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  • Locked thread
painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax
Thank you, Monk and Anathema Device!

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I

AM

MAGNIFICENT






THE REAL TYRANNOSAURUS posted:

hey look when i write an ending i do very much good. i learn lesson!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Crits for Muffin, Obliterati and Broenheim.

Baby Babbeh
Aug 2, 2005

It's hard to soar with the eagles when you work with Turkeys!!



Moved

Baby Babbeh fucked around with this message at 00:22 on Nov 20, 2014

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Baby Babbeh posted:

Thank you so much for the crit, Jitzu. That's helpful and I agree with most of what you wrote. I actually hadn't thought about Rose specifically presenting as a ghost but I really like that initial interpretation and will probably try to accentuate that in future revisions. I was kind of struggling to get a little bit more of Rose in there but it's kind of a balancing act. I think the story rests on it being somewhat vague and there being a lot of things left unsaid, but at the moment the characterization is a little bland and I think her last line comes off a little to glib because of it. I was running up against the word count but that's no excuse. Is there anything specifically you'd like to know about her after reading it?

The Fiction Advice thread is the place to respond to crits.

Baby Babbeh
Aug 2, 2005

It's hard to soar with the eagles when you work with Turkeys!!



sebmojo posted:

The Fiction Advice thread is the place to respond to crits.

Word.

Barracuda Bang!
Oct 21, 2008

The first rule of No Avatar Club is: you do not talk about No Avatar Club. The second rule of No Avatar Club is: you DO NOT talk about No Avatar Club
Grimey Drawer
In

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

docbeard: the hour is late and my brains are squishy but not quite addled, so the time has come for crittin'.

From memory, your story was a tragic tale about, well, that made me feel for the beauty that humanity can exhibit in the face of the impossible (or in that case, their impending doom). Really more of a mood piece, but I liked the mood it gave me: fantastic, whimsical, sad. Now for the re-read, as it's been almost (more than?) a couple of weeks.

Oof. I'd completely forgotten about the lost-father subplot. Which I guess was the actual plot. It's not terribly novel or memorable; it's this piece's setting that stuck with me. I also think it manages to evoke a little more feeling in me than the words actually convey -- I'm not sure what internal image you're striking a chord with, but there was some telling that successfully went under my radar but will likely be a non-starter for others. I don't dislike this piece, but I don't like it as well as I remember it. It's trying to be vaguely optimistic in the end, and I like the contrasting tragic vignette elements best. Going deeper:

docbeard posted:

Last Dance
1197 Words
Autumn Fire

“Look to the trees.”

The Queen spoke, and her voice carried above the chaos of the revels. Musicians faltered and fell silent, conversations died out mid-breath, until Janelle could hear nothing but the crackling of the bonfire at the heart of the clearing, and the rustling of leaves. Rustling without wind, and growing louder. Feels decently autumny and plants a medieval setting in my mind.

“My friends, the Earth gasps for breath.” A good line with strong implications. Janelle felt the tremor beneath her, the third this week, the fifth this month. A weaker follow-up. Five earthquakes in a month doesn't make me think calamity. One earthquake would be unusual for Virginia. Although I still don't think these imply the severity of the situation well enough, I very much like the incongruity you've created. Queen != Virginia, and that discrepancy immediately caught my interest the first time around. The last one had lasted for more than a minute. I swear I've worked through minor tremors of that length without noticing them. So as a shake-happy Californian, I haven't seen enough details to convince me that the earth really is dying. Although at this point I'm also not sure if this paragraph's opening statement was hyperbole. This one wasn’t stopping. Probably a stronger line without the previous bit: The current earthquake wasn't showing any signs of stopping. One of the Faeries brought forth in the Transfiguration, offered Janelle his arm, to steady her. Don't think you need either of those commas. I'm okay with the capitalizations, and I'm intrigued as at this point I can't tell if you're in Reality or Fantasy Land. She’d been dancing with him a moment ago. Both times I sort of skimmed past this. It's an important bit for the plotting, but it feels tacked-on. She didn’t know his name, nor the name of the otherworldly creature he’d offered himself up to for the night. Slightly clunky, although I really like the ideas it evokes. She took his arm, and leaned.

“Her time draws near,” the Queen, in her multicolored dress of leaves Nice detail., raised her hands to the sky. “But it has not yet come! Not even we shall escape Winter’s final embrace, but Winter has not yet come! Immortal shall taste death alongside our mortal kin, but our death has not yet come! When you start the sentence with Immortal I don't know that it's capitalized for distinction, so I think it's the adjective form. Maybe "We Immortals"?” With each verse of the litany, a cheer rose from the assembled, Transfigured and unchanged humans alike", and e" -> ". E"ven the earthquake waxed and waned in accordance with the rhythm of her speech. Janelle cheered with the rest Personal quibble: either the others or the rest of _____.. “We do not mourn! We do not fear! We do not die! Not tonight! Not this most blessed of nights! Tonight is for celebration! Tonight is for love! Tonight,” the Queen drew a deep breath, “is for life!”

“For life!” the revelers cried. As far as generic speeches go I can completely envision the crowd participating in this fashion.

The cheering stopped and the revels began anew. The quake waned, but didn’t die. Another more effective presentation of the ailments of the earth. Janelle felt like she was standing on the deck of a ship. “I wish her usual sermons had that kind of energy,” Janelle said to her once and future dance partner. Rough as foreshadowing, but for some reason the generally worn phrase "once and future" fits with the is-this-magical-or-realistic tension you've been building.

He looked at her in confusion, which gave way to understanding. “You mean the Queen’s mortal vessel,” he said. Here things start coming together.

“Sandra Welton,” Janelle said. “She preaches at Carter Mennonite, when your people aren’t in town. Do people really come from other towns just for this specific ceremony? I'd imagine that anywhere reasonably distant would have their own (or closer) version. Alternatively, I also like the idea which I inferred even though I don't think it's implied that there aren't a whole lot of people left on the planet, and this ball somehow represents a significant majority of them. I like her. She’s strong, and sincere, and I like the things she says, but she’s not like she is tonight. Which I guess is the point.” She leaned closer to him. “Can I ask you something?”

“Ask what you will,” he said.

“Do you think they should have told people that the world’s ending?” The announcements had gone out weeks ago. Jumping in with future-knowledge, this states that they'd only announced that the world would end recently. But this festival is something that has happened before. If they're having this festival, it's because they thought the world was going to end. But if they thought the world was going to end, then the announcement confirming what everyone believed would be unremarkable. The earthquakes, the storms, the early frost, all symptoms of something very wrong beneath the Earth’s surface. Seem like kind of minor symptoms for the end of the world. This would be Janelle’s last Hallowe’en I'm not fond of the archaic spelling., hers and everyone’s, and she probably wouldn’t see Christmas, or even Thanksgiving. “I wouldn’t have told people if I were in charge. Why let people worry about something they can’t change?” Again, I don't get the impression that the end of the world snuck up on anyone.

“Such answers are beyond my station, and I am happy for it,” the Faerie said with a laugh.

“Fair enough,” Secret pun if you read it aloud. Janelle said, and pulled away. At his confused expression, she said, “Sorry, it’s not you. I’m looking for someone specific. One of your people. And it doesn’t look like the world has seven more years, so there’s not going to be another Transfiguration. Why does this happen once every seven years? I'd expect people to toast to oblivion at least annually, if not more often. This is my last chance to find him.”

“Ah,” said the man. “And who is this lost love? I’m already jealous.”

“Don’t be. He’s my father,” Janelle said. In fact, looking at it closely, I get mildly frustrated that interesting setting with interesting social behavior is interrupted for played-out drama.

*

The Queen was toasting marshmallows on a sharpened stick when Janelle found her. I like that the queen is frivolous. “Come, daughter, join me. Bring the chocolate and the crackers. We must time this correctly!” A passer-by And that she's not very important. handed her a package of graham crackers and a bar of chocolate without any further bidding from the Queen, and Janelle stepped forward. The ground lurched and she stumbled, but didn’t fall. She hadn’t expected to get near the Queen at all If the queen's station is so informal that a passer-by, as opposed to a servant, hands her the crackers, then why would Janelle think her unapproachable?, hadn’t thought her dance partner’s suggestion of enlisting her help was a good idea. She just didn’t have any better ones. If she's that hard-up for ideas I don't believe she's been thinking very hard. Perhaps this quest isn't terribly important to her the character, just like it's not terribly important to me the reader and it may've been secondary for you the author as well.

