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  • Locked thread
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Mammon The Socialite
(1268 words)

Even with the darkened lighting professor Alfred Malnstein could see his own reflection on the polished revolver. The long, heavy gun next to a thick old tome bound in sinister black leather, and a half drunk bottle of whiskey made for an interesting trio. Malnstein had a rule about not bringing food nor drink into his study, and he was never enamored with guns. But there he was, a trifle too old to stop the Circle Crimson and save the world, and a little too cowardly to shoot himself while sober. But, after what he had seen in the last few years and considering what was supposed to happen in the next few months, a bullet to the head was a preferable alternative.

He just have to man up, or, failing that, draw on “Dutch courage”, as the British used to call it in the Great War.

In his half drunken stupor he barely noticed the muted protestations of his housemaid downstairs. Thus he jumped in his seat when the study door suddenly slammed open.

“Professor!” shouted his intrepid young assistant, Tom Watkins, as he burst into the room, “the world is saved!”

“And who would be this savior, my boy?” Alfred inquired skeptically. Before the assistant could answer, another man stepped in and left professor’s mouth agape.

“John St. John. Industrialist,” that was Mr. St. John’s trademark introduction, and it was as fitting now as it was in gala events. “I understand you have problems with a certain Desmond Harp-Fitzgerald and his band of occult lickspittles.”

“Well, y-y-yes,” the professor stammered. “But what is it to you?”

“Mister Watkins told me certain stories, ones that would explain certain eerie things I saw happening at my Caribbean fisheries,” he gestured towards the now silent assistant, “and I have invested far too much into this world to see it go to waste.”


There was a certain flurry of activity in the following weeks. Cars sped down the streets, narrowly dodging street cars and jumping sidewalks, leaving many a fair citizen shocked and flabbergasted. The vehicles would suddenly screech to halt. Men in sharp suits would get out, smart briefcases in tow, enter a municipal building, a federal agency, or a shady drinking hole, and soon emerge with their hands empty, but with content smiles.

Trains would stop before leaving the station. And if any of the more impatient or improper passengers would lean out of the window to shake a fist and maybe cuss out the station attendant, they could notice weasely accountant types holding their hats while running down the length of the platform and jumping into the last train car. The trip would then resume as if nothing had happened.
At least three different wives and five mistresses were surprised when their paramours suddenly bought them the dresses or pearls they wanted. What was the source of this sudden wealth? The men would just smile and say nothing. But deep behind their content facades, they’d be wondering: somebody paid me money for this?


The tribal council was perplexed. This white man, often seen in the newspapers and cited as no-nonsense man, was kneeling in front of them and asking, nay, almost begging to perform an ancient dance that they themselves had almost written off. That was odd, very odd, but Mister St. John was very specific about the day and time, and had even brought a special clock with him. More than that, he had brought a frankly unreasonable amount of money and binding contract: dance the Dance of Yellow Shades and the tribe will have enough money for a new irrigation system, and school repair to boot.
The elders could not say “no” to that.

Joel was crouching behind the truck when flaming chunks of the old Suppinton estate started falling into the surrounding swamp. It had been the most queer of the weeks in the county.
First, the Sheriff led some government types from the big city to raid the Suppinton villa, on the grounds that it was a moonshine hideout. That was very weird by itself, since Joel knew the best runners in the county, yet he had never heard of any action happening in the old place.

Then the place was bought out seemingly overnight, by some shady far away people that only appeared as lawyers and other entrusted folk. Who would want that old house in the middle of the swamp, especially since it was now more than a little shot up and had a fair share of bloodstains?

Eventually, this reached Joel when “No-Toe” Timmy approached him with an offer. For a fat wad of cash, he had to organize a ridiculous amount of TNT and meet his contact near at the Suppinton estate. When Joel finally made it there (riding with a truckload of dynamite had to be the most gentle of rides), Timmy was already waiting with a city boy by the name of Tom Watkins.
Tom was crazier that shithouse rat, so it seemed. They followed him around the house while he checked nooks and crannies, making eerie chalk markings here, sprinkling some stuff there, and often asking the men to move furniture and bookshelves.

Eventually, after humming and tapping his foot in a living room, Tom found a door to a cellar that the police seemed to have mysteriously missed. A huge Colt 1851 Navy revolver – Joel fancied himself a gun connoisseur – appeared, though the city feller didn’t look like he was very comfortable with it. Gun in the right hand, he opened the door, took a peak and a whiff, and slammed it shut.

After that, it was just a simple matter of stacking TNT on the hatch and letting her rip. Tom didn’t tell Joel why that had to be done, but he looked visibly relieved once the villa had disappeared.


The Harp-Fitzgerald estate – looming some distance past the gate and the wall – was dark, save for candles in some of the windows and lanterns of people patrolling the remains of the south wing that burnt down after what appeared to be a syndicalist attack on the “oppressor of common man” earlier that week. Apparently the electrical company had discovered a fault in one of their sub stations in the area, and it had to be taken down for immediate repairs. The night was quiet except for some distant mechanical rumbling down the road.

The professor took stock of the situation. A large number of men were crowding on the other side of the road from the mansion gate. Shotguns, trench coats, and electric flashlights.

