more Missed Connections links courtesy of people in IRC
Tiny Pineapples (somebody please do this one)
wanted me to say
smooth fedora man
|# ? Oct 9, 2014 17:27|
|# ? May 23, 2019 01:34|
gently caress it, I'm in with this guy (thanks crabrock)
Wanted: a functional Causality Violator Device
and this gif
|# ? Oct 9, 2014 17:45|
The special judge for this week was BadSeafood. You all better apologize to him.
|# ? Oct 9, 2014 21:02|
MERCBRAWL 5, MERCAGEDDON: How Inappropriate
This week, three of you lucky failures-as-humans will write me an inappropriate story. I will provide a list of titles to choose from. Here is the list. As always, this brawl is reserved for those who have not won a Thunderdome.
You're Different and That's Bad
The Little Sissy Who Snitched
Some Kittens Can Fly
Your Nightmares Are Real
Timmy's The Wrong Color To Be Your Friend
Go To Your Room, Mommy's Got A New Baby To Love
Will you offend someone? Probably. Should you care? Eh. This is me you're talking about.
It's not fair for one person to judge something so crass, so I'll be getting some hel-
A STRANGELY DARK AND HANDSOME JUDGE FELLOW HAS BE SPOTTED!!!
He can be a douchebag, so whatchout!
2,000 words due Wednesday 22 of October, midnight EST
There's no consequence for losing, but failure to submit is a ban from all MercBrawls. Here's the prize list.
Cache Cab: You're Different and That's Bad
the wildest turkey: Some Kittens Can Fly
Mercedes fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2014 around 18:07
|# ? Oct 9, 2014 22:05|
MERCBRAWL 5, MERCAGEDDON: How Inappropriate
I'd like to take you up on this, though I'm not sure if an "inappropriate story" is the best way for me to redeem myself. Still, I like to think that I've learned a little bit about how to toe the line in my adult life, so count me in.
I choose, You're Different and That's Bad
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 02:32|
CRITS WITH CRITTING HERE PT. 1
I'm writing a few sentences for each piece (some of the higher ranking stories took me more words to critique since their problems are less obvious). I can expand on any of these crits if you like...just crit SOMEONE ELSE'S PIECE first, then reply to this post asking for an in-depth critique.
The list I gave to Muffin for judging:
5.LOU BEGAS MOUSTACHE
18.Jitzu the monk
26.Satsui No Thankyou
29.Some Guy TT
30.Cache Cab (technically I argued for ignoring this)
Note: These rankings are not an exact science. Muffin shouted at me until I spat out numbers...it’s….it’s….all a blur, really. But no really, the crits I give are more important than the order I ranked you in. I’m only leaving that there for ~transparency~ in the judging process, because Thunderdome is def. not a fascist institution run by a shadowy, loosely organized cabal.
-Too much going on, too much world building
-I thought the main conflict was going to be about who gets the council key, whatever the heck that does...but no, it was the narrator musing about a date, and then deciding that neither him or his girlfriend should get the key.
-”This was the start of so many things” is a terrible thing to put near the end of a flash fiction story.
-Writing is ok
-Nailed the prompt too hard. Going on and on about hubris and humility.
-This does manage to have a plot, action, and a reasonably sensible ending.
-Scene changes were kind of jarring
-This managed to have a couple decent twists and turns for a short piece.
-Too heavy on the sci-fi exposition, I think. My eyes started to scan any time you were telling me about sci-fi stuff.
-Maybe I've read too much Thunderdome, but I sort of hate it when women characters are characterized as the "seductress" and then brutally murdered in some vaguely fitting way.
Satsui no Thankyou
-So a lady and a robot guy and some other guy are putting together a ~black hole machine~
-Why are the assholes going into a presumably dangerous room? Why are they being such assholes about it?
-Oh, because one’s an alien or something.
-...and then this just ends? I’m not really sure what’s happening or why it’s happening
-I think “Starchild Flockmother’s” predicament would have been a lot more sympathetic if we’d seen her interact with anyone.
-The prose gets waaaaay too flowery at many points. Too much agency is given to stuff like the silence, or the steel walls.
-The ending: wut
-I don’t like how you introduced the three guys at first. “The small one” “Center” and “some other guy” is kind of confusing to keep track of.
-I did like Gare, and thought the tension built up decently in this.
-I like how you didn’t ever say HEY THIS GUY HAS A MAGIC LUTE but it was still plenty obvious that he had a goddamned magic lute.
-The antagonists were a little too dumb.
Lou Begas Mustache
-Interesting premise. I’m intrigued by “the gift”
-I feel like most of the story is carried by the misery of the protagonist, though. Like I have no idea what the consequences of the king’s betrayal will be, other than war, I guess?
-Did the protag give the gift to the Olquin at the end, or does it just transfer to whoever is around when the current gift-bearer dies? I guess I care enough to wonder, so that’s good.
-I IRL sighed when I realized I was in for paragraphs of space stuff happening. A SPACESHIP ARRIVED A PLACE. ITS CREW WAS TIRED.
-So much broadcasting that something is about to go terribly wrong
-seriously in what kind of stupid command structure is the first officer of a ship discouraged from providing their captain with alternate courses of action? Like isn’t a first officer literally there to take over if the captain is unfit for duty? he’s basically a glorified pilot in this.
-Oh look, they all died for stupid honor. Just like you were basically telling us they would at the beginning.
-Well, this pretty much grossed me out. But that’s all it did. You are good at gross, evocative imagery, but this doesn’t really break from the usual format of “dude gets a monster/dude abuses or exploits the monster/monster gets revenge and kills the dude. If there were more happening here than that, this could’ve been an HM contender.
-This is a novel excerpt. By that I mean, it’s one of those scenes that would be way, way more impactful if we’d spent some time with the characters.
-”He thought about speaking to the warchief, about trying to convince him that there was a better way than this” you mean to say, he thought about doing something interesting that would create conflict, but didn’t.
-The ending was predictable, all things considered.
-Points for both characters being marginally likeable, and the writing wasn’t awful.
-My cojudges didn’t mind this, but my overall impression was that it was too talky and mopey.
-I wasn’t sold on the whole “fear motivates me” thing. Fear to your advantage would be more like convincing yourself that there’s a monster behind you so that you can run faster.
-I don’t understand why Cherise is so Tsundere~ at the end. Her attitude basically undermines everything that you spent the whole story developing.
-There are a couple minor typos, but overall, I thought the writing was really clear. Good word economy too, since a lot happens in a relatively small space.
-Has a fairy tale/fable feeling, but the "moral of the story" is convoluted. The most cohesive idea I walked away with was "there's no such thing as a perfect leader," since the strong tough guy is going to get outsmarted, yet the smart guy is going to get crushed by a big strong tough guy. Maybe you weren't even going for a moral or point, but the way you told the story made me want there to be a Moral of the Story, if that makes sense.
-...None the less, this had an arc, and there was movement in the characters' personalities. I like that Kotar had a change of heart, kind of, but he didn't get to die in glorious battle. Jerves was set up to become the noble philosopher king, but that's just not how the world actually works.
-This starts out very crisp and zen and future, then it gets sad and surreal.
-Other people liked the first line, but "______ as gently caress" is, to me, an overdone way for authors to indicate to their readers that the story is edgy. Too bad the rest of the story was p good.
-Maybe I've been on SA too long, but on my first read this made me think of THREE OLIVES IN SPAAAAAACE.
-Wanting something catastrophic to happen just to see something incredible happen is a really relatable feeling. I wasn't expecting this story to go there; it was kind of a nice surprise.
-D'aaawe. This was a big ol' cheap tug on my heartstrings, but it worked.
-The tone is a bit YA, though the language isn't.
-Noah is really likeable.
-The only issue is that everything feels like it happens too easily. Noah is a literal deus ex machina, insofar as he can conveniently engineer anything he needs. This is barely, barely within the realm of conceivability because he's a "life ship", and would presumably need to be very adaptable for his journey.
-Okay, in all fairness, if I hadn't JUST been reading The Orphan's Tales, you might have ranked a couple spots higher. I can't remember if you were one of the people who was reading it recently, but this rings very, very similar to one or more of the stories in that book. That's not -really- a valid criticism, more just some context as to why I didn't swoon as hard as I wanted to over this.
-I think what actually turned me off was the fact that you put the siren in danger, but it was a really non-specific danger, (the storm? But you'd think a siren would've weathered many storms) and seemed to happen specifically so the protagonist could angstilly leave her would-be love behind.
-I wanted there to be 'more'. More what? I don't know. It seemed like this whole story was set up to be tragic and romantic, but it missed that slightly since there was no real development between the two characters. Sirens presumably want their victims to drown, but that wasn't really clear in this story.
-Very pretty read, none the less.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 03:59|
It'll be up soon.
“Honey, you know you can still change your mind... ” The insincerity of her words came through crystal clear in my helmet. Great opening line. I like how the details like our protagonist is wearing a helmet indicates that he/she is facing some kind of conflict.
“That’s not fair, Mom”. She had my sister in her belly, the child that would be the first human born away from Earth. This oughta be a new paragraph unless you finish the line of dialogue with "I said"
“You’re doing the right thing, Bridget” Ken said now, formal as usual. I couldn’t stand to hear them, so I broke off comms and focused on the slope ahead.
Some sea. The peaks and valleys of Mare Erythaeum stretched out to my left and right. We’d never ventured off the Jagged plateau plateau oughta be capitalized as well to indicate that it’s a proper landmark, just so you know that we’d landed on until now, until we really needed to. The other hab unit was fifteen kilometres away on the plain, where we would have been had things gone to plan. I stepped off the ridge, feeling my boots skid down the loose sand and rock. It was fast, so I made good time as I floated and fell towards the flat.
“You alright, Bridge?” I didn’t expect to hear from Harry. We’d grown close in training, closer still on the ship. The tests had said we would, genetics and psychology pairing us in something close to destiny. He’d been silent since I volunteered, I hadn’t turned off our private channel.
“I’m fine. This is actually kinda fun” You seem to have some kind of compulsion against using the word “said” or any other words thereof I ramped off the lip of a precipice and flew eight feet high before sliding down an expanse of scree, gravel skittering behind me.
“I should be there” He was fighting back tears. This was why it had to be me.
“Harry right now I need you to shut up” I waited for a second till he’d finished sniffling “But I also need you to stay on the line”.
Once on the plain the going was slow, and Harry’s breathing went only a little way to relieving the dread. The others had contracted some sort of illness. They didn’t know whether it was from something Martian or if something had gone wrong with the library of DNA brought from Earth, but nothing could stop the tiny blisters spreading. Within weeks their unit was a shiny cylindrical tomb. And it was only four clicks away. Just curious, do military types still use "clicks" to refer to kilometers? Sorry for the :sperg:, but you know, accuracy and all that.
I switched the comms back on when I got within visual range. Nearby was the rover that Bisa had left in when he’d realised he was infected, just after his daughter had died. They’re supposed to have life support for three days, but we kept him company for seven before he finally ran out of oxygen. Only then did Maria let us know the rest were sick too. They didn’t want to deny Bisa his martyrdom.
I kept my distance from the rover, but I was close enough to make out the human silhouette through the cockpit bubble. The seams in my suit were red with the dust of the plains, so much finer than in the mountains. Maybe that was what carried the sickness. This is one aspect of Martian-based fiction that I haven’t seen a lot of-the idea that the soil itself is toxic to humans. It’s a really neat angle.
The hab unit was identical to ours apart from the darkness. I asked Ken to turn the lights on and it burst into life, disrespectful of what lay within. The plan was to get in, grab what we needed, switch out my tanks, and get out. The air had been purged, so the theory went that whatever had killed the others would be long dead from lack of oxygen. It was more a hope than a theory.
I knew where everything was supposed to be, but a lot of the lab equipment and DNA stores had been shuffled while they looked for a cure. The DNA was the most important thing. Food, water, air, all that could be taken care of so long as we had the building blocks from the stores. After ransacking the labs I spoke up.
“I’m going to head into the quarters. I’m missing one”.
“Be careful honey. How are you doing?” I knew what she who’s she? If you're referring to Mom, it's been several paragraphs since we last saw her. was really asking.
“Fine so far” I checked my temperature “No symptoms” I heard Harry exhale heavily. It made me smile, he always wore his heart on his sleeve.
The first few rooms were empty. There was a lot of extra space for the children that were to come. Maria was in the next one. She’d been perfectly preserved, right down to her long fingers that had played the keyboard as well as they’d held a pipette. They were the only part of her body that had been spared the blistering, she must have died just as it reached her knuckles.
In her lap was the last of the DNA stores, as though she was offering a gift. I carefully moved her arm and took the last small case of samples.
I felt the itching as I started the climb home. I switched my monitors off. Ken would see, I just hoped he wouldn’t tell the others.
About half way up I was sweating in my suit. New paragraph
“Talk to me Harry. What’s Mom cooking?”
“Brownies, with the last of the real chocolate.” That made me feel better, I hated her brownies.
I looked uphill. I could make out the beacon through the martian haze. “I’m going to rest a while” I put the tools and stores down and started gathering rocks. I was feeling weak but it still amazed me how I could lift such big ones in this gravity.
“What’s happening?” Concern in Harry’s voice. “Is everything okay?”
“It’s will be, my love” I concentrated on balancing one of the rocks just right. “It’s will be”.
That’s when he knew, and immediately the tears came. “I promise you I’ll never love another”.
Ridiculous. He was always such a schmalz. But he also always did what I said. “You have to. One day these mountains are going to be filled with little Harrys”
With that I switched off my comms for good, and studied the little cairn I had made. It could last a thousand years. I looked out and sized up a long slope that ended in a perfect little ramp. Surf’s up.
Wow. This was a poignant story. It felt very much like a lost Martian Chronicle, very Bradbury inspired. Outside of your compulsion against the word said, this was a good story. Keep up the good work.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 05:10|
some fuller crits from 112, most of these are just the notes i had when i read your story and edited slightly, so if i only wrote a snappy phrase, there's no crit for you in this pile and maybe i'll go back and do it maybe i won't. i'm a jerk im sorry.
btw i probably missed some typos AND ALSO these contain a lot of opinion so if i say i hate or like something its personal taste and not "this was explicitly bad" just my distate or enjoyment of subject matter.
Yawning, that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m on lunch break at work and already I’d rather have more fun doing work (my job is pretty fun tho).
Okay I hate your protagonist already I hope this is a good thing
Everything is so passive, too much fat for the opening.
You got manic depressed down pretty alright, just an FYI, I hate both your characters still
“I’m a bestselling author. A controversial one.” Noooooooooooooo. You had two chances to throw this in the description, the therapist would obviously know this already from the information.
I hate your characters so much right now
And now I hate them more, and I am laughing hysterically (in the cheesy Spanish soap opera way, not the Seinfeld way).
Too much conversation, mediocre prose, I didn’t really feel sympathetic to your main character at all, I just thought they were both horrible monsters and that they deserved their fates I suppose, so you got that right, but I didn’t really feel it. I’m not offended, just kind of bored, the worst kind of bored, which offends me.
Boring opening, but Franklin’s interesting so far, mister always putting things in his mouth (hopefully not his own feet).
I like the way you described them aging in the end of paragraph 4, but imo this makes your first paragraph even weaker. Bad start but you’re back on your feet here.
“He was too much kind, and not enough selfish” – this sounded really awkward, but it’s the first time I got pulled out since paragraph one.
Okay at the end I was completely confused, and I had to reread it and I was like “oh, okay”. The lack of clarity totally shot the impact of the ending. The whole nature of the story felt more like Franklin didn’t love his wife, but was afraid to leave, and not he’s hiding cancer from her, so when you threw it at me, I had to reread, think about it, go “huh? Oh, okay that makes sense I guess”. Entirely prose problems here, but otherwise great concept, good use of the phobia, and what would have been a home run of an ending if the middle wasn’t so blubbery.
Satsui no thankyou
Decent idea for a line to set things up, though a hair clunky, weird tense change.