She certainly hadn’t expected to be standing here now, making s’mores with the Transfigured Queen of Faerie. How is the queen picked? I have, and like, the notion that she just declared herself and the other local townsfolk went along with it, since people sensed that the world was going to end anyway. But there are some contradicting specifics in your story. “The timing is not so terribly important,” the Queen whispered, as though sharing a great secret. Again, I like her whimsicality, especially given her supposed import and the gravity of the planetary situation. “But it pleases me to think it is. Hold out the crackers. There. One marshmallow for you, and one for me, and thus are bargains struck and bargains fulfilled.” Not sure what the last bit means but also fine not knowing. Still adds flavor.

“Thank you?” Janelle said. Glad the protagonist doesn't know either. She couldn’t think of how to broach the subject of her father.

“You are welcome, daughter,” the Queen said. “Do you know why we come among you at Summer’s end and leave before Winter’s rise?” She took a bite of her s’more and continued speaking. Queens apparently didn’t have to be polite. “Look to the trees. In the time of their death, they burst forth with one last, blazing gasp of life. Eucalyptus? But I didn't think they burned annually. And I don't know if they're in Virginia. As my twice-as-old D&D buddy used to say, "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think." They are not slaves to the Summer, and they are not cowed by the Winter. We who never die, That's a stumbly comma. will never live. To walk among you at this time of last life is as close as we can come.”

“But you’ll die along with us, That comma could go, too. this time,” Janelle said. “Everything’s going to die.”

For a moment, she saw something in the other woman. Not a mythic, regal figure, and not a rural Virginia preacher, but someone young and fragile and scared. A good line for showing that this is indeed serious. More effective than the previous dialogue, anyway. And determined. Admirable human quality. “Yes. All the more reason, then. The past is gone, the future will be the death of us all too soon. But tonight, we will live before we die.” The Queen smiled at her. “But come, you have questions for me.”

Janelle had never met her father. She only had her mother’s stories of the Faerie she’d met three Transfigurations, Whoa, comma! ago. A doomed, tragic romance, I like those words even if they're Telling. the man who could only be with the woman he loved one night every seven years. Not sure why they couldn't stay in touch afterward. I think even at masquerades people exchange cell-phone numbers. Then don't call them. Except that twenty-one years had passed, and he hadn’t sought out her mother, or her, not once. Meh. She had no idea what he looked like, who he was, what he valued. She knew him only by his absence, by the hole he had made in her past. So her mom did a bad job of raising her? I'm not too fond of the cultural influences which compel people to find their biological parents. And in my (indirect, anecdotal) experience, the kids who had good adoptive parents growing up don't terribly care about their sperm/egg donors. And certainly the numerous third-hand stories I've heard about people actually catching up to the folk that abandoned them never end like in fantasy. No sympathy here. Tonight, whatever it held, was too important to waste on him. Then why has she wasted this much of tonight on him? “I think you’ve answered my question, your Majesty. Thank you for sharing your marshmallows with me.”

*

“Dance with me till sunrise.” Janelle hadn’t expected to find her old dance partner again But you said "future" earlier!, but she spotted him in the crowd, and before she knew what she was doing, she made her way to him.

“Until the end of the world,” he said with a laugh. I guess it's the denial because the situation really is inevitable that I like about this story. There's no obvious reason to continue on with life, but people are being festive and vital out of, well, humanity. He put an arm around her waist as the ground bucked beneath them. “If we can keep our footing that long. Did you find him then? Your lost father?”

“No,” Janelle said. She smiled. “Your Queen was very helpful, but I didn’t find him. And he never tried to find me.”

“Ah,” he said, and Janelle knew he didn’t understand, or particularly care. Nor did I particularly care. Nor did you? He was happy to see her, and for tonight, that would be enough. “Then he is a fool.”

“Forget him. I don’t want to think about him,”

“Then what do you want?” he asked.

“What everyone here wants.” She looked him in the eyes, and leaned closer to him. “To live before I die.” I'm tired of this piece at this point. The last scene doesn't add any unexpected/interesting information, and builds on the plotty points of the story that I didn't much care for anyway. I like that:
* The world is ending.
* People are celebrating in a civil fashion; not rioting.
* They're indulging in elaborate fantasies.
The social aspects are more interesting to me than the personal drama. I don't care for any of the specific characters, but I like the scene and I'm interested by the group.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Thank you! I ought to have your crit up in the next day or so.

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Djeser: haven't read this story before, so I'll read it and give my first impressions, then do a line-by-line, then maybe take a break from it a bit and see how I feel after the fact. I did just read up on the prompt.

Interesting, but muddled. I kept feeling pulled in different directions, and never really formed a proper opinion on any of the noteworthy topics. There are a lot of whys to be asked and I'm not sure I agree with the implied answers. You want me to think the majority of humans either don't enjoy life or fear death so strongly that they're getting petrified at thirty-something. That's a mighty strong claim that currently only holds true with cultists, and I haven't heard about a Jonestown in a while now. There were a few decent points about love and memory, but I felt like they were lost in the shuffle. I'm having trouble swallowing the motivations of most of your characters, and I didn't detect growth within them. Actually, I'm taking the break now so I can let whatever sticks sink in before I do the line-by-line.

Djeser posted:

It’s About Them
1073 words


Chris and Elisa met in the statue garden at college. They sat and shared their notes and went to lecture with grass stains on their pants. They came each day to talk. First they talked about class, then about themselves, and then about each other. I'm fine with the rushed exposition. It sets the tone for some sort of relationship drama and doesn't waste much time, although it's not immediately engaging like people seem to favor these days. As the school year went on, they sat closer together, and began to whisper so the statues wouldn’t hear. Now I'm suspicious. No one knew if you could still hear as a statue At this point there are a whole host of ideas blossoming in my mind; the predominant one is that there's some sort of ~virus that petrifies people. I suppose a vague whiff of one of the more "recent" Song of Ice and Fire books come to mind, if recent can be applied to any works by that fella., but like any two people in love, they felt love was the greatest secret they’d ever discovered. This is a pleasant insight about the human condition. I was interested in the setting after the first half of this sentence, and I am developing empathy for the main characters by its close. They didn’t want to share it with anyone, living or statue. Cute.

The next semester, they had class in a different lecture hall. I think it's because the petrification disease spreads slowly, so it's safe to be around the statues for a while but eventually those territories must be abandoned. They didn’t sit in the statue garden any more, but to Elisa, the two of them were always there, surrounded by sphinxes and angels and the last dreams of dying people. So "the last dreams of dying people" is not a pretty thing in my mind on first read. Tragic and beautiful, although only to a slight degree, since I don't know any of the general people mentioned and the petrification is clearly not a cause for concern, whatever its cause. It also feels a little forced that her image of them is always stuck in that garden. Was the first semester of the relationship really that much better? You imply (or tell; I come to understand) later that the statues are like a heaven/imprisonment, but at this point the sentiment is unexpected and incomprehensible. To Elisa, there was only one way this could end. Foreshadowing and such, but it still doesn't make emotional/logical sense. Even on the second read.

Marriage seemed like nothing. Of course they’d get married. I revert back to fast-forward mode, which is acceptable. Elisa never brought up kids; she assumed they’d be gone too soon to take care of kids. I still think it's involuntary. When college ended, they got jobs. Elisa took her engineering job easy. Maintains a vaguely dreamlike quality about the story: she's gone through half of her life and hasn't really taken any of it seriously yet. Chris attacked his graphic design job with a determination, like he wanted a career, like it actually mattered now. There's nothing to make me suspect he did or did not take things seriously previously. So there's no impact from contradiction. All I get is that he's in opposition to her outlook. No one got a career, no matter how many blogs and magazines complained about the young adults of “the new stone age”.

Elisa didn’t worry about Chris’s determination. They were going to have a great vacation for their last year, then become a pair of statues. That's what she thinks, but I never expected it to be true. Somewhere on the Mediterranean coast, she imagined. It was one of the most popular places for people to get petrified. Who pays for these things? I should probably save the various questions this story raises for the end.

She didn’t remember what started the conversation that ruined everything. Something about planning for their last-year vacation.

