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The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.


The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Got my flash rule, and I will be tackling this set:

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Here is my set:


735 words

“Branniger!” shouted Captain Ross as he slammed his hand on the dashboard, the gas gauge bouncing slightly off the “E” where it was rested. Scooter snapped out of his daze.

“You calling for me, Captain?”

“No, not you, Scooter. Branniger. He’s done this to us.” Scooter stared blankly. Captain Ross sighed.

“Branniger,” he reminded the rookie, “is the gas tech back at the base. He told me fourteen times that we had plenty of fuel to get us to the Blocky Mountains and back. Now-“ he waved his hand towards the gas gauge. Scooter’s face fell, and he looked forlornly out the window into the screaming blizzard. He couldn’t see more than three or four feet beyond their small truck, even to the mobile outpost they were dragging a mere seven feet behind them. They hadn’t seen the sun in three days.

“I just don’t understand,” said the Captain, shaking his head. “That man is…was my best friend. I danced the robot at his wedding. Why would he have lied? We’ll have to try and radio for help.”

“Won’t be much good through this weather, Captain. Besides, the radio’s back in the outpost and we can’t get there on account of the...the…” Ross’ gaze followed Scooter’s. On the farthest end of their field of vision, something moved against the rapidly falling snow. It was advancing slowly, carefully. Its white fur was almost imperceptible among the vast Arctic landscape.

“The bear,” Captain Ross growled. It had become their traveling curse, coming in with the blizzard and sticking as closely to them as the snow on their windshield did. Any attempt to exit the truck and reach the outpost was met with a furious roar, and a white shadow barreling toward them. Unknown miles behind them, Scooter’s scooter lay in the gathering snow, covered in claw marks, treads shredded by sharpened teeth. Captain Ross put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.

“I’m out of ideas. I hate to say it, but I think this may be it.” Scooter lowered his head into his hands. Captain Ross assumed he was crying. Instead, Scooter’s face shot up, a light from behind his eyes beaming like the sun they longed to see.

“I’ve got an idea.” Before Captain Ross could react, Scooter threw open the door and ran as fast as he could to the outpost. Captain Ross was too stunned to react. Scooter kicked open the door of the mobile outpost and hauled a grey box into the storm. He furiously pulled out piece after piece, assembling some, throwing others aside. Captain Ross could make out the white form of the bear growing larger, and quickly.

“Scooter, whatever it is, there’s no time!” The creature’s roar seemed to shake the ground.

“I can do it Captain! I’m almost done; I just need one last piece. Where is it?” His voice grew frantic. “I can never find the piece I’m looking for. I know it’s in here! I saw like twelve the other day!” The bear was almost on him now. Ross could see its black eyes. He leapt out and ran to Scooter, hoping to reach him before the bear did. The beast’s jaws opened wide.

“Got it!” Scooter shouted, holding the final piece briefly over his head before snapping it into place. Ross finally saw it for what it was.

“A saddle?”

Scooter whipped around, now face to face with the bear. He leapt out of the way just in time, slipping a makeshift bridle into its’ roaring jaws. He pulled himself and the saddle on top, and rode the monster with everything he had in him. The grip of his yellow, claw-like hand never faulted, and for three entire minutes he stayed on, despite every effort of the bear to claw, bite, and toss him off. The exhausted beast collapsed in the snow. Scooter stroked its head.

“Its okay, Captain. I think we’ve found a friend. I’m going to name him Snowcone.” Captain Ross approached cautiously, but Snowcone didn’t stir at his presence. Ross slipped on the saddle and locked his hands in place around Scooter’s middle. With a mighty “Hee-ya!” and a hard kick, the bear was up and running.

“They’ll sure be surprised to see us!” Scooter shouted to his commanding officer. A sly smile spread across the Captain’s face.

“Especially Branniger,” he laughed as the two and their mount rode off into the snowstorm.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Also my flash rule was this, to help clarify:

The News at 5 - Story opens with a betrayal. No violence, no inter-character arguments

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Microprompt submission:

Room for One More
25 words

Ethan burst into the room to see Lila crying in the hospital bed.

“Dammit!” he screamed. “Now I’ll never have a drummer for Rock Band!”

The News at 5 fucked around with this message at 01:44 on Feb 25, 2014

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
In, he pondered.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Golden Gloves
636 Words

A.J. woke up in a cold sweat. A single, naked light bulb hung overhead, not enough to illuminate a room that was too big for it.

A.J. rolled off the stiff cot and put his feet down onto his gloves, which slid and almost caused him to stumble. He kicked them aside. The room spun a bit, and he put his hand on the cinder block wall to steady himself. He wasn’t sure where exactly he was, but he knew it was somewhere in the bowels of the stadium. Above him, he could hear the last of the crowd murmuring and migrating out the door. He weakly called out for Patrick. His larynx felt like the well-worn path of a thousand razor blades. He cleared his throat, cleared it again, and repeated the call. His voice echoed down the hallway forever.

Patrick popped his head into the doorway. To A.J. he looked like a floating head, as if behind the pockmarked mug and well-chewed cigar one would find nothing, instead of a portly figure with a mustard stain somewhere.

“You rang?” he chuckled. He tossed the long-defeated cigar down the hallway and stepped into the room. A.J. nodded. He tried to swallow, but there was nothing there.

“You did good tonight, kid” Patrick assured him, lighting another cigar. He exhaled, filling the room with smoke. A.J. coughed like sandpaper. Patrick looked at him out of the side of his eyes, and puffed again.

“Carroll?” A.J. groaned, and then coughed again.

“Don’t worry about him. You won your match. That’s enough,” Patrick reprimanded.

“Enough for what?” A.J. inquired.

“You had a good night. That’s all you need to think about. You’re career just got off to a hell of a start,” he grinned.

“So, he’s-“ A.J. stopped.

