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RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Sign me up. Lurked long enough for you guys to rip me a new one.

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RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Dancing and Drinking = 1000 words

The night was windy and cool. It threatened rain. No matter as we trudged along a quiet sidewalk, knowing that a warm apartment was a few blocks away. “Doing this was a mistake” she said.

“What’s the matter? You look wonderful” I teased. “You wanted to go to a costume party and agreed that we could go as a flapper and gangster.”

“Well, if I realized how thin these clothes were going to be, I wouldn’t have said yes.”

“You look even better with your eyes crossed and tongue flying in the wind” I remarked with a grin.

“Dick” she said with a smile and a punch. “For that, I’m going to wear your stupid hat. Looks better on me anyway.”

“Hold on to it. Starting to get pretty windy. I don’t want to go all over the city to look for store to buy a replacement. Besides, that was the one that looked the best on me.”

“The best one? This dirty old fedora is the best you could do?”

“It’s all I could find on short notice. It’s not like I’m going to wear it again. Can you give it back?” A sigh. A perfectly timed wind gust blew the cap out of my hand and around the corner.

“Dolt. Why didn't you hold the stupid hat by the brim instead the top? This isn't the first time this happened.”

All I could manage was a glare and maroon cheeks. “Go on without me. You look cold and uncomfortable.”

After going in separate directions, I chased the hat to a quiet stoop. While I brushed the dirt and gravel off, I looked around. The building looked old and grimy. Rust covered the gratings in the windows and on the hinges of a large wooden door with a small slit near the top. Strangely, I heard music and voices coming from beyond the door. I was clearly hearing things. This stupid party was stressing me out. I picked the shittest costume because I procrastinated. I had a brain fart on costume ideas and choose the most generic idea because I didn't want to spend any money. My date hates me for dragging her along and my slapdash effort on a dumb theme. I just want the night to end.

I looked around one more time. I took a deep breath and decided to knock on the door and just calm my addled mind. A few knocks and they would all go away. The sounds didn’t stop. I could live being crazy for a night. I turned around but stopped when I heard something slide. The slit was open and all I could see were a pair eyes.

“Password?” commanded the hidden figure.

“I need a drink and a place to rest my head” I responded wearily.

“It’s in the back and down the steps.” The door swung open and tobacco smoke billowed out. The house looked warm and inviting.

“What a nightmare.” I droned, rubbing my temples.

I shuffled on in a daze, people fading in and out as well as their words and conversations. I reached the backdoor and weathered the haze of cigar and cigarette smoke to get to the beat up bar. I collapsed in a bar stool and with a raised hand and slumped head and ordered the strongest thing they had.

“You sure about that?” said the bartender.

“drat right!” I exclaimed exhaustedly.

“Ok. Take it slow. Your kind doesn't take to well to this stuff.”

I was quite puzzled by what this guy meant, but my headache was getting worse and so was my attitude.
The glass came by and I did as I was told. My mood improved, my headache lifted and I was feeling fine, if a little light and empty. A man in a snazzy suit was on stage singing something I couldn't quite place. The place seemed to have been cleared of the thick smoke I walked into.

“Enjoying the show?” the bartender asked.

“Yeah. I feel much more relaxed than when I came in for sure” I said. “What’s your story?”

“I wanted to be a doctor. But considering the difficulty of one such as myself becoming educated in the practice, I took to bartending. That’s why people call me Doc. How about you go up and dance? I feel this going to best song of night coming up. Don’t worry about the hat, I’ll keep an eye on it.”

I thought about for a few seconds and considering my mood had improved over the last half an hour, I strolled over to the dance floor. The man in the snazzy suit the stage started a new song, quite familiar and foreign at the same time, and I started to flow from one dance move to the next. I saw things in the corner of my eye, people here and there disappearing and reappearing but it didn't matter. I was having fun. I returned to the bar to find a note and key where Doc was. The note read:

quote:

“Thank you for finding my old hat. As a reward, take this key to the metal box behind the closet. Should look brand new because nothing opened that box in over 70 years. Also, bring your girl the next time you find us, I think she’ll like this place.
Yours truly, Doc.”

I left the now clear bar and walked back to the front of building. The music sounded faded and the place was sparsely populated. I found the closet and rummaged around looking for something. A few loose boards rotted away and the box was there, just like Doc said. I opened the box to find a gray fedora, smooth and blemished from the decay the building was now laying in. The music, the carpet, the furniture, the people, and everything else were gone. I placed a few quick calls and danced down the decrepit steps and on the sidewalk, right up till the sunrise the next morning.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Think of this as my chance at redemption. In.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Father's Day - 1,073 words
Johnny looked down at his arm. The scar was losing color. Bobby just left. He asked what he did for Father's Day. Johnny could not explain why Bobby was standing there when he has been dead for five years. Johnny swallowed two pills and the pain faded. Bobby only came when Johnny's scar started throb. Bobby always asked what he was doing for Father's Day. Johnny pulled the ratty motel covers over him and fell asleep.

