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Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





Sorry for the delay on crits. Finally home and settled in, so I'll try to get the rest out ASAP.

Week 123 Crits, Part II

theblunderbuss - A Minute's Silence

This was a relatively neat, self-contained sort of "moral lesson" story. You've got an effective hook; right away it establishes your characters and conflict, and you give the salesman a vaguely sinister vibe.

Your dialogue is pretty strong throughout, and your prose is clear and to-the-point. I do feel like coming right out and saying the salesman is peddling "magic" is a bit too direct, and detracts from the surreality of the situation. I like how you make the silence a gradual thing, rather than just going "he woke up and couldn't hear anything." It makes your protagonist's reaction more believable.

The transition from being happy with the silence to feeling like it's torture is kind of abrupt (ditto with the transition into the ending), but I can't really blame you considering you have to work within the confines of the word limit. But if you ever go back to this story and expand it some day, that's something I'd recommend focusing on.

Thematically, this story isn't terribly deep, and the judges could pretty much tell where it was going to go from the beginning, but you do a good job of bringing everything together with tight prose and an obvious narrative arc. You also used the prompt as a way to frame your story instead of making it the entire focus, which was appreciated.

Paladinus - One Painful Visit to a Doctor and a Peculiar Journey within and without a Single Room

Right off the bat, I'm not a fan of having your characters named "Doctor" and "Patient." It just feels really pat. You kind of give the patient a name, but then it's ignored for the rest of the story.

This is another story comprised almost entirely of dialogue, and another example of why that almost never works. Your dialogue ends up feeling really stilted, and it ends up having to prop up the narrative elements. Most of the dialogue just feels like exposition and weed philosophy, and as a result I never get a clear picture of the character / setting, etc. It's like a couple of blank, floating heads in a white room, so I don't end up caring what happens to any of them.

It's also kind of unclear what's even going on. A doctor is punching someone named Joshua, but that might actually be the doctor's name (?), so maybe it's metaphorically a guy punching himself, and the goal of this experiment is to see if punching the patient somehow hurts God, but the patient isn't even sure if it's his own pain that he feels? Not really sure what you are trying to communicate here.

Also, and depending where you're from this might not even be relevant, but if you are in the US (and maybe other places?), dialogue should be in double quotation marks. Single quotation marks are usually reserved for quotes inside other quotes.

Finally, it is probably a good rule of thumb to avoid ending a story in ellipses. It can probably work in very specific circumstances, but this was not one of them.

Nethilia - Take a Chance

This wasn't a bad story, but it ended up feeling kind of by-the-numbers. You do a good job of establishing the characters / setting / conflict early on, but once Monica starts scratching the lotto ticket, it becomes very obvious what is about to happen. I was kind of waiting for you to subvert my expectations, but that moment never comes.

The real issue here is that the way you resolve the central conflict robs it of any real tension. Stories with a nice (if bittersweet) ending are rare in the dome, so it's always nice to see one. However, everything gets wrapped up in a tidy little bow without any real agency being displayed by the characters. Monica wins her ticket, her wish comes true, abusive husband dies off-screen, and everyone lives happily ever after. After the protagonist offers Monica a ticket on the house, nothing that happens is really a result of a character taking action.

Your prose is solid, as usual. The only real issue I have is that you used more semicolons and ellipses than you needed to. It's pretty much all concentrated in the middle of the story, so it feels excessive. The story is also lacking a surreal core - beyond the words on the ticket changing after Monica wins, everything that happens is very grounded, operating well within the realm of possibility. The events are unlikely, sure, but I didn't get that sense of a clash between conscious and unconscious.

crabrock - Painted Lady

Well, that's quite the hook.

I like the premise of this story a lot, actually. Your prose is clear and there are some nice flourishes here and there, though the line "It was like the sky had sex with the ocean and popped out Adonis." might be funnier than you intended it to be.

However, this is another story where I was left wanting stronger surreal elements. You open the story with the idea of fresh paint serving as Sandy's lover, so I was expecting something reciprocal, like the paint being alive / speaking to her or something. Instead, it just seems like Sandy is suffering from mental illness (unless she was hospitalized for being stuck in a room full of non-stop paint fumes?). We get a bit of characterization in the beginning, but afterward Sandy is kind of subsumed by her obsession, which hurts the piece a bit considering that she's the only real character.

The other issue is that the story is sort of missing a real conflict. Obviously there is the threat of Sandy's parents finding out and having her taken away again, but there's no real sense of tension with it. The obstacles are all in the rearview by the time the story actually starts, and nothing really stops Sandy from doing exactly what she wants to do until the threat of being institutionalized surfaces again at the very end.

You've got a cool idea here, and I think without a wordcount in the way that you could probably flesh this out into something great.

Entenzahn - a surreal story about zoo feeding

You've got a light, funny tone going on here, and you do a good job of juxtaposing it with the moments of violence. You've also got an actual story arc with surreal elements, which already puts you ahead of the curve this week.

The prose is solid. Pretty workmanlike, but I'm fairly sure that was intentional since I know you can sling some pretty prose. You do a good job of building character through dialogue, with Fido being the best example.

The plot itself does feel a little hollow. So there was a war between Gazelles and Lions at some point, which the Lions apparently won. But now the Gazelles have built some kind of mind-control devices to herd humans into the lion compound in order to induce heart attacks. I guess Randy was scared of something like this happening and decided to learn how to act like a dog (though I'm not sure why a dog would be in a zoo, or why acting like a dog would fool gazelles who are evidently smarter than humans.) That said, it was a fun, semi-whimsical approach to the prompt, and it was an enjoyable read even if it wasn't really saying anything profound.

Gau - Notes to Self

This was certainly an interesting direction to go with the prompt, but unfortunately it kind of face-planted. The meta, writer-writing-about-writing thing is super difficult to pull off.

Without narrative distance, there's nothing there to keep a reader engaged. These are thoughts pretty much every writer or would-be writer has had at one time or another, but that's exactly why it doesn't end up being compelling. I was intrigued by the way you structured everything, but the content doesn't end up subverting expectations or expressing the concept in a novel way.

There isn't anything particularly surreal here; it's pretty much just stream of consciousness musings with a barebones structure. The ending paragraph expresses a nice sentiment, but there's not enough here to call it a story. On the other hand, respect for taking a big risk and trying something unconventional, even if it didn't work this time.

Sitting Here - The Undeliverables

This was great, and the judges spent a loooong time debating whether or not it should win this week.

The premise here is really cool, and you hit that surreal balance of presenting something bizarre without calling undue attention to it. We did feel that the "So it seemed natural" bit felt a little out of place, like maybe you didn't quite trust the reader for a second, but that's a very minor nitpick.

I love how these little people just sit around and repeat the contents of their letters. It's sad and evocative and even a little funny, all at the same time. Little moments, like the narrator giving them an eyedropper full of wine during the car ride, are perfect.

The ending does feel like a bit of a misstep, though. The letters want to be delivered, so taking them to a museum to repeat their stories over and over for a random audience doesn't seem like a solution to the conflict here. Instead of helping them, the narrator is basically just handing off the responsibility to someone else. I suppose this may be intentional, but that would be a pretty mean-spirited turn for the otherwise compassionate narrator.


Last of the crits are forthcoming!

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docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Alas poor merman Santa, I have failed you. Story ain't happening this week.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Atlantis
1499 words

Marrying on a sloop wasn’t how Elizabeth had imagined it, but Joseph had wanted it, and she hadn’t been able to deny him. Not when he’d looked at her with those naive puppy eyes of his.