“I don’t want to get petrified,” he said.

Elisa’s father was thirty-two when he had gone statue. That was typical now. Her grandfather had been sixty-something before he finally gave in from fear of dying. He had been one of the old guard, the people who still treated statues as a disease. They were almost invariably elderly, conservative, or both. Chris was neither, so what he was saying made no sense. You say that this is what's going on, but there's not enough in this story to make me believe it, and that really hurts this piece. I've got no trouble accepting that somebody came up with a technology to lock you into your favorite fantasy for all eternity, but I don't buy that healthy people are doing it in their early thirties.

“You mean you don’t want to do it with me?” she asked. Italicize the "with", or italicize the "me", but I'm not sure what she's angry about (timing or companion) when you italicize both. Elisa’s cheeks were warm Embarrassed or angry? and she gripped the pen she had in her hands. Weak description. "and she squeezed her pen." Or something that doesn't imply that her having a pen bears any relevance.

He shook his head. “I don’t want to do it at all.”

“But why? We’d be together,” she said. That should have been enough for him. Can't understand her line of thinking, and there wasn't much since the opening paragraph that garnered my empathy for her, so her objection doesn't make a lot of sense but I also don't care.

“As statues, though. There’s more than half of our lives left. I’m not calling it quits. I’m not going to be a statue,” he said. I agree with him, but only in a no-duh kind of way.

Elisa sat down next to him and put her arm around his shoulder. She was still angry, but her anger had no target. There was no girl who’d led him astray. Is she really that shallow? Foreverdeath without you is fine, as long as nobody else is involved? There was only Chris, and she couldn’t be mad at him for being himself. Like much about her, this obsession feels out-of-place. Or contrived.

“It’s not calling it quits. It’s like a dream, that’s what they say,” she said.

“One dream, forever. That’s it. What if I don’t like it?” He looked into her eyes. He can't be the first guy to ask those questions. And surely they have Science. This is being presented both as a magical new phenomena (with how she's reacting to it) but also something that's been going on pervasively for generations. There really shouldn't be confusion about what happens. Or there shouldn't be so many people doing it. She tried to find the answers for him.

“It’s going to be exactly what you like. Everyone who was scared, all that stuff years ago--they just didn’t understand. It’s heaven. It’s whatever you want most,” she said. Those aren't the very powerful descriptive words of one who is convinced. Brainwashed, maybe, but not convinced.

“I don’t want to be one thing forever. Even if it’s some amazing fantasy, I don’t want that. I want new things. We’re twenty-eight. We shouldn’t be dying,” he said.

Elisa pressed the side of her body against Chris. “It’s not dying,” she said.

Chris settled his face against the side of her head. “It might as well be.”

It was three weeks before Elisa moved out. It was months before she managed to move on. She had spent a third of her life with him.

But she did move on. Richard was easier and more relaxed than Chris, and he wasn’t afraid to talk about what would happen when they went statue. Back on fast forward and at this point I'm really not sure what the focus of the story is. It's kinda on her but it's kinda on them but it's kinda on ideology? When they talked, they were wistful, remembering life, looking forward to becoming stone. Talking with Richard was peaceful and free and resigned compared to talking with Chris. Perhaps some of the vaguely-dreamlike quality from reading this story comes from the heavy amount of hasty telling. I'm not against it, per se, but it doesn't draw someone in, and I don't know that there were enough other merits to make this a story I'd consider worth my time in the wild.

There was no one she’d rather get petrified with more than Richard, but when she thought of them together, she only thought of the statues they’d be. There weren’t any memories of the two of them with the smell of grass mowed that morning, backs against the hedges, talking about nothing for hours between classes. Chris filled her life as a human, but she would be a statue soon. She’d have to put him behind. I like this sentiment, although the presentation is rather dry. The core idea of even failed relationships being an important part of the narrative of our lives and therefore to be cherished is a decent one, but it's only just barely glanced upon. This is the second thing that almost engenders empathy in me, but she's already described as too alien for it to take root in me.

Elisa and Richard’s last-year vacation took them around Europe. It ended in a quiet abbey in Scotland that offered space to prospective statues. They went on a tour, admiring the statues of those who’d already come here, then found a comfortable alcove by a window to sit and wait for it to come.

It started as a fever that flashed through her. It struck her nerves and made her heart pound. Her thoughts began to topple away. The edges of her mind spilled open. Every idea spun out of control, whirling into nothing. Her body felt lighter than air as it started to harden. Richard stood, holding her, as white marble blotched across her skin. There's decent intensity in these words, especially given the context of the rest of the story. Her jeans draped into a translucently carved dress and marble armor slid from Richard’s shirt. Another bit of interesting lore. That was the last she knew before she folded into the statue-dream with Richard. Which hasn't been confirmed outside of hearsay?

The years had hardly touched Elise by the time Chris caught up with her. She was a princess, held by a knight, tucked into an abbey and lit by the afternoon sun.

“It doesn’t even look like her,” he said.

Taylor stood beside him. She and Chris had already visited her ex along the Côte d'Azur. Seems like a kind of weird thing to do, but more palatable than the general premise. “It’s what she wanted to look like,” she said.

Chris said, “I know. It’s about them, in the end. Making sure they’re happy.”

“Now what about making sure we’re happy?” she asked.

Chris rested a hand on Taylor’s side and pulled her close. He’d seen Elise off. Now he could focus on life. So he couldn't focus on life during however much time he'd spent with Taylor up to this point? That's not generally how relationships as I know them end. People move on and hopefully wish well for each other, but don't feel responsible for their future any longer.

“There’s a bar in town, isn’t there?” he asked.

Taylor was never as soft and thoughtful as Elise, but she held onto life just as tightly as Chris did. At the beginning of the new stone age, that was all he could ask for. Uh so maybe the story's about these people, then? Muddled.

So, ack, there are a whole lot of questions this story raises and I don't even remember most of them at this point. The setup is interesting but the characters are not. A little too much happens in too many different directions. I think I've got most of the same complaints I had after the first read: given what I understand about the situation I don't believe that most of the characters would act the way they do. As a reader, I don't empathize, and the fantastical element has contradictions or other things in its nature that I can't fully suspend my disbelief for.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

My crit for Kelvin, by Hammer Bro.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006
Happy to say, I'm no longer crippled. But here's the next batch anyway.

Crippled Crits Part III: Obliterati, Echo Cian, Ironic Twist, Sitting Here, docbeard, ThirdEmperor, Grizzled Patriarch

16. Obliterati - The Fog Must Lift

-You've built some excellent atmosphere in the first couple paragraphs

-This was already a good story when it was about a man wondering how to console a child that has every right to be inconsolable. But now with the introduction of Morrigan, things get *really* intriguing.

-Variable "person" but constant point of view. This was skillfully written.

-Satisfying ending.

Thank you for this story. It's one of the most beautifully written that I've seen in the 'dome. You earned your HM. If only there could have been two winners this week!

Where you hooked me: At the first line.
Where you lost me completely: You still have me.

17. Echo Cian - Hawk's Cry

-This is not so much an interesting story but the aftermath of an interesting story. I think it would have been more exciting if the story began right before Siera entered the tavern. Then, the conflict in the tavern would be much more pressing. Readers would wonder if/how Siera escapes with her life. Instead, we get brooding about the tavern and what that conflict meant to Siera after the fact.

-So the main conflict here is Siera doesn't fit in and she might jump off a cliff. The problem is, the reader isn't attached enough to Siera for this to be very impactful. And even if the reader *were* attached to her, she admits that she might not even actually die if she jumps off. So...what's our reason to be concerned at all?

-Annnd then a complete stranger shows up as the romantic interest. Every romantic's dream right? To be at the precipice of a cliff and then someone you've never met shows up and you think "Eh. Might as well give him a try."

-The aimed-at moral of the story: Someone will accept you, even if you're different.

-The actual moral of the story: Don't turn into a hawk. Talk to strangers instead.

Where you hooked me: "Witch, they'd screamed as she stumbled away from the wreckage, stammering."
Where you lost me completely: "...you're pretty and I'm really going to put my foot in my mouth if I keep babbling, aren't I?"

