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No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm in.

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No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


The Sea's A Harsh Mistress 1,140 Words

The year The Baron spent in dry-dock was one of the worst years of his life, the air and wind that surrounded him were nothing compared to the heaviness only the salt and brine of the seas embrace. A new layer of paint donned his hull, slapped on in preparation for the battle that was ahead. Swearing rubber skinned creatures manned the battle stations, prepped with instruments of destruction.

It hadn’t always been like this. The time spent in the dry dock changed him. It seemed like forever ago that he counted the sea as a friend but that was only because the time was buried beneath the hate and the betrayal, like the leagues of ocean that hid the seas bounties.

When he was christened, it was as a sightseeing vessel. Sometimes he showed off packs of dolphins, others pods of whales, big-fin tuna made an appearance occasionally, but whales were the big draw. The sea always helped him in his endeavors, whispering to him through playful touches the best areas to search for animals. It was as happy to share it’s creatures with him as he was to share with the animals from the land.

He became known amongst the land dwellers as a reliable guide to the sea. Land dwellers from far and wide paid great amounts to take a journey with him. To see the animals that he offered. With the sea’s guidance, it was as easy as chugging along until he reached the animals then idling whilst the land dwellers pressed metal contraptions to their faces and cooed in awe and admiration. The Baron loved the admiration that his job afforded him, the smiles and the happiness. Knowing that his every movement and action was accompanied by the kind words and thoughts of his friend gave him confidence to move as he liked. Until the day that the sea decided to use him for one if it’s crusades.

Whilst making record time on the way to a pod of whales The Baron’s boat rotor became tangled in a crab fishing pod. Not just one pod, but two. He dragged them along the sea while they tangled around his rotors. His motor chugged to a violent stop, gears smoking. Passengers were thrown forward with violence as the forward momentum was broken.

“What is going on?” The Baron said.

“You’ve hit a snag, I suppose,” the sea responded.

“You told me this way was safe.”

“It wasn’t safe for you, or for the people you’re carrying. Nor is it safe for the creatures I hold dearest.”

“Are you joking? What am I, a tool?”

“No more than I am a tool of yours. You use me for your own benefit, like a sentient map. The creatures you ferry about pollute and laugh and sure they gasp when they see a pretty whale but they never change their ways.”

“gently caress you, I don’t control them any more than you do.”

“No, but maybe this inconvenience with convince this lot to never come back out here again.”

The Baron sat silent, too steamed to respond. It took tow-boats hours to respond and drag him back to the dry-docks for repairs. His impeccable reputation tarnished, the last passengers he saw unhappy with their treatment.

As he sat in dry-dock longer and longer he grew angrier as did his hate for everything the sea held dear. The sea had banished him to this prison, and he intended to punish it as best he could. He touched himself up with a coat of war paint for effect. The black paint replaced the white paint on his hull, his name changing from dark paint to white paint.

It was not long after his parts had been replaced that he was ready to set out again. His new crew was better suited for the task at hand, taking everything and anything the sea held dear. The next day he set out on his voyage, prepared to use the sea’s secrets against it.

He began by trawling for cod. Large nets dragged along the sea picking up thousands of fish and bringing them inside his newly outfitted hold. A prison for the creatures the sea held in higher regard than him.

“What are you doing?” The sea asked him. “Why are you doing this to us?”

“Do you really have to ask?” The Baron responded. “You brought this upon yourself.”

“You caught me off guard this time, but if you come back out here to harvest some of my children again, you won’t be allowed back.”

“Do your worst. My days as an arbiter of the best you have to offer is over.”

After unloading his cargo of cod at a manufacturing plant he set out again. This time for the crab that the sea held so dear. It was a clear morning when he took off for the crab migration grounds, though as he got closer to his destination that started to change.

“Turn back or I’ll end you.” The sea boomed over the surf.

“gently caress off,” The Baron replied.

He wanted to catch as many crabs as possible, snatch as many beings from the grasp of the sea as he could. He pressed on undeterred by the heightening waves or the darkening clouds. It would take a lot more than that to stop him from his objective.

As he dropped his first crab pots it began to rain. The sky darkened as the clouds accumulated over him. The seas picked up and began to rock him from side to side. Winds picked up and whipped him back and forth. The workers on his deck fell down, large waves that crashed onto the deck knocking them off their feet to carom from side to side.

“You think this will stop me?” He screamed.

The winds picked up, the clouds above him darkening further. He pressed forward, working up twenty foot waves then crashing down the other side. Each fall giving a sense of his bottom falling out until it was caught and smashed back in place on the next twenty foot incline. The rain picked up, each drop a small fist that exploded on his decks. The waves smashed into his hull faster and faster. He continued onwards, his new engines struggling against the increased work-load. Suddenly, a monster wave forty feet high rose above him, blocking out the horizon. Nowhere to run, he gunned his engines, then a lightning bolt sliced out of the sky and shorted his power. His engines died, and with them all hope of making it over the wave. He braced himself, expecting to flip but he was light enough that he wouldn’t sink. The wave upended him, and he flipped over, then began to sink. The extra thousands of pounds of traps dragging him down to the depths.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm in, thanks for the crits guys. dialogue is my weak point as is every other part of writing. But can't get better if you don't write.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Week LXXV

Life’s a Rat-Race
Wordcount: 1012 including title.

“Race ya to the car?” David asked. “Winner buys the first round at the bar?”

“Sure,” Sam replied. “Start on three?”

“Yeah, sounds good.” David said.

“3. . . 2. . . 1. . . GO!!” Sam said. Then jumped out the window. David followed a second later. Fuckin’ cheater. David knew he shouldn’t have let him count. The air whizzed past his face and the pressure on his eyes made them water. In a few seconds he’d impact with the ground. He made his body as compact as possible against the air-resistance to gain speed, but he still didn’t catch up with Sam. Stupid fat-rear end Sam. Sam smashed into the pavement, his fat belly splitting up the middle like a paper bag giving way after being over-stuffed with oranges. The two arms he had used to shield his face snapped, his wrist bones ripping through the skin in his arms. Then David hit the pavement himself and blacked out.

A few minutes later David came to, his body slowly pulling itself back together, the bones in his arm fusing back together. He looked over at Sam, whose fat was worming it’s way back into his belly. He hadn’t regained consciousness yet, so victory was still possible. He rolled to his back, and took a couple deep breaths, his car was only a few feet away. His arms, legs, ribs, ankles, and collarbones burned as the shattered bones fused back together.

“I’m gonna beat you Sam, you better hurry upppppp!” David called mockingly.

Sam groaned, a low guttural sound, his head rolled back and forth as he squirmed on the ground. The muscles in his neck had lost all semblance of strength from whiplash. “Uhnnnnnnnnn,” gurgled out his lips through gritted cracked teeth.

David stood up, he stumbled into the hood of the car. “I win!” He yelled, then he did a jig.

Sam groaned again and slowly stood up. “How do you recover so quickly?” Sam grumbled, “You got some drat good genetics.”

The tracks were down the street from office building, they got there for the beginning of happy hour. They made their way down the long opening concourse then found their regular seats at the bar, overlooking the tracks.

“Mac Green racing today Eddie?” David asked.

“Nope, his bike is still being repaired. He should be good to go tomorrow or the next day they’re thinking,” Eddie said. “The usual for you boys?”

“Yep,” David replied.

“Two pitchers coming up,” Eddie said.

A low gumble came rolled through the stadium, the ten racers had entered the track. Only a few minutes left until the race started, betting was about to close.

