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magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Plenty Of Time To Kill -
500 words, a story that doesn't start at the beginning, and doesn't finish at the end.

I like to think that Charles Manning was awake when his heart stopped, waiting in terror as that last beat fell away like a rock thrown off a cliff.

Thirty years ago I was Manning’s public defense attorney, but I wasn’t surprised that the warden called me when he died last night.

“He left you another note, same as them others.” The warden struggled with the scribbled message like a third grader, sputtering the words in staccato rhythm, “Thanks Jim. I’ll never forget you for saving my neck.

When I didn’t reply, he said, “You get that? He woke up his cellmate, said he’d finished his mission, scribbled that note and laid back down. This morning he was dead.”

The cork board over my workbench displayed another twenty-four notes from Manning with those same words, each one pinned in a plastic bag.

That first note, yellow and faded, arrived after I convinced a judge to convert Manning’s sentence to life without parole.

Thanks Jim. I’ll never forget you for saving my neck.


At our only interview, Charlie’s hair was a mess of black greasy tendrils, pushed around with a comb. Hunched over his chair, he traced a crack on the table with a chewed fingertip, and then peeled back a smile and said, “Pretty sure it was eleven heads in that van. Cops said ten, but they’s wrong.”

Craning his head up and squinting at the lightbulb, he said, “That’s the ones I remember. There’s more, but…” He shrugged and swatted the rest of the thought away.

Four years later, the second note came, scrawled in pencil, nearly carved through a light-blue index card.

I’ll never forget you for saving my neck. Thanks Jim.

Charlie studied enough law to write an appeal for an inmate whose double-homicide case was marred by contaminated evidence.

I proudly posted the note alongside the first in my workshop. He’d done good. But my pride only lasted a few days.

The state released the inmate, only to take him back nine days later with more blood on his hands.

Over the next two decades, another twenty-two prisoners went free because of Charlie’s appeals. Half of them returned like the first one, leaving a wake of brutality that spun into urban legend. The last eleven of Charlie’s projects scattered into the cracks and shadows of the city like rats.

I used to oppose the death penalty, didn’t think it was necessary. Hell, most times, a psychopath like Charlie would end up beat to death by another inmate.

But Charlie became their hero, and died probably of natural causes.

“Jim? You still there? Want me to send you this note?”

“Yeah, thanks. I gotta run, there’s work to do.”

I hung up and spun my stool around.

“Where was I?”

There’s a muffled whimper.

When I remove Jimmy Earl Millsap’s blindfold, he’ll see the heads of Charlie’s other ten friends who cheated the system.

He’ll probably know what’s coming next.

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Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


magnificent7 posted:

So what's that? AM or PM?

Really, when has a prompt deadline ever been at 12 noon?

J. Comrade posted:

Hello TD regulators,
I think I'm not supposed to edit my submission, but while formatting the title I back-slashed where I should have forward-slashed and missed a return... would fix if allowed. Will ensure to preview thoroughly any future submission. Further excuses are available on request. Thanks in advance for your attention and, if I'm lucky, indulgence.
Best regards,
J.

SHUT UP STOP FAWNING I HATE YOU. Just ninja-edit it next time, and no-one will even know you did it, God.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Well shoot. Really could have used another twelve hours to edit that. Good brawl, m7.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


ThirdEmperor posted:

Well shoot. Really could have used another twelve hours to edit that. Good brawl, m7.
You can still edit it til midnight, right?

poopkitty
Oct 16, 2013

WE ARE ALL ONE

Late because I'm at the mercy of the government and they shut down our computer system with no warning over the weekend. I'm submitting my mystery in the Redemption Thread. And I'm in for next week; lesson learned.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


magnificent7 posted:

You can still edit it til midnight, right?

Read the OP.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

poopkitty posted:

Late because I'm at the mercy of the government and they shut down our computer system with no warning over the weekend. I'm submitting my mystery in the Redemption Thread. And I'm in for next week; lesson learned.



Make sure and enter too, judges don't read backwards from the prompt.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


ThirdEmperor posted:

Read the OP.
Thanks for that. gently caress. Probably just as well... I'd go on editing and re-editing that stupid thing til midnight.

"The time for edits is over." I like that.

Peel
Dec 3, 2007



THUNDERDOME WEEK LXXVI: JUDGEMENT

This week's winner is God Over Djinn for an inventive, harrowing and adeptly written tale of aerial confusion. This week's loser is Mr_Wolf for a poo poo mystery. One of many, admittedly, but this one was also badly written, unfunny and failed to deliver its twist with any punch.