Edit: I was just reading this over again, and I want to clarify something. I realize the prompt calls for the aftermath of a calamity. So when you start you story *after* the tavern, I see that you were following the prompt. All I'm saying is it would have been better if the calamity was something even prior to the tavern. The onset of Siera's powers maybe. It just doesn't help things that the most interesting part of the story (the tavern) is retrospective, the prompt notwithstanding.

18. Ironic Twist - From a Great Height

This has been the hardest story to crit so far because I keep stumbling over the line between metaphor and literalism. I'll take you through my thought process while reading this.

-Good, you spell out love=heroin. That's helpful. So she introduced him to love (heroin) and now he's lovesick (sick off heroin). Makes sense so far.

-"The times they hosed, it was like they were starting a fire on a cloud high above the city...if either one of them moved an inch too far to the left or right, they would fall off the cloud and plummet back to the ground." So I'm thinking by "hosed" you must also mean love (heroin) here, because they can't move an inch out of place (or they'll miss the vein so-to-speak). Cloud high=heroin high, fire="fire" through the veins. So, loving=love=heroin. That's at least what I thought up to this point.

-"They never hosed when they shot up, though." Ooookay, so that throws my interpretation out the window. Now loving is literal, not a metaphor for shooting up like love is.

-Then Daff says to Raio, "I want you to love me more than I love you. No matter what." Well, this could work literally. But if we follow the metaphor, she's saying she wants more heroin than Raio. Which happens also to be true; she's pissed at him for hogging it all.

-Then Daff moves Raio's mouth and speaks for him, “I love you already, Daff.” Wait, what? If love=heroin, this doesn't make sense. She didn't get the heroin from him; he hogged all the "love" himself. So how could he already "love" her (metaphorically)? And why would she make him say that? This only seems to work if now suddenly love is strictly literal. This seemingly arbitrary shifting in and out of the metaphor clouds the meaning of the story.

-"Their first kiss." Arrgh!!! I thought them having hosed previously was purely literal. But if that was the case, I'd expect them to have kissed before now. WHAT IS GOING ON?

-"A smaller droplet of blood was forming at the corner of his right eye." I'm assuming this means that Raio is dead from an overdose.

-"Outside, a car alarm sounded through the air." What function does this line serve?

-So, I take it that the ending means that she realizes he's dead and sinks into despair.

Sorry Twist, I didn't "get" this story at all. You're navigating metaphor, literalism, and the intersection between the two and it's a bumpy ride.

Where you hooked me: "She screeched in frustration and threw her head back against the cratered carpet."
Where you lost me completely: See my confusion above.

19. Fumblemouse - Willful Indescretion

No need for a point-by-point. This is hilarious. The jokes are well-paced. Good job!

Where you hooked me: Lance's section.
Where you lost me completely: You didn't.

20. Sitting Here - Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Party Hat

-Riley, Zoe, Brayden. These are some suburban-rear end white kids.

-Nice stylistic choices here. Capitalizing Left Out makes sense because it is such a thing for kids.

-Sometimes present tense jars me. But here it adds urgency to the story.

-Last line: "...comes from no one being Left Out."

If this story is you phoning it in, consider me envious. It *does* have emotional impact. Who among us doesn't have a traumatic memory of being Left Out as a kid? Here, Brayden matures enough to be inclusive, all in the course of a moment. And he may not have the perspective to grasp the full implications of his altruism, but he does know he wants to keep acting that way. Hits me right in the feels.

Where you hooked me: Your username.
Where you lost me completely: You didn't.

21. docbeard - A light in the Darkness

-Good move cracking the phone screen. It works that communication here is one way only at the outset.

-Because you go on to have the protagonist say "Not Jack," it doesn't add anything for you to have written, "I didn’t know who Jack was. This wasn’t even my phone. Laughter turned to coughing turned to pain turned to more pain." I'd cut this line. We get the idea as soon as he says he's not Jack.

-Nice twist though, that the phone wasn't the protagonist's.

-The ending is a problem. First, it's weird that the protagonist says "she fled my room." Of course, he means the hospital room. But if you suddenly regained consciousness and you were in a hospital room, wouldn't you just call it "the room"? It's kind of soon for him to be thinking of it as his room. Second, it's not satisfying to have the woman just run off after meeting the protag. Yes, I'm sure she's distraught that she lost her husband. But for her to just flee and for that to be the end of it? There's gotta be more connection or more closure between them.

Where you hooked me: The first "R U OK"
Where you lost me completely: "She fled my room."

22. ThirdEmperor

-Prose is a touch purple.

-Okay, I think I get what's happening. Jones suffered brain damage in the attack. Now his memory is screwed up. He can no longer encode new long term memories, kind of like the real life neuroscience case "HM." But his memory of everything before the attack is fine. The nurse responds the way she does because she's had this same conversation with him before. Emily is being evasive with him because she knows he has this problem, but what use is it to tell him (for probably the umpteenth time)? The red ribbon bookmark is an important prop here because it's the only thing that clued me in to what's going on.

Even though I figured it out (I think), the story was obviously unclear to other readers. You've gotta give more hints, or at least make it more explicit at the end. And please tighten up the prose.

Where you hooked me: After I had read it once and then went back to test my theory about what's going on in the story.
Where you lost me completely: No specific place.

23. Grizzled Patriarch - Death I Think Is No Parenthesis

-Intriguing title.

-Appealing prose.

-Yeah...the ending...I don't get it.

Even aside from the ending, the piece leaves me wishing you had developed a conflict over the course of a more fleshed out story. Right now, this is a lovely vignette about the pain of losing someone to Alzheimer's, which is okay, but it leaves me wanting a bit more.

Where you hooked me: Both the title and the first line.
Where you lost me completely: The last line.

Armack fucked around with this message at 00:26 on Nov 22, 2014

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
DURINGPROMPT:


:radcat: :radcat: :siren: IT'S THESADDESTRHINO'S BIRTHDAY. :siren: :radcat: :radcat:


200 WORDS ABOUT A RHINO AND WHY HE IS SAD.



YOU HAVE 24 HOURS.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I

AM

MAGNIFICENT






why sad rhino is sad

because muffin moved to his country and has been using up all the oxygen that doesn't smell like fart now rhino only breathes farts every day.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014
The Saddest Day In The World

Once upon a time, a Rhino went to Dairy Queen to get a delicious ice cream cone. But right when before he could take a lick, he dropped the ice cream. The Rhino cried and cried, and some say he even cries to this day.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.



Moment of Truth

"Here comes the spike!"

This was it. Rhino blinked away a stinging trickle of sweat. He watched the ball come rocketing over the net, white hot, like a sungrazing comet. Rhino positioned himself just right. He braced for impact, and then -

Laughter from the bleachers, and the hiss of escaping air.

That volleyball scholarship was his last chance. Now he'd never get out of the savannah.

edit: v- I had to look that up but holy crap, you're right.

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 18:30 on Nov 21, 2014

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

That story is stolen from bed knobs and broomsticks you plebe

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
Wow, this week hates me even more than that time a volcano exploded at me but gently caress it I am not backing down from a brawl. Martello can suck my dick.

sebmojo posted:

:siren:The Hammer and the Muffin:siren:

Lets keep this fast and dirty; 800 words, a love story on a speeding train, no-one may speak. 21 Nov, high noon PST.


Fashionably late

Alaine clung to the top of the train. His fingers were almost numb, and his hands were gripping the railing tight enough to leave dents. He had wedding to attend in Marseilles, and one hour previous he had found himself stuck at Gare du Nord with empty pockets and no loving ticket. He doubted Josephine would be stood up at the altar a second time. The red-eye bullet train had squatted before him on the tracks, with maintenance ladders leading up to the roof.

Two cyclists stood on a bridge, slack-jawed, eyes wide. They stared down at him. He wanted to shout out a warning but he knew the wind would take his words and hurl them into some distant field. He thought of Josephine and the way she walked ever-so-slightly crooked from carrying her laptop everywhere and the way her freckles looked l- OH gently caress TREE BRANCH

One hand came free from the railing, and Alain twisted his body so the tree didn't tear him open and leave his guts streaming in the breeze. The whipping wind around the train picked him up and smashed him against the roof. Rich iron blood filled his mouth. The muscles in his arm threatened to tear. He brawled with the wind, then lunged out to get his other hand back into position.