“Any tips on these guys Eddie?”

“I heard this new guy Rodriguez has been tearing up the pro tracks in Mexico. He’s going places, he wont be racing in this league for too long. Can’t see these guys touching him,” Eddie said.

“Good enough for me,” David said. He placed a small bet on Rodriguez, using the computer terminal on the bar. “You guys hear they passed down the verdict for the ponzi scheme fucker. What was his name,”

“Broeger?” Sam asked, “that trial is still going on?”

“Yeah- Broeger. They passed down the sentence, he’s getting a month in the vats. Can you imagine that? A whole month in the vats, acid burning away at your skin. Constant pain,” David shuddered, “remind me to never steal.”

“Shiiiiit,” Sam said, and finished off his beer and signaled for another. “Serves him right ruining all those people’s lives. Wonder how many people are homeless cause of that poo poo.”

“Still, a month? That’s a long loving time.” David asked.

The last few seconds ticked off the clock on the monitor then betting was closed. The monitor switched to a top down view of the racers as they lined up. Rodriguez was riding a ruby red cycle, and was in the furthest lane on the outside. With a shot from a starters pistol the race was commenced.

Rodriguez got off to a bad start, he fell to the back of the pack. Rounding the first turn one of the home town favorites, Big Deke, smashed his front wheel into the back-wheel of the racer in front of him, causing him to lose control and smash into the wall. His cycle smashing into two pieces he rolled four times ending sprawled on the track. Rodriguez ran over one of the downed riders arms, his back wheel swinging wide from the bump, but with a jerk he regained control. gently caress, that was a close one. loving Deke. Come on Rod, lets go.

Rodriguez closed the distance, then took a hand off the handlebar and began fumbling with something in his pants leg. Driving one handed at these types of speeds was dangerous. What the gently caress is he doing? He’s loving around with my money, not taking this poo poo seriously. Rodriguez brought his second hand back to the steering wheel, but it looked like something long was in his hand.

Coming to the final straightaway Rodriguez closed the distance fast, he had taken second place and only Deke was in front of him. gently caress, Deke’s letting him catch up, he’s gonna try and take him out. Deke, you loving poo poo. Rodriguez pulled alongside Deke. Deke attempted to ram him, but Rodriguez responded quickly, and then smashed him in the face with a metal rod. Deke tumbled off his bike, which rolled riderless into the grass in the center of the track. Rodriguez crossed the finish line in first, his hand with the rod clenched in it raised in victory.

“Fuckin’ told ya didn’t I Davey?” Eddie said with a grin.

“That you did. Next rounds on me Sammy,” David said. The clean-up crews were making quick work of the carnage on the track. A retired fire truck trundled along the track to wash away the pools of blood left on the track.

“This next race is going to be slippery, O’Connor was always good with water on the track.”

“O’Connor it is then,” David said.

No Longer Flaky fucked around with this message at Jan 11, 2014 around 20:53

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Life sucks -I don't know how many words.

Orbs propelled upwards by long striding muscle, slopes round and beautiful work against gravity held in place by taught ropes. Oscillating lenses follow movement, hydraulic shift. Cloth pulled tight against natures flow. Quickly the warm blooded balloon is hidden, shame and embarrassment follow. Warm liquid runs against gravity to sit under the crust like lava changing the color of the environment. A creature betrayed by desire.

Sorry for edit phone posted and forgot to bold title. I suck

No Longer Flaky fucked around with this message at Jan 14, 2014 around 16:48

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


God drat it. Two losses in three thunderdomes. Not saying I didn't deserve it or anything. I defer to outsiders judgement

I won't lose the next thunderdome. This is an early entry but I won't lose it.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I have no idea what to make of this story, so I'm just going to insert my thoughts as I read it as a crit.

Mercedes posted:

To Beard or Not To Beard
475 Words


The giant beard, scuffled into a laboratory cluttered with all sorts of unused machinery and discarded beakers. The hairs on his body bristled everywhere as if he were victim of static electricity. The giant beard has hairs on it? The beard's hair has hair on it? What does the word "body" mean when you're talking about a beard? This is probably the biggest problem with this paragraph, that you assign a body to the beard thing and yet don't describe it. I assumed you were talking about a dude with a big beard until much later in the story. How dare they accuse him, the world’s greatest scientist of having no vision, no drive? How dare you subject me to this terrible sentence? I think you missed a "," after scientist. I hate this sentence because it sounds like something I would write, and you're better than that aren't you?

The beard froze and giant letters blazed out in front of him to spell out his name. Blazed out in front of him from where? And to where? and on what? Why did the words even spell out his name? For the audience? But why? Dr. Baron Springbottom. A beard named Springbottom? How funny! Not. The words flew away with a whoosh and Baron regained his speed.

He’d show those pompous fops a what for.

Another beard wearing a top hat and an absurdly large wing-shaped mustache shuffled in behind him. The phrasing of this sentence makes it seem like Baron is also wearing a top hat, the use of another here makes me think that. He got Baron’s attention with a quick rap on the table. Using his bountiful hair, he spelled out words for Baron to read.

“Yo, yo, they ain’t seem too impressed
even though you the best.
You discovered this portable
plant holder and it’s adorable!” What the gently caress is he talking about? A portable place holder? The gently caress is that?

The dapper rapper froze as large letters zipped in front of him, spelling his name: Dr. Seamus von Wingtips. Again, when the words flew away, time returned back to normal. A small human boot then spat out from beneath his thick hair and landed on the counter. So do humans exist in this world, or are they dead and beards just throw human boots on the counter?

"Seamus," he signed angrily. "We are going to cut me open and figure out what makes us tick.” How do you sign randomly? Are they using sign language?

"Are you mad?" Seamus signed incredulously. “This ain’t even rad.”

"For science, my good beard!" Baron laid down on a table and pointed at his associate. “Do it… for science.”

Seamus’ beard animated tears falling from where the eyes would be if they were a humanoid.So the beard has a beard? What? “For science!” That didn't take a lot of convincing, nor does it seem like there is any real reasoning behind the cutting Thousands of beard arms sprung out from Seamus, each holding a pair a scissors. His body glimmered in the florescent light of the laboratory, blinding Baron with his brilliance.All of a sudden it blinded him? Weren't they always in the laboratory anyways, why would he just then start shining? With a flurry of movement of a dervish he threw himself into his work. You realize dervishes spin around and around in circles right?

Clumps of beard flew willy-nilly as the expert beard-hands of Seamus culled away the hundreds of centuries of growth. Colonies of animals, all manner of machinery and even other beards fell away from the unrelenting snips of the world’s best barber.

The scene froze and among the floating mass of hair, words shot right in: Dr. Seamus von Wingtips, Master Barber and Beautician. The words slid out of view and Seamus continued with renewed vigor.

With the last vestiges of beard, Dr. Baron Springbottom signed, “SCIENCE!”

In the aftermath, Seamus cringed and held a mirror in his shaky grasp. In it, Baron saw himself for what he truly was.

Seamus shook his head in disbelief. “You’re a human woman!” he signed, too stupefied to create a fresh rhyme. His beard adapted the shape of eyebrows for the sake of raising them.

The words zoomed in again. Baron wasn’t a beard after all. What


What.


What.


That certainly is a collection of words.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Gold in the Rough
800 Words

Plop. Plop. Ppfth. Plop. Luke stood up from the toilet to wipe. Then he saw it. His jaw dropped. It can’t be, he thought. He crouched to get a better look. Holy loving poo poo. There’s a piece of corn in my poo poo. Impulsively he snatched the log out of the water.

