Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«201 »
  • Locked thread
elfdude
Jan 23, 2014

Mad Scientist

Heya, first time contestant definitely in if you'll have me, choose to do this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttered_toast_phenomenon

-----------

Trial five thousand, eight hundred and forty-seven, she scribbled in her carbonless notebook.

“What are you doing?”

She spun around in surprise. Then realized it was a boy. She sneered. It wasn’t that he was bad looking she just had no time for childish romances. All she saw was a distraction. A phony smile, and the attempt at charm. She had no use for charm.

She returned to her studies and slathered another slice with butter. The cold shoulder was obvious. It was a technique she had mastered. It was a simple tactic, much simpler than her current task. She looked past the man, as if staring into his soul, then without a thought she turned away from him uninterested. She could almost feel the weight land on his head as she did it.

“Did you hear me?”

Another interruption. She wanted to scream at him; to tell him the importance of her work. She wanted to explain how the very fabric of reality was being plucked apart by her discerning eye. The impulse faded almost immediately. Engaging such a primitive was beneath her. She picked up her belongings and moved to another table. If the man was a balloon she was sure he would have popped.

Away from the distractions her experiment was loaded and readied. Her smile was thin and only a careful observer might have known her internal excitement as she prepared to record the data. There was no sweeter thing in life. Science had become her addiction. It was a drug that knew no limit; a prescription that needed no doctor; a comfort that needed no man.

Time slowed down as she lifted her hand and watched as her lunch fell. If math was a color, it was a color that she alone could see. Suddenly the vector quantities of centripetal force became visible in her imagination. The force of rotation was equivalent to the tangential velocity multiplied by the mass of the object inverse to the radius of curvature. It was an equation she knew by heart and set her teeth on edge.

As soon as it had begun the dream ceased. Her toast landed, buttered side down. She smiled. It was as she had expected. She had long thought that reality was a cruel and evil place and in fact that was her hypothesis. The Buttered Toast Phenomena simply proved it to be true. She smiled thinly as reality came into focus. There was clearly no free choice, and there was not even such a thing as luck. There was however a ‘god’. If you could call it that. A being of pure malevolence who had designed the universe with simple unalterable laws to bring about the misery of all men or at least her.

Soon the attendants arrived and she screamed. They grew angry with her and called for meds. Her fight was pointless. The two attendants outclassed her in mass by a full magnitude. Just like always her choice was irrelevant. The universe was designed to cause her misery.



The morning greeted her with harsh sunlight. Breakfast would begin soon. She smiled in spite of herself and waited patiently with her carbonless notebook for her door to be unlocked. After what seemed like hours her warden arrived to let her out. There was a lecture of course which followed from the previous day’s events but she didn’t listen to a word. The one thing on her mind was the toast.

Her warden, the man calling himself her therapist sighed and had her sit at the table while he went to fetch her breakfast. She shivered in anticipation and closed her eyes imagining the sweet sight of the misery of existence being proven once more to her. The sound of a tray slapping the table in front of her brought her back to reality. She opened her eyes.

It wasn’t there. There was no toast. There was nothing but oatmeal. She felt her eyes begin to burn. This was unexpected. This was even worse than misery. She looked towards her warden thinking it to be a cruel joke but he had already moved on. He didn’t care. A lone tear fell down her cheek.

The sound of a sliding tray drew her attention. In front of her appearing by magic was toast. She looked up and saw the man who had tried to get her attention before. She glared while she tried to figure out what he wanted.

He just shrugged, “You know, if you keep trying the same thing, you’ll always get the same result.” She tried to sneer at him but he had already turned to walk away.

Her thoughts did cartwheels as she tried to contemplate the action. For the first time she felt entirely understood. She smiled widely, he wouldn’t see it anyways. This time she would prove it wrong once and for all and she would prove him wrong too.

While her warden was distracted she climbed upon the table. Her knees wobbled, not from weakness or fatigue but from excitement. She stood up and raised the toast into the air. Her warden cried out but it was too late, the toast slipped silently from her hands.

End over end her smile grew wider. The math seemed to glow like the sun searing its values into her head. Then with a plop the toast landed, buttered side up.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

elfdude
Jan 23, 2014

Mad Scientist

900 words exactly btw.

poopkitty
Oct 16, 2013

WE ARE ALL ONE

The Turning of the Heavens - 896 words




Tim settled in to the quiet. Surrounded by only the faint whirs of compression tanks and filters he felt at peace. The ferry ride to the island had been uneventful, but stressful. He was glad to be free from the Japanese and Tagalog and chirpy tones announcing everything from meals to docking to sights. He hadn’t slept well on board. He was almost adjusted to the time, but it was hardly a worry in the blackness of open water. There’s no time down here. He was descending slowly, and he felt at ease for the first time in months.

After Dad’s death, nothing felt quite right. He was having a rough time even in his doctoral program, where he had focused all of his energy in those last awful months. Abe-san knew. Good old Tomi. Somehow the stories the volcanos told on the sea floor and Tomi’s ability to just shut up and listen without judging made his career choice so much easier. Yeah, it made him “less of a man” to be a marine geologist, if he listened to Dad. And how could he not? He was ending the long Navy line of Reed men, but he couldn’t help it. The ocean made him feel alive.

He was almost down, and calm despite the thoughts chasing themselves through his consciousness. The lights of the DSV hit the silty bottom at 4200m. His comms panel lit and the speakers blared. “Ohaio, Tim-san. Daijobu desu? We start depth count now?” “Hai, arigatou, start bottom count 1047.” He was alone again, comms panel flickering off. The team knew he worked better unhindered by reports and questions. And Tomi trusted him down here solo. Quiet now, he heard a thudding sound. Rhythmic, like drumming. His ears? He equalized and the noise faded. He shrugged it off and tried to shake his unease although he had never had a problem. Dad and Grandpa had seen to that. Navy divers, both, he had grown up around tanks and air mixers and pressure. And always the push to follow them. Once he turned down his appointment and went to Stonybrook, Dad and Gramps kept up the press. Trips to Navy museums, dive locker reunions, the whole nine. And then he met Tomi during a lecture.

Trained by the Imperial Navy, he left as soon as he could to study volcanos off the coast of Tokyo. He couldn’t tell Tim much of what he was trained to do, only that he had worked as an officer on Hacho-jima until the war was over. There he got his interest in oceanography. He graduated from the University before the war, but was self taught in the marine sciences. A well respected marine volcanologist now, he had helped develop the Shinkai2000 in the 1980’s. He was a great mentor, and now he was letting Tim take his new baby, the 6500, to the bottom.

One of the cable layers had seen an anomaly and had alerted Tomi’s crew. Tomi’s interest was peaked, and he was emotional on the phone. “Tim-chan, please. Please come. I cannot do these dives any longer and I wish for you to be my eyes.” It was an abnormally heartfelt plea from a man who was the embodiment of Japanese composure. Nothing seemed to shake ol’ Tomi. So here was Tim, a meter above the silt in the Philippine trench, looking for goodness knows what.

The lights cut a bright swath in the cloudy depths. Not much to see here but pale sea worms and methane vents. The 6500 crawled along for an hour, crisscrossing the coordinates from the cable-layer’s report. Finally, the lights caught a disturbed section of the bottom. “Tomi-chan, found the cable. Following now.” An unnecessary report, but he knew Tomi was waiting up there for something.

Click, silence again. The drumming was back. He could FEEL it this time. He checked his gages; everything normal. He hummed along, almost unthinking. It sounded like the taiko drums they had seen during the launch ceremony for the Shinkai. Fading, it was soon gone.

Suddenly in the low visibility, a small irregular hill loomed in front of the craft. Stopping to consult the chart, Tim confirmed that there should be nothing here. No elevation at all, in fact the deepest part of the trench was only 100m ahead. He aimed the lights on the hill. It was submarines? Stacked like logs on the sea floor. Too small, only 15m long. Maneuvering his camera to get a better picture he could see kanji lettering. And it took his breath away. He couldn’t read it but he was suddenly glad the camera feed wasn’t available to the crew. He had learned about the Kaiten from Gramps on one of those museum trips. Now he knew what he was doing here. He was fulfilling Tomi’s need to find his crew. That kanji meant they were on a mission. But they had been discarded. Tomi was right. He needed this as much as Tomi needed him.

He made ready to start his ascent, thankful to have 90 minutes to figure out how to tell Tomi he understood. How his men had sacrificed their lives for nothing. He knew he’d be back here again, for his friend’s last dive. For Tomi’s sake, he hoped that day would come soon. “Ascending, 1212.”


**********
E:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_torpedo

poopkitty fucked around with this message at Jan 26, 2014 around 05:40

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


By the power vested in me as Thunderdome Deputy by his High and Supreme Head Judge God Over Djinn, I declare

SIGNUPS CLOSED

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014





A True Vampire.
(892 words)


Why am I always the one to interview local nutters? It’s the fifth one this year and I begin to think this bloke fixated on poisonous aluminium in tins from Tesco wasn’t that crazy. Why do we have so many mentally unstable people around and why do the council allow them to own dogs? This time promises to be less intimidating, though. An actual professor, I was told. A mathematician with solid publication history and my editor even mentioned an appearance on Radio 4 some thirty years ago. Thirty more years of this nonsense and I’ll be mad as a March hare, too.
This is the place. An old tower block near, the nineteenth floor, a ragged wooden door with a nameplate on it. Behind that door I expect to find a small flat full of litter and ammonia smell.
‘Professor Terry Dodgeson.’ says the bronze nameplate.
‘Do not disturb.’ say clearly disturbed scribbles below the doorbell.
One day my internship will end and I’ll finally move to reporting dresses that barely cover celebrities’ nipples. Might as well enjoy what I have. Here we go.
No answer.
Well, I didn’t really expect the doorbell to work, but I hate knocking on people’s doors – you never want to alarm the neighbours.
‘Go away!’ shouts a hoarse but high-pitched voice, as if its out of practice for a long time.
‘I’m from the paper?’ It’s important to sound inquisitive even when you don’t ask a question. Makes them feel needed and important.
‘You’re a lady, right?’ I hear from behind the door.
Classic. The first thing all want to know.
‘Come in, love. I’ll put the kettle on,’ the door suddenly opens and to my surprise I am greeted by a woman in her seventies. She wears a grey knitted sweater, a blood-red shawl on her shoulders and a long black skirt that almost covers her pink slippers; no makeup, her snow-white hair is gathered in a ponytail. And no wedding ring. Goodness, will I be good at the gossip column.
‘Is your brother home?’ I ask and make my way inside.
‘How do you take it?’ my question is completely ignored.
Things like that often run in the family, I hear.
‘With milk and no sugar, please.’
The room is quite spacious. Mainly because there’s nothing but a sofa and a dinner table covered with papers. Miss Dodgeson rushes to the kitchen and I hear her opening and immediately closing every drawer.
‘Oh dear, we’re out of milk’ notes my host with slight sadness in her voice.
‘That’s alright,’ I reply while setting up my recorder. ‘So, about your brother...’
‘And I reckon there’s no tea left,’ now Miss Dodgeson sounds like she’s about to cry. She still decides to put the kettle on after giving it some thought and invites me to sit down.
I take another look around and realise that there are no bedrooms in this flat. She lives here alone. When we imagine a ‘mad scientist’ we rarely think of a woman and I didn’t even bother to clarify that when discussing my assignment.
‘Are you interested in vampires?’
‘I beg your pardon? the question brings me back from my pondering to sad reality.
‘I don’t want to bore you with true vampires – these are well-researched as it is. I particularly like those with three pairs of fangs, mutant vampires they call them, but for the article we can probably talk about pseudovampires. Now, these are easy to spot...’
At this point my mind wanders off. I expected something extravagant like the number of the beast in bar codes, but vampires? Is it even the right person? There’s only one way to know.
‘Terry,’ I utter Professor’s name, ‘the kettle.’
The woman goes obviously responds to the name. She walks to the kitchen to turn off the stove.
‘Ah, just a moment’
It’s her. Shouldn’t really matter, of course. Nutter is a nutter is a nutter, after all.
Miss Dodgeson hands me a cup of hot water and continues her lecture.
‘Getting back to the subject... If you see a vampire but then spot the asymmetrical fangs, make no mistake, it’s a pseudovampire. And while true vampires may hold the key to the Last Conjecture, pseudovampires have a mystery of their own...’
Unable to concentrate on this rigmarole, I take a sip from the cup. Yes, just water. Should I ask any questions? It doesn’t look like Miss Dodgeson is willing to talk about anything except vampires.
‘Miss Dodgeson, how many vampires you think can be found in your neighbourhood?’ I ask when there’s a short pause in Professor’s speech.
‘I don’t get out too often these days, but when you’re at the station, you may find some there. Or maybe at the shop if you pay attention at the checkout. And, obviously, you can find a lot of them right here,’ Miss Dodgeson gives me a sinister smile and I notice her fangs. Not asymmetrical – a true vampire.
I grab my recorder and hastily excuse myself from continuing this interview.

***
I’ve left out the part where I listen back to my recording per your request, Will. I am not sure why we need to make her look crazier than she is, but that’s on you now.
Re my resignation letter, I’d love to see it approved by Monday.



Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_number

ReptileChillock
Jan 7, 2014

by Lowtax


ReptileChillock
Jan 7, 2014

by Lowtax


Miss Robinson 900 turds

Alistair Pauli, Man of Action and Taste, stumbled over the threshold after the door tore free of its hinges. I squinted in the Hawaiian sun.

“Do you mind? I asked from the wing of the Miss Robinson, Alistair’s Catalina.

“Not at all! Take your time. One can’t expect much when all the real mechanics are off fighting the war,” he said, leaning on his cane. The gilded ball broke off and sent him tumbling.

Now, I worked on all sorts’a planes back home, but I’d never seen anything like this ol’ girl. She died serving her country, but Pauli needed her resurrected. poo poo hard work, but Pa said “Never look a gift whore in the mouth.”

Pauli cleared his throat “Will it be much longer? I’ve got a case full of maps I need you to study before we embark.”

“Almost ready, yeah. I ain’t teachin’ no halfwit to fly, if that’s what you’re gettin’ at though,” I said, temper getting the best of me.

“Ms. Ashworth, don’t be absurd! Of course not! I simply need you to pilot the craft!” he said.

“That was not part of the deal! I fix the plane, I get paid.”

“Well, the deal has changed and if you want your money you’ll have to fly,” he said.

“Double it.”

“I’ll triple it and still come out ahead, now come read these maps,” he said.

The briefcase came apart in his hands, one half tearing a button from his shirt. Maps clattered to the ground, soaking up droplets of gear oil. Pauli bent to retrieve them, splitting his pants. His face reddened, he thrust the maps at me and left the hangar in a huff.

They didn’t tell me much. Sure, I got the approach vectors and wind speeds, weather and landing patterns, but no idea where we were going. He’d circled a tract of forest off the coast of Brazil, penned in the words Fordlandia.

I fired up the tractor and pulled the plane into the shallows. I stood back and admired my work. An uneven rattle shattered my slipstream daydream and I turned to find Pauli driving an old truck down the beach. The rear tires blew out a few hundred feet away from the plane. We loaded the ol’ girl up anyhow, and I got into the pilot’s seat.

I held a finger over the ignition switch.

“You gotta tell me what we’re doin’,” I said.

“An expedition to find abandoned oil wells just outside of Henry Ford’s rubber plantations,” he said, fidgeting.

“Nuh uh, not this time. I ain’t as thick as you’d like. We didn’t just load a half ton of photography gear and rifles to look for some fuckin’ oil wells.

“Fine. I’m searching for a tribe, Homo Martelloensis, the Geographic Society is offering an honorary membership for first contact.”

“Why all the guns, then? And how we gettin’ home?”

“They’re violent cannibals. Quite the queer specimens – entirely homosexual,” he said, before adding “and Fordlandia has a fully stocked airfield.”

“If they’re homosexual, how do they – ”

“That’s what I intend to learn.”

Now, me and Miss Robinson’s friendship must’a done something to fix Pauli’s luck. The engines gave out just as we were settling to land, so I slid the Catalina up to the dock on momentum alone.

Fordlandia was somethin’ else. It was like someone flew an entire suburb over and dropped it into the middle of a jungle. Everything was in good shape, but the feel of the place was wrong. I left Pauli alone with his gear and I went lookin’ for fuel. Pauli was right about the airfield, and I rolled a drum over.

“Don’t bother with that, we’ve got to get the gear unloaded,” he said. A strap gave way in his luggage, something shattered.

I ignored him, I had the upper hand. After the tanks were full I dragged the rest of the gear to the church where we’d be staying. It’d been a while and the sun was setting.

“We’ve got to make at least an exploratory pass!” Pauli said.

“You can go, I’ll hold out here and join you tomorrow,” I said, smashing the floor with a poker and shoving the boards into the fireplace. I lit the fire and sat down on a dusty pew.

Pauli stood stock still for a moment, head cocked. “Do you hear that? It sounds like someone’s drumming!”

He’d never had tinnitus before, I reckoned. “You’re probably hearin’ the prop wash. It’ll clear up on its own.”

I awoke to the sounds of frenzied drumming and breaking glass. I grabbed a flashbulb from a camera case and lit up the church. Naked, engorged tribesman screamed as the light exploded around them. I found a machete and held it in front of me.

I set off the flash bulb again, the freeze-frame white light showing brown hands tearing at Pauli’s coat. Thick fingers covered his mouth, his pants were off. A dagger shone in the darkness. I heard the click of a jammed revolver.

I got up, sprinting for the door, firing the flashbulbs like a machine gun. The men parted like the Red Sea. I cut the Catalina’s mooring lines and dropped the machete into the ocean, already in the pilot’s seat. Behind me unearthly cries of pain shot through the night, carried on a rhythmic thumping chant: Mar-Tell-Oh! Mar-Tell-Oh!


*****
edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_effect

ReptileChillock fucked around with this message at Jan 26, 2014 around 01:37

Baudolino
Apr 1, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Weird prompt. 759 word.

A face, a mask, a human.

May 1987.

“She has Moeibus syndrome? “
"Is that why Sally doesn’t smile or blink?”


July 2020.

The Bride didn`t smile but her beaming voice and her proud posture could leave no one doubt. She was happy with her match. John said she shouldn`t worry about the photos “ I will smile for both us”. At that moment, standing in front of that particular church, Sally did not think about what her face could or couldn`t do. Somehow, all of those worries had faded away.

September 1990.

Sally`s fate was sealed the minute she was introduced to the other children in the kindergarten. Anna the manager only wanted to be kind when she told everyone” "Sally is a little different than the rest of us, she can`t smile or move her face in any way. She is a very special girl, so you have take extra good care of her."
Naturally, everyone teased her relentlessly from that day onwards.


June 2017.

The speed dating had been fun, she was glad that she took the chance to participate. But she felt a little sad that she was the one that had to ask the men for their numbers. No one had dared to take the initiative.

May 2003.

Paul laughed at her "Do you think I'm interested in going to the prom with a retard ? Hello, that would probably be illegal! “
It hurts when the one you love laughs at you. Sally gave no outward sign that she understood the humiliation. Sally was used to not being understood. Other People have faces , I have just have a mask.

April 2014.

The sun was shining beautiful and dazzling when Sally and her brother Brad sat down to eat. Brad ordered first - A bloody steak with red wine. Then came the insult. "And what should she like?” the waiter asked her brother. He didn`t even look at her. Sally kept her composure and said «She should would like to have pork chops in gravy, she will also have a Heineken to drink " The waiter turned to look at her , his cheeks suddenly burning like flames. “Miss I’m sorry. I will get it sorted."

It was a good meal expect for that little insult. Sally couldn`t stay mad, it was not the first time she had been presumed to be retarded, it would probably not be the last. To think about it was just too draining. Sally and Brad laughed and laughed. They had many good memories to talk about. Sally paid this time around. It felt good to pay with money she had earned on her own. No one cared about her face in the accounting industry. A nimble brain was more than good enough there.

November 2004.

Someone else got the job, like always. They had no need of her at McDonald’s either. Her labor was not wanted. Not in any of the cafes in the city, not in the stores. Even the soup kitchen preferred to have someone else work there. More and more Sally felt like all the world could see of her was that her mask. She would have no chance to earn her own money this year either, there would be no holiday trip with her friends, there would be no updating of her wardrobe. For her there would be nothing but pity and unspoken words of worry.

Hello self-hatred my old friend, have you come to talk to me again?


May 1987.

“ She has Moeibus syndrome?”
“ Is that why Sally doesn’t smile or blink?”
“Yes, you see the nerves in her facial muscles will never work properly. It is unlikely that she will ever be able to gesticulate emotions with facial expression. She will need a lot of extra training to speak properly. On the other hand, I can tell you that this does not anyway affect her mental faculties. She can still have relatively normal life”.
“Oh my god, my little girl !”
“Mrs. Steiner, Mr Steiner. You must stay strong. Sally is going to need every bit of your strength.“
“Yes, we will be strong. We will do anything for her.”
“Good, Sally is going to need a lot of medical help in the years to come. However, you have to make sure that she is never forgets that she more than her handicap. If you do that, you will have done more for her than any doctor could ever do”.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

My apologies to those familiar with the geography. I can only tell so much from google maps.

A Dream Vacation (848 Words)

Jane grabbed the armrest of her seat as the train jerked into motion. She leaned toward the window, then turned and flashed a smile toward Sean. She reached out and grabbed his hand.

“I can’t believe we’re almost there,” she said.

“You’re going to love it, Jane.” He squeezed her hand.

“And you’re sure we have reservations?” His smile faltered and she wished she hadn’t asked. “I’m sorry. You told me you have everything in order, and I believe you.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it.” His smile returned, although not as broad as before.

She turned back to the window. She bit her lip as she watched Liverpool fade into suburbs and fields.

“So where are we staying?”

He laughed. “Come on, now. I said it would be a surprise, and I meant it. You’re not going to get it out of me.”

She stuck her tongue out at him, but her stomach sank. No, she thought, he’s come a long way since then.

The call had come almost a year ago to the day. It was a week before her parent’s 30th wedding anniversary and she’d been a month away from a big performance review. She’d been coming home from twelve hour days and staring at pamphlets for banquet halls and caterers with numb eyes. Sean had volunteered to take care of the catering and assured her that everything was ok. Three days before the party, Sean pulled her aside. He’d forgotten to make the reservation.

They found a replacement, but the night after the party she packed a bag and sat next to it on the bed for hours. In the end, he promised things would be better and she put her things away. Sticky notes started cluttering the walls of their apartment. Three months ago he called her at work. He started talking the moment she answered the phone.

“Jane! I found the perfect spot for us to visit this summer! It’s a quaint little town in England, like we’ve always talked about. You’ll love it!” He wanted to do all the planning. “It’s the least I can do to make up for the party,” he’d said.

Jane felt herself pushing into the seatback as the train began to slow. Hedgerows at odd angles surrounded fields of crops out her window. As the train pulled into the station, she clapped her hands together and smiled at Sean. He reached out and put a hand on her leg.

“I told you we’d make it,” he said.

They gathered their bags and made their way outside. The station was a squat brick building huddling next to the platform with a ticket window facing the tracks. A bus sat idling on the road. Sean walked over to the window and set his bags down. The attendant’s head snapped up as she approached and she smiled.

“Hello. What can I do for you, sir?” she said.

“Does that bus stop in Argleton?” Her smile dropped.

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Well, can we call a cab from here?”

“You could, but it’s not going to do you much good.” She glanced at the person waiting behind Sean and smiled. “I’ll just be a moment,” she said. Jane’s hands started to sweat.

“Why not? We’re trying to get to the Meadowlawn Inn. I know this is the right station, I double checked!” Sean’s brow was furrowed, and his fist was clenched at his side.

The attendant sighed and took a deep breath. “There is no Argleton. It’s a fake town someone put on a map online.” Sean jerked back, his mouth working but failing to produce words.

Jane dropped her bag. There was a bitter taste in the back of her throat. “Ma’am,” she said, “are you sure about that?”

The attendant nodded. “Absolutely. We used to get five or ten people a week here to get their picture taken in the Town That Doesn’t Exist. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” She smiled to the next person in line again.

Jane turned to find Sean. He had drifted a few feet away. He was staring at the cement platform and shaking his head. Jane’s head felt as if she’d slammed back five drinks in the last hour. Her lip twisted into a snarl as she approached him.

“Sean. Sean!” His head snapped up. His eyes were wide and his lips were compressed into white lines. “What the gently caress did you do?”

“I don’t understand. I found this inn online. I made reservations.” He ran a hand through his hair.

Her eyes burned with tears and she bit her lip. She could feel crazed laughter bubbling up her throat. “Did you give them our bank card number?” All of the muscles in his face went slack. His eyes darted as though they could find an answer somewhere on the platform.

As his silence dragged on, she nodded to herself and headed back to the window. The knots in her back relaxed.

“What are you doing?” Sean said behind her. She turned back.

“I’m going home,” she said. “Good luck in Argleton.”

--------

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argleton

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



gently caress You, Got Mine
888 words inclusive


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrioshka_brain

Djeser fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2014 around 19:45

tankadillo
Aug 15, 2006



Breaking Habits
741 words

At first, Augusta thought Sam seemed like an ordinary medical student. He was intelligent, enthusiastic, and eccentric. When the two met at his house for dinner one weekend, the conversation moved between their classes at UCLA, neurology, and Sam’s recreational drugs.

“I usually take LSD or Morning Glory on Sundays,” he said. “I really think you should try them sometime. Their effects on the mind could be insightful for your work.”

Augusta took a drag on her cigarette. “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve seen too many patients abuse drugs like that.”

“Nonsense,” he said. “We can do it right now. Just a small dose to get the feel for it.” He went to his refrigerator and produced two sundaes covered with a black powder. “It won’t hurt you at all, I promise.”

Augusta hesitated, but she trusted him. “What is this?” She said as she took a few bites. “I feel like my stomach is getting sick.”

“Vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, and ground Heavenly Blue seeds,” Sam said.

What happened next was a blur in Augusta’s memory. The nausea passed, and she felt like she was in a different place. As she walked around the house, everything looked the same, but it possessed an otherworldly beauty. She almost believed that she truly was in heaven, and this was only a copy of Sam’s house on Earth. Even the smoke from her cigarette seemed like holy incense.

At one point, she laughed and waved at Sam, but he stared at her dubiously. “What did you do to her?” He said.

She glanced around to see if he was talking to someone else. “It’s just me, Augusta,” she said.

“No, I know who you really are,” Sam said. “You think you can fool me, copying the way Augusta looks, she talks, her posture, but I can see the truth.” He leaned close to her and spoke softy and slowly, as if about to reveal a secret. “You are a replica!” He shouted the word “replica.” She jumped, dropped the cigarette from her mouth, and ran away.

When Augusta was feeling herself again, she found Sam and asked him if he was okay. “Do you remember who I am?” She said.

“Of course,” he said. “What we experienced earlier was just a disconnect between our perception and feelings. I saw you, but I didn’t feel any kind of familiarity, so I believed you were an impostor.”

“Okay, I tried your experiment,” she said, “and here’s my hypotheses. It is my professional opinion that you exhibited a psychological disorder. When you didn’t recognize me, it was a complex form of defense, a denial of reality. Now, I want you to try an experiment for me. I want you to give up these drugs for a month, and see if you feel any happier.”

“Okay, I’ll play,” he said, “but on one condition: you give up smoking. Earlier, when I looked at you, I could see inside you, inside your cells, like a microscope. I saw all of the tar inside them. It was horrible, and I would hate to ever see it again.”

It was a deal. Augusta would quit smoking, and Sam would quit drugs. “We’ll see who can go the longest,” he said with a smug grin on his face.

A couple of days later, Sam disappeared. When Augusta hadn’t seen him on campus for almost a week, she went to his house to check on him. “It’s me,” she said, “Augusta, the real one, not the replica.” She smiled.

Sam didn’t smile back. His eyes sagged, and he looked scruffy and disheveled. “I’ve been having trouble sleeping,” he said.

“Are you okay?” She said. She could tell there was more he wasn’t telling her.

“Well, I used take a lot of chloral hydrates to help with insomnia. When I stopped using them, I started having withdrawal symptoms.”

“How bad were these symptoms?”

“Well… I’ll just tell you what happened. I went to class on Monday morning, but everything was wrong. Everyone looked like a giant insect, and they spoke in clicks and chirps.”

Augusta wasn’t sure if he was serious or not. He didn’t seem to be joking.

“I don’t remember the rest,” he continued, “but I was out of it for about four days. Now I just feel exhausted.”

After that, Augusta didn’t feel so bad about smoking cigarettes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capgras_delusion

(Based on stories from Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks)

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


The Man From Beatosu, 900 words
Beatosu and Goblu

"Mr. Jones, I'm not sure exactly how to put this." I clicked my finger nails against the top of the interrogation table. "Beatosu is not a real town in Ohio. Neither your Social Security number has never been assigned, nor you driver ID number. By all indications, the entire official documentation of your life is impeccable fakes, with deliberately and blatantly false information."

I paused, letting the sound of my long nails on the table fill the room. I suppose I was hoping he'd say something, the man who didn't exist. But he had protested his innocence and demanded to be released hours ago. He had long since lapsed into silence with a perturbed look on his face. For him, it was a practical joke that had gone on too long. I sighed.

"Unfortunately, that doesn't really make sense, does it? A forger wouldn't waste his time creating a perfect document that doesn't meet basic scrutiny, and somehow I don't think you're the type for weird performance art. No, you are a man who isn’t real."

I stopped tapping my nails. The silence seemed oppressive in the room. I waited, resisting the urge to my fidget and adjust my blouse. The tactic worked, eventually.

"I was defensive end for the Beatosu Titans in 1992. I was in the year book; you'll see me in the team photo. I made the game winning tackle in the state championship. I was on the front page of the Goblu Herald." He leaned forward, his voice dropped to a whisper. "I exist!"

I pulled out my phone and searched. "Mr. Jones, the 1992 winner was Cleveland St. Ignatius. You didn't appear in the Goblu Herald. The Goblu Herald doesn't exist. Goblu doesn't exist." I handed him the phone, watched as he slowly scrolled between the images.

I carefully pulled the map out of the manila folder while he was looking at the phone. I opened it to the relevant section of the map. "Sir, take a look at this. Here is Archbold, and over here is Bono. Beatosu and Goblu aren’t on it. Beatosu was the invention of Peter Fletcher, the chairman of the Michigan State Highway Commission. I could bring you a hundred more maps, just like this."

He handed back the phone, and pulled the map towards himself. "I know this doesn't really make sense," I continued. "But I need you to help me out here. I need you to help me understand what the hell is going on. Because otherwise this is the situation we're facing: you're a man with no legal identity, and until we can figure out who you are and where you came from, we cannot let you go. It's simple a too big a risk."

The man gave a long exasperated sigh, and laid his head down on the desk. I took advantage of the moment to watch him again. He was older, starting to bald, and becoming soft around the middle, but you could see the athlete in him. He wore a plain, boring suit and tie, and a pair of thin-rimmed glasses. He looked absolutely unremarkable. I sighed, and looked over towards the mirror.

His snarl was the only warning, and thankfully it was enough. He lunged forward, teeth bared, arms outstretched. He grabbed the lapel of my jacket, and pulled. The FBI didn't train shrinking violets, though - I pulled back and down, using my superior leverage. He slid forward across the table, and I slammed down on the inside of his joints. He let go, and I slammed my fist into his nose. He slumped back across the table and into his chair, blood trickling down his face.

Michael was already at the door to the interrogation room, ready to drop the hammer on the poor bastard. I shook my head no, fixed my clothes, and grabbed the folder. We left, and I headed towards the coffee machine. Michael and the chief followed behind me. "Do you want to press charges?"

"Why?" I replied, filling up a paper cup with stale coffee. "He's already in the poo poo. A legal non-entity? He's lucky if he doesn't disappear outright."

"You actually think that?" Michael asked. "I mean, all that stuff you said about him not existing? It doesn't really make sense, you know. What, he just stepped out of the twilight zone?"

"Anything turn up in the database?" I asked in reply.

Michael shrugged. “No finger prints in the criminal database or from ICE, so no record and he didn’t immigrate legally from somewhere else. We’re still waiting on the DNA.”

“He won’t show up.” I said. “I can feel it.”

I opened the door to the observation room, gasped, and dropped my coffee. I could see clearly through the one-way mirror into the interrogation room - the completely empty interrogation room. Michael bolted to the second door, slammed it open, and looked around with bug eyes. He then went charging down the hallway.

The chief was more controlled in his response. He pressed the rewind button on the security camera. I stood behind him and watched the screen. The room was empty - and stayed empty, as I entered and talked to thin air. He glanced at me with a puzzled look.

"Well, that makes it a lot easier," I said. "You don't have to write up a case report when you arrest nobody."

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet


Monowi
882 Words
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monowi,_Nebraska

Frank drove through unmitigated boredom toward a dieing town. The music throbbed heavy and loud, but the landscape sucked the life out of it with a vast, seeping silence. Maybe Mom would like traveling more if she'd ever left the plains.

He slapped the radio button off when his phone rang. “Hey Stacey.”

“Hey Frank. I found this place that looks really nice. It has two bedrooms, and...” Her happiness bubbled out of the phone. It almost – almost – filled the flat silence.

But not quite. “Stacey, honey. I told you I wasn't sure if I could do this. I have to talk to my parents first.”

“But you hate it there.”

“I do. But I still have to talk to them.”

- - -

His mother greeted him with a warm, soft hug, the smell of baking cookies, and the words, “Oh Franky, you made it home safe! Look what you've gone and done to your face. Frank, would you just come and look at your son!”

There was the clunk of a beer bottle being set down, the creak of the living room chair, the thump of footsteps. Dad appeared in the doorway with a scowl. “Hell. Piercings everywhere.”

“Is this was the big city does to a boy?” Mom reached up to touch his face, fingers gentle.

“No. This is what fashion sense does to a boy.” He forced a smile past the tightness in his throat.

“You call that fashion sense?” Dad grumbled. Frank could see the smile hiding behind his beard. “Fashion sense is a nice suit. Come 'ere.” He pulled Frank into a hug.

“I have something to tell you.” Frank forced the words out. “You know Stacey?” Of course they knew; he'd talked about her in every email this year. “We're thinking of getting a place together.”

“That's...that's good, honey.” Mom's smile wobbled. “You'll be moving back here, of course?”

“Actually, we've been...we've both been offered jobs in California. We're thinking of accepting.”

There was a long, dreadful silence. Frank could still hear the music playing over and over in his head. His favorite songs, rendered joyless by this place. He waited.

“How long?” Dad asked in the voice Frank had thought of as his funeral voice ever since Mr. Clark had died when Frank was seven. When Mrs. Clark and the kids had moved away and Frank had been the only kid left in town with no one to play with.

“I don't know. Dad, Mom...I'm not sure I'm coming back. I mean, I'll visit but-”

“But you're thinking of leaving us.” Mom was using the polite tone she reserved for people she didn't like. Frank's eyes started to burn and he tasted bile. “You're going to move, not just go away to school. And you'll be leaving just me and your dad and the Eiler's in town, and all of us too old to have more kids. The town will die, you know.”

The Town. Always the drat Town. “Just because you choose to give your life up to a dot on the map doesn't mean I have to,” Frank said. Mom's mouth snapped shut and she turned away, burying her face against Dad's shoulder. gently caress.

Dad's voice was like a thunderstorm, starting quiet and distant but louder with each word. “Your mother was born here. She grew up here. Her brother lived and died here. Your grandparents and uncle are buried here.”

“It's a town, Dad. An artificial division on a map. The land will still be here, whatever happens to the town. The graveyard will still be here. What does it matter what it's called?”

“Your mother's put everything into keeping this town going. It's her home. Her safe place. You know she's never liked to leave. It's her world, and it's getting smaller and more lonely every year.”

“If she's too scared to leave, it's not my problem. I've been out there and seen what the world – the real world – has to offer!”

He heard the impact before he really felt it, and felt it mostly in the sting in his nose ring. Mom had pulled away from Dad's arm and slapped him. Now she stood, shaking and tear-damp. “Fine. The rest of the world is so good, so go and drat get it. But don't you stand here and insult me in my own home!”

“Mom, I'm sorry-” Frank started. She cut him off with a wave of her hand.

“Save it,” she said, and went inside.

Dad walked him to his car. “You had better write one hell of an apology letter,” Dad said.

“I will.” Frank stopped and turned to him, at a loss. “Will things...?”

“I'll make it alright. I know why you want to go. I'd never have retired here once I stopped traveling for work, but it's the only place your mom feels safe. And I love her.”

“I love her too, Dad.”

“We know.” Dad pulled him in for another hug.

- - -

The music throbbed through the car, but it couldn't drive away the lingering stinging in his face. Frank turned it off and dialed the phone.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Futile
883 words

The corridor goes on forever. Dusty paintings line the walls, some of them portraits, some of me. I look straight ahead. Cutlery and plates clank against the platter in rhythm with my step.

I hesitate as I reach the door, look at myself in the reflection of the cloches. With one hand I pull a strand of hair out of my face, careful not to drop the tray. My face is hard as stone.

I enter a chamber the size of a ballroom. Sundry objects litter the floor and crowd hastily arranged tables and shelves: vases and dice, bottles and coins, toy soldiers and computer chips, models of ships and cars and trains. Stuffed animals pose in a corner next to a heap of rolled up posters. More posters hang on the walls. Today they show planes, rockets and other airborne machinery from various angles.

I place the tray on a small desk by the door. “Good morning, love,” I say. In the middle of the room, my husband grunts in response.

He is absorbed in his work; quick, precise motions build a complex mosaic of lines and circles, highlights and shadows. The immense canvas before him rests in a machinery that allows him to scroll through near-endless drawing paper. He built it himself. To his left and right are two tables; on them, his tools, and more models of aircraft like on the posters.

And our ring. He says he doesn’t want to get it dirty.

Yesterday’s tray still holds half a bowl of soup. “You didn’t like your dinner?” He makes a noise as if a fly were annoying him. His haggard face stares at the canvas in a trance.

The rings under your eyes get darker every day, and every day it surprises me how much darker they can get.

“If you would like something specific for lunch…?”

He barely dignifies this with a response: “Nah.”

“How did you sleep last night?”

“Eh.”

“Did you sleep last night?”

He shrugs.

“You didn’t shower either, I take it?”

He grunts. There is silence.

Talk to me.

“Planes today?”

“Planes. Satellites. Rockets. Airships. Space stations. Space, then sky. Birds coming soon.”

“You are going to draw every single model of every single airborne piece of machinery that ever existed, I suppose.”

“Yes.”

“A few planes are not representative enough, I suppose.”

He pauses, rubs his eyes, sighs and looks over to me. “What d’you want?”

