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Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Hello new thread. I've been an absentee parent for much of 2013, so allow me to ring in 2014 by performing the noble sacrifice of offering to be judge #3.

I loving hate judging, so don't make me regret this

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Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


In the spirit of mingling with the common folk (but also because I came up with a pretty decent idea), I'm going to be submitting a story as well as judging, because you can't stop me.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


I'd just like to take a moment to inform all 34 (ugh) of you that people whose entries fall well below the word limit will instantly gain my favour, because I'm very lazy. Brevity is the soul of wit, kill your babies etc.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Purple Prince posted:


This Week's Thunderdome: Won't be completed. I have something good but it's half-complete and I'm tired and ill and have other work to do. Might submit it to the fiction farm.

Hmm, you tease us with the promise of 'something good', but then puss out on delivering with the cliche "I'm tired and sick and busy." The execution of your excuse is weak and also boring. 0/10 would not read

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


LOL I totes forgot I don't actually live in EST timezone anymore herp derp. Welp no time to edit dis bitch, good thing I'm a judge or whatever this week:

Usurper (Slightly less than 1250 words because I took some out while I was doing the spacing just now)

Lil was elated as she punched in the safe’s code, everything was going perfectly to plan. 1-5-1-1-2-3-6-8. Her birthday, Daddy’s birthday, and their anniversary. The code panel flashed red.Incorrect code entered. Please re-enter code.

“What the-“ Lil slapped the door of the safe, “That rear end in a top hat changed the code, and he didn’t tell me!

Ange frowned and touched the tip of her nose with her index finger as she thought, a stupid little affectation that Daddy, of course, found adorable.

“Hang on,” she said finally, “let me try something.”

Lil watched over Ange’s shoulder as she entered a different code: 7-4-1-1-2-3-1-5. The panel flashed green and the safe click-thunked open.

Ange laughed, “Alright!”

Behind her, Lil ground her teeth, fingernails digging into her palms inside her clenched fists. The new code was Ange’s birthday, Daddy’s birthday, and her birthday. And her birthday was last. “I can’t wait to get rid of your bitch rear end” thought Lil, staring holes into the back of Ange’s head.

“Okay,” Lil handed Ange the golf bags they’d brought along, “You empty it, I’ll go make sure no-one comes in.”

She opened the office door and slipped out, closing it softly behind her. Then she locked it, and pulled out her phone. Daddy was not going to be pleased with Ange.
---

Lil had decided that she and Ange were enemies at her birthday party. In truth, though he always maintained that she and Ange were equals, that he loved one just as much as the other, Lil had always known that she was Daddy’s favourite. She was Daddy’s first wife. Lil had been there for Daddy since New Orleans, when he was just another punk hustling tourists on Bourbon Street. Ange was just a jumped-up working girl who knew how to play her way up the ladder, from being Lil’s employee to her friend, to eventually helping her run the girls while Daddy took care of all the other business. But they were never equals. Daddy had even asked Lil for her for permission to make Ange his second wife, for Christ’s sake.

And yet here he was, fawning over Ange, feeding her apple slices from the chocolate fountain. Ignoring Lil at her own birthday party. She seethed as she watched Daddy caressing Ange, running his fingers down her neck, through her hair. Then, the tall double doors at the other end of the room thudded open and Lil caught Daddy’s eye for a second as everyone turned to look at the cake as it was wheeled in. He snatched his fingers away from Ange as if she’d burned him and started shouldering his way through the crowd towards Lil.
Lil’s girls descended on her, placing a diamond encrusted tiara on her head, thrusting a bottle of Cristal into her hand, sweeping her up to the platform where the cake was now on display. It was almost as tall as she was, festooned with royal icing flowers painted gold and silver. Daddy knew how to cater a party.

The girls led the crowd of party guests in a raucous chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ and Daddy climbed up to the platform to present Lil with her birthday gift. She gasped with delight when Daddy opened the box in his hands to reveal a necklace glittering with diamonds and huge rubies.

“It’s platinum,” said Daddy as he lifted it out of the box, draping the strands over his palms so that the light danced inside the gems, “twenty-one carats, because it’s your twenty-first birthday, right baby?” he grinned.

“Why don’t you stop talking and let me wear it, you big dope?”

The necklace was perfect; more beautiful than the one she had had in mind, had been dropping hints about for a month. It was absolute proof of how much Daddy loved her.

But as Daddy placed the necklace around her neck, his fingers brushing her skin, all Lil could see was the way he touched Ange’s hair as they whispered by the fountain. Her smile became a rictus as she watched Ange smiling and celebrating with the rest of the girls. As if she wasn’t a duplicitous snake trying to usurp Lil’s position.

Lil turned to Daddy, “It’s fabulous, Daddy, just what I wanted!”

Out of the corner of her eye, Lil could see Ange watching them. She pulled Daddy close and kissed him passionately, her heart surging as he returned the kiss with equal vigour. She felt and hand on her shoulder and broke away to see Ange beside her, smiling and holding a large knife.

“You should cut the cake!” she chirped, all smiles.

“Oh! I guess I should,” said Lil, taking the knife from Ange and strutting over to the cake table.

“Speech!” slurred a voice from near the front of the crowd. “Speech, speech, speech.”

The rest of the party guests picked up the chant and Tamika, Lil’s favourite girl, thrust a microphone into her hand.

“I’ll hold the Cristal for you if you want, Mama,” she whispered.

Lil shook her head, “It’s alright, honey, I’ll hang on to it.”

She turned to face the ballroom full of guests, her shoulders thrown back and her chin raised, so that they couldn’t help but see the necklace. She wore it like armour. Proof of Daddy’s love, protecting her from being shoved aside by that blonde-haired little hussy.

“Thank you so much for coming out to celebrate my birthday,” Lil began, “I hope y’all are having as fine a time as I am.” There were cheers and whoops from the crowd, “I’d like to thank Adam, or as we know him here at the club, Daddy, for all of this beauty here tonight – you know none of us would be here without him.” Daddy’s chest puffed with pride.
“Finally, I want y’all to know that although our girls aren’t strictly here in a working capacity tonight, they may be willing to conduct business with you if you tip them generously enough,” the crowd cheered again. “Now, what do you say we get this party started?”

Shaking the Cristal bottle, Lil shoved the microphone back at Tamika, whirled back to face the girls, Ange, and Daddy, and popped the cork. She whooped and laughed as the spray of expensive champagne coated Ange’s hair, which Lil had spent hours helping her set into perfect waves.

“Ooops,” she giggled, “my bad!”

Bitch thinks she can put one over on me, she’s got another thing coming.
----

Daddy barged through the office door as Lil threw it open.

“What is this nonsense?” he thundered, taking in the scene with wide eyes. The safe hung open, and hundred dollar bills littered the floor and the desk, overflowing from Lil’s monogrammed golf bag. Ange stood behind the desk, admiring herself in the computer’s dark screen. She was wearing Lil’s birthday necklace. Lil shrieked.

“See?” She crowed, “She’s stealing from you, Daddy. From us.

Ange looked up as if she had only just noticed them. “Didn’t I tell you this would happen, Daddy? I told you I knew what she was up to.”

Daddy sighed, shaking his head.

“I know, Evangeline, I know. I didn’t want to believe it.”

Lil sputtered, “Wh-what?” She could hear the blood rushing in her ears as the colour drained from her face.

Daddy turned towards her, drawing his gun, “Lil. Baby. You know I didn’t want it to end like this.”

Behind him, all Lil could see was Ange’s smile.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Martello posted:

oi! i fancy a butcher's at the judging card. takin ages, innit?

Yeah, it's my fault, as always. You all wrote a lot of words okay.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Martello posted:



So the other two baby bitch judges are prejudiced against fantasy, uh?

for real, thanks. gonna expand and submit this one within the month.

Pfft, I never said I didn't like it because it was fantasy - it was just not in my top three DEAL WITH IT, KITTENTITS.

Anyway, in lieu of critting everybody all at once, I'm going to do a few per day until I get them all done. I've decided that I can only enter this week's dome if I get everyone critted before the sign-up deadline on Friday. In the meantime, here are the notes I made while reading so that I would remember who wrote about what and why I hated it:

Mr_Wolf:
Tense issues SO MANY AUGH
clunky prose
Ambiguous descriptions "clutching a yellow bear with one eye"
CHILD PROSTITUTION
Cliches everywhere
UGH NO.

E-Bouef:
Soviet era breaking bad?
Not sure who gets betrayed here?
Not sure why there's a mention of her doing chemistry topless? Wtf.
SOLID MEH.

Fumblemaus:
TYPO
Good dialogue, mmmm yes
Really nice continuity w/dragon/lizard metaphor - super
Nice interpretation of betrayal - really good execution of the prompt.
I'm kind of jealous.
MUCH YES.