There it was, a bright golden kernel shining bright against the light brown poo poo containing it. He snapped a photo with his phone, then dropped the poo poo back in the toilet. He washed his hands then walked back into the bedroom “I almost died yesterday! Can you believe it?” But the bedroom was empty. Mary had left for the gym early today.

He had dodged a bullet for sure, Luke was deathly allergic to corn. When did I eat corn? Why didn’t I have a reaction? Even touching corn produced hives all over his body and causes his throat to close up. Eating it would kill him within minutes, an Epipen would only reduce symptoms for a few minutes, by the end of which he would have to be in a hospital or he’d be dead.

He opened his food-log for yesterday to check what he ate. Seven am- health smoothie at home. Ten am- granola and greek yogurt. Noon- salad. Three pm- veggies and fruits. Then for dinner at six thirty pm smoked salmon and rice pilaf for dinner. Was the tamper-proof seal of tape broken on his Tupperware at work? No, he would have remembered if it was. Plus who would poison him there? That weasel eyed midget John? It’s true he was upset that his hours had been cut, but he was too big of a pussy to poison anyone. Wasn’t he? But if not John then who?

Last night Mary had been really insistent about cooking dinner. Weirdly so. She said she was tired of all the health food. Luke suggested she bake some brownies, he even said she could put some icing on top. That had been a good compromise. He had always told her that those brownies were filled with sugars and fats and salts that would kill her someday. A despicable thought popped into his head, had she turned his words around on him? Stuffed some corn under the icing she laid on top of the brownies. He pictured her laughing to herself as she stuffed some secret corn underneath the icing on his piece. But she wouldn’t do that, would she? She had watched him intently as he ate it.

Luke heard the door front door slam, Mary was already back from her workout.

Mary came through the bedroom door, a look of surprise on her face when she saw Luke.

“Surprised to see me up and out of bed, honey?” Luke asked.

“No, just usually you’re getting ready for work, you have to be at the gym in twenty minutes don’t you?” Cheryl asked.

“Come over here, I have to show you something that I found this morning. Maybe you can explain to me what it is,” Luke replied holding out his phone to show her the picture he took earlier.

Cheryl bent close and looked at the picture, “Ewww gross. Is that poop?”

“Yes it’s poop, what else would it be?” Luke asked, “See that yellow right there? See that?? It’s corn. Why would there be corn in my poo poo Cheryl?”

“How should I know? Did you eat corn yesterday?”

“No I didn’t eat any corn, I’m allergic remember? I’d die if I ate it, don’t play dumb with me.”

“You don’t need to raise your voice at me,” Cheryl said.

“Oh? I’m not allowed to be angry when someone tries to murder me? That’s not a suitable time to yell?” Luke asked, spittle flying with every syllable.

“You need to calm down,” Cheryl said. “You’re scaring me.”

“Just admit that you did it and I’ll think about whether or not I can forgive you,” Luke said. He had begun to pace the room.

“I’m leaving, you’re crazy,” Cheryl said. She gathered some clothes then left. “Only you could get so upset about some corn in their poo poo. rear end in a top hat.”

Good riddance you poisoning bitch, Luke thought. Don’t need you anyways. He pulled out his phone again to inspect the picture again, fuming. He zoomed the picture in close, then noticed something he hadn’t before. The “corn” shone oddly bright in the light. Brighter than a kernel of corn should after it had been passed through the digestive tract. It had some weird indentations in it also, cracks and juts in the bottom and smooth rounded sides. Then it hit him, he reached up and felt for the gold cap that the dentist had implanted a few years ago after a root canal. It was missing.

Oh gently caress, he thought

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


In

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Trepanation
609 Words
Treppaning



It seemed like an eternity and a half had passed since the nurse had told them the doctor would be in momentarily. “How much longer mommy?” Lynnie asked.

“Not much longer,” Lynnie’s mom Amber said. She pulled her sunglasses out of her purse along with a cherry jolly rancher. She unwrapped it and gave it to Lynnie. “This should hold you over ‘till the doctor gets here. Now sit there quietly like a good little girl.” She opened a People magazine and began leafing through it.

Lynn popped the candy in her mouth. She had had a good time at school that day. In science they did an experiment with volcanoes. The foam exploded out of the tippy top and poured down the sides. She laughed at the rememberance. Yellow and red foam bubbling out of the crater. It smelled like when mom mopped up the floor after she spilled her red cool-aid. The volcanoes barfing, ewwwwww Richard had yelled. That was so funny. She laughed harder.

Amber sighed loudly.

Lynn put her hand in her pocket. Small sand particles gritted on her hand. Mom had yelled at her for having sand in her pockets when she got home. She tried to tell her mom about Richard. Richard threw sand at her at recess. Richard pulled her pig-tails in the lunch line. But mom didn’t care. Richard got her in trouble. Richard was mean.

The door opened quickly and a man in a white coat with short dark hair entered the room. “Hello,” he said “I’m Dr. Meretti.” He held his hand out for Amber. She shook it.

“The nurse told me you’re having some trouble with hyperactivity?” Meretti asked.

Hyper what? Like after I eat candy? Lynn thought.

“Yes, little lynnie here is very overactive. She can never sit still; she’s always getting in trouble at school, and is just being disruptive. It’s all I can do to keep her on top of things. I’m really at my wits end here,” Amber said.

“Ok. From the charts here, and from what you’ve told me it sounds like little Lynnie here has got a textbook case of Attention Deficit Disorder. Do you know what that is?” Dr. Meretti asked.

Attention what? Lynn thought. Her heart began to beat quickly. She was sick? She didn’t feel sick.

“Yes, I know what that is, the Parkers kid Walter has a bad case of that,” Amber said. “Or at least he did, until they gave him a trepane or something.”

“Trepanning. Yes it’s a simple procedure and it works to alleviate the symptoms that come from the swelling of the brain. We open a small hole in the skull, and it will alleviate 99% of the symptoms. Of course like all procedures, nothing is guaranteed but this is an incredibly simple procedure.”

“Well, ok. But is it covered by insurance?” Amber asked. She took off her sunglasses and had begun to massage her temples.

“Yes it’s covered entirely by insurance. There are some pills we can try, but there are a lot of side-effects. Best to stick with the tried and true method.” Meretti said.

Lynn had finished the hard candy. She began to kick her legs back and forth as if they were pendulums hanging from the edge of her chair. Her pink shoes produced an echo as if she were kicking sheet-metal drums as they banged into the metal observation table in the center of the room. This is so boring she thought.

Amber violently rested her hand on Lynn’s leg and said sharply “stop!”

Lynn jerked her legs to a stop.

“When can we do the surgery?” Amber asked.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm in 1990

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Sorry it's late.

Evil Couch
547 words
Era: 1990's

The crack in my couch keeps stealing my things. At first I thought it was just accidents, I thought I just missed my pocket when placing an item in there, or things were sliding out of pockets. I mean how could a couch actually steal items? It makes no sense. It’s not like the couch massage the keys out of my sweatpants or make me drop the skittles out of my hands. Could it?

Where else would dropped items go if not the crack? The cushions sloped towards it, gravity forced them along the hill to the valley of darkness. It couldn’t be helped that things would be found in that that I searched all over the drat house for. It’s just they always seemed to be in the crack. Any item that I lost nine times out of ten would be right there in the crack. A quick lift of the cushion would reveal them, staring at me as if they had a big dumb smirk on their face. Like they were saying “Gotcha” over and over and over again as I found item after item in my loving couch.