I want you to stop, but I don’t know how. I have brought your friends and family, I have tried guilt and jealousy, food and sex. Only to defend your stupid project will you turn away from it.

“I want you to stop.”

The suggestion takes him aback. We had this talk before, but you forgot.

“Are you mad? After how far I’ve come?”

“You don’t know how far you have come.”

“Not far enough to quit. Too far to stop.”

“What you do is impossible. New things come into existence more quickly than one man can paint them. Don’t you see that you are throwing your life away?“

He stares at me for a second, his mouth half-open in disbelief at my ignorance. “Do you understand why I am doing this?”

I suggested it as a joke. You agreed, as a joke. That was before you forgot how to laugh.

“This-,“ he motions towards the canvas, “is pure art. Non-commercial. Total dedication to creation for creation’s sake. My life, my wealth, all secondary. What I’m doing here, it’s a tribute to existence itself. A manmade monument to spite the inevitability of the end. Only fitting, if I never be able to finish it. Only fair, if my life be the tribute. I am nothing without art.”

His inane rant is over. We frown at each other in silence.

“And your picture of everything, will it contain a picture of your picture of everything?”

He walks closer, glares at me. “You mock me.”

I am reasoning with you. I should know better.

I take a deep breath and pick up a cup from the platter. “At least will you do me the favor of drinking your morning tea if you fancy to go without sleep?”

He snorts, still staring. “And then you let me get back to work?”

I nod.

He snatches the cup from my hands. Drops of tea land on the floor as he drinks in a hurry. I put the empty cup on yesterday’s platter and pick it up.

“Don’t forget to eat your breakfast, love.”

He is already back at the drawing board. He grunts.

I leave the room. Behind me, something heavy falls on the ground. Objects scatter across the floor. Two men, all in white, are waiting for me outside. They start at the noise, but I motion for them to stop.

“My husband is exhausted and has merely fallen asleep,” I inform them. “I am sure that no force will be necessary.”

One of them squints at me. They have their suspicions about this sudden slumber, but there are no complaints. They put their syringes away and walk past me.

The least I can do is to make it easier for him.

I carry the plate back through the corridor. My face is hard as stone. I look straight ahead.


---------------------------------------------------------
Inspired by Howard Hallis and his attempt to draw the Picture of Everything.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Bowing out for this one, RL is gettin' in the way. Expect something in the redemption thread when it's passed though, I've got it saved.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Trepanation
609 Words
Treppaning



It seemed like an eternity and a half had passed since the nurse had told them the doctor would be in momentarily. “How much longer mommy?” Lynnie asked.

“Not much longer,” Lynnie’s mom Amber said. She pulled her sunglasses out of her purse along with a cherry jolly rancher. She unwrapped it and gave it to Lynnie. “This should hold you over ‘till the doctor gets here. Now sit there quietly like a good little girl.” She opened a People magazine and began leafing through it.

Lynn popped the candy in her mouth. She had had a good time at school that day. In science they did an experiment with volcanoes. The foam exploded out of the tippy top and poured down the sides. She laughed at the rememberance. Yellow and red foam bubbling out of the crater. It smelled like when mom mopped up the floor after she spilled her red cool-aid. The volcanoes barfing, ewwwwww Richard had yelled. That was so funny. She laughed harder.

Amber sighed loudly.

Lynn put her hand in her pocket. Small sand particles gritted on her hand. Mom had yelled at her for having sand in her pockets when she got home. She tried to tell her mom about Richard. Richard threw sand at her at recess. Richard pulled her pig-tails in the lunch line. But mom didn’t care. Richard got her in trouble. Richard was mean.

The door opened quickly and a man in a white coat with short dark hair entered the room. “Hello,” he said “I’m Dr. Meretti.” He held his hand out for Amber. She shook it.

“The nurse told me you’re having some trouble with hyperactivity?” Meretti asked.

Hyper what? Like after I eat candy? Lynn thought.

“Yes, little lynnie here is very overactive. She can never sit still; she’s always getting in trouble at school, and is just being disruptive. It’s all I can do to keep her on top of things. I’m really at my wits end here,” Amber said.

“Ok. From the charts here, and from what you’ve told me it sounds like little Lynnie here has got a textbook case of Attention Deficit Disorder. Do you know what that is?” Dr. Meretti asked.

Attention what? Lynn thought. Her heart began to beat quickly. She was sick? She didn’t feel sick.

“Yes, I know what that is, the Parkers kid Walter has a bad case of that,” Amber said. “Or at least he did, until they gave him a trepane or something.”

“Trepanning. Yes it’s a simple procedure and it works to alleviate the symptoms that come from the swelling of the brain. We open a small hole in the skull, and it will alleviate 99% of the symptoms. Of course like all procedures, nothing is guaranteed but this is an incredibly simple procedure.”

“Well, ok. But is it covered by insurance?” Amber asked. She took off her sunglasses and had begun to massage her temples.

“Yes it’s covered entirely by insurance. There are some pills we can try, but there are a lot of side-effects. Best to stick with the tried and true method.” Meretti said.

Lynn had finished the hard candy. She began to kick her legs back and forth as if they were pendulums hanging from the edge of her chair. Her pink shoes produced an echo as if she were kicking sheet-metal drums as they banged into the metal observation table in the center of the room. This is so boring she thought.

Amber violently rested her hand on Lynn’s leg and said sharply “stop!”

Lynn jerked her legs to a stop.

“When can we do the surgery?” Amber asked.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

Based off the story of Mary Toft.

The Sooterkin Affair
896 words


http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...ooterkin+Affair

crabrock fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2014 around 17:07

Schneider Heim
Oct 17, 2012


The Obvious Solution
848 words

Prompt: Moe anthropomorphism
Flash rule: Story may not involve anyone under the age of 40.


Kenjiro stumbled inside their house, a convenience store bag dangling from one hand.

"Welcome home, dear," Inori said, shutting the door behind her.

"Dinner. What's dinner?" Kenjiro slurred. He laid the bag on the dining table, revealing a six-pack of beer cans. Two had already been emptied.

"I texted you, didn't I? I made Napolitan today." Inori removed the plastic covering on the meal she had set on the dining table. Kenjiro didn't always go home. She counted herself lucky tonight. You have more gray hairs than your husband, her mother kept telling her. She stashed away the remaining beer cans before he had the sense to drink more of them.

"Napolitan, eh?" Kenjiro's clumsy hand couldn't grab the fork. Hiding her thoughts behind a smile, Inori took it and began to feed him.

* * *

Kenjiro was half-slumped over the dining table. Sometimes he would sleep there, suit and all.

"Inori. Dear."

Inori took off her apron, having finished washing the dishes. "Do you need something?" He used to yell, when they had been younger.

"The episode. Did you tape it?"

"I did. I don't think you should be watching it tonight, though. It's Friday already." Inori had tried watching the late-night cartoons that her husband consumed like a part of his diet. They used to fight about it, but Inori decided it was better for Kenjiro to watch cute girls doing cute things in the safety of their home. Reality had a way of messing with expectations.

"Not going to work. Chief's been yelling at me. Not selling toasters fast enough. Hate them."

Inori sat down in front of her husband. "Do you really hate those toasters, dear? They're the ones feeding us." And making you drunk.

"Yeah. I've had enough. Tell the chief I got a cold." Kenjiro rested his head on his arms.

Sighing, Inori grabbed a piece of paper and a mechanical pencil. She started drawing. It would help, her marriage counselor had told her. She used to draw a lot in school, learning from the comics she used to read. Some of her classmates liked her art, but her teachers didn't, and that was that.

"Look. I drew Toaster-tan!" She slid the paper across the table. Toaster-tan, the Toaster Girl. The girl who's also a toaster. She wore her hair in a bun and an apron with a smiling sun on it. Her red-hot hands warmed bread up, to fill your mornings with crunchy delight!

"Huh." Kenjiro tilted his head to look. His bored face twisted in delight, then desire. "Toaster-tan..." He drooled on the paper.

Inori reached out and wiped her husband's mouth. "Do you like it?"

Solemnly, Kenjiro met her eyes. "Make her younger." He sent the paper back.

Inori smiled, hiding her bafflement. "Okay."

Kenjiro perused the revision with approval. "Beautiful."

"Maybe you should turn in, dear," Inori said. "I'll have to wash your clothes, you know. Chief wouldn't like it if you showed up in a crooked tie, would he?"

Kenjiro held up a finger. "One last thing."

"Yes?"

"Her boobs should be smaller."

* * *

What Inori had thought was a one-off thing became a daily deal. Kenjiro would fill his stomach with beer and arrive home late, demanding a Toaster-tan bribe to go to work in the morning. Inori spent her days drawing, filing away the rust in her long-dormant art skills. Toaster-tan's hairstyle became girly twintails, and she grew an electric cord as a tail. Inori began to draw four-panel comics, weaving short narratives out of her own spur-of-the-moment creation. She invented Bread-kun, who would grab Toaster-tan's hands to heat his cheeks.

Kenjiro brought them to work. Little by little, he started brightening up. While he could never stop going home late or drinking along the way, their nighttime conversations grew longer.

"We have a new girl at work, she looks just like Toaster-tan," Kenjiro said.

"Even the hair?"

He laughed. "Of course not. No way a woman would wear that!"

She didn't, and her smile was brittle. I would've done it for you, she thought, if it helped.

* * *

One day, Kenjiro arrived home early. His face was ashen, though he was sober. He covered his cheek with a hand.

"I got fired," he said.

Inori almost choked on her reply. "Why?"

"I... I grabbed Matsutaka's rear end. Told her I was plugging her in. To warm me up. Like, like Toaster-tan would for Bread-kun."

Gently, Inori peeled back Kenjiro's hand, revealing a red mark on his cheek.

Kenjiro blinked. Never had she seen him with tears. Not even on the day she said yes. Why did she?

"I'm sorry. I'll work hard at the next job. You're my one and only Toaster-tan, dear."

She pushed him away, savagely. She opened her mouth, scrambling for the first word of fury she could fling his way. But she found nothing. All emotion out of her had been smeared on paper like graphite.

"And I thought it would work," she said, staring at the new batch of comics she'd drawn on the table.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!

td19


Prompt: Sky Burial

It Means No Worries
715 words

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Dec 11, 2014 around 02:49

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Prompt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatosu_and_Goblu
Astronaut Ice Cream
Words: 898

Jamie and Robin buried their father under a pile of loose rocks and trash.

”What about the coyotes,” Jamie said.

“Let them have it, maybe it’ll keep them off our back for awhile,” Robin said. The idea of the coyotes getting at their father didn’t sit well with either of the girls, but the alternatives weren’t any better.

They sat staring at the mound, it looked so small. Earlier in the morning, underneath a copse of dead trees, Robin, the older sister, woke up first, in a state of immediate panic. Normally it was their father who roused them awake, the girls would sleep as best as the situation would allow them, comfortable in the alertness of their father.

Jamie woke from the shouting, and the punching, and the crying. Robin was straddling their father, punching him in the chest and shouting, “Stop smiling, stop smiling!” And he was smiling, a smirk turned up his mouth underneath the scraggly beard.

Laid out in front of mound were all the things father carried: a set of wool socks and gloves they would split, strong boots they didn’t need but could trade, a weathered map, a sharp can lid once used to cut open the throat of a mugger with, and a package of ‘astronaut’ ice cream.

In silence, they sat on the cold ground rummaging through their father’s pack, discarding things that were unessential and trying to cram the rest of the items into their own decrepit backpacks.

“What the gently caress are we going to do,” Jamie said, surveying the mess in front of them. Robin had the map laid out in front of them. It was tearing at the folds, and almost every town name had been crossed off with tips of burnt wood. Only two names on the map remained free of graffiti.

“Be-be-be-at,” Jamie sounded out the name. Robin grabbed the map from her.

“Beat-ahsu,” Robin said. “Gaw-bluh. Go-bluh? Beatosu, Goblu,” she said. “Two places left to check.”

“Why didn’t we check those places before?” Jamie asked.

Robin shook her head. The two towns were on complete opposite sides of the map. They both knew there would only be supplies enough for to scavenge at one of them.

“Do you even know where we are?”

Robin shook her head again. “I don’t, I don’t know. He never told me.”

Robin balled her fists.

“What are we going to do, Robin? Robin? What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” Jamie started crying.

Robin shoved Jamie.

“I don’t know, I don’t know!”

Jamie stopped crying and her brow furrowed. Her mouth opened slightly, a confused and hurt look spread on her face. Gritting her mouth she shoved Robin harder. After catching her balance, Robin charged her sister and the collision sent them both to the ground. They rolled through the trash and dead leaves on the ground, hitting root and rock, each swinging their raw hands at each other. The layers of clothing they wore deadened each blow, which made them angrier and more frustrated.

Both of them were in tears and screaming meaningless sounds at each other. Robin finally came up on top and managed to hold her sister down, and they faced each other, full of impotent rage. In that moment they realized they weren’t angry at each other, and breathlessly Robin crawled off. Jamie sat up next to her sister and leaned against her shoulder. They sat there staring at the small mound of rocks that hid their father.