The sea was the only thing he’d ever loved nearly as much as her, is what he’d said. Though sometimes she thought it was the other way around.

The ceremony was modest. Only her most immediate family - Joseph didn’t have any left - and a tiny ship decorated with flowers, threads and bells. That was life with Joseph Turnip: make the most out of whatever he gives you.

It hadn’t been all bad. When the sunset rippled across the sea as they spoke their vows and exchanged the rings she understood what Joseph saw in it. There was nobody out here. Just them. This was their moment.

They cruised around the Mediterranean for their honeymoon. It was more time with him than she’d ever gotten before, and no crazy talk of Atlantis either. Instead he showed her the bright, densely built cliffs of Santorini; the bustling Sicilian harbor with its exotic sounds and smells; the rich ports of Constantinople.

It was during that time, the doctors later said, that she conceived.

#

The day Elizabeth learned she’d gotten pregnant was the only time she’d ever sent for Joseph out at sea, and the only reason she could have ever imagined him coming back for.

They spent the first night back together in their little shack on the Southern English coast. Most of the interior was hers: quaint furniture and colorful flowers and knitting supplies. He only had a small corner of the room where maps displayed seas from all around the world, scribbled over with notes.

Elizabeth lay on the sofa, her head in Joseph’s lap. He stroked her hair with an absent smile.

“A little Joseph Turnip, growing in me,” she said.

“Or Josephine,” he said.

She chuckled.

“I’ve been thinking, Liz… a kid needs a family right? I’m thinking, when the baby’s here, we should stay together. No?”

“Sounds great.”

“Maybe… we can make a sailor out of him. Or her. Find Atlantis together.”

That stupid city. “Don’t you think we should raise him at land?” she said. “Be a family here?”

“We could show him the world.”

“Joseph. A sea is no place to raise a child. It’s dangerous.”

“It’s not if you know what you’re doing.”

“Everytime you leave I wonder if you’ll come back. He’ll have no friends. Where will he go to school?”

“He won’t need to. He’ll learn to live off the sea, like my pops taught me. He’ll have us. Family, what more does a child need?”

“A life.” She reached for his hand, held it firm. “You might spend your entire life looking for this city. And I’m fine with it, because it’s yours. But not our kid.”

“But--”

“Our child is not growing up on a ship,” Elizabeth said sternly.

It had sounded more aggressive than she’d meant it to. His face dropped, and guilt rose in her stomach. She hadn’t wanted to upset him.

She brushed his cheek. “I love you, you know that. But our kid needs a chance to lead a normal life. We have to raise this family here, and we have to do it together. You understand that.”

He said nothing for a while, just stared off to the side, his head turned away. He patted her belly.

“Sure,” he said.

#

He stayed on land during her pregnancy. Helped with the chores, read stories of sailors and mermen and, of course, Atlantis, to the yet-unborn child. He even did it with a smile at first. But Joseph Turnip loved the sea, and after weeks, months of solid ground under his feet his eyes began to sink and his smile began to fade.

“The sky,” he said one summer morning. “Look at the sky.”

It was clear blue, neverending. A soft breeze kissed them.

“I have to go back out there, Liz. Please. Just once more before the child comes.”

Maybe she’d been too hard on him. He loved the sea, after all. She shouldn’t have expected him to stay away for so long, so soon.

She agreed.

#

Joseph had been gone for a month by the time Elizabeth went into labor.

Her parents took her to the hospital. It was her father, not Joseph, who reminded her to breathe, and her mother who held her hand through the cramps and shocks.

When the baby came and she drowned in shouts, pain and sweat, Joseph didn’t come running through the door, out of breath, apologizing profusely, offering her a shoulder to squeeze, telling her how glad he was he barely made it. Telling her he loved her.

The pain went by without him.

It had his eyes.

She held the baby for the first time. Joseph didn’t come in with his head sunk, flowers awkwardly clutched to his chest. He didn’t lift the baby up, and he didn’t laugh when it grabbed his nose. He didn’t decide he wanted to be a family man.

She went home without him. She put the child to sleep, got up at night to sing for it, alone. Days went by. There was no goodbye-letter, no messages. No family. No one to tell where he could have gone.

Joseph Turnip had disappeared. And yet, her child needed its father.

#

“I’ll be two weeks, tops,” she promised. “He’ll be in some port in the Mediterranean. Probably shipwrecked. I’m sure.”

Her parents took the child as reluctantly as she gave it away. It was betrayal of the highest order. It was in the child’s eyes, the surprise, the fear, the tiny hands stretching out for her as she edged away, step by step.

The crying stuck with her, no matter how far she sailed.

She started at Santorini, the first island he’d shown her. Nobody knew him there. Neither on Sicily, or in Constantinople.

She called her parents whenever she went on land. She listened to her child growing up from afar, and it brought tears to her eyes each time.

They hadn’t seen him on Corsica, or in Cyprus.

Elizabeth had been at sea for three months when she called home and nobody answered.

They’d probably just missed it. She took a walk around Cairo. Stared up into the stars. Tried again. Left a message. Waited for the call back. Tried again. A dozen times.

She didn’t sleep that night, only sat next to the phone, waiting. Thinking of going back.

The next port could be Joseph. But if something was wrong with her kid…

The hotel phone rang her out of her sleep. The voice was her mother’s. There were many words, calmly spoken, but only one that mattered.

‘Fever.’

She sailed home the same morning.

#

Elizabeth blamed herself for the child’s illness. Surely it had gone sick from grief.

She was at the hospital within days. Her baby cried when it saw her. So did she.

“I’m sorry,” she said. Its head was on fire. “I’m so sorry.”

She didn’t leave her baby’s side. Never again. She resolved to that. Joseph would come back, or he wouldn’t.

The child got better, and they went home together to be a family, though it wasn’t easy being a single mother. Sometimes she caught herself blaming the child for Joseph’s disappearance. It would make an innocent mistake, and she’d lash out, and feel terribly guilty afterwards.

Those were the early days, before she repressed her memory of Joseph.

She never told her child about him.

He never came back.

#

My mother has finished her story and the grip on her hand loosens, as if she’s finally gotten it all out and now she’s ready to let go.

“Now you know,” she says.

“Why are you telling me?”

“I haven’t always been the best mother-- don’t deny it. Whenever I have been strict with you, or unfair, or neglecting… I just want you to understand. It was never to punish you. I just didn’t have it in me.”

I squeeze her hand. It’s cold. “You’ve been a wonderful mother.”

She smiles. “I love you deary.”

“I love you too.”

It’s the last thing I ever say to her.

#

We give her a proper sea burial. An open casket out at sea, where she can smile into the sky and the summer sun can smile back at her.

I throw the torch, and her casket ignites.

I’ve never met my father, have no idea where he went, if he fled, or drowned, or found that goddamned Atlantis and lived there. I don’t care. He doesn’t deserve her.

But she deserves him. Really, it’s all she ever wanted.

I cut the rope and she floats away. The sea is beautiful, quiet. I have never felt so alone. I close my eyes as she disappears on the horizon.

One way or another, I hope they find each other.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


docbeard posted:

Alas poor merman Santa, I have failed you. Story ain't happening this week.

Same

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME








Of the Sea
1495 words

Delmar Coral looked out at the ocean and contemplated freedom of motion. The freedom to move not just forward and backward, but up and down.