Feste:
Dense, dense prose, long sentences = hard to read/follow
zzzzzz
the man/our man, what
I hate this a lot
takes way too long to get to the point, so much pointlessness
VERY NO

Meinberg:
Hmm not sure how I feel abt 1st/2nd business
Prose is VERY GRAND WOT WOT
"Staring in mute amazement" Show don't tell bitch
"the first" "the second" is SUPER GRATING
I guess the prompt execution is aight though
MEH.

Fartello:
Though it was going to go into a super cliche flashback, phew, it didn't
"mad eyes" BORING
LOL dog steward
My dad says "mad as a box of frogs"
Mad mad mad. There are other words for crazy, USE THEM.
"watched in horror and interest" BARF
This is PRETTY OKAY I GUESS
INTERESTED MEH.

Tyrannosaurus:
" titular timber of their community’s namesake" WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE
Liver is an organ, it doesn't attach to bone you numpty
oooh PLOT TWIST
I like the last line but literally nothing else
PRETTY MUCH NO.

Sebmojo:
Awesome little kid characterization
Confusion about who is looking at who at the dinner table
Nice writing as always, p decent betrayal
Kinda boring though?
MAYBE YES.

QUidnose:
"Alit" Awhat?
Also, what is even happening here?
Wait, I get it now I guess
Why are they talking like adults all of a sudden?
OOOH A HARSH BETRAYAL. Heartwrenching. Truly.
I THINK YES.

No Longer Flaky:
No, his hull donned a new layer of paint DUH
Um, boats are female FYI, WAY TO ADHERE TO TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLES YOU SHEEP
A pot. No two pots. JUST SAY TWO.
"Passengers were thrown forward with violence as the forward momentum was broken" forward forward foward...to overdescription
"What am I, a tool?” LOL YES
Let'S just pretend this convo never happened, okay?
Personification of the boat doesn't really work?
Also the betrayal is p lame tbh
SUPER MEH.

Kleptobot:
OMFG A BITE
"Sell us down the river" LOL THEY'RE ON A BOAT
A literal stab in the back? Bitch, please.
WTF why would his brother not be horrified to get STABBED TO DEATH
This story is bad and you should feel bad
MUCH NO.

sentientcarbon:
Wow Mama is a jerk
"harsh streaks of blah blah road map face" CALM YOUR TITS MAN, we know she's ugly okay.
Nooooo Jimmmyyyy D:
Dude. Why. D: D: D:
VERY YES.

Black Griffon:
Woo scifi!
Hmmm not enough detail? I'm not sure who these people are or what their relationship is.
Stupid typos, booo
Why does he have a sword and not like, a rad space laser?
Yeah, still not clear on what's going on re: who they are.
VERY MEH.

crackrock:
Snuck. Doesn't fit with the style of narration
I like the betrayal by an inanimate object
I like this one. ANOTHER.
MUCH YES.

Schneiders Ham:
YEAH PUNCH THAT KING IN EXILE
MAD. A MAD PLAN.
This boar hunt seems like a bad idea. Haven't you read GoT?
Not seeing any betrayal here
Although I GUESS the prompt doesn't state that you have to show it.
ALMOST YES.

Nubile Hillock:
What is condensation rain.
Hmm so archology is not a weird typo, but an object? Person?
TENSE SWITCH
Why randomly shortened wor's?
LOL atlatl wtf
MEH.

Jagermonster:
Ooh political intrigue
Decent imagery, doesn't succumb to overdescribing
Solid storytelling, bravo.
PROBABLY YES.

Mercedes:
What's with the DEAREST READER business?
Nigga :[
LOL a top ranking member of PETA?
Narrator breaking 4th wall isn't consistent enough
heheh dogs with hats
"...and poo poo" really doesn't fit with overall narrative style?
Ahaha WHAT THE gently caress
What are these black jesus shenaigans
I kind of hate this.
VERY NO.

JuniperCake (DQ):
Magical realism?
Whatever, it's p well done
TENSE FAULT SIGHTED
Awww sad elephant
MAYBE YES?

petrol blue:
it's = it IS, its = usually every other instance of the word GET IT RIGHT YOU rear end in a top hat
Nice depiction of hatefulness
Uh what? I don't get the ending
MEH

ThirdEmporer (DQ):
A quarter of a fifth?? In his cups? What is this, game of thrones?
Drunk guy at a funeral, never seen that before
zzzzzzz
NO, GOD.


SilkyMuffin:
Ugh, poetry AND an in-joke, gently caress you

Play:
WEll he's not getting any money for that coke if he just GIVES IT AWAY, GOD
"shuddering orgasms" are you serious
Hi I do a bunch of drugs and have crazy sex lol im cool
This is just like, a list of stuff that happened some time. Lame.
MUCH NO.

Seldom POsts:
ARCHIE FANFIC GTFO

Kaishai:
I was a teenage girl once, it was awful.
Totally cliched depiction of ED, but the mirror self being the rational actor is kinda cool I GUESS.
IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT DAD
MEH.


Walamor:
CLICHED COUNTRY GAL ALERT
EXPOSITION DROP
MORE CLICHE
MEH

Nikaer Drekin:
BUTCHER BARRY LOL
Bruhl is too close to Bruh and it's annoying
HI I'm Sarah and I'm an inanimate object
OMG crime show cliches all up in here, BARF-O-RAMA
SOLID NO

uranus:
Mwahahahaha evil scientists
WHY WOULD YOU ETCH THAT POT YOU MONSTER (not that you could afford it)
Hahahaha, nice betrayal though
LOL NO.

If I missed anyone, it's because you're dead to me.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


sebmojo posted:


DOUBLE LOSS.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Here's some effort crits for you buttmuchers, enjoy:

Mr_Wolf:
There are so many issues with this that I almost don't know where to start. You are massively inconsistent with tense, it changes from sentence to sentence almost, which says to me that you either didn't proof read it, or have never actually read anything before. If it's present tense, everything should be happening in the moment, so her sweat glistens; her daughter is sitting motionless; the skyline sits behind her. I want you to go back through this and correct every single tense switch, to teach yourself to never be this sloppy again.
Secondly, your descriptive writing needs a lot of work. You use long, wordy words where you don't need to, you include pointless details, and you do way too much telling instead of showing. Don't tell me that Joey pistol-whipped Louis(e?) for her tone, show him doing it. Don't tell me that they got hired by Tony for being good at what they do, show me how it happened. Which job did Tony hear about, how did he contact them and offer them work?
All this telling, aside from being tedious, has the knock-on effect of making the gritty, shock-value aspects of your story eye-rollingly bad, because you're beating us over the head with how terrible and dark everything is. Hey, they're beating the poo poo out of this woman! Also her kid is a prostitute! And the Mom is her pimp! Let's randomly kill both of them for no reason at all! This dead 12-year old with a gaping neck-wound is sooo beautiful! I am a dude with feelings and a gun! Leave something to our imaginations dude.
Also, don't just make things happen for the sake of it. For example, why is the protagonist so upset by this little girl's situation when he clearly sees bad poo poo like this all the time? You give the reader absolutely no reason to be invested in what happens to her at all, because she's an object. Literally all she does in the story is get shot. You could replace her with a dog or an inanimate object and it would have the same effect.
However, most of the mistakes you made are the same kinds of mistakes that everyone makes when they first start out, so it's not all bad. Save this piece as it is, and then come back to it after you've entered the 'dome a bunch more times and you'll probably be able to see a huge (and possibly embarrassing) difference.

E-Beef:
I wanted to like this. I thought the narrative voice was solid, and the dialogue was pretty good, but there were some spots that I found kind of clumsy and/or weak. The line about her working topless does nothing to add to the plot or the character in any way, and I found it really distracting (not to mention unbelievable – nobody would expose all that skin working with corrosive materials in a makeshift lab).
Places where you try and describe things in terms of chemistry, like “his eyes were inert and glowing, like neon” also didn’t work super well. I get that neon is an inert element, and you can make it glow, but the combination of those two descriptors when applied to a person’s eyes seems contradictory –if someone’s eyes are glowing with whatever emotion, then how can they also be inert? I think there are probably better ways to indicate that she’s super obsessed with chemistry.
Also, I wasn’t really clear on what was up with the ending. You set it up so that it’s obvious that she thinks very little of her brother and his abilities, and there’s no real indication that she’s secretly a super-patriot or hates the U.S., so it seems like there’s absolutely no reason for her betrayal, which doesn’t make sense. It did occur to me that maybe it had something to do with the daughter/niece, but if that’s the case then it needs to be telegraphed more clearly.

Fumblemouse:
This was actually in my top 3, but Rougelike overruled me because he didn’t like your interpretation of the prompt (and also bc he’s a jerkbutt). I really liked how you carried the dragon/magic lizard metaphor throughout the piece without being obnoxious about it, and the transitions between present and flashback are really tight. The only part that I thought fell flat was the ‘expert witness on Nasally Ingested Restricted Substances’, and I found the paragraph towards the end that starts “He unleashed.” a little bit overwrought. Over all though, it was pretty super and I liked it a lot.