Burying their father and fighting had taken too much time for them to set out before it grew dark. Deciding to stay one more night, they made their preparations. They took turns trimming each others hair short, and helping each other tightly wrap their breasts with cloth. As they put their clothes back on, each strapped hidden picks to their bodies, in places they could grab, but not seen immediately. Robin went over with Jamie what their father had told her years ago; how to bite your tongue off.

Robin held up the package of ‘astronaut’ ice cream.

“You think this is special occasion enough?”

Jamie nodded.

Each sister took a brittle half of the ice cream. It hurt their teeth as they chewed, scraping at first before turning to a dusty mush when their spit mixed with it. Powder from the bits that broke apart coated their mouths.

“This isn’t very good,” Jamie said.

“No, it isn’t,” Robin laughed. She spit out her mouthful, and they laughed together. Robin continued spitting until her mouth was dry. Tiny pebbles of the ice cream still stuck under her lips and against her gums. They laughed until tears crept into the corner of their eyes. Taking the package of ice cream Robin flung it into the fire where it popped and melted into a black goo.

That night they slept in the trees, but the coyotes never came. The girls came down from the trees at dawn, feeling as though they hadn’t slept at all.

“Are we going to make it?” Jamie asked.

“We might, we just might,” Robin said. She flashed her younger sister a smile and opened the map and compass. She slowly turned, looking off into the gray horizon. She helped her sister put her backpack on and they set out for the crumbling road towards Goblu.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Prompt: H'Angus (The story is actually based on the Monkey Hanger Legend referenced in the first sentence of the entry for H'Angus.)

H'Angus
900 Words

The citizens of Hartlepool crowded around the wreckage to pick through the remains. Normally a fishing vessel being ripped apart by a storm would only serve as a mundane cautionary tale to the townspeople, but the French flags washing in with the carnage created a great mystery for all the witnesses. Adults and children alike pawed their way to the front line, pushing and shoving for a chance at the best salvage. The gamblers went for the bodies of the dead, picking them clean like carrion birds, hoping that each pocket they checked might hold a piece of silver, or a ring for an awaiting lover back home. The practical gathered supplies, rations and equipment and liquor for their private consumption or sale. The tardy pulled the sopping timber from the ocean and scavenged what was left in the detritus of the chasse-marée.

Ann Winter found the body under a tattered swath of heavy canvas.

“Look,” she said, “Thomas, another to check. This one’s little; he must have slipped through”

“Well,” he said, turning away momentarily from the pile of timber he was collecting to size up the body, “he probably don’t have much.” He rubbed his forefinger against the frilled collar of the figure’s uniform. “Take the outfit though. We can probably get something for it. It’s good for a laugh at least.”

Ann began to unbutton his shirt. “He certainly is a hairy fellow.” she remarked. Her fingers worked the metal buttons, yet before she reached the middle of the shirt, an unkempt hand grabbed her delicate wrist, pushing her away.

“Thomas” she screamed. “He’s breathing.”

Two men rushed to her side, easily hauling the figure from the sea. Ann noticed how badly he was injured from the wreck; he hung forward languidly, hands nearly resting against the sand. Poor dear, she thought, must have hurt his back. “Tie him up to be safe,” Thomas commanded, as if he actually were a military officer and not just an assistant clerk for the bank; “we don’t know why he’s here.” The men dragged the senseless figure up the beach, fastening him to a lamp post with a dripping cord.

“Boy,” Thomas repeatedly barked into the unconscious face.

“He’s barely here.” Ann said. She noticed the cracked, rough skin of his face and the dirt that clung to his body and hair even after washing ashore.

“Then I’ll have to wake him up.” Thomas added, cocking his opened fist backward before striking him in the face.

“Thomas” Ann chided with a yelp.

“He’s the enemy, Ann.” Thomas said, pointing to the half unbuttoned uniform. “At least a bruise or two will take away from those massive lips, the ugly moor.” he added with a laugh.

The boy opened his swollen eyes in a panic. Struggling against the post, he began to buck and scream unintelligibly.

“Calm down now.” Thomas instructed. “Do you speak English?” he asked against a barrage of chirps and grunts from the bound figure. “Apparently he don’t speak at all” Thomas remarked to the newly gathered crowd of onlookers, before putting a haymaker into the boy’s torso. Thomas looked down with a tap of his shoe. “He’s pissed himself” he said.

“He’s a child.” Ann screamed as she grabbed Thomas’ heavy shoulder. “For god’s sake, Tom.”

“He’s an animal.” Thomas corrected, shoving Ann into the crowd. Grabbing the boy’s pudgy cheeks in his cracked hands, bloody from the punches thrown, he continued. “Hairy French gently caress,” Thomas breathed into the battered face, “why was your ship off our coast? Why are you here?”

The boy could only whimper.

Taking the boy’s round head, Thomas slammed it against the post with a thunderous crack. He pulled it back again, when Ann surprised him from behind. “Enough,” she said with a shove.

Thomas fell forward into his enemy. Latching onto Thomas’ nose, the boy clamped his jaws like a slamming gate. Thomas howled, blood pouring from his face, mingling with the fluids he already stood in. He ripped his face free, his nose mangled into a grotesque form.

“You bitch” he snarled from between froth coated lips. Thomas turned, swinging wildly at Ann and knocking her backwards. Thomas stomped forward, casting a chilling, predatory glare. She thought about fleeing, turning tail and running down the High street, shrieking; however, she knew what would happen to the boy if she did.

I’ll scratch his eyes out, she thought, but reason got the better of her. “Thomas,” she began, “don’t do this.” The rabid look on his face told her all she needed. She opened her arms to him. His fist was a snakebite, and before Ann could reach him, Thomas had inserted the blade that she once gave him into her stomach.

***

They held the trial there. Guilty. He ordered his men to fashion a noose for them both, each lassoed tightly around a neck. The crowd divided themselves into two groups, with friends and neighbors lining the length of each rope, eager to hoist the body upon Thomas’ issue. “On my word,” he began, “fly them high like his French colors demand.” He approached the boy. “Enemy of the state,” he said. He approached the girl. “Traitor.”

“Do it.”

Turning away from them both, Thomas stared into the remains of the wreckage, still being kissed by the tides. He’d forgotten to check the moor’s pockets, but it didn’t matter.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


God Over Djinn posted:

Thunderdome LXXVII: Well gee, that's certainly something

My pick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_Coaster

Death Coaster Live! - 900 Words

-----------------

Katie was left blinking sunspots out of her eyes as the giant light shut off.

“Wait, that’s it?” said Katie.

“Yup, we got everything we need,” said Max Steele.

Katie had only been talking with the legendary host for five minutes, at most. The pretty blonde before her had taken at least fifteen.

“Well, if you need anything more--” said Katie.

“We’ll know where to find you,” said Max with his trademark grin that was plastered to his face during the entire interview.

“Just don’t wait too long,” said Katie with a lame little smile. Max and some of the production crew laughed politely. Max waved over someone standing by one of the doors.

“Hi Katie, I’m Melanie,” she said as she extended her hand to Katie.

Katie grasped it and was pulled along in Melanie’s wake as she headed for the door. “You’ve seen the show, of course?” she said.

“Who hasn’t?” said Katie.

“Yes, well, then you know what’s next. You can smile and wave at them, but no touching. Some people are superstitious or find it unsettling,” said Melanie, pausing before the door. “Ready? Just go straight down to the platform.”

“Ready,” said Katie and Melanie opened the door into an explosion of sound. The screaming throng of people lined the path down to the coaster, just a few hundred feet away. She could see the others already strapped into their seats and the masked assistants waiting for her on the platform.

The sound felt like it was vibrating through her body and adrenaline surged through her. She waved at the crowd and they cheered in response. It was intoxicating and she played up the crowd as she walked to the track. No way was she going to be one of those scared little volunteers with no screen time.

As the pathway turned, it forced her to fully look at the roller coaster. The sleek, almost delicate, design twisted over and around itself, dipped into the ground several times and finished with its famous final hill and corkscrew. They told Katie that most riders were dead by the time the ride reached the hill, but the gravitational forces exerted by the speed of the coaster at the end guaranteed a gentle death for anyone who might still be alive. The walls surrounding it proudly proclaimed “Death Coaster Live!” along with its advertising sponsors. Katie remembered when they didn’t used to have the walls there, but too many spectators were getting injured in the rush to collect bits and pieces of the riders that fell down as keepsakes.

Katie gave one final wave to the crowd before stepping onto the platform. An assistant wearing the traditional skull head mask grabbed her arm tightly as they made their way to the last open seat. Katie tried to get a glimpse of the other seven riders, but it was hard to see their faces, blocked by the locks that kept their face and body as still as possible. She had been warned to not try to wriggle around too much, as the death traps were perfectly calibrated to minimize suffering, as long as she was in the proper position. One of the riders ahead of her was screaming to let him go, that he had changed his mind, for someone to save him. Several others were rattling around violently in their restraints, their words incoherent.

“All scripted, don’t worry,” said Skull Head as he helped Katie down into her seat. Another assistant came over in a stylized gas mask, one of the newer designs brought in by this season’s new producer to spice things up. Katie didn’t approve, much preferring the traditional style. Gas Mask and Skull Head worked to lock her into place and Katie forced herself to sit still, reminding herself that she was on TV. Her pulse was racing and her blood thundered in her ears as she felt more and more restraints lock in around her. The fear that she thought she had already conquered was right there below the surface, but she thought of the contract she signed, all of the ways she could ruin this for her father and her sister. She would make sure that they would get the full payment.

“You’re lucky, you know,” said Gas Mask as he finished his work.

“Why’s that?” said Katie.

“You guys will be famous,” said Gas Mask.

“Do you have to do this to every rider?” said Skull Head to Gas Mask as he slotted in her last head lock, fully immobilizing every part of her.

“I know,” said Katie.

Gas Mask laughed. “No, you don’t. They’re doing something new, something for the ratings.”

Fear rose in Katie’s throat, but she swallowed it back down.

“A slow death episode. Death by fire, poison, exsanguination.” Gas Mask seemed to savor the last word, drawing out the syllables for several seconds. “All sorts of goodies cooked up for you.”

“No,” said Katie. “That’s not the deal!” She tried to force her body to move, but it would only slide a fraction of an inch in any direction. She threw her body forward again and again as the two assistants backed off and gave a signal to someone unseen.

The cars shot forward out of the boarding platform, and Katie’s screams mixed with the others as they hurtled forward on a very special episode of Death Coaster Live!

Walamor fucked around with this message at Jan 27, 2014 around 01:37

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Prompt selection: Video-Enhanced Grave Marker

Posthumous Rex
(837 Words)

“Are you making GBS threads me, girl? Fifteen motherfuckin’ minutes late. Do you think this is acceptable, or what?”

Denise sighed. “Mom, they kept me late at work. What would you like me to do, quit?”

“Maybe I shoulda left you my fuckin’ pocketwatch. Christ above, they’ve got clocks at your work, don’t they?”

“You’re missing the point, Mom, I can’t-“

“Answer the question, motherfucker. Have. They. Got. Clocks. At the motherfuckin’ hospital?”

“Yes, Mom. Yes, they do have clocks at the hospital.”

“Well then, I’ll tell you what you’ve gotta do. You still have that boss with the pointy nose? Jimmy, Johnny, whatsis fuckin’…”

“Jeremy.”

“Jeremy! Old hook-nose, big-rear end nose Jeremy, that’s the motherfucker. Well, I tell you what.”

“Mom…”

“You take one of the clocks down off the wall, right, when it’s about quitting time…”

“Mom!”

“You take it into Jeremy’s office, right, and you put it on his desk real gentle and quiet. Then you grab old Jeremy by the back of his head and smash it down, slam Jeremy’s big honker right down in that bitch. And that’s when you say, ‘It’s quittin’ time, motherfucker!’ That’s what I would do!”

Denise watched the image of her mother rear back and let out a hard, cackling fit of laughter. She felt something bubble up inside and before she could catch herself, she heard her own voice saying, “Mom, are you sure the techs didn’t make a mistake scanning you in? That doesn’t sound like you at all.”

The projector swiveled, the image of the late Mrs. Livingstone moving to lean against the steel-blue wall. Her holo-image still smiled, running on the fumes of good humor. “Oh really, Ms. Smarty? Who the gently caress do I sound like, then?”

“I’m just saying, I don’t remember you ever confronting someone like that! Like when they messed up your prescription in the hospital…”

“Yeah, I gave them what loving for, I remember that.”

“But you didn’t even tell them! The doctor walked in, asked how you were doing, and you just glared at him, pulled this sour face and tried to stare him down.”

“Well, it worked, that’s for fuckin’ sure. They never messed that poo poo up again.”

“I had to chase after him and explain what happened, Mom. He thought you were constipated, was going to get a nurse to help you out.” Denise looked up to her mother’s image and saw her lips pressed and twisted together like a clenched rear end in a top hat, the same look she’d given the doctor. Denise’s eyes widened and the mischief drained from her face.

The image said, “Do you like to lie to your mother?”

“What?”