Okay woah what the hell you went from intense heat to wacky hick in one paragraph
“A tumbleweed blew past, and he sighed.” Lmao.
I’m having more trouble keeping track of who is who than your main dude has trouble figuring out which Lucy is which. Jesus. Clarity!
“As far as the brothers were concerned, this environment wasn't friendly to anyone, so why should they be friendly to it?” I love this, it’s adorably believable for simple country folk.
Okay, this story sucks because literally NOTHING HAPPENS. Not even in the sense of like, it’s boring. This reads like a character’s background infodump from a video game. A bad one. There were some lines that made me actually laugh out loud, but some flaky prose, bad editing and zero things happening mean you get at the very least a: DM On the plus side, I read it all, I guess.
This is both funnier than the above story and also better, in a single paragraph. Also more happened. Im listening to you singer of sweet chairs.
Why does no one in this school think to question the guy who always stands like, now, instead of say, years ago? This has raised a lot of questions. A lot of them.
Okay things got silly, I’m pretty sure your main character is an autist or seven, maybe both. Everyone in this story is stupid and I stopped laughing after the seizure. The ending was meh. Good start that dwindled quickly, but otherwise competent. I like your weird idiot kid protagonist though, he’s got style.
god over djinn
God over djinnininin
So this is exceptionally well written, most of the prose works, it got a little stuffy sometimes. I left feeling ambivalent though, also, I think a little less subtly might have been in order, or maybe that was the intent, but I left thinking that it’s definitely a kid, but I was confused on if they were some sort of god or not. Anyway, other than the sort of weak feeling that I left the story with, I felt pretty drawn in and enjoyed the strange, cosmic thoughts. Unfortunately nothing happens.
This so far is the best use of the theme IMO. Beam is an interesting character, and idiot, but his terrible life seems pretty natural. I felt bad for him, but not so much at the end. It’s sort of bittersweet and depressing, and there was some good prose, but it wasn’t excellent.
I was really confused about the mechanics of your robot lady. She seemed to be a ghost (because everyone passed through her, and it didn’t seem symbolic the way you explained it). I guess she was a computer someplace else or something, because she used the internet. How did the dongle work then? Aaaaaaaaaaa whatever. Anyway, it was a decent use of your theme, the dad’s dialogue sucked and the last sentence needs a rewrite, but it was competent and you managed the personalities of 4 characters in that amount of space which is tough. 5/10
“It wasn’t that she was a woman – at least, it mostly wasn’t. It was that she was single. The blazing red hair and creamy skin certainly didn’t help her blend in, either.” – is eugene’s homepage reddit.com? we already got that he digs her and shes pretty. That smile paragraph was perfect and you kinda ruined it here.
Ok hes a total loving dweeb who sucks and lmao. I dunno. You did a decent job but your character is an idiot and I hate him, also your love interest character doesn’t really have any actual personality somehow, despite spending like three paragraphs describing her. Also chess metaphors are DUMBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb I hate chess metaphors. Competent if boring and maybe slightly sexist.
im bored and your character is cliché, but this reads alright, I guess.
This dude took the easiest options and ended up this enviable? I hate this lovely fucker. gently caress him. He sucks, or his motivations don’t match up. Your protagonist is Mitt Romney to me, right now.
“They give me happy pills though.” This dude would not think this.
Are you missing quotation marks or something, or are the conflicting internal thoughts instructing him someone else? They feel like someone else. It doesn’t sound like he’s struggling, but there’s two different voices here.
I don’t think a shirt aflame would be blue but ok whatever.
What the gently caress was that ending. It sucked. It was bad.
The writing was clichéd and boring, but the story as a whole was cohesive and barely hung together at the threads.
anime was right fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2014 around 06:15
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 06:08|
True Facts About the Kea
Geoffrey loved the zoo.
He and Laura watched tiny, fuzzy-headed monkeys clamber around. They took photos of lions lounging in grass. They ate overpriced ice cream by the polar bear enclosure.
She’d been trying to get him to the zoo for ages, but it always struck him as such a juvenile thing. He was glad to be wrong.
Next up was the aviary. Crested peacocks strutted across the grass and parrots squawked in the distance. Laura snapped a selfie of them kissing next to an emu. Geoffrey didn’t like emus. The way they watched him felt too intelligent, made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He and Laura stepped into the tunnel where the smaller birds were caged.
A pair of green-feathered Kea parrots pecked at toys in their cage, beaks pinging off shiny metal. Geoffrey watched them for a while, arm in arm with his wife. That was when he felt it again: that peculiar neck-tingling feeling of being watched.
He stole a look over his shoulder. There were no emus to be found. There was, however, a man.
Standing in the shadowed aviary tunnel, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled down low over his face, there was a guy skulking about like he didn’t want to be seen.
The hood was for naught; Geoffrey recognised him by the curvature of his mouth. He had familiar lips, a familiar chin... Geoffrey reeled like he’d been slapped.
“Would you look at that!” He drew his wife’s attention toward the display outside the Keas’ cage. “Kea are apparently the world’s smartest parrots!”
Laura, unfazed by his sudden loudness, looked over toward the presentation. While she was reading it, Geoffrey peeked back over his shoulder.
The man was still there. Still watching him. Geoffrey couldn’t quite make eye contact with him given the hood, but the man licked his lips.
A shiver ran up Geoffrey’s spine. He knew who it was. There was no denying it. The memories bubbled up unbidden into his mind and percolated there. He remembered the damp concrete of the restroom wall, the stale odour of waste and rain and mud. But more importantly, he remembered the stranger in the hoodie and what he looked like down on his knees. That guy could suck the chrome off a tailpipe.
His marriage had been in a bad way then. But he and Laura had totally fixed things. Counselling and all that.
The hooded man pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket, then folded it in half. He curled three fingers of his hand, held his thumb and his pinky to the side of his hood in mimicry of a telephone. Then he slid the folded paper into place behind a rubbish bin.
“Aw,” Laura said, gripping his hand and pointing at the Kea fact chart. “Kea mate for life!”
“Isn’t that sweet,” Geoffrey managed, mind elsewhere.
Oh my god. How had the bastard found him? And more to the point… a phone number? Really? After some anonymous hookup in the Kyle Park toilets?
But at the same time, that was the best blowjob he’d ever had. So many nights he’d fallen asleep--curled up against his lovely wife, ever the loyal big spoon--thinking of that encounter at Kyle Park. Possibilities danced through Geoffrey’s mind. He became aware once more of Laura’s voice in the background:
“Wow. Did you know Kea can get up to fifty centimetres tall? That’s like the size of a cat.”
Geoffrey wrapped an arm around his wife’s shoulders and pulled her close, still thinking about grass stains on knees and lewd public acts. His marriage had been in a bad way. But that was the past. Really. Besides, he totally wasn’t gay.
It was only when she leaned back against him that Geoffrey realised more than just his memory had stirred.
“Um, Geoffrey,” Laura said.
He panicked. What the gently caress was he supposed to say?
“It's nothing, baby. I just really love the zoo.”
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 06:42|
MERCBRAWL 5, MERCAGEDDON: How Inappropriate
gently caress yeah in on this brawl.
Also this took longer than I hoped:
TD Stats: 2 Entries
1 really mediocre story
1 failed to submit. whoops ("I can totally write a sci-fi story in one day despite never having written any sci-fi before " -me, several weeks ago)
Already started on this, only 1,997 words to go
e: if image goes down or something: in with "Some Kittens Can Fly"
hot salad fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2014 around 07:44
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 07:13|
Benny the Snake posted:
Thanks for the crit!
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 08:01|
MUFFIN CRITS CONTINUE: YOU ARE ALMOST APPROACHING COMPETENCY: PALADINUS, FUSCHIA TUDE, SYSTRAN, HELSING, DECEMBER OCTOPODES, HAMMER BRO
PALADINUS - GRAVE INSULT
Oh my god, that opener is so stereotypical it hurts. That was my big issue with this: it was executed with a degree of competency, but the ground it covered was so unoriginal and uninteresting that I just kept glazing out. There's a barbarian and he's angry at a mage and they ... have a conversation? Not a particularly interesting one either. They just sort of bicker. This was everywhere this week: two people in this fantastical settings just sorta stand there bickering about some boring bullshit. Then, SUDDENLY VIOLENCE. As a format it just doesn't work, but a whole lot of people tried it this week and surprise, none of them ranked very highly. There's no tension in it, and the ending feels like a cheap attempt to add drama.
Also, I really don't get what's going on. Two weird ghosts are hanging around a grave arguing, then one stabs ... himself? His corpse? The other guy's corpse? Who is whose brother? None of this is clear at all. If you're going with a tricky concept, you want to try reading it aloud to a friend to see if they can understand it quickly and easily as its read.
Your Magic Card is:
I guess it doesn't suck and it's got the potential to be cool in a pinch, but I'm not really sure what the point is
FUSCHIA TUDE - BLIND ABLUTION
Huh, so that's a pretty cool concept, communicated well. We've got a little bit of background, but also a tangible physical dude in front of us to connect it with. I can do that.
The issue is that the ending has nothing to do with the middle, really. He's going to try strike it rich in the mine, then he accidentally collapses the mine, then he dies thinking about his family before they went all uggo. There's so through-line of plot: one event leads to another physically, but not thematically or emotionally and it ends up feeling kinda all-over-the-place. It would've been a lot stronger if there'd been a coherent thematic line running down the middle of the whole thing, holding it together.
Probably the best example of this I've seen is In Bruges: it's basically two very different films sandwiched into one (a fish-out-of-water comedy and an action movie) that holds these two very different things together through visual and thematic coherency. You've got the visual element of the ugliness already, so many bring that into the middle section somehow?
Your Magic Card is:
Not bad, but trying to do two very different things at once and it doesn't really click.
SYSTRAN - TO AXE A BOON
I think you know this is pretty weak for you, dude. There's some stuff in there that works (lol telekinetic ball kicking) but the turnaround in terms of Kotar's personality just happens too quickly for it to mean anything. A story that shows such a huge change in someone's fundamental being just doesn't work at a 1000 word level, though you gave it a good go.
Descriptions are nice but the dialogue is way too twee. Twee-ness in general really doesn't help to build the grand scale that a thing like this needed. It probably could've been saved by going totally balls-to-the-wall but by trying to sandwich comedy in there you've kinda ruined it. Like a lot of people this week, you wrote well but didn't write to scale and ended up with no room to move.
Your Magic Card is:
Subtle like a brick to the face, and destroys itself in the process.
HELSING - SOMETHING YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR
This was actually a pretty good use of the prompt, but it's waaaaay too telly and that's ultimately what brought it down. It's basically the background to a video game that nobody reads. Good background, but still just background. Let us actually explore the thing from the inside, rather than having some people standing in the middle of the thing telling us about it later.
There's a concept that comes up in crits occasionally of 'distance': people will tell you not to use certain tenses etc because it takes the reader out of the story. A well-written story allows the reader to imagine themselves right there in the mix of things and each extra layer you has pushes them away from the story and onto the outskirts. If you'd taken the same setting and told a more involved human story, you coulda got a ton of mileage out of it.
Your Magic Card is:
Powerful, but too drat slow and far away.
DECEMBER OCTOPODES - STICKY CANDY
As last time I judged, you're going way too big in scope. I would love to see a novel written by you, but I get the feeling you're not really taking into considering the size of a piece of flash fiction, and just how much stuff you can cram in there before it becomes confusing and convoluted. Stick to a small number of characters, one arc and one perspective. The prose is great and the story could work pretty well, but you're trying to do too many little technical things at once and you just don't have the room for it. As a result, it gets muddled and confusing, and we feel like we haven't spent enough time with any of the characters. I would love to see this expanded out to about 3000-4000 words, but at this scale it just plain doesn't work.
My challenge for you for next time is to tell a story with a single character, that occurs in the same small place in the span of ten minutes. You need to practice the little things before you start throwing out the big ones.
Your Magic Card is:
Looks really good on paper, but by the time you've got him out the game has been over for 10 minutes.
HAMMER BRO - KELVIN
Good use of a difficult prompt. What doesn't really work is the flashback structure: you needed to more clearly mark what was present-day and what was a flashback. Yes it's obvious in hindsight, but when you're reading a sentence and you have to stop halfway through and reimagine it because you picked the wrong time, it'll knock you right out of the story. A few little formatting tricks coulda bumped you up quite a bit here. Format is important: make good use of punctuation, paragraph breaks, italics - all that good poo poo.
I think you probably could've focused in on a single scene rather than having her run all over the ship to look at everything. Right now it feels too much like a tour of a space ship, even though there's a decent story in there. My advice for a whole lot of people this week is zoom in. The little human stories are better than the big ones. Novels can do both because they've got the space to move around in but you don't, and trying to do both just aint gonna work.
Your Magic Card is:
Ok, I can dig it, but it feels more like a holding pattern than an actual story.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 08:52|
Upon further reflection I really hate this prompt as my local area has virtually no craigslist and I don't even like cute animal gifs. On the other hand Cache Cab already posted a really terrible story and given that apparently he was the one who saved my butt last week I'd feel like a dumb coward if I didn't at least try.
If you already impaled yourself the least I can do is try to fall on your spare sword.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 09:42|
HOPING TO GET TO KNOW YOU - m4w - 56 (PORT JERVIS)
HI BEEN WANTING TO MEET YOU FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS I LIVE UP THE STREET FROM YOU I JUST SEE IT FROM MY HOUSE THE COLOR OF YOUR HOUSE GREEN AND THE STREET YOU LIVE ON IN TRI- STATE BEGINS WITH THE LETTER P I THINK YOUR VERY HOT BEEN LOOKING AT YOU SOME TIME YOUR A BLONDE LIKE TO MEET YOU WANTED TO GO SWIMMING IN YOUR POOL SUMMER IS ENDING AND WONT SEE YOU AS MUCH I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE A BOY FRIEND ANY MORE I HOPE NOT YOU DRIVE BLACK KIA SUV PLEASE EMAIL ME WEATHER YOU WANT TO MEET OR NOT LIKE I SAID I THINK YOUR VERY HOT.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 18:19|
Some additional critters.
Clearly somebody let a crazy man onto the judging panel, as some of those opinions are wildly inaccurate.
Vampire Hexmage will pop Dark Depths instantaneously, for a two-total-mana 20/20. And Polymorph is one of many ways to get Emrakul out early. Sure you don't get the extra turn, but them sacrificing 6 permanents on their second or third turn is probably going to cause some problems, even before the 15 damage.
Also, if you're feeling indulgent (yes or no answers are fine), in Kelvin could you tell: 1) What happened to the crew? or 2) What happened to Catherine's parents?
Thanks to Muffin, Sitting, and Schneider for the previous insights.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 18:22|
Peach Shorts girl - m4w
Dear Peach Shorts girl in Core 24 at lunchtime today in Seneca.......
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 21:35|
In with God Spell - 23.
Someone who cannot spell posted:
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 22:59|
You have 5 hours to sign up. If you're not claiming tiny pineapples then you're pretty much giving up on an automatic win.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 23:07|
Clearly somebody let a crazy man onto the judging panel, as some of those opinions are wildly inaccurate.
|# ? Oct 10, 2014 23:19|
Also, if you're feeling indulgent (yes or no answers are fine), in Kelvin could you tell: 1) What happened to the crew? or 2) What happened to Catherine's parents?
2) not really
I did have to power through 30 stories in the space of a single afternoon though, so my attention to fine detail probably wasn't at full capacity.
CRITS THE FOURTH: CONGRATULATIONS, YOU DIDN'T SUCK! JAGERMONSTER, ENTENZAHN, ANATHEMA DEVICE, WALAMOR, ANOMALOUS BLOWOUT, TYRANNOSAURUS, DOCBEARD, GRIZZLED PATRIARCH, ZEBOURGEIOUSE
JAGERMONSTER - A SONG FOR THE ROAD
Ughuugugug really? A bard sitting in a forest strumming a lute? You really went deep into the originality well for that one, didn't you? As has been pointed out by better writers than me, way too many fantasy stories begin with the protagonist sitting in a forest being whimsical until something bad happens.