It was a warm sunny day and the only noise on the highway was the rumble of motorcycles. Johnny was riding and looking for a place to pull off to gas up and grab a bite to eat. Bobby was nice to Johnny. Ever since they met in a small diner off I95, Bobby tried his hardest to treat Johnny like the family Johnny said he never had. Their first meeting at the lunch counter was something that reminded Johnny of every other person that he met. In short, it was what Johnny called fate; destiny demanded that their fates be intertwined. Bobby walked up and made small talk with Johnny. The topic of discussion drifted to family and when Johnny said he did not have much in the way of it, Bobby scrambled to keep the food he had in his mouth in while picking his jaw off the floor

“I don’t know what to say to that” mumbled Bobby. “Maybe, come Father’s Day, you can come with me and my dad out to the mountains. My dad likes to bird watch. An extra pair of eyes will be helpful if there’s anything nasty out. You’re welcome to bring a pair of binoculars if you want to look too” finished Bobby, mouth full of food.

“I’ll think about it” grumbled Johnny.

“Here’s my number” as Bobby handed him a slip of paper. “Everyone should have family, even if it’s only for a day.” Bobby left Johnny to his meal.

Johnny drove back his motel room, with his motorcycle the only thing that kept him company on his way back. Back in his room, Johnny thumbed through the cash the suits back at the publishing house gave him for his last batch of pictures. It was enough to last at the motel until Father’s Day, but he had to leave soon after. He found an old pair of Army binoculars stuffed towards the bottom of the backpack as well as a small toolkit for some emergency repairs. His trusty camera was on the nightstand near the bed. Johnny chuckled to himself. Maybe if the pictures were good plus a couple of shoots of some rare birds might help in the long run. He called the number on the slip of paper and said he would gladly come along. He could here Bobby smile over the phone. Feeling content in a long time, he propped himself up against the wall of the motel and started to nap.

He woke up snuggled up against a thin woman. She was once attractive but stress and turmoil marked her body. Her eyes looked puffy and her face was streaked with dried tears. He tried to gently wake her up but as soon as he shifted his weight, she faded out. He sighed. He was used to this happening. Ever since he was little, he felt like fate wanted him to do something, but he was too much of a coward to actually do something. He just wanted a way to stop the visits from happening.

Father’s day was fast approaching and with that saw both Johnny and Bobby out and around the shops near where Bobby lived. Camping gear, bird whistles, beer and snacks in anticipation for the big day. Bobby gave Johnny some weird looks. Johnny seemed on edge, spinning around every so often, mumbling on about seemingly random things, like if he had a recon unit stationed right outside the doors of places. Bobby offered to escort Johnny back to his room, and Johnny agreed, and started to feel that he enjoyed Bobby’s company. Maybe it was going to alright after all. Just as they mounted their motorcycles, he thought he saw Alex, his younger brother, sitting on the sidewalk; acting like the car accident he was in was just a minor setback and got the do over Johnny and his mother wanted.

Johnny was antsy. Seeing Alex was an omen. He was tense in the traffic back to the highway. It happened when they tried to get on the highway. The car that struck Bobby merged at the last second and clipped his front wheel. Bobby started to spin and landed in a ditch. He hit his head on the way down with a thud. His bike struck Johnny’s and he landed on his arm, breaking it. Police and ambulances were called. In his hospital room, Johnny was nursed back to health while Bobby’s parents made preparations for his funeral. A week later he was released. A man in the lobby of hospital ran up to him and grabbed him by his broken arm.

“I’m so sorry Johnny! I didn’t mean to hit you so hard! Please don’t tell your mother” sobbed the bleary eyed man. “I’m a good man Johnny. Your mama never liked jerks, you just make me so angry sometimes, I can’t control myself. Let’s get some ice cream, that’ll make it up, right?” The man’s eyes were red from all the veins crisscrossing. His breath stank from alcohol. Johnny felt no pain coming from his arm despite the man’s grip on it. This man was Johnny’s father. His father was dead for over a decade. He moved his arm and his father disappeared.

The publishers managed to track Johnny down and paid for most of his hospital expenses as well as help him with his transportation, giving him a rental bike. Johnny left shortly thereafter for greener pastures.

Johnny woke up in the motel room, arm throbbing. Bobby was sitting in a chair near a desk. He had a smile on his face and asked what he was going to do for Father’s Day. A woman was clinging to him and he could make out some of the wrinkles on her face in the darkness. He heard knocking on his door and his mother asking him if everything was alright in there.

He cried softly to himself muttering “Some gift I got, huh, Mama?”

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Pseudoscorpion posted:

I ACCEPT.

I will fight for the honorable title of SECOND-WORST.

Let's get it on then.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

QuoProQuid posted:

I did line by line critiques for RunningIntoWalls, Masonity, Some Guy TT, and That Old Ganon for Week #84: Who You Gonna Call? but forgot to post them earlier.