“I said don’t worry about it,” Patrick reminded him. “You did good. That’s all you gotta care about.” A.J. looked at the ground. His lips tightened and a bead of sweat dripped from his forehead and hit the floor.

“If that’s what I gotta do to do good I don’t think I want to,” he muttered.

“Doesn’t that beat all,” Patrick laughed. “Kid, you know how much you won tonight? This is how the game’s played- keep it up. Now get dressed. There’s people waiting to talk to you.” He ashed his cigar and sauntered out of the room. As he stepped in the hallway he turned around and stared at A.J. for a very long time.

“Don’t take all night now,” he warned. Patrick stepped deliberately to the left and down the ramp that would take him to the reporters, fans, and officials. He took his time. A.J. closed his eyes.

The night played over in his mind. A crowd of thousands, silently staring with jaws dropped. The ringing bell. Sweat pouring into his eyes. Carroll’s body, motionless on the mat. The final sound of his glove kept echoing through his ears. A booming thud, muffled by flesh and the cracking of bone. Over and over.



His knees buckled and he almost fell. His eyes were barely open. He picked up his gloves slowly, mechanically. He stared at them, into their deep red color. He half threw, half dropped the gloves to the ground and steadied himself against the wall again. He took a few deep breaths and started shuffling his feet towards the door.

The closer he got, the more his feet picked up. By the time he reached the doorway they barely dragged the ground. As he turned to the right they were full steps, heavy and intentional. When he got to the staircase that headed outside the stadium, he was at a full run. The loud, flat sound of his steps echoed through the hallway. They kept going after he was gone.



The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
In. Also flash rule.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
873 Words

Brian slid the notepad containing the answers to that afternoon’s quiz into his backpack. The journalism department was usually deserted this time of day, and he was all alone, except for Walter.

Walter had his eyes fixed to the floor, hands shoved in his pockets, lightly kicking the ground. Brian looked down the hallway through Walter’s spectral form to see if anyone was coming. Confidant he hadn’t been seen, he turned to leave.

“Well, see you Tuesday,” Brian said. He had almost turned the corner when Walter called after him.

“So is that it, then?” Brian turned back, the sunlight streaming in making it difficult to pick Walter out against the white wall.

“Almost. Tuesday’s the last test of the semester. If I pass it then we can…you know.”

“Help me find her?” Walter looked up, and Brian shuddered as his eyes met the ghost’s glassy stare.

“Right. If I pass on Tuesday, we can figure out whatever happened to Pam-“


“Yeah. Find her, or find out about her, maybe deliver a message to her if you want. Then you can, y’know, rest in peace or whatever. Just make sure to get the answers by then.” Walter kicked the floor a little harder.

“I always get them, you know that.” Brian stormed back and stuck his finger in Walter’s transparent face.

“See that you do,” he said, his breath hissing where Walter’s ear would have been. “If I don’t pass, I don’t graduate in June. And then I don’t help you. You want to be stuck in the smallest, darkest corner of this building for another thirty years?” Walter said nothing, and backed halfway into the wall.

“That’s what I thought,” Brian said. “See you Tuesday.” He kept his eyes on Walter as he walked out of the department and around the corner. The next few days went by quickly. Brian spent his time finalizing his plans for graduation. He looked forward to never seeing campus- or being in the cramped little corner the university had shoved the journalism department into- ever again. He didn’t give Tuesday or Walter a single thought.

Tuesday afternoon, thirty minutes before the test was about to begin, Brian wandered into room 321 and took a seat in the back. It would be another ten minutes before anyone came in. He took a second to make sure he was alone, and then whispered.

“Walter. Walter I’m here.” Nothing happened. Brian called again, this time a little louder.

“Walter. Walter where are you?” Nothing still.

“Walter? Come on man, quit dicking around,” Brian said at almost normal volume. He saw a shimmer in the corner of his left eye, and turned to see Walter finish materializing.

“What the gently caress took so long? Did you get the answers?” Walter didn’t reply. He merely looked out the window. Brian threw a book at him. It sailed through and hit the wall. Walter turned.

“I asked you a question,” Brian said.

“I have a question for you,” Walter said. “Did you take Ethics in Journalism?”

“Um, yes. Hello. You were there.”

“I took it too, when I was alive. You had to take it to get on the staff of the school’s paper. Did you know I was the top journalist at this school for two years?”

“Walter. I do not give a poo poo.” Walter’s form darkened and Brian softened his voice. “Look, you can tell me about it later, okay? But the test starts soon and I want to out of here as fast as I can.”

“I don’t have them.” Brian’s jaw could have hit the floor. He sprang to his feet.

“The gently caress did you just say?”

“I don’t have them.” Brian took a swipe at Walter, but connected with nothing.

“Did you forget our agreement?”

“No. I remembered my ethics. I don’t want to help you do this.” Brian slammed his hands on the desk.

“Well then you can just forget about our deal, rear end in a top hat. Just try crossing over or whatever without me to help you. Without me you’ll never learn poo poo about anyone.” Walter took a few steps towards the door.

“Actually, I realized I would rather never know than spend another minute with a cheating rear end in a top hat like you. So thanks, I guess.”

“No!” Brian said, springing forward to block his path. “You said you couldn’t cross over without-“

“I know what I said. Now here’s what I’m saying: gently caress you.”

As Walter dissipated, Brian clutched at the air as if to grab him and force him to stay. His hands gripped nothing. Other students began filing in to see him standing in the doorway, his eyes crazed. He caught them staring and whispering and slowly shuffled back to his seat. Sweat ran from his forehead. His fists clenched as Dr. Abbott entered. He closed his eyes and furrowed his brow.

Think, Brian. Sure, you haven’t taken a test in four years but you’ve been to every class. Almost. You must have picked up something. You can do this. He opened his eyes to see the test on his desk. He breathed in and smiled. He could do this. He closely looked over the questions, searching his memory for any information he’d absorbed.