Feste:
Oh, Feste. Crabrock already gave you a super in-depth critique, so I’ll keep this pretty short.
What were you thinking? This is, quite simply, an exercise in wankery. You obviously really wanted to show off what a serious and clever writer you are, and how many big words and complex sentences you can mess around with and the end result is an impenetrable wall of text that goes nowhere and barely even tells a story. My suggestion if you wanted to re-do this would be to cut basically everything but the last 3 paragraphs, re-write those to be less wordy and more to-the-point, and work from there, because that’s where anything interesting starts to happen. Also, drop the “our man” schtick, because it’s pretentious as hell. It’s cool to give characters names, don’t worry.

Meinberg:
You could also stand to give your characters actual names, instead of relying on this “The first” and “the second” nonsense. It doesn’t not work the way you’ve written it, but the incessant repetition of those two phrases gets really annoying. Either find a better way to refer to and differentiate between the two characters, or give them real names. The overall story here isn’t bad, but your prose veers dangerously close to pretentiousness. I kind of get the style/tone that you’re going for, but it’s not really working for me because a lot of the time it seems more like you’re going for “look at the sweet metaphors I came up with, aren’t my descriptive language skills CRAZY?” than actually trying to paint a picture that advances the story.

Martello:
I actually quite enjoyed this piece even though it didn’t make my top 3. It’s quite a departure from what I’m used to from you, and it’s cool to see you doing different things. It was a pretty solid story overall, but I think you suffered from the restrictions of the word count, because it’s pretty obvious that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes that could be expanded upon. For example, I’d like to see Dorn coming to terms with the decision to off the King, and the various intrigues that no doubt occur while planning that sort of thing. I also think we need to see more of Alred, as I get the impression that he fully endorses executing the old king so that he can be the new king. Also, is Dorn the King’s actual brother, or is that just a figure of speech? It’s not clear with the limited context that we’re given about their relationship.
Finally, I really enjoyed the way you portrayed the king’s mental instability, but I think it would be cool to see (or maybe hear about) his decline. The only thing that didn’t work so well was the fact that he actually lifts the dude over his head before tossing him off the parapet – that just seems too over the top. Even if you have him shoving the guy off, or doing the bouncer-style heave, that’s still pretty indicative of his ability to overpower another person, and doesn't necessarily make it unbelievable that it’d take a bunch of Huskarls to overpower him later on.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Ugh, man, I forgot how much time doing crits takes when you're trying to be all thoughtful and helpful and junk:

Tyrannosaurus:
I don’t know what my problem with this was when I first read it, because this one seems to have grown on me now that I’m reading it again. There’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s not bad. I think what’s actually missing here is that you need to either go full-bore with the whimsical, horrifying children’s-story style, or play it totally straight. As it is, it kind of sits in a middle ground between the two, and I think it’s detrimental.
The part in the middle, with what I assume is meant to be a red-herring betrayal is way too obvious and doesn’t make sense at the same time. It doesn’t work because you have Stump explicitly telling Gulper that it’s his turn, and then saying he said something completely different. It would be okay if you previously set Stump up as a liar, or had him say something more ambiguous, but as it is it’s just a really obvious device so that you can shoehorn in a fake betrayal
That being said, I do really like the actual betrayal for its simplicity – I just really wish that you would change the meat to something other than liver if you’re going to describe the hook as a bone, because there is no animal on earth with its liver attached to its skeleton

Sebmojo:
I liked the continuity of Sharon and Tracey’s characters through this piece – your depiction of them as little weirdo 5-year olds was adorable and spot on. However, I thought that the last section was a bit weak – I think you may have also fallen into a fake-betrayal trap, albeit in a different way than Tyrannosaurus did.
The betrayal in the second section, with Tracey dating Aaron behind Sharon’s back is a lot more believable to me, since having been a teenage girl I can understand the world shattering rage that it would cause. But this then makes the next section kind of unbelievable, because I feel like it would either have been friendship ova 4eva, or they would have gotten over it and resumed being besties. And, if they are, in fact, supposed to be besties again in this scene, then why does Sharon not know the details of Tracey’s IVF treatments? It all just seems a bit forced and like you didn’t really know where to go with it to keep up with the betrayal angle. Also, in the second paragraph of the last section, I think you have a Sharon where you meant to have a Tracey, unless Sharon is simultaneously sitting at the table and exiting the kitchen. Just FYI.

Quidnose:
This story legit had one of the most heartbreaking betrayals of the week. The kids in the story are all such shitbags, jeez. The main problem I had with this is that the tone of the narration and the dialogue are kind of inconsistent as far as establishing what sort of age they’re all supposed to be. Like, they’re old enough to play by themselves in someone’s treehouse, but young enough to be worried about wedgies. They’re old enough to understand military ranks and have clauses and numbered articles in their constitution, but young enough to get butthurt about ice cream. It’s like they’re simultaneously 8 and 15, which I suppose you could argue is how all boys are forever, but in the context of the story it’s somewhat confusing. Tighten that poo poo up, soldier.

No Longer Flaky:
So, this was weird. And bad. Well, actually it was kind of okay until the dialogue started (although traditionally, boats and other vehicles are referred to as ‘she’ [because men own them, lol patriarchy]), and then it became some kind of weird, self-righteous, environmentalist tract about a sentient boat? It’s especially jarring, because your prose is fairly readable at first, but then the dialogue is just horribly stilted, and everything that happens after the dialogue starts is just…ugh. I can’t even put my finger on what it is exactly, it’s just that nothing after that point works. I think the problem is that it’s totally illogical (insofar as a story about a sentient boat can be logical, I mean) to set up the boat as being responsible for taking things out of the ocean while also having it be full of a crew of people who are driving it and fishing from it. That basically invalidates the whole premise of the story, meaning that you sh/could have ended it with “What am I, a tool?”, “Lol, yep, sucks to be you.”

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Slowly, slowly, I am working my way through these crits. I'm just going to pretend that it's because I wanted to do sentientcarbon et al. a favour by not entering this week (lol 40+ participants), and not because I'm hopelessly lazy and went out partying last night:

Kleptobot:
I’m guessing from your comment before you posted the story that you know that this is kind of lame, rushed, and not well thought out. Nothing really happens in the first two-thirds of this story except for some rather uninteresting conversation, and then all of a sudden the one guy gets a bite and then his brother randomly stabs him to death. Your prose is super clumsy, I’m assuming because you didn’t have time to edit – the glaring thing being that he tries not to look his brother in the face while stabbing him in the back. Um, duh? Anyway, you didn’t actually seem to care about what you posted this round, therefore, neither do I.

Sentientcarbon:
Why. Why would you do this to my heart? Reading this is like being stabbed with SHARDS OF SADNESS GLASS.
Seriously though, it’s really well written – it’s a brilliant story about an awful situation, and I think you conveyed the dirty grimness of it all without being too melodramatic or overwrought, which can be really difficult. The only thing that stood out to me as being a little bit too much is Ma’s line about slapping Jimmy around. Even if you just leave it as “All five years since I brought him into this world I been trying to get him to act right,” I think it would work better, because her admitting to “slapping him around” seems almost like an admission of guilt, which doesn’t fit with her character at this point in the story. That’s literally my only criticism though, because drat.

Black Griffon:
Okay, seriously people what is the obsession with having nameless characters? I’m so tired of endless “she”, “he”, “the genderless, asexual being”, and trying to figure out who is speaking to whom, and why should I even care about these characters who are either too hip or too unimportant to have names? JFC. Someone remind me next time I’m a judge, that I want anyone who doesn’t name any of their main characters to be immediately disqualified.
Now, Black Griffon. I think your story may be suffering from a lack of space to fully explain things – you definitely should have used the extra 400 words you had leftover (as well as giving your characters names ) because I really only have the vaguest idea of what’s going on, even after re-reading it a number of times. Who are these individuals, and why do we care about them? You literally drop us into a conversation between two people who may or may not have been lovers, and may or may not be on opposing sides and then leave us to try and figure out what they’re talking about, until the guy falls over….and dies? Or not? I feel like I’ve flipped to a random page in the middle of a really long book, and I’m missing a huge amount of contextual information that seems pretty vital to understanding what’s actually happening here.

Crabrock:
I enjoyed this one a lot, I thought it was a pretty neat way to illustrate the theme. I liked the way you manage to illustrate that the narrator is totally batshit, but thinks that his interpretation of the world is totally rational and sane – it can be difficult to do that without being outlandish or comedic (or both), and you did a pretty admirable job. I would have liked to have seen more of the reactions of the posse from the protagonist’s perspective, as he focuses mainly on the gun (and other inanimate objects). In one sense it’s kind of cool that he personifies these inanimate things more than actual people, but on the other hand it would have been interesting if you had made more of his interactions with the actual people in the story – I wanted to see more how they reacted to the fact that he’s completely bonkers ( I mean, he killed a bunch of people for basically no reason, right), and how he interpreted those reactions considering he seems to operate on a whole other plane of understanding.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


More crits from Betrayal week, if any of you still even care at this point:

Schneider Heim:
This was okay, I guess. It felt very wooden though, as if you were trying to imitate a style that you’re not familiar with, which kind of makes the narrative voice sound like George R. R. Martin overdosing on Benadryl. There’s way too much expository dialogue, which is boring and unnatural – people don’t drop huge info bombs every time they open their mouths, and it doesn’t count as showing not telling just because you’re making a character do it instead of including it in the narration.