The Saddest Rhino posted:

Critiques for Week LXXXIV: MOST OF YOU CAN'T TELL GHOST STORIES


I am going to personally apologize to the judges and the people who decided to crit my vile first attempt (and second attempt). I'm am so very sorry about this and will sit the next few prompts out. Maybe send some would be submissions over to the Fiction Advice thread.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

gently caress it, gently caress it, gently caress it. In.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Window of Opportunity - 700 words

I threw my gym bag into my apartment. I collapsed into a couch near my only window and opened it to cool down. The breeze that wafted in felt great on my sore, sweaty body and I breathed a sigh of relief. I leaned out off the window to enjoy the view. Cars and trucks, with horns blaring and the occasionally piercing siren wail filled the apartment with sounds of the city. Trees near my window swayed and cast long shadows signifying that the sunlight was not for long.

I left the couch and found a journal, an old used thing that contained my workout routine. I marked down today’s workout: 45 diamond push-ups, 15 minute standing jog, 30 minutes of planking, and 15 minutes of jumping jacks. This was not a personal best but it was a good enough restart after a few weeks of not going. My reward for all my hard work was a shower. The water was warm and melted the stress and sweat from the gym, the city and from work. After I changed into some fresh clothes, I looked into my fridge to see if I had leftovers I could snack on. I took the some leftover chili and hit reheat on the microwave. After half a minute, the chili and the bowl I placed it in were hot.

“It should be fine in a few minutes,” I thought to myself. I looked at the clock hanging above the fridge. It was 5:30 PM, a little early for dinner and the shower, fresh clothes, and the now cool apartment meant a quick nap was in order. I lay on my back in bed with the door half open and closed my eyes.

The next moment I recalled was hearing some scratching sounds. I was groggy for a few seconds and snapped out of it when I hear crash and splat. Sounds of eating came nearby and I crept out of bedroom, grabbing a small Swiss Army knife for meager protection. I peeked around my door and noticed a small, bushy tail. As I saw more of the brown fur and black rings, I realized what happened: I left the window open; this raccoon crawled on from a nearby tree, enticed by the smell of the chili, which is now all over my floor. I moved back in the bedroom, trying to avoid detection, but the raccoon was enjoying the chili so much; the building could be demolished this second and he wouldn’t notice that.
A quick glance at the clock revealed that it was now 7:30. A moment of dread passed over me. What else could be in here, what else was in here? I took two deep breaths. I peeked outside the door and the raccoon was curled up by the radiator, fast asleep. I tiptoed out of my apartment, being extremely careful not to disturb the small thing and sought out my neighbor Mo.

Mo was a big man, standing three inches higher than my 5 foot 10 self with the voice to match. He volunteered at an animal hospital, and as a result, carried humane traps to help transport wounded or sick animals. His expressions soured as I told him my story. At the end of it, he grabbed gloves and cage that locked on the bottom to prevent the raccoon from escaping.
After gently placing the unwanted guest in the cage and closing my window, Mo drove my car to the park, with me and the raccoon sharing the back seat. He woke up about half way there and started to thrash. He clawed at the cage, seat-belt, and the seats. I saw in the rear view that Mo had a smile while I was pressed up against the car door.

The park was deserted when we got there. When the raccoon disappeared into the trees near the opened cage, Mo stared me down and had said the first thing to me the whole night.

“Andy, do me a favor. Either close your window after about thirty minutes after opening it or buy a goddamn screen.”

One silent car ride home and my new window screens were installed a week later.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Dollar Bill Lane - 1,068 words

Tess McDermott was a collector of currency. A woman with curly silver hair, and face that was creased from the wind dipping into the lines of stress from travel, she walked without the weight of the world, even at the age of 68. From lira to pesos, Eastern Caribbean dollars to the Polish złoty, ducats to drachmas, she had it all. She was by no means rich, but had the money to attract a following. She lived a life on the road, with the stories and souvenirs to back it up. There was at least one piece on display in a living room that was quickly turned into small viewing area for the groups of people that came in to gawk at money from the exotic, faraway lands to distant and not-so-distant pasts of places close to home. People were quick to share stories as well as currency and Tess learned quickly when to let go of old pieces that would gather dust in and out of the containers. People would sit enthralled by her stories of where she went, the dangers she faced, the food she ate, and what she found lying in the corners forgotten by time and society. She was a researcher of ancient societies in far reaching past, when her hair actually had color. She currently lived in Los Angeles, where East meets West, South meets north, and where snow capped mountains meets the warm salt waters of the Pacific. It was her idea of heaven, filled with the stories of immigrants, settlers, natives, and tourists, interlocking and interweaving their narratives seamlessly with others.

Heaven came crashing down when the house was robbed and the money stolen. People rallied around her to replace what was lost. Tess was shaken but refused to be knocked down. She was photographed with a weary smile and the newspaper caption stated that whoever wanted to rob her missed the real target. She shrugged when asked what the real target was. It wasn’t the money that important, that could be replaced.

“No,” she snorted, “it was the memories that are important.”