A spray of sand hit him on the right side of his face, brought him back to the beach and his dry skin and his wife, Rosa.

She had another fistfull of sand primed and ready. Her posture made her stomach fold over itself like a tan flesh accordion. Her breasts filled her white bikini top like potatoes in a sack. There came a feeling in his chest, like cold seaweed ensnaring a suffocating diver.

“I need you to oil my back,” Rosa said. She held out the bottle of expensive tanning oil.

“Awe, jeeze Rosa. You know I hate getting my hands all oily.” It’s all just forward and backward, Delmar thought. You can go forward, backward, and sideways, but you’ll never be anywhere but stuck in your own life.

“I can’t reach my back,” Rosa said. She jabbed the bottle of tanning oil down into the sand between their beach towels like a thrown gauntlet.

“It’s getting late,” he said. “You get all oiled up now, you’ll be complaining that your clothes are ruined when we have to trek back to the car.”

Rosa snatched up the bottle of oil and shoved it dramatically into her Neiman Marcus beach bag. When Delmar didn’t react, she made a show of picking up her sandals, sunglasses, lotions, and magazines.

“I thought you liked the beach,” she muttered. She flashed him one of those fiery looks that he used to find so compelling and cheeky. Delmar looked away and gathered his own beach paraphernalia. He wasn’t in the mood to argue or get defensive; he did like the beach, just for different reasons than Rosa. He liked the dark, careless power of unthinkable gallons of water sloshing against the shore. He liked to think of the fish and the whales and the sharks moving freely around in the trackless depths.

“Well? You were the one so eager to go.” Rosa looked down at him, hands on her hips, the sun glinting orangely off of her gold hoop earrings. She was all fire, but not the cozy kind.

“I wasn’t…” Delmar pinched the bridge of his nose. After a couple deep breaths, he looked up at her. “Let’s not end today like this. Let’s go get tacos, put some candles out on the back deck. You love cheap food and romantic lighting.”

“I used to,” Rosa scoffed. “But I, Rosa Luisa Flores-Coral, am not the sort of woman who gets off on the same thing twice. You know this about me, Delmar.” She tossed her hair and gave him a look that he guessed was intended to be a coy expression.

Rosa’s abrupt shift from hurt to playful withered Delmar’s need to appease. She never took anything seriously, his Rosa. It was all a game of line-stepping for her. Pushing his buttons until he snapped or left, at which point she’d run crying to her mother. Her brothers would leave threatening voicemails on his phone and drive by his house until he decided it was too much trouble not being with Rosa.

“Lets decide in the car,” he said, floundering around for time.

Rosa wilted a little, but said nothing.

Back at the car, Delmar swore as he rifled through his pockets. Rosa watched him dispassionately.

“You know they’re out in the sand,” she said. “Probably buried by now, with your luck.”

Delmar swore and started back in the direction they’d come from. The sun had set and the world was that bluish, not-quite-dark hue that played hell on the eyes.

“I’m not walking all the way back there,” Rosa called after him.

“I know,” he muttered.

Retracing their steps was impossible. Every patch of sand was the same. He kicked and shuffled, shined his cellphone’s light around, hoping to catch the tell-tale glint of his keys. Delmar was so preoccupied with his search that he was shocked when he looked up and found himself significantly further down the beach than he’d meant to go. Darkness had come in full, but the night was cheerful with distant lights from the boardwalk.

He was about to head back to the car and admit defeat when a loud splash disrupted the otherwise quiet surf. Something pale and sinuous was working its way into the shallows. Delmar backed away from the water’s edge, but the thing had him transfixed. He could make out a face, thin and angular. Slender arms pulled the creature forward through the gentle breakers. Something long and white and serpentine whipped the water behind it; a tail of some kind, Delmar thought.

“Are you alright there?” he called hesitantly. The being paused and cocked its head at him.

“Are you alright there?” it sang back to him in a harmonious, multi-tonal voice. It was unlike anything Delmar had ever heard.

Delmar took a cautious two steps toward the shore. “Who are you?”

”Who are you?” the creature repeated.

“I’m Delmar,” said Delmar, putting a hand to his chest. “And you?” He held his hand out toward the creature.

”Del mar,” sang the creature happily. It began to speak very fast in another language, a staccato symphony of half-familiar words. Delmar tried to place the language--it was Spanish, but not. Understanding tapdanced on the tip of his mind, but the words came too fast and too strange from the creature’s mouth. It made him think of tall, many-masted ships docked in a merry harbor, with sailors dancing to fiddle and drum as warm Iberian winds ruffled flags and sails.

He found himself ankle-deep in the water. The creature propped itself up on one hand, held the other out to him, beckoning. It’s tail swished behind it in a fluid ‘S’ shape. It was a tail made for swimming, for navigating those cool, pathless depths beyond the edge of humanity’s flat, forward-and-backward world.

When Delmar was waist deep, he became acutely aware of how restrictive his soaked jeans and T-shirt were around his body. The creature waited wordlessly as Delmar stripped naked. He thought it smiled when he trembled at the chilly ocean water lapping at his bare skin.

Without warning, the creature wrapped long, strong fingers around Delmar’s arm and pulled him under. He lost his footing and was dragged along in a flurry of bubbles. The seafloor dropped away below him, and soon there was nothing but bottomless black below and moonlight above. A cathedral of darkness and limpid blue light.

Just when Delmar thought he was going to suffocate, their heads burst through the surface again. Delmar gasped and looked around. The shore was nowhere in sight. The creature wrapped its arms around him, cooing impossible songs in that strange, archaic Spanish. Delmar leaned back against its smooth body, wondered how he’d lived so long in the world without hearing of such a creature.

The was a great chuff of spouting water as a whale emptied its blowhole a short distance away. Then it added its call to the creature’s song, and the night was full of melody and stars and waves.

Delmar hardly remembered the journey back to shore. The song and the gentle rocking motion of the water had soothed him into a comfortable half sleep, his body light in the arms of his creature.

It was only when he found himself staggering naked onto the beach in the early dawn that the dizzying strangeness of the night struck him. Had Rosa come looking for him? Had she called the police? The beach was empty.

He found his keys in plain sight, exactly where he and Rosa had picnicked the day before.

“loving figures,” he muttered to himself.

There was a note on the car when he got back: Mom came and got me. Call when you find keys. Love your wife Rosa.

Delmar slouched into the driver’s seat. The world still rocked gently around him, just like after he’d been on that long cruise with Rosa. He could still feel cool, slick skin against his back. He thought of the creature’s song again with a pang.

Rosa won’t believe this, he thought to himself. He went to turn the ignition, then stopped. He’d been intending to go to the Flores residence and collect his wife. She’d be expecting him.

The sun was cresting the horizon. The air was brisk and salty and bold. Rosa could stay with her mom a while, Delmar decided. He started the engine. He’d stop at home for clothes, then head to the passenger terminals and get on the first boat that would have him.

As he drove along the beach, Delmar thought he spotted something pale and glistening ducking in and out of the waves, its face turned toward the shore, its arms ever outstretched and beckoning.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Beard, 1375 words

Albert laid back in a post-orgasmic bliss and ignored Eugene's fumbling. He wasn't going to let his lover's religious guilt ruin his mood, not after such a long and pleasurable evening. Instead, he reached over and rolled a cigarette.