It's cute though. I liked Gare, and you nailed the prompt without forcing it down my throat. It's the sort of 'strongly-written characters in boring situations' thing that Rothfuss nails pretty well. The thing that kind of kills it for me is the SUDDENLY VIOLENCE ending. Yes it's foreshadowed in the 'sinister strumming' it's just, well - it makes Gare a total psycho and ruins the whole thing in post. Readers tend to have a soft spot for lippy assholes, but draw the line at unprovoked violence.
What was all the fuss with the song if he was just gonna kill them anyway? Why did he stop the bee from stinging the guy if he was just gonna kill them anyway? Why does the whole middle (i.e. the good bit) of the story exist if he's just gonna kill them anyway? A story where a bunch of dudes hung out in the forest shooting the poo poo could've actually worked here: you're decent enough at dialogue and characterisation to keep it from getting boring, and I really would've liked to see something more mellow this week.
Other problem: I couldn't really picture the three soldiers as distinct from one another. They had personalities, but a little physical description of each would allow you to expand on their personalities (e.g. "he's the big guy, so he must be strong and stoic" - readers like little cliches here) and at the same time help the reader to picture the men better in their heads.
Your Magic Card is:
Learn the lesson of chilling the gently caress out, brother.
ENTENZAHN - THE KING'S SHAME
You did pretty well, prompt considering, but it was just so ridiculously heavy-handed in its execution that I could see the ending coming a mile away. Descriptions and dialogue are strong, but there's no real tension and no real reason to give a poo poo. I think it would work a lot better if we had a stronger idea of who the princess is: you need to make us care about her for the story to have any real emotional impact, and you need to give her some strength to make the ending actually shocking and upsetting.
Also, the King's personality is a bit one-note. That's not a bad thing (short stories necessitate simpler characters) but a lot of the time you spent rubbing in "HE'S A HUGE rear end in a top hat WHO ONLY CARES ABOUT HIS LINE" could've been spent with the princess, with the castle, with the (?) empire to give us some more context of just what's at stake, and why we should give a drat.
Your Magic Card is:
Decent, but needed to spread the love around rather than jamming it all on one guy.
ANATHEMA DEVICE - IN THE RUINS OF NEW YORK CITY
This wasn't fantasy or science fiction. Zombies are horror, and that's a different kettle of fish altogether. I'm planning a horror week at some later point, but I can't really say you succeeded in the prompt at all. As always there's a degree of leniency to stretch the rules, but you've still gotta start at the prompt and move outward.
Opener sucks. It sounds like something from a 90s video game ad, especially with the affected accent. DUKE NUKEM IS: ZOMBIE HUNTER.
The voice actually kinda works though. It's a short enough piece that it doesn't overstay its welcome, and it's pretty consistent. Present Tense is eh (I'm not totally against it, but you've got to do it for a reason). The story is also pretty solid. I like how you managed to get a whole arc in 650 words, and it all makes sense. I think it's the mechanical issues that dragged you down: the tense, the occasional moment where you push the drawl too far. Dial back the 'coolness' and give us a little flash of vulnerability from the protagonist, and it's golden.
Your Magic Card is:
WALAMOR - ELEMENTS OF LIFE
You've improved so much since 'his fearsome axe', but you still suck hard at names. Try saying 'Mattious' aloud: it sounds ridiculous. Matty-oos! Matthias maybe? Gregory is also too normal: I kept calling him 'Greg' while I was reading and it rather ruined the dignity of the thing. Character names are important. They don't have to all be DEEPLY SYMBOLIC, but they've at least gotta sound right.
I like the little touches of setting that shine in through the cracks in this one with the canals and such. I have a very strong picture of this city in my head, even if it's pretty much the same city Locke Lamora runs around in. I think you mentioned in irc being on a Scott Lynch kick, and it shows. The more religious/formal aspects of it make it a different enough story to keep me in there. The Church of Evil Assholes is a bit of a fantasy cliche, but at least they're doing it in a novel way that might actually work.
The SUDDENLY VIOLENCE ending was eh. A lot of people seem to think that it's a good way to finish, but the violence isn't really necessary and barely even makes sense. Did the Master kill Matty-oos, or knock him out, or steal his magic, or what? It's not clear, and the ending kinda comes unraveled around that. It's such a simple thing, but the whole story was hinging on it and it's hard to tell exactly what happened.
Your Magic Card is:
looks promising, but you need to stick the landing for it to mean anything.
ANOMALOUS BLOWOUT - KERAUNOPATHY
This isn't fantasy or science fiction. At all. I can almost get what Anathema Device was going for with zombies (maybe they're science-constructed rage zombies and it's the year 3000 or something but the writer just forgot to tell us that), but this doesn't fit at all.
Besides that, it's pretty solid. The whole thing holds together well, there's a real heart to the characters and dialogue, I really give a poo poo about Barry's predicament and ...
Oh gently caress me twist ending ruins the whole thing for the sake of being funny. I was willing to let the prompt slide almost, but that ending totally killed it for me. It's both predictable and dumb, because it renders all his struggles moot in a single sentence. It did surprise me, because I thought you were too smart to do something like that. It's even worse that it comes at the end of a good story, because now I feel cheated of catharsis for the sake of a punchline. I can't rank the story lower -because it's actually really good for 90% of it- but goddam this could be a in a textbook on loving up an entire story in a single sentence. What a waste.
Your Magic Card is:
not bad at all, but a bitter pill to swallow
TYRANNOSAURUS - CUT HIS THROAT SPILL HIS BLOOD
Good hook, but it ultimately suffers for it: you backed yourself into a corner with Bobby the Boy and Bobby the Pig, where your two options are either being too wordy or being unclear.
I don't really have a whole lot of bad things to say about this piece: it sits in that weird deadzone this week where it was pretty good, but a whole lot of stuff was better. It was certainly vivid and memorable, but the more somber tone lost out to the more bombastic or upbeat stuff. It plods intentionally to mimic the grave-dirt shoveling, which is cool from a technical standpoint and pretty impressive, as a reader rather than a writer, it's boring. You seem to have put a whole lot of work into that deliberate pacing without considering how the average reader is gonna approach the thing.
Uuuuuugh trying to be constructive here. More physicality to balance out the dialogue, especially in the second paragraph. I had a pretty good image of the grave-digging and the giant pig, but the flashback stuff was less clear in my head.
Your Magic Card is:
certainly has its place, but got unlucky because there's other stuff nearby that's just better
DOCBEARD - MOTIVATION
THE DEAD ZONE CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM: we're reaching the point of 'in a really lovely week, this coulda won'. The problem is that there's just too much drat talking, and not enough going on. It would've been a lot stronger if they'd just done the poo poo instead of telling us that they were gonna do the poo poo. You guys should know at this point that Too Much Dialogue is a pet peeve of mine, and it kills this one for me. The dialogue itself is really strong, but the story still suffers for having too much of it.
You're very good at physicality and blocking, so the lack of it here made me sad.
Also, SPACESHIP TAKING OFF OR LANDING WHILE PEOPLE TALK A LOT ABOUT SPACESHIP TAKING OFF OR LANDING. Probably the best one we had, but still guilty by association.
Your Magic Card is:
great in the right deck, but you've put it in the wrong deck
GRIZZLED PATRIARCH - EVERY BIRD COMES HOME TO ROOST
"Some mornings, she was still afraid to pull back the shower curtain. Somehow he’d be slumped there again, the wall behind his head pollocked with blood, his dark hair powdered with bits of skull and pulverized tile."
Ohshit this is great. Take notes people, that's how you start a story. Not reeeeeeeeeeally science fiction or fantasy though. I'll let it in, but I'm stretching here. If you're using the definition of science fiction "doesn't work without a specific piece of science that we don't have yet" then I guess the chemical counts, but it's kind of sliding through on a technicality.
Pretty gutsy and strong but as I've said too many people this week, you were unfortunate enough to submit it in a super strong week. You're nearing the top pack though, and you should be proud. I liked the story a lot, but when push came to shove, other stuff was just better.
Your Magic Card is:
now we're getting into the realm of 'cards I actually use'. Definitely cool, but not the big gamewinner.
ZEBOURGEIOUSE - RED EGGS
Aahahaha what the gently caress man. This is gross as hell. I love it. You've certainly got a talent for description and atmosphere, but it kinda fell apart in that there was no real story holding the whole thing together. Arnold needed a goal, and then something that got in the way of that goal, and some way of overcoming it/failure to overcome it resulting in punishment. You were going for the 'dude gets punished for his hubris' kinda thing, but we needed to spend a little more time with the guy and understand him a little better for it to really hit home.
Come back next week, and try to focus on character and plot. You've got the other poo poo down fairly solidly, but those need a little work. You've got all the meat, but no bones.
Your Magic Card is:
I love it to bits because there's nothing else like it, but it kinda lacks direction and I never actually use it
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 01:49|
CRITS THE LAST: THE CRITENING
THEBLUNDERBUSS, DJESER, OBLITERATI, KAISHAI, LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE, CRABROCK
THEBLUNDERBUSS - IT ALWAYS ENDS LIKE THIS
This was really cool. I liked the world you created, and the dilemma was organic but also pretty powerful. Writing was solid and you nailed the prompt. No real complaints here. What pushed you down a couple of slots for me was that it could've been about a Mongol and a Persian, or a Viking and an Englishman, or any number of real-world situations without actually changing anything. The judges discussed what actually makes a fantasy story, and in the end we decided it couldn't happen in our world: there needs to be something fundamentally different from our own world in order to make it really pop.
It doesn't stop it from being a good story, but in a clinch it's what pushed you down a couple of places. We really had to split hairs with this top pack in order to pick a winner. Be proud of what you've done here.
Your Magic Card is:
hell, now we're getting somewhere
DJESER - GILD
D'aaaaaw this tugged at my heartstrings. You have softened the bitter scone that sits in the place of my heart. You really nailed the prompt, and the whole thing had this lovely slow grace to it that I wasn't expecting to see in such a short piece. Maybe you could've gone through and excised some of the passive voice to give it a little more immediacy, but overall this was great, and though I didn't have it in my personal HM list, I don't object to it getting one at all.
Your Magic Card is:
yes, I like this.
OBLITERATI - WHY DO WE FALL?
I AM GOING TO DO THIS CRIT IN ALL CAPS AS IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO EXPRESS MY FEELINGS. WHY AREN'T THERE MORE STORIES ABOUT A GUY LITERALLY FALLING AT TERMINAL VELOCITY THIS IS SO loving RAD I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW. I GUESS THE ENDING IS A LITTLE MUDDLED AS-TO-WHAT EXACTLY THE STATUE IS AND WHY PEOPLE ARE SHOOTING AT HIM BUT I'M SO CAUGHT UP IN THE ENERGY OF THE PIECE THAT I DON'T REALLY CARE.
YOUR MAGIC CARD IS:
I AM SCREAMING TOWARDS THE SUN WITH MY COCK OUT SHOUTING "YISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" AND EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE A WHOLE LOT OF FLAWS IN THIS PLAN I DON'T CARE BECAUSE I'M TOTALLY IN THE MOMENT YOU CAN HAVE MY FAVOURITE CARD RL
kaishai - siren
i'm sorry i'm all out of caps right now i'm gonna need a minute
Okay so this was really solid, though that's hardly a surprise. Your prose has always being gorgeous, and there's a real haunting quality to this whole thing. The reader is as enchanted as the character, and that's a drat neat trick to have pulled off. The physical blocking near the end is a little muddled (I had to go back and read to be sure exactly what had happened) but overall this is excellent. You got knocked down a peg mostly because this is pretty familiar and safe Kaishai territory, and we really had to split hairs at this level.
Your Magic Card is:
this card is ridiculously OP and it's kinda weird that nobody ever complains about it or tries to get it banned from tournaments. I guess it looks pretty inobtrusive, but people underestimate how many different ways it can be useful, and how the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.
LOU BEGAS' MOUSTACHE - THE BLADE IS MIGHTIER THAN THE PEN
Oh man, the world you crafted here. That was the one thing I was really looking for this week: a unique and interesting setting, presented through a real story rather than through big direct infodumps. It's the think I hanker for when I read fantasy, and it's pretty drat rare. I ran a whole brawl based around 'do this thing because I love it'. Great work here, man. You kinda made my day.
The thing that kicked you into #2 is that you forced the despair a bit far, and at points it slipped into Linkin Park territory. Dialing back the BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD MISERY and giving us some happy moments will, paradoxically, make the pain hit us even harder by giving it a point of contrast. Too much of the same thing and the reader becomes a little numb to it.
Your Magic Card is:
Powerful, versatile, makes its way into every single black deck I play.
CRABROCK - NOVALUST
You loving beautiful weirdo. Not only did you make me fall in love with this weird, dumb, pretentious Japanese poet (who I should hate because seriously read the thing I just wrote), you put him in a world that was shocking, and vivid, and yet somehow totally coherent and beautiful. It was like dropping acid then getting into a tilt-a-whirl. Congrats on the win, you earned it.
Your Magic Card is:
this hosed-up little blob wins me more games than any other card. Small but big, weak but powerful, strong in direction but everywhere at once, it really shouldn't work but it totally does.
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 02:42|
Fear of limits, unlimited fear - m4w - 43
The thrill of seeing your name attached to something, anything sent to me. I flit past. I don't want to know. I want to soak in your words as objects and curl up and hide in the shape of your name's letters, avoiding all meaning. These shapes belong to you. They project your power into the world. A magic spelling.
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 03:03|
Flying to the east coast tonight, here is my entry for the week!
Please help me find Melissa Pliano
Please help me find Melissa Pliano - m4w - 40 (vallejo / benicia)
The blinds and my fingers were stained with smoke, both a tepid brown with spots of olive peeking through. I leaned away from the window and ran my hand through what was left of my hair for probably the eight hundredth time. Seven hours with my nose glued to the loving glass and nobody had had the decency to show up to the ball. I had reached irritated.
“Charlie-ten-five, niner-eight, come in.” The walkie-talkie hissed and shot out one and half seconds of mariachi before correcting itself. “Over.” A trumpet blared a counterpoint to the bass line of a large guitar.
“Jesus loving Christ.” I tossed the binoculars on the bed and hammered the “call” button, letting it shout red for three long beats before I finally spat back into it. “You’re in a secondhand flower delivery van, Charlie. Stop loving acting like you’re in the gee-dee Air Force.”
I adjusted the dial, and the radio returned to my regularly scheduled program in English. “—rear end in a top hat, that was loud as poo poo!”
“And you’re not supposed to insert your name into the beginning of every loving call sign, anyway.” I was so angry I coughed, three deep howls. I made sure my finger was pressed on the “talk” button.
“What if someone heard that, dick?” There was the flick of a lighter around his statement, the inhale and exhale of minimum wage. “Huh?”
I sputtered a few more weak hacks before adding my cigarette butt to ashtray number three, pressing harder than I needed to. “You’re five blocks away, Charlie, and you’re under an overpass. You can jack off, for all I care. Nobody is going to hear you.”
“Too late on that.” He laughed. I didn’t. “Any movement yet?’
“Still crap.” I grabbed my cigarettes and the case file, both of them light. I lit up as I perused the single page I had printed earlier. “Melissa Pliano remains a hard bird to track down.” I turned the page over. “Also, I owe my drycleaner for three months in back pants.”
“You can get dry cleaning on layaway?”
I tossed the case file on the floor and leaned back. Charlie was saying something, but I was focused on the dull roar of Los Angeles. A block away, someone was honking. Somewhere farther, a car backfired. At the entrance to the motel parking lot, tires bumped over the uneven pavement.
I was at the blinds. “Shut up, Charlie.”
“I thought you said nobody could hear me.”
“I can hear you, you schmuck. There’s a car.” I put out my cigarette and picked up my binoculars. The car was way too nice for the hourly rate I had paid for the room. “Run pointe. Black BMW?”
“Oh poo poo.”