A lot of the museum pieces were replaced, but Tess just could not get used to some them. They felt different, they smelled different. She started to get antsy, a familiar feeling. On a bright spring day, she opened a torn, earmarked map. Water and dirt stained it, creating blotches, making the ink run, paper to bubble, and causing it feel rough. The paper was thin in places, so she had to be careful, lest a gaping pit swallow Germany for example. Permanent marker circled countries, towns, digs; phone numbers carefully written on the outline; and marked train routes, car rides, and impromptu marathons. A small box in a kitchen cabinet contained Polaroid’s, some faded, some stained by coffee, tea, beer, and dirt, and yet others appeared to be flawless. She dumped them out and looked at the phone numbers on the backs of them. Calls were placed, flights booked, and contacts reconnected, she continued to get ready. She got a backpack from her bedroom, a large, endless rucksack given to her by a kind soul, although she never quite remembered where exactly he or she hailed from. Some days she said it was the Alps, other times it was found in the Mojave, and yet other days she said it was Istanbul. With the rucksack firmly placed on her shoulders and filled with emergency supplies, she gathered a passport that resembled a picture book more than any official document. The click of the lamp cast the house in darkness and Tess felt for a moment she made the wrong decision. A heavy heart planted her to her stoop for a moment, wondering if this was the wrong idea, but eventually she walked down her front steps and into a house of a neighbor. Tess gave them the opportunity to look after the house after she left. The agreed and bid her a fond farewell, the neighbor’s children asking if Auntie Tess would have more goodies and stories to share with them. She said yes and walked out the door.

She met up with old friends and colleagues in her travels. She asked them about their work and lives. Laughs were had and respects were paid to those who could be there to see her once again. Exciting new stories as well as coins and bills were added to her collection. Her laughs were countered by a feeling of unease. The buildings that were settings for her stories were knocked down. They were renovated. The people that worked in them grew gray or were replaced by the younger generation. Her old haunts were lacking in life she once thought they had. Her back ached from the weight of the rucksack. Hills took longer to climb and even though the distance between places never changed significantly, she found herself taking a bus or small plane to be more comfortable than walking.

On the island of Sicily, she experienced a new emotion. She understood that Sicily was another important place, where Christianity met Islam, and where Europe met Northern Africa, and the great empires of the Greece and Turkey. The warm Mediterranean Sea reminded her of the Pacific in Los Angeles. Tired and confused, Tess slumped in a chair on the beach overlooking the Sea. She thought about home and the money museum. She thought of the people that helped her replace what was stolen. Almost all the money that came in had a small story attached to it. She didn't look closely at them; to her it didn't really matter. She continued to think it over. Her reserves got smaller quicker, she moved to different places quicker, and mostly importantly, she wasn't having any fun. She got up and found her way back to her house in Los Angeles.

Her neighbor filled her in on what happened while she was away. More money from far off places came in and Tess got work opening the packages. She read and displayed the letters, for they contained details she never would have thought otherwise. She asked her patrons to share their experiences because it the money more than the material it was printed it on. It told stories about lean and fat years, of travel, of success and failure, and told the stories of the human love and necessity of bartering.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Two in row. Let's make it three! In. And I need a flash rule.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The Visitor-1,129 words Flash rule - Must pass Bechdel's test.

Maggie began her morning ritual. One pill from the box and another from the bottle, make the bed, get dressed, and make tea. She calmed the kettle and roused the television. Joanna would over soon to take out for the day. She fidgeted around on the couch in front of the television, anxious to tell and not tell Joanna about the visitor from last night.

Joanna knocked at the door and a squat mass of wrinkles and silver hair with a cane answered it. They hugged briefly while moving toward Joanna’s car. Joanna's driving and small talk masked her worry about her friend. She did not appear comfortable at all in a car she’s seen and been in for at least ten years. She was two years older than Maggie, aging with infinite more grace than her companion. With the death of a close mutual friend a few years back, Joanna was part of a Maggie’s ever shrinking list of companions.

Shopping went easy enough. Maggie dropped the three squares meals a day for a large lunch sandwiched in between tea and dessert. Her reasoning was that she lived long enough to have dessert for dinner. Maggie paid and haggled with Joanna over what she should make to pay her back for taking her out over lunch.
“Strawberry shortcake would work out for me,” Joanna said.

“Fine. Do you want it with or without strawberry jam,” Maggie asked. She leaned back to let her Philly cheese steak be placed in front of her.

A plate that was filled with crepes was placed in front of Joanna. ”Yes please,” Joanna said.

“You have to wait a little while longer for that then. I ran of preserves and have to make some more,” Maggie said in between mouthfuls of the greasy sandwich.

“That I can do,” Joanna smiled.

Lunch continued in silence for a few moments. Joanna noticed that Maggie was fidgeting, she wanted to tell her something.
“What’s wrong,” asked Joanna.

“I saw Kelly last night,” whispered Maggie.

Joanna furrowed her brow.”Maggie, she’s been dead for a while now. If you wanted to go to the graveyard, you should have told me. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her too.”

“She was in my house! I just finished my tea and I was all ready for bed. I get to my room and Kelly is just standing there, with bright blonde hair and long robe. She looked wonderful, like what she used to look like before the smokes and booze.” Maggie was quiet for a moment. “We talked for a long time. She said that she got an order to come and visit me. Said something about my time being up. I told her that I wasn’t going anywhere. I still have some things I need to take care of.”

“How about we talk about this at your house that we can have some privacy,” asked Joanna.