He was hosed.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
No flash rule.

1176 words

Is this Jim?

Yeah. Who is this?

You’re not going to believe this, but I’m you. I’m you from the future.

Seriously, who is this?

I’m telling you the truth, you have to believe me.

Is this Caleb? Whose phone are you using?

This isn’t Caleb. We hate Caleb. He wrecks our car.

This has to be Quentin.

No. Quentin sucks too. You have really bad taste in friends right now, but you get over it. I promise you, it’s you. I mean me. Us.

Why should I listen to you?

Because we’re not a twat.

Okay, prove it then.

When we were fourteen we spent the summer at Uncle Kenny and Aunt Karen’s. We saw cousin Celia naked when she was changing into her swimsuit.

I told people about that. This could be anyone.

You also jerked off immediately afterwards.

I’m listening.

What are you doing right now?

Sitting. Watching a movie.

Is Jennifer there?

Yeah. She’s sitting right next to me.

Where are you guys at in your relationship.

About six months. Actually, tonight I was going to tell her that I love her.

Then I’m not too late. You need to break up with her immediately.

What? Why?

She turns about to be crazy as hell. Trust me, you want to avoid her.

She seems perfectly sane to me.

She is for now, but once her parents get divorced its bye bye birdie.

Her parents seem fine.

Her mom drinks. Her dad is addicted to internet porn. loving addicted as balls. When it comes out how much porn he watches you’re going to be like ‘drat’ and I’ll be like ‘I know’

I’m not breaking up with her. How do I know you’re not making this up?

Look rear end in a top hat, do you think I haven’t been where you are right now? I know how this plays out. They get divorced, she gets all clingy, and then she starts the whole ‘break up with me and I’ll kill myself’ poo poo.


Yeah. And then you get a tattoo.

A tattoo?

On your dick.

Why would I do that?

Of Rainbow Dash.

The gently caress?

Yeah, turns out she’s a brony. I’m sorry, dude.

That’s insane.

Yeah, especially since everyone knows Applejack is the best.

I can’t believe this. Things are going so well.

I know it sucks for now but if its any consolation the next girl we date has really big hooters.

I guess I’d better do it then. I don’t really want a pony on my dick.

That’s a weird way of saying it but yes. Let me know when it’s over.


Okay, it’s over. I broke up with her.

How did it go?

Not well. She was really confused and started crying. She slapped me and left. I wish I hadn’t done this on a school night. Especially since we have a group project to do tomorrow.

Oh poo poo, I forgot about that. Don’t worry, you fail that thing anyway.

Great. Thanks a lot.

You’re the rear end in a top hat that fucks it up, not me. I need you to do something else for me.

Can I please just go to bed? It’s really late.

No, this has to happen tonight. You will not ruin this for us. I promise you, if you just do everything I tell you, someday you’ll look back and say this was the greatest night of your life.

It had better be.

It will. Don’t be a baby. Are you at home?

On my way. Just left Jennifer’s house.

Are you texting and driving?


You are a dumb poo poo. Quit trying to gently caress me up. Do you want to gently caress me up?


Then pull over shitstick.

Okay, I’m pulled over. What now?

I need you to call mom.

It’s really late.

I don’t care. Call mom, and tell you that you don’t love her anymore, and that you’re running away.

I’m absolutely not doing that.

You have to. It’s the only thing that will save her life.

What’s wrong with mom?

Realizing that she’s going to lose you is the only thing that can shake her out of her heroin addiction.

Mom’s addicted to heroin?

Like Jennifer’s dad and porn. It’s real bad.

I didn’t know.

That’s why I’m telling you. You have to save her. Since dad’s dead she’s the only thing we have left.

Dad’s dead? When does dad die?

I’ve said too much. Look, do you want to save her or not?

Of course.

Then make the call.

Okay, I’ll be right back.


Okay. I made the call.

How did it go?

I don’t really know. She was sobbing so much that I couldn’t understand what she was saying.

You did the right thing. Someday, she will thank you.

So can I go to bed now?

Almost. I just need you to do one more thing.


I need you to punch yourself in the nuts as hard as you can?

I’m not doing that.

It’s for the good of all humanity.

How could punching myself in the nuts possibly be for the good of all humanity?

It’s how you become President.

I don’t understand.

It’s your whole platform. You punch yourself in the nuts and yell ‘gently caress the world I’m President’. So you have to get good at it now.

Are you kidding me?



I’m just loving with you. Have been this whole time.

The gently caress? You’re joking, right? You didn’t just make me do all this for no reason.


What the gently caress is wrong with you? Are you mental?

Drunk and bored.

God you’re such a loving rear end in a top hat!

It was pretty funny though, right?

No! It was cruel and terrible!

Well yeah, you think that now, but what until you get to where I am.

gently caress you! I will never do this to myself!

You just did, dumbass.

Goddammit! This is the worst night of my life. I hate you, you loving dick!

You can do that, but you should probably apologize to mom first. She’s pretty pissed.

Oh my god.

Also, you might want to get back together with Jennifer.

You said she was crazy!

Crazy in bed. The second you tell her you love her, its like panties off, all the time.

I hate you so much.

What a baby. I forgot I use to have no sense of humor.

I’m done with this. Tomorrow I’m getting a new number.

You think I won’t know what it is? I’m from the future, idiot. You can’t get away from me. Besides, I’m not that bad. You should see the texts I get from sixty-year-old me.


Yeah. It’s…gross. Like, Applejack, doing…things. Once you graduate college it kind of just goes down hill from there.

I hate my life.

You’ve got time to start hating your life. Instead, why don’t you call Jennifer right now? I’ll bet if you play your cards right, she’ll do you.

You think?

Yeah, but you’d better get to it.

Okay. Wish me luck.

Go get ‘em, tiger.


She said no.