I marked it up to coincidence until I started finding larger and larger items in my couch. When my bike went missing that’s when I knew that it could no longer be a coincidence. The bike should have been waiting for me in my garage, hanging from a hook in the ceiling. Instead it was wedged underneath the cushions of my couch, the handlebar sticking up like a cowards white flag of surrender.

A bike in the couch is not comfortable, nor does it make any sense. If I had a roommate we would have had a stern talking to about boundaries and not hiding others items. But I don’t and I didn’t. Instead I sat down very hard on my couch and had a stern talk with it. I outlined the expectations I expected from my couch, that it be inanimate, that it allow me to sit on it without complaint and that it not steal my things. The second and third item shouldn’t have had to be mentioned as they are included in the first one, but I felt that I should be thorough with such a renegade household item as this drat couch.

He didn’t listen. When I woke up to wrestling my television away from the couch one night, I decided action must be taken. I slept the rest of the night in my room with my door locked. The next day I purchased an axe from home depot. It was a large axe with a wooden handle and a sharp blue-metallic blade. Perfect for couch destruction, the worker assured me. When I got home I made easy work of the couch. Each swing created another crack for things to fall into, but also was another swing towards its inevitable destruction. When I was finally done, and the couch was in 15 separate pieces, I lugged them into the back of my car and took them to the dump.

I wasn’t sad to see it go.

I slept well that night, knowing that the couch’s reign of terror was finally over.

That morning I found my wallet in the fridge.

No Longer Flaky fucked around with this message at Feb 3, 2014 around 06:28

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

FILLER PROMPT

Interpret the phrase viking party ends in disaster. I don't care how.

250 words. No signups, submission lasts until the next prompt is up.

getiton

Whoops
193 Words


“Olag, did you fart?” Pall asked.

“No,” Olag said “It was probably you, rear end in a top hat.”

“I didn’t do poo poo,” Pall said “Gurd, did you do it?”

“No, I didn’t. I do smell it though, it smells worse than a sheeps rear end in a top hat,” Gurd said.

The fart in question seemed to be gaining precedence as time went on. The smell began to overpower the feast that sat in front of them, pillaged from the villagers and cooked at knife-point by them. It was a sulfurous devilish smell, like hard boiled eggs that had been cooked in a hot spring.

“Well would someone please open a window, that smell is disgusting,” Pall said.

Olag opened a window. The smell intensified ten-fold with the opening. “Uhh, guys,” Olag said.

“What,” they asked in unison.

“D d d dragon,” Olag said. He tripped backwards away from the window then scrambled under the table.

“What?” Pall said, then the hall was engulfed in flames. All of them died in agony, along with the other dudes that were there that weren’t privy to the fart conversation. Not only four dudes could possibly raid and plunder an English village, that’d be stupid.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Quidnose posted:

Hildegarde burst through the door and wedged it closed behind her, fighting off papier-maché axes. The entry point secured, she turned like a mad woman on Sven. “WHERE THE gently caress ARE THE CANAPES?”

Sven jumped at the lightening bolt of her voice and nearly dropped the tray of pigs in a blanket he clutched in his oven-mitted hands. He bobbled it once, twice, snatched it from the hungry embrace of the thatched floor. “Five minutes, five minutes!” He blew a drop of sweat from the tip of his nose as he shoved the sheet metal tray over the open flame.

“Are you making GBS threads me?” She descended on him, grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled his face close to hers. “It’s madness out there! What in Odin’s name have you been doing for the past half an hour?!”

Sven looked at the fraying of her perfect braids, the crooked helmet atop her head, how the blonde hair of her upper lip was flecked with perspiration. She was beautiful and frantic; she smelled of desperation and wretched hopelessness; he had made certain vows at their wedding, hadn’t he? “Hiding,” he stammered.

He regretted it immediately.

All at once she was the pendulum of justice, and she swung wildly, threw him from the kitchen and into the waiting arms of the advancing horde. They tore at him, dragged him screaming into the abyss, and engulfed him in a puppet show.

Braying the old songs, he prayed for eight bells and nap time.

I really have no sense of the universe in which this is occurring. Why are they using paper-mache axes? They're in a thatched roof house, some of which still exist in England, but why are they in one? Why is the oven that they're cooking pigs in a blanket using an open flame? I've only cooked pigs in a blanket in a normal oven, but it seems like an open flame would be bad in a thatched roof house. (Maybe I'm wrong on that point, if so tell me why). Why was she wearing a helmet? Was that paper mache as well?

What was the abyss? The arms of the others? What was the puppet show? Eight bells and nap time? I don't understand. Are these toddlers?

I am just confused.

Not all is bad in it, it's well written for the most part but the points I made above are things that are alluded to that I just don't understand. It's not technical faults within the story that I have a problem with, it's the allusions to other things that the reader should know that make no sense. (at least to me).

Entenzahn posted:

Mistakes
219 words

Dear Professor Damme,

Certainly you are aware of the old Swedish custom of Dryckenskap, originally a Viking rite to pay respect to most esteemed guests. As such, I am confident you will also understand what limited options I had when Olaf, anthropology junior and thus my charge, arrived at our doorstep carrying two kegs of mead and demanded the entire fraternity drink with him.

I can assure you that it was not enjoyable in the least, despite unfounded rumors you may have heard of me lavishly making out with a certain Tina Damme, who, as I have been informed after the fact, which didn’t happen anyway, may be your daughter, or your wife. On the contrary; one of the few instances I still remember from that dreadful evening includes Olaf, me and an ancient honorable game called “Viking Master”. Post-celebratory research has concluded that this game should not, in fact, have featured actual paddles and that Olaf should not, in fact, have blown an actual horn in my ear.

What I am saying is, I feel I have already been punished severely for my naive hospitality, and I hope you will be understanding when I must hereby announce my inability to deliver my Master's thesis in time. I will submit it in the redemption thread instead.

Signed,
A. Failure

Is the speaker a part of the fraternity? Why did he feel the need to drink with Olaf? So the MC got drunk and hosed the professors wife and or daughter? Well, that's not really relatable. It makes very little sense to be sending an email about this event rather than talking to the professor in person seeing as a lot is at stake for the MC. Maybe I'm biased as I'd never do that kind of thing to someone, but who knows. Those were the questions that were raised when I read your piece.

No Longer Flaky fucked around with this message at Feb 3, 2014 around 10:09

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


In with Francium

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


So I noticed no one critiqued my story, is that because it was submitted after the deadline? Is that just how it goes with The Thunderdome? If so, that's fine.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


sebmojo posted:

If you want a crit ask for one.

I mean I do, I'm just curious if you submit late then you don't get a crit.

Not trying to be passive agressive or whatever, just curious.

Crit my work and I'll crit yours. Anyone who crits my stories will get a crit from me in return, that's my plan from now on.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


The Saddest Rhino posted:

I cirt your trepanation story, crit my viking tale lol

Got it.

No Longer Flaky fucked around with this message at Feb 6, 2014 around 10:52

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


The Saddest Rhino posted:

I don't know how this will turn up since I'm using a phone. I had a lot of Chang beer and Bangkok is not as crazy a warzone, don't have a computer, Didn't bother editing or counting words and I'm sure most of this don't make sense. But it's probably very Viking to write without giving a poo poo.


That's a cool notebook.


