’d just chowed some ‘shrooms and watched Dances with Wolves, and maybe, when we got back to my house, my old man was going off about how I hadn’t sent out any applications, yet—”

“Hippie girls and hippie drugs will not play with the country club constituency. Okay. How far back can you trace your family tree?”

“Back to Austria, on my mom’s side.”

“How about your dad? Any gaps in the lineage?”

“Um… wait, yeah! My grandmother was adopted!”

“Paper trail?”

“Dropped on the doorstep in an orange crate. This was during the Depression, in rural Oklahoma.”

“Perfect. You grew up proud to be one-sixteenth Cherokee.”

“I did?”

“That’s exactly what your father told you about your heritage: Your grandma was the love child of a white farmer’s daughter and a half-Cherokee ranch hand. A romance doomed by prejudice, et cetera. A tear comes to your eye every time you think about it. Now go home and tell Melissa and the kids that you’re indigenous.”

#

Hunnicut showed up in person the third time Fleming rolled out the Granny Mabel story. He strode into the VFW hall like a longhorn bull with a John Wayne fixation. The opposition researcher with the combover was right behind him with a video camera.

“Folks,” said Hunnicut, grazing the brim of his Stetson in greeting. “I’m sure y’all are as touched by Councilman Fleming’s story as I am. But I gotta wonder—how come his sister says it just ain’t true?”

He held up what appeared to be a deposition.

Janet? Fleming thought. Which rehab did they dig her out of?

“What say we just lay the whole issue to rest? I, Deke Hunnicut, offer to pay for Councilman Chad Fleming to take a DNA test. Consider it a token of collegial esteem, as I hereby announce my candidacy to represent the good people of District Hunnert-‘n’-twenty-seven in the Texas House of Representatives!”

He held his arms wide. Two doddering veterans woke up long enough to clap politely, but the room was otherwise silent. Hunnicut didn’t seem to notice.

“Now, Councilman—whaddya say?”

Fleming fumed. He held a junk hand, but he was damned if he would fold. If Hunnicut wanted to see his cards, Fleming could at least force him to ante up.

“I accept.”

#

Fleming’s grip on the envelope was moist as he carried it back to the Yukon. He’d signed a waiver to permit the lab to release a copy of the test results to Hunnicut, but neither he nor a courier had arrived, yet. That meant ol’ Deke figured Fleming’s exposure as a fraud was a foregone conclusion.

“Well?” asked Ernie, as Fleming flipped through the report. Chad’s brow furrowed.

“It says I’m not one-sixteenth Cherokee.”

Ernie sighed.

“Eh, it was a long shot.”

“It says I’m one-quarter Karankawa.”

“What the gently caress is a Karankawa?”

They looked it up on Fleming’s iPhone. The first image was a diorama from the Brazoria County Museum, depicting a man with waist-length braids, tattoos from his bellybutton to his forehead, and stalks of sugarcane piercing his lip and nipples. His wife and child both looked like they had Downs.

“Cannibals? They were cannibals?” Despite the gale-force air conditioning, Fleming’s polo shirt was soaked through.

“It says they’re extinct, though. How can you be a quarter Karankawa if they’re extinct?”

“How can I be a quarter anything? Grandma Mabel looked nothing like that—she can’t have been full-blooded!”

“What’s the alternative?”

They found out the alternative—and the reason why Hunnicut wasn’t in any hurry to claim his copy of the results—later that evening. The man was no fool; he’d paid Fleming’s chemically-addled bitch of a sister to take a DNA test before sending his oppo stooge to rattle Chad’s cage. For an extra five grand, she’d produced one of their father’s old sweaters, from which the lab techs tweezed several gray hairs and conclusively proved that (A) Janet was his offspring, and (B) neither of them had a drop of Indian blood.

Janet filed suit against Chad the next day, alleging that their—her—father’s will was invalid, on the grounds that he was the victim of their mother’s fraudulent misrepresentation of Chad’s parentage. Despite his lawyer’s best efforts, the court ordered his assets frozen, pending the resolution of the case.

Melissa packed up the kids and left after the bank foreclosed on their home. Election season plowed on without ex-Councilman Fleming, who was too busy bagging groceries to campaign. He’d illegally taken up residence in a storage unit on the outskirts of town. Ernie dropped by on election day to let him know that his name hadn’t been struck from the ballot, and he’d won seven percent of the vote. Fleming stared at him for a full minute before curling up on his Army surplus cot to sob.

#

“Mr. Fleming,” said the man from the Southern Plains Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, “I understand your frustration, but we simply can’t hand the entire Gulf Coast from Galveston to Corpus Christi over to you.”

They were standing at a busy off-ramp on I-10. Fleming was badly sunburned. His blond locks had grown just long enough to braid, and were sticking out from the sides of his head like antennae. He glowered at the man over the cardboard sign which read “AUTHENTIC INDIAN HANDICRAFTS”. Arranged on the curb before him was an assortment of popsicle-stick sculptures: a canoe, a teepee, a passable likeness of Iron Eyes Cody.