Nubile Hillock:ReptileChillock
We already talked about this in IRC, also you’re a butthole, so I’m skipping you lol

Jagermonster:
This was a pretty tightly written piece, and I think it was ranked pretty highly by all 3 judges. The dialogue, characterization, and pacing were all well done, however it’s never made clear what exactly these two are arguing about, which makes it hard to feel invested in the story. Yes, it’s a great depiction of the exact moment of a betrayal, but that’s all it is – there’s no context for either man’s actions/emotions, which makes it feel like some sort of preachy lesson about partisan politics rather than a story about politicians as human beings, doing human things.

Mercedes:
I had high hopes for this at the beginning, because the second paragraph reminded me of this, but then you did not follow through and I was sorely disappointed in every possible way. Whether this was a seriouspost or not, I think you tried to do way too many things at once which resulted in none of them being done well. I’m all for silliness and humour, since many people in the Dome (myself included) tend towards the serious and/or grim, but my problem with this was that I’m pretty sure you could have made this hilarious and way better than it is, and you didn’t. You jerk

JuniperCake:
I’ve been watching too much Adventure Time lately, because all I could picture when I was reading this was Tree Trunks (which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing). This was a pretty solid story, although I think you either got stuck, or fell victim to the word count since it ends pretty abruptly and unsatisfyingly. I enjoyed how you wrote it so that the reader can easily interpret it as a little kid just being imaginative with her toys and gradually growing out of it right up until the part where Susie gets big, so then it was kind of a let-down to have her immediately disappear. I was totally waiting for Maggie to get gruesomely murdered by her childhood stuffed toy-who-is-now-a-real-elephant and you DID NOT DELIVER

petrol blue:
I went back and forth on this one a lot. On the one hand, I love the way you portrayed the petty glee that the two characters get from torturing one another, but on the other hand it’s not actually much of a story, and the ending is really weak. There’s not enough story contained within the first two sections, and the ending makes no sense at all as it only vaguely seems to be related to what comes before. You imply that they have no friends, and no money, and a crap couch, and then all of a sudden they seem to have bought a new house AND a new couch, and their friends (that they don’t have?) come over every night, and for some reason they’re refusing to ever spend money (that they don’t have? Even though they bought a house?). I don’t think you thought this through very well, but I think you should take Mavis and put her in a different story because she seems so irredeemably awful, and I love it.

ThirdEmporer:
So, this was pretty boring. Guy gets drunk at a funeral and doesn’t understand why everyone’s being so nice about the dead guy, even though that is standard funerary protocol. This would have been much more interesting if, instead of having the dude try and think up nice, standard (boring) things to say about his dead friend, you had him thinking about all of the shittiest, most awful things he ever did. Because even though you probably thought it was super interesting and mysterious to hint about Terry being a bad egg, and Elise and John having some kind of secret, it’s actually really tedious because those things are obviously the real heart of the story and you’re not telling us what they are. This whole thing is basically 700 words of you saying “Hey, so I have this great story about this guy and how much of an rear end in a top hat he is, but nobody knows until he dies….buuuut yeah, I’m not going to tell you about it. THE END.”

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


magnificent7 posted:

So what's that? AM or PM?

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

J. Comrade posted:

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

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

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


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

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


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

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

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

Seldom Posts:


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

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

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

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

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


So, I'm pretty sure that my story is going to be both too long, and not finished by the time the deadline rolls around. That's what I get for going to my husband's PhD defence in another province and then getting drunk all weekend, I guess. YOLO.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Based on sage advice from my esteemed fellow goons in IRC, I restarted my submission completely at 9:08.

The Hum 757 words

Oscar stood in the middle of the stone circle with his eyes closed, his backpack at his feet. The hum filled his whole body. He could feel it in his stomach, like the bass thrum when he listened to music with Talise. The hum also filled his head, although he had given up trying to determine if it made a sound, and if he was hearing it, or if it was just a vribration, or if it was something else entirely. It was difficult for Oscar to tell. He had no baseline for comparison when it came to what sounds sounded like because he had been deaf since he was born.

Talise had explained the hum to him though. She said that lots of people heard it, but that more people didn't, and that was why no-one believed it was real. Talise said that she heard it too. Sometimes it was so quiet that she wasn't sure if she could hear it at all or if she was just imagining it, and other times it was so loud that she didn't understand how the whole town couldn't hear. Oscar hoped that Talise wouldn't be mad at him for running away without her, but the feeling that he had to come and find the source of the hum by himself was too strong ignore. She would probably understand. She had helped him learn sign language since he was a baby, and even when she didn't babysit him any more, she still let him hang out with her after school, in the book store where she worked. She always let him sit up by the counter, so that he could watch her and the customers talk with their mouths. She would probably definitely understand.

He opened his eyes. The dusky gray of the deepening twilight had been replaced the flat glow of the moon. The hum in Oscar's head got louder, pressing against the inside of his skull. He wondered if this was it felt like to hear all the time. He wasn't sure he liked it. He unzipped the backpack and took out a trowel. He hadn't been able to make the shovel fit, and he didn't want anyone to see him carrying it and ask him what he was doing. Most people in the neighbourhood couldn't read his signs, but he wasn't sure he would have been able to explain even if he could talk normally. He knelt between two of the largest stones in the circle and began to dig.

It took a long time to make the hole as big as he wanted it, working with the trowel was difficult. The moon sat high in the sky by the time Oscar stood and stretched the kinks out of his back. The hum was almost unbearable now. He felt like his bones might splinter and fall apart, it was all he could do to stay upright. He looked down at the lake and briefly wondered what would happen if he let himself fall and roll down the hill towards it. He had heard that there were mermaids in the lake that came out during the full moon, and that they liked the taste of human flesh. Part of him wondered if that might be better that what he was about to do.

Slowly, Oscar removed his socks and shoes, stuffing them in his back pack and zipping it back up. Then, he climbed into the hole he had dug and reached out to touch the stones on either side of him. The hum reached a crescendo that made him feel as if his skull was splitting down the center. He screamed silently as he realized that he couldn't see.

And then he could hear. He could hear. He could hear the sound of waves on the lake down below, the wind in the trees, and the rocks. The rocks had voices. They whispered and crooned and Oscar let the sound wash over him like rain. He tried to look down to find that he still couldn't see. His movements were slow. He tried to wiggle his toes, shift his feet in the little hole that he had dug, but he couldn't feel them anymore. Shhhh, said the stones, sing with us. The ground around his ankles closed as Oscar's skin slowly petrified, the gray and white patina of the other stones creeping up his arms and legs and down his forehead over his eyes. Sing with us whispered the stones. And Oscar began to hum.

The Hum

EDIT: Fixed the line breaks so that SaddestRhino doesn't cry about it. Deal with it.

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at Jan 27, 2014 around 06:04

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Martello posted:

Then afterward, I cried, because there isn't really a tribe of constantly engorged homosexuals named after me.

Only because you don't have kids yet.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


I've been too busy to enter the Dome lately, but I miss torturing myself ITT so I guess I'm judge #3, congratulations to you all for making my life an endless misery.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


So, even though godoverdjinn was pretty nice about it, a huge chunk of the entries this week were SO VERY BAD. It was like you all copied and pasted entries from your 9th grade journals instead of taking an experience from your life and, you know, writing a story about it. Because STORY was the operative word in the prompt guys, not "your life". I don't want to know every detail of your personal anecdote exactly as it happened, with a few fancy words thrown in there to make it seem exciting (hint: this strategy doesn't work), I want you to tell me an interesting, engaging story featuring events that you may or may not have experienced.

Anyway, here are my live-crit notes that I made as I was reading through all the entries. PM me or get me on IRC if you desperately want an in-depth critique of your terrible story

Mercedes:
Tense switch/typo within 2 sentences, such fail
UGh so much tense switching I HATE YOU
P. great story otherwise though, you fucknugget.