Oh, goddamnit.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
In. Famously

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Sisters of Sarah Jane
946 words

Deep in the rolling ocean of wheat sat an island of blue gingham named Sarah Jane. She carefully laid out the corn husks and corn silk she took from the McLarey’s field. She was out as far as she dared, where she could be truly alone but could still hear her daddy call for her. She came out here most afternoons after he finished his jug and fell asleep.

She hummed as she started her work, the only other sound the hushed yet constant rustle of the wheat. It never took her long to make the arms, shaped and wrapped perfectly tight. She took the smaller bits of husk and crushed them into a ball, then wrapped more husks over it to make the head and body. She shoved the arms up under it, tying everything off as hard as she could. When she first started making her dolls she could never get the string tight enough. Now it would hold forever. Last was the dress, which she folded down with the utmost care. She could tear it if she wasn’t careful. She ruined many a doll that way.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small bottle of glue she bought with money earned selling her dolls to classmates. Everyone marveled at how perfect her dolls were; how quickly and perfectly she made them. She applied a tiny bit of glue to the top of the doll’s head. No one knew about the dolls she made for herself. These dolls were even better. She took half of the corn silk and pasted it to the doll, a big mass of hair that reached halfway down the back. She placed it off to the side.

“Hello, Molly,” she said. She smiled and patted the doll on the head. Molly always had so much hair, more than any of her other sisters. When Sarah Jane was very little she would stroke it while Molly held her. It gave her comfort. Molly died first, of influenza.

The second doll was smaller. Susan. Susan never had a chance to grow hair, so Sarah Jane made her without any. She placed her next to Molly and started on the third.

It was the same size as Molly, but Sarah Jane saved the darker silks for this one. Hannah. Hannah’s hair was dark brown like Sarah Jane’s, and always pulled back in pigtails. One time Sarah Jane woke up in the middle of the night and saw Hannah shoving things into a bag. Sarah Jane just watched as her sister slipped out the back door without a word. Hannah and Daddy had been fighting. Sarah Jane didn’t know why, but she never saw her sister again. Since then Sarah Jane always wore her hair in pigtails.

She leaned the dolls against a thick patch of weeds and smoothed out her dress. She cleared her throat.

“Now its time to sing our song,” she said, her tone mimicking Mrs. Woodward, her teacher. She sang a song she learned in church, a song about gathering at a beautiful river. It was her favorite. She and her sisters always sang it together. As Sarah Jane was reaching the last verse, another sound broke through the wheat. It was long and low, and drifted across the tops of the field, sliding over her head. It was her name, drawn out for miles. Daddy was awake.

She hadn’t expected him to wake up so soon. She grabbed the dolls and held them tightly against her breast, getting low to the ground and trying her best to find the thickest patch of wheat. She crawled to the spot with the least sunlight and closed her eyes. She brought her knees to her chest and hugged her dolls tight.

There was another sound now, the sound of wheat being pushed aside, then the sound of boots on dirt; then her name again, louder and clearer. She opened her eyes just a crack and saw her daddy’s boots and overalls stumbling towards her. His movements were erratic, unpredictable, going back and forth with no set pattern. She squeezed her dolls even tighter, almost crushing them. Her daddy was very close now. She held her breath.

He stopped. Sitting in the clearing, only a few feet from Sarah Jane, was the glue she had forgotten. He bent down to inspect it, and Sarah could see a glazed look in his eyes. His hands hung lazily off his knees, and he batted at the bottle before picking it up. He sniffed it like an animal and dropped it back to the ground. He turned his head so slowly that at first Sarah Jane wasn’t sure if he was turning it on purpose or if it was blown by the wind. She closed her eyes but knew it was too late.

“I see you, girl,” he said, a hair above a whisper. He grabbed the back of her dress and lifted her up. She lost her grip on the dolls and they fell to the ground. She never took her eyes off them as she was half carried, half dragged back to the house. Even when they were out of her sight, she kept her eyes to the field, never looking forward, as her daddy dragged her inside and up the stairs.

An hour later she slowly walked down the back porch and towards the field. Her pigtails had fallen out, and the last tear still clung to her cheek. She took each step deliberately, and had no thoughts as she disappeared into the wheat. She headed back towards McLarey’s field to collect corn husks, like she did most afternoons.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
In, and could I get a flash rule please?

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.


The Sebmojo Challenge

I am game.

The News at 5 fucked around with this message at 23:54 on Apr 8, 2014

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
My story for Sebmojo.

Hail Mary
504 words

It was the start of the second half and the Panthers were down 116-0. Coach Logsdon wiped the sweat off his forehead. The opposing team, the Sylvania Impalers, were already were already on the field, ready to continue the slaughter.

“All right boys, head on out,” he said. The team trotted out to their positions, sweat dripping down their faces and, in the case of Bobby Bosco, tears. Panther’s ball to start. Logsdon’s knuckles went white as he gripped his clipboard. The ball was hiked, the quarterback stepped back, and the Impalers tossed the Panther’s front line into the air before taking out the quarterback, knocking him straight back twenty yards. The Impalers hovered back to their position. Logsdon could see the state champion rings disappearing in front of him. He whistled for a time out and turned to Assistant Coach Don.

“Sure wish this had been a day game,” Logsdon said. Don just shook his head.

“Better call it, Coach,” he said. “I’m worried one of those Sylvania kids’ll draw blood and then we’ll really have problems.” Logsdon patted him lightly on the back, then turned towards the referee.

“Coach?” said a voice behind him. He turned to catch the eyes of Jordan Weller, sitting in his well-worn groove on the bench. “Put me in.”

“It’s pretty rough out there tonight, Jordan. I think you’d be in over your head,” Logsdon said. Jordan looked at the ground, took a deep breath, and stood up.

“Please, Coach. This is my chance. I know I can turn this around.” Logsdon looked up at the scoreboard and sighed.

“Okay,” he said. “Why not?”