“And the coastal islands, Jerry. Don’t try to pull your sneaky white-man tricks on me. I know how you people think.”

“Even if the federal government owned that land—”

“Tribal lands. Stolen by the Europeans.”

“—We couldn’t just evacuate eight million people.”

“Forked tongue, Jerry. I wouldn’t make them leave.”

“Oh, good.”

“So long as they paid me rent and acknowledged me as their chief.”

Bureau Jerry sighed.

“Have you spoken to the nice anthropologist lady recently?”

“Don’t patronize me, paleface.”

“There’s a man in San Antonio. An old guy. She seems pretty convinced that he’s at least part Karankawa. They’re having trouble getting him to do the DNA test, but… does the name ‘Eddie Gomez’ mean anything to you?”

“Should it?”

“He was a landscaper.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Seems he lived in Cedar Grove.”

“Okay.”

“Seems he did some work on your parents’ place.”

“Small world.”

“About nine months before you were born.”

Fleming looked down at his wares.

“I suppose he’ll want to be chief.”

Bureau Jerry patted his shoulder.

“Maybe you could take turns.”

“Jerry?”

“Yeah?”

Chad Fleming looked up, tears threatening to spill down his red and peeling cheeks.

“Will I have to pierce my nipples?”

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



twinkle cave posted:

Before you correct it, use ur internets.

Hey, whatevs. Man don't want to use the most-common spelling, man don't got to use the most-common spelling. Read any Shaksper plays, lately? How do you think things in Libya have been shaping up since the death of Qadhdhafi?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

At least his first name wasn't Fudge

More's the pity, I say. We need more interesting names to ring down the halls of posterity. Tokyo Sexwhale, for instance.

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



THUNDERPOLL

Had some ideas about how everyone could get more bang for their (although, really, Thunderdome kicks the poo poo out of writing courses that costs a hundred times that much, so you all ought to be goddamn grateful for what you've got):

DO YOU THINK YOUR TD EXPERIENCE WOULD IMPROVE IF:

* You were guaranteed at least two (short) critiques for every round you entered.

IF SO, WOULD YOU SUPPORT A SYSTEM BY WHICH:

* Every contestant, by default, would be considered available to judge the next round, unless they stated otherwise when posting their entry;
* Contestants who state that they are not available judge the next round would not be eligible to win the current round, nor would they receive any guaranteed critiques;
* Each round of judging would be followed by the two least-senior judges (i.e., the ones who have judged the fewest consecutive rounds) posting (short) critiques of each piece.

The idea being that--to quote Stan Lee--with great power comes great responsibility. If someone's a big enough swingin' dick (or swollen clitoris) to stand atop a pile of their vanquished comrades at the end of the week, they ought to repay the time that the previous round's judges put in to reading everybody's poo poo, and try to help the other kids hone their skillz. None of y'all want to be poo poo writers. None of the judges want to read poo poo entries. Everybody benefits.

Paired crits are great when they're voluntary, but there's no leverage to compel anyone to do them. People get butthurt when they don't win and gently caress off to parts of the site where their widdle feewings won't be bruised, never to return. But the winners become judges, and they tend to stick around--for honor, for glory, or just for the chance to gently caress with people over the next week.

WHAT SAY YOU?

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



SC Bracer posted:

I really do want detailed critique

How detailed they get would be up to the individual judge, but let's say at least two specific points.

(Really detailed critiques, when you've got to spend a day reading 20-40,000 words just to form an opinion, isn't really feasible.)

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Canadian Surf Club posted:

Anybody should be able to win the contest they enter.

Fanky Malloons posted:

I agree on the issue of singling people out for not being able to judge, it seems unfair.

The problem, though, is that the winner traditionally becomes the new judge for the upcoming week. If the winner isn't available to judge, someone else has to step up. Would you agree that the person who won the last round has more incentive and motivation to stick around and critique than someone who's just doing the job because the gold medalist was too busy to bother? Would you agree that that sort of situation is unfair to the people who have to pick up the slack? I mean, all of the glory + none of the burden sounds like a pretty sweet arrangement, but it kinda subverts the double-edged sword ethos that so delightfully permeates Thunderdome, no?

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budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Sitting Here posted:

Well, I managed to double space.

I'm never sure what to put in a cover letter for this sort of thing. "Hi from the internet, um, please pay me for my writing?"



Mine are literally:

Dear [EDITOR--and, for gently caress's sake, take a look at the masthead to figure out who you're addressing, and then spell their name correctly],

Thank you for your time and consideration of [TITLE(S)] for publication.

My work has previously appeared in [PUBLICATIONS].

Best regards,

[ME]

budgieinspector fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2013 around 23:30

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