“Fine.” Maggie sunk into the seat and poked and prodded at the rest of her lunch. She knew Joanna was right; exposing random people to a vision some shut in had might reflect badly on her. All that was needed was some time to form her story. The check came and Maggie started to poke Joanna under the table with her cane.

“Would you please stop that,” laughed Joanna.

“I would be home by now if I walked home, no telling where we be if we were in the car by now,” said Maggie, getting out of her chair.

Maggie poured the hot water into both mugs on her kitchen table. It was a while before either of them said anything.

“I’m afraid of dying, Jo,” said Maggie. “So many things left unfinished and uncared for. I want a do over but I know that’s not possible. But at least I saw Kelly again and I know I will. That makes me feel a little better I guess.”

“You’re not dead just yet, you stooge,” huffed Joanna. “You were just tired.” More silence followed but the house felt less tense. The tea was drained and the mugs were collected. Joanna and Maggie hugged each other, holding on to prevent the other from leaving.

“I have to go, but if you need someone to help you out making the preserves, give me a call,” said Joanna.

“I will,” said Maggie.

Joanna made sure that to stay a few more seconds to make sure Maggie was okay. After she left the house, she made sure that Maggie’s neighbor Felix would check up on her after she left.

Around 8 o’clock PM, Felix called Joanna. Maggie collapsed while Felix was over. She was in the hospital. Felix urged to visit her; he didn't know how long she would last.

Joanna arrived a little after nine and found Maggie’s room with little trouble. Maggie looked like she was asleep, though Joanna was not sure. She sat in chair next to her friend and saw her chest rising and falling. Joanna relaxed and closed her eyes.

When she awoke, she noticed two things. First, the clock on the nightstand read ten and that someone was standing on the other side of Maggie. It was a familiar face.

Joanna looked at Kelly. She radiated patience, the damage from smoking and drinking gone. Her hair was brilliantly blonde, shining in spite of the darkness on the room. She appeared to be wearing a simple white robe that billowed in the nonexistent wind.

“Told you,” Maggie said weakly.

“Hello ladies. Long time since I saw you two last,” said Kelly. There was something in her voice Joanna couldn't place. It was a cadence, a little like she sung a short little song. Time melted between the three friends as each one asked the other what the other was up to. After everything was said, Kelly took Maggie’s hand. Maggie shook her off.

Maggie smiled and said “Just let me finish with some baking and I’ll be ready to go. Just make sure that they got some hot tea set up when I arrive.”

Kelly nodded and looked at Joanna.

“Jo, it’s late. Go home and get some rest. I can guarantee Maggie will be here for at least a few more months.” With a smile, Joanna relaxed. Kelly spoke the truth. Kelly could have said that she makes bread out of thumbtacks and Joanna would have believed it and eaten it without protest. She got out of her chair as if she was possessed.

“Wait, Jo,” said Maggie. Joanna turned around, breaking her haze. Kelly was gone, not a trace remained. “When I get out of her, I’m going to throw a party.” It was the first time since Kelly’s death that Joanna heard a belly laugh out of Maggie.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Thank you sebmojo. I appreciate the help.

edit: Why not, in. Only way to get better is keep trying and learning from past mistakes.

RunningIntoWalls fucked around with this message at 02:36 on Apr 8, 2014

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Kingdom in the Sun - 915 words

The king was awoken with a bang. He sat up on his cot. With another snap, he strode down the steps of the apartment building, mace and shield in hand. He reached the shuttered store door, swinging open in the darkness. With his tin foil breastplate shining in the moonlight, he and his loyal followers marched into the abandoned store, ready to strike at any invaders.

His throne behind the meat counter, made up of the discarded crates pulled from the back room, was ruined. He sighed. Their symbol lay in ruin. He turned to face the crowd behind. He snapped to attention, bringing his PVC piping mace and his garbage can shield to bear.

“We will find those responsible for this atrocity,” said the king.

A chorus of shouts rang out in agreement.

“Go, my subjects, prepare for tomorrow! The sun will bless us with victory,” said the king.

With more cheers, people went back to their small apartments, waiting for the sun to grace them again.

\\\\

The sun rose marking the beginning of the day. The king and his court made their way down the street to the diner. Guards armored in the best salvage they could find flanked the door inside and outside as well as the king himself. Side conversations were hushed when Lord Pete entered with King Raymond, each with their symbols of their office on.

“So begins the fourth meeting of the month of June, the most holy of months,” Pete said looking at his notes. “At the time of 1:00 AM, a vandal destroyed one of our mostly holy of monuments, the Throne of the Sun, the seat of the king. All are encouraged to speak freely of night to apprehend this most vile cretin and apply the searing gaze of justice.”

As Pete concluded his speech, he slipped into his seat, nearest to the king. King Raymond tried to work with the din of many different stories with his scribe was working as fast as she could. He started to point at individuals, getting stories more and more outlandish as he when along.

A guard leaned in to the king’s ear and whispered. A nod from the king and they signaled the other guards. The guards brought in a man that resembled what they looked like before they found King Raymond: dirty and confused. Pete stood up quickly.

“You! You are the one that defiled our sacred temple,” Pete exclaimed.

“What are you talking about? You freaks got me first,” the man shot back.