“Thanks, Coach. I appreciate the chance,” Jordan said, holding out his hand. Logsdon shook it, his brow furrowing and his mouth opening, as if to say something. Jordan didn’t give him a chance before trotting out on the field and getting into position. Logsdon almost broke his clipboard in half waiting for the play to start.

“Two! Thirty-Two!” Jordan said. “Hut! Hut! Hike!” The ball snapped back to Jordan and he ran forward, straight at the defensive line. Logsdon wanted to turn away but he couldn’t. The Impalers defense reached for Jordan’s throat.

Their hands were almost on him when they suddenly backed away, hissing and shielding their faces. Jordan raced through them like the wind through a pile of frightened leaves and made it to the endzone. The Impalers stood, frozen on the field, before turning into bats and flying away. The team lifted Jordan onto their shoulders and carried him off the field. Logsdon stood stunned, his hand on his face. Don and the other assistant coaches were shouting and holding each other.

Jordan was dropped right in front of the coach, who managed to get out a very quiet “how?” before Jordan pulled out the small, golden cross necklace he’d hidden under his jersey. Logsdon hugged him as the state champion rings were brought to their side of the field.

That’ll be one to remember for next year, Logsdon thought.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
In the interest of posting my crit as close to Quid's as I can, here's mine.

QuidProQuo- Vampire Bats

In terms of mechanics, your biggest problem is that things tend to slide a little towards “tell” and not “show”, especially in lines like “the mood was tense.” You don’t need to tell us this if you can establish it with setting and action. Show us how the tension is affecting Mike. Your first paragraph also dumps a lot of exposition on us, with the short sentences making it feel like an even bigger dump.

The biggest issue with your story, though, is the lack of conflict. We don’t see your character overcome anything, so there’s no real tension. He sets out to get a bone, and he does so with no difficulty. Even when the story tries to set up a problem, when Jessica asks how he plans on making the equipment, is immediately dismissed with an easy answer. Since there wasn’t really anything at stake here, there wasn’t anything to really keep me interested.

Between the two stories your was definitely the most original. Your base idea is actually pretty clever, and I would have loved to seen more out of it. Really, what you given us here is a good opening to a story. I can see Mikey taking the bone home, only to have his perfect season threatened by a vengeful Nosferatu, or something. I would expand on this, because I think you have something.

The News at 5- Hail Mary

In terms of mechanics, yours are kind of sloppy. This definitely needed another pass, as there’s a few too many additional words, phrases, or characters (like the assistant coach) that just don’t need to be there. Do you have other people read your work? Please start. There is also a continuity problem: you start the story by saying it’s the start of the second half, but as soon as Jordan makes the touchdown everyone acts like the game is over. The Impalers disappear so I guess it’s a forfeit (?) but you really need to make this clearer. Otherwise it just reads like you forgot where you were halfway through. Seriously, other people have eyes and brains. Utilize them.

Of the two stories, yours is the least original. Sebmojo told you to write a story that was unlike any other vampire fiction you’ve read/heard of, and I don’t think you accomplished that here. Vampires playing sports is an arena that has been explored before. QuidProQuo’s story definitely had a unique take on the idea, and it would have been worth it to think a little harder about this.

That being said, your story is written competently enough, and I like the solution with the cross necklace. At the least, your story is at least a complete story, with a conflict that needs to be resolved, and a creative way that it is resolved. Your characters are also fairly-well defined for such a short story, though they definitely fall into stereotypes. I like your opening sentence, as it really sets up the situation and gives us good information up front.

Comparing the two, I would say it comes down to The News at 5’s lack of originality versus QuidProQuo’s lack of conflict. For me, the bigger problem is the lack of conflict. The News at 5, your story may not be the most unique thing I’ve ever read, but it has a setup, climax and resolution. Quid, if you’d given us a good rise and fall you would have won this hands down. I really want to see you expand this story and take it places.

Note for both of you: I like both of your titles. They both work to summarize the story and act as puns. Good work.

P.S. Sebmojo also specified “small town”. I don’t think either one of you did anything with that.

Ninja Edit: Goddam it I just realized it was QuoProQuid. Stupid self-correcting brain. Sorry, dude.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Thank you Seb, it was an honor and a privilege, even if reading my story wasn't.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Truth in Advertising
905 words

The egg rolled off the counter and splattered as the studio audience laughed.

“Wow, Bill,” Tommy said, “I don’t think I’ll ever get these eggs to stay put.”

“Then today’s your lucky day,” Bill said, flashing a smile he paid too much for. “With the Egg Wrangler, your life begins!” He pulled out a plastic tray with a smaller tray inside. The smaller tray was suspended by large rubber bands, and it had twelve indents. Bill took two eggs and placed them in the indents.

“See?” Bill said. “It’s just that easy!”

“Wow,” Tommy said, “No more wayward eggs for me!”

“That’s right, Tommy,” Bill said. “Now even someone like you can have eggs!” The audience laughed, clapped and nodded. Tommy grinned through clenched teeth.

“Why don’t we just move on?” he said, balling his hands into fists.

“Sure thing, Tommy,” Bill said. “And wait’ll you see what’s next!” Bill reached under the counter and pulled out a massive white cube with a hole on top and a chute on the side. It was the size of two microwaves stacked on top of each other. Bill struggled under its weight, and there was a noticeable thump when it was placed on the counter.

“Tommy, let me ask you a question,” he said. “How often are you able to peel your own vegetables?”

“You know, I don’t know, Bill,” Tommy said, biting his lower lip as sweat formed on his forehead. “It’s just so complicated, I’m not sure I can do it in my own home!” He smacked the counter with his open palm.

“Well no more worries, Tommy!” Bill said.

“Thank God for that, Bill!”

“Settle…settle down now, Tommy” Bill said, lowering his voice a little.

“I’m just excited to find out more about this…cube.”