Whalley:
Good opening line
3rd paragraph all hosed up tho
Ugh, this got real boring real fast WOMP WOMP

Mister Morn:
'seemed' 'began' ugh just kill me now
wow thanks for letting us read your journal
brb jumping off the empire state building
(it would still be a better story than this)

Djeser:
199 words, I like it already
Actually the word count is the only thing I like
How is this even a story

Palisader:
God, how did you make Hong Kong through the eyes of a child so dull?
Oh a log how exciting I guess you had to be there.
I am loving enraged by how boring this is
cool story, grandma

elfdude:
BRAVO for not being boring as poo poo
Adverbs + overdescription, tone that poo poo down son
Your mom is cool tho

Baudolino:
THANK YOU for not using 'I'
LOL PUA SPOTTED
Whoops, persepective switch, FATAL ERROR
LOL buttsex
Subject matter: yes, style points: -1000

Huntersoninski:
This one time, I shattered my legs into a million pieces, lol oops CLUMSY
Ugh this is so much less funny than you think it is
LAME (like your legs lol)

Xenocides:
UGH TENSE SWITCHING
If I blow into this story will it make it good
WELP

Little Mac:
WTF is up with that first/second line
ARE YOU FATSHAMING
Nice PSA at the end there
Should have been way funnier

Quidnose:
Hmm intentional typos? CLEVER IF YES (lucky if no)
THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE, CHILDREN
great atmosphere, much gratitude, I have briefly regained my will to live

Leper COlon V:
Wow way to tell us about the story you're not telling us
Thanks
Nothing revolutionary indeed

Anathema Device:
Nice opening line
Short, sweet, to the point
Your Dad is cooler than Whalley'S

Rhino:
Mmm, breakfast
PALISADER TAKE NOTES
God, children are annoying
Too many meaningful looks, yo

Cpt. M. Ghandi:
Good opening
Too much telling in the hospital scenes = BORING
Why the blood blot? No-one cares.
WE KNOW WHAT ANTICOAGULANTS ARE, GOD
NO, YOU RUINED IT.
JERK

Crabrock:
LOL DICKS
Hahaha, awesome
I love you (and ur penis)

Ugly in the Morning:
Too much lead in, I don't care
Gets better towards the end, hooray!
Page 63/CYOA thing works okay, but could work better

Nikaer Drekin:
oooh so meta
do you want us to make you a loser out of spite
READING THIS IS A TENACIOUS BURDEN
(I wanted to DM you so hard for this but I was overruled, FYI)

Meinburg:
That sure was a lot of words to tell us that the girl you dramatically girlfriendzoned dramatically slept with your other dramatic friend.

COmrade BLACK:
Your 12 year old friends were knocked up?
And you knew what a dick looked like?
This is bad and you should feel bad
Also your peers totally killed that yeast I bet their pizzas were terrible

NewsGunkie:
Interesting opening
Not horrendously boring, bravo
Some sentence-structure errors
Kind of ends abruptly despite having lots of words to spare

E-Beef:
drat is this a Bond movie
Can adobe buildings be tall?
WOO INTENSE, I like it tho
You have staved off my desire for the sweet embrace of death for another 10 minutes or so, go u.

Sparrow:
Thanks for the history lesson I guess
Story does not deliver on Machiavellian high scool drama
MEH

Crab Destroyer:
OH GOD SUCH TENSE SWITCHING
Um wtf
what, exactly does the first half have to do with a)the prompt, and b) the second half

curlingiron:
Hmm
Good last line
POtentially a good kernel of a story
Too much telling tho
Like literally zero action

Entenzahn:
Haha, I love the style/age combo
LOL farts
BRAVO

Walamor:
Wow thanks for the anti-smoking PSA
Say no kids
Don't smell his shame
zzzz

Fumblemouse:
Wait, boys do that?
So, nothing happens in this story?
It's actually still better than like 90% of the others though so GOOD JOB I GUESS

Jonked:
I too, have memories about things that happened that i remember
are you trying super hard to be funny (bc it's not working)
you are officially gayer than your dad for writing this

Jeza:
Why italics?
Note to Jonked, this is how you muse about memories or whatever you were trying to do

Paladinus:
Were you three in league with each other or what
Ha, the Bible scene is fun
UGh tense switch whyyyy
Worst ending

Kaishai:
Cute story, well written
TAKE NOTES EVERYONE ELSE

JOda:
Tree, tree, tree
Hmm tricksy grandma
good story tho

SittingHere:
Hmm, kind of confused as to who is on which side of the door
Tight otherwise tho
Go to the head of the class

Noah:
Sick title bro
This really goes down in quality towards the end
last paragraph = barf-o-rama

No Longer Flaky:
OKay I guess?
Use more words, make more story

Ursine Asylum:
Good, but too much lead up
Srsly, way too much lead up for a one-liner
Grats on not being awful tho

sebmojo:
Chish again? COINCIDENCE? What are you up to?
Nicely written, but I don't really get it?
You had so many more words you could have used

Black griffon:
She she she she
MOOMINS +10 points
Competent, but also kind of boring?
SOrry abt your unrequited love, yo

Lead out in cuffs:
Competent, but boring
too much telling, very clinical and precise which = uninteresting

Jeep:
How very dare you, my name is Ruth
WHAT HAPPENED TO ME
It's actually p okay tho all things considered

Starter Wiggin:
Wow 2 paragraphs to say you were taling a midnight walk
This would be way more interesting if someone did get murdered

WLOTM:
Too many words between beginning and end, I forgot what was going on

Benny the Snake:
Hm another journal entry
brb suiciding

Arkane:
Blah blah
What
I can't deal anymore

Jay O:
Not terrible, hooray for you
I am officially dead

Systran:
NO U LOOK LIKE A DOUCHEBAG
Ugh emotions, FABIAN U DON'T UNDERSTAAAAND
Where have you told this story before, you cheater?!
Seriously, I've read this before elsewhere on the forums I KNOW IT

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Beloved Dome participants,

I am aware that the 'quality' of my 'crits' drops off towards the end, which is why I offered in-depth crits to anyone who wants one. However, given that you will likely get crits from both godoverdjinn and tyrannosaurus, and considering the time and effort it takes to do crits for that many people, may I request that if you're going to ask me for a crit and be a massive donghole about it, kindly go gently caress yourself instead:




I will post your crit tomorrow Arkane you whiny little shitlord.

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at Feb 18, 2014 around 05:30

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Apology accepted, you butthole.

Arkane posted:

Kisscapades
1299 words

I had just learned to drive. My instructor, three times my age and then some, became I hate the use of 'became' and 'seemed', just commit to the action already. intent on teaching me to drive near practice fields and schools. There he would consult me on the ratings of females of dubious ages Females? Female dogs? Female birds? You're trying too hard. 'Schoolgirls' would have been fine, and saved you a couple of words. He would say things like “Nah, look at that rear end. She’s an 8 for sure” of someone wearing a backpack featuring the Powerpuff GirlsYou missed a great opportunity here - does he mean 8 out of 10, or 8 years old teehee. I often just grunted at his assessments. If he seemed uncertain as to my agreement, the double grunt and nod would mollify him. [He almost certainly teaches people to drive in Thailand now. There or Rikers.] I enjoy this last part, lines like this come off as a little less self-conscious than the rest of the piece overall and generally work really well. That said, you could lose this whole paragraph because you're using it to set up a single line at the end and it doesn't really work right now because you don't carry the theme (of rating things) through, so then it's just a weird non-sequitur when it comes up again at the end.

I was 16 years old, in my car, and on my way to my first date with a girl named Casey. It’s You almost get away with this tense switch, but I still find it problematic - does the narrator still feel that way about the name Casey, or is this just what he thought at the time? a name that conjures up images of a father who envisioned a linebacker, but had a backup plan in case it Using 'it' to refer to people (even hypothetical ones) is a bit rude, you could say 'in case he got a cheerleader instead' was a cheerleader. One of those neutral, androgynous sounding names that my adult lol 16 =/= adult self couldn’t possibly imagine climaxing around without wondering who was in earshot Uhhh, what? I think I see what you're trying to say but it's pretty unclear, stop trying so hard.. I went over the scripts of potential date topics in my head, and I decided that “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” would be my go-to area if there was ever a lull. We had met during Quiz Bowl: the two of us locking eyes as we both blurted out that answer simultaneously. [It became our inside joke.]I don't think this needs to be its own sentence

You started 3 paragraphs with 'I' - avoid.I arrived at Casey’s house, and walked along the weed-infested path to her front door. Casey lived in a working class neighborhood a few miles from the north shore of Long Island. The path to her front door was infested with weeds I knocked on herthe screen door, and waited nervously. Through the haziness of the screen You want to avoid repeating the word 'screen' here - maybe he can lumber down a dim hallway instead?, I could see a man lumbering towards the knockingme. He was about my father’s age, but the similarities abruptly ended there. His gait had all of the gracefulness of a ballet of steak knivesNo.. He was completely bald, with a scruffy beard, and a tanktop written in a foreign language. The man looked like the [bouncer to an eillicit cockfight.]Yes. Terror washed over me.

“Hi...Mr. Winslow? I am here to pick up Casey.” My utterances wereTrying too hard again. I was more mouse than human. [Fievel hitting puberty] I think lines like this and the one about Rikers are probably your own sense of humour coming through, and it works really well for this character so don't be afraid to use it..