“All good men,” said John St. John while huddling into his coat to keep the chill away, “All Great War veterans. They saw some stuff back in the day, so I think they can dependably carry you through the night.”

The rumbling got louder and closer.

“John St. John. Industrialist and savior of the world,” Alfred quipped with some hidden jealousy.

The man laughed.

“Yes, the power of wealth can carry one over many an obstacle.”

“Can it carry us over the gate?”

“I believe it can,” said St. John with impeccable timing as mechanical rumbling materialized into a restored Mark VIII tank. The metal beast used its considerable bulk to smash a hole in the wall. The men clutched their guns tightly and advanced towards the gap to follow the landship which was slowly making its way through the yard, guns blazing all the while.

St. John motioned to the waiting professor.

“Come along, dear fellow, the night is not yet over!”

Prompt: A golden key can open any door


Feb 15, 2005

The Hoose-Gow
1,507 words

The two detectives reminded me of Laurel and Hardy as they moved to intercept me. Of course, I didn’t realize they were police at the time, but it wasn’t hard to figure out they were coming for me by their walk. Before the fat one, Hardy, even flashed his badge, I already had my hands raised for a mugging.

“We’ve got a few questions for you,” Laurel said as he snaked his bony fingers onto my shoulder. “We’re hoping you could come with us.”

“Am I under arrest?” I blurted out as they lead me towards the Crown Victoria.

“We just have a few questions about your friend Pinky we’d like to ask you at the station,” Hardy replied as he slumped into the driver’s seat.

Ah, my friend Pinky. I already didn’t like where the situation was going. I shouldn’t have been friends with the man. Nothing about him or me seemed to suggest camaraderie from our respective appearances. Other people gave us funny looks at the bar, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t blame them. When I looked at Pinky, really looked at him, I almost couldn’t figure it out myself.

There was his nickname, for one. It was ridiculous, the name for a bumbling mook thrown into the movie for laughs. There was the way he dressed – an old wife beater in the summer with sweat stains in the summer. In the winter he wore a heavy duty hoody with the Steeler astroids on the chest. I never saw him wear an actual winter jacket. He’d complain about the cold and the terrible weather we were always having, but I never believed it. The man was most comfortable when the ground had frost. He drank SoCo or Yuengling exclusively. He talked with that thick Appalachia accent, and dropped random words out of his sentences. If this city – the old city – could have been distilled down into a single person, Pinky would have been a pretty close resemblance. He matched the archetype of the Lumpenproletariat left behind when the Steel Mills moved south.

And as for me, I was the new city. The universities and hospitals, indie music venues and gay clubs. I had moved here from California to pursue a mathematics degree at Carnegie Mellon. Back home, I had felt like the level-headed, down to earth person in all of La Jolla. I suppose every teenager feels wise beyond their years, but the gulf between me and the shallow plasticity of my peers had seemed immeasurable. At the time, I had thought California was a ridiculous place, inhospitable for anyone with half a brain or soul.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived in Pittsburgh. I had missed the warmth and sun first, as their absence was the most dramatic, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. At home, I was thoughtful and subdue. Here, I came off as an overblown glittery male version of Nicole Ritchie. I hated the New City, and the New hated me. I had seen the glamour and flashiness of LA, and the backwater rendition of it on the East Coast did not compare. I suppose I was a little bit too obvious with my distaste when I first arrived, because the local scene closed itself against me with remarkable swiftness.

So I ended up celebrating my 20th birthday alone, drinking cheap beer at the Backyard Bar, and miles away from the college watering holes. They didn’t card, and I didn’t care. I had simply wanted to efficiently become plastered with minimum pleasantries. Of course, Pinky had sidled up next to me with that bizarre local obsession with starting conversations with total strangers. He got me talking, despite my best efforts otherwise. He started explaining baseball like it was something we didn’t have in California. He was the warmest, most humane person I had met in that entire city. So, I spent the next five years drinking with him.
I didn’t say any of that to Detective Hardy.

“You listening to me, kid? I asked you what your relationship with Pinky is.” He rolled out of his chair and stood next to me, overwhelming my nose with his cheap cologne.

“You should answer the man, kid. My partner can get a little antsy.”

The interrogation room didn’t look like what they show in the movies. There was no large, one way mirror on the wall, and the whole thing was smaller than I expected. Between the desk, two chairs, and three of us, it felt intolerably crowded. I focused on the fluorescent light overhead as steeled my nerves.
“I’d like to call my lawyer, please.”

Hardy chuckled. “You hear that, partner?”

Laurel nodded. “Sure did. Fairy wants a lawyer. Fairy thinks he’s under arrest.”

“Fairy thinks he knows how this loving poo poo works.” I couldn’t look at the light anymore as Hardy stuck his fat wobbly face in front of mine, close enough to kiss. “You don’t know loving poo poo. Lemme explain to you how this poo poo works. You’re loving drinking buddies with a thug, and we’re taking you in for questioning. We can question your stupid loving rear end for 24 hours, for no reason at all.”

“It’s the law,” piped in Laurel.

“So you’re going to tell me all you know about Pinky and his buddies, or we’re gonna throw you in the shark tank. Capiche?”