“Pete, I never saw this man before. Guard, where did you find him,” asked Raymond.

“I found outside, he badmouthed the word of the sun and tried to gain entry into the Sun Room,” the guard said.

“See, he is unwise to our traditions. He attempted to show that we are weak. I tried to stop him when he burst through the window but he was too much. I did what I could and wake you before it was too late, but he left when I ran up the stairs” said Pete.

The sky started to darken.

“Pete, why have decided to displease our sun? You didn't wake me up, the window wasn't broken, and the door to the store was open,” the king said.

“Well, I…I,” said Pete. The king and his subjects glared at him, intent on bringing out his motives. “I don’t know if this is a just game or you really believe you’re a king. I didn't see where I was going when I walked into the chair,” Pete said.

“Pete, I cast you from the glow of the sun. May your road be obscured and your days overcast with doubt,” the king said with a flourish of his mace. “This meeting is over.” The diner emptied, with the king following his guards and the traitor. The backdoor was opened and Pete was thrown out.

As the guards filed back in, the king remained, staring at his fallen friend.

“Pete, I am sorry it came to this. People look up to us and I am too far in to just pull the plug on everything. I have given these people a home, food, and water when they didn't have any. The police haven’t come by and dragged us out yet. It’s something for everyone to believe when the rest of the world gives up on them,” Raymond said.

“I guess, but didn't these people try some place else? Like a church or relatives in the area first,” Pete said.

“Maybe. Some are luckier than others. The ones that ended up here are really unlucky. Maybe they did that first and things just didn't work out. If makes them and their children sleep easier, I can’t just abandon them,” Raymond said. “Pete, listen. Go out and be safe. You still got your wits about you, maybe you can start again. Sun knows I can’t do that.”

“I see where you are coming from but you better have an escape plan. This can’t go on forever,” said Pete.

“I’ll think of something,” Raymond said. The sun peeked behind the clouds. “Hopefully the weather and your prospects start matching up. It can’t remain cloudy forever,” Raymond said. He went inside for a moment and returned with an orange. “Make it last” Raymond said with a smile.

“Thanks,” Oscar said as took the orange from Ray.

The two friends departed the diner, both with the hope of the sun greeting them tomorrow.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In this week.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Nausea - 1,024 words

Barry Willis carefully loaded the body on the stretcher. It was wheeled passed the police tape and into the back of the ambulance. Every other city block, he glanced at the body thru the rear view mirror. Traffic parted from their lights and sirens as they barreled to the hospital.

“Was it just me or was the place we picked this guy up giving off bad mojo,” asked Barry?

“That depends. Do you want me to agree with you or not,” said Alex?

“Smart-rear end. I‘m just saying, I got a feeling that we just stumbled on to something that goes way down deep. We landed in it and now we got to lie low for a while,” said Barry.

“How about you take a break once we get to the hospital,” said Alex. “Maybe get some air.”

“You’re right. Just got to take things easy. Deeps breaths,” said Barry. “Speaking of that, is he still breathing?”

“Yep. But still just shallow breaths. Not moving much,” said Alex.

The rest of the trip had the ambulance filled with an uneasy silence.

The ambulance was parked, the doors were opened, and Barry and Alex rushed the body into the Emergency Room. The doctors and nurses quickly affixed bags and tubes to the patient while they wrote on clipboards. Barry and Alex, now that their patient was transferred, walked outside to unwind before the next call came in.

“Barry, why don’t you sit down and relax. I know that that curb or the bumper isn’t the most comfortable of seats, but you have to take these breaks every now and then. You’re making me nervous just pacing back and forth,” said Alex.

“Sorry Alex, but I just get the feeling I made a mistake. Something in my head is crawling around and I’m trying to grab at it. You noticed how he had no hair on him? He didn’t have eyebrows or eyelashes. He looked like he just wasted away sitting on his couch,” said Barry.

“So a guy has alopecia. What of it,” said Alex?

“What’s alopecia? It sounds familiar,” said Barry.

“Baldness. In the case of our friend that we just brought in, it’s called alopecia universalis. It’s not very common, but it does happen,” said Alex. “Feel a little bit better?”

“Not really. It’s seems we run into rare conditions every day in this city” said Barry.

The work day continued on much like a stoplight. Stop at one place, go to another, and slow down in between places so everything is in place. With it finally being over, Barry took Alex’s advice and breathed deeply when he was home. He felt like he was in a filter, everything felt unnaturally smooth. He has afraid to eat as his stomach might throw a temper tantrum. There was something he wanted to do but knew it would make things worse. He wanted to look up alopecia. The stars grew dimmer as Barry clicked each new link the web gave to him and brought him to each disease the body could contract. When he looked outside and saw that sun was beating back the night’s darkness, he sighed and made a pot of coffee. Today was going to be a long day.

Barry and Alex were sitting outside the emergency room near their ambulance. Barry was on his third cup of coffee in the morning and still made a request that Alex do most of the driving for the day.

“Everything okay Barry? You seem out of it today,” said Alex.

“I’m not sure,” said Barry, with dark circles prominently displayed under his eyes. “I feel I know more about what makes people tick, but I’m sure that makes feel any better.”