“It’s not just a cube. It’s the Peel-Away Two Thousand! Pesky peels and sticky skins are a thing of the past!” Bill said, waving his hand gracefully in front of the device, the audience “ooh”-ing and “aah”-ing with every sweep.

“Simply take whatever vegetable you need peeled, drop in the hole in the top and…” The tomato rolled down the chute, perfectly peeled, and landed on the counter with a thick plop. The audience applauded.

“See Tommy? Now peeling is a breeze,” Bill said.

“Wow, Bill, I didn’t think it could any easier than it already was,” Tommy said.

“That’s the wonder of the Peel-Away Two Thousand, and it can be yours for only three easy payments of twenty-nine ninety-five!”

“If I’d known about this I wouldn’t have wasted five whole dollars on a hand peeler I could fit conveniently in my drawer. Instead I’d have this taking up my precious counter space!” Tommy said. Bill pulled Tommy towards him and whispered.

“What are you doing, man?”

“Just playing along, pal.”

“Will you stick to the script?”

“Sure will,” Tommy said. Bill turned back to the audience.

“With those three easy payments, you not only get the Peel-Away Two Thousand, you get…“ he reached back under the counter and pulled out a black case. He opened it to reveal six knives. “These ergonomically designed knives, built specifically to comfortably fit in the palm of your hand!”

“That’s great Bill, because I know my knives are always just slipping right out of my hands!” said Tommy. Bill lowered his voice again.

“Will you stick to the script?”

“It’s in the script,” said Tommy. Bill looked at the teleprompter, shrugged, and picked up one of the knives.

“Well then try this, Tommy,” Bill said. He handed the knife to Tommy, who gave his best shocked look.

“Oh my goodness! It’s like nothing I’ve ever held before!” Tommy said. The audience clapped and nodded.

“Here, Tommy, try cutting through this aluminum can. Each knife is sharpened to the highest degree, guaranteed to slice through anything,” Bill said. Tommy started sawing through the can. The knife sliced right through it. Tommy dropped his jaw open while the audience clapped and nodded.

“Wow Bill! It cuts just like a knife!” Tommy said, stabbing the knife into the counter.

“What the hell are you doing?” Bill said, not even bothering to whisper.

“Helping these fine people waste their money, Bill” Tommy said. He pointed at the audience.

“Who wants a knife?” he said. The audience clapped and nodded. “Then you all get one! Here you go!” He threw the knives into the crowd. The audience screamed and ran for the exits. Tommy grabbed the Peel-Away Two Thousand and lifted it slowly.

“And who wants the peeler?” he said, struggling to lift it.

“It also…makes…smoothies…” he said, before dropping the device onto the floor, cracking the casing and breaking off the chute.

“But wait, that’s not all,” Tommy said, kicking what was left of the peeler. “If you call within the next thirty seconds, you can have my job! All for the low price of four years of your life shilling useless, overpriced products to gullible idiots with too much money!”

“Have you gone insane?” Bill said, trying to make his voice heard over the screaming audience.

“No, Bill! I’m just trying to show you this wonderful new device called ‘I quit’! And it’s yours for only three easy payments of ‘gently caress you’!” Tommy stormed off, punching a hole in the back drop. With the merchandise smashed, the show ruined, and an audience in a panic, Bill turned to the camera.

“We’ll be right back,” he said.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
I am here to party. In.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.

Gau posted:

As a penance, I will crit the first two takers.

I'll take a crit.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Wedding Presents

826 words

The reception was held in the back yard. Tiki torches illuminated the freshly cut grass, offering limited light on the heavily clouded day. Paul sat at a table where no one knew him, spoke to him, or took any particular notice of him. He came alone, and did not bring a gift. He was staring straight ahead, at the bridal table. At Jillian.

She had not left the table for the past two hours, and Paul’s gaze had not wavered. The DJ started the music, and the wedding party, save the newlyweds, got up to dance. Paul slowly pushed his chair out. Frank, the groom, whispered into Jillian’s ear and left the table. Paul quickly stood, smoothed out his jacket, and checked his pocket for the .38 snub nosed revolver. It was till there.

He moved across the lawn, never veering from his path. The dancers revolved around him, vibrant blurs gliding past his eyes. All he saw was Jillian. When he reached the table she was looking down at her phone. He slid his hand into his pocket.

“Jillian?” he said. She looked up and shared his gaze.

“Jillian,” Paul said, “you might not remember me, but”-

“Paul?” she said, and smiled. “I’m so happy you’re here. I didn’t get an RSVP from you. ”

“I wasn’t initially able to come,” he said, “but I had a change in my schedule. I called your mother to see if it would be a problem if I came. She said it would be fine.”

“Of course it is. Why didn’t you just call me?” she said. She stood and put her hand on his shoulder. “I would’ve told you the same. I’m glad to see you again.” She hugged him across the table. Paul stiffened and pulled his hand out of his pocket.

“I…I didn’t want to bother you,” he said.

“No bother,” she said, sitting back down. “It’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too,” he said. The song playing ended and a new one began. Paul continued staring at Jillian as her eyes wandered around the room. Paul slipped his hand back into his pocket. His hand gripped the butt of the revolver.

“Jillian, I-“ Paul’s words were interrupted by Frank’s return. He sat next to Jillian and kissed her before noticing Paul.

“Oh, hello,” Frank said. “I don’t think we’ve been introduced. I’m Frank.” He stood and held out his hand. Paul looked as Frank, and then shook his hand.

“I’m Paul,” he said.

“Paul’s an old friend,” Jillian said, turning her eyes to Paul. “He’s always looked out for me, ever since elementary school. In high school, if somebody broke my heart, I could always turn to Paul.”

“Is that right?” Frank said. Paul nodded.

“Well then let me shake your hand again,” Frank said. “Anyone who takes care of Jillian like that is a friend to me. It makes me sad we haven’t met sooner, Paul.”

“I had to go away for a while,” Paul said, turning his eyes to Jillian. She stopped smiling and turned her eyes to the ground. He slid his finger over the trigger.