I tried to keep my face impassive and emotionless. I knew exactly what they were talking about – you don’t spend five years drinking with someone and not figure out their day job. Pinky had been a boxer back in the day. A good one, apparently, until a bad match ruined him. After that he took his disability check and ran numbers on the side. I never really bought it, him being a bookie. Pinky wasn’t really good enough with numbers. But the other bookies would come find him every now and then, and they’d have a brief little conversation about so and so, and how much they owed. You didn’t have to be too street smart to figure out what was going on.

Despite my best efforts, I was cracking under Hardy’s invasion of my personal space. The fat bastard must have picked up on it, too. “You’ve got something to say, Fairy?”
I gulped a few times before I could get out a loud, definitive “No.”

I didn’t see the punch coming. There was no transition between that one word and me lying on the ground. The left side of my face was an angry red ball of hatred, and Laurel was pulling a screaming, beet faced Hardy away from me. Two uniformed police officers came in and pulled me to my feet before dragging me out of the room.

The holding cell wasn’t what I expected either – there was no iron bars across the front, for one thing, and the hardened criminals inside looked a bit rough, but generally normal. I didn’t doubt that I would come out worse in any confrontation, though. The two officers dropped me in a heap in the middle of a room, and locked the door with a laughing “Have fun.”

“Jesus, Kid, how’d you wind up in here?” I wiped a tear away and didn’t recognize the voice at first. It was one of the regulars from the Backyard Bar, Tony I think his name was. He pulled me to my feet and led me towards a corner.

“They wanted to know about Pinky,” I replied.

“Did ya say anything?” A deep voice rumbled behind me, coming from large man with a crooked nose and bruised knuckles.

“No,” I replied. “I didn’t say anything.”

“No snitching?”

“I didn’t say a word,” I repeated, more forcibly this time. That was the last of my troubles in the cell.

Laurel and Hardy checked on me a few times, and eventually gave up. By the time they released me, the buses had long stopped working and my cell phone was dead.

“Any chance I could get a ride home? Use the pay phone?” I asked. The officer at the front desk pointedly ignored me. I sighed, and committed myself to the long walk home. I didn’t make it the whole way down the block before Pinky pulled up beside me.

“Hey, kid,” he said. I noticed he wouldn’t look me in the eyes. “Lemme give you a ride home, alright? To make up for the trouble.”

“Thanks,” I said. And then, after a pause, “I didn’t say anything.”

“Don’t worry about it, kid. It doesn’t matter."

“Still. I didn’t say anything."

There wasn’t much else to say on the rest of the ride home. He pulled up in front of my apartment. And then he reached over and gave my hand a tight squeeze.
“Thanks for not saying anything.”

I squeezed his big, callused hand back. “Anything for a friend.” I let go after a moment. “You going to be around next week?”

“Yeah,” Pinky said with a big grin. “See you next week, kid.”

Don't be friends with the dog, for the tail will show it.

Aug 2, 2002

Of Boys and Blinds
1477 words

Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won't eat you

crabrock fucked around with this message at 19:25 on Jan 1, 2015

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Standards and Practices
569 words

Ram Chowder, Chief Executive of RamCorp, lifted his coffee mug, hefted it in a beefy hand, and hurled it the length of the cherry and inlaid sandalwood boardroom table. It spun as it flew, leaving a comet trail of black coffee splatters, before impacting with a sullen thud on the irritatingly well-haired skull of Henry Skoggins, his VP in Charge of Being an rear end in a top hat; a position to which Chowder had mentally assigned him while the mug was still in flight.

"gently caress you, gently caress your piss-weak lily-livered bullshit and gently caress that stupid tie," said Ram. “Any more questions, or do we go ahead?”

All round the room the highly paid RamCorp executives stared intently at their unmarked yellow legal pads. Henry said something weak and blubbery from under the table and Ram nodded.

“It’s agreed: call Obama and tell him drilling starts next week. The polar bears can sit on their fuckin’ igloos and watch, we won’t stop them.” He pushed his chair back from the table in a sudden and explosive kung fu movement, standing up at the same time in a power stance he’d learnt from Bruce Lee, and, completely motionless, watched his executives file out, two of them dragging a blood-bathed Henry between them.

As the door closed silently behind Henry’s trailing John Lobbs, Ram spun round with a howl and drop kicked his chair across the room. God he loved board meetings, all those well-coiffed shitheads hoping for a touch of approval and never finding it, it was like being a goddam mother bird coming home to the nest and telling your squawking hatchspawn to find their own fuckin’ dinner.

The phone rang as Ram was staring across the city, the sun’s last golden rays painting chiaroscuro traceries across the thrusting pillars of commerce and activity. “Chowder,” he said without looking round.

“Missster Chowder,” came a voice. It wasn’t one he recognised, and it warbled and wobbled like an old-fashioned tape recorder on its last legs. “Lisssten very ccccarrefully. I will say this only –“

Ram laughed, a bellowing gust of humour that bounced around the cavernous boardroom like a drunk trying to make it down the hallway in the dark. “Is this a ransom demand? Voice all disguised, hey? Got a proposition for me? Well let’s cut the song and dance, the answer’s no.”

“Missster Chowder you don’t understand we –“

“Short answer: no. Long answer, no: get hosed.”

“We have your son! He’s right here!”