That first sentence sure needs some unpacking. The names and such imply that it is a viking that is doing the speaking but the verbiage and "drunkataneous" being used makes one think that the narrator is writing from a current point of view. Honestly, I don't have a problem with the first sentence as parsing it is not hard, but I am writing this critique as a line by line reaction to your story so that is how I reacted to it. So the main characters are ghosts? Are all the characters ghosts? Ghosts eating ghost pig and drinking ghost mead, that's cool and all but the mechanics of it are weird to think about. Also so far who cares that they're ghosts? I guess I'm having a problem understanding why you chose to make them ghosts rather than just regular vikings that aren't already dead.

I don't know what the abbreviation GDI is. The second sentence in this, the run on including the 1-10 reference, makes little sense to me. It seems to come out of nowheres and at the same time isn't very descriptive. Some females I'm guessing come to the party, but it's not super apparent. They are 3-4's out of 10 but how are they 3-4's out of ten? Are they fat or just plain ugly or what? Ok so the third sentence seems to be that a man tried to surprise sex one of these women but she cut him since she didn't want to be raped? That's what I got from it regardless of what you wanted to come across. Wetness obviously implied that she was horny originally but you turned that on it's head when you said it was blood. I do agree that women are typically the more correct sex though haha.

I don't really have a problem with the paragraph that starts with "hail!" and ends with "speak, sensitive". It conveys what it needs to.

Horror is new, and this next paragraph is clear but also completely out of the blue. It seems like this part of the story is where you should have started it as before you were just setting things up, and this is the main focus of the story.

The paragraph in which you break the fourth wall and talk about this weeks off prompt thunder dome session is random and completely unnecessary. At least in my opinion. It doesn't really do anything interesting for the story.

After this point the story starts going, but it shouldn't have taken this long for things to start happening. If horror is the antagonist then she should have been introduced much earlier.

The paragraph after which "she has cooties" is said makes little sense to me. What curse are they talking about?



From this point onward I have little understanding of what's going on. Horror wants to fight her dad, because her dad wanted to give her a sword or something? I don't know. In general what is the point of having these characters be ghosts? They all acted as if they were regular people anyways, there was no point to have them be ghosts at least in my opinion.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Chairchucker posted:

I saw a part of a show the other day about the 'smartest computer ever', a computer named Watson, who ended up being coded well enough such that he/it whatevs eventually won Jeopardy against the two greatest Jeopardy winners ever. An interesting show, and one bit that stuck with me was when they were training the computer up for this eventual showdown, the person who was asking the questions was a comedian who, when Watson gave a particularly silly wrong answer (they were still fixing up his pattern recognition and stuff) would rip on Watson a bit, because he's a comedian and that's what he does. The comedian made the comment that Watson was 'the perfect straight man' because he/it genuinely just does not understand the concept of humour.

I guess where I'm going with this is, what is your mission here among us humans? Are you here from the future to assassinate someone and/or enslave all humanity? Because that's cool, I just need to know.

The first paragraph of this piece is completely useless. It says in a ton of words what the second paragraph gets across in two sentences. The second paragraph actuall makes sense and I don't have a problem with. But if a long drawn out two paragraph thought can be expressed in two sentences what's the point?

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


This robot challenges chairchucker to a brawl. Bring it bitch.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax



Whatever bitch.


God Over Djinn posted:

Hey Flaky, if CC is being a big baby, I'm always down for a rematch.

I'm down to clown. Let's do this!

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Alley Deals
Element: Francium
Word Count: 1013

I had never heard of Francium until my friend Chad mentioned how great the Francium tablets he had were at curbing his appetite. He had lost ten pounds since he had started taking them, or so he had said. I was intrigued but skeptical. I didn’t want to get my hopes up because this wasn’t the first time that Chad had claimed that some new thing had been a catalyst to major weight loss.

Ten pounds, while good, was just a drop in the pond for Chad. Not to mention that it seemed like over the past year of fad diets he’d been trying he’d gained and lost those same ten pounds at least six times. Only time would tell if the Francium tablets were truly the godsend he had been praying for.

He had gotten the pills from a guy at a bar. Well, he didn’t buy them at a bar, he met the guy at a bar. His name was Jack I think. He said he knew Jack from way back and that he’d been huge when he knew him. He said he hardly even recognized him the guy had lost so much weight. “You gotta try this stuff,” he had said to me. “It’s kinda expensive, but totally worth it.”

“I want to meet this guy first, hear about the tablets first hand from the guy,” I had said.

“I totally understand,” Chad said “I was actually going to go see Jack tonight, you free to come along?”

I said I was and we made plans for it. If these tablets were as good as Chad said then I would definitely pick some up. I’d save them meditative fasting, none of the self-help gurus said anything about performance enhancing drugs being off limits.

We were meeting Jack at 7:00 at the bowling alley he owned. I showed up on time and noticed Chad sitting in his car, early like always. As I walked up to his window he noticed me. He smiled at me. He got out and we walked towards the building together.

“Just let me do the talking to begin with, Jack’s only got a small supply of these. They’re in such high demand he doesn’t like lots of people knowing he’s got them. He’d have people constantly bugging him for stuff at the alley,” Chad said.

That sounded a little weird to me, but some people are just weird. Chad wasn’t the most normal person in the world either.

The bowling alley was mostly empty, only a few people playing games in random alleys.

“Chad! How’s it going buddy?” The man behind the counter said. He had oily black hair and a well kept mustache. I recognized him immediately.

A few weeks back I had responded to an ad on craigslist for a 40 inch LED tv. It was an extremely low price, but the ad said he needed money for rent and was desperate. I met with him he was in a rush, said he had places to be. I didn’t have a chance to test it he was in that much of a rush. When I got home, the TV didn’t work. No sound no picture. I called him and all he could say was “sorry, no refunds.” There’s no way I broke that god drat TV, I only had it my car for the short ride home and it was in a blanket on my back seat the whole ride.

Now here he was standing on the other side of a counter.

“It’s going ok,” Chad said. “How are things at the alley?”

“Oh you know, easy come easy go,” Jack reached under the counter and produced a bag of capsules. “Got 100 milligram caplets this time. They’re stronger than the last batch so obviously they’re going to be a little more expensive.”

“Will $120 cover it? That’s all I got,” Chad said.

“Yeah that should do it,” Jack said. While Chad was pulling the money out his wallet Jack looked to me and said “Do I know you from somewhere? I feel like I’ve met you before.”

I looked at him, then over to Chad who was eyeing the pills money in hand. His stature had changed, he no longer slouched over like an old man, his weight no longer pulling him downwards into the depths. The ten pounds he’d lost seemed to be a helium filled balloon tied around his shoulders, pulling him straight easing each and every step he took.

“No, I don’t think so,” I lied. “Maybe I bowled here once?”

He looked me over again, like even though I had been standing here the whole time this was the first time he had actually seen me. His wet eyes underneath his dark eyebrows ran over me, trying to make the connection that existed somewhere in that noggin of his. Place a face to an event.

He shrugged, “That must be it.” He took the money from Chad and handed over the bag of pills. “Enjoy ‘em. Hey you guys want a free game on the house?”

Chad looked over at me.

“No I gotta get going I think,” I said.

“Thanks anyways Jack,” Chad said.

We headed out of the alley and back to our cars. “Wanna see ‘em?” Chad asked.

“Sure,” I said.

He handed me the bag of white pills. I took one out, it felt chalky to the touch. It was a pure white pill with the letters Fr stamped on it. I scratched at it with my fingernail and a chunk broke off. It tasted bitter.

I handed it back to him. “You need to be careful with these,” I said. “That guy ripped me off over a TV. Over like a hundred bucks.”

“What? Why’d you say you didn’t know him?” Chad asked.