Ding ding ding ding, ding ding ding ding, dee dee ding ding diing. His pocket vibrated. The old Vodafone ringtone. He never got around to changing it. If it bothered Josephine, she never mentioned it. A woman of endless patience, though probably even she had limits. He had other qualities, but he could never be where he needed to be at the right time. What nice things could he say about himself? Persistent, decisive, perhaps not very good at thinking things through. The phone stopped ringing for a moment, then immediately started up again.

The train blasted through another provincial Loire River town: a church, a sprawl of old and new houses, then gone again. Ding ding ding ding ding MERDE MERDE MOTHERFUCK LET IT GO TO VOICEMAIL. The ringing stopped. The phone vibrated once, then twice. A very confused herd of sheep followed him as quickly as they could, but they too were swallowed by the horizon behind the devil-fucker-train that needed to learn how to pace itself. Another town ahead. A big, conspicuously new station. Alaine had only a moment to process this new information before the bullet train's brakes kicked in, hurling him clean off the roof.

As he flew through the air, the world slowed around him. He saw a single cow staring at him with mad, rolling eyes. He saws its arse fertilising the field, and he wondered whether they would mention it in his epitaph

Alaine Lebeau, the always late-
he stood up girls on the first date
Alaine Lebeau, he caught the train
died in a field, in intense pain
Alaine Lebeau was quite the tit-
he died alone covered in poo poo.

He crashed into the giant turd-pile. Bones rattled around inside his chest. He bounced, flew again, hit the long, uncut grass and skidded through it, lubricated by the feces that clung to every part of his body. Once he was quite sure he wasn't dead yet, he sat up and took out his phone. His ears rang with the impact. A single text message awaited him:

WHERE R U???

He looked back to the bullet train. He could spend a week hitchiking to get to Marseilles, or an hour riding the beast. Beyond the cow, the train sulked on the tracks, ready to pull away again at any moment. A ladder extended from the ground to the roof. He looked to his phone, then back to the train before sending a single message.

OTW BEBE. 1 HOUR K?

He pushed himself to his feet, and wiped a trickle of blood from around his mouth. He stank, and he was injured, but damned if he was going to leave his woman waiting.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW
Oh our brawl was due at NOON PST? huh, maybe I could learn to read.

Ride the Black in Style

800 words


‘Ride the Black in Style, Without an Indenture Contract! NesTrans Economy Class!’ the ads screamed. ‘In Style’ meant ‘In an Unshielded Cargo Hold with No Life Support,’ but the ads didn’t spell that out, of course. Still, a six-day vacsuit rental on top of the economy ticket was cheaper than Business or First.

Cynric and Vivica had barely enough money to rent decent vacsuits. Tetradyne’s cheapest offering featured basic life support, radiation protection...and nothing else. Not even comms. 144 hours from Luna to Mars-Terminus, and the couple couldn’t speak a word to each other.

Cynric looked into Vivica’s eyes through two polycarb faceshields. Her vertical-slit purple bio-replacements were soft and warm. Cynric watched her full pink lips form words. He thought it was ‘I love you’ but it was hard to be sure. He used his hands to form a heart shape, and watched her laugh.

The Economy Class ‘passenger compartment’ was fenced off from the actual cargo by foamed-alloy grating. Riffraff couldn’t be trusted not to break into a container, damage something worth more spacefare than twenty passengers. Cynric and Vivica hung from restraints against a bulkhead in a row of fifty other low-rent travelers. He was an astromech; she was a hydrofarmer. Both jobs were taken by robots now, back on Luna. Thousands of jobs disappeared with a single shipment from Maskar Robotics down on Earth. But Mars - that was the new frontier. Heavy industry was still catching up on the four red planet colonies. Cynric and Vivica had job offers in Feet-Of-Olympus, a dome habitat at the base of the mountain. Robots would proliferate Mars eventually, once the lift-capacity became worth the squeeze. Right now, humans were lighter and cheaper.

By then they would be enjoying a nice retirement in a chalet on the Olympus slopes. Both their savings went for the ticket and the suits. They would step onto Mars-Terminus with just enough credit for a shuttle down to the surface.

Vivica snuggled up against Cynric’s shoulder, as much as she could with the restraining straps. Maybe 144 hours wouldn’t be so terrible. Not with Viv next to him.

#

Forty hours later, Cynric wasn’t so sure. He’d slept on and off, but it wasn’t easy even in the dim light of the compartment. He was used to Luna’s .17 gees. Micro just felt weird. Next to him, Vivica was still dozing. He looked at her long dark lashes resting on the high planes of her pale cheeks. A hundred-plus more hours, and he could once again marvel at the contrast of his own dark tan skin against hers. He didn’t know what kind of work quarters they’d get at Feet-Of-Olympus, but for sure they’d have a bed. The higher gravity would be interesting, too. He had never been on Earth, but Viv had. She said she felt super-heavy, but somehow right.

Something caught Cynric’s eye across the compartment. Only six feet away, another traveler was unbuckling his restraint straps. He floated free, and doubled up to fiddle with his boot. This guy had a nicer vacsuit, but still nothing too edge. It probably at least had an entertainment system. The guy finished messing with his boot and straightened back out.

Cynric’s heart pounded - the guy had some kind of long blade in his gloved hand. How he passed it through security, Cynric didn’t know. Must have looked like part of his suit. The guy pushed off from his bulkhead and floated towards them. Cynric struggled to unbuckle his own straps, blood rushing in his ears. The psycho wasn’t floating for him, though. He was pointed at Vivica. Cynric squirmed out of the straps. He grabbed Psycho’s arm just before he reached Viv. She woke just then, eyes wide with horror through the faceshield. Cynric pulled the guy away and they both floated into the middle of the compartment. Psycho thrashed and wrenched his arm free. He slashed at Cynric, missed.

Cynric watched Viv work on her own straps as he grabbed the guy again. He tried for the blade arm but couldn’t get a purchase. The guy’s face was inches from his, saliva spattering his faceshield as he screamed something. Cynric knew the NesTrans security officer was on the way. The compartment was under surveillance. He just had to hold on a few minutes longer.

#

The security officer got to Cynric and the psycho just as Vivica started pulling on the psycho’s suit, trying to get him off. Cynric felt a dull pain in his stomach, knew he’d been stabbed. He watched the officer put a captive-bolt through Psycho’s skull, watched blood fill his helmet. His own blood floated up in pretty droplets as he watched Vivica’s mouth form words. He was sure it was ‘I love you,’ this time.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW
Also muffin I'll totes suck your weiner, but you have to pay for the plane ticket, sorry.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









:siren:Hammer the Muffin:siren:

fast dirty judgment alright these were both p tight and fun to read so neither of you beshitted yourself, good details, imaginative, narrative propulsion ect ect but in one the love story was front and centre and the other it was sort of abstract now i gotta say muffin takes the prose crown, no surprises there coz motherfucker got chops but really its just just a set of amusing incidents innit and the love story is scuppered by having the story be one that happens to him rather than them so though martello needs to work through his info dump addiction poss w/ professional help imma give the brawl to him now hit the showers you two you're covered in loving lymph

JUDGMENT: MARTELLO

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006
Four more hours till sign ups close. Don't be a coward.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
:siren: :siren: ALL HANDS ON DECK :siren: :siren:

It's been brought to my attention that Thunderdome has lost its perfect gold thread rating.

It's time to rise. Your day has come. Gather your wit, your will, your luck and your power, and go forth! And rate the thread a 5.

History will thank you.

Remember, Thunderdome loves you, and you love Thunderdome. If you see something, say something. Friends don't let friends vote TD down.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: :siren: ALL HANDS ON DECK :siren: :siren:

It's been brought to my attention that Thunderdome has lost its perfect gold thread rating.

It's time to rise. Your day has come. Gather your wit, your will, your luck and your power, and go forth! And rate the thread a 5.

History will thank you.

Remember, Thunderdome loves you, and you love Thunderdome. If you see something, say something. Friends don't let friends vote TD down.

I rated the thread five and brought it back to gold. Just to test, I temporarily changed my rating to three and it went back down to four.

Long live the dome!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

I rated the thread five and brought it back to gold. Just to test, I temporarily changed my rating to three and it went back down to four.

Long live the dome!

Thank you, loyal citizen!

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again

thund5rdom5 5teen

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: Cash-Bro Brawl :siren:

I want you to tell me, in 2000 words, due by November 21st at midnight PST, a story inspired by the concept of social capital. Cache Cab, you will have to use your imagination because you'll never know what it's like to have social capital.