“Does it get you off? It seems to me like the last shred of respect you had for me has been chucked out the window, you pitiful bitch.”

“Please, Mom, I swear I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Don’t you know where you are? This is a sacred place, you stupid little stinkyhole.” She jerked her head toward the white-marble box floating in the center of the room. “You come to my eternal resting place and mouth off like this, you might as well take a squat over my motherfucking corpse.”

“Oh God, Mom, I wasn’t trying disrespect you, I promise! I was only having fun.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what. If all you want to come here for is to stomp on my face and piss up my motherfucking nose, if that’s your idea of fun, you can figure out the motherfuckin’ rent money for yourself this month.”

Denise froze and began to hyperventilate. “Jesus Christ,” she said, starting to shake with sobs. “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ…”

“Don’t you dare blaspheme here. See, this is the lack of respect I’m talking about. It’s like an odor, girl. Until you can shake it, you’re intolerable to be around.” A moment passed, and then her mother snapped, “Quit your motherfucking weeping.”

Denise jolted to attention. She wiped her eyes with her sleeve.

“My inheritance is not a guarantee, girl.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You have to earn it, else you don’t get a penny.”

“I understand.”

“I’m not sure you do, bitch. But you will someday, when you grow up.” The image flickered away. Denise heard the projector whir down until it cut off entirely, leaving her in the silence of the mausoleum.

Three nights later, Denise slept in a pod-motel by the train station. She was curled up like a fetus, with barely enough space around to stretch out her arms. She clutched her suitcase close. It was stuffed with the few things in the world that were hers and padded with her meager life savings.

Perhaps days, weeks, or years later, she would crawl back to what was left of her mother. Then again, maybe she wouldn’t. Denise Livingstone wasn’t dreaming about that. She dreamed that she was a hardy worm that had just burrowed its way out from underneath a mile-wide black boot. For now, she only wanted to wriggle in the glow of the sun.

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


Prompt Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...ypersensitivity

Signal Noise
899 words

The open signal cut into my head like a frontal lobotomy. I shot my hand up to my temple, then had to stop myself from hitting the dash as Hal slammed on the brakes. “Got one?” he asked.

I glared at him before closing my eyes. I heard the panel slide open and the clatter of keys. I counted to five, then fifteen, then twenty-five. The sensation of adjusting to a signal’s presence was not unlike slipping into a hot bath. Unfortunately, there was no pleasantness at the end of it.

In a few minutes I was able to open my eyes and the pounding had died down to a dull ache. Hal was grinning. “Locked on, baby!”

“Fan-loving-tastic,” I muttered as I pulled my hair out of my ponytail, relief trickling in. “Where we looking?”

Hal opened his door. “Ten mile radius. There’re a lot of hot-spots in this area. We’re pretty close to New York.”

I groaned. Four years of Software Engineering at MIT and here I was, a glorified router. I would have killed for an iPhone. But that’s why we were on the dig; un-fried microprocessors meant a paycheck.

I opened the door to the pickup and tested my legs on the ground before sliding out of the seat. Hal had already strapped his pack on, shovel in his hand. He held out my pack and I shook my head. He moved past me and left it on my seat before closing my door.

He turned to me and grinned again. “West?”

I couldn’t help but smile at him in spite of the fact that it felt I had a hatpin jammed into the back of my skull; Hal loved the dig. “Good as any.”

We walked for about fifteen minutes before we found the abandoned bunker. I knew we were in the right place because the closer we got, the more my ears sounded like a radio tuned to White Noise’s Greatest Hits. Which was any radio station nowadays.

I stopped about twenty five feet from the door to the bunker. My vision was beginning to get spotty, large chunks of white creeping into where I should have been looking at burned out husks of military vehicles. “I don’t think this one is buried, Hal.”

Hal whooped. “That’s a freebie! I’ll just pop in there and have it off in a jiff. Sweet relief, right?” He shot me a grin and began a slow jog to the building.

“Right.” I sat down on the ground and placed my head in my hands, closing my eyes. I heard the door open and the dial on the radio cranked up a notch; definitely a freebie.

The headset in my ear crackled to life. “Can you hear me, Rune?”

I grimaced. “Yes, Hal, what I need is another set of waves attacking my brain.”

“Sorry.” I could hear the grin on his face, the little prick. “It’s pitch black in here and you know I don’t like the dark.”

“You picked the wrong century to be born in.”

“Que sera,” he muttered. I heard the clang of metal as he searched. “There’s a ton of junk in here. Old-rear end IBMs, some iPads, looks like some sort of Data Center tower…it’s all totally scrapped though.”

“Can you just find the loving signal and turn it off?” I closed my eyes tighter, but the white spots continued to grow and pulse. “You left the door open.”

“Sorry, I’m trying.” Another door opened. “Wait, hold on, we have a glow…”

“Not your flashlight this time?”

“gently caress you. Now where is this little…” I heard the falling of casually discarded luxury electronics. “Holy poo poo, Rune! It’s a laptop, and it’s on!”

I opened my eyes in surprise, then immediately regretted it and shut them. “No loving way. How?”

“There’s like, eight bajillion wires coming off of this thing. Most of them are crap but I bet one of those Data Towers is actually a backup battery or something.”

“Get it disconnected and turned off.” I rubbed at my temple.

“I’m already on it. Just a few more wires and I’ll—“

He stopped. I heard the sound of large metal hitting the floor. “Hal?”

“Oh poo poo. Oh, poo poo, poo poo, poo poo, poo poo, poo poo.”

I opened my eyes and saw half the bunker behind a wall of white. Light poured out of the door. “What’s going on, Hal?”

“I f-------p, Rune.” He was breaking up. Between the static of the radio and the static of my ears I was missing every other word. “---t’s milit----de wea----devel--------il safe.”

“I can’t hear poo poo you’re saying. Hold on.” I groaned and pushed myself up, taking several steps to the bunker as he continued to chatter on like a broken parrot. My vision was nearly gone and the light from the door was unbearable. His incomprehensible words were becoming more frantic, but all I could hear was the throbbing of pain in my ears.

I stepped to the doorway and closed my eyes again, leaning on the frame. “Ok, repeat.”

He cut in clear as day. “—a loving bomb, Rune! Do you understand? I tripped some next-level special ops poo poo when I disconnected the wires!”

My eyes shot open. The room was ablaze in halogen light. “What?”

“You have to get the gently caress away from he—“

My world went white.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Une Mémoire des Rêves et de la Pierre
(598 words)
Wikipedia link: Ferdinand Cheval.
Notes: The inscription attributed to Cheval is a translation of a genuine inscription, found here. The poet is John Ashbery; his quotation is taken from this article.



In his dream, Ferdinand Cheval shaped rock with a thought and a touch. A pale chunk became a dog's head, smiling, when he traced his finger along where the mouth should be and then was. He made of stone a bare-branched tree, an Egyptian camel, a tribal chieftain. He set them all in the walls of a palace with a thousand faces, a fit home for no man unless he, too, was dreaming.

Cheval's eyes opened. No such palace existed in the waking world. He listened to his wife breathe in the dark room as he pulled on his postman's uniform by feel and long familiarity. Light had come by the time he started his route through Hautrives, the people's letters weighing down his bag. He walked the paths he had walked for uncounted days, and he walked them again over weeks that slid into months and years.

Were there times when he recalled the vision? When he flipped through Mme Roberge's issues of Le Magazin Pittoresque, did he touch the photographs? Yes, but they never changed. The Muslim mosque, the Swiss chalet remained as they were, the dreams of other men.

His eyes were on the Taj Mahal when he stumbled. Cheval dropped the magazine. He stooped to pick up the rock that had tripped him. Sandstone, he decided, rubbing his thumb over a turret that water and Nature had made. He put it in his pocket, brought it home, looked at it that night by candlelight. It was a strange castle in itself, he thought--and he remembered.

His touch alone couldn't change the form of rock, so he turned to will and a chisel.

Cheval brought stones from his route home by the pocketful, the basketful, the barrow full, bought the makings of cement with the money he could spare, scavenged bits of wire. He carved the grinning dogs of his dream and set them to guard rough limestone twists, and in memory of Vercingetorix and Caesar and Archimedes, he built those three men bodies much larger than his own.

How the village laughed at him. They mocked the sorry state of a mind that filled its garden with rock. They could not dream his dreams. For he dwelled inside his doorless palace while he slept, and he woke with new ideas of what he could achieve. He raised a monument to rival the tombs in pictures of the Valley of the Kings. Its surface had knobs by the dozen, as uneven as the rolls of an incompetent baker. His hands shaped palm trees and pilgrims and towers. He was still only a postman, and no doubt he would die a postman, but nothing about that stood between him and his Palais idéal.

For thirty-three years his oil lamp gave shadows to his Eden of animals even at night; flamingos, elephants, dogs, and their shadow-selves danced around him as he cut words into his castle's face: With the moments of leisure my occupation gave me, I built this Arabian nights' palace where my memory is engraved.

He knew it was finished when he rose from bed with no fresh vision, no need for more, only the deepest sense of peace.

Long after his death, when a poet saw the turrets like coral rising ten meters tall, the serpents and giants, the temple and chalet side by side: all the strangeness one man could create, he said, "It is a memory which is also a dream."

Cheval's ghost whispered in his ear, You have the truth of it.

Phobia
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
MIAMI MUTILATOR
and the deranged degenerates who only want their
15 MINUTES OF FAME.


OCK.


This is my first Thunderdome so if I have to die make it look cool.

God Over Djinn posted:

Thunderdome LXXVII: Well gee, that's certainly something

For the Last Time We Are Not Calling It a Gay Bomb!
Based on the Halitosis Bomb.
Word Count: 900



“What am I looking at exactly?” was the only response Wing Commander Margaret Stine could come up with after reading the document put on her office desk. It was a response in the sense that it was the only thing she was able to put across. The words came out suddenly and without planning, in a dull yet incredibly mystified tone.

The Commander looked up and stared at the soldiers, who were simply standing in front of her desk. They weren't answering her, but a sharp look soon changed that.

“It’s something we've been researching,” the one continually straightening his collar said.

“Couple of years, on and off,” the one with the unsettling smile added.

“Call it a vanity project,” the leftmost one laughed, “t-though we saw it as more than that.”

“And we were hoping to get some official funding,” the rightmost said, composed. “So that we can make all of this a reality.

Stine squinted. “I’m not asking about your life story. I’m asking you to tell me what you’re proposing.”

“It’s…” The one to the left looked to his associate. “It’s a new type of weapon. We stumbled across it, you could say.”

“It’s a non-lethal explosive, powered by pheromones and other chemicals.” The right soldier explained. “Strong aphrodisiacs, mostly. It’s meant to influence the body of an intended target as means of a distraction.”

“Houst,” the Commander said flatly. ”In plain English.”

The one named Houst shrugged. “I call it the Gay Bomb.”

“No, wait” the one named Zubin interrupted, “Nick, I thought we were falling it the Halitosis Bomb!”

“Nooo, the Gay Bomb leaves very little room for confusion.”

“But that’s, like, a misnomer. It’s offensive!”

“Doesn’t bother me.”

“Of course you’d say that, Nick!”

Stine leered at the two of them before slamming her fist on the desk. “So you’ve spent several years coming up with a weapon that is supposed to turn someone homosexual?”

“No,” Zubin stammered. “That’s a misconception. What’s it’s supposed to do is make…” He stopped and looked at Houst.

“It’s filled with a mixture of chemicals created such that it’s a makeshift mating call for any enemy soldiers.” Houst gestured with his hands. “Makes them want to shag their fellow soldiers, basically.”

Stine sat there, staring at the two of them.

“So. It turns them gay. So what? How would that be beneficial to us in the slightest?”

Hoult said nothing. His smile twitched slightly.

Zubin scratched his cheek. “Well. Way we saw it, if terrorists are too busy taking it from both sides, they’ll be too busy to bomb any buildings!”

“They would just pull their pants up,” the Commander inched out, against the clenched fist she had pressed to her face, “if they wanted to bomb buildings that baldy.”

Houst shook his head. “You’re thinking of this of terms of a manager sucking a chub in an airport bathroom, Mum.”

“Then enlighten me, please. What exactly am I not getting about your stupid bomb?”

“Think of it in terms of cavemen. Savagery. No clothes, no censorship. It turns them into wild animals.”

Stine shook her head. “You still haven’t answered my question, Houst. So they want to gently caress. So what? How is that any benefit to us?”

Houst opened his mouth. Then promptly shut it and shook his head.

“It might be best if we show you.”

“What do you mean?”

Zubin butted in. “We brought a working prototype with us. I left it in the barracks.”

“You WHAT?!”

There was a loud explosion from outside the building. Stine rose to her feet swiftly. She heard Zubin mumble something about how it was ‘probably us’. Fear flooded her system and she rushed out of the room. There was a clear view from the window on the third floor. Gray smoke billowed out the open door and windows. At first she thought there was a fire, but soon enough the mess began to clear up.

She could see them fighting inside. A few soldiers began to leave the barracks, tearing at their clothes, rolling around in the dirt. Even at a distance she could see their eyes, crazed and wild. One was foaming at the mouth as it pinned another to the ground. Soon they were all upon each other, bodies arching, panting, clawing, thrusting. And the noise, oh the noise, the screaming, the growling, even the sickening noise of skin slapping skin.