It didn't take long for Eugene to dress himself. A quick step into the bathroom, and his devilish handsome lover was the spitting image of a young Clark Gable. Al considered jumping out of bed and renewing the evening's festivities, but no. Gene would be too far gone in his own head to really make the effort worthwhile. Even with his lover's breath still on his neck, Gene was firmly in the closet. Frankly, it was starting to become a sore point.

He flicked a bit of ash into the tray, and made up his mind. The plan wasn't fully developed yet, but Al had suddenly run out of patience.

"Marie has a sister, you know." Gene paused, mid-cuff link. "A charming young thing who wants to follow in Marie's footsteps."

"So?" Gene asked, playing hard to get.

"So she's not interested in putting her career on hold to pop out a couple of ankle biters. She has open minded ideas on sexuality and morality. And-" Al held up his ring finger, "She knows about me and Marie's arrangement."

Gene finished his other cuff link and started on the tie. "I don't know."

"A big, fancy wedding. A witty, sharp wife for those company parties." Al had snuck up behind Gene, and startled him with the unfastening of his belt. "Nobody would ever question you."

Al's gentle kisses and skilled hands were having their desired effect. He could tell Gene was struggling to think. "My mother... it would have to be in the Church. She'd have to convert."

"Oh, didn't I mention?" Al started unbuttoning Gene's shirt. "Marie's whole family is Catholic."

The last bit of Gene's resistance crumbled. He turned, and kissed Al with searing passion.

———————————————————————————————————

It was a beautiful wedding. Eugene stood there, picture perfect, in his well-tailored tuxedo. Albert was next to him, young and fit, as the Best Man. A few more fellows from the ad agency made up the rest of his wedding party. Most of the other ad men and half the secretary pool were mixed in with Eugene's extended family, filling their half of the chapel.

Marie has finished her walk up to the altar and took her place as the Maid of Honor. The secretaries stopped their gossipping over who had landed the elusive Eugene Gregor as Pachelbel's Canon began to play.

Lucille was radiantly beautiful in her white wedding gown. Her steps were slow, unhurried. It seemed as if she was luxuriating in the moment, the star of the show. Her father was openly weeping as he walked her down the aisle.

Eugene had spared no expense, and there was complete sincerity to his smile. Albert shuffled from one foot to the other, uncomfortable. But everyone had a role to play here, and there was no mistakes. He handed over the rings without complaint.

"Do you, Eugene Gregor, take this woman, Lucille O'Toole, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, until death do you part?"

"I do," Eugene replied.

The priest repeated the words for Lucille, and she replied in kind.

"Then, by the powers vested in me by God and the Holy See, declare you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride."

Everyone watched as the newlyweds shared a convincingly passionate kiss.

—————————————————————————————————-

It was the way she chewed on her pen, he decided. How she was clearly lost in thought, oblivious to the world. How she focused her attention solely on the complex equation in front of her. Gene had started watching her in the study one day, and found it fascinating. She was efficient, almost spartan, with her markings. All the calculating and speculating happened in her head as she chewed. After some time - a minute here, ten minutes there - she'd mark something down. For as long as he had watched her, Eugene had never seen her scribble out anything.

She did her calculations in pen, and for some reason that was important to him.

She looked back him suddenly. "What is it?"

Gene blushed and looked away. "I was just watching you think. You... don't mind, do you?"

She turned around, holding her pen like a wand. "I suppose not. Come in, I could use a break anyway."

He hesitated before stepping into the study. Lucille - Lucy, he was suppose to call her - had an extra chair next to her desk, but he awkwardly sat-leaned on a piece of furniture across the room.

"Come in already," she said with a warm smile. "I won't bite."

Another moment of hesitant, and Gene sat down next to her. He was feeling flustered and strangely warm. He noticed her perfume then, a subtle scent of lavender. Despite himself, he found it erotic. As much as he tried to banish the thought, his eyes kept lingering on the curve of her neck, how it seductively swooped down to just the hint of cleavage beneath her blouse.

He realized he had been staring. And with her enigmatic smile, he realized Lucy had noticed. He quickly looked at the far wall. Still, out of the corner of his eye, he could tell Lucy was studying him.

"Are you alright, Gene? You seem a bit flush." She leaned forward and put a soft, warm hand against his forehead. Her succulent, inviting lips were less than a foot away.
"No fever. Why, dear, if I didn't know better I would say you're blushing."

He was going to stammer an excuse, but the words vanished in his throat. The top two buttons of Lucy's blouse had been undone, revealing a tantalizing glimpse. He realized he was staring, realized he should look away. But he didn't - couldn't - move. With slow deliberation, Lucy undid another two buttons and revealed herself to his hungry eyes. Gene reached out and gently touched her.

Lucy gave a little laugh, and looked into her eyes. "I can't say I'm disappointed. You realize this doesn't change our arrangement, yes?" Lucy waited for him to nod. "Good. But, Mr. Gregor, whatever will your husband say?"

"He'll just have to learn how to share," Gene replied, as he moved in for the kiss.

——————————————————————————————————

Al was ranting and yelling, hurling every curse he could think of at Lucy. Slut. Harlot. Bitch. She sipped her tea, unperturbed, and looked over at Gene. Her husband seemed honestly shocked and dismayed that Al was so upset. For herself, Lucy was simply glad that they were in the privacy of their apartment. Gene's original plan had been to break the news of the 'change in arrangement' over cocktails at the bar.

"Of course I still love you, Al. I need you. Me and Lucy, it's something different, it's just physical, a matter of convenience. I-" Lucy could seem him startle as he realized what he just said, and he looked over with a terrified expression. She graced him with a smile - convenient physicality was accurate enough on her part.
Unfortunately, Al used the shared moment to turn and storm off. He hurled back one last insult before opening the door and leaving. Gene rose, as if he was going to follow him, before Lucy placed a firm grip on his arm.

"Give him time, Gene. He's feeling scorned and betrayed, and more words won't help that. Besides, that's not the sort of argument you want to have in the lobby."
He slumped back into the chair with an audible thump. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to come out that way. You're-"

"I'm your wife, yes." She put down her tea and kneeled next to him. She brushed a few stray hairs away from his face, and looked into his pale blue eyes. "But Albert is your love. I knew what I was getting into with all this, although I don't think you did."

She stood up, and headed towards the kitchen. "He'll come around, you'll see. But right now, you promised to do the dishes."

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.



The Merman's Package
(1,438 words)

When Monty heard Brennan's wails approaching the Dizzy Gills Reef and Bar, he fought the impulse to dive below the counter only because his customers were watching. Every last one of those jerks finished their drinks, slapped their sand dollars on the bar, and left. Brennan swam into view and grabbed a branch of coral while Monty was gathering the money.

"Kraken's ink, Monty. Gimme two of 'em."

"How are you going to afford that?"

"With my last pay. Put what's left on my tab."

Monty fished two bladders of black liquid out from behind the counter and tossed them over. Brennan caught one; the other smacked his shoulder. He'd probably already had a few drinks elsewhere. Brennan looked even worse than usual: his scales were dull in the glow of the bioluminescent lamps, and his abs were barely visible under his burgeoning ink gut.

Brennan bit into the first bladder and sucked down the drink. "Last pay," he repeated. "I won't have a job tomorrow. Serra's bit my head off every day this week. A few missed deliveries. So what? These assholes should come get their packages themselves."

"Then there'd be no work for you, so you'd still be screwed."

"You think they'd make it through the loving sharks? I'm getting too slow. None of them would have a goddamned prayer."