Remember, this is a :toxx:. If either of you fail to submit, your name will forever be stricken from the book of goon. At least until you cough up :tenbux:

Just FYI...

Armack
Jan 27, 2006
Crippled Crits Part IV: Surreptitious Muffin, SealHammer, Fuschia tude, sebmojo, ceaselessfuture, Your Sledgehammer

24. SurreptitiousMuffin - in two minds about everything

-The tone is absurd, which seems to be what you were going for. I just didn't really find it funny. That's just my own comedic tastes, others will probably find the humor.

-We don't have a reason to care about what happens to Anders, do we? He has an unusual...uh...imagination (condition?) but that doesn't make him interesting. There's no reason for us to invest in what happens to the protagonist, his imaginary friend, or the random Greenlander.

-I was repelled by both personalities of Anders/Jan. Anders comes off as pathetic, and Jan sadistic. I don't really want to root for anyone here.

I'm wondering if it's just me who wasn't thrilled with this piece. I'd love to see Chairchucker's take on this story.

Where you hooked me: You didn't.
Where you lost me completely: No specific line.

25. SealHammer - Recon

-Way too dialogue heavy for my taste.

-You do a good job of clearly explaining the crew's problem, why it matters, and that there are no good options.

-Nice backstory for Lang that The Union impressed him into service.

-Ending is good.

The overuse of dialogue detracted from this one. That said, I was curious to know what the crew's fate would be after they got detected by the enemy. Obviously, they were going to fight. But, this curiosity of mine is merely a reflection on how much I actually cared about these guys and their plight. Good job in that regard.

Where you hooked me: "We’re in the dead-center of an enemy fleet with no way to reliably aim an ejected module..."
Where you lost me completely: You didn't.

26. Fuschia tude - Bond

-In real life a second moon would do more damage than just earthquakes and tidal problems. The Earth's axis itself would get screwed up. Seasons would become unstable (or differently stable), climate collapse would occur almost everywhere. But then again, in real life a second moon doesn't just pop into existence either.

-Okay so you've got the moon idea...now what?

-The guy goes someplace to die. I can understand that, but there's a problem. 'Man goes someplace to die' is not story structure. It's one-note. There's not much characterization, and your protagonist has already resolved his way out of his conflict (he's decided to die and that's that).

Where you hooked me: "Soon it had resolved into another copy of the moon, moving out from behind the shadow of the first one."
Where you lost me completely: No specific place, but my interest waned as it became clear that nothing much was going to happen.

27. sebmojo - Because they have transistors

-Smooth prose. Fun premise to explore. Appropriate silliness.

-"...the three children..." Whose kids are those?

-The ending is absurd and that fits well with the tone of the story.

Good job. I'd say this is the funniest story this week besides Fumblemouse's.

Where you hooked me: "Derek! It was 'love, honour, comfort and keep', not 'be a robot!'"
Where you lost me completely: You didn't.

28. ceaselessfuture - Under the Ice

-If Tom's having trouble breathing, it's hard for me to believe that he "screamed louder."

-Haha, Hank's already talking about just leaving Tom.

-You're doing an excellent job at getting me to hate these characters.

-Satisfying ending. Dory isn't in any rush to help these pricks, and that feels right. Somehow.

I'll echo Djeser's comments about editing. At times the writing could be clearer. Still, I liked the story.

Where you hooked me: Tom writhed and yelled underneath it, firmly squished into the black sand of the tropical beach.
Where you lost me completely: You didn't.

29. Your Sledgehammer - Whenever This World is Cruel to Me

-Jake wonders if anyone else has been gender-swapped pretty early. I think it would be more natural for him to assume (at first) that it had only happened to Terry. It's like Jake already knows where this story is going...

-What about the broad implications of all this gender bending? So Jake's friend is a different gender...that's interesting, but it's nowhere near as compelling as the fact that THE WHOLE WORLD is swapped. I realize your story is about these two people, but the new context that they're in matters, even if only Jake realizes anything has happened.

-Awww. The ending is cute, even though for Jake romancing his best friend will probably be awkward.

Mid-tier in an incredibly strong week. Good job.

Where you hooked me: From the first sentence.
Where you lost me completely: Didn't lose me, but I was hoping you'd take a broader perspective on the calamity.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006
:siren: Sign Ups Are Closed :siren:

flerp
Feb 25, 2014
The "Hey, I Should Probably Write A Story An Hour Before It's Due" Brawl Entry vs. Cache Cab (Seriously Cache Cab if you submit, you will probably win)

Words: 1148

I'm Making A Killing Tonight

Jeff opened up the glove box of the car and pulled out his pistol. He checked the magazine, smiled, then slipped the pistol into his waist band.

“You ready?”

I reached into my jeans and felt the cold steel of my pistol. I hadn’t fired it since last week, so it was full.

“A gas station isn’t going to have enough, you know?” I said.

“Yeah, but they got something. We don’t have enough time to stage a bank robbery or something.”

“The cops will get on our rear end.”

“We got bigger poo poo to deal with then cops,” Jeff opened the door and stepped outside, “Anyways, once we’re gone tomorrow, it won’t matter.”

I stepped out of the car into the moist air. The rain had made the midnight ride that much more annoying, but we were getting closer to the New Orleans.

We walked into the brightly lit convenient store. The bell chimed and the Middle Eastern man heading the register looked up from his magazine and gave us a smile. I nodded back.

I walked along the aisles, assessing the store. There were a couple cameras, one pointed directly at the front entrance that caught our faces. Behind the counter, there was a door, probably where another employee was waiting, just in case something goes down. Shouldn’t be too difficult, all things considered. These people aren’t willing to get shot over a couple hundred dollars that they don’t get all of anyways.

I grabbed a bag of gummi worms and met up with Jeff in front of the register. He was sipping on a cherry Icee, and looked at the bag.

“Seriously, candy? Are you five?”

“gently caress you, I haven’t had this poo poo in years.”

The cashier rang up the items.

“That’ll be five fifty seven.”

Jeff looked at me and gave a slight nod. I moved closer to the counter, and Jeff pulled out his pistol and aimed it at the cashier.

“Hands up!” Jeff said. The cashier stumbled back and raised his arms. He quickly glanced down, and I jumped over the counter. I looked underneath the counter.

“What’s he got?” Jeff asked.

“A shotgun.”

I pulled the double-barreled shotgun out. It was lighter than usual. I cracked it open. No shells.

“Now that’s out of the way,” Jeff said, “Open the register and give me everything you got.”

The cashier shook his head.

“C’mon now, don’t make this difficult.”

“You’re not going to shot me for this little money.” The cashier said.

Jeff grinned. “You know what? I like you.” Jeff pointed his pistol to the entrance. “But I got five murders on my name. I’m gonna get locked up for life if the judge spares me.” He fired, shattering the glass sliding door. “A sixth one isn’t going to change any of that.” He raised the pistol to the cashier’s head. “Now, just give us the cash.”

The door behind the counter opened, and a younger Middle Eastern man appeared. I grabbed the pistol at out of my pants and aimed it at the man.

“Go back inside.” I said.

The cashier shouted something in a different language, and the young man disappeared into the back room.

“Now then, just give us the money, and you and your boy won’t get hurt, alright?” Jeff said.

The cashier opened up the register, and pulled out all the money. He handed it over to Jeff, who quickly swiped through it.

“Thank you kindly,” Jeff said.

The cashier stared at Jeff, probably wishing to blow off his smug rear end smile.

“Let’s go.”

I leaped over the counter. We ran into the car and raced out on the empty road.

#

“One fifty, one sixty, one seventy, one seventy eight.” Jeff said.

“Better than we usually get, but still not enough.”

Jeff stashed the money into the glove box.

“How the gently caress are we going to make a grand in a day?” I asked. “It’s not like we can stop at the next ten gas stations with the cops probably right on our tail.”

“We’ll find a way, don’t worry about it.”

Don’t worry meant we were hosed.

“I know someone in New Orleans. He had a lot of money back in the day. I’m sure I can convince him to give us a loan.”

Jeff reached into the glove box and pulled out his pistol. He placed a single bullet into the magazine, and smiled at me.

#
“If I hear one shot, I’m going to assume that’s you convincing him. If I hear two, I’m running over here and kicking down the door, alright?” Jeff said.