The whole sight was disgusting, wrong, inhumane but… she understood.

“My god. This is…”

“Wasn’t the way I wanted you to see it.” Houst said, hands braced behind his back.

Zubin smiled. “It’s non-lethal – though there might be some tearing and scratching!”

“… How long is this supposed to last?”

“Uhm, for quite a while. Several hours. We haven’t actually timed –“

“I don’t care. Can you make ten more of those? For testing purposes, of course.”

Houst smiled and stared out at the field below. “If we have the funding, perhaps. Who knows, Mum?”

Stine sighed and said nothing, simply watching as an entire barrack full of her finest men fall into a fit of debauchery.

As Wing Commander Margaret Stine watched from the relative safety of the glass canopy, she realized that this could revolutionize the military war.

In the thralls of war, any sort of advantage over the enemy counts. She just never knew her biggest contribution would be a Sex Bomb.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


gently caress you all, and gently caress everything. Especially your dumb faces.

Wikipedia link: Polybius

WEIRD WIKI PROMPT

Distortions
(890 Words)


The door burst open and light cascaded in. Samantha glanced over to the entrance to see a man in a black suit haloed by the sunlight. The Who played tinnily in the background, “Pinball Wizard” just barely audible over the din of conversation and the midi loops from the cabinets.

Her attention returned to the game before her, and she barely dodged out of the way of an incoming stream of enemy bullets. Despite her hours of practice on the machine, even the slightest distraction usually signalled the end, especially at the particular stage that she was on.

The crowd around the cabinet jeered as she performed a quick barrel roll, before dropping a screen-clearing bomb, giving her time to bring her focus back onto the game. Her palm hammered down onto the fire button as she maneuvered through the field, laying down cover fire before she focused on avoiding another spray of bullets from the enemy fleet.

The crowd pressed in closer, voices tossing out sneers as to the quality of her gameplay, and more than a few insults to her gender. Their quarters were lined up on the bottom of the screen, each waiting their turn at the cabinet. She paid them no heed, advancing forward to the next stage of the game.

“Miss Thompson,” said an unknown voice. His voice wasn’t familiar to Samantha, but cut through the din and the music like a knife.

“Little busy right now,” she said. She executed another barrel roll, making use of the invincibility frame to get out of the way of another spray of bullets. Sweat was beginning to bead on her forehead now, just as a wave of dizziness passed over her.

“Miss Thompson,” the voice repeated. He was more insistent this time. She continued to ignore the voice until she felt a hand on her shoulder. She jumped and spun to face the person who had just intruded onto her personal space. As she spun, the room spun faster.

The light cast broad shadows of the faces of those in the crowd, transforming them into skulls before her eyes. Finally her gaze came to rest on the face of one of the suited men, his eyes a piercing blue, gazing into her. Her legs trembled, then buckled, and she collapsed onto the floor.

***

She awoke to white light glaring into her eyes. “She should be fine to talk, but we don’t have long,” said another unknown voice.

She was lying on a bed. The light streamed down from a fluorescent fixture overhead. “Where am I?” she said. Grogginess clouded her voice, and when she tried to sit up, a hand kept her down. The same suited man stood above her, his eyes less piercing now, but heavy.

“Miss Thompson, I have some questions for you,” he said. He pulled over a chair and slid down to sit at her bedside.

“Where are my parents? Who are you? Where am I?” she said. The questions tumbled out of her, one after the other.

“I am Agent Bradley, and you’re in a secure location. You will be allowed to see your parents when our time here is done,” he said. She simply sighed and nodded, lying back down.

“Let’s start with the preliminaries,” he said. He pulled out a clipboard. “Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?”

Her eyes widened. “What are you talking about?” she said.

“I’ll mark that as a no. Have you ever participated in any anti-American activity of any sort?” he said.

She shook her head in response, and he checked off a couple boxes. “How long have you been playing the game?” he said.

She frowned and took a moment to come up with the answer. “About two months now? Everyone has been playing it, there’s really nothing like it at the arcade,” she said.

He noted down the answer. “And have you been experiencing any visual or auditory hallucinations?” he said.

She froze and the light fixture flickered, once, then twice. Then the light abruptly shifted to a deep blue. The walls became covered in the same sort of lines that marked the alleys of approach in the game.

But instead of enemy ships, the space flicked and phrased flashed into view. Each lasted only a few moments, but she was only able to pick up on a handful of them.

THE BOX CONTAINS YOU

YOUR GODS ARE IN ONES AND ZEROES

NO LIBERATION UNTIL THE ENDING

The man’s face was transformed in the light into a rictus grin, all teeth sharp and inward curving, those eyes shining in the stillness of the moment. “Your fate is sealed with the palpitation of your lips,” he said.

She stammered and her voice escaped in a soft whisper. “N-n-nothing,” she said.

The light flicked back to the normal. “Well, that should be everything then. We’ll get you back home shortly,” said the suited man.

“Sure, yeah, that sounds good,” she said.

He rose to his feet and placed his hands onto her shoulders, as the door opened. A man in a labcoat entered with a syringe in hand. “Thank you for your cooperation,” the suited man said. “And if I can make a recommendation, don’t play that game again.”

The syringe entered her neck and everything became black.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


So, I'm pretty sure that my story is going to be both too long, and not finished by the time the deadline rolls around. That's what I get for going to my husband's PhD defence in another province and then getting drunk all weekend, I guess. YOLO.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


DOMIN' DOMIN' DOMIN'

Prompt: Conan the Librarian.


Crow-Marm the Librarian

The crone cast a hand to the door beside her. Her eyes were yellow, her pupils slits. “Mother of crows, dare ye enter,” she said, then flicked her tongue out, “the reference section?

“Aye,” said Crow. She was clad in drake-skin and black iron. “I have crossed snow and sea in search of the Wall-ess-lee pub-lick lie-briar-y. In my travels I have strangled a wyrm with its own coils, and used a giant's skull for my cup. Your scrolls don't scare me.”

The crone gave a toothless smile. “Such boasts have I heard before,” she said, “enter then, wanderer, and may the gods of crag and plain give you strength. You will need it.”

A librarian in a pink knit-sweater shushed them, and was ignored. Crow brushed the crone aside and stepped through into the reference section. Its roof was lost to darkness high above. Bats and stranger things chittered between stacks. The building was small and comely from the outside, no larger than a British public library should be, but the reference section stretched on for miles in defiance of the laws of the world. A copy of “Pork for Dummies” lay on the floor, its cover chewed and torn so only “ork” remained.

Something scampered in the darkness, and Crow swung her axe backward in a wide arc. It cleared inches above the head of a girl, who shouted “gently caress!” and fell over. She wore a grey hooded cloak and torn pants of denim. Upon her cloak was inscribed a skull, and the word MISFITS. She was laughing hysterically.

gently caress!” wailed the girl “I was being quiet, I swear! I just wanted somewhere to sleep.”

Such bravery, to laugh in the face of death! Crow could not kill her: the Gods love second chances, and look poorly on those who deny them. She cocked her head. “Return to your home then,” she said.

Sullen silence was the reply. A fellow wanderer, then: this pleased Crow. “How are you named?” she asked.

“Alice,” said the girl, “Alice Barnes.”

“Ah-liss Ba-har-nes. In my tongue, that means 'Swiftfoot Blood-drinker'. It is a good name. It is auspicious that we should meet, Swiftfoot.”

The girl seemed to cheer up at that. She stood up and stared and Crow. “Is that a real axe?” she asked.

“It is,” said Crow. “I forged it myself of meteor-iron, with the flame of a dying dragon.”

Alice's eyes went wide. “Cool,” she said. “Can I hang out with you? The guidance counselor says I need better role models but mum mostly just gets drunk and shouts at the telly until dad gets more drunk and shouts at her. I'm not going back. Not ever.”

“Your tribe care not for you?” said Crow, “Such sadness have I known also, as I was cast unto the wilderness as a babe to fend for myself. You may join me, Ah-liss Ba-har-nes. Come, we have an orc to slay.”

Alice nodded.“Awesome,” she said.


***

The orc king sat amongst the stacks, on a throne of French philosophy books, wearing a crown of twisted electrical wire interwoven with pages torn from books of poetry. He was attended by bats, and the endless whispering of books yearning to be read. Alice and Crow stood before him, with an axe occupying the space between.

“I have learned to speak Spanish,” he said, “but I have not forgotten the Art of War. Lay on, Crow-Stuff, and damned be he who says 'hold, enough!'”

Crow brought the axe down, but the king swept back. The bats swarmed down and set upon Crow, biting her eyes, her fingers. The king leapt, and The Complete Shakespeare cracked him between the eyes, sending him stumbling back. Alice had an armful of books. The king snarled at her and raised a finger, ready to sing a killing curse.

“Yaktash Akto-”

Les Miserables caught him in the stomach and he fell. He tried to rise and was smacked in the face again. “I've got an armful of sad Russians who say you should stay down,” said Alice.

Crow pulled the last of the bats off her and stepped forward, raising her axe. “This place is yours no longer, foul beast. Back to the hell from whence you came.”

The axe fell, and the king's head fell from his shoulders, and rolled into the darkness between the stacks. His body twitched and spurted blood for a minute or two, then went still. The reference section shrank, and light entered through the windows, filling the room. It was again a normal library: no bats, no orcs, no crone at the door.

“Our work here is done, Swiftfoot,” said Crow. “May our paths cross again.”

“Do they need to uncross?” said Alice. She had orc-blood spilled across her trousers, and a glow of pride about her. Crow smiled. She'd had a daughter once, long ago. The Gods love second chances.

“Nay,” she said, “we need not. Come, Ah-liss. I have heard of a public bathroom infested with ghouls, and I could use your assistance. But first, we must get you an axe.”

“Awesome,” said Alice. In her eyes was the same hunger that had kept Crow alive all these years.

And thus Alice Swiftfoot and the Crowmother rode off into legend.




[900 exactly]

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Based on sage advice from my esteemed fellow goons in IRC, I restarted my submission completely at 9:08.

The Hum 757 words

Oscar stood in the middle of the stone circle with his eyes closed, his backpack at his feet. The hum filled his whole body. He could feel it in his stomach, like the bass thrum when he listened to music with Talise. The hum also filled his head, although he had given up trying to determine if it made a sound, and if he was hearing it, or if it was just a vribration, or if it was something else entirely. It was difficult for Oscar to tell. He had no baseline for comparison when it came to what sounds sounded like because he had been deaf since he was born.

Talise had explained the hum to him though. She said that lots of people heard it, but that more people didn't, and that was why no-one believed it was real. Talise said that she heard it too. Sometimes it was so quiet that she wasn't sure if she could hear it at all or if she was just imagining it, and other times it was so loud that she didn't understand how the whole town couldn't hear. Oscar hoped that Talise wouldn't be mad at him for running away without her, but the feeling that he had to come and find the source of the hum by himself was too strong ignore. She would probably understand. She had helped him learn sign language since he was a baby, and even when she didn't babysit him any more, she still let him hang out with her after school, in the book store where she worked. She always let him sit up by the counter, so that he could watch her and the customers talk with their mouths. She would probably definitely understand.

He opened his eyes. The dusky gray of the deepening twilight had been replaced the flat glow of the moon. The hum in Oscar's head got louder, pressing against the inside of his skull. He wondered if this was it felt like to hear all the time. He wasn't sure he liked it. He unzipped the backpack and took out a trowel. He hadn't been able to make the shovel fit, and he didn't want anyone to see him carrying it and ask him what he was doing. Most people in the neighbourhood couldn't read his signs, but he wasn't sure he would have been able to explain even if he could talk normally. He knelt between two of the largest stones in the circle and began to dig.

It took a long time to make the hole as big as he wanted it, working with the trowel was difficult. The moon sat high in the sky by the time Oscar stood and stretched the kinks out of his back. The hum was almost unbearable now. He felt like his bones might splinter and fall apart, it was all he could do to stay upright. He looked down at the lake and briefly wondered what would happen if he let himself fall and roll down the hill towards it. He had heard that there were mermaids in the lake that came out during the full moon, and that they liked the taste of human flesh. Part of him wondered if that might be better that what he was about to do.

Slowly, Oscar removed his socks and shoes, stuffing them in his back pack and zipping it back up. Then, he climbed into the hole he had dug and reached out to touch the stones on either side of him. The hum reached a crescendo that made him feel as if his skull was splitting down the center. He screamed silently as he realized that he couldn't see.

And then he could hear. He could hear. He could hear the sound of waves on the lake down below, the wind in the trees, and the rocks. The rocks had voices. They whispered and crooned and Oscar let the sound wash over him like rain. He tried to look down to find that he still couldn't see. His movements were slow. He tried to wiggle his toes, shift his feet in the little hole that he had dug, but he couldn't feel them anymore. Shhhh, said the stones, sing with us. The ground around his ankles closed as Oscar's skin slowly petrified, the gray and white patina of the other stones creeping up his arms and legs and down his forehead over his eyes. Sing with us whispered the stones. And Oscar began to hum.