Monty eyed the blubber softening Brennan's midsection. Thankfully, the other man couldn't see his eyes through his tinted goggles. Brennan just drained his second bladder and gestured for Monty to keep them coming. No other customers showed up while Brennan emptied Monty's store of kraken brew, which he'd delivered to the bar himself in better days. The man's bitching would poison the waters around the Dizzy Gills for good if he had nothing to do with his time but swig ink.

At last Monty sang for a dolphin and harnessed Brennan, still moaning incoherently, to its back. The dolphin took off for Brennan's home; Monty covered the lamps, locked up the drinks, and followed.

A woman--presumably Serra--swam out to the mouth of Brennan's cave when the dolphin whistled. She and Monty together got the postman unbound, and when Monty would have left, Serra gave him a look that said Wait. She hauled Brennan inside. After a few minutes, she returned and beckoned for Monty to come in too.

The lamps in Brennan's foyer were bright. Their light shattered on Serra's deep blue scales. Her fins trailed away from her sides, full and gauzy and softer than fresh water. Her hair was its own cloud of kraken's ink. And yet somehow Monty managed not to ask What are you doing with him? anywhere but in his own mind.

She asked, "Did you have to serve him? His bosses were going to give him one more chance, but he can't make any deliveries like this."

"It would have been some other bartender if it wasn't me," Monty said.

"Maybe." Serra's tail slashed the water. "Yet it was you. I need a favor. You need him to be able to pay his tab, I bet."

"That would be nice."

"So help him keep his job. Deliver the package for him. It's in his bag." She unhooked the postman's satchel from a rock spur and offered it to Monty. "Already addressed and everything. Get it there and I promise, I swear he'll pay you off before anything else."

Monty took the bag and pulled out the parcel, checking the label. "This is half a sea away!"

"You look like a fast swimmer," Serra said, her eyes straying down to his tail. He couldn't resist flicking it to make it glitter green. "Come on--do it for Brennan."

"I'll do it to get rid of Brennan."

She laughed. "Whatever works."

The memory of that laugh stayed with Monty through the first dark, cold leagues of his swim, Brennan's bag slung over his shoulder. He was soon past the lamps of civilized waters and into the deeps, where his goggles were useless and sonar had to guide him. He rode the current, flipping his tail and grabbing the water with his muscled arms to push himself, pull himself forward faster still.

On the edge of an ocean trench, he tasted iron in the water. A dolphin had gotten itself torn up, or maybe a whale; it didn't matter. The blood would call the sharks in. Monty slowed and swam as fluidly as he could, sliding through the sea without disturbing it. But a young frilled shark met him on its way to the feeding frenzy, and it lunged--

Monty twisted, hard, and slammed the full power of his tail into the shark's narrow body. The edges of his scales slashed through its skin. He dove deep into the trench, leaving the shark to be devoured by its kind.

The water was clean there, if hard and cold, and Monty stayed as far down as his body could bear to avoid any more shark encounters. Singing high-pitched notes, he navigated away from the jagged walls and toward his far destination. The pressure gave his muscles their best workout in at least a month.

One of his notes bounced back to him much too fast, and that was all his warning of the tentacle that whipped through the depths and caught his bicep with its razor tip. Black ink bloomed around him, intoxicating, sweet.

Kraken!

Monty surged upward, arms tight against his sides and tail writhing: out of the cloud, out of the ink--another tentacle roiled the water not inches from him, and a third was coming. His abs burned as he corkscrewed up, up, away, fleeing from the kraken's reach. He clamped a hand over his wound.

By the time he felt safe--when he hovered outside the door of the address on the package--the bleeding had stopped.

"It came!" said the silver-finned man who answered his whistle. "Aww, yeah, man. Do you know what's in this box?"

"Something important, right?"

"You don't even know." He tore through the woven kelp and pulled out a bladder. "Check this out. It's nacre." The man cut it open with a knife and squeezed out a palmful of shimmering unguent. He smeared it across his midsection. "For the abs." His six pack shone like pearls.

Monty took a longer, quieter route home.

Serra waited for him in Brennan's cave. "The guy signed a receipt," Monty said, handing her the bag. "It's in there. Can I expect Brennan to pay up now?"

"That idiot! I wish you could, but when he woke up, he went out to the depot to yell at his bosses. Even if they'd put up with that, they'll know he wasn't out delivering packages--he's finished, it's his own fault, and I'm sorry--"

Without much hope, Monty asked, "His tab?"

"Maybe he could work it off. Do you need help?"

Monty pictured Brennan whining at his regulars, and he shuddered.

"Hey!"

Both turned at the sound of Brennan's voice in the entryway. He had a half-empty bladder in his hand, and his arm shook as he raised it to point at Monty and Serra. "You two... secret canoodlings... in my house!"

"Brennan, that's not--"

"For gently caress's sake, Brennan--"

"And I'm fired! I've had it with both of you!" Brennan shouted. He spun about and swam away, wobbling.

"Then I guess I won't see you at the bar anymore!" Monty yelled after him.

Brennan yelled back, "The hell you won't!"

Monty drifted backward until his shoulders hit the wall. He pushed his goggles up to press his thumb and forefinger against his eyes. "I'll never get rid of him now," he muttered. "That's it. The Dizzy Gills is done."

Slim fingers touched his arm just above the cut on his bicep. "I'm sure you'll be all right." Opening his eyes, Monty looked at Serra; her lips twitched as though she wanted to smile. "Though, you know... there's an opening with the couriers. That receipt would be a great reference."

"You must think I'm crazy."

"Or a fast swimmer." She grinned at him. "Or maybe I'm dazzled by your abs."

Monty looked down at his midriff and the muscles there that gleamed with pearly iridescence. "You get some good tips on this job, I'll give it that." He met Serra's gaze, as vividly blue as her fins. "So you think Brennan and I should trade places?"

Serra traced a line across his glowing pectorals. "I don't know how good he'd be with a bar, but otherwise...."

Monty joined the postal service the very next morning.

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Walking Stereotypes
[953]

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=3060&title=Walking+Stereotypes

Nethilia fucked around with this message at 06:14 on Dec 31, 2014

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





45 minutes to get those stories in. I want my mermen!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002




Treasure Mountain
1500 words

I was fifteen when the dusty scoundrel that called himself “The Captain” burst through the doors of my family’s inn. In a flurry of bubbles and wizened, tattooed skin, he claimed a table and demanded a bottle of seaweed rum. He took up residence in one of our finest rooms, and seemed to eat his weight in oysters every night. Though he claimed to have vast riches, when it came time for the bill, he always deferred.

When he was heavy into the rum, he’d regale passers-by with stories of dry land and climbing mountains. He paid me two sand dollars to keep my eyes out for a one-finned merman. A dangerous sod that wanted what The Captain had in his rusty chest. What he kept in there, he would never tell.

It was a stormy night on the sea above when I saw the one-finned merman. Lightning struck the water, sending bright arcs down to the seafloor. Everybody had taken shelter in their clamshells and coral homes except one. He stood in the doorway of my family’s inn, silhouetted by the sea bolts, and yelled: “I am here to repay The Captain for the wrong he done me.”

I fired a harpoon and he swam off, but not before The Captain heard him and fell to the sand, sick with dread. He never got better, despite the merdoctor making him abstain from his seaweed rum. A few days later, we found him floating upside-down near the top of the ceiling.

I took it upon myself to break open the lock on the rusty chest, hoping to get the sand dollars that were owed to my mother. What I found instead of money was a map. It was of a mountain, and near the peak was a red X. It was then that I knew the stories he told when he was drunk held more truth than I had initially given him credit for. I tucked the map into my shirt and relocked the truck.