Ram chuckled at the mewling cries; he recognised them from a family holiday he’d spent in the Azores a year or two back. Typical of the boy, he’d always been weak, scratching at the door while Ram worked. “He got himself into trouble, I’m sure he can get himself out of it. What do you want? I’m a busy man.”

“Your drilling will not be permitted! We have wired charges all down the –“

Ram picked up the phone and hurled it at the window; it burst in a spray of injection-molded Italian plastic and circuitry.

Weaklings, all of them. He had the strength to do what needed to be done, but at every turn he was weighted down with feeble hangers-on. He brooded for a moment. What to do, what to do.

Then he smiled. Striding over to his desk, he pulled out another phone, and hit the single button on its face with a firm finger.

“Henry; get me a goddam whore.”

When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea

Apr 12, 2006

I not late I steh on Hawaiian time.

:siren: Submissions are closed :siren:

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012


Interpompt: It's a Thanksgiving miracle! 200 words

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:

Cache Cab has farted off to wherever out-of-touch dads go (probably the garage, listening to Pink Floyd). But I hate to just give out wins based on technicalities.

So I'm calling for volunteers to step up. Whoever writes me Cache Cab's missing brawl piece will possibly win. There's no :toxx: for this, just, if the mood takes you, go head and pound out a story and I'll see if it's better than broenheim's. You have (roughly) until judgment ends.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

Sitting Here posted:

Cache Cab has farted off to wherever out-of-touch dads go (probably the garage, listening to Pink Floyd). But I hate to just give out wins based on technicalities.

So I'm calling for volunteers to step up. Whoever writes me Cache Cab's missing brawl piece will possibly win. There's no :toxx: for this, just, if the mood takes you, go head and pound out a story and I'll see if it's better than broenheim's. You have (roughly) until judgment ends.

Darker Skies
627 words

The acid rain doesn’t kill people, not anymore. But when Hannah drunkenly ran outside on a stormy evening filled with beer and card games, slurring the lyrics from Jimmy Webb’s McArthur Park (“Someone left the cake out in the rain”), I was getting just a bit worried.

We had to drag her back inside, Ron and I. She didn’t care much for it. She kicked. She screamed. She had no choice. The outside was dangerous and friends take care of each other.

We put her in the recliner in our living room and once she’d seemed to have calmed down a bit, we let go of her. So she ran back outside.

She’d always been a stubborn one.

“The gently caress is wrong with her?” I said.

Ron shrugged and grunted something that sounded like “Women.”

“Should we tie her up?”


“I mean that’s kinda creepy, isn’t it?”


“Thanks, Ron.”

We went back out, but this time she wasn’t dancing and singing at the front door. Looking for her, we went out far into the surrounding fields, until our house was no more than a white dot in the darkness. The clouds above were dark and rippled across the sky as far the eye can see. It was like watching God’s coffee cup from below, waiting for the spill.

It was Ron who found her, grunting something and pointing at the dead maple tree up the hill. Hannah sat underneath, knees pulled to her chin, rocking back and forth. She was crying.

“Hannah,” I said. “What’s going on?”

“My boy,” she said. She had to force the words out.

poo poo. I kept a straight face. At least I tried. You dumb rear end in a top hat.

“It’s his birthday,” she said. She wiped runny mascara off her cheeks, but quickly gave up on fixing her makeup and buried her face in her arms instead.

“Look,” I said, “I don’t-- We have to go back inside. Okay? Right? Ron?”

Ron was gone. Where the gently caress...

“What’s it matter?” Hannah said. She absently glanced over the tree, fingers brushing the scorched scars in the bark. The acid rain had burned off any carvings this tree had once had. Now there only was black wood, and the burned remains of rope tied around the lowest branch.

There’d been a swingset here once.

“You might get hurt,” I said.

“This used to be our favorite place, you know. Now… sometimes I feel like there’s nothing good left in this world.”

“That’s not true.” I wanted to mention Ron and myself. Our evenings together. I bit my tongue. This was not about us.

“I want to be with him,” she said. She looked straight at me, lips quivering, and then she buried her face in her arms again.

The clouds were moving faster, as if they ran out of patience. As if they were trying to get to the finish line before we did. Somewhere, someone hadn’t eaten his vegetables.

Please don’t rain.

I sat down next to Sarah and put an arm around her shoulder. She started crying again, and I listened, saying nothing.

Then Ron came out of the darkness. He carryied a six pack in one hand and a pack of cards in the other. He sat down in the grass, put a bottle in front of each one of us, and dealt.

“No, guys,” Hannah said, “you should go back inside.”

“Cards today,” Ron grunted in a tone that left no room for argument. So Hannah looked at me, and I looked back at her and said, well, you heard the man. And she laughed. It wasn’t cheerful or relaxed. More of a Can-You-loving-Believe-It laugh. Or maybe she just snorted.

But she picked up her beer, and her cards. And we played.

Jan 27, 2006

Crippled Crits Post Script from Calamity Week

Schneider Heim - Bystander Effect

-"The homeless man sat against the wall, feet sticking out on the sidewalk, and. Alexa stepped around them him with a disgusted face." I know by "them" you meant the dude's legs, but in a broader sense she stepped around "him," the person. It would also be a bit better if you described how she was expressing disgust using her face. Was her nose turned up? Was she sneering? Better to show us the disgust on her face rather than just assert it.

-"You still have an hour. You can still make it if you hurry."