“Don’t worry about it, I can handle it. He won’t see it coming anyways.”

Jeff walked down the hall. I knocked on the apartment door. I waited a few minutes, and then a voice came out.

“What are you doing here?”

“I need some help.” I said.

The door’s lock clicked and it opened. Christian stood there, his blonde hair somehow longer than it was the last time I saw him. His eyes were sunken and he was dressed in a bath robe, although he was wearing a small heart-shaped locket.

“Did I wake you up?” I asked.

“Just come inside.”

The apartment had an odd smell, like a mix between a wet dog and old cheese. Clothing, towels, and plastic was strewn about the floor. Christian pointed to the stained couch and I took a seat.

“Want something to drink? Tea or something?”

I smiled. “What, you don’t drink whiskey anymore?”

“Turns out that drinking whiskey every morning messes with your liver.”

“Yeah, and coke fucks with your nose.”

Christian stayed silent.

“You quit coke too?”

“About a year ago.”

“poo poo, I guess anything is possible.”

Christian looked at his wrist and sighed. “So, what do you need?”

“One grand.”

Christian chuckled. “And you think I’m just gonna give it to you?”

“I guess.”

“What for?”

“To get to Panama”

“Why Panama?”

I smiled at him. “Long story.”

Christian leaned in closer.

“I got time.” He said.

“Yakuza.”

Christian laughed and put his hands to his face. “How the gently caress did you get involved with Yakuza?”

“Like I said, a long story.”

Christian sat there for a while, smiling, probably thinking about how hosed I was. He grabbed onto his locket and lifted it to his face.

“How’s it been without Janet?” I asked.

Christian stared at the locket.

“Alright, I’ll help.” Christian said.

“For real?”

Christian motioned for me to follow, and we walked into his bedroom. He reached into his drawer, and grabbed a small lockbox. He opened his lockbox, and pulled a small key and unlocked the lockbox. He counted out a grand, and handed it to me.

“I… Thank you, so much.”

“You owe me.”

I hugged Christian, “Seriously, thank you.”

“I’m just happy you didn’t shot me.”

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER
Submission for week CXX, please enjoy.

A Stranger in Gingerbread Junction
1429 words


Mr. Taffy floated in Cola Lake on that sunny afternoon. He felt the fizz trickle over his entire body as he lay idle, letting the cola tickle his nose. He turned his head as Mary Marshmallow skipped up to him, a smile on her face that could melt Ice Cream Corner.


“We have a new friend in town!” she yelled.


“A new friend? Well gee!” replied Mr. Taffy.


Within seconds, Mr. Taffy sprang out of Cola Lake and was right next to Mary. The two exchanged giddy glances before hopping into town.


Gingerbread Junction was abuzz over the newcomer. Gossip flew from one ear to the next about this stranger. The regulars of the Chocolate Milk Bar exchanged their juiciest insights.


“I hear he's from the Jolly Ranches,” said Carrie Caramel as she nursed a glass of strawberry milk.


“Well, I heard he comes from beyond the Rock Candy Mountains,” said Benny Ginger as he grabbed a handful of chocolate pretzels.


“You're all wrong, he hails from the Licorice Loch,” said Chocolate Charlie whilst rubbing his temple.


“Wherever he comes from, he's handsome,” said Sally Salt with a dreamy gaze.


Then, without warning, the doors to the Chocolate Milk Bar swung open. There he stood, his towering physique matching the height of a candy cane tree, and his mottled outfit sporting each color of the rainbow. Every candy-coated patron melted at the sight of the rugged stranger. There was a pause as they all waited for him to speak.


“Hm, I guess a root beer float, barkeep,” said the stranger, hands behind his back.


Everybody gasped at the stranger's order.


“Nobody's ordered anything that strong since Poprock Rick. Are you sure you can handle it, stranger?” asked the barkeeper.


The stranger rolled his eyes as he confirmed his order.


Later that evening, Mary Marshmallow and Mr. Taffy sat in the foyer of Mr. Taffy's cottage. The taffy man occupied his hands shuffling a deck of cards as Mary continued talking about the stranger.


“He chugged a root beer float, can you believe that?”


“Mhmm.”


Mr. Taffy finished shuffling after a few more minutes of Mary gushing about the stranger.


“Mary, can you shuffle next time? The cards get stuck to my hands.”


“Oh, yeah, sure. Did you hear about the stranger's game of Go-Fish? He took everyone to the cleaners!”


“Ha, I bet you he couldn't beat us. We're the Go-Fish champs. You ready to play now?”


“Yep!”


With that, the two commenced their game.


The stranger had grown quite a following in the days that passed. People lined up to get his autograph, and he had become the undisputed Go-Fish champion, beating out even Mr. Taffy and Marshmallow Mary. However, the stranger seemed to grow bored with Go-Fish, and devised a new game the whole town could play together.


“Alright folks, we're gonna line up into rows. I want everyone that's chocolate over here,” he said as he pointed near the Lemon-lime Fountain


“Everybody who's caramel, line up to the right of the chocolates.”


“Everybody Marshmallow, come to the left of the chocolates. Taffies, come next to them.”


And on it went, until the entire town had lined up in multiple single file rows.


“Now, if you'd please, follow me.”


“This game is weird, Mary,” whispered Mr. Taffy as they followed the stranger.


“Shh, he's gonna give us instructions.”


“Come on folks, just a little further,” said the stranger as he led the entire town in his game.


The town came to a halt as they approached it. It looked like a small building, although the candy it was made from was impossible for anyone to discern. It also lacked windows, having just a single, large door leading in.


“In here. Chocolates, you guys first.”


Mr. Taffy felt, in the pit of his gut, that something was truly off. The chocolates filed into the building, softly chatting each other up as they marched. Soon, they disappeared within.


“Mary, please, we gotta leave, this isn't gonna be fun,” whispered Mr. Taffy, panic growing in his voice.


“Worrywart,” she said as the caramels joined the chocolates.


Something inside Mr. Taffy broke as the stranger called the marshmallows. He flung himself at Mary, and grabbed her in his arms.


“Hey, let me go!” shouted Mary as Mr. Taffy carried her off.


The town watched as Mr. Taffy, with Mary in tow, sprinted into the Gingerbread Woods.


In the woods, Mr. Taffy shot from one gingersnap spruce to the next. He heard the stranger following from behind, slick as a vanilla viper. Mr. Taffy's saltwater heart beat out of his chest as he plowed through the truffle thicket. Without thinking, Mr. Taffy hurled Mary and himself into a small cave. With his hand clasped over Mary's mouth, he gave a mental sigh of relief as he heard the stranger pass the two of them.


“What the heck?!” hissed Mary as soon as Mr. Taffy took his hand off her mouth.


“I'm sorry. But didn't you see how he chased us? I really don't think this is a game!”


“Then, what do you think it is?”


Mr. Taffy paused.


“I really don't know, but whatever it is, I don't like it.”


The moon had crept over the horizon when Mr. Taffy and Mary finally left the cave. The duo made their way back to Mr. Taffy's cottage, neither talking to the other. Mary gave Mr. Taffy the occasional look of contempt as they made their way back.


“We missed out on what could've been the best game of our lives. Thanks.”


Mr. Taffy said nothing as he sat on his bed, rubbing his eyes. Mary huffed as she settled down on the floor.


“Please stay here tonight, Mary.”


“Why should I stay with a meaner like you?”


“Please Mary? I'm really, really sorry.”


“Fine. But you're still a meaner.”


The next morning, Mr. Taffy and Mary came back to a ghost town. The Chocolate Milk Bar was devoid of life, as was every house and cottage. The two made their way across Cola Lake, also void of its usual fishers and swimmers. It was then on a hunch that Mr. Taffy decided to visit the building from yesterday.


When they reached the building, they saw something they hadn't noticed yesterday. It was a window, tucked behind the rightmost corner. Mr. Taffy took a deep breath as he stole a peek into the window.


Inside he saw the stranger, although he was dressed differently. In place of the colorful outfit he wore prior, he instead sported a white coat of sorts. The stranger also seemed to be doing something with a brown object that Mr. Taffy couldn't quite make out.