Honourable mentions: SurreptitiousMuffin, Kaishai, Black Griffon, curlingiron

Dishonourable mentions: Reptile Chillock, Baudolino, JamieTheD, tankadillo

Special Least poo poo poo poo Award: No Longer Flaky

Special Wolfshirt Award: Djeser

Besides murder, the most popular topics this week were children and excrement. I guess this tells us something about applicants to the Thunderdome. Not all the poop stories were awful, but the judges were rolling their eyes by the second one they came across.

When will more substantial criticism follow? Now there's a mystery.



You're up, Djinn.

ReptileChillock
Jan 7, 2014

by Lowtax


My story fukken rocked, you rear end-turds

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Thunderdome LXXVII: Well gee, that's certainly something

Good afternoon Thunderdome! I hope you enjoyed your trip through the sewers last week. This week, we're going to be dealing with weird poo poo. However, I humbly request that you not deal with literal poo poo, you Freudian loving weirdos.

Please pick a link from the following list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unusual_articles and use it as the basis for your story. When you post your story, indicate what link you chose.

In addition, your story must be believably told through the eyes of someone of a gender different from your own. Interpret this exactly as written. If you start an argument about gender, I will set you on fire.

Technical shizzlewizzle:

Your word count is 900.

Your time zone is Pacific Standard Time.

Signups are due by 10pm Friday, January 24. Entries are due by 10pm Sunday, January 26.

Your judges are:
- me
- the inimitable Erogenous Beef
- the apparently rather masochistic Saddest Rhino

---

Bold combatants: Bald combat tents:

Quidnose
Djeser
Black Griffon
ReptileChillock
Meinberg
Guiness13
Paladinus
poopkitty
Fanky Malloons
QuoProQuid
Noah
Anathema Device
J. Comrade (FLASH RULE for passive-aggressive politeness: Your story must in some way incorporate unadulterated hatred.)
No Longer Flaky
sebmojo
Accretionist (INCREDIBLY INCONVENIENT FLASH RULE: Your story spans a period of at least 100 years.)
Jonked
Nikaer Drekin
JamieTheD
crabrock
magnificent7
SurreptitiousMuffin
WeLandedOnTheMoon!
Walamor
Jay O
Mr_Wolf
tankadillo
Entenzahn
ThirdEmperor
The Saddest Rhino - Still writin' about cats making GBS threads out coffee, on his own time
Tyrannosaurus
Baudolino
Xanderkish
Schneider Heim
Phobia
elfdude
Kaishai

(37)

God Over Djinn fucked around with this message at Jan 25, 2014 around 18:22

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


In!

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



I am in.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time. I know who you are.

You are destiny.


Getting on this.

ReptileChillock
Jan 7, 2014

by Lowtax


I wanna be a bald-rear end combat-tent too!!

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


I am so steamed that my piss related story didn't get a mention, so you'll have to suffer on the behalf of Peel!

I'm in like a guy who looks like Jeff Bridges.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

In!

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014



To hell with it. In.

poopkitty
Oct 16, 2013

WE ARE ALL ONE

I am in so hard.

E: In with this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_torpedo

poopkitty fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2014 around 03:07

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


In for this, because I'm ditching school for half the week, so I'll actually have time to write something.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


I am in.

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


In with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatosu_and_Goblu

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


God Over Djinn posted:

weird poo poo.

good

Anathema Device
Dec 22, 2009

by Ion Helmet


In

J. Comrade
May 2, 2008


In

Fanky Malloons posted:

SHUT UP STOP FAWNING I HATE YOU. Just ninja-edit it next time, and no-one will even know you did it, God.

Fanky,
Well noted your advice. Thanks for nothing. Hope you won't mind if I don't hate you back. Oh no, that was kind of still fawning wasn't it? I can't help myself.
Best regards,
J.

J. Comrade fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2014 around 01:28

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


In

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Fanky Malloons posted:

SHUT UP STOP FAWNING I HATE YOU.

And in.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


J. Comrade posted:

Fanky,
Well noted your advice. Thanks for nothing. Hope you won't mind if I don't hate you back. Oh no, that was kind of still fawning wasn't it? I can't help myself.
Best regards,
J.

FLASH RULE for passive-aggressive politeness: Your story must in some way incorporate unadulterated hatred.

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



In

I'd like to request an incredibly inconvenient flash rule.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Oh you gently caress. I guess i'll be in with something else.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Accretionist posted:

In

I'd like to request an incredibly inconvenient flash rule.

INCREDIBLY INCONVENIENT FLASH RULE: Your story spans a period of at least 100 years.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Jonked posted:

Oh you gently caress. I guess i'll be in with something else.

Duplicates are OK, as long as you write it better than everyone else.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


In, with Video-Enhanced Grave Marker.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Sod it, in. I might as well rack up those dishonourables while I can!