-Unless Alexa has forensics training, it's really weird how confident she is that the murder weapon was an ice pick.

-"How many people had she passed in her lifetime, needing her help? How many people dying, whom she passed by without looking? Google gave her an answer. It was called the bystander effect." The bystander effect explains why this happens on a societal level, but Google hasn't answered her actual question which was 'how many people had she passed?'.

-I like that when Alexa behaves ethically, Joy pretty much says 'But this isn't like you.' This speaks volumes about both characters.

-"She could even be fired. Another employee was,did, after calling in sick..."

-Ending is satisfying because Alexa shows personal growth.

I like this story's message; you do a good job illustrating how careerism can corrupt people. The ending works for me. You tie up both conflicts appropriately (Alexa's internal conflict and her conflict with her boss). The only suggestions I'd make are 1) make the reader more invested in what happens to Alexa; make us care about her more and 2)frame the conflicts in a more dramatic way. Right now the story suffers from blandness. This blandness comes from the story coming off as "Snob feels guilty, does the right thing, boss gets mad." Not compelling enough, although with a little finesse it could be pepped up. The basic premise here is workable.

Where you hooked me: "Alexa was about to shout an invective but the man didn't even flinch."
Where you lost me completely:No specific line.

Armack fucked around with this message at 21:17 on Nov 24, 2014

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW

Sitting Here posted:

Cache Cab has farted off to wherever out-of-touch dads go (probably the garage, listening to Pink Floyd). But I hate to just give out wins based on technicalities.

So I'm calling for volunteers to step up. Whoever writes me Cache Cab's missing brawl piece will possibly win. There's no :toxx: for this, just, if the mood takes you, go head and pound out a story and I'll see if it's better than broenheim's. You have (roughly) until judgment ends.

(roughly) what

Mar 21, 2010

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

I have assembled the finest ingredients. Stuffing, sweet potatoes, the fabled dark gravy of Alhazzared the Mad, all are in their proper place and in their proper proportion. And tonight, when lightning strikes my specially-prepared roaster, my plans shall come to fruition. They called me mad at the grocery store, but I shall show them. I shall show them all!

Aha! AHAHAHA! This turkey is alive! ALIVE!

Apr 12, 2006


Welp. This has certainly been a week. Got to see a lot of... uh... creative interpretations on what constitutes good writing. Starting off with ZeBourgeoisie who decided to early submit a steaming pile of What-The-Hell. He is your new loser. Look at him. Remember him. Learn from him. Or else be doomed to his same fate.

Not quite as bad were blue squares and J.A.B.C. who nevertheless both decided to gently caress around in their own special ways. I bequeath to you each a shiny new dishonorable mention. Less lovely were the rest of you all. Except for crabrock, Nethilia, and newtestleper who wrote a good story, a great vignette, and a very-close-to-pulling-off-the-win piece in that order. Good job guys.

And then, of course, is your winner. Welcome back to the top, Sitting Here. The blood throne is yours.

Keep it warm for me.

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.

Just chiming in to say, when Judgement has been delivered, winner and honorable mention(s) can splurge from the coffers of the fabulous prize list. Only the winner is allowed a game key, but everything else is open to those at the top.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

J.A.B.C. posted:

Sorry for this, everyone. Not my best work.

Corporate Losses
He said back.

I said again.

He said again.

Also stop capitalizing non-proper nouns after dialogue. There are a lot of typos in this, so I'm guessing it's a first draft.
There should have been more focus on Derek to make the betrayal more effective.
You made your protagonist a passive idiot that everything just happens to. The main character should have been the one to discover the theft. Especially with the police bearing down on him. This would create tension and give the character agency. You could even have a twist where by discovering the theft he actually implicates himself further, playing into Derek's hands.

Cacto posted:

Prompt: May night continue to fall on the orchestra

No talent squandered (480 words)

Blue Squares Patented 4 Step Program to FIX! YOUR! STORY! (TM)

Step 1: Add 1,000 words
Step 2: Mix in some emotion
Step 3: Vary sentence construction
Step 4: Stir and enjoy!

Fumblemouse posted:

Prompt: Some whinging aussie talking about cannibals

The Fishing Expedition

The introduction of the gang was confusing. I finished the story without a reason to care what happened to Adam or Tim. This story needs more characterization and a character to give a poo poo about.

Entenzahn posted:

753 words

Interesting first paragraph. I'm a sucker for ecological-disaster type stuff, and you present it in a great way; not exposition, but a character reacting to a simple thing. Take note, Thunderdomers; this is how you introduce a setting.
You had me throughout the story. My eyes even widened when he stabbed the kitchen guy. Then you lost me. What? The ending made no sense to me. I read it several times and I still have no idea what the hell. But seeing as you are my Brawl Judge, let me just say that I LOVED IT.

Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

Prompt: Time isn't wasted when you're getting wasted

(657 Words)

This is nonsense to me. Did you consider that people might read this that aren't you? When you write a story, you should always keep your audience in mind. This reads like the product of an acid trip. CLARITY IS KEY. Not surprised if this ends up a loser for the week for sheer incomprehensibility.
edit: I cannot write clearly either

Hammer Bro. posted:

Maculatus (756 words: any port in a storm.)