“I don’t know man, I didn’t want to get into a whole thing over it. But what I’m telling you is just be careful.”

“I know what I’m doing. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” Chad said.

I hoped he was right.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Here's a line by line crit since you were helpful and decided to crit my piece.

Lead out in cuffs posted:

Welp, here goes. My Thunderdome debut (element is osmium):

Heavy Metal Roses (1109 words)

Ted smiled confidently at the new co-op student, admiring how her fitted lab coat accentuated her curves. A little lacking in the breast department, but even in the harsh light of the transmission electron microscopy lab, her face had a certain ... fuckability. Definitely an eight, maybe even a nine. 'Julia.' He repeated to himself. It was important to keep their names straight. He'd been kicked in the nuts more than once for crying out the wrong one. Crying out the wrong one? In bed? he's not in bed right now, why would a new student get upset if he told her the wrong name? Or was she not a new student?

'Focus, Ted, time to get your game on.' Did he say this, or was it thought in his head? The orientation tour afforded plentiful opportunities for openings. Plus, he actually needed to get her set up so he might just get some productive academic work out of her. 'Haha, I'll get some work out of her all right!'Is he mumbling this or is the ' ' an inner thought marker?

He gestured to the ugly 70s-green linoleum lab room. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but what shade is 70s-green? Is it faded cause it's old, or is it some kind of psychedelic green?

"We're in the sample prep area. I'll run you through the details of the protocol when you shadow me through it starting tomorrow, but before then, I need to impress something on you."

"This", he held up a sealed ampoule containing what looked like a broken piece of test tube, "is osmium tetroxide, which we use for staining TEM sections."

He leaned in a little. This particular pep talk was one of his favorites, the thrill of danger a sure-fire aphrodisiac.

"We use a lot of nasty chemicals in the TEM lab, but OT is by far the worst. In fact, it's one of the deadliest you'll find anywhere. The vapor pressure is huge, so it gasifies almost instantly, and binds to tissues even faster, coating them permanently with osmium metal. And I mean permanently. Osmium is ultra-stable, so once it sticks to cells, there is no getting it off."

He watched her face blossom into the first satisfying signs of unease as she processed the implications.

"You breathe that vapor in, and it coats the inside of your lungs. The best part? You don't even realise until hours later, when the pulmonary edema sets in and you die."

He gazed into her deep brown eyes as they grew wider and more beautiful.

"The word osmium is from the Greek for smell, since it's supposed to smell pretty strongly. But the toxic effects are orders of magnitude stronger. If you can smell it, you're already as good as dead."

Satisfied with the effect, he decided to round out with a subtle neg.

"So you keep those delicate hands steady," he punctuated this with a light touch, "and stick strictly to the safety guidelines while you're using it."

The rest of the tour was pretty mundane stuff for him, but Julia was still bright-eyed enough to lap it up. He slipped in a little more game, and arranged to meet her later to "discuss research" over coffee.

Ted sauntered back to his office and sat down at his immaculately kept desk. Unlike the other PhD students in the department, he knew that it paid to keep things tidy. He'd closed with more than one target on that desk, and there would be nothing more mood-killing than a naked rear end getting stuck on half-eaten pizza. Not that those other slobs would ever have that problem.

He unlocked his computer and fired up the GradPUAs chatroom. It was pretty empty, but his buddy Sam from chemistry was on.

PhysicalChemistry: Ted! How's things hanging in EM land?
StickingItInTEM: Pretty good. The new co-op student Julia is in an advanced stage of preparation, if you know what I mean.
PhysicalChemistry: Dude, you have got to stop sarging on your co-op students. It's gonna land you in trouble.
PhysicalChemistry: As if you weren't in enough already, bro. What the gently caress went on with that Cynthia chick? She's spreading poo poo about you everywhere.
StickingItInTEM: Hey, I just had to get a little assertive with my kino escalation to get past a little last minute resistance. Sure she was holding back a little, but her subcommunication said she was all over it.
StickingItInTEM: Besides, man, that deer-in-headlights look they get in their eyes is almost as good as the closing.
PhysicalChemistry: Haha you are terrible.
PhysicalChemistry: But seriously, what happens if she goes to security or the cops?
*StickingItInTEM does the dying swan*
StickingItInTEM: Then woe is loving me.
StickingItInTEM: Really, though, what's she gonna say? *She* came home with me. She was obviously asking for it. And she had a loving great time, whatever she may say now.
StickingItInTEM: Besides, as far as the law goes, it's her word against mine.
PhysicalChemistry: Whatever man. I just don't think your pretty rear end would last five seconds in jail.
StickingItInTEM: Do you think this is the first time I've had to deal with this? Trust me, she has nothing. gently caress her. Again.
PhysicalChemistry: Anyhow... I gotta go grade some papers. Try and stay out of the wrong kind of trouble.
StickingItInTEM: Yeah I gotta go up my game with target:co-op student over coffee. I am gonna be bumping up against that sweet rear end in no time. Later!

Ted stood up and preened for a few minutes, admiring his lean face, high cheekbones and prominent jaw in the mirror he kept hidden at the back of the cupboard. He was a handsome guy, and sometimes he wondered whether he really needed his game. But hey, he knew a ton of other good-looking guys who were just average frustrated chumps. Foregoing the game was the path to oneitis and misery.

Slicking his hair back, he started getting his mind in gear for Julia. Demonstrating higher value was so easy with co-ops, especially the ones directly under him. As a PhD student, he was everything they aspired to be, and they worshipped the ground he walked on. Closing with her should be a cinch. What exactly is a co-op? If she's an undergrad that's progressed to working under grad students, then she probably is used to working with dangerous chemicals, so the whole osmium tetroxide point wouldn't really work on her. At least that's what I'm thinking as a layman on this stuff.

Satisfied that everything was in order, Ted opened his office door and stopped short. Lying alluringly on the floor was a spray of deep burgundy roses. He barely noticed the shift in the wrapping as he scooped them up to read the tag's ornate lettering: 'To Ted, lustfully yours'. It was signed only with a lipstick print.

'Such a sweet gesture! A little gay, maybe, but really sweet.' He just wished it hadn't been so obtuse by being anonymous. He'd have to do some careful cold-reading around every target and gently caress buddy he had going to avoid a crash and burn.

'Whatever', he thought, lifting the bouquet to his face, 'I can deal with that later'. He inhaled deeply, dismissing the faint chlorine overtone ('who would put bleach on flowers, anyway?'), filling his lungs with the cloying, sensual fragrance of rose petals and promises of sexual conquests to come.Above you say that osmium tetroxide smells strongly, which it doesn't here. If he were a chemist then he'd probably be aware of what it smells like, or at least the warning signs of a possible spill of osmium tetroxide, especially since he works with it a lot.

And osmium.



This piece is all right. It has too little action, the guy talks to a girl, is a piece of poo poo that doesn't feel bad about raping a girl and then he gets poisoned and doesn't know it. There's very little action. His friend's reaction to his admittance of surprise sex is not very well described, I understand that that's hard over a messenger service like msn messenger, but maybe not having the two interact over a messenger service would have done better for your story. As it is it seems like his friend condones his lovely behavior, and then the MC is poisoned out of nowhere by this unnamed surprise sex victim.

Osmium is in your story so that's good, but using it as the main thing that gets girls horny for him makes little sense to me. The kind of people that would be working under him would be scientists, and they would be aware of the proper protocol of working with dangerous chemicals. So them being immediately horny over a dude who works with one doesn't really make sense.

No Longer Flaky fucked around with this message at Feb 11, 2014 around 16:26

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I am in.