“Thanks.” They were parking, right underneath my window. I shook my head. Seven loving hours. “License plate is California, Romeo-Golf-Hotel-five-oh-three.”
There was a brief pause. “Sure.”
“What do you mean, ‘sure?'” I grabbed the case “file” and flipped it from invoice to profile. “I just ditched two thirds of a cigarette, you better have more for me than ‘sure.’”
“Are you looking at this piece of garbage?” He flapped his stack of photo, singular, in what I imagined was the general direction of the walkie-talkie. “I would qualify this photo quality as ‘nervous bathroom stall upskirt.’”
“You’re a charmer, Charlie.” I had switched to the camera. “Please tell me it says something about defining characteristics.”
“’She is Latin and is married to a gentleman who works for an airline.’”
“Jesus Mary and Joseph I loving hate L.A.” I snapped one, two, three photos. “Both of these people are way too ugly for an affair.”
“You think she’s our girl?”
“I think I don’t give a poo poo.” They entered the lobby, so I gave up and tossed the camera on the bed. “I’m paid by the hour, and they want me here until seven A.M. I’ll take all the pictures of all the black BMW’s they want.”
“Every girl, Melissa Pliano.”
I fished two thirds of a cigarette out of ashtray number four and lit it. “Every girl, Charlie.”
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 05:29|
Signups are closed
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 06:21|
Johnson Lake the poisonous snake and our Hero
Word count: 734
Your Hero at Johnson Lake
Daryl beat his head against the outer wall of the public library. “Stupid, stupid!” Not three hours ago, he let the woman of his dreams walk away from him. Daryl made his way inside and to a computer. He logged onto to Craigslist. If I can make just the right post, she’s sure to notice. By God, he was going to reconnect with her.
Missed connection: Your Hero at Johnson Lake
Bumped into you at Johnson Lake. You were wearing white socks and brown sandals. With the designs all over my body, I’m used to getting women’s attention, but I wanted so much more from you.
Look, I don’t usually post on here and I swear I’m not a weirdo. It’s just that when our eyes met, it felt like our souls were vibrating on the same frequency. I saw that you were startled by me. What can I say? When I bust out break dancing like that, ladies react. I got swag and it has a certain effect on people.
I would’ve gotten to know you more, but we were rudely interrupted. Typical douchebag had to be the white knight, but you didn’t need saving. You needed me.
Hit me back or come find me. Until winter, I’ll be spending most afternoons swimming in the creek behind the Chick-fil-A on Walnut St.
(Pic related, it’s me coiled around a field mouse. He made a good meal).
After posting, Daryl made his way out of the library and on to the sidewalk. A man in a cheap suit walked around him. “Tough day, copperhead?”
“I need a drink,” Daryl replied.
The man turned to face Daryl. “Well, there’s the Decon’s Bench Pub further up the road.”
Daryl slithered his way to The Decon’s Bench. He slipped inside and wound himself up one of the bar stools. He hissed to get the bartender’s attention.
“We don’t serve snakes in here,” the bartender said.
Daryl bared his teeth.
“Woah, woah! Just kidding. Sheesh, you reptiles can’t take a joke can ya?”
“Do I look like I’m in the joking mood? Johnny Walker Black Label. Serve it neat.” Daryl raised his tongue and unhinged his jaw. Several Sacagawea coins tumbled out of his mouth and onto the bar.
Daryl sulked there, talking to no one. At last he heard the front doors swing open. From the back of the bar, a man yelled, “Aw horseshit, it’s Rhonda again.”
Turning, Daryl gasped in delight. A curvy woman sauntered in, wearing white socks and brown sandals. She made her way to a booth and sat. Daryl approached. “Excuse me…uh…Rhonda. Didn’t we meet at Johnson Lake?”
Rhonda looked around. She yelped, noticing Daryl on the ground. “Oh! Away with you. I don’t like snakes.”
“So, you don’t wanna see me breakdance again? Because I got some pretty smooth moves—”
“—I don’t want your company. I’m here to meet someone. Oh, here he is now! Joshua!”
Daryl looked to the front door. An older man wearing biker leather and a green bandana had walked in. The white knight from the lake. He heard Rhonda’s call and began walking toward the booth.
“Ok, I’ll be leaving now,” Daryl said, his heart sinking. He slithered out of the bar and onto a bench beside the parking lot. Daryl hung his head and brooded on the failure. Eventually, he became drowsy and drifted to sleep.
Daryl woke with a start. It was nighttime now, and in the dim lot two people were arguing.
“Josh, I’m not going home with you tonight. You’re drunk. You’re a mess.”
“I ain’t even that drunk.” Josh grabbed Rhonda’s arm pulling her toward a motorcycle.
“Let me go!” Rhonda screamed.
With that, Daryl whipped around the bench and into the parking lot. “You get the hell outta here or I’ll bite!” Daryl bared his teeth and advanced toward the drunken biker. Josh released Rhonda and took a few steps back. Daryl reached him and coiled up his right leg.
“Alright, alright, I’m outta here.” Josh shook Daryl off and got on his bike. He drove off the lot, almost losing his balance twice on the way out.
Rhonda and Daryl remained in the parking lot a moment, neither speaking. At last Daryl said, “We got off on the wrong foot. Let’s get to know each other better.”
“Are you kidding?” Rhonda asked, wincing. “You’re a loving snake!”
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 16:10|
Same Time, Same Place (719 words or so)
I cross my legs one way, then back again when it doesn't sit right. My neck swivels, the red lipstick coming off as I lick my lips on repeat. I imagine a damp smell emanating from the book in my hands as the perspiration builds.
Same time, same place. Same thing every week. He has to return. That first time he was going home (a late worker, committed) and I just know he'll have to show up eventually. There are so many people here it's no wonder I haven't stumbled into him yet. Serendipity demands patience. That's what it was the first time, serendipitous. It was like wandering in a second-hand bookstore and stumbling across exactly the title you wanted after pulling out another that jumped at you. It was my Kindle, I'm sure of it. The colour caught his eye.
I swipe at my red coat to get rid of the lint. The tension is unbearable, my heart racing as it does every week. Same time, same place. A train pulls up and disgorges another round of dull-eyed civilians. Groups chit-chatting, friends heading into the city. Couples holding hands. I let out a noise that I hope sounds like a romantic sigh.
It's been 72 minutes since I sat down. The drunks and bums will come out soon. I give one last look down the platform.
And there he is. I choke on my own breath as I inhale and the book falls from my grip. It's him. Same time, same place. Or close enough.
Will he recognise me? I stand, trip over the heel of my crimson platforms, and make my way toward him.
'H-hello,' I say.
He turns to me, blank.
'I don't know if ... 'member, remember me, but we talked a-a little while ago, right here on this platform. I was reading the red K-Kindle.'
For a moment he remains blank, but I can see the cogs click and clunk and a smile spreads over that canvas. That beautiful canvas, stunning in so many ways. It's exactly like I recollect.
'Oh yeah, I remember. I didn't recognise you!'
My heart judders. I have to play this just right; I have to make this different.
'Yes, well ... well I was just heading out. For the night, see, and I saw you and I recalled our con-conversation.' I flick my hair, exposing my neck. I can just see myself doing it: sensual and seductive, sexy even.
'Yeah, we were talking about science fiction weren't we?'
The blood pumps. He does remember.
'Yeah, t-that's right!' Play it cool. I've been thinking about every scenario that could unfold and I'm certain I'm as prepared for any possible outcome as I could be.
'Do you remember the b-book I was reading?' I ask, hoping my eyes give off that come-hither look people are always writing about.
'Hmm, it was cyberpunk I think. I remember because cyberpunk isn't real science fiction.'
My hands drop, and my smile fades a notch. I suppose couples can't agree on everything.
'Was it William Gibson? No, Neal Stephenson. Snow Crash, wasn't it?'
'Yes, that's right!' I say, throwing my body forward.
He smirks and a silence falls over us. A train pulls up, the wind whooshing past. People mill around, edging toward the unopened doors in anticipation, even as their mirrors surge to push against them.
Time for the climax. I hold out the book.
'H-here. I actually went out and bought the physical thing – crazy I know – and, well, I reckon you should have it. M-Maybe even change your mind.' I wink.
His hands are in the pockets of his coat, and he looks down at the offering. Back to me. He draws a hand out.
'Thanks,' he says, taking the book from my hand.
A beepbeepbeep sounds beside us.
'Hey, look, that's my train, I gotta run, but thanks for the book,' he says to me, turning away and toward the train half way through the sentence. Then he's through the closing doors, his coat following him like a happy dog's tail.
The train rolls out and I can't see him in the carriage. Lost amongst the horde again. I wave anyway
Hopefully he'll call me, find my number on the imprint page. And if not?
Same time, same place.
thehomemaster fucked around with this message at Oct 11, 2014 around 21:30
|# ? Oct 11, 2014 21:27|
Saw you on Pratt Street - w4m
In the first days, when the multitude was still raising their homes along the river, Darkness grew tired of hiding from the Light on the undersides of things and in the hollow places, and so decided to go out among man. Having no clothes, she fashioned a cloak from shadow. Having no face, she stole one from Death.
And so, wearing a hooded robe and a borrowed face, she breathed as men and walked their lands for five and twenty years. In each community, she stopped and asked for only water. In some places, the people were fearful and drove her away without offering aid, and she trudged on. She remembered this. In other places, the people were kind and generous and invited her into their homes; they gave her a portion to eat though they went hungry; they offered her a bed to spend the night though they had nowhere to sleep. And she remembered this also.
One day, after she had already spoken with the town elders and was on her way to the next part of her journey, she passed a man in a gray cap sitting on the steps of a home. He was half-asleep, but when he saw her, he jumped to his feet and spit on the ground and cursed the heavens.
"Why do you do this thing?" she asked. "Why do you dishonor the gods?"
He was a long time in answering. "You look just like my sister," he said. "But she has been dead these more than twenty years."
"Is it not good, to be reminded of those we once loved?"
He shook his head slowly. "I had nearly forgotten her face. And since that time, the sun has shimmered in the heat, there has been no respite to be found under parched and dying trees, and crops suffer the same fate in the ground."
"You do not revere Light the life-giver?"
"No. I have known nothing but death from it."
She had never heard such candor and she was struck through. She left without another word. The man watched as the gaunt form walked along the road and vanished in the distance.
She walked until the road met another, and then another. She continued past streams and forests and mountains, past settlements and other travelers, but she saw none of it, she was so lost in thought. She walked past the end of the earth and kept walking. And so she returned to the sky.
Light respectfully left her to herself, that night; and the whole land went into darkness. She saw the rejoicing of the people at this reprieve from the sun, and she said, "I am needed here." But she remembered the people who had abused and mistreated her on her travels. She decided that even they would know shade and evening, as she traversed the sky like she had the land, following and followed by the Light; but only sometimes.
And to this day, if one reaches the end of the earth in the summertime, the sun does not set.
|# ? Oct 12, 2014 01:30|
Crits from week 101: WAR
They're only like 3 months late. Bite me. Please don't ban tho.
some guy starts to be cheerful
joseph-?,nervous? pensive? not a clear picture. distracted.
you barely say anything about your characters that tell me who they are. the few snippets you give are nice, but they're very one dimensional. Charlie lost somebody. Joseph got rejected. but WHY? how does what he's doing RIGHT NOW in the story relate to that? what does the bomb signify. for a hint on how to do this better, watch the scene where Jack learns about his apartment blowing up in Fight Club, as that's probably the best scene for its subtlety.
first section is dudes sitting in a truck in the desert. i have no idea why? should be more of a time lapse between "bomb away" and flash of white.
eh. this is just stuff happening. there's no real reason for it, just stuff happening to people faceless heads screaming at them. that in itself could make a story, but you have to make it deliberate.
i feel like you attempted to show a few different people, their lives all leading up to this moment, but then you failed to make that of any consequence. They just kinda laugh like at the end of a tv sitcom.
is nevada in a war? have no idea how this first section relates.
You talk about a bomb, and there is a general feeling of isolation and loss. But the first section I have no idea what is going on. saying "nevada" is a good clue, but not enough. Give me some more detail on the time so i know it's during wwii (or just after).
people can't percolate. first sentence of second section is terribly passive. who is doing this poo poo? minor typos. some bad similes.
a little wordy/overwritten at times, but overall not horrible.
boy(anson)-good characterization in intro para.
Rebel soldier-good descriptions of how ragged he is.
Could have used more motivations for these guys. they're a little flat in terms of what they want.
a little confusing about the next few things. was unsure if it was a real soldier. where are they? why was the soldier there? was he a deserter or an assassin? why would he risk showing himself to a little boy, who are notorious blabbermouths?
you start off strong, but end weak. there is no real resolution here. I was like "omg is the kid going to shoot the rebel?" since that's how the story starts. but then he just takes the gun and walks away? or did he set the gun down? you didn't really say.
should have included the stuff about the brother getting killed earlier. would have given the boy more of a purpose. "i'll get revenge if i ever see a rebel." type thing. But you end the story too soon. I dunno how this has changed the boy. take another few paras to explain the new reality of the boy.
during civil war. a boy who only knows what others have told him comes face to face with a real soldier.
Really like your opening para, it does a great job of doing exactly what you want it to do. Pointless sensing verbs following that.
I read this in pretty much one smooth piece, so it was excellent at doing what you needed it to do. I like the subtle things about the soldier without going full redneck-style speaking.
Marcus-a guy who really hates war, but loves his family. A bit cliche and boring. What really makes this guy tick? I feel like "for family" is the most boring reason ever.
Some stuff happens, but it all feels a little random. Marcus just wanted to keep sending money to his family and keep his son out of the war. But then he got blown up (no fault of his own--passive) and woke up to find that oh no, that didn't happen! (again, no fault of his own). Thus this kind of boring character doesn't even really do much other than say "war sucks" and then get blown up.
lots of war. Literal war. Thanks for not describing battles.
A lot of telling. Telling telling telling. I felt really taken out of the story, away from the action. It felt more like reading a "history about this historical figure" in one of those side boxes in a textbook. I never really felt any sense of emergency or urgency. It feels so far in the past that it's a bit of shrug. Not too many mistakes, but prose is a little dry. A little too descriptive at parts.
Tim-Kinda green, out of shape. Talky.
Kendra-hot? in good shape.
Greg-Coworker/boss. old. fat, hardworking, dedicated.
You did a better job describing your ancillary characters than your main. I would have liked to know more about him. Still, pretty good for having so many. you could cut down the number of characters to 3 and do a better job. also your description of kendra is lacking compared to the men.
thought it was post-apocalyptic or something at first, but then he says "take it seriously," so now i think it's a game.
Why's this dude eating lovely beans in the middle of a paintball match?
The whole opening could go. Instead of the weird beans thing, make it actually about your char having a goal. What does he want to accomplish? Kill at least one dude? clear the whole camp? I don't even know why he's there.
Still, I get the sense that he's out of place, and through letting go of his anxiety manages to snap into an automatic warrior mode and unleash his inner killer. With a proper setup, that could have been a solid plot. right now it's just ok.
Paintball isn't really war, but you had soldiers in it. Also it's close enough that I won't dock you too hard, but this same story could have been told in an actual war setting and had a lot more actual consequences.
too many adverbs. missing some hyphens for complex descriptions. A little too flowery sometimes and I was starting to get a little bored with your action descriptions, but solid.
Wu Tao-looks young...
Old lady-life sucks
Didn't really explain anything about any of these characters. they're all cardboard.
Plot: I'm really bored so far. I feel like "a ruler takes requests from a lowly commoner" is a trope I've seen a billion times. I'm even bored with it in Game of Thrones. wait. that's it? did you forget to finish?
it seems like you had no idea what you were doing here. did i miss something? it was like "hi this is my military advisor, he's super smart. what up old lady? ok, i make a military decision. why did i do that? who know!"
I didn't really get the sense that there was a war going on. I was so far removed from it that I might as well be a US Senator. There was a military advisor that made no military decisions, and an old chinese woman who sold her daughters into slavery... not really war themes.