Not a story. There's no clear goal or conflict. You withold too much information for the reader, a very common issue in the Thunderdome weeks I've participated in. By the end, the reader has no idea why Mary is doing the thing she is doing or who she answers to. There's no character growth or acheivement. There's a question you should always ask yourself, whenever you write a story: Why should a reader care? Here, you don't provide a reason.

Clandestine! posted:

Teeth are just bones Death is everywhere, your own mortality can't be escaped

word count: 1440

had she'd She'd had had he'd hadn't he'd had had she'd had hadn't had had They'd she'd she'd had she'd had had he'd She'd he'd had had he'd had had hadn't had he'd had he'd They'd hadn't had he'd had They'd had had she'd had they'd had she'd had had he'd He'd had they'd they'd had She'd had barely hadn't had Erika'd he'd he'd they'd had hadn't he'd had they'd had had had hadn't had He'd had had had had they'd she'd hadn't hadn't had he'd

Look at that. That is every "had" verb in your entire story. Eighty-five in 1500 words. Get control of your tenses. All you have to do is use one single sentence to establish that a part of the story is in a further past-tense than the rest of the story, then you can operate with normal grammar.

Benny the Snake posted:

New Arcadia

1042 words

Prompt: You can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs.

New Arcadia

One of the first things built on the western farming settlement of New Arcadia was a gallows. While seldom used, it became a constant reminder upon its citizenry that the rule of law was constant and violators would be punished with extreme prejudice. Today's execution was a demonstration of that constant. Cut this opening and work the information in without blatant exposition.
Next to the executioner wasstood Sheriff Ferguson, New Arcadia's lawman.
Sherriff Ferguson sat in his office, not a proud, assured arbiter of justice.Bad sentence. Don't say what he isn't, say what he is.

Shutting the door behind him, the deputy sat down in front of his superior.Classic present-participle phrase mistake. You just wrote that he shut the door behind him and sat down in the chair at the exact same time. Fix: He shut the door behind him and sat down in front of his superior

But now, the fields were Jesus christ, proofread your story. While I'm at it, learn to spell sheriff.yes, I hosed up "Big Bird" in my own, and for that I pay mine own penance That night, Mary and her eldest son Johnny were arguingThis is "showing." Don't write that they "were arguing;" show them arguing.

Waiting for him at the stables was his younger brother Fred.grammar

Fred shook his head. "Well, way back, filthy Yankees marched down " Johnny recited to his little brother.If Fred shakes his head, then Johnny speaks, it needs to be a new paragraph
This feels more like the opening to a story, not a story itself. There's no ending.

Sitting Here posted:

Inspired by: There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly

1500 words

Easy winner so far. And creepy as hell, though I'm not entirely sure you meant it to be. But drat, it was. My take is that Celia didn't realize what was happening to her until it was too late---that the mushrooms or whatever were taking her over, like rabies. Some great imagery and metaphors. I read this twice trying to find something I could comment on that would be more than nitpicky, just to try to be helpful. I got nothing. Send me a PM with what triggered the idea for this, and if I was right in my interpretation. Great job.

Pete Zah posted:

Please send help.

Head Space
All children are artists.

Not bad. A little uneven with the pacing, but just as I was getting bored, you sprung the trip to the reservoir on me. I was worried that the whole thing was going to be Aurthur moping, but I like the final scene. Could be a couple hundred words shorter and work much better, imo.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Training Wheels
[556 words]

A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
Good writing and imagery. I wish you had taken advantage of the word count to write something a little meatier, a little less cliche.

Ironic Twist posted:

On A String
1430 words
drat. That was fantastic. Perfect. Publish this.

Nethilia posted:

A drowning man will clutch at a straw

This is okay. It's well-written, but it's more of a premise than a story. A story should include some kind of change in a character; this doesn't have one. It's just business as usual for the mother.

Obliterati posted:

Future Perfect
1290 words

There is hope as long as your fishing line is in the water

We'd only been living together for two months when the time traveller first broke into our house.

Great opening line. Unfortunately the rest of the story didn't deliver. It just meandered around and then she leaves. I was disappointed that Rose didn't succeed. Also, good pun at the end w/r/t future perfect.

Your Sledgehammer posted:

699 words
Experience is a comb nature gives us when we are bald

Sometimes I could almost make out a face on its surface, a sort of cocky death rictus.

Don't open a story with an "it" and no noun. Because I have no idea what you're writing about, the sentence has no power. You don't hold the information back for any reason (it's given in the second paragraph), so this is a mistake. If you substituted "the meteor's" for "it," the sentence would be much stronger and attention-grabbing.
Also, your story itself is boring. Nothing happens. The snarky remark at the end isn't accurate either; dust would make global warming worse.

blue squares fucked around with this message at 03:14 on Nov 25, 2014

Apr 12, 2006

:siren: CXX CRITS PART I :siren:

ZeBourgeoisie - A Stranger in Gingerbread Junction
Pigs don’t know what a pen’s for

First of all, your formatting is stupid. You were the first person to submit. You could have hit preview and sat on the bitch for two days before looking it over to make sure it didn’t look like poo poo. Bad move, ZB. Bad move.

You know, as I read this, I really feel like you should have taken more time to look this over. Read it out loud. There’s a lot of weird little things that just don’t read right to me.