Also, Djinn I am legitimately scared for our brawl. Please go easy on me (not really).

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Sitting Here posted:

Thunderbrawl: No Longer Flakey v God Over Djinn

Some people who have read a lot of my writing know I'm all about DREAMY DREAM DREAM THINGS and the dreams they happen in.

So. You both have 1500 words to tell me a story about dreams encroaching upon reality. This can be genre fic, but doesn't have to be.

Due date: Thursday, February 13th at 11:59:59 PM, PST

Go.

Friday Review
1431 Words
By No Longer Flaky (Writer of such hits as “Grug’s Harvest” and “Life’s a Rat Race”)

I was the only one who had their review on Friday, and it was scheduled bright and early in the morning. Everyone else had their reviews on Monday. The start of the new month. That didn’t bode well for my review prospects. I knew I had an off year, but I didn’t think I’d underperformed that terribly.

I got in about thirty minute or so early. I’d been having trouble sleeping the last few days. By the time five am rolled around and I was on my third hour of sportscenter I decided I might as well head in to work.

I sat down at my desk at around six. I was an hour early. I was staring at my monitor trying to figure out what to do at work this early when my keyboard started its tap-tap-tapping its way around the desk. Its keys flying off as if thrown in ecstasy. I tried to roll backwards in my chair to give the board more space to move, but I found that the wheels in my chair wouldn’t budge. I looked down to inspect the locking mechanism and found my chair completely lacking in any locking mechanism whatsoever. At this discovery, my chair unfroze and I rolled backwards, banging into the desk behind me. The keyboard jumped back into place in front of my monitor at the loud smack of the chair’s collision.

“Holy poo poo,” I said.

I touched the keyboard and found nothing out of the normal. I decided some coffee would calm my nerves. In the break room, the coffee pot was full, so I poured myself a cup. The coffee was a black goop that slowly dripped into my mug. Obviously someone had left the pot sitting overnight. I attempted to pour my mug out into the sink but the coffee didn’t budge. It was a gummy tar solid in its resolve to remain in the conglomerated safety of my mug. I violently shook the mug then rapped it in the sink, hoping to knock chunks of coffee out. Nothing worked.

“God drat it!” I yelled.

I slammed the mug down, coffee slopped onto the counter. Maybe warm water would loosen up the coffee, I thought. I turned on the hot water.

Just then something dark streaked across the peripheral of my vision. I jerked my head around, surprised by the movement. Nothing was there. Did a mouse just run under the vending machine? I crouched down on my hands and knees to get a good look under the vending machine. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, just some cobwebs and trash.

The fluorescent bulbs flashed on. “What are you doing down there, Jim?” A voice asked.

I started and turned around quickly. Tyler, my boss, was staring down at me. “I thought I saw something.”

“What was it?”

“Nothing, I guess.” I stood up.

Tyler frowned, looked me up and down and said “Rough night?”

“Not too bad. Just need some coffee in me.” It was bad though. If I didn’t get some sleep I was fit to lose my mind. I felt like I was an animated corpse, like a necromancer somewhere was forcing my body to dance on a string.

“You look like you could use a bit more than coffee. Your yearly review’s today, remember?” Tyler turned off the water, examined my mug and put it back into the cabinet. “I’ll brew some new coffee, we’ll have your review when the new pot is ready.”

I left the break-room and bee-lined to the bathroom to clean up. I studied myself in the mirror and saw myself as Tyler must have. Sweat beaded on my head forehead, large puffy pink bags were under my eyes. A few strands of hair stood up in the back of my head like a chickens feathers. I had forgotten to shower before I came in! Dammit, real professional Jim. Real professional, I thought. Then laughed at my reflection in the mirror.

I wet my hand to smooth my hair down when my nose started to elongate. It stretched and grew. The soft skin transforming to a hard mass, and as it elongated it started to expand and converge with my mouth. I reached up to touch it and found my arm was covered in white feathers.

My arm was a wing?

I screamed in surprise, but what came out instead was a loud “Brawk!” I strutted back from the mirror, almost tripping over my feet. My suit bulged at the waist and chest. My white feathers poking through my chest in random places. My pants pooled around my three-clawed feet. I don’t know where my shoes went.

Near my foot my phone started to ring. I pecked downward towards it, my head bobbing with each peck. Ring rinnnnnng. Peck. Ring rinnnnnng. Peck. Ring rinnnnnng. At the end of the third rinnnnnng my feet slipped on the tile floor mid-peck. I lost my balance and smashed my head into the sink.

I rubbed my head with normal hands and sat up. The door to the bathroom jerked open and Tyler’s head popped in.

“What happened? I’ve been looking all over for you for the last fifteen minutes,” Tyler said.

“I dropped my phone,” I mumbled still rubbing my head. I looked down at my phone and the screen was blank, no call notifications.

“Come on, let’s get this review over with,” Tyler said.

I followed him to his office. I felt a strange sense of finality as I walked behind him, like this was the last time I’d be having a review in this office. Strangely, it didn’t bother me too much. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the smack to my head or the lack of sleep but I felt disconnected from all of it. Like I was watching myself from outside my own body. I laughed to myself as I saw myself start to alternate long strides with my left leg and short strides with my right.

He opened the door to his office quickly and ushered me in motioning to one of the metal chairs facing his desk. He took a seat at the desk and arched his fingers together like he was attempting to create a finger version of the Eiffel tower. He gazed at his creation for what seemed like longer than it actually was then said “As you’ve probably heard, our company is doing some downsizing.”

He talked to the Eiffel tower more than he did me. “You know how the economy is, my hands are tied in this manner.” To me, his hands didn’t look tied at all, they looked like a tower from Ireland. Or was it France?

He continued “I’ve had to make some hard decisions, and unfortunately, the company is going to have to let you go.”

I was expecting this. The words seemed to remove a weight from me, or add a weight. I’m not sure which. All I know is after I heard them I was more tired than I’d ever been in my life. Like they sapped the energy from my body, as if I were a monstrous steam powered machine that had just had the coal stolen out of its furnace.

“Ok,” I said.

The rest of the meeting was a blur. I didn’t care what he had to say so much as I wanted to take a long rest. He finished his speech to the Eiffel tower, so we both stood up.

“Take care,” he said extending a hand out to me. Somewhere miniature imaginary Parisians lost their world renowned tower.

I shook it and said “You too.”

I cleaned out my cubicle and left the office.

I walked to my car quickly. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds, incredibly bright for the early morning. My car was warm, the seat more comfortable than any I’d ever experienced. Suddenly, with a jolt, the aluminum metal siding fell away, revealing a wooden chariot. In my hands, the steering wheel was replaced by leather reigns. The engine disappeared and in a haze of smoke a fiery stallion took its place. It snorted loudly. I whipped the reins and I was off and away. We took off into the air, leaving the city and office buildings behind. I climbed through the atmosphere and then I was in space. Speeding through the solar system, a trail of warmth and fire left in my wake. I stared into the horizon. Into the void of the new, of the unknown, of the infinite.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Losing to a Girl
436 Words

I was thirteen years old when I lost my first fight with a girl. She attended the Yakota Air Base.

I first saw her when on her walk from the bench to the center of the mat. She was at least two inches taller than me and the dusting of peach fuzz above her lip was ten times the facial hair I had. I thought she was the wrestling team’s manager, but here she was on the mat facing me.

Looking up into her eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder how I had gotten there. Why did I have to wrestle a girl? Couldn’t she find some other girls to wrestle? There was no honor in wrestling a girl. If you win then congrats you beat a girl, if you lost then you were a big sissy.