“Yes, yes.” I jumped at the loudnessvolume of his voice. “Are you Matt? I’ll call her.” WithIt got louder with each passing word, the noise became more cavernous.tryhaaaard “Casey!” “Casey!” [Pounding a gong would have been subtler.] This is good. Are you noticing a pattern yet as to what works and what doesn't?

He opened the screen door, and I shook his hand while he studied me. I could feel myself de-evolving under his gaze. Daughter, Casey. Man, kill me. Find, mommy. I think you could keep some version of this line if you're married to it, but it doesn't really work for me - it seems too off-kilter for the character. The following two lines are great for showing his discomfort on their own. The sound of Casey’s footsteps echoed in the distance for an interminable amount of time. How many flights of stairs were in this house? The silence between us closed in on me. I HAD to say something. Think, drat it! “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was my only safe spot.

“Do you like...crossbows?” came out of me. I immediately shifted my eyes off of his face to his chest, studying the hodge podge of undecipherable letters desperate for a rescue code. My eyes then moved down to his legs to determine if I could outrun him. I gulped down a golf ball of air.

“Crossbows?” “You a hunter?” He looked at me with a slight smile, as if I had asked a perfectly normal question. Not only was he clearly a hunter, but that smile implied that he probably knew - down to the second - the waiting period for assault rifles in every place he’s ever lived This is a pretty great line imo. I saw an opening and unslouched my shoulders.

line break “Yes sir, I go out every now and again.” If picking up Easter eggs in my yard counts. “I was in the Boy Scouts for a few years.” I had considered claiming to be a recent discharge of the Marine Corps.

“Casey must’ve been talking about me, huh?” The wry smile turned proud. Casey 's voice suddenly chimed in from behind her fatherstood behind him at this point, out of my view.

“Dad, don’t be nosey. I’ll be back before dark. Promise.” She camestepped into the doorway and placed her hand on my shoulder as if it were the undocking procedure undocking us both (commit to the action, drat you) from her father’s orbit.

“Hi, Matt!” Different speakers

go on different lines “Heya!” We walked out together as I managed to mutter out a goodbye. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Winslow.” I waved to him and made a mental note to buy magazines with names like Ammo Up and Animal Slayer if I ever planned on returning here.lol, perfect

I looked at her and smiled: part relief, part nervousness, all excitement. She was about 5 feet tall with deep long black hair that extended flowing? You're describing a hot girl, you can afford to be a little more flowery here past her spaghetti-strapped shoulders. Her skin had a slightly darker tone, a chance DNA mixture that gave her a permanent spray tan. She had a full figure with an athletic build is this an OKC profile?. There was Casey had an aura of complete confidence surrounding her that intimidated most people, as if each step takenshe took was on land recently conquered for her. The last line is great, make the rest of your description of Casey more like this. Also learn how to make things like this flow better rather than being a bulleted list of traits "She had this, she had that, she was 21.8% brown" etc

When we reached my car, I did a slight jog to open the passenger side door, a ritual that seemed to satisfy some expectation rather than accomplish something that was needed. I jogged ahead of her as we neared the car so that I could open the passenger-side door I began to mentally opined on the usefulness of chivalry while I stood there waiting for her to get in. I studied her hands: ungnarled and functional, as far as I could tell.Nope. Perhaps I would needed to evaluate the opening of doors on a case-by-case basis so as not to send the wrong message.

“Oh you are sooooooo nice! Thank you!” She brushed my arm and smiled. It was decided: I need to encounter lots of doors. Door reconnaissance! Is I think 'was' would work better here, just for tense continuity, but you can probably get away with the 'Is' a door store a plausible second date?

We had planned out a visit to the beach, andWe drove to onea beach a few miles away. Upon arriving with our blanket in tow, we came to the realization that late-October beach-goingdate was a plan doomed to failure from the start. The day was cloudy and the breeze was cold - there was not a sign of life in sight on this cloudy, breezy day. I half expected to hear air raid sirens and see German war planes on the horizon at any moment.

This isThat looks like a good spot.” Casey pointed at a nondescript area of sand a good distance from my car. I looked out at the water as if to double check her choice. The waves hit the shore with an exasperated “clop, clop”, begging us to be any other place in the ocean except here. Tryhard, trying so hard. A Radiohead cover of “Surfin’ USA” began to played in my head, the soundtrack to the bleakness. “Yup, this is a great spot.”

We sat down on our blue blanket. “It’s beautiful out there,” she said, pointing at her approximation of where the sun was last seen.
I made sure she saw me nodding wistfully. “Indeed.” The believability of two toddlers studying a crayon-filled wall and deciding that they had nothing to do with it.

“So…” She looked at me with eyes that screamed “now is the time to take out your gum!” even though neither of us was chewing any. The chilly beach faded away as I closed my eyes and leaned in. This was my first kiss outside of a Kindergarten recess area. I began my task, furiously.

“Slow down, champ!” Casey was laughing. I suddenly became cognizant of my kissing method. It was like a woodpecker who hadn’t seen a tree for a month. A rocking chair granny on speed. “This is not the Kisscapades. Slow and steady, Matt.” I think this whole paragraph needs some work. Is he not bothered at all by the fact that she is apparently a more experienced kisser? Should she give him more pointers? Is it as excruciatingly awkward as it is in mind? Also, this is literally the only moment where Casey becomes more than a paper cut-out of a character. She's at least as important to the story as you are, so make her an actual character. I blushed, and we started over. We made out there for about 15 minutes, both of us too nervous and naive to do anything but mix in a little tongue. The cold finally got to us, and we returned to the car and drove back.

“That was fun. I would rate today a 9 out of 10!” she assessed as I pulled into her driveway. Reflexively, I checked my three mirrors and made sure my seat belt was fastened. See how you can lose this line and the first paragraph without it having any effect on the actual story at all?

This was actually not a bad effort. You make a couple of common newbie mistakes, particularly with your tendency to edge into awkward over-description. This is a trap that a lot of people fall into when they first start writing, and this round had a number of examples (of which yours was far from the most egregious). You want to make things more interesting and exciting for the reader, but you tend to go for big, fancy words and dramatic similes and metaphors which, while it is definitely interesting in terms of language, it doesn't actually add to the action or do anything for the reader. The thing to remember is that readers appreciate an interesting story, efficiently told. You don't need to prove how good of a writer you are by peppering your piece with 'writerly' phrases that scream "look at me, I'm a writer!". We know you're a writer because you are writing a story. Give your audience, and yourself, the benefit of the doubt, and everyone will have a much better experience of your story. You should be able to see here that the spots where you were less self-conscious and more economical with your phrasing were actually some of my favourite lines in the piece. Stop being such a tryhard and overdressing everything, just say what you want to say (That is free advice for all of you, FYI).

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


In solely for Chairchucker's crits. I will decide my Lego-based theme later though because I have an appointment with a skeleton I have to keep.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

I would be grateful if you could crit my last story, but if you criticise my niece and call her an annoying child I will just nod slowly in mild disappointment.

THE ANNOYING CHILD IS YOOOOUUUUU

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Erogenous Beef posted:

Fanky Malloons - Equal-opportunity witchcraft.

I also used the random page function to choose my LEGO. Hmmmmm.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Mercedes posted:

Who wants extra Flashecedestm Rules?

Do me.






Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Flash rule(s):
Equal opportunity witchcraft (this actually turned out to be a super appropriate title, so I'm gonna use it as such )
Blind Casanova

Lego Set: Sunshine Home

Equal Opportunity Witchcraft 747 words

MOTHER. I DEMAND SUSTENANCE.

Nightshade jumped at Crayvn’s voice suddenly booming in her head, “You know,” she said as she picked Crayvn up from his playpen, “just because you can do that doesn’t mean that you should. It’s super annoying.”

Crayn giggled and waved his chubby little arms, gesturing towards the kitchen, “Milk!” he said, out loud, in a regular baby-voice.

“Thank you,” sighed Nightshade, “that’s so much less creepy.”

She walked into the kitchen to warm up a bottle of milk and found Ned doing crunches on the floor.

“Babe,” she said, stepping over him to get to the fridge, “what are you doing?”

“I’m making sure I have good ab pump for the ceremony. Since I have to be naked and everything.”

Nightshade rolled her eyes, “Yeah, for like 5 minutes. Did you even pick a name yet?”

MOTHER, the baby intoned, THE MILK.

“Oh. My. Gods. You act like I didn’t just feed you 45 minutes ago.”

I HAVE A FAST METABOLISM.

“Well, it would be nice if your supernatural powers extended to getting your own milk instead of just the ability to psychically yell about it.” She set a bottle of milk in a pot of water on the stove and cast a warming spell before turning back to her husband, “Ned, get dressed and summon a babysitter, the ceremony’s starting soon.”

Ned sat up, “Do I have to?” he said, pulling on his shirt, “I don’t know how I feel about this whole Witch thing, you know? Why can’t I be a wizard?”