“I wasn’t able to get you a wedding present,” Paul said, “but there was something I wanted to do for you.” He cocked the hammer back.

“What is it?” Jillian said. Paul looked back and forth from Jillian to Frank, both of them smiling at him. Paul took a deep breath. Another song started, and the crowd responded with an enthusiastic yell.

“I love this song!” Frank said. “Come on, Jillian. Let’s dance.”

“Let’s see what Paul wants to do for us first,” Jillian said. Frank sat back down, still smiling.

“You can see it later,” Paul said. “Enjoy your dance. It’s a lovely wedding.” He bowed, turned, and headed directly back to his table. He sat down kept his eyes on the centerpiece. He rocked back and forth, his hand gripping the pistol.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the DJ said. “It’s time for the dollar dance. Everyone line up for your chance to dance with the happy couple.” Everyone in the room stood and moved towards the bride and groom, except Paul. He went the other direction towards a grove of trees at the edge of the reception area. He stood behind the largest one, away from the music, beyond the reach of the torch light. He started crying. He pulled the pistol out of his pocket and placed it to his temple. The music swelled and the beat kicked in. Paul closed his eyes.

It started pouring. Rain pelted every surface of the yard. The bridal party and the guests ran into the house, shouting. Paul opened his eyes. He lowered the gun and turned back to the reception area to see it deserted. He looked at the pistol and dropped it to the ground.

“Congratulations,” he said, before walking off, deeper into the trees, leaving the wedding behind him.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
124 words

Ever since he was a little boy Alan swallowed balloons. He never gave a single thought as to why, or where the balloons went, since they never showed up in the toilet like everything else.

Eventually, Allan went off to college. While crossing the quad one day, Allan felt a terrible pain in the deepest pit of his stomach. He fell to the ground, gripping his torso. From inside his colon he could hear a terrible squeaking. He suddenly felt incredibly full, as if he was swelling. His stomach roared.

Suddenly, eighteen years of swallowed balloons came streaming out of Allan, each fully inflated. The explosion of color could be seen from miles around, and for years everyone remembered the day of the balloons.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
I am down with the sickness. In.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.

Starter Wiggin posted:

I've got time to do some crits if anyone would like one.

I'll take one.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Cold Feet
(1178 Words)

Ryan looked very handsome in his new tuxedo, but all Becky could see was the sign he held that said “Wounded In War. Please Help.”

“You promised you wouldn’t,” she said, tears forming.

“I promised I wouldn’t embarrass you,” he said. “And I won’t. But you know there’s nothing I can do about this.” He gestured to the sign. “This is a part of who I am now.”

“I know,” she said, dabbing her eyes with a tissue, “You could just, I don’t know, not be this way. Especially today.” Ryan frowned and turned away from her.

“You think I want to live like this?” he said. “You know if there was a cure I’d be the first person taking it. But there isn’t, Becky. It’s never been a problem before today.”

“It wasn’t, no. But looking out there and seeing my whole family…I just don’t know if they’d understand,” she said.

“Of course they will. Your cousin Murray is sitting outside, right now, with a hat on the ground, begging for change.”

“Murray was always the black sheep. As far as my family is concerned, he’s just being himself,” Becky said.

“He is though. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. He’s sick.”

“They won’t see it that way.”

“Does it really matter what they think? As long as you’re happy,” Ryan said, grabbing her hands. She pulled away from him and turned her face to the wall.

“I’m sorry, Ryan. I can’t do this,” she said, before throwing the door open and running down the hall. She turned a corner and ran into another person, almost falling down in the process. She stood up and recognized Ryan’s uncle Howard.

“Oh, Uncle Howard, I could use your help,” she said. “I’m so confused and-“

“Got any spare change?” he said, holding out his hand. His face was covered in days-old stubble, and a big toe was sticking out of one shoe. Becky’s cried even harder and ran outside.

She stuffed herself into her car and drove. She turned down random streets with names she didn’t recognize until she found herself in a part of the city she had never been to before. She pulled into the first parking lot she could find, then put her head in her hands and cried.

She sat there for a while, trying her hardest to shut everything out. There was a tap on the window. She looked up to see a young man in a wool cap with a full beard and smudges of dirt on his cheeks. He waved at her and gave her a big smile. Becky lowered the window.

“Can I help you?” she said.

“Any spare change miss?” he asked. She stared at him, her cheeks growing red.

“Leave me alone!” she said. “Why won’t you people just leave me alone?” He backed away from the car, and Becky could see he was holding a sign that said “Need Money to Get to Oregon.”

“I’m sorry, miss,” he said. “I don’t really want your change. You see, I have a disease that causes me-“

“I know all about it,” she said. “The man I’m marrying has it. Well, maybe.”

‘You’re not sure he has the disease?” the man said.

“I meant I’m not sure I’m marrying him today,” she said.

“I’m sorry to hear that miss,” the man said. “My name is Chester. Would you like to talk about it?”

“No, please, I couldn’t. I wouldn’t want to trouble you.”

“It’s no trouble, miss. Please,” he said. She nodded and got out of the car, sitting on the hood and dabbing her tears.

“I’ve always loved Ryan, ever since I met him,” she said. “We dated for two years before he contracted PH, but at that point I was so in love with him I didn’t think there was anything that we couldn’t get through. When he would suddenly have to stand on a street corner in the middle of the night, I would bring him sandwiches, or an umbrella, and patiently wait for him to come back home. The time he came to my work party, and offered to shine my boss’s shoes for a fiver, I stood by him, proudly. But for whatever reason, the thought of going up in front of all my family today just made me think that I can’t do this, not for the rest of my life, no matter how much I love him.” Chester stayed quiet, nodding along at each point she made. When she was finished, he put a hand on her shoulder.