"a garden trimming a hedge" lol. you also have a few passive sentences that irk me. the para with the woman is too telling. just show me all this happening. you also need to tighten it up in a lot of ways, but i suspect you didn't edit this at all (or even finish it)
O'Malley-is uh, a soldier? you tell me a lot about what he does, but i know little about him.
McKinley-demagogue, leader. decides gently caress this war, and sets up an elaborate hoax for dodging actual combat.
These guys are all weakly described. I don't know much about them other than what I can fill in from stereotypes of soldiers. Do your chars a bit more service and describe them a bit more, even if it's only a sentence that makes them unique.
You just have a lot of exposition and info dump through dialogue here. So far, it seems like a guy had to deliver ammo, and then he gets there and things are weird. I feel like i'm playing a video game, walking around talking to all the NPCs while they give me info on what's around me, but i'm not actually free to play the game. I hated those sections.
Your character doesn't do a lot. He just kinda stands around while people talk at him. he doesn't have any motivation or goals other than the ones every single person has (don't die). the story ends and we don't even get to learn WHAT he decided to do. A complete lack of resolution.
Well, you're kinda in a war, i guess? But i'm not sure who the enemy is, what war this is, where this is, or anything other than THERE SURE IS A WAR (kinda)
too many wishywashy words. "seemed to." passive poo poo "a hand was raised." crappy sentences: "His rank clearly designated on his uniform."
info dumping me with boring dialogue. vague repetition rather than saying something useful. a bunch of questions and answers. not fun to read.
mostly good descriptions all around, but amazing descriptions of Ordrid.
Ordrid just wants to save his home, garden, and make old man noises. kids want to get help. men want to force giant to fight for them. seems nobody gets what they want. war sure does suck. this was creative and interesting, but felt a tad bit done before: innocent children coming under the protection of a powerful being.
War observed by somebody that doesn't really care about it, roped into it by children. then i assume the men get slaughtered, which means the children really brought doom to their own people. whoops.
your writing sucks.
Guillermo-a fat bullfighter
great descriptions of the rooster. the boy was a little underserviced, but i liked him watching in the woods.
A man, once great, now broken, must make his last stand against [army]. I don't know who the army is, or why they are here. But what REALLY kills you here, is I have no idea wtf happened at the end. Did the army just decide not to invade because of this dude? or what? Like, I get that the commander was impressed and being nice, but what does that mean? I have absolutely no idea where this story goes after this. I was about to award you the win over SH's excellent story too. Now it relies on the other judges.
There is an invasion? but I have absolutely no idea who is attacking or who he is fighting.
Jerome-nervousy science guy, apparently a traitor?
kind of weak descriptions of the characters here. you get lost in info dumping me on the plot of the story, and forget to make me care for these chars. i start off knowing jerome as "who's that" so it is a little confusing.
Plot: Looks like we're going through some war backwards? so alec and jerome are lovers and jerome is a scientist who makes a bad thing and then he starts working for the enemy and so his team uses the bomb to blow him up in the past? How did alec come to care for Mrs. E so much if he'd never met jerome?
interesting concept, ok execution, plot holes/confusing mess makes me wonder if it's worth it
I hardly get any glimpse of the actual war. I don't know who the OCK is other than some faceless big scary bad guy. i don't know why killing jerome in the past stopped the war from destroying summerton, as that seem to have happened without the intervention of jerome in the original timeline.
exposition dump in 2040 makes me grow a big rubbery one. mostly serviceable, but some of your sentences are too long and confusing and need tightening up.
God Over Djinn
Captain-won't kill a woman... but will torture her and steal from her and poo poo?
other guys-don't like singing?
buried lady-possibly a zombie? spirit? who knows. obviously supernatural.
Not a lot going on in the character department here. there are people doing things, but they don't seem to be real people.
some dudes are sent in to a town, and at first it seems pretty cool. then they meet a dead woman who won't die, and go crazy. then they try to kill her but she doesn't die.
why didn't they just unbury her? they wouldn't kill her, didn't want to hear her sing, but... i dunno. there's no good reason not to just set her free if they won't kill her. also i don't really get why these soldiers are so against killing. they are kind of bad soldiers.
War sure is loving poo poo. I really liked the slide down into hopelessness and just wanting to move on, when the town had seemed like a privilege before.
you didn't do any gimmicks! yay!
Green-is literally “green” as in new.
Heller-felon, knows poo poo about what special forces eat. catch22 reference?
All of your characters kind of seem the same. In fact, I have trouble keeping who they are in my mind. They’re basically all just copies of each other. Any line of dialogue could be said by any other. You should cut the characters down to two: one hesitant, one rowdy/impulsive.
It’s thanksgiving, and some soldiers are eating lovely food. They decide they want the good food that the special forces have. They go get it by killing their own team. Green voices his dissent, but almost immediately decides to go murder another officer. This about face was a little sudden and unbelieveable. at least have him wrestle with it first. You chars spent more time talking about dicks and thinking of “poo poo” than they do with big decisions. Green’s death doesn’t seem like a big deal it happens so fast, and we don’t really know him. Moralez dies quickly too. I don’t really care about Tango and Heller at all. They’re the only ones left at the end to share the turkey.
You start off with some jokes, then move onto more serious stuff. Unfortunately, the jokey nature of your setup detracts from the seriousness of the war. Like, it makes everything seem not real. I don’t really see these guys as future soldiers waging a war, but more of videogame characters in a cutscene. Still, it was pretty war filled and inequality and unfairness among the ranks is a real problem.
cliches like “lost in thought.” I got bored with the battle scene. it just seemed like everybody died really quick, but i found myself thinking “who cares?”
blackhands is the best characterized. The boyfriend and the mayor are less so, although neither of them is cardboard. I understood the least about the mayor’s motivations and role. Why did he come to the door? was he bad or mean or what? it was confusing not knowing what he was there for and his relationship with blackhands.
I love your opening. Seems gritty and disgustingly real. Does a good job painting the life of the desperate. I’m not sure how the boyfriend was stuck in the mud, what with you describing the tides moving in/out. later you say they hold their breath. are they not human? all of this is a little unclear. I’m also not sure what the mayor was trying to get at. Was he arresting blackhands? all of this could use some fleshing out.
Mostly with your opening and description of blackhands’ profession, i really felt like i was reading the story of a man just trying to get on after a long war. The whole “two people from different sides and a mutual interest” angle is tried and true.
A little overwritten in parts: “undulating between Igan’s thighs.” You say “now” 5 times. It distracted me. You use terms like “now,” “just then,” and “already” in a past tense exposition, and it’s a little jarring. passive “as it dislodged.” hyphenate compound adjectives “midnight blue leather” should be midnight-blue leather (a few other instances of this as well). the time seems a little weird too. you start with him surveying the mud, saying he’d do a shitload, and then after describing one you say he’s ready to go back home. Nowhere did you mention time had gone by.
On a second read, there were a lot more holes in this than I saw at first glance. I think that means that it’s an interesting idea with interesting characters that grabbed me, but it needs to be edited better and reworked slightly to give more information.
Caleb-A boy? not really sure. wants to beat the thunder god guy.
rand-older and wiser? I have no idea.
on second read, i’m not sure why i gave you such high marks for character. Probably because caleb wants goals and does stuff, but they’re not very much more than cookie-cutter motivations.
This is an utterly confusing mess. These dudes use sci-fi vehicles to go to their post-apocalyptic community. there they fight monsters that come out of rain clouds and they damage them by singing it’s a small world and having poison blood? you have the start of a neat idea here, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. 
Definitely a war going on, from one perspective at least. I have no idea what the “silent” cows and dogs are or why they’re fighting. I don’t know if the thunder is a real enemy or jus something these towns people have made up to explain their situation.
passive stuff: “There was a.” This story is very unclear about a lot of things. it reads like crappy sci-fi usually does. Too much weird world building, not enough things that make sense. lots of poor word choices and needs to be tightened up in general. at the end of the day though, it leaves too much confusion and doesn’t do a good job of clearly communicating the story.
Joshuas. He has to save the archduke. who is he sent by? when is he from? why did he sign up to take this mission? or was he assigned. who knows.
Ok, so this dude has to stop an assassination to prevent a world war. got it. a pretty worn trope. But you fail to make any of these meaningful. you can’t just have an “idea” and write about that. you gotta include people to care about. to see this problem through their eyes. Joshua is just some dude trying to do a thing for a reason you never share. Then you give time all this agency saying it’s too important a moment and it’s stopping him. Stuff that shouldn’t happen happens for… TIME REASONS. Then he’s like ok i guess i’m done i’ll kill the guy… but he’s been dying for “eternity” how will this change things? Won’t the entire world be totally hosed up now that they have nukes and helicopters and bison? It doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it isn’t really fun to think about in a “what if” sense, because it’s all just kind of thrown at us in a few sentences.
well, this is hardly about a war. it’s more like the prelude to a war. but it was war themed, at references a real life war, so i gave you most of the points.
You have tense errors. Passive voice. “Time grinded backwards” is awkward as hell. “Time, with its terrible stubbornness” barf. the first chunk of this story is just this dude failing over and over again. It’s not really interesting to read. It’s just a rehash of “every time you change something, something else is changed and the universe corrects itself.” then it’s “weird crazy scifi stuff” that’s not fun to read. this just doesn’t work for me at all.
kevin-kind of? i dunno, plain. you added characterization, but nothing i felt made him really work for me. he seemed like your usual sensitive “i don’t want to kill” guy. nothing made him feel real to me.
heath ledger-married guy who comes out into the woods for gaysex. don’t really know much about him other than that.
i rated these much higher on the first read, but now coming back they feel dead to me.
Plot: Brokeback deerhunt. I like that movie, but I didn’t like reading it again with slightly changed circumstances, and then the whole “i trap this time [for no reason],” and then the totally forseeable ending. also the ending was pretty passive. sure he set the bear trap, but “running away from lover” isn’t really the type of final action to get out of going to war that seems very meaningful. i think it all goes back to this character not really being very good. what else could he do other than just kind of whimper and rely on his own stupidity to save him? this was your lowest rating.
getting a draft notice is a reason to be wary, but i felt a large part of it wasn’t about the war at all (basically the beginning)
“ He taught me to learn.” how can you learn to learn without knowing how to learn in the first place? this makes no sense. It feels like a pithy thing you thought sounded neat but in the end doesn’t actually MEAN anything. typo: “never picked and by the man I loved.” you have a lot of stuff that could be cut: “I could feel”, “for a moment”, “Only,”
on second read, i’d probably give you a lower rating on your prose.
main char-guy is kinda a dick. he jumps right to selling mr. injuries an expensive laptop. then i guess he has a change of heart and just goes to a different model? never really explains his rationale or even really his mindset. it also happens so suddenly. at the very end, he’s still just thinking of his ps2, and not really about anything else, so it’s like he had one moment of charity (i’m guessing?) and then went right back to his old self. also there is no guarantee that the fingerless guy would have bought the expensive laptop. he could have just left. meaning that really did this guy do any good? I don’t know, he’s just kind of boring as a char and lovely as a person.
deformed guy-is just kind of a wet blanket. “i have to see my family.” hurrr. no mention of what’s really going on, and you didn’t do a good job of filling it in between the lines. maybe he was just in a bad motorcycle accident and a lovely father who got left and isn’t allowed visitation?
There isn’t really one? Like, there are the pieces of a plot (motivation: get money for ps2. obstacle… morals? lovely sales techniques? i dunno. resolution: he can maybe still get one.) but the way things happen just feel pointless. at the end the main char isn’t really any closer than when he started. he doesn’t seemed to have learned anything or made any changes. he just says “oh, what about this other one?” the depressed guy just still seems depressed, and they didn’t make any meaningful connection. honestly this story just fails on a lot of fronts. i think you rushed it, based on all the typos.
some guy was probably in a war? This is just speculation on the main char’s part tho.
“I helped to sell, and the extra money help to get me a Playstation 2” is awkward. “. then” dude. capping a letter at the beginning of your sentence is like bottom tier poo poo. i know you know that, but to miss this means you didn’t proofread this at ALL. “He said, “I’m looking for a laptop.”” omg snoozefest2014. Your whole opening is about how this guy is looking at a laptop. then he says “i’m looking for a laptop.” what a missed opportunity for characterization. “Panic crept into me, as I wondered how to proceed.” so telley. also, boring. I think you’re going for the missing eye is throwing him off his sales game, but it just comes off as wooden. Then you launch into speculation which feels like an exposition dump. “noted the missing pink.” “full Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer.” ugh. A: this is boring. B. these aren’t good selling points since IE is like a virus more than a browser. C. what is your goal here? I’m getting nothing out of this. It’s just a boring char giving a boring sales pitch. There’s nothing at stake here. You’re not really building much tension or anything. There are a few mentions of this guy being deformed, but you’ve already established that. Move on. “Perhaps he saw something it in that reminded him of his own cyclopean visage.” lol this is so bad. “I pulled the webcam and slide it on top” tense shift.
Corporal Riggs - Smiley, laid back? He rakes a garden. Don’t know why you focused on this guy more than your main char.
Vince and Jenny - Cardboard friends.
Yates - first few paragraphs I know nothing about this guy. He’s a little wooden. even his “that’s not ideal” sounds phoned in.
“The mess was being turned over” is a little telly for my tastes, but thankfully it’s over fast.
Key sliding is a little weird.
should hyphenate “freshly-cut”
“His yellow, expertly-groomed fur was golden in the sunlight and his chain collar twinkled like a silver star.” purple
Your whole middle section is telling. You’ve got a guy telling me he can’t sleep. telling me he misses his dog. telling me telling me telling me. show dis poo poo.
“I opened the door, but the room wasn’t empty.” these things don’t go together well. One usually doesn’t open a door expecting a room to be empty. We aren’t really a species that goes into empty rooms. usually the only reason to go into a different room is because it has different things.
“a vast number” is so unspecific that it does nothing.
I remembered half-way through this crit that you abandoned the dome and haven’t been back since, so I’m just going to stop now. If you want me to finish this, let me know, but I don’t want to bother doing it for somebody that’ll never see it.
Overall I liked the theme of this story, but it’s just too telly. Your main char is a boring lump of butt. Also you were unfortunate in that your story reminded me of Catch-22, which is much better than this is.
In the end, this is an interesting character study, but overall I felt like I never really knew much about these guys personally, which is why it’s not an HM. I got to see how the reacted to this, but what was it all for? What was this war for? why were these guys signed up? What did Harrow hope to do after the war? what did he do before? Any of these questions being answered would have bumped this up to a 25, but all I really know about these guys is exactly what happened. Still, you did a good job exploring a complex theme.
I read an article once about how a ship could never actually cloak, you should read it. kinda ruined that aspect of sci fi for me.
Didn’t really know what the war was for or why they were at war. Just that there were badguys and dammit, they were losing.
That said, you had a very complex story and I really enjoyed it. I was happy that it ended the way it did.
I am unclear as to how Volta and Harrow were speaking to each other. Implants? Speakers? She says don’t talk, but then he does. Didn’t know if it was out loud. you should have made it clear going in.
You got a “speaker for the dead” relationship going on here with the main char and the AI. I like it. I like that she’s not waxing on about how hard it is to be so smart and vast. she’s just surveying and playing.
Take a moment to actually think about WHY i'm saying this stuff to you. And it's not because I hate you or anything. I think you have potential, but you've found a niche that gets you praise, and you've gotten stuck in it.
All of your characters are collections of stereotypes.
You think you got this for not writing about actual war, but you didn't. This plot is bad and makes no sense. This whole thing seems more like you trying to ham it up for the audience than actually write something coherent. Every "twist" is weird and out of place, and reminds me of children coming up with stories on the fly. "And then he jumped out the window!"
you were literally the only person to not encompass an actual war somewhere. I thought my prompt was pretty unambiguous that I wanted a story about WAR, not a metaphor for war. Everybody else got this. You Cache Cabbed the hell out of this prompt. Still, you can argue til you’re blue in the face, even if I didn’t care (which i don’t that much, it was more of just a “wtf, how did he miss that?”), everything else was bad enough to easily clench the loss. You were the lowest for both me and systran.