“Because wizards aren’t real, idiot. Look, Crayvn is a Natural Witch, and there aren’t that many men in the Witch-hood, so you need to be a good role model for him.” Nightshade levitated the milk-bottle out of the now simmering pot of water and into her hand, “Besides, if nothing else you need to advance your rank so you can figure out how to reverse whatever charm you put on the house that turned it pink.”

“Fine,” said Ned, throwing his hands up in defeat, “You’re right though. It does look awful.”

Shortly after they moved in, Ned had tried to cast a simple charm to make their garden appear to passers-by as a picture of suburban perfection. It worked, in a sense, but it was difficult to explain to the neighbours how or why their house had become candy pink overnight. Nightshade was horrified, not only by the apparently irreversible colour change, but also by the fact that the neighbours thought it was to-die-for. The whole block was filled with pastel-painted houses within a month. It gave Nightshade acid reflux every time she had to go outside.

“You’d better put some towels down,” Ned’s voice floated up from the cellar, where they had painted the casting circle, “I think I got one of those Cthulhu nanny demons again.”

PERFECT, crowed Crayvn, THEY’RE SO MUCH FUN.

“Dammit.” Nightshade frowned, pinching the bridge of her nose. She was glad Crayvn wasn’t going to be a jerk about it, but cleaning up after tentacle demons was impossible. They were so slimy.
-------

“Whew!” said Ned as the Grand Witch blinked out of existence, the naming ceremony, and Ned’s induction into the Witch-hood complete “That was awkward.”

“I know babe, I’m sorry. I thought they made Casanova retire.”

The Grand Witch was an ancient, blind, lecherous old man. He insisted that it was vital to the naming ceremony that he touch them both to “make sure” he knew who was who. He seemed to appreciate Ned’s abs though, as well as a number of his other body parts. And hers. Nightshade shuddered.

“Did you have to pick Merlin as your name though? Really?” she asked as they climbed the basement stairs.

“I told you,” said Ned. Merlin. “I wanted to be a wizard.”

MOTHER, came Crayvn’s voice as they reached the kitchen, I REQUIRE A BATH.

Merlin jumped, “What was that?”

“That,” said Nightshade, “is how your son talks to me all day, every day.”

FATHER? IS THAT YOU?

“Uh, yeah, I guess so. Hi Crayvn.”

GREETINGS. FATHER. I NEED A BATH. AND ALSO MORE MILK. I REQUIRE A STORY AND SOME NEW, MORE INTERESTING TOYS. YOU WILL SING TO ME AT BEDTIME, LIKE THE NANNY DOES. CAN SHE COME BY MORE OFTEN, BY THE WAY?

“Aughhhh, what?” Merlin reeled, clutching his head.

Nightshade smirked. “Well then. I think I’ll just leave you two to it and go to bed. Goodnight, Merlin!”

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Tentatively in depending on the submission deadline?

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Actually, I'm just going to assume that I won't be too busy to make the submission deadline, so I'm in for reals.

If any of you newbies are interested, I will collaborate with whoever PMs me the best idea in less than 50 words between now and when I get home this evening.

EDIT: my collaboration partner has been selected!

Fanky Malloons fucked around with this message at Feb 26, 2014 around 03:15

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Chairchucker posted:

UGHHHHHH maybe I'll write more 'crits' later, let's see how I'm feeling. Maybe I won't.

Literally the only reason I entered was because of the prospect of receiving a low-effort, OG TD style crit from you, you jerk

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


CommissarMega posted:

Anyway, just so we're clear, there's no penalty for submitting your Thunderdome entry early, is there?

The penalty is usually that your story ends up being poo poo because you didn't give yourself time to reflect and make edits before posting.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


In

Mercedes posted:


Black Jesus must be a prominent character in this story.

Now go forth, my son, and do what I cannot. You have my blessing.

I predicted with my angel vision that this would the super special Flashcedes rule, and I can't stand that WLOTM got there before me. Thus, I'm gonna get all up in this flash rule too for an in-prompt brawl that you get to judge, yaaaay.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Mercedes posted:

You ain't auto-DQing the brawl. Lord no. This is for real my son (daughter).

No, curlingiron will have to DQ her own submissions because she's a judge. The Brawlin' Black Jesuses are safe.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Welp. Good thing I checked the thread and saw the deadline.

Audrey 1,155 words
"Yo, Angel!"

Audrey looked around, not sure where the voice had come from.

"Down here, man."

She looked down and saw a filthy, middle-aged man sitting on the sidewalk grinning up at her. He was wearing a ratty, oversized tweed coat with holes patched with garbage bags. His teeth were perfect.

"Jesus?"

"Yeah. Sup Angel? Do you know you look just like Audrey Hepburn?"

Audrey was so please someone had finally noticed, "Thank you. I considered a number of different human appearances, but I consistently found Audrey to be the most attractive."

"Good call. You ever seen Breakfast at Tiffany's?"

"It's my favourite!"

"Me too, girl we should get together and watch it sometime." Jesus winked.

"No," said Audrey, "that would be inappropriate, I think."

"You sure?" asked Jesus, "I was gonna ask you, your plane or mine?" He threw his head back and guffawed, clapping his hands. A well-dressed woman passing by on the street flinched away from him.

"Yes, that was very funny." Audrey agreed, straight-faced.

"Woof, you Angels got no sense of humour," said Jesus, still grinning, "You should spend some more time on the physical plane with us flesh and blood beings and lighten up a little bit."

"I don't think the Boss would allow that."

"Well, when I'm in charge it'll be party time," Jesus pumped both fists, "woo!"

"Yes. Well." Said Audrey, "Speaking of the Boss, I have a message for you. From him."

Jesus wasn't listening, he had turned his attention to the two young women who were approaching him.

"Hey, Jesus!" One of the women called out as they neared Jesus's corner of the sidewalk. They were both dressed in short skirts and towering heels. Their hair was dirty and matted, their exposed skin covered in bruises.

"Good evening, ladies." Jesus smiled his perfect smile as he stood to greet them.

"Who you talkin' to?" asked one of the women. Her hair was blonde, her heels blue.

"Audrey," said Jesus, "You can't see her because she's an angel."

Audrey recoiled in horror. You weren't supposed to just tell people things like that. It was totally against the rules. And yet she was the one on probation? So unfair.

The blonde woman laughed, "Okay," she said, shrugging, "can you bless me and Sonya before we go to work? We brought you a sandwich." She nudged the other woman -- Sonya, Audrey supposed -- and she produced a battered looking gas-station sandwich from the depths of her purse. It was still mostly wrapped.

"Thank you," said Jesus, "but I wouldn't take the food out of your mouth."

"Oh don't worry," Sonya piped up, "we stole it."

"Oh. Well then I wouldn't want your hard work to go to waste. Thank you Cherry, Sonya." Jesus accepted the sandwich and tucked it into his jacket pocket. "Now, close your eyes."

Cherry closed her eyes and bowed her head, and Sonya followed suit, shifting her feet nervously. She jumped a little when Jesus placed his hand on her head.

"Bless you, little children, may the Lord keep you safe from harm," he intoned "and may the johns tonight all be good tippers."

Cherry looked up and put her hands to her heart as she said, "Thank you, Jesus. I hope you like the sandwich."

She took Sonya's arm in her own as they walked away. "That guy really thinks he's some kinda black Jesus, huh?" Audrey heard Sonya say as they passed by.

"Shut up Sonya," said Cherry "he might be the real Jesus, you don't know."

"But Jesus wasn't black."

"Jesus can be whatever he wants to be, idiot, he's magic. All I know is, I've never been in bad trouble since I met Jesus. Plus, he always has booze. Always. And it's not cheap poo poo either, I don't know how he does it."

"Jesus!" Audrey stamped her foot, "You can't just tell people who you are and that there are angels around, that's against the rules!"

Jesus shrugged, "No-one believes me anyway, so it's not like it matters."

"But that's so unfair! I get put on probation for living with a human, who didn't even know I was there, but you get to tell everyone everything with no repurcussions? That's not allowed!"

Audrey was so incensed that her compsure slipped. Her dark, perfectly swept-up hair receded back into her scalp, her eyebrows and eyelids disappeared, and her eyes became huge, black orbs as her height doubled from five feet to ten. Her outfit, carefully chosen to be Audrey-esque, but not too derivative, fell away as three pairs of wings, covered in eyes, sprouted from her back. She pulsed with unearthly light, and Jesus threw up a hand, squinting.

"drat, Angel." He said, "That's awesome. Kinda creepy though."

"I have a message for you," said Audrey, staring at Jesus with thousands of eyes, "you have to come home."

"Home? I don't want to go home. I like it down here, with my peeps."

"You can't deny a request from the Boss. You have to come home."

"You can't deny the Big Guy," said Jesus, "but I can do whatever I want, and I'm staying here."

"No." Said Audrey, "Don't make me come down there."