“I’m married,” he said. “And I have to tell you, if I didn’t have my wife by my side, I don’t know how I would be able to get through all this.”

“You’re married?” she asked.

“I sure am,” he said. “For the last fifteen years. “And she has been my rock, after everything that’s happened. Worked as a mechanic before I got PH. I was a good one too. After I got it, my boss tells me he can’t have me around anymore, trading oil changes for quarters and tire rotations for sandwiches. After that, any place I applied turned me down as soon as they found I was sick.”

“Isn’t that illegal?” Becky asked. “Discriminatory?”

“PH isn’t legally covered yet,” Chester said. “For now we can only rely on ourselves. And my wife, God bless her, she busts her hump making sure we have food on the table for us and our kids. And you know why she does it?” Becky shook her head.

“Because she loves me, and she knows that if I could, I’d be out there, fixing the hell out of every car that came my way. But she knows I can’t, and it doesn’t matter to her. That’s love.”

“Wow,” Becky said, “I was too busy thinking about how Ryan’s PH affected me. I guess I was being selfish.”

“Maybe a little,” Chester said. “Just remember that no matter how hard it gets, he can’t do it without you.”

“Thank you,” Becky said. “That’s just what I needed to hear.” She gasped.

“Do you know what time it is? I might still be able to make it on time.”

“Twelve-thirty,” he said.

“I’ve got just enough time. Do you know how to get from the Little Heaven of God Church from here?”

“I sure do,” he said. “It’s right there.” He pointed across the street. Becky had not fled as far as she thought. She ran across the street and through the doors of the church. She ran straight to Ryan and apologized. He welcomed her back with open arms, and she walked down the aisle happier than she’d ever been. There were some stares from her family, but she never noticed them. To her, there was no one else besides her and Ryan, and never would be, as long as they both lived. Even when the priest asked her, “Brother, could you spare a dime?” There was no question in her heart that her only answer was “I do.”

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
I'm in.


The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
Back Up the Stairs
(980 Words)

I passed the house every day on my way to work. It had two stories, a three car garage, and a lawn that was always immaculate. Sometimes I’d see a Lamborghini parked in the driveway. I’d never had thoughts about robbing a place before, but going by there day after day while I busted my rear end at the factory got me thinking.

I asked around about it, found out that some big time lawyer lives there with his daughter. I thought that with all the money that must have been holed up in there, no one would throw too big a stink if a little went missing. I thought that if could get a piece of it, I wouldn’t have to deal dope on the side, or beat up meth heads for what little cash they had. If I could get one big score, I’d be okay. Some nights I’d park across the street and just stare at the house for hours. One night, after a real bad day at work, I decided I was ready.

I parked my car and sat there waiting until it looked like the lawyer and his daughter had gone to bed. I must have smoked a pack-and-a-half while I was sitting there. I saw their lights go out and I put on a ski mask and some latex gloves. Nobody locks their doors in that neighborhood, so I let myself right in.

I checked the downstairs but there wasn’t much to be found. They might have left the front door open but everything inside was locked up tight. I stood in the kitchen for a minute or two trying to decide whether or not I should leave, or risk going to the second floor. I end up at the base of the stairs, looking up. I knew that going up there where the family was sleeping was just inviting trouble, but I could see images of CD players, watches, and jewelry. Curiosity’s a bitch, and it got the best of me.

I walked up the stairs quietly and carefully, because every staircase in America’s got one little bastard that’ll squeak and ruin a whole operation. When I got to the top of the stairs I stopped and listened. I listened for movement. I listened for a T.V. I listened for somebody getting up to take a piss. I didn’t hear anything so I continued.

There wasn’t much up there but bedrooms. The first one I saw was the father’s. If I’d awakened proud papa I’d have been in a world of hurt, so I kept moving, past a little bathroom. There was a bedroom at the end of the hall, and I assumed it was the daughter’s. I didn’t really want to wake her up either. I decided to turn back, cut my losses, and just leave. I crept my way back down the hall.
Walking quietly is a funny thing: you never know if you’ve been doing it right until you’re not. I discovered that when the floor squeaked beneath me. Now that squeak was probably as loud as a mouse fart and didn’t wake anybody up, but instinct took over and that was that. I panicked. I ran, faster than I have in a long time.

I barreled down the hallway but it was too late. The old man must have heard me and was standing right in the middle of the hallway, pointing a goddamn shotgun at my head. I couldn’t stop so I plowed into him and we fell down the stairs, me riding on top of him like he was a sled. We hit the ground and he landed on the back of his neck. There was an audible crunch.

I stood up and whispered if he was all right. He didn’t move, so I nudged him a few times with my foot: still nothing. I took a step towards the door when I heard this little shriek from the top of the stairs. I looked up to see the daughter, who gasped and threw her hands over her mouth. We both stood there for a second, staring, neither one of daring to make the first move. Here’s where things get a little fuzzy for me.

I can see myself doing it, but it doesn’t feel like it was me. Just a collection of hazy images somewhere in the back of my mind, like a movie I saw years ago and can’t quite remember. I grabbed the shotgun and charged up the stairs like some kind of big animal, grunting a little with each step. She started to run, but wasn’t fast enough. I raised the gun and fired a couple of times. I don’t know where the first shot went but the second one blew her face apart like a bloody Fourth of July.

I snapped out of my daze and dropped the gun. I ran down the stairs, out the door, and into my car. Afterwards I just drove, up and down the back roads. I must have made it back to my house and gotten into bed. It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I realized I was even home. It wasn’t until two days later that I realized I hadn’t stolen anything.

The story was all over the papers. Cops said the father must have shot his daughter, and then thrown himself down the stairs. No one could think of a motive. That house was supposed to be the last time I broke the law, and it was. Some people would say I got away with it, but I’m not so sure. I started taking a different route to the factory; a longer one. On the nights that I can sleep I find myself at the bottom of those stairs looking up. This time I know what’s up there, waiting for me.

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