That night, somebody broke into The Captain’s room and ransacked the place, including the chest. I didn’t have to see the one-finned merman to know it was him.

I took the map to two of the colony’s most trusted mermen, the package delivery guy and the fire merman, or Chip and Dale, respectively. I found both in a nightclub and sought their counsel.

“Aye, a land-treasure map. I’ve heard tales, but never thought I would see one,” said Chip.

Dale stuck his thumbs under his suspenders. “I’ve heard of these land pirates. They prey on passenger vessels trying to make their way across the continents to new, bountiful seas. The windswept plains are lawless and cruel, many a merfamily have died on the journey.”

At this I perked up. “We should definitely try to find that treasure ourselves.”

Chip laughed at first, but then his smile hardened into a stern countenance of serious consideration. “You know, it just might work, if we had the right crew and a sturdy land vessel.”

We rounded up a bevy of seasoned landmermen who knew their way around a mountain, and got an advance on any treasure we’d find to purchase a land vessel. It had eighteen wheels, a captain’s chamber up front, and a large tank of water behind it for the rest of us.

We set roll on a beautiful sunny day. After we’d broken out of the surf and rolled up on the beach, I looked back toward the ocean, and knew it would be a long time before I saw it again. The glass of the land vessel was as clear as the Caribbean waters, and we rolled along at a steady pace with the mountain on the map looming in the distance.

It was on this voyage that I got to know the merman who went by the name of Sebastian. He had golden, glittery suspenders, and a red sash around his waist. He wore a bandanna and black hat, but most telling of a merman who had spent many years ashore, was a tattoo of cow skull on his upper arm.

I asked him about it one day, when the grasses were still and the skies blue, and he sat me down and told me the tale of the cow. Legend has it that cows are mermen who had been sloshed out of their land vessels during a storm or bumpy ride. Mermen can’t survive on land, but the mergods, granting mercy upon those poor souls, transformed them to have legs so that they could walk, and big bellies to eat grasses when there were no clams to be found. They wandered the plains as a warning to the merpeople who would dare venture out of the ocean and into the mountains: beware.

One particularly dull day I was hiding beneath a rock in a section of the land vessel that was usually empty when Sebastian and a friend swam over. They didn’t see me, and they talked of plans to kill Chip and Dale and take the treasure for themselves. I had to hold my hand over my mouth to stop the bubbles from escaping, and waited until they had swum away.

I immediately informed my friends of Sebastian’s dastardly plan, and we agreed that there were simply too many of them to fight. We hatched a plan to bolt into the forest as soon as we arrived at the base of the mountain. The land vessel was outfitted with several smaller pods that we would have to take further up the mountain. We had the only map, and without it the land pirates would be lost.

We reached the base of the mountain at dawn the next day. Chip, Dale, and I crammed into one of the pods and drove away from the land vessel before the land pirates could enact their murderous machinations. We followed the landmarks toward the X, until we reached the mouth of a cave.

We enabled the lights on the pod and dove into the darkness, water sloshing from the pod. Almost instantly we saw glittering sand dollars, gold-covered shells, and diamond plated conches. Tridents and harpoons and sashes woven with golden thread glistened when beams of light washed through the caverns.

“It’s real!” said Dale, using the claw arm of the pod to fetch a jewel-encrusted starfish.

“And it’s all ours,” said Sebastian behind us. We turned our pod around and saw that the land pirates had gotten into their own pods and found us.

“But how?” I asked.

“You sloshed water the entire way. It was easy to track you, sealubber.”

The pirates surrounded us, and I counted them in my head: Sebastian, another pirate with a fabulous unbuttoned shirt, another with a sparkling bowtie, and several others in various states of undress. All of our hired crew had followed us, and left nobody to guard the ship. I floated near Chip and whispered.

“If we make a break for it, we could get to the land vessel and roll away. Their pods wouldn’t have the range or speed to catch us.”

“True, but what of the treasure?”

We have the bejeweled starfish, it alone could recoup our costs and then some.

“It’s not enough, we must get more.”

“It is the treasure or our lives,” I said.

Dale had floated over, and he agreed. “We have to make a swim for it.”

I nodded. I pushed the lever to send the pod rocketing forward. The pirates, distracted by the treasure mountain, did not notice until we were already past them. Chip pressed himself against the back of the pod, crying over lost treasure. He couldn’t stand the thought of living without a resplendent belt buckle, and threw himself out of the pod. The last we saw of Chip before we plunged down the mountain was him flopping on the pile of golden shells, gasping for air with a grin wider than the Mariana Trench.

I heard the pirates yell after us, but we were already well on our way down the slope. We attached our pod, and I swam as fast as my flipper would take me to the Captain’s bowl at the front.

The eighteen-wheeled land vessel roared to life and spit black smoke into the sky. It lurched forward, and I thought Dale would be lost in the resulting slosh, but he held onto plastic plant anchored in the rocks.

The tires spit dust and rocks back at the pirates’ pods, cracking one and sending two pirates flopping onto the dirt.

That was the last we saw of the pirates, and the rest of our trip home was uneventful and lonely.

Some nights I still dream of the island. I wonder if the mergods had mercy on Chip and turned him into a cow, and if he’s busy grazing among the treasures. But I will never go back. One trip on land is enough to last me a lifetime.

Clandestine!
Jul 17, 2010


Catastrophic computer failure has also led me to fail the mermen. Next one I do will be a toxx unless I'm banned from the thread altogether :(

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


Man, I'm a Genius (1186 words)
Whatever should have happened in this room, it wasn't this. Cole tried his best to wrench his attention from Brandon's trembling hands as Principal Morgan shuffled the papers on his desk. And all for a 80 dollar leather jacket.
"Good. I'm glad we cleared this matter up." He looked at Brandon – who seemed oddly small without his usual cocky smirk – and gestured at him. "Brandon, if you would return Cole's property to him?"
Brandon slowly took the jacket off his shoulders and passed it over to Cole – who simply stared at it dumbly. After a second, Cole's father swore under his breath and grabbed it for him. "C'mon, Cole, let's go. Phil, thank you very much for helping us with this."
Morgan smiled. "Anytime, Aaron."
More pleasantries were exchanged, and the last of Brandon Cole saw was his hunched shoulders – then Morgan's office door slammed shut.

"What were you thinking in there, Cole?" His father slammed the door and jammed the key into the ignition. "Mumbling on about how you 'weren't sure' if that guy took your jacket or not. What have I always told you?"
"Don't look wishy-washy." Cole mumbled.
"Yes! Commit to your actions. If you tell Phil that that guy -"
"-Brandon, but I didn't tell-"
"– yes, whatever – took your jacket, then don't play Mr. I'm Not Sure when he calls the both of you into the office in order to get it back!"
"Yes, Dad." Cole stared at the lights of the houses passing by, recalling only Brandon's trembling hands, his insistence – which turned into pleas – that the jacket he held was his own.
"As long as you learned your lesson. Don't embarrass the family, alright?" His father's tone had lost its harshness, which was a relief.