“He felt the fizz trickle over his entire body as he lay idle, letting the cola tickle his nose.” - Does this not read strange to you? I feel like you vomited the words onto the page so you could move on but you never came back and cleaned up the mess.

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

I stopped caring about your story about the time you introduced the fourth oh-so-adorably named unimportant, otherwise faceless character. All this “I hear he comes from Sugartit Land” nonsense is just that: nonsense. You’re writing flash fiction, homey! Get to the point! By the time Salty Sarah comes up I’m 200 words in and all I know is that there is some new dude in candyland. Why the gently caress do I care that there is somebody new? I don’t. None of this is vital to the story. Cut poo poo that isn’t vital. Don’t meander.

Get to the point.

With that being said, I don’t get the point.

J.A.B.C. - Corporate Losses
A lazy shepherd is a wolf's best friend

“Sorry for this, everyone. Not my best work.”

Thank you for the preface. I love what you did there. Do you do this in real life, too? When you visit other people’s homes do you march to their bathrooms and clog their toilet with a big, stinky poo poo and then ignore the plunger and walk out and say ‘My bad. Sorry?’ Because that’s what this feels like. You took a big ol’ stinky poo poo right on my eyeballs, gave a short apology, and walked away.

And the sad thing is is that if you hadn’t prefaced it I would have just assumed you were a budding young writer learning the craft. I would have said what sucked and what you did well and moved on. But for you to be self aware that you are serving up a fat turd is just so mind bogglingly insulting I don’t know how to respond.

I know how I’m going to respond. I’m going to write the same loving crit but I’m super pissed.

First of all, way too many commas. You are throwing them in where a speaker would put in a break but they are grammatically incorrect. Watch that poo poo.

Make sure you’re using the right word. “I had just send up the rough copy.” Sent You pick up these things if you read the whole piece out loud. I find some irony here in that you write how someone would read it outloud but you obviously failed to do just that yourself. Also - is the middle section literally what Mr. Smith is telling the cop? Because you’re too literary there. It doesn’t sound conversational. Like this:

“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.”

Read that shut out loud. Can you imagine if someone actually talked like that? You gotta be careful when you use conventions like the story-within-a-story because it can leave your reader scratching his head.

I don’t know how Derek set-up Mr. Smith. Doesn’t really sound like he was set up. Sounds like Smith was just being questioned. But I guess you already knew this was poo poo, huh?

Cacto - No talent squandered
May night continue to fall on the orchestra

You know what, Cacto? Good for you. This ain’t half bad. I saw “480 words” and an early submission and I was like “ho you faka.” But, honestly, you could trim this down even more.

Lemme rephrase: you should trim this down even more.

Give me the interesting poo poo up front. Gimme something that grabs my attention. Everybody needs a place to start writing but good writers go back after they’re done and see what they can chop. And usually the whole opening can go completely or can be recycled. This is true for you here. As is, the important bits don’t happen until right before “dump him.” Everything prior to that is just infodump window dressing. Delete it all. If its important, find a better place to squeeze it in.

The title works with the abbreviated word count. I like that.

You didn’t super hit the “glean the meaning of the prompt” part of this week but I don’t care because your story is more interesting than it isn’t.

blue squares - The Producer's Wife
Some people can't see a priest on a mountain of sugar (can't see the obvious)

I wasn’t mad that I read this. It made me laugh. You hit the prompt. Your story has a plot. It’s a little knockoff Chuck Palahniuk-y and a whole lotta Sesame Street Erotica but overall its pretty decent. I like your “writer’s voice.” With that being said, you are probably fortunate you got me as a judge because a lot of people would have DMed this. Unless I get out voted you’re gonna scrap by with nothing. The general rule of thumb is “No Erotica.” I didn’t post that because I didn’t think I needed to. Don’t bitch about not knowing better because I didn’t hold it against you.

You wrote a good but not great story. You have some minor grammatical errors here and there and your word choice in places should be cleaned up. There are definitely some sections that be trimmed or cut completely. Sit on this for a while and come back with fresh eyes for edits.

Fumblemouse - The Fishing Expedition
Gone get ate

Did you know you started your first three paragraphs with the word Adam? Because you did.

I liked your title. It has an excellent ring to it.

Goddamn, Fumblemouse, I’m a dialogue man and I loved this dialogue. It was just so precisely crafted. Love the work you put in getting it right. Someone could argue that poo poo like ““Griff! Mate. How’s it going? Have a beer” is superfluous but I think its spot on. Its all apart of the feel of the piece. I dig it.

Its pretty solid the whole way through.. Right at the end, though, the action does get a little muddied. I don’t have a super great picture of how Adam’s cursing threw everything off. And then the bad guys come back from chasing Tim and Adam is still just chilling there. Why didn’t he take off? How far and how long did the gang they chase Tim? I don’t know. Seems like they took two steps and were all, “gently caress it. He’s too fast.” Which might be the case but I’d like to know that for sure.

Is Jayne a guy’s name? I thought you were loving up pronouns for a while.

Your ending comes way fast.


Entenzahn - Viral
Only those who can see the supernormal can learn to silence the reptile

I write vignettes all the time so it ain’t no thing to see one here.