Now how to make this work...

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

in with mah babies

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Magnificent7 VS ThirdEmperor

You fucks. You made this hard for me. Not because it was close (it was), nor was it because I had to deliberate on which story left me with a deep emotional impact (they both did, and it was confusion), it was because I couldn't understand the point to either of your stories. I had to bring in a second person to help.

The win barely, BARELY goes to THIRDEMPEROR only because his story vignettes were basically shuffled around. story better utilized the prompt.

Watching you two brawl it out reminds me of two awkward teens losing their virginity together. One ends up crying, the other ends up with performance anxiety.

I'll post crits with everyone else's crits.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2014 around 04:25

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Mercedes posted:

Magnificent7 your story is confusing and you suck.
Please crit the poo poo out of my writing. I want to know why I can't get it right.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

magnificent7 posted:

Please crit the poo poo out of my writing. I want to know why I can't get it right.

For what it's worth: I thought your story was decent. Probably your best since the death helper one. You failed to really make me feel the motivation for why the lawyer was doing the killing (that's a huge step to make), but I understood it all and thought that your writing (especially your showing) was much improved. A few times it feels a little over-written in the descriptions and similis, but just barely. The main problem is that your main char doesn't really have a distinct voice. The call over the phone is a little bland and lacking in any punch. Just two dude's talkin. The warden has more character than your main.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW



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Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


OMFG I finally finished critting the entries from Betrayal week. Next time I offer to judge, someone remind me how much I hate it, because I'm actually super lazy:

SurreptitiousMuffin:
I tried to crit this seriously buuuut nope, can’t do it.

Play:
This is weird. You use a lot of nice words and sentences and whatnot, and it’s clear that you are pretty good at this whole writing thing BUT the story itself really doesn’t go anywhere and there seems to be no reason for you to be telling us any of these things. Why do we care that this chick is thinking about her old, bad relationship with some dude and a bunch of drugs? What’s the point? This would probably have worked much better if you had told it in the present tense, since telling as reminiscence makes it seem really flat – you’re just listing all of the times they took drugs and had sex. Also, your betrayal is super cliché – you couldn’t think of anything else besides cheating on her with her best friend?

Seldom Posts:


Kaishai:
I don’t know if this is true, but it feels to me like you started with the image of the mirror twin breaking out and then went from there, because that’s definitely the strongest moment in this. However, the rest of the story up to that point is pretty cliché, even if you do flip the trope around at the end by making the mirror-self be the rational one. The teenage girl with an ED confronting/being afraid of the mirror is so overdone that even flipping it doesn’t really save it because it’s still a massive stereotype, and I know that you can tell much more interesting stories.

Walamor:
This suffers from the same problem as Play’s entry in that the writing itself is fine - good, even – but the story itself is disappointing. While the premise itself is kind of overdone, you could have saved it if you hadn’t filled the piece with painful clichés, like the painful conversation that takes place in a diner, and the dull, Southern waitress (“CITY FOLKS HURF DURF”), and lines like “I had dreams too!”, “I’m not strong like you!” Plz excuse me while I tear out my own eyes. Also, you make the same mistake as someone else did in this round (I forget who it was now), and use random monologues to drop a ton of exposition at once, which is annoying to read.

Nikaer Drekin:
First of all, I think you need to re-think some of the names in this. Bruhl is way too close to ‘bruh’, and it kept throwing me off, and Butcher Barry made me literally LOL, because seriously. Everything’s all super serious business, and then you throw in Butcher Barry with a straight face, what the Christ. You’re a bit of an over-describer, which can get tedious to read, see: “a blast of sound rocked the entry hall”, “his ravaged, broken former partner….his shattered form” etc , etc. It’s really melodramatic, and takes away from the actual story, so unless that was your intent (and I don’t know why it would be?) then tone it down. Not every description has to be a big, dramatic, thesaurus-driven work of literary art.

uranus:
I enjoyed the bitter, douchebag scientist character in this, and thought that the betrayal was hilarious. HOWEVER, I find it hard to believe that a lowly research scientist would have access to rare, Egyptian antiquities – do you know how difficult they are to get hold of? How expensive they would be?? You gotta work an explanation in there, so I can suspend my disbelief (…yes, in your story about inter-dimensional travel). In addition, I know it’s important to the betrayal, but it’s also hard to believe that someone would deliberately damage their rare, expensive, Egyptian pot by etching a document on to it in microdot? Like, there are so many other ways he could have stored the only copy of his special, super-secret document, especially since you make a point of re-telling how he almost broke it once already. These might seem like nitpicky details, but for me they kind of ruined what was otherwise a great story, and I heartily disapprove of such behaviour.

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