“Sounds like a rough night. Before you go home for the night, how about we stop somewhere to get a snack,” said Alex? “Looks like you got something more to say.”

“Okay,” said Barry.

Today was much like the last one. Barry’s mood improved when he was on his feet. It took his mind off of what he found last night. His stomach was still trying to stage a revolt, but it never managed an offensive that amounted to anything more than a burp. After the shift ended, the caffeine wore off. Barry needed sleep. The headaches were a nuisance. Alex drove to nearby bar. Food was ordered and despite his stomach surrendering in exchange for some food, he only nibbled at a burger.
“Did you do take some deep breaths when you got home last night,” asked Alex?

“Yeah,” Alex said. “But my curiosity got the better of me and I looked up alopecia on the web. Then I started to click on other things. Some of them I half remember, pictures of ingrown nails, hairs, and much worse. Others, I can’t recall.”

“Now why did you do that,” asked Alex, head in hands.

“I just wanted to know. I thought that I could learn something new so if we ever encounter it, I might be able to help,” said Barry.

“You do help. You transport the patients to the hospital quickly. You don’t need to diagnose someone at a scene beyond needing oxygen if they are having trouble breathing or using a defibrillator when they flat line,” said Alex. “You weren't picked to be an ambulance driver to conduct surgery out in the field. You were picked because you are calm under pressure as well as make decisions quickly. In my personal diagnosis, I think that you are suffering from a new acquired illness.”

Barry perked up with a worried look in his eye. “What is it,” he said?

“Doubt. You are suffering for doubt, an endemic condition in human society. It is marked by feelings of hopelessness in the face of new situations, failure, and the unknown” said Alex. “The only cure for doubt is the vow to keep learning, because it’s better to know something than nothing.”

Barry sat in his seat, absorbing what his partner just said. He took a bite of his burger, his stomach finally placated with food. He took a deep breath.”That makes me feel better.”

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Must keep on going...

Also, I'll take that crit leekster.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Going to have throw in the towel for this week. Toxx'ing self for next time. Apologies abound.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in. Got a bunch of old VHS tapes with me. Anyone have a VCR?

Oh, and :toxx:.

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Rewind - 530 words

It had to be there. Searching the boxes in the attic for the old VHS tape was annoying as dust had gotten everywhere. Coughing fits came every now and then as well as the periodic attempt to wipe his eyes. George needed to find the video of his time playing hockey. Trying to find the video tape was also difficult in that he wanted to pause over everything thing else that was buried in the boxes. He had to focus.

George was a betting man. Everything was challenge. He wanted to win, even if winning just meant smug satisfaction. A cloud of dust rushed greet him when he popped open another box. He coughed out a greeting and decided that he put in enough effort. He left the attic if only for a moment. He sat down against the wall of the hallway, finally able to take a deep breath free of dust.

“Can I put this brick back in the attic yet?” said his wife from the den, motioning to the ancient VCR lying in front of the television.

“Not yet. I can sense gold in the mine above,” George said.

Marie let out a sign. She loved her husband, but life with him could be taxing. Fatigue from running from one place to another just to prove a point was weighing on her.

“What would it prove if you found the video?” she asked.

George got back on his feet. “I just think that I can show you,” he said with a smile.

“And what would this prove to me exactly?” she said.

“That I played hockey,” he said.

He scrambled up the ladder, eager to resume his hunt. He dived into the pile of boxes that lain untouched for decades. George had to be careful with his handling. Aging in the attic was not a graceful process. Most were held together by willpower and being compressed against the attic and others. Items toward the top in the boxes were coated in a layer of grime that absorbed into toys, clothes, and knick knacks.

George found the video buried in a box that was filled with other like it. The lettering on the label was faded and torn. This was it. The miner found his gold vein. He smiled and laughed as he carried it out of its prison. He called Marie in and with his palms grey from the grime and dust, put the VHS tape in and pressed play. The grainy tape skipped and popped, but it wasn’t hard for Marie to recognize George in a hockey uniform. He was smiling on the bench with a cut lip proudly displaying the uniform for the camera, the Barnabaus Elephants.

He headed to the fridge to grab a beer from the fridge. It was a dark lager he got from Germany, reserved for only the most important of occasions. He wanted to celebrate. Not only because he won his little challenge, but because there was much he had forgotten. Now was the time to remember.

“What else did you find up there?” Marie asked.

“Let me take a look,” George said as he headed up into the attic.

----------
code:
Self:  Old VHS tapes
Another person's:  Good booze
Judge's:  Elephants

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Fanky Malloons posted:

Everybody plz post your story/character requests in the form of personal ads from now on kthx.


quote:


Hello fellow entrepreneurs,

My name is Mr. Williams. I am the local owner of the billiard hall on Flower Hill Road past the florist on the corner of Flower and Barnacle Drive. I need someone to help recover my briefcase as something very important was in it. I last remember it being at the Sidewalk's End bar on the night of July 24th. All applicants will be paid on how fast the briefcase will be returned. Please don't open the briefcase, as you know what they say, "curiosity killed the cat". Please also be on your best behavior as the regulars don't appreciate their elderly host be smacked around. Happy hunting and I wish you a great day.