After they arrived back at their house, Cole's father clapped him on the back as they climbed the steps up to their front door. "I'll start cooking dinner now, alright? Get some homework done. Oh, and here's your jacket."
"Okay." Cole took the jacket and carried it up the flight of stairs to his bedroom. He ran his finger down its sleeve – it still seemed too new to really be his jacket. Maybe he really did just lose his jacket somewhere. Maybe Brandon really did save up to buy this one – but when Morgan asked for the receipt, Brandon couldn't produce it. And Cole generally kept good track of his stuff.
He sighed as he entered his bedroom, and hung the jacket in his closet before flopping down onto his bed. What should he do now? He really didn't feel like doing homework, but video games didn't seem too appealing at the moment either.
He looked to the left, and saw the jacket again – surrounded by other (rather expensive) jackets he had accumulated over the years, from either his father or friendly relatives. At least Brandon wouldn't get into too much trouble. Principal Morgan had promised that if the jacket was returned, Brandon's academic record would stay clean – as clean as it was before, at least – and he would only get suspended for a couple of days. So Brandon wouldn't be screwed over too badly.
Well, other than losing the eighty-dollar jacket he saved up several months for, if he had been telling the truth.
Ugh, there wasn't any point in thinking anymore about this. Cole got off his bed, pulled out his calculus textbook from his bag, and began working on his homework. He was still on the first problem when his phone rang, and he picked it up without checking the number.
"Hey, man. How did it go?" Richard's energy practically radiated from the phone.
"Fine, I guess."
"I guess?"
"Well, I got the jacket back…" Cole trailed off, all his doubts about the jacket coming back with a vengeance.
"Dude, I'm pretty sure that means it went great. Justice has been served!" These last lines were delivered like an announcer, but even Richard's goofiness couldn't shake his doubts.
"Well, I still don't know if it is mine. Like Brandon could have – " Cole said, but Richard cut him off.
"You're still second-guessing yourself about it after calling up the principal to take your case? Make up your mind!" Richard was laughing, and Cole was starting to get irritated.
"Well, it's not like I told the principal. You did."
"Who else could it be? Brandon's the only one who'd do something like that – "
"– actually, I don't think – "
" – and there's no way he saved up for his own." Richard's tone turned derisive. "I mean, does that guy look like the saving type?"
"Don't judge a book by its – "
"– cover. You sound like my grandma. I can't imagine how in the world you're still popular." The tone was clearly joking, but Cole really had enough.
"Yeah, yeah. Look, I have a lot of homework to get through, so I have to hang up now."
"No problem, dude. See you tomorrow!" Richard hung up. Even though Cole was staring at the phone, his mind was still on that drat jacket. After it disappeared, he had checked everywhere for it – but the house was pretty big. Did he miss a room?
He put his pencil down on the paper. He might as well check for it again; he wasn't going to be able to concentrate on his homework before he did. He'd start with his room first.

Crap. Cole sat in the private theater and stared at the jacket in his hands, and he knew he was absolutely screwed. He stared at the upended couch cushions blankly – how in the world was he going to fix this without getting into trouble? In order to get Brandon un-suspended, he would have to talk to Morgan and tell him that he had been wrong for thinking Brandon stole his jacket. And since his father and Principal Morgan were good friends, his father would probably find out, and instantly tear him a new one for making a complete fool out of himself.
"Cole! Time for dinner!"
His head snapped up, and he panicked. He needed more time. He stuffed the couch cushions back into place, and shoved his jacket underneath the couch proper. He would pick it up later, and then give Brandon's jacket back later.
Cole nodded to himself as he made his way down the stairs. Yes, that was a good idea. But what about getting Brandon unsuspended?

He stopped right before he reached ground level. Did he need to get Brandon unsuspended? The incident wasn't going on his permanent record, so it wouldn't hurt his chances of getting into college (if he ever wanted to), and anyway, he'd probably appreciate the break. All he had to do was give back the jacket, and he would do that when Brandon came back to school. So if he didn't tell Morgan the truth, he wouldn't get in trouble with his dad, and Brandon would get his jacket back.
So in the end, everybody would end up happy. The perfect solution to his problems.
"Cole, hurry up!"
"Coming!" He called, and then he smiled. Everything would be alright.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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





Fin (couldn't resist)

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


:siren: Interprompt :siren:

Anthropomorphized _________________, 500 words.

Bad Seafood fucked around with this message at 09:25 on Dec 29, 2014

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

:siren: SCIENTIFIC THUNDERDOME QUESTIONNAIRE :siren:

Salutations, Thunderdome. We at Kayfabe Science would like your opinions on this poo poo-talking, word-slinging simulation. Specifically:

poo poo talk and banter. Too much? Not enough?

How about crits? Are they useful? Sufficient in number?

Is there anything specific you'd like to see more or less of in the thread next year?

Soul-incinerating critiques and frothing rage are cherished parts of Thunderdome culture that are here to stay, and we're not looking to make changes to the general formula, but deep down under the layers of hate and bile and more hate and more bile and seriously EB have you considered anger management classes or something, Thunderdome's about getting people to write and getting them to write better. So scream your thoughts into the inky black void that is the 'Dome's heart, and maybe, just maybe, it will listen.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


Hm, the only thing I can think of is: is there any way to put the judge crits on the archive sites? That'd make them easier to find, I think.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Almost impossible. The sheer amount of work that mostly Kaishai has done to archive every story, brawl, and interprompt, as well as record if crits were done, has taken literally WEEKS of her time. Actually recording crits, most of which are only useful to that person, and won't actually be seen by other people, is just not feasible nor necessary.

In the future, I may add the ability for somebody to archive their own crits on their stories, but in all honesty if they're important to you then copy them down into a word doc at the end of your story or whatever.

Then again, if you want to do all the work yourself, of going through 2+ years of thread and thousands of crits, be our guest. I'm sure if you emailed them to us in an easily copy/pastable format then we'd be up to it :P

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

kurona_bright posted:

Hm, the only thing I can think of is: is there any way to put the judge crits on the archive sites? That'd make them easier to find, I think.

This has been discussed, and it's probably never going to happen for logistical reasons. Sorry!

crabrock in all his wisdom and glory has been considering adding the ability for people to archive specific crits they have received for their own reference, however. If this is a feature you're interested in, I strongly suggest going back through this thread before it closes and grabbing everything you want via the magic of the quote button.

Once the thread is goldmined, the quote button will no longer work, and copy and paste does not preserve formatting. This is especially relevant for line-by-line critiques. This is also why all crits will be archived on a frosty day in hell.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

JUST POSTING WHILE JERKIN' MY GHERKIN SITTIN' IN A PERKINS!

BEATS SELLING MERKINS.


Fun Shoe

Forgive me if this sounds dumb, but could we use the same software Baldurk uses for the LP Archive to archive the Thunderdome? I'm not sure about the technical aspects, but some LP threads are absolutely massive and sprawling, and even the largest seem to be archived completely intact.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Screaming Idiot posted:

Forgive me if this sounds dumb, but could we use the same software Baldurk uses for the LP Archive to archive the Thunderdome? I'm not sure about the technical aspects, but some LP threads are absolutely massive and sprawling, and even the largest seem to be archived completely intact.

Great idea! You should definitely do it!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Screaming Idiot posted:

Forgive me if this sounds dumb, but could we use the same software Baldurk uses for the LP Archive to archive the Thunderdome? I'm not sure about the technical aspects, but some LP threads are absolutely massive and sprawling, and even the largest seem to be archived completely intact.

The LP archive usually only archives the OP's LP posts; white noise, votes, speculation, banter, etc. are left out. That's more or less what we do with Thunderdome: we record the prompts, the brawl prompts, and the stories, but you still need to visit the threads themselves if you want to see everything.