"Like that?" Jesus laughed, "You wouldn't dare show yourself on the physical plane all uglied up like that, Audrey Hepburn."

Audrey gasped, how rude.

"In fact," continued Jesus, "I think you're just jealous because you have to follow the rules and I don't."

Audrey grew even taller and the ground underneath Jesus started to tremble, "How dare you!"

"Woah, woah, Audrey, calm down," Jesus held up his hands, "I'm sorry, that was rude. Why don't you come down here and let me apologize?"

The eyes on Audrey's wings narrowed, suspicious, "What do you mean?"

"We could go out for dinner, catch a movie, maybe Breakfast at Tiffany's? Have you ever eaten human food? It's reeeally good."

"And then you'll come back with me? Home?" Audrey began to shrink, her eyebrows and hair growing back, her wings receding. Human food did sound good. The lawyer ate pizza all the time, and Audrey always wondered what it tasted like.

"Uh, sure." said Jesus, "Look, I'll even dress up." He stood up and shook out the sleeves of his jacket, making it whole, clean, and new. He ran his hands through his hair and turned them into perfect, neat dreadocks. He held out his hand to Audrey.

"Well," she said, back to normal now, "I'm already on probation, so..." and she had to admit, black Jesus was pretty hot.

"Atta girl." Said Jesus as Audrey shifted down and shimmered into being on the mortal plane. "Let's go destroy some all-you-can-eat buffets. Drinks are on me."

Jesus grinned as they strolled towards the waterfront to begin the evening. Fallen angels were his favourite kind.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


leekster posted:

postpone everything until Sunday always

It's the true TD way.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Postin' so I don't forget that I have been summoned from the dark depths of Starbucks and graduate school to brawl Surreptitious Muffin for the crime of making unforgivably awful puns in IRC. You ratbastard

Sebmojo is apparently judging, and I demand at least two weeks to submit because I'm all busy and poo poo.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:




It will be a revolution of boners. An insErection.

I hate you so much.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Mercedes posted:


You will automatically lose if I become angry because your story sucks.

SittingHere plz add this to the general TD rules tia

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Dearest Sebmojo,

Re: Thunderbrawl

Because I am a shitlord and forgot I was going on vacation to the mountains and would not have reliable access to a computer, I have conferred with my fellow combatant Surreptitious Muffin and he has generously agreed to postpone the deadline of our brawl to Thursday, June 12th. I hope you find these new terms satifactory Deal with it.

Sincerely

Fanky C. Malloons

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


SURREPTITIOUS FANKY MUFFIN MALLOONS BRAWL: LET'S DO THIS, YOU PUNNY SHITLORD:

The Garden - 1,400(ish) words

The damp, black earth sighed at the bite of my shovel's edge. The air was warm but not humid, and it smelled like rain. It was a good day for digging.

We could have used machinery to dig out the plots, but the the Emmmeline Trang Memorial Graden emphasised the personal touch in its advertising materials, and that included excavating and prepping each individual Bed by hand. I always used a square-edged shovel when I dug out beds -- it was easier to keep the walls straight that way, the angles sharp. It made them seem more respectable somehow, more appropriate for their intended use. I hated the idea of someone having to spend eternity in a trench with janky walls.

Zyra planted her shovel in the dirt, sighing as she stretched and lifted her hair out of her face. "drat," She said, pulling her dark, fluffy curls back into an impossibly tiny bun, "I don't know how you do this all day."
"Practice." I said, still digging. "That, and I spend the other 16 hours of the day doing as little as possible."
"How deep do we have to go?" Zyra massaged her upper arms as she talked, and shrugged her shoulders in tiny circles, loosening her neck.
"About three feet." My shovel sliced into earth, flicked it up and over the side, sliced in again.
"How many are we at right now?"
"Not even one."
"So we're not even <i>halfway</i> done?"
"Not even." I echoed, pointing at her shovel with my own, "Guess you'd better keep digging."

Zyra usually worked in Trees. Digging stump holes was a lot less work than full-size beds, but caring for clients once they were Treed was complicated. Working in Beds was hard labour -- aside from the task of digging out full-sized plots, a Bed was cheaper than a Tree, so we had a higher client load -- but honestly, the Trees creeped me out. They were fine once they'd been in the ground for thirty years or so and the bark had fully taken hold, covered all the flesh. They almost never opened their eyes after that; you could hardly even make out their faces in the wood sometimes. I wondered what that really meant for them. If they became more Tree than human, or if they dreamed less. Or if they were even still alive at all.

-----
No-one was really clear on exactly how death went extinct. All most of us knew was that one day, a particularly observant clerk in a government records office noticed that no death certificates had been issued in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for over a week. It would have been easy to write it off as an anomaly linked to Newfoundland's small population but closer inspection revealed that numbers were down everywhere. Province by province, territory by teritory, numbers of deaths dropped to zero until the day, 248 years ago, when not a single person in Canada died.

Nobody could explain it. Instead of wearing out and shutting down, people's cellular machinery just kept right on ticking. Telomeres shortening and then extending again in perpetual motion, slowing the process of aging down until it was almost imperceptible. Everyone just went on living and living and living.
-----

Emmeline Trang had founded the Memorial Garden programme because she didn't want to be Retired into an anonymous cryosleep pod and stored underground with the commoners until someone found the cure for immortality. The Trang Tree stood alone at the centre of the garden, our oldest and largest client-specimen. You could almost believe it was just a regular tree if you didn't look hard enough for the suggestion of a face in its trunk, or the shape of arms and hands extending up towards its canopy. Zyra swore that the Trang Tree still had a faint heartbeat, even after 210 years. I wasn't particularly interested in finding out if that was true.

The sun had burned off the early morning cloud cover by the time we were done digging the bed. I had taken off my shirt at some point, so I used it now to wipe the dirt and sweat off my face. Zyra, sitting on the edge of the hole sipping water from a hip flask asked me, "Won't you get in trouble if visitors see you working like that?"

I shrugged. "The sports bra covers everything that needs to be covered. Besides, most of them were probably born looking down their noses at the help. We're practically invisible unless they want something from us."

"I suppose that's true," said Zyra meditatively, "they ignore me anyway because of my face. I can always see them telling themselves not to stare at the freak."

Zyra was beautiful from certain angles, but on the left side of her face thick ropes of raised scars twisted down from her ear to her collarbone. I had never noticed before how pale they were against her dark skin.
"Why don't you use scar removal cream on it?" I asked, "It would probably fade a lot faster that way."

It was Zyra's turn to shrug, "I don't know. As a reminder of youthful short-sightedness, I guess."

"Pass me that sheeting and the pillow," I said. As she handed them off I asked, "What do you mean?"

"I had a sort of existential crisis in my 60's," said Zyra, "whenever I thought about the future I just saw this black hole of nothingness, stretching away from me and the thought of living in that darkness for another 150 years made me sick to my stomach. I would have volunteered to Retire if I had been old enough, but I wasn't. I knew that you can still die from catastrophic injuries, so I doused myself in gasoline and lit myself on fire, and here I still am. Stuck here like everyone else."

I winced as I laid the rubber sheet over the bottom of the bed and added the pillow, which was the client's own and monogrammed with his initials. I drove in the long stakes that would hold the IV and oxygen lines, completing the transformation of the bed into a Bed.

"So why work here if you hate the thought of old age so much?" I asked.

"Because they're beatuiful. The Trees, I mean. They make things seem less meaningless. I'd rather spend forever sleeping as a Tree or in a flower Bed than sleeping in a cryopod."

I frowned, "You make it sound so romantic."

I had no such illusions. I often wondered what happened to people's bodies once they were Bedded. If they decomposed at all, and if that hurt. How long they could live for whilst rotting away down there, feeding the flowers. Maybe once you got old enough to be Retired you stopped caring.

I was about to ask Zyra her opinion when we were interrupted by the sound of people approaching. I hopped out of the Bed and hurriedly slipped my shirt back on. Two porters carried the client between them on a stretcher, with a third walking alongside carrying his IV bag and oxygen tank. A small group of what I assumed to be his family huddled in the distance, trying to look like they weren't watching the proceedings. We worked sliently, even though the client was in an induced sleep so deep that the end of the world probably wouldn't wake him.
The old man was brittle and shriveled, like a shed snakeskin. Looking at him, I could see the dark tunnel that Zyra had spoken of. My scalp prickled with faint horror at the thought of all the time in the world stretching away from me, of living in the endlessness of cryosleep. As Tree. In a Bed.

I shuddered and picked up my shovel and closed my eyes, focusing on the whisper of metal against dirt as I refilled the Bed. My hands trembled, so I gripped the shovel harder and thought about the flowers I was going to plant once this task was complete. Forget-me-nots and peonies. Blue and pink. Lively. The sigh of my shovel against the dirt. The smell of rain in the air. It was a good day for digging, but I kept my eyes closed anyway.

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Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Hahaha, yasss i lov it.

(IN)

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