Signed,

Mr. Williams

Posted on Aug. 20th, 2014 at 9:17 PM


---------------

Like leftover Chinese food left forgotten in the back of the fridge, I make my reappearance. IN

RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Bad Seafood posted:



Adrian Stepwater

I'd like to use him. Nevermind that last bit.

RunningIntoWalls fucked around with this message at 23:53 on Jul 3, 2014

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RunningIntoWalls
Dec 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

All in - 932 words

Mr. Williams spread the photographs of Sidewalk’s End across a pool table in the back of the pool hall. He wheezed from the fog of cigar smoke that filled the pool hall. His left hand rapidly stuffed a small handful of butterscotch candies in his maw. Mr. Williams grinned as the coughing subsided. Clacks of the billiard balls knocking together as well as the thump they made when the bounced on the sides made him relax. It was the perfect cover. He resumed his talk with Ruth Lin.

“Ruth, these shots are fantastic,” he said. Almost every angle of the bar was exposed. The pictures in the last batch covered the rest of the bar.

“Thank you Mr. Williams,” said Ruth. She didn't trust Mr. Williams. Despite giving her the opportunity of snapping as many pictures as she could in 3 hour time slots of her choosing as well as giving her access to the poker site servers in the basement of the pool hall, Mr. Williams was still very off putting. He stank of the cigar smoke and when she couldn't smell that, she smelled the butterscotch candies that seemed to have melted into his suit. The poker site did nothing for his face; it was easy to read what might come next.

“Do you have an idea as to who might have taken the briefcase?” said Mr. Williams, slouching in a chair.

“Maybe,” she said. She took one of the photographs and pointed a tall man in a loud red jacket. “His name is Adrian Stepwater and…”

Mr. Williams burst out laughing, almost choking on the candy still in his mouth. “Adrian Stepwater? The weirdo who sits in the corner mumbling on the most random poo poo? My customer who asks the freaks that drive trucks cross country to cut out their cursing? That man couldn't bust teenagers drinking in the park,” Mr. Williams said, wiping the tears from his eyes.

“You didn’t let me finish. When I was at Sidewalk’s End, he was rambling on about how he had the thing that would blow up the whole case. He kept on referring to this Elizabeth in the conversation we drifted in and out,” she said.

Mr. Williams cocked an eyebrow. “He has a relationship outside the ones he pays for? You do learn something new every day. Might have to check the database later. Fancy a game of pool? How about a cigar or butterscotch?”

“Pay me first.”

“Ok, you earned it,” he said, looking for his wallet. “Ungrateful bitch,” he thought.

*******
The basement of the billiard hall was warm despite the air conditioner humming. Servers were placed on a wall opposite computers that were running games of poker. Fortunes were lost and made with a few clicks. Mr. Williams sank into an office chair and logged in. He looked into a database he had Ruth fix up. All the bets, tables, and dates were accessible from this location.

He searched for the game where the briefcase was bet. He smiled at the memory when he won the briefcase, its contents were priceless. It arrived on his porch one morning of June 20th, true to bettor’s word. After a quick peek of what was inside, he carried it everywhere with him, making himself feel powerful. A quick cigar outside of Sidewalk’s End and it was gone.
Finding Ruth helped immensely, as searching all alone was an arduous task for a man running two businesses. Ruth’s pictures and ways to carry on a conversation with people meant that a lot of ground was covered at visits.

But why did Adrian Stepwater have the case? All he did in the billiard hall was ramble on and yell at other people when the cursed. What did he gain from having the suitcase?

He reached into his pocket and through the wrappers of butterscotch he called Ruth.

“Tell Stepwater to I need to talk to him in a week right before we close.”

“Ok.”

Mr. Williams lit a cigar he found in a desk drawer.
--------------

A mountain of a man walked in the billiard in the dying light of summer, the color of his jacket matching the color of the sky. Mr. Williams stood behind the bar, rocking back and forth.

“Mr. Williams, you wanted to speak with me?”

“Adrian, glad to see you. Sit down for a moment.”

Adrian sat down a stared ahead, looking like he rushed through dinner to be here. Mr. Williams swallowed a butterscotch candy. He breathed deeply, rapped his knuckles on the bar and finally spat it out.

“Find any briefcases lately,” said Mr. Williams, wasting no time.

Adrian glared at him and left his seat. When he started towards the door, Mr. Williams tried to follow. He found that Adrian drew a massive revolver that was poised to wipe off his face from his head.

“Don’t do anything that will make Elizabeth yell, Mr. Williams. She’s mighty loud for a woman of her size.” Mr. Williams backed away. Adrian laughed. “I took your briefcase, Mr. Williams. You would get in a lot of trouble if you kept it, but I know what to do with it. I hate to see a quality entertainment hall lose its owner.”

The man in the red jacket walked out of the billiard hall, leaving Mr. Williams standing in an empty pool hall.

“I’m a betting man, Adrian. You don’t cross a man that’s about to go all in with an empty hand,” he said to no one. He lit a cigar, grabbed a pool cue, and set off to find Stepwater.

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