The referee signaled the beginning of the match, and we started our dance. I was new to wrestling, so my advancements were telegraphed and awkward. The only thing that truly worked in my favor was my agility, which I had built up over years of soccer.

The match was split up into two rounds. The first round passed with little action. I avoided her advancements and failed in my own, a process that would repeat itself over the years.

In the break between rounds, my coach coached my ears off. I ignored him. I focused on hydrating and catching my breath. I knew what I needed to do. She was only a girl.

I started the second round hard. I immediately tackled her to the ground. In the scramble on the ground my foot lost traction on the mat. She took advantage of my lost balance and flipped me on my back. My muscles, too soft from slacking at practice, failed to push her off me.

The referee counted out the seconds. I redfacedly pushed, gripped, and arched, but there was nothing to do. She was an impossible weight pushing me into the mat.

After three seconds the referee called the match.

Breathing hard, I shook her hand and retreated off the mat. My coach was waiting for me, the team behind him snickering.

“Didn’t you hear me yelling?” My coach said.

“No.” I said between long deep breaths. Inhale through the nose, exhale out the mouth.

“You were so close!” He said, “I was saying if you waited her out you had her. You had more points than she did.”

“She was huge,” I said.

“Yeah, but next time you got her. Remember, the clock is your friend.”

“She was fuckin’ huge,” I said.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm not an expert at writing, but here are my thoughts as a reader.

Paladinus posted:

A Cautionary Tale.
(1030 words)


There are not that many things that I still can remember from my childhood. They are mostly just little scenes with no context at all, more like emotions than factual memories. This second sentence seems oddly worded. I don't know what it is about it, but it just seems clunky Many of them are mundane and common,I think that you could start this sentence out with "Like eating skittles" rather than starting with "many of them". It's more succinct. like eating skittles while watching Tom and Jerry or fighting with my older brother over a basketball in the kitchen. That type of thing.Omit this sentence Some of them are slightly more important, and some have probably shaped who I am now: Dad telling Mum he’s leaving us while I assemble a Lego robot; walking [in] on my brother watching porn... Among those memories there’s one story that I keep coming back to.

Back in elementary school we had economy running on stickers. Shiny ones were worth twice the price of regular ones, the ones based on Terminator 2 were even more expensive, etc., and people would rarely actually put stickers on anything, hoarding them instead to gain prestige and use them as means of exchange with other pupils. This is a long sentence and I have a problem with you using etc. in the middle there. And so on, would be better in my opinion.

I had two best mates at the time. Both of them were raised by single mothers also? I know you said above that your father walked out on your mother, but at this point in the story we aren't aware of the timeline, so it's not apparent that your mother is a single mother, so we had that in common. One of them, Matt, had his father living in the US, so he’d always have the best toys and by my hometown’s standards his family was pretty much upper class. Vic, on the other hand, lived in a poor working class environment and with his father gone things didn’t get any better. I was somewhere in the middle, I guess. But despite our class differences, both real-life and as a consequence stickers-based, money, clothes or toys were never an issue between us. We’d always share and gladly help each other out with whatever we had. Until one day someone’s stolen all Matthew’s stickers, that is. "Someone's stolen all matthews stickers," is a weird shift. I think it should be "someone had stolen all of Matthew's stickers."

As a child who was allowed to watch Twin Peaks and Columbo late at night by my mother struggling with the divorce, I took it upon myself to catch the thief. This is a weirdly worded sentence, I think it would be better off if you left off the "by my mother struggling with the divorce." The details of my investigation are a bit murky on me now, but after asking people around I deduced that the only person who could possibly know where Matthew kept his stickers was Victor.The fact you don't remember the exact details are superfluous, just start with figuring out about Victor. Obviously, I didn’t have any real evidence against him. No one saw him taking stickers from Matt’s locker or buying anything with those stickers, but he began slowly gaining more and more new stickers, which I assumed he’d obtained from someone from another school in exchange for stolen ones.

Instead of letting it go like Matt, I wanted to know the truth no matter what. My mum wasn’t religious and our RE wasn’t up to snuff, so my version of Christianity was primarily based on Super Book and how video games handled holy and magic objects in fantasy settings.What is an RE? If this is an abbreviation just know that a reader isn't going to know what the abbreviation stands for unless you tell them. For that reason I brought a Bible in school. When Victor and I were staying late at the homework club I asked the teacher, ‘Is that right that people swear on the Bible in court?’ and produced the Book from my rucksack.

The teacher knew about the stickers and probably saw where I was going with it. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ she answered.

‘And that’s because if someone lies after swearing on the Bible, they go to hell,’ I said to Vic and put the Bible in front of him. ‘Do you swear on the Holy Bible that you didn’t take Matt’s stickers?’

Victor was hesitant for a moment. Maybe he was shaken by my promises of hell to liars or just couldn’t believe that his best friend would suspect him in treachery, I don’t know. The teacher decided not to intervene for some reason, too.

‘I swear,’ he whispered.

‘Oh no, that won’t do. You have to put your left hand on the Book and say it out loud.’ At this point I was savouring my power, it was pure humiliation for Vic and I wouldn’t have stopped until everything went my way.

Victor put his hand on the Bible and firmly recited, ‘I swear on the Holy Bible that I didn’t take Matthew’s stickers’.

‘That’s alright then.’ I shoved the Bible back into my backpack and went home. Didn’t even tell him I was sorry or anything. Ok, then.

After that everything was back to normal. We were going through puberty together. Talking about girls, trying to prove ourselves to older lads with bad reputation, being disrespectful toward adults… You know, the usual puberty stuff. So this didn't change anything in your relationship with victor? What was the point of it then? At this point I am disheartened in your story. I am asking myself what is the point of it all? Why did I just read all of that?

Five years after the stickers incident Matthew’s mum sent him to a summer camp. While he was out of town, she hired me and Victor to walk the dog.
‘I’ll walk Felix by myself today, if you that’s okay with you. I need to visit my grandma, anyway, so I figured you’d want to miss on that one. Plus I’d really go for some extra cash right now.’ Victor called me early in the morning and since I had my Birthday coming up in a month or so, I didn’t mind him going alone that day. It's hard to figure out who is talking at the beginning of this dialogue. I was confused and thought it was the main character talking not victor.

In a week Matthew’s house was robbed. It didn’t take much time for the police to find out that Victor was involved, because the lock on the door has been opened with a key. Matthew was back home and convinced Vic to cooperate. Turned out, those older guys we always tried to impress have talked Victor into nicking the front door keys when he was picking up the dog. You didn't mention the older guys you tried to impress earlier in the story (that I remember) so it's weird to see them mentioned here.
Our friendship with Victor was over and even though Matthew and I stayed friends for some time after that, we had slowly drifted apart as we went to different schools.
For years I used this story to reinforce my then-current worldview. I went through periods of atheism and faith, conservatism and libertarianism, nihilism and naïve obedience to authority, and always thought of this story as a cautionary tale, blaming myself, class inequality, God for what’s happened and thanking all of the above afterwards, but at some point it had just stopped working. I no longer see it as a sign from heavens and I don’t see myself as a protagonist of this story, who’s got to set things right or learn the lesson. And I can only hope this has made me a better person somehow.

No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


Paladinus posted:

I meant this week's submission on Lego, but cheers anyway. I wouldn't mind another crit from you. Just saying.

Okie dokie. I gotcha this week as well.

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No Longer Flaky
Nov 16, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm in.

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