The Hum

EDIT: Fixed the line breaks so that SaddestRhino doesn't cry about it. Deal with it.

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at Jan 27, 2014 around 06:04

Jay O
Oct 9, 2012

being a zombie's not so bad
once you get used to it

And I Knew

Wikipedia Link: Odd-eyed cat

(896 words)

Drew had just been fired the day he came home to find Robin holding "Wally." That was Drew's excuse for slamming his eyes shut so tight that it hurt his brain, pressing his fingers into the bridge of his nose, and hissing out a "drat it Robin" when she swung the fluffy white surprise out from behind her back. Wally's ears thumped back flat, his tail sliced swaths of protest behind him, and his clawed feet stretched forward in mock strangle of his new "daddy." In truth, neither needed excuses for their feelings. Drew didn't want a cat, and Wally didn't want Drew.

Drew fought with Robin about the new cat, Robin fought with Drew about losing his job, and at the end of several circles of verbal exhaustion, they reached their grudgeful "sorry baby"s and quick kisses, same as always for the past five years. Robin nodded and smiled when Drew insisted he could get a better job. Drew barked a tolerant laugh when Robin said she only took the cat in because "he looked me in the eyes and I knew, I knew he was mine."

Wally took in the whole event and only yawned out apathy.

Drew's next week melted and slid and folded back onto itself. Mornings were spent filling out portions of one application after the other. Lunchtime found him at interviews, avoiding eye contact with bored shift managers his age or younger, too often younger. Afternoons began with Civilization and ended up somewhere in X-Com. With evenings came Robin, who now kissed Wally before Drew when she came through the door. But Drew had grown to like Wally more over that week. They started spending time together as no more phone calls came, and Drew's afternoon games bled backwards into his entire day.

And why not? Wally was soft, quiet, and odd-looking, removed only in species from his reluctant papa. He demanded little, and purred approval lapside of Civilization, X-Com, and wherever else Drew's mouse went. Drew's eyes were a faded vein of polar blue, and that was only half-true of the odd-eyed Wally, with sapphire in his left eye and gold in his right, but Drew liked to think they saw things the same way.

The visions began without warning.

Unlike Drew, Wally never took his eyes off Robin. When she went on about woes in the workplace, her new favorite podcast, or started a thought but didn't finish it, Drew always listened, but only Wally watched. Drew would stroke the cat while his girlfriend, his best friend, and his only friend rambled. He stared at Wally and saw illusions of Robin in the creature's eyes, clearer and thicker the more sure he became that they were really there. He didn't understand how, but he could see her, really see her, in the blue and gold of Wally's eyes. Her face and her heart blended into an image more felt than seen before him, a meniscus on the glass of Wally's dull gaze. Image? No. Images. Robin in blue was not always Robin in gold, and least of all when Drew spoke to her.

"No, I haven't heard back from the temp place. But gently caress them, right?"

In Gold: her laughter, agreement, encouragement. He could hear it in the air same as see it through Wally, so he knew it was real.

In Blue: her frustration, suspicion, boiling bile. Those feelings were silent, invisible in the world outside Wally's eyes.

They couldn't both be real, could they? Could that all be inside the same person, the person he loved? Soon quiet, soft, odd-looking Drew couldn't keep his mouth shut.

"It's more than the figures, though. The WarHammer universe is really intricate. You like Terry Pratchett and Monty Python, you'd love it."

In Gold: all ears, adoring, admiring his passion for the things that truly made him happy. In Blue: boredom, beleaguered with details of things that didn't matter, and a bitterness pushing in on her brows that Drew didn't understand the meaning behind. It occurred to him that the blue was deeper than the gold, if not deeper in her, than pushing deeper into him.

He couldn't stop seeing them anymore. The colors soaked into his head whether Wally was around or not. He now saw twice as much of Robin daily, and he couldn't get enough. It hurt, but it was easy. It was pain without effort, and after a while, the visions still came, but the pain went unnoticed. Wally too went unnoticed. Once or twice Drew's mouse-hand came down for a scratch in response to his pleading mews, but not much more. The screens in his head exhausted him. There were so many visions it made him deaf.

Drew's last question between them was innocuous. His lips shaped without purpose a "How was work?"

In Gold: There was a new trainee today. I'm in charge of him. He's awkward but boisterous, eager to learn but easily distracted. He'll fit in, with time.

In Blue: The words were the same, but Robin's eyes were looking past him. Her face held a radiance he hadn't seen in any color for years. Had he ever seen that face before at all?

Drew put a trembling hand out to rest on Wally's fuzzy head. Wally, at peace, closed his eyes and purred.

"Aw, baby!" Robin giggled, "He's your best friend."

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Submissions are closed

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


tankadillo posted:

Breaking Habits

(Based on stories from Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks)

Oliver Sacks's Hallucinations posted:

When a friend and colleague of my parents’—Augusta Bonnard, a psychoanalyst—came to Los Angeles for a year’s sabbatical in 1964, it was natural that we should meet.

...

I had started taking LSD at this point, and if that was not available, I would take morning glory seeds instead (this was before morning glory seeds were treated with pesticides, as they are now, to prevent drug abuse). Sunday mornings were usually my drug time, and it must have been two or three months after meeting Augusta that I took a hefty dose of Heavenly Blue morning glory seeds. The seeds were jet black and of agate-like hardness, so I pulverized them with a pestle and mortar and then mixed them with vanilla ice cream. About twenty minutes after eating this, I felt intense nausea, but when it subsided, I found myself in a realm of paradisiacal stillness and beauty, a realm outside time, which was rudely broken into by a taxi grinding and backfiring its way up the steep trail to my house. An elderly woman got out of the taxi, and, galvanized into action, I ran towards her, shouting, “I know who you are—you are a replica of Augusta Bonnard. You look like her, you have her posture and movements, but you are not her. I am not deceived for a moment.” Augusta raised her hands to her temples and said, “Oy! This is worse than I realized.” She got back into the taxi, and took off without another word.

We had plenty to talk about the next time we met. I disagreed and maintained that my seeing her as a duplicate or impostor was neurological in origin, a disconnection between perception and feelings. The ability to identify (which was intact) had not been accompanied by the appropriate feeling of warmth and familiarity, and it was this contradiction which had led to the logical though absurd conclusion that she was a “duplicate.” (This syndrome, which can occur in schizophrenia, but also with dementia or delirium, is known as Capgras syndrome.) Augusta said that whichever view was correct, taking mind-altering drugs every weekend, alone, and in high doses, surely testified to some intense inner needs or conflicts, and that I should explore these with a therapist. (In retrospect, I am sure she was right, and I began seeing an analyst a year later.)


"Based on" is a pretty liberal way of saying you are lifting wholesale a story (even the character's name) from the book you're referring to, I'm assuming.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Jan 27, 2014 around 06:22

J. Comrade
May 2, 2008


Mary Doughal came from Cork [url] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House [/url]

I’ve served Madame, the Widow Winchester, past twenty years, in New Haven and now here. Long years, I’ve proved my position. The first time ever I watched an infant starve in this country was in my lady‘s house. And when Sir followed with consumption. Now we two… or rather she, with I attendant, are in this beautiful golden pleasant land, in this terrible house.

The building is good for the men, they’re at it all day and Sunday too. But the design is unsound and the plan is obscure. The men hammer and paint, dig and plumb as she orders. Madame pays too well and gives too much of herself to the place, it makes a wreck of her soul. Ever they work and build it tall and wide, dark lurching oak of a house. Not finished still after years.

Madame gives of her self too much to the others as well. Those visitors: pampered reformers and pimping performers selling ugly blasphemies to the vulnerable innocent widow. So sick of them. Such ugly poison they feed my lady. The worst is one so-called medium from San Francisco, Miss Post, of certain age but never married. I could never abide her dark presence.

I recall I took care of her one Sunday. The spinster Post visited that day, I suppose to do her worst in the Séance Room and send Madame into a spell.

But when she’s just in the door this awful says the worst thing I’ve heard in my life she says:
“You know Sarah, you really should consider a change in your staff…” her words cut “… all the best houses in San Francisco are using Chinese these days. Your Irish, with their superstitions and attachments and scheming. You‘re not in Connecticut anymore.”

Oh that is the end of her. Best houses? Madame’s house stands seven stories tall. Are those in San Francisco, served by Chinese, really the best houses? Anyone can see how we do here. This blasphemous witch speaks down on our service and worse…

Post is still on “… their Irish accent is so unpleasant.”

When they got to their business I went out to get what I needed. Not far to walk down by St. Patrick’s and meet my fellow Enzo, a professional with his own practice. Italian but that’s not always bad, he’s a barber.

It was well dark and back at the house Madame and Post still were meeting.

After their goodbyes Madame is away. Post is mine to show out. On her way out I show her a door opened to a brick wall. Irate she lifts up a voice. I cut her short with Enzo’s razor. High to low, ripping silk and skin, left to right through whalebone, guts and screaming. Such a mess. Curse on Post’s body and to hell with her.

J. Comrade
May 2, 2008


Late submission and lousy composition are my shame. I do not offer this untimely trash to offend you all, I was distracted from the task. Some associates of national basketball fixed my attention squarely on their sport. Sometimes with others at the event and sometimes alone with the nattering cyclops, I was distracted. I hope you will note my contrition and judge me harshly.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Space Filler Elegance Challenge #2

I grew up with tales of Maui, and how he fished up the North Island, and how he beat the poo poo out of the sun and -when I got a little older- how he tried to steal the secret of immortality from inside lady death's pussy.

Word Count: 150 max
Prompt: Tell me a story from your childhood.

That means a story your parents told you to try and put you to sleep, and hopefully a story that their parents told them, and so on and so forth. I'm thinking less 'three little bears' than a little mythology from whichever part of the world you hail.

n.b. this sort of challenge is not going to happen every week. If you have an idea for a filler prompt, don't post it. Come into irc #kyrena and run it past a few people, including at least one mentioned as reliable at the bottom of the OP, preferably including me as well. Get our approval before posting a challenge. Don't post a challenge while regular 'dome submissions are still going, and only one challenge can be going on at a time.

As last time, there will be no judging or crits, it's just a way to kill time and get a little practice in while the thread's not moving. As last time, you're allowed and indeed encouraged to crit each other.

No signups, you may submit from now until the next prompt is up.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Space Filler Elegance Challenge #2

Prompt: Tell me a story from your childhood.

“Let me regale you the story of the Hantu Buntut,” Iqbal told Natalie. “In Malaysia we have squat toilets, holes built into the ground. To do your business you must remove your pants and squat over it. A good Muslim boy would recite the Quran verses as he take a poo poo, so as to ward the filthy Hantu Buntut off.

“If he doesn't, when it comes time to clean himself - ah! What is this sensation? Is something helping him clean his unclean rectum? Ah, there are fingers poking and touching! Ah! How embarrassing! We will not talk about the Muslim boy who finds it pleasurable.

“So he jumps up, pants round his knees, and lo and behold! It is a pale hand poking out from the toilet! And its fingers are smeared with the poor Muslim boy’s poo poo!

“And then the hand becomes very long and snatches the boy by the butt, and pulls him into the toilet and he disappears forever.

“And that is the story of the rear end in a top hat Ghost.”

Natalie said, “What a lovely story, and so tasteful too.”

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Space Filler Elegance Challenge #2

Home (149 Words)

It was the summer of 1932, and Rose stepped up to the plate. The boy on the mound’s shadow stretched to the third-base line.

“Rosa!” She heard her mother’s voice, but it slid past her concentration. There was only the rough grain of the wooden bat in her hands and the boy standing on the mound. He wound up and threw, and she swung.

The crack rang in her ears. Needles dug into her hands and up her arms as she raced towards first base and continued on. Ritchie was at third waving his arms in circles toward home.

Her legs pumped down the third-base line and she dove into home. The solid thwump of the ball smacking leather followed her by a second. She rose to silence as her mother approached.

“Rosa Maria, how many times...” The tirade washed over her, and she grinned all the way home.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Nu Mulu di Bertoldo

150 parole

Bertoldo the farmer was the cleverest man in Sicilia.

One day, three San Fratello townsmen – Bene, Malo, and Brutto – passed Bertoldo’s field. He saw them from afar.

“Bertoldo,” Bene called. “Finished plowing? Come walk a ways.”

“Certainly.” Bertoldo led his mule onto the road. The mule stopped to relieve himself. The townsmen watched droppings fall on the stones. Plop, plop, plop - ching!

Malo yelled: “He’s making GBS threads gold!”

“Is he?” Bertoldo looked at the coins in the droppings. “He does that sometimes.”

“Sell us the mule.” Brutto said.

“Not for all the florins in Sicilia.”

Bene said: “We’ll give you everything we have!” The townsmen came up with 300 florins.

“Very well,” Bertoldo sighed. “You’re getting the better deal. But I'm a generous man.”

The townsmen left with the mule. Bertoldo walked home with 300 florins. Not bad for one mule with a few coins slipped in his rear end!

  • Locked thread
«201 »