Some of your lines are decent though. Mostly the ones describing something or a character’s reaction.
You used 1/3rd of the word count, which tells me it was a rush job and not really thought through.
I don’t think your casual racism is funny. “Jewish lawyer” is not funny by itself. Just throwing “offensive” words around doesn’t make something edgy or funny. There’s got to be a reason. It’s got to make sense. There needs to be context. Without that stuff, all it is is a stereotype for no reason other than “shock,” and it doesn’t shock me, which means you have nothing. Ugh, and then you have “black lawyer” right after this. This honestly reads like a joke you’d hear at a country club.
This is easily the worst thing I’ve ever seen you write in the dome. It reeks of “I’m not even trying” and “haha, look how funny I am!” I honestly don’t know what you expected, because even overlooking the problems storywise, it just isn’t funny. NEW things are funny, not rehashing things funnier people came up with. I’ve seen you be funny, but it’s when you branch out away from “black people stereotypes” and actually give a poo poo about a character. That doesn’t mean it has to be serious but if you can’t even pretend to care, how can I be expected to?
LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE
You did a great job of characterizing Bailey.
What I’m dinging you here for is that your plot ends up being rather passive. She sees a greenish brown thing so she swerves and falls down? then she finds a letter floating in the water, and it’s to her? All of this seems rather contrived, and not very significant. She could have got to the station, delivered the mail, and then opened the letter and the story is the same. Falling down didn’t make her brother die. She didn’t find out BECAUSE she fell. Unless somebody was trying to hide the letter from her, which I didn’t catch in your story. Also, if you’re going to have that the way she finds out, foreshadow her swerving off the road by showing me that she’s the type of person who would swerve to miss a brownish green spot. is that a turtle? because it’s “turtle pond?” that seems contrived.
Dunno what I dinged you so hard for this for originally. You definitely had a war element in this and it was important. Uh, sorry? In retrospect i’d probably give this a 20, because basically if you had something about a war I gave you high marks. The only reason i’d ding you is I have no idea what they’re fighting for. Anyway, consider this 10 a typo and you probably got 75 total from me, which is more in line with what the other judges gave you.
I dig your opening, besides corn in the breeze, which is a little cliche. It’s a TINY bit over written, but not by much.
“Uneven steps were made” passive. as is “Her helmet was pulled off “
“Ice cold tap dribbled out.” why is ice capitalized and why did you end a sentence in a preposition?
“sound of thunder” can’t read that without thinking of the bradbury short story. not your fault tho.
This is a good story, and with a bit more work could have been an HM. your biggest problem is the contrived way in which she finds out her brother is dead. But you did a drat good job characterizing your dudes. I liked Bailey as a person and wanted to see her do well. The news about her brothers death hurt, if it wasn’t just a bit expected. Still, it was a pleasant surprise seeing as how I thought you were going to be a joke poster.
You do an Ok job giving the motivations for these chars, but their reasons are a little cliche. Or at least, they feel phoned in. “my dead brother” just seems boring, because she just kinda looks at pictures/memorials and you tell us this is why she’s doing it. never really feel like I connect with her as a person.
Juan is just kinda doing this because of the obvious “don’t want to genocide people,” but lacks any real character motivation. He’s making a sacrifice (we assume, since he only THINKS he’ll be killed for it). coulda explored this more about his thoughts about leaving his family, what they’ll do to them after he’s gone, etc. he kinda seems to be like “oh yay, she’s going to stanford, i’m happy!” but doesn’t stop to think “oh, maybe she won’t go to stanford after i do this.”
“In a world where nothing grew, where nearly every scrap of land in the last desolate places had been devoted to high rises for over thirty-billion people” This is all rehashed stuff from every other dystopian future. What makes this world unique to your story?
I probably should have dinged you a little harder on this, as the war feels so far away and irrelevant that it could have been almost any excuse for killing off all the non-english speakers.
“That blond woman from the morning news” is a little too casual for my tastes.
“It sounded inside his skull” is awkward. “relayed to every person in the building” is missing a period after it.
You shove too many details into this story. the stuff about how tall the buildings are and a lot of other sci-fi staples that make this feel a bit world-buildy at times, and all the negative things that that brings with it.
In the end this got ok marks overall, but I don’t think this particular story warrants much attention from you in the future. If you want to tell this story and make it good, you’d have to rework so much of it that it would not resemble this in the slightest. In the end, I don’t think “guy stops somebody from genociding everybody at great sacrifice to self” is a very compelling/original idea, and the language aspect doesn’t really seem like a viable plot.
Old guy speaking to… some students? because… they graduated? Some more clues as to who this guy is and why he’s speaking to these people would have helped. right now it’s just a nameless old guy giving advice or a speech or something to some people. That doesn’t tell me a super lot.
Your actual plot of killing people, getting cocky, getting shot, and being rescued is hidden within a lot of other stuff about education and what not. I don’t think it really adds anything to the story, as you could have told almost the exact same story in simpler manner and still had the same overall effect, but more detail about the actual story.
War sure does suck, stay in school, kids.
A little casual, but it’s hard to judge the prose of something like this since essentially a transcription of a speech. People don’t speak perfectly, and this kind of reflects this. Still, nothing about it was super great, but nothing about it was super horrible either. It’s an easy read, and says what it meant to.
A higher mark, but another lackluster story. a C- grade isn’t really that much to be proud of.
Lance is boring. The narrator is interesting. That said, I don’t really get to know anything either of these guys, and why this is happening. It exists in a vacuum.
“replay the same day over and over until you get it right” is well-worn ground. so nothing special there. You didn’t do anything new with it either. I felt like even the “guy keeps trying because he know he can just try again” thing is part of the montage that usually accompanies these types of stories. Then you end with a version of “and then he woke up” without explaining what it all meant. You lose pretty much all goodwill your story has earned by doing that.
There’s a lot of war stuff, but then at the end… is there an actual war, or was this just a test/game?
hyphenate “seemingly-inoffensive bush”
You’re using a pretty casual language here. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I like it best when it seems like you’re berating lance personally, such as “Going up against a tank on foot might not have been the best of ideas, Lance.” but not when it’s just “oh how not good.” Your tenses are really confusing at times. Sometimes you’re in present, sometimes in past. You should stick to present. think of a football anouncer: “he’s at the 20, the ten...touchdown!”
A well-worn trope poorly done.
Joseph is… a bit of nothing. Don’t really know anything about him other than what Carly’s letters say. Why did he want that farm/house so bad? What else about him might make this story better?
Carly was characterized better. I liked her up until she started cussing a lot. For some reason it took me out of the story. I view cussing as more of a dialogue thing, and not so much something puts in their last thoughts and notes to loved ones they’ll never see again. It felt out of character for her. The good news is that means you successfully established character.
A guy comes home and reads some letters. I don’t really enjoy the letters from the past method of storytelling very much. The fact that this was enjoyable was pretty much in spite of that, not because of it. One thing I really hated about this is where the heck was the dude? why did it take him so long to get home? You’re like “oh i’ll be home in a year or whatever” and that’s that. did he go through some poo poo? was he off banging hotties? what the heck caused him to be so late that his wife died?
War kills girls.
“No sound came from the house.” What else didn’t come from the house? Stick to telling me how things are, not how they aren’t.
“There was another envelope with Joseph on it.” lol. sounds like he’s just sitting on it.
This is your only story in your last 4 submissions to not get a DM. Not only that, but you told a really heart-wrenching story. It’s really sad to imagine a woman sitting home alone, dying of something strange, apparently so alone that nobody even noticed she had died. It made me want to hug my wife. But this story is far from perfect. The letter thing is a chore, and the guy is a nobody. You should consider exploring the character of Carly from strictly her point of view, and taking joseph out of it entirely. Make him a character in carly’s mind, and we learn about him through her feelings and thoughts about wanting to see him again. Still, make more stories like this, and less like your DMs.
You haven’t been around in a while, so let me know if you’d like a more in-depth crit of this piece.
This is an OK story. A bit of tension, a bit of disgusting imagery, but there is a real lack of motivation and reasoning behind this. You rely on defaults: machines wanna be free, humans want dominance. When you do that it weakens your own story because you’re not saying anything new. We know how this one plays out more or less. There are really only two endings: humans win, or humans lose. Make the cyborg’s message a little more cryptic, and maybe his circumstances a little more vague, and it’ll be much better. Probably not possible given the setup, so it’s probably just best to move on from this one. The title is kinda dumb too.
They’re all pretty good, but a little flat for me at times. Still better than most.
Holy loving balls this bored me to tears. I’m not even reading it a second time because I don’t want to. I’m just remembering back to when i read it 13 weeks ago. I thought it read like something my wife would watch. I really hate this time period and pretty much anything associated with it, sorry. Some girls worrying about marriage is maybe the thing I care about least in this world. Even if there was a metaphor or a message or symbolism buried in there I wouldn’t have seen it because I was trying not to fall asleep.
Your prose is loving excellent, as always. The only thing that got me through this was the quality of your writing. I don’t really think you need advice from me so i’ll just move on.
Please never make me read this again. Your story is like a beautiful classic car that has no engine in it, but instead has snakes.
You did a fairly good job at making these guys feel real. The easiest part to read was your dialogue between the two of them. That’s the only time that you weren’t trying to purple up your prose to impress somebody. Do more character work, and less exposition.
A guy wants to desert. His boyfriend is like no. So he doesn’t. Then he dies.
brokeback mountain heartbreak ridge
“I floated on the mattress like some misguided demon in heaven” what. i don’t know what you’re going for here. there aren’t demons in heaven. what is a misguided demon? bring your similies down to earth (ha ha).
“It was also unmercifully quiet.” what was? the bed?
“It tasted like the rear end-end of a mule” So a mule’s rear end? Like this seems too specific. has this guy tasted mule rectum before?
Your story is overwritten to hell.
This ends up being a kind of “so?” story. This guy decides not to run, but what? he dies? so? This story would be better told through his boyfriends eyes. Convincing him not to run, and then watching him die and blaming himself. drat, that’d be heavy. Right now, we just have to assume how everything ends up.
crabrock fucked around with this message at Oct 12, 2014 around 03:40
|# ? Oct 12, 2014 03:33|
Week CXIII crits for systran, crabrock, Djeser, Kaishai, Paladinus, Obliterati, Anathema Device, Entenzahn, Tyrannosaurus, Meeple, Anomalous Blowout, Barracuda Bang!, Noah
systran - To Axe a Boon
Virtue/vice: finding solace in one's weakness
I don't know how to feel about this story, but it certainly isn't admiration. All the battle and magic stuff in the first two scenes are fluff; the real story starts when people start to challenge Kotar for the throne. There is a character arc, but everything else is unsatisfying. This is only barely fantasy because of witchdoctors and remote ball-kicking.
Kotar is supposed to be the main character, but he's a caricature, the warrior-king too dumb to actually run a country. I found it hard to sympathize with him, and the tongue-in-cheek tone of your story didn't help. I felt like the story was telling me to laugh at its own silliness, but what actually happened on the page wasn't very funny, so it just didn't work. His candid moment with Jerves should have made the story, but you spent all those words as an elaborate setup to a joke, which you ruined by putting a goddamn apostrophe in the wrong place.
Also the ending was a cruel punchline, but I rolled my eyes instead of going "aww man" at it.
crabrock - Novalust
Virtue/vice: The Backstreet Boys' "This Is the End 2013"
Guys, listen up. This is science fiction. It's got genuine human drama in the face of technological advancement. The idea that a human being could still feel lonely and depressed despite living the dream is beautifully portrayed. It's bleak and amazing.
I really like the conversation that Ayame and Haru have. Much is said with so few words, and the occasional gesture enriches it.
My favorite line: But they were Japanese robots; they only ever apologized. The entire paragraph's got a rebellious streak, but it's ultimately devoid of hope.
This was outstanding. Well done.
Djeser - Gild
The way that Noah was inspired by his crew's heroism and became a hero himself was really poignant. How Noah risked everything to protect the defenseless crew and their mission at all costs was well-portrayed and genuine. His vulnerability didn't make him weak; it made him strong. You forgo the standard tricks that sci-fi writers do to make an AI inhuman and do the opposite. And it works.
I like how you foreshadowed the weapon Noah used to blast the pirates. Such a weapon would be "mostly useless" in times of peace. Good job on that.
Kaishai - Siren
Solid story, but I wasn't terribly interested in the main character. She could resist the siren's call because she could--you don't actually show why. Is she just stone cold? Are sirens not her thing? Does she prefer Norwegian doom metal? We don't know, her mind is her own. I guess it's like stubbornness--it could be a virtue or a vice depending on why the person is stubborn, but making a person just stubborn doesn't tell the reader anything.
The more I think of it, she's a jerk--she'll never answer the siren's call, but she would still leave stuff for him every now and then. The siren's also a jerk, but that's how sirens roll. So maybe they deserve each other?
I like the part where they eat dinner in her house. That was pretty tense, even if the dialogue is a bit stilted (well, he's a siren, and she's a woman of few words, but still).
It's a good story, but the omission of stuff didn't really add things for me and I would've wanted to know more about Anna.
Paladinus - Grave Insult
You could've done better. This was cliched as gently caress and I don't know where to start. The exposition through dialogue was really clumsy--we don't know anything about these characters until they speak about their backstories, and it takes the sting out of their conversation.
Consider this: Fjornach is a mage. Turns out he's not a good mage. Oh, his life sucks and his family left him. And Gelmar ran his own life to the ground to care for his brother. So Fjornach hates himself. All of this was from dialogue.
I guess you didn't have words to properly sketch those details out, but this didn't work either.
Ending's eye-rollingly contrived.
Obliterati - Why Do We Fall?
This story has some holes, but I'm willing to overlook them because overall it was pretty good. Actually, let's talk about them.
Our guy is performing atmospheric entry in a space suit. Actually, I'm not sure if it's a space suit, or a pod, because drat if you're going to try that in a space suit, but I guess this is the future and it's possible? I'm bringing this up because the story's hard sci-fi enough.
You imply that the main character's grandfather established his own civilization in the planet, and then the story just ends. I guess that's the point, but I really would've wanted to read more, and I'm a little mad about it.
Otherwise, this was the better "man goes to a planet, and it doesn't go well" story out of the pack. The way you gradually revealed the truth about the planet was pretty good.
Anathema Device - In the Ruins of New York City
Oh no, a zombie apocalypse story! You don't do anything fresh with your genre (which isn't sci-fi or fantasy, ugh). How could he really not tell that the couple wasn't zombies? I don't really know why I should root for any of these characters. They just do things a story with zombies would make them do. I know nothing of the main character except that he has a gun and that he's okay with carrying a baby around that isn't even his. There's little human element (heh) in this story to make me care.
Entenzahn - The King's Shame
Um, I'm partly to blame for this vice, but this was unsubtle as gently caress. No one is likable, least of all the king, who gets the most attention. The princess is barely even a character--she only gets one line and she's even cut off! You could replace her with an ugly lamp and the story wouldn't be any different. This is only fantasy because of the transforming scene, which was disgusting as gently caress. Ugh.
You could've done better than such a lazy take on the prompt.
Tyrannosaurus - cut his throat spill his blood
Virtue/vice: greed that consumes all
I don't know what to feel about this story. It's essentially "guy does a dumb thing and gets what's coming to him" story, but there is enough gravitas in it. Not enough to make the premise work, but it could've been much worse. I guess there's some stuff about putting one's faith on cutting-edge technology too much and the sunk cost fallacy, but Dad Robert Forte is just... dumb.
Meeple - For Love
Virtue/vice: Love of nature
This was well-written and science-y as hell. However, you paint Vassily as this mysterious person who has an almost-magical ability with machines, and he's easily my least favorite part of this story. I'm thinking, why didn't anyone try to blow up the Earth before? What makes Vassily special? It's a mystery.