There is a Thunderdome Archive with 2,876,043 words of fiction recorded, and, to slip back into kayfabe for a minute, if anyone suggests ditching it for something else at this stage of the game I will rip out his throat with my teeth.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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






Kaishai posted:

:siren: SCIENTIFIC THUNDERDOME QUESTIONNAIRE :siren:

Salutations, Thunderdome. We at Kayfabe Science would like your opinions blah blah blah

Have a hearty breakfast of go gently caress-yer-self.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






I think the thread needs more sass, meltdowns, and terrible GIFs.

:siren: also by official decree I want you to post the domest fics u got. Do you want to write a 5000 word epic about how you are the best complete with hobbit raps and magic lemon cakes? Do you want to write free verse poetry about how Crabrock's smarmy rear end can't write a story worth two of the shits which with he comprises his shitposts? Do you want to write a cyberpunk story about a cyber-musculoid named Fartello?

Fly my pretties. Flyyyyyyyyy.

please write me terrible TD fanfic. Deadline is New Years in wherever the gently caress you are from.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


Kaishai posted:

This has been discussed, and it's probably never going to happen for logistical reasons. Sorry!

crabrock in all his wisdom and glory has been considering adding the ability for people to archive specific crits they have received for their own reference, however. If this is a feature you're interested in, I strongly suggest going back through this thread before it closes and grabbing everything you want via the magic of the quote button.

Once the thread is goldmined, the quote button will no longer work, and copy and paste does not preserve formatting. This is especially relevant for line-by-line critiques. This is also why all crits will be archived on a frosty day in hell.
I knew that recording crits would take some work, but I didn't think that it would be that bad. Wow, okay, scratch that. Thanks for the advice, though - I'll do that. :)

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Screaming Idiot posted:

Forgive me if this sounds dumb, but could we use the same software Baldurk uses for the LP Archive to archive the Thunderdome? I'm not sure about the technical aspects, but some LP threads are absolutely massive and sprawling, and even the largest seem to be archived completely intact.

newtestleper posted:

Great idea! You should definitely do it!

This would actually be great if you could slurp up the whole thread from the goldmine or whatever and store it in some massive zip file or something. There was a python tool someone was talking about in QCS a while back that crawled through a thread and archived it, i'll see if I can track it down. Crabrock do you remember me sending you the link?

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:28 on Dec 29, 2014

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



My random thought: in the Dwarf Fortress Let's Play threads, there are usually custom-made banners for "overseer updates" (OP) and the "journals" written by dwarfed goons. People put these at the top of their posts. Maybe it'd be nice to have something like that for the different story categories "Weekly Prompt Entry" / "Interprompt Entry" / "Brawl Entry", as it's frequently not obvious at a glance which is which.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Speaking (broadly) of crits, here's one for kurona_bright.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

I want the thunderdome weekly loser to have to actually, literally, stab themselves in the dick with a pencil.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


What if it's a girl or robot?

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

stab themselves in the robot dick (applies to girls and robots)

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Nubile Hillock posted:

I want the thunderdome weekly loser to have to actually, literally, stab themselves in the dick with a pencil.

Nubile Hillock posted:

I want the thunderdome weekly loser to have to actually, literally, stab themselves in the dick with a pencil.

HB or propelling, Hillock

we need details

v :argh: you will have us rooting in the ordure like filthy goddam animals

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 20:31 on Dec 29, 2014

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






sebmojo posted:

HB or propelling, Hillock

we need details

NO

RULES

LAWYERING

U

gently caress

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: also by official decree I want you to post the domest fics u got. Do you want to write a 5000 word epic about how you are the best complete with hobbit raps and magic lemon cakes? Do you want to write free verse poetry about how Crabrock's smarmy rear end can't write a story worth two of the shits which with he comprises his shitposts? Do you want to write a cyberpunk story about a cyber-musculoid named Fartello?

Fly my pretties. Flyyyyyyyyy.

An Ode to the Joy in Existence Without Which the Universe Would Fall Apart and Collapse
(42 words)

Sitting Here and 'mojo, sittin' in a tree,
W-R-I-T-I-N-G.
First come brawls,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes the inevitable divorce when sebmojo rules-lawyers the prenuptial agreement.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Maugrim posted:

My random thought: in the Dwarf Fortress Let's Play threads, there are usually custom-made banners for "overseer updates" (OP) and the "journals" written by dwarfed goons. People put these at the top of their posts. Maybe it'd be nice to have something like that for the different story categories "Weekly Prompt Entry" / "Interprompt Entry" / "Brawl Entry", as it's frequently not obvious at a glance which is which.

this isn't a dumb idea; but to make it work we'd need to set OFFICIAL TDOME prompt etc images in the op and then police people using them which is more centralised control than anyone round here would want or expect.

if you or anyone else wanna make images and people want to use them then i guess noones gonna stop you but it's probably not vital enough to make it a threadwide thing, you're expected to pay enough attention to the thread to pick what's going on. let's take it to irc:

RepTaco it's a thread about and FOR readin

thank you barely literate somethingawful forms poster RepTaco/nubile hillock

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


J.A.B.C. posted:

I have a question for the thread: Does anyone know where I can go to pay someone money to make an avatar?

I have a contest idea coming up, but I need someone who can make an avatar I can give to the loser.
Uh, J.A.B.C, are you planning something?

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Kaishai posted:

:siren: SCIENTIFIC THUNDERDOME QUESTIONNAIRE :siren:

poo poo talk and banter.


Not enough, I hate the weird semi-rule that we're literally not allowed to post ITT outside of entering, submitting, interprompts and brawls*. Also, critting is a loving thankless task these days because people want/expect the judges to be super in depth. That takes up a lot of time when there are like 30+ 1200-word entries to go through. I've always seen Thunderdome as a fun, not-very-serious-business way to get people to write a set amount of words on a semi-regular basis - I don't know that everyone wants or needs super serious critiques of their Mega Man Black Jesus magical realism slash fiction, and I think that a vastly superior approach to critting (since fast = good, and all) would be to do short, to-the-point critiques with the understanding that if anyone wants a more in-depth crit because they are actually invested in their piece, they can ask for it. Basically I think that TD takes itself way too seriously and can we please loosen up a little bit in the next thread, plz n thx.

*I do understand why this rules exists, because people don't know when to STFU and it can poo poo up the thread hardcore and if difficult to police. I jusy don't like it :mad:

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Something I've been wanting to say for a while, and now that the kayfaybe rule is disbanded, I can finally get it off my chest.

I'm fully aware that in recent months, through my continuous participation in the 'dome, I've been getting more aggressive and more irritating to certain persons. I'd just like to say that I'm sorry and that I'm fully aware of my conduct and attitude here and elsewhere. I'm not some kind of egotistical jerk, or at least I try not to be. I'm just a bad writer who often times gets an ego and figures out that I've messed up before it's too late.

Fuscia_Tide, I'm still down for the Bennybrawl. RepTaco, you know what to do.

EDIT: Also, one free Bennycrit, first come first serve.

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docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

I think that the critiques are, by a considerable margin, the most valuable thing in Thunderdome (with 'impetus to just goddamned write something' coming in second). If you're going to judge a story, you should be able to write a couple sentences (and not necessarily more than that if you don't want to) on what you thought of it. People should probably have some patience on this front, though that's not something you can make a thread rule or anything. Fast judging good judging, but even halfway useful critiques take time, especially if you have twenty other stories about which to offer whatever dubious insights you have as well.

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