You need to go back and figure out what you are trying to say in that first paragraph. The idea of fish inappropriately smelling like fish is an intriguing opening. But you don’t explain well enough that its a bad fishy smell. It is confusing and your comma usage is confusing there as well.

Keep a tight reign on your descriptions. I was with you on “half drunk.” Not so much when being half drunk meant tripping balls. That whole section had a nice rhythm to it but you hosed it up with your word choice.

I followed the conflict of reality vs not reality. That’s not always easy to pull off.

I don’t know what your ending was trying to accomplish. You didn’t know how to end it did you? Seems like you just tried to toss in a bad rear end line and call it a day.

Did you try and figure out the meaning of your saying or were you just inspired by the pretty words?

Jitzu_the_Monk - Ayahuasqueros
Time isn't wasted when you're getting wasted.

Whoops. Someone took the prompt literally. Which I specifically told you not to do. I’m all for inspiration takin you down wild, untrodden paths but your saying is about getting hosed up and you wrote about getting hosed up. I told you: do not be literal. Dumb rear end.

“Hector had shown her a truth as fundamental as any the ayahuasca had.” I don’t know what that truth is. You clearly have a point you were trying to make but you didn’t make it in a way that your reader can understand. I’m sure you had somebody look at it and you told them what you were trying to do but that’s not how writing works. You don’t get to explain yourself.

Good descriptions of tripping balls.

Hammer Bro. - Maculatus
Any port in a storm

I never got bored (so that’s good) but I never felt like I had a good handle on what was going on either (that’s bad). Overall impression: Good idea. Poor implementation.

“She took a moment to reflect.” Don’t do that. Don’t write that. It unnecessary. Just keep going.

Your dialogue needs to work. “Not this again! Do you really believe that a man-made computer algorithm could ever talk to God? There isn't even proof that God exists, much less that he'd deign to communicate via zeroes and ones?” This is an infodump. This is not something a real life human would say.

She becomes the robot thing, yeah? You need a better set up for that. Give us some foreshadowing in the first section. What you have now is too vague.

Aug 8, 2013


At last! The losertar is mine! Mwhahahah!

Anyhow, I'll probably submit something better next week.

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Finally achieved blessed mediocrity.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




:siren: Week 121: Pet Words :siren:

When we're ready to write, we step up to the keyboard, and it comes out something like this:

British Invasion my rear end. Brian Wilson could beat up Paul McCartney any day. We're going all American in this week's Thunderdome.

Your task is simple. I am going to assign each participant a different song by the Beach Boys. You are going to write a story inspired by that song.


The only rules are:

-No cars
-No surfing
-No beaches
-No soda fountains, poodle skirts or other quaint '50s/'60s poo poo.
-No fanfic

I'm actually a really huge fan of Brian Wilson so if you can somehow pay homage to him in your story that would be cool but totally not necessary.

Sign up by: Midnight PST on Friday, November 28th
Submit by: Midnight PST on Sunday, November 30th
Word Count: 1200
Blue Squares

California Girls:
Entenzahn - Sloop John B
N. Senada - Be Still
Crabrock - Little Bird
ZeBourgeoisie - God Only Knows
Broenheim - Vega-Tables
Jonked - In Blue Hawaii
Systran - Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (Fire) :toxx:
Docbeard - Wonderful
Grizzled Patriarch - 'Til I Die
Muffin - Surf's Up
Fuschia tude - Wind Chimes
Nethilia - Child is Father of the Man
Sebmojo - Heroes and Villains
Obliterati - Don't Talk (Put Your Head on my Shoulders)
Cacto - I'm in Great Shape
JcDent - Busy Doin' Nothin'
God of Paradise - Wouldn't it be Nice
Chthonic Bell - Meant For You/Friends
JABC - Good Vibrations
Auraboks - A Day in the Life of a Tree
Boozahol - Caroline No
newtestleper - Help Me Rhonda
Benny "the Hydra" the Snake - Wake the World
Kaishai - Little Bird
Anathema Device - He Gives Speeches :toxx:
Dr. K - Kokomo :patriot:
Tyrannosaurus - I Know There's an Answer

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 10:10 on Nov 30, 2014

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


N. Senada
May 17, 2011

"Oh, you're tapped out? Tap three, play Darksteel Plate. Tap two, equip it to Platinum Angel."

"Is that it?"

"No. I play Trickster God's Heist and give it to you in exchange for that token."


Aug 2, 2002

gimmie dat song

Aug 8, 2013


Holy yes I'm in this week.

Feb 25, 2014



Feb 15, 2005

I think I can do better this week. In.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




crabrock posted:

gimmie dat song

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

Holy yes I'm in this week.

Jonked posted:

I think I can do better this week. In.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

In even though the prompt sucks

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




systran posted:

In even though the prompt sucks

I love this song don't gently caress it up

Same with this one, no loving up pls

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Oh man how could I not be In.

Mar 21, 2010

systran posted:

In even though the prompt sucks

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Brian Wilson died for our sins

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Oh man how could I not be In.

Fuschia tude posted:

Brian Wilson died for our sins

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

yeah go on

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

I, too, am in.

Jan 29, 2009

I'm in.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




sebmojo posted:

yeah go on

Obliterati posted:

I, too, am in.

Cacto posted:

I'm in.


May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

gently caress it, I'm in!

  • Locked thread