Anomalous Blowout - Keraunopathy
Virtue/vice: the need to always know more
I'm with Muffin, I liked this story but the ending ruins it. It's cruel--I cared about Barry and I felt that he deserved a good payoff, but someone had to go "haha, I'm too good for that sappy poo poo, it's amnesia time!" And you wrote him really well--his sense of loss was profound.
Also, I had this mental image of Barry eating a sad, bland, Danish person.
Barracuda Bang! - Puño Verde
Virtue/vice: a green thumb
I was thoroughly confused with this story because it's full of dialogue at the expense of, I dunno, everything else. And the dialogue isn't even good--sometimes I mix Roben and Kile up.
So... they come up to an abandoned spaceship to steal fruits? Wouldn't they have spoiled if the craft is already dusty as hell? The heist happens with barely a hitch. I don't get the point.
What the gently caress is Puño Verde supposed to mean, even? That was really a bad way to end the story.
Noah - In Passing
Virtue/vice: "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing."
Not fantasy. Not really sold on this one. Everyone is kind of an rear end in a top hat. I was going to root for Caitlin until she murdered Sam, which was a surprise for me. Oookay? I'm more annoyed than horrified. I guess family dramas aren't my thing.
|# ? Oct 12, 2014 03:39|
I'm in with a
Word Count: 474
The Art of Jailhouse Seduction
She slapped him so hard he could taste blood. That made two penpals and two red handprints across the cheek for Jon Dungy. The security guard dragged her out of the meeting room, and just by the look on the guard’s face, Jon knew she wouldn’t be charged with anything, just like the last one.
Jon spent the walk back to his cell deep in thought. Maybe I should say lovemaking instead of loving. Women love romance.
His plan was flawless. Troll for women he wanted to bang by a simple request for penpals on the Internet, gain their trust enough that they’d come to the jail for a meet and greet, and then convince the jailhouse authorities that the woman was his sister so she’d qualify for private family visitation. Simple. Other dudes in the pen took care of their needs by bagging female guards, but that involved too much effort and emotional sophistication for Jon’s taste.
Most of the letters fell into one of two categories: women who wanted to drain his bank accounts, or women who were painfully lonely and searching for any shred of emotional connection. Jon put all those letters straight into the garbage can. He’d been explicit about wanting a woman who didn’t play games. Of the remainder, none of the women were open about wanting to gently caress him, but he could just tell. Jon considered himself an expert at womanly subtlety and subcommunication. For example, “I just got divorced” meant she wanted to gently caress him. So did “I like to go out on weekends.” Skills like that were how he’d sniffed out the infidelity in his last relationship and popped that motherfucker she was sleeping with.
I just need to work on my approach, Jon thought as he sat in his cell and opened a letter that came the day before. Jon was less than halfway through the letter when he felt the giddiness rising up in his chest. I should definitely say loving to this one.
Paragraph after paragraph of lurid sexual detail. A lipstick kiss before her signature at the end. Jon had found his unicorn. The included photo was obviously a pornstar pic culled from the Internet, but it didn’t matter to Jon. No matter what she looks like, she’ll be warm.
He rubbed one out to the pornstar photo in the shower that night, and then contemplated his strategy while the water beat down on him. “So you like my picture, huh?” a voice called out.
Hoss Goldsmith emerged from the mist near where Jon was standing, and it was then that Jon realized the grave error he’d made. Hoss towered over him, and Jon felt wet fingers clench around his throat. Hoss cracked an excited, malevolent smile.
Soon Jon had another red handprint across a different cheek.
|# ? Oct 12, 2014 15:55|
Guy I jacked with - m4m
King of the Weights
Word Count: 572
Tyrone was a handsome fellow
His hair shimmered like stars in the pitch of night
Afro-sheen was his concoction of choice
It made white dudes wish they weren’t white
Ne’er a day went by when he didn’t hit the gym
His diet was nothing but protein and whey
But it worked for him. His muscles were huge
He was balanced ‘cause he never skipped leg day
“gently caress, I’m so goddamn good looking!”
He said, jumping jacks in front of a mirror
He wasn’t holding back either
Tyrone was trying to impress a brother
But he wasn’t having any of it
Tyrone wasn’t sure why
His massive pecs swung in tandem counter-motions
The mating ritual of era’s gone by
And it usually worked
He probably needed more Afro-sheen
That was his lucky love potion
It must be broken. He should intervene
He walked towards the locker rooms
To apply more ‘sheen to his hair
But there was this one dude jacking the poo poo out of some free weights
Well what do we have there
Tyrone nodded when he saw some sack
Peeking out when he looked up the dude’s shorts
Why isn’t he wearing a jock strap
He might hurt himself without that support
“Hey!” said Tyrone, grabbing the dude’s
Weight bar and pulling it back to rest against the bench
“You got your poo poo all drooping out the bottom of your shorts, man”
Did he blush? Probably the power of Afro-sheen’s stench
“You got some nice muscles bro,” said Tyrone. “No homo.”
Blond curls flowed around the head like a merman in the ocean
Eyes impossibly blue with abs that can grate cheese
“Name’s Jackie. Let’s lift together... slowly,” he said in slow motion
They made music. The visceral sounds of two grown men grunting
As they jacked the weights up and down
“GIVE ME ONE MORE!” shouted Tyrone, muscles rippling
Jackie gave it to him, his face scrunched in a frown
All the other dudes gazed with envy in their eyes
They were pumping super hard and getting mad swole
Their muscles bulged like flesh balloons
Tyrone paused and wondered what was Jackie’s end goal
Angry, he shoved the weights and they fell on Jackie
“How dare you entrap me with your wondrous
Pectorals and your testicles!”
It was then that Jackie’s hair attacked. His locks were so lustrous
Tyrone karate chopped the attacks with a snap of his pecs
Violent contact thundered through the facility
Shaking the building and driving all the members to their knees
Jackie’s chest opened up in a show of lights that brought a sense of morbidity
Jackie lifted himself out of the robotic torso with his hair
His head was slightly larger than his miniature body
“For too long, you and your muscles have ruled this gym,”
He said, “Making the rest of us feel bad when we take up this hobby.”
Tyrone crossed his pecs like arms over his wide chest
“Are you the Weak People’s Champ?” Tyrone scoffed
“Are you going to kill me so-” Jackie’s image smeared across his vision
Hair wrapped around his neck. Tyrone was cross.
His pecs arced over his shoulders
And pummeled Jackie until his grip was released
Tyrone’s triceps exploded backward, smashing Jackie to the mirror
The razor knives rained down and Jackie looked deceased
Tyrone’s pecs slowly raised sunglasses to his eyes. “Looks like he was unfit,”
He said, flexing his arms. “To deal with it.”
|# ? Oct 12, 2014 20:01|
Beep boop removed owned lol
Entenzahn fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2014 around 02:23
|# ? Oct 12, 2014 21:54|
Craig’s heart skips a beat when, in the white noise of the community dumpster, he finds an envelope with Her name on it. He can’t say or write or even think Her name--not yet, not until he’s earned it--so he tastes it with his eyes.
He looks at the return mailing address and shakes his head.
Ignoring your debts doesn’t make them go away, lovely, he thinks. He opens the letter.
She owes thirteen-hundred dollars to a former landlord for cleaning fees, and it’s in collections. And yet, deep in the dumpster, Craig discovers receipts from nice restaurants and liquor stores and pizza boxes and name brand tampons.
Craig knows a thing or two about debt. Debts are a vague thing in most people’s minds. They’re the broken stair that you can still use if you step on it just right. Until the day it caves in.
Craig knows a thing or two about Her, too. She’s been living in his building for four months. Her unit is two floors below his, but every once in a while, they catch the elevator at the same time, and he can smell Her Aussie brand shampoo. She has a budget cell phone plan, and orders too much delivery food. She often goes a week or more without checking Her mail, much to Craig’s delight.
He’s certain she knows nothing about him.
He takes Her receipts and Her debt back to his apartment and tapes them into a scrapbook, which barely closes properly because it’s so full of Her, like a hair brush is thick with dead scalp cells.
Craig’s done the math. He spins in his desk chair, looks at the shelves full of figurines and memorabilia. A shirtless Captain Kirk standee grins at him. What’re you, some kind of coward? young Will Shatner seems to say.
Tomorrow, Craig decides. It’ll be tomorrow.
Craig gets into work at the call center early.
He triple checks his bank account to make sure the money is still there. It is: fourteen-hundred and eighty-two dollars, the value of his carefully curated trove of Star Trek history. The pawn shop guy had asked Craig Are you sure? at least a dozen times before he’d handed over the money.
He pulls up Her account, notes lovingly that there’ve been no remittances posted to it.
Craig takes a deep breath, puts his bank info into the payment field, clicks Process Transaction. The first of his coworkers are arriving. His heart is thumping.
Craig leans back in his chair and sighs. His coworkers pass by without saying hello. He puts on his headset, pulls up Her collection account, takes a moment to run his eyes over Her name like hands brushing over breasts and thighs, and presses call.
“Katie Dodd speaking.”
“Hello...Miss. This is Craig with J&R Collections. The reason for my call today is because you--”
“Jesus Christ, I already told one of you people that I’ll pay next week, after I get paid. You can bully me all you want, it won’t make me have the money any faster.”
“You understand the next step is a lien on your--Just a moment, I’m showing this collection account is paid in full. Were you aware of any payments made on your behalf?”
Silence on the other end of the line. Then, “no.”
“Well, looks like you got lucky. Looks like someone cares a whole lot about you. But you oughta stay on top of things. No more fancy dinners, alright?”
“Don’t lecture me,” She says, but she sounds meek and bewildered. Tamed.
“No lecture, I just see a lot of nice young girls get themselves into money trouble. It doesn’t end so well for all of them. Have a wonderful day, Katie.”
Craig ends the call and stares at the wall of his cubicle.
“Katie,” he whispers out loud. He can say Her name, now that he owns a little piece of Her. Like a shareholder, or a sponsor. These flirtatious giggles over this expensive bottle of wine brought to you by Craig.
Craig looks at the clock. Still a whole work day to get through. But then, Katie is never home until after five anyway. He’ll be there, waiting by the elevator. She’ll walk right by him like he’s not there, and he’ll follow Her, but this time he won’t just watch Her get off on Her floor.
Craig knows a thing or two about debts. The workday passes quickly.
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 03:43|
Secure Facilities 750 words
Jeremy Plathers leaned back in his comfortable, padded chair. The coffee Zach brought was especially good today. He noticed that the cameras in the emergency stairwell were still down from yesterday. He stood up with a tiny, frustrated sigh. He reached the emergency doors and for his keys. Looking down, he realized they weren’t there. He let his head tilt down in this small defeat.
“Having one of those days, huh Jer?” Zachary Gray, the senior security guard at Detesolc Corporate Headquarters, said with a smile. He held a box of doughnuts.
Jeremy turned with surprise. “Yeah. The cameras are still down in the stairwell, we should check it out.”
“If anybody opens those doors without our keys, alarms will light up our panels,” said Zach, “Speaking of keys, here’s yours.” Jeremy turned red. Zach slapped his back playfully, “C’mon, I got us snacks from the company store. Let’s get back to our station and enjoy the morning.”
Hours later, Jeremy contemplated whether his wife could claim his life insurance if he actually died of boredom. The coffee had given him enough energy to be aware of exactly how little was happening. Several blank monitors seemed to taunt him.
Keys in hand, Jeremy approached the door to the emergency stairwell on the other end of the room, just outside of the view of the security desk. He began the process all new security guards went through which is struggling to figure out which of the dozens of keys fit into this particular lock.
Over the radio, Zach said, “Jer, where are you?” Panicking, Jeremy rushed back. Seeing Zach, he said, “Sorry, I was just checking on those broken cameras.”
“We have to have at least one man at the station at all times.”
“I’m really sorry sir.” Jeremy felt his eyes water.
“Hey, it’s okay Jer,” Zach had that endearing smile back, “I can keep a secret.”
“Thanks Zach.” Relief washed over him as he sat back down in his nice, comfortable, padded chair. He stretched and let out a yawn as a man said, “Hello gentlemen.”
"Hello there Mr. Proctorbilt, lovely evening isn’t it,” Zach said.
Recognizing the name, Jeremy stood up and awkwardly repeated, “Y-yes, lovely evening isn’t it, Mr. Proctorbilt, sir.”
“I assume everything’s fine down here, Mr. Gray?”
“Yes, quiet all day,” said Zach.
“Very good,” Reginald Proctorbilt replied. There was an uneasy moment of silence.
He then extended his hand to Zach. Zach met it with a handshake. The glare from Proctobilt’s ring made Jeremy squint. Mr. Proctorbilt turned to him, “Welcome to the team.”
His eyes scrunched together, Jeremy said “You too, Mr. Proctorbilt!”
Moments later, Jeremy expressed his disappointment. In hushed yells, “I looked like an idiot! Oh, god, he’s going to think I’m slow. He didn’t even offer to shake my hand.”
Finally it was six o’clock. Jeremy smiled and gathered his lunch pail and stained coffee mug. He wondered, for a moment, where Zach was. But, then, Mr. Proctorbilt walked past his station.
Dropping his items, he said, “Mr. Proctorbilt, sir, good evening!”
“Uh, yes. Very good. I’m just, uh, stopping by the concessions area. I’m a little thirsty. I was under the impression you – that is to say, this station – retired at six.”
“Yes, sir, getting ready to go now.”
“Yes, good.” He walked towards the company store, looking back to Jeremy before going behind the divider which separated them.
Believing that to have gone at least slightly better, Jeremy recollected his items. On the monitor he saw Zach on a hallway camera entering the emergency exit stairwell. Jeremy thought, I can’t believe nobody fixed those cameras. He yawned. I guess I could use one more cup of coffee, he thought, and another chance to impress Proctorbilt.
As he turned the corner, he saw the store was locked, lights were off, and no cashier was present. Confused, Jeremy returned to his relaxing, nice, comfortable, padded chair. I guess he had his own set of keys to the building, he thought. He blinked his eyes, barely trying to hold back the sleep. Must’ve not even noticed him walk back by, he thought. The idea slipped away as did Jeremy’s neck. As his head sunk, his eyes, fluttering, glanced at the silent and black feed on several monitors.
Jeremy Plathers’ eyes opened wide. His whole body became alert as he stood up. Walking towards the emergency doors to the stairwells, Jeremy squinted from the smallest glint of sunlight coming off a key.
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 04:12|
Ice and Desire
Missed connection: God Spell
He sawed at ancient glacial ice, cutting blocks from the plain on which he now lived. The scarf around his face kept the snow from blinding him: little light struggled through the slits in the cloth. His hands were his eyes. He spread his fat-gloved fingers across each block to measure it. He caressed the walls of his incomplete shrine before he set a new brick, reckoning anew in his head how many more there would have to be.
All the while, he thought of fire.
One night as hot as noon. One kiss, then another. Her elemental touch had left his skin taut and red until she'd learned to be gentle. He'd once since lain his cheek against the glacier to know that burn again. The scars weren't the same; ice had stolen feeling while fire had given him too much, so that he tasted only char and smelled only ash and heard nothing but her silence.
His shrine surrounded a frozen figure, clumsy and crude--he was no artist--but nonetheless a hollow woman. A flame would burn in its empty center for a while without melting through. Long enough to talk and to listen.
Under a new moon, he lay sheets of ice as thin as he could cut across the top of the finished walls: a roof. The cold shell enclosed him.
His smile split his chapped lips as he called her true name.
She was the heat at the heart of a star, and once she had loved a mortal for an evening. The fire in him had called out to all that she was, as though in passion they were the same. His light had burnt out before dawn. Naturally. He had asked for her name. And in a moment's sentiment, she had given it.
Sometimes she wondered about him for a flicker's span.
She danced in the wood of a bonfire, in the middle of dancing children, throwing out sparks for them to catch. The crumbling oak twigs slipped from her hands as a summons hooked her and pulled her away. The bonfire guttered out; the children shouted as the sound of her name drew her down through the heart of the world, to somewhere--different.