Then, Mr. Taffy got a better glimpse of what the stranger was working on. He had his arm deep inside Chocolate Charlie's head. Just as Mr. Taffy made this realization, the stranger turned his gaze, locking eyes with the taffy man.


Mr. Taffy sprinted with Mary in tow through the gingerbread forest, but he did not stop in a cave this time. They continued running, sprinting up the Rock Candy Mountains. It appeared the stranger wasn't following them, although Mr. Taffy kept turning his head every other minute.


“Where are we going, Mr. Taffy?”


“I don't hopefully know.”


With that, the two through the Rock Candy Mountains, into the unknown.


The stranger shook his head in confusion. Those two were a strange couple, albeit great at Go-Fish. Still, he was a doctor and couldn't dwell on a couple of weirdos for too long. At least, not with a brain surgery on his hands. He did his best to find them in the vanilla viper infested woods yesterday, and they weren't worth anymore effort.


The stranger, who came to be known as Dr. Rainbow, did help in the search for Marshmallow Mary and Mr. Taffy that ensured in the following weeks. The two seemed to vanish into thin air the day after Dr. Rainbow showed everyone his new practice.


“Mr. Taffy was always a little unhinged. A real fruitcake who always thought people were out to get him,” Carrie Caramel told Dr. Rainbow on a search around the Jolly Ranches.


“Had a real creepy thing going for Mary,” Benny Ginger said as they searched around the Rock Candy Mountains.


“Yeah, the little weirdo was looking for any chance he could to get with that Mary girl, if you get what I mean,” said Chocolate Charlie on a search near the Licorice Loch.


The search was cancelled after a few weeks, with both persons presumed dead.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

sebmojo posted:

:siren:Hammer the Muffin:siren:

fast dirty judgment alright these were both p tight and fun to read so neither of you beshitted yourself, good details, imaginative, narrative propulsion ect ect but in one the love story was front and centre and the other it was sort of abstract now i gotta say muffin takes the prose crown, no surprises there coz motherfucker got chops but really its just just a set of amusing incidents innit and the love story is scuppered by having the story be one that happens to him rather than them so though martello needs to work through his info dump addiction poss w/ professional help imma give the brawl to him now hit the showers you two you're covered in loving lymph

JUDGMENT: MARTELLO

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW
btw i'm the one in the badass vest, muffin is the other because he has a receding hairline

he tries to hide it with his mal from firefly hairdo but we all know

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Broenheim posted:

The "Hey, I Should Probably Write A Story An Hour Before It's Due" Brawl Entry vs. Cache Cab (Seriously Cache Cab if you submit, you will probably win)

Words: 1148

The worst story to ever win a brawl

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

I

AM

MAGNIFICENT






cache cab is banned so i dunno if he can see you talking to him :P

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk










HAVEN'T SEEN YOURS YET LOL

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

Next week I'm actually going to have time to write, so I'll have enough time to whoop your rear end kid.

Brawl me, for realz.

(Also, I'd rather have some of my brawl wins not be wins by default).

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Broenheim posted:

Next week I'm actually going to have time to write, so I'll have enough time to whoop your rear end kid.

Brawl me, for realz.

(Also, I'd rather have some of my brawl wins not be wins by default).

I was just kidding. Maybe I'll take you on sometime. I got assigned a goddamn 2500 word horror story for my current brawl.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

blue squares posted:

I was just kidding. Maybe I'll take you on sometime. I got assigned a goddamn 2500 word horror story for my current brawl.

Your insult will not be forgotten. Be prepared, for once your brawl is done, I will regain my honor through any means necessary.

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J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.


Sorry for this, everyone. Not my best work.

Corporate Losses
A lazy shepherd is a wolf's best friend
1094 words

“I hope you understand the severity of this allegation, Mr. Smith.”

I clenched my hands together until it hurt. I took deep, steady breaths. I tried to control myself from shouting the obvious in the moron's face.

“I've told you again and again, officer,” I said, trying to keep it civil. My fingers ached. “Mr. Acevedo is the guy who did it.”

“I thought his name was Alvarez, Mr. Smith,” He said back.

Who the gently caress cares what his name was? He's a janitor. His name could be Mr. Shitcleaner, for all I cared.

“It sounds close enough,” I said again. “Look, I didn't talk to the guy, alright? All I'm telling you is that he's the man you're looking for, and the tape is going to show that.”

“We'll see, Mr. Smith,” He said again. I gritted my teeth as he took a seat. “Let's go over it again, just to make sure we have the facts straight.”

Oh, goddamnit. We've been over it twice already, you brain dead rear end in a top hat. I shook my head, took another breath, and started all over again.

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

It was a Tuesday, right around lunchtime, when I first ran into him.

I had just send up the rough copy of the quarterly profit sheets from our marketing department, finally getting the last of a long line of 'URGENT' papers from last week off my work load. If I kept it up, then I might have enough of a head start to take the entire weekend off

I was heading out the door to grab some lunch with Derek, a friend of mine from upstairs, when the janitor checked me with his cleaning cart. I remember the scent of cleaning fluid and latex gloves, and that dumb, gawking face at the other end, pushing it. I told him to watch it, and he just nodded, and backed away.

“That looked like it hurt,” Derek said, standing beside the elevator in a charcoal grey suit that matched his dark hair. “That guy just came right out of nowhere.”

I laughed him off as we got into the elevator. Derek and I had made it into the company around the same time a few years ago, but he had the advantage of a better college and friends up in the manager's circle. So, while I was down here looking over reports, making sure to keep an eye on accounts and monitor major transactions, he'd made it into admin. Yet we still kept in contact, and he never let management turn him into an rear end in a top hat.

After that, it was just another day at the office. I stayed in later, to make sure I got the rest of my workload polished off for the weekend. I was tired, I'd been staring at a screen all day, so when one of the lights in the big guy's office turned on, I couldn't really see who it was. It wasn't like it was someone who was working late, otherwise they would have turned the light on earlier. And only someone who had keys to that room could get in. They had these weird doors that never really unlocked, so if you left your keys you had to call one of the admin guys or wait for security to come up. The janitor always had a set of keys, though, since most of his cleaning was done after hours.

That first night, I didn't think much of it. I just headed down to the parking lot, found my car next to Derek's, and headed for home. Still, I could feel that nagging sensation pulling on me.

I decided to stay after work again, maybe to catch the guy as he was leaving. But I guess he slipped out while I was taking a bathroom break. I waited for a couple of hours, just staring at the office door, that light still on inside.

No movement. Finally fed up with waiting, I headed into the room. Empty, clean, completely unremarkable. I guess the boss didn't like decorating his room. I noticed the glow from the computer, the monitor still on. Which was surprising, as he was usually a hardass when it came to turning off computers after work. Something about cyber-security or some such crap.

Logged off, of course. I left the office after that, thinking to come back tomorrow and confront the janitor about it.

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

“So, you admit entering the office on Thursday night?

This poo poo again. “Yeah, I was there to catch that rear end in a top hat doing...whatever the gently caress he was doing,” I snapped at him. “He was probably taking stuff from the office while we were out. It's not like you can trust people like that, right?”

“Well, saying as nothing was stolen from the office, I guess that means you're wrong,” The officer said. He was about to say something else, when his cellphone rang out. He turned away from me, talking quickly and hushed into the headset.

What the gently caress was taking them so long. They already knew who it was, why didn't they haul him into a room and ask him questions?

“Well, it seems we have a new break in the case,” He said, turning back around. “Now, I'll ask one more time: Are you sure that it was the janitor who did it?”

“Yes! Whatever he did, he was the one who did it,” I said again, far past getting fed up with this crap.

“Then you'll be pleased to know that Mr. Antonio doesn't work night shift,” He said.

Wait, that couldn't be right. “Then who did it?”

“That's under police investigation, sir,” He said. “You're free to go. Talk with the officer at the front desk on your way out, please.”

It didn't make sense, the question rolling over in my head again and again. It had to be him, right? Who else would do it?

The next Monday, Derek's car wasn't in his spot. No one had seen him. No one would even talk to me about it when I asked.

Only a few days later did I learn that someone had used an admin account to re-route one of the accounts to somewhere overseas. Millions of dollars, gone overnight. And Derek was nowhere to be found.

Thinking back on it, it was simple to see. His car in the parking lot, long after everyone else was gone. A shadow in the doorway that could have easily been his profile.

And I was the man he set up to fall for it.

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