Solid water held her within a body. She flared hot and high in panic, in rage, and melted the inner surface of her prison, but it hadn't held much air. She choked and dwindled, and liquid pattered down from the inside of the ice woman's head, each drop a weapon. A human stood beyond the frost-clouded eyes. The fire tried to roar, but she had no voice.
Her guttering light was her scream.
When he saw her dying, he punched the statue. Vapor and water trickled through the crack he made. He struck it again, again, through gouts of steam and boiling water, and she strengthened as he fought. Grabbing an ice hand, he tore it free. Light and heat blazed out from the stump and enfolded his fingers. His arm. One last punch with the other fist shattered a frozen shoulder, and the fire raced over his gloves and his sleeves. Where there had been a man, there was a howling torch. He and she burned as one and were reborn.
From the collapsing shrine, a new being escaped. It had been a mortal man. It had been elemental fire. Now it hugged itself as it ran across the glacier, and the stars' light glittered in the pools its footsteps created.
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 05:21|
Sweet Gloria (744 words)
Even heroin did not compare to the euphoria of grabbing discount socks.
Gloria could swear the patter of her heart caused the sudden earthquake. When shelves rustled and clothes fell off the shelf, she walked out of the front of the store, socks in hand. She graduated to shoes, jewelry, and electronics. Her fingers had learned the nimbleness of a gymnast. Gloria had found her new calling.
When she started stealing, she did it for the thrill, but now she was paying bills and for Jim. He had this sweet little smile, a little crooked, but it was just imperfect enough. Whenever she kissed him, she had to lean up in her free Armani heels. Even grabbing socks did not compare to the euphoria of kissing Jim.
The cravings started to subside, she didn’t wake up in the morning wanting to sob into a toilet bowl. She didn’t want to throw her corn flakes into the wall.
There was an autumn evening she was going to propose to Jim on, Gloria wasn’t sure which one yet, because she hadn’t bought the ring yet. In Macy’s, the one with the bad security camera and the busted theft gates on the east entrance of the mall, she hunted. It would have cost four thousand dollars; she strode out like she were made of a million.
When the mall cop chased her down, she fell onto the floor and her shoe went flying. She never saw it again.
The problem with relationships is sometimes they end quietly. You sort of just drift apart. Gloria drifted away from Jim in tears, quietly. She hadn’t told him about the stealing, ever.
Getting out of prison was easy. All you had to do was stay quiet and wait. If you turn off your brain, it’ll just rot, not unlike the days of shooting up. The worst part of prison was Gloria found it particularly aggravating that there was little to steal. Snatching deodorant wasn’t worth a black eye and two less teeth.
When Gloria took the bus back into her city, she didn’t have bed, or, heels, or even her 1 year clean badge; but she did have a few bucks thanks to Uncle Sam.
Before Gloria gave up on the night, she stopped into Tierney’s, the old bar that she met Jim at. When she walked in, she stopped dead. That little crooked smile that loomed a little too high.
Her heart pattered so hard she thought another earthquake was happening. Gloria slowly walked up with beaming eyes.
“Holy hell! Gloria, I can’t believe it’s you! I thought you had died or something. gently caress!” Jim beamed.
Gloria hugged him, she almost cried, “I missed you so bad Jim.”
“Missed me enough to not even break up with me? Jesus. I mean, I’m glad to see you, but I’m kinda wound up about that burn. At least you’re not dead though, reason enough to celebrate. Tell you what, I have to head back soon, but you still have the same number, right?”
Gloria had realized that she had no phone plan, or her stolen phone, either.
“Not exactly, long story. Look… I’ll be right back,” Gloria lied. She didn’t want to just invite herself over, but she’d at least need a phone right now to mend the bridge she burned. Gloria was willing to swim a river to lay with Jim again.
Gloria slipped into the women’s bathroom looking for a purse, any purse. With keen eyes and quick fingers, she procured an iPhone4 from a short blonde’s purse.
No one would know she stole it.
Gloria returned and asked for Jim’s number. She texted him.
“Hey, thanks, and-“ Jim almost said.
There was something absent in his face. She wanted to say emotion, but it was at that point any love he had had for her.
He turned around the phone, 1691 texts had been exchanged at a number from Jen. The latest threeo read:
[6:17 PM] We need new sheets, right?
[8:14 PM] Sorry boo, I’ll meet you at Tierney’s in 15.
[9:43 PM] Hi Jim! It’s Gloria.
Gloria stuffed the phone in his direction. She heard it crash on the floor as she ran with tears in her eyes. Soon she was on a corner, there was no reason to steal socks anymore, as Jim’s heart was stolen. The whole ordeal had become a blur. Nothing compared to the euphoria of stolen heroin.
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 06:02|
It started since the first jump. Every time I went, he was there. Sometimes he was in the horizon, sometimes he walked next to me. I didn’t know when he came from, but I couldn’t escape him. Except, in this city, he was gone.
He was a pale man, hardly five feet tall. He was bald with cold blue eyes. He always stood there, his face always casting a blank expression. He was dressed in a tuxedo carrying a small briefcase, but they changed colors after each jump. Last time his clothes were purple.
I had wandered the streets since I first arrived. There was no rift. The one I took to get here faded as soon as I entered this time.
I was trapped in this world with no escape. All of the people that were on the sidewalk with me were useless. I couldn’t interact with a world I was never a part of. It was just me. I hadn’t even seen the tuxedo man.
Eventually, I felt it. The unmistakable pull of a rift. It was too strong to for me to not have noticed it before. Someone had just created it.
The rift was a fusion of blue and orange that swirled above the asphalt, shooting off sparks that sent my hairs on end. I pulled out the rift manipulator and tried to change the rift’s destination. It wasn’t working. The rift was fixed to one era and that time had no rifts. There was no coming back from that time.
The swirls of blues and orange started turning faster and the colors grew so intense they burned my eyes. The rift drew in the air around it. Then, it exploded, knocking me into the asphalt. I turned back to the rift, and the man stood there, dressed in black. He gestured to the rift. He wanted me to go in.
Looking past the façade of color, I could only see darkness sprinkled with specks of light. I would be trapped there. I wasn’t ready yet. I had to find the Causality Violator Device. I had to find the memories that I had lost.
The man opened his briefcase and pulled out the Device. I reached for it, but he pulled it away. He locked eyes with me. He wanted me to work for it. He walked away, and I tried to follow him. Once he turned the corner of a street and got out of eyesight, he disappeared.
I walked the streets for god knows how long. He would appear, just out of reach, then vanish past the corner.
The sun had fallen and the darkness was scared off by the street lights. I was tired. I laid down in the middle of the street, and looked up at the barren sky, the stars hidden by the lights of the city.
The man was lying next to me. He was willing to give me the Device if I was willing to go into the rift. I nodded. He handed me the Device.
The memories sprung back to me like pain when the pills ran out. I saw a boy, his blue eyes closed. His pale face was rotted and maggots undulated between the holes in his cheeks. Muscles hung off his skin, and he smelt like the roads right when the rain starts to fall. I touched him, and his eyes opened. He gripped my wrist and dug his nails into my skin. I broke his grasp and punched the boy.
The man stared back at me. He wanted me to leave.
We stood in front of the rift. It had lost all of its color, even the lights. It was just black. The pale man gripped my wrist, and the chill spread like wildfire.
He went first. He was sucked into the rift. His grip loosened, then it was gone. I was still numb.
I went in. The city twisted and turned as I spiraled further into the darkness. People, buildings, roads, cars; they all fused together into a mass of terrible colors. I screamed, but my voice was lost. I struggled to reach for something to pull me out.
I felt the man’s cold hands grab mine, but his arms were shaking. He couldn’t hold on, and he dropped me. I plunged into the icy waters of the darkness. The chill felt like a needle plunged into my arm. My feet were shackled to dead weight, and I sunk deeper into the abyss.
gently caress it, I'm in with this guy (thanks crabrock)
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 06:24|
This prompt makes no sense and is dumb, but on the other hand check out this little critter being awesome.
Seriously, It was Huge
I called them Donald and Mickey, because those were the outfits they were wearing when they pulled up and offered me a lift. Neither of them were actually driving; I didn’t see the driver. Windows were blacked out. They’d popped out of the side of the van to ask if I needed a ride. I didn’t.
It turns out they weren’t really all that bothered about whether I needed a ride, which accounts somewhat for why I found myself in a smelly van with a paper bag over my head and my hands bound behind my back. At least the bag filtered the van smell a little bit.
“You know,” I said, “if I’d known it meant that much to you guys, I would’ve graciously accepted your offer.”
“It’s too late now,” said Donald. “You’ve gone and hurt our feelings.” One of them slapped me rather hard, on the butt, to emphasise the point.
“You know what,” I said, “that’s sexual harassment, and I won’t have it.”
“You’re right,” said Mickey. “I’m sorry, I was out of line.”
I accepted the apology, and then it got awkward and quiet for a while, because where do you go from there, really? And that thought reminded me of another thing I’d been wondering, so I asked it of them. “Hey, so where are we going? I feel like if you were taking me to where I actually wanted to go, we’d be there by now.”
“Right,” said Donald, “but on the other hand, if we were taking you to where you wanted to go, we probably wouldn’t have bothered with the bag on the head.”
“On,” I said. “Fair enough, I guess.”
There was mostly silence for another long while, and I tried to figure out where the van was going by things like the ambient sounds outside, and the motion of the back of the van as it made its turns, and the directions given by an unidentified front seat passenger as he said things like “Yep, turn left on Lombard. No, what are you doing, I said left. Why aren’t you wearing your left and right gloves? Bloody hell, now you’ve lost me, do any of you lot know how to get to Semaphore from here?”
It wasn’t much to go off, but I figured if I was in fact being kidnapped, any little clue like the sounds I heard on the way there, or the exact street address of the van’s eventual destination, might be helpful later.
Then the van stopped, and they pushed me out and took off the bag. In front of me and towering over me was a large pineapple. Like, humungous. I’m talking, top ten all time pineapples in terms of size. “Wow,” I said, which I think pretty much covered it.
“I know, right?” said Donald. “Worth the trip, right?”
“I mean, I guess,” I said. I gazed up at the pineapple’s awesome knobbly majesty as we all basked in the shade of its leafiness. We all sat there for a while, just marvelling at how big the pineapple was. I’m telling you man, it was colossal. Did I say top ten? Scratch that, top two. “So.” I pondered how to broach the next subject. “I’m a little late for work, you know.”
“Oh, that,” said Mickey. “I wouldn’t worry too much about that.”
“Right, well, I do nonetheless,” I said. “I can’t afford to be too much later.”
“Oh, I don’t think they’ll blame you for this one,” said Donald. “We sent them a ransom note, so they’re not expecting you in until the ransom gets paid.”
“Wait, so this is an actual kidnapping? I thought this was just about the pineapple.”
“It’s kind of a two birds one stone thing,” said Donald. “Both equally important to the whole experience.”
“How much is the ransom?”
“Fifty bucks,” said Mickey. “In unmarked bills.”
“Can I pay it?”
Mickey and Donald huddled together and talked it over.
“Yeah, I guess so,” said Donald.
So then they cut me loose and I went through my wallet and managed to find fifty bucks, although it did leave me without lunch money. “So I guess I’m free now?” I asked. They shrugged and nodded. “Any chance I can have a lift to work?
“Oh, so now you want a lift? We weren’t good enough before!”
“Forget it,” I said, and called a cab.
That was one amazing pineapple, though.
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 07:01|
Little Lazarus (610 words)
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Dec 9, 2014 around 23:52
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 09:59|
|# ? May 23, 2019 01:34|
Wiggles the Bear in: The Day The Wiggles Died
The sun was smiling, the flowers were beaming and Wiggles the Bear was feeling especially wiggly. He padded out of his cave, sniffing the crisp morning dew. He was in the middle of shay-shaying his behind, as wiggly bears are wont to do, when he saw a skunk. The skunk was loiting against a a tree, looking on into the distance. It was rare to see a skunk in his neck of the woods so Wiggles waved and cried, “Hello friend! How are you?”
The skunk did not respond.
“It’s a nice day out,” Wiggles said, “Perfect time for wiggling, don’t you think?”
Wiggles bounded over to him. “Sir? Can you hear me? It would be nice to hear from you!”
The skunk stood there, raking his neon mohawk, his head canted at an intimidating angle. He sideeyed Wiggles, squinting. Annoyance and irritation were concepts that Wiggles did not grasp. So instead he smiled when he saw the skunk wiggle his nose, something that he was familiar with.
“Aha! See, you’re wiggling! But you look so sad. Is there anything I can do for you? I hate seeing others sad! It means they aren’t wiggling, and no wiggling makes me a sad bear!”
“Piss off, Bear,” The skunk said.
Wiggles brought his paws up, his honey-stained fingers dancing.“Hey now! There is no need to be grumpy, Grumpy.”
The skunk shrugged. Then he lit a cigarette.
Wiggles let out an “ahh!” He slapped the cig out of his new friend’s glove, stomping it under his mighty foot. “That stuff will kill you!”
“Actually,” the skunk grunted, “I’m saving lives.”
“Because you’d be dead,” the skunk said, “if I wasn’t smoking, I mean. That’s a joke. You’re supposed to laugh.”
Wiggles blinked. “...Oh! Haha, funny! Say, what’s your name, friend?”
The skunk scoffed. He turned to face Wiggles, his inky eyes squinting. “My name is Trystan Sage Corliss.”
Wiggles smiled! ”My name is Wiggles! It’s a pleasure, Tristan!”
“Tch. It’s Try-stan, you drooling ursidae.”
“Now Tristan, what did I tell you about being a grump? Hey, how about you wiggle your butt? That always helps me when I am feeling down! Come now, try it!”
“I don’t do wiggling.”
Wiggles blinked. His lips slivered into what wiggleless people called a ‘frown’. He just stared at the skunk, shocked. “N...No wiggling?”
“No, I only scamper.” Then Trystan, as if to demonstrate, stuck his tail out and started skittering. The sight alone made Wiggles vomit a little. He found himself scowling once the boy finished. “That’s scampering."
"Scampering.” Wiggles hissed. "We don't approve of scampering in these woods."
“Tch. I don’t need your approval. Besides, I’m waiting for my bae, so once she comes it’s splitsville.”
“Really. And who is your ‘bae’, boy?”
Immediately, as if on cue, a teenage bear came skipping past Wiggles, clutching the skunk’s arm. Wiggles recognized the bow on her head. He gasped.
“...C-Candy?” Wiggles said.
“Oh hi daddy.” Candy beamed. “This is my boyfriend, Trystan Sage Corliss. Have you two met?”
“...Just now.” Wiggles said.
“Hehe, he’s sweet, isn’t he? C’mon Trystan, let’s get going!”
Trystan grinned at Wiggles, cocked his head and nodded. Wiggles could only watch as the skunk lead their daughter down the path and into the distance. Later that night, Wiggles sat on the edge of his bed. His wife Barbara read the latest issue of US Wiggly, scratching her beehive hair.
“Our daughter is dating a skunk,” Wiggles said.
“A skunk?” Barbara said.
“Yes. He is a mean boy! He doesn’t even wiggle, can you believe that Barb? My daughter is dating a wiggleless skunk!”
“Oh, dear, I’m sure it’s just a phase,” Barbara said, her paw moving to rub Wiggles’s jelly belly.
Wiggles shrugged her off. “Not tonight Barbara.”
Barbara put her paws on her cheeks and gasped. “You don’t want to wiggle?! Who are you and what have you done with my husband?”
“Please stop Barb. I’m just not feeling the wiggle tonight.”
“You’re not feeling the diggle wiggle?!”
“I’m not feeling the diggle wiggle.”
“...Not even the biggle wiggle?”
Barbara huffed. She pulled her hand away from Wiggles’s tummy, turned away from her husband and switched off the light. Wiggles turned on his side, not even having the energy to wiggle under the covers. Wiggles cried himself to sleep that night as he pondered just how wiggle-less the world truly was.
|# ? Oct 13, 2014 11:54|