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ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAEVcTOXdC4

ceaselessfuture fucked around with this message at Oct 28, 2014 around 23:15

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ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

INTERPROMPT

250 words max, ending with the sentence "And then a skeleton popped out."

Oops
260 words

Sophie was making out with Tom Majors at Kelsey's costume party. Tom Majors! He felt so good, smelled so good, she couldn't believe her reality right now because everything was totally amazing.

Things with Brad hadn't been totally amazing lately and she kind of regretted that. He was just boring. Always sat around and played video games.

Tom never played video games.

Even his costume idea was boring. A skeleton? On Halloween? Come on, at least she made the headdress for her Indian costume. He wanted her to come dressed as one too so they could be a "skelly-family" but she almost barfed in her mouth.

She giggled and kissed Tom harder than before, pulling him close, as if to get Brad out of her brain. He spent too much time in there as it was, and she needed someone new.

But someone made a loud noise outside and it startled her. It couldn't have been Brad, because he left everyone a while ago. "I'M GOING TO GO TO SLEEP IN A PLACE," he said, really loud. Everyone just said, "okay man" and he stumbled off. Tom started to kiss her neck and chest and she tried to sound encouraging. She didn't want him to stop but she also kinda hoped that Brad was okay. He might be boring but he was still her's.

Then the door slammed open and the lights came on.

"Sophie, what the gently caress are you doing in my bed!?" Kelsey said.

Tom jumped up. She jumped up too. Then the closet door opened. And then a skeleton popped out.

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


trite but meh

ceaselessfuture fucked around with this message at Nov 3, 2014 around 07:24

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Wait, did you guys not get my story then?

I might have sent it to the wrong email, I guess. NSenada@gmail.com?


e: oh poo poo, NSenadaSA haha ha ha..

Mind if I post it anyway?

ee: gently caress i am actually upset about this, sorry dudes.

ceaselessfuture fucked around with this message at Nov 3, 2014 around 23:12

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Goddamn, I feel like an idiot. Oh well! I'll get in for next week.

e: crits from anyone welcome!

=============================================================================

Playing Pumpkin
1493 words

It was the Halloween party for the Welders and Brad McCall pulled a pumpkin from the pile to smash with his head. Brad's backyard was wet and cold, there was barely any place to sit and the rain spritzed down on them, but there wasn't anywhere else to do it. Brad's wife would have killed them if they smashed them in the house. Simone stood off to the side, with the two other girls who worked at the factory, and twisted the beer bottle in her hands.

"Alright boys," Brad said, hefting the pumpkin above his head. "Who wants to take this bitch out?"

Pete Francis lumbered over immediately, wiped his nose on the sleeve of his jean-jacket and turned up the AC/DC blaring from the speakers under the table. Doug and James Sanford joined too (it was amazing the brothers even showed up. They always had something better to do). Darcy Blaine was soon to follow, with the other apprentice Welder, Ken Grove looking over at him first before timidly shuffling forward. When no one else felt like manning up, Simone shoved her beer towards Eileen and joined in. Brad grinned at her.

"Ey, Princess, you want in on this too?" The men laughed.

"Thought I'd show you how it's done."

A collective OOOOO! from the crowd. Simone smiled.

"Hit it 'til it's broke. No hands," Brad said. "Who's up first?"

"What the hell is this?" Ken asked.

"We're playing 'Pumpkin'," Darcy said. "Now shut up."

Pete stepped forward, wiped his hands on his pants, grabbed the pumpkin and slammed it into his head as hard as he could. The other boys closed around him and Simone pushed her way inside. The circle was formed. The game began.

Except they had to break immediately: Pete fuckin’ Francis, Pete the Beast, smashed the goddamn thing on the first try. He pulled his head back and howled. Orange gore spilled into his black beard.

"Well poo poo," Doug said.

"Jeez Pete, leave us mere mortals with something to do, eh?" Ken said, chuckling. Brad and Darcy stared him down.

"I am a WRECKING BAAALLLLLLL" Pete screamed, kicked over a deck chair and slammed back a can of beer. Everyone laughed.

Brad grabbed another pumpkin from the pile.

"Alright bitches," Brad said, then, looking over at Simone he bowed at his waist, "and bitch-ettes. Let's try this again. I'll go first."

Brad held the pumpkin firmly in his hands, bent at the knees, and started to breathe like he did whenever he tried to tell stories about him and Valerie's Lamaze classes. It looked like he was taking a poo poo.

"Looks like you're taking a poo poo, pretty boy." Simone said.

Brad smiled and yelled, slamming the pumpkin into his forehead. An audible sound like a drumbeat, but nothing else. The pumpkin held fast.

"You're up Ken," Brad said. "Pretend it's me."

Ken grabbed it from him, and hefted it. He dragged his hands across the browny-orange surface of it, feeling it all over, as if trying to find the weakest point.

"Jesus Christ Ken he wasn't serious, you fag," Darcy said. Doug cleared his throat.

"gently caress off," Ken said.

"Look, I know you're lonely Ken, but-" Simone started.

"gently caress off!"

"-I mean if you really need it I'm free tomorrow."

He yelled, and then slammed the pumpkin into his head as hard as he could. Ken opened it up a bit.

"Well holy poo poo," James said. "Newbie got a hole."

"Woo!"

"Alright, alright, bring it over here." Simone grabbed the pumpkin from Ken and cracked her neck.

It was just a dent really, a bit of a split in the meat of the thing, but nothing big. Brad probably already opened it up a bit before. It was heavier than it looked, but it also seemed less dense. She'd have to-

"Just tell it all about your feelings and it'll explode," Brad said.

"Nag it about drinking or something," Darcy said.

Simone smiled. She jerked quickly and quietly, without any hesitation or preparation and smacked it into her forehead. It was clean, but Brad's ridiculous posture must have served him well, because she immediately felt like she could have gotten more into it. The hole opened up, noticeably now, but she knew she could have done better.

The boys laughed and Darcy gave her a high-five and grabbed the pumpkin from her. "Not bad, Princess."

Darcy looked around at the lot, planted his feet into the ground, stood for a moment with the pumpkin outstretched, and rammed it home, crumpling his forehead into it, squishing it open.

Everyone clapped, even the secretaries in the back. Darcy lifted his arms up; the victorious champion.

Doug nudged James' arm and said, "Why is he celebrating? Everyone else did all the hard work."

"Because it makes them feel better," Simone said. "Besides, it's fun, we should play another round so you guys can get in on it."

"Naw," James said. "I just wanted to watch Pete, really."

"I'll get us some drinks," Doug said, "Maybe next round, Sim."

The circle disbanded and the men went straight to the cooler. Simone looked back at Brad's bungalow, and saw Valerie inside, looking out at her man while obviously doing some kind of kitchen-work. Her hair was perfect. It always was. Straightened, blonde streaks through nutty brown. She had an apron on over her Bazinga! T-Shirt and was pregnant as hell. From the look of it, she was baking, but Simone figured it could have been something else. Maybe she was just organizing her kitchen. Simone turned around back towards Eileen and Sara, the wisp-thin receptionist girls Brad obviously hired because they were so skilled, and grabbed her beer from Eileen. Brad was a good guy, sometimes, but goddamn.

"Nice hit, Simone," she said.

"You two should get in there too."

"Yeah right," Sara said. "We're not dumb."

The rain picked up a bit and people shuffled further under their coats. She saw Brad run inside and close the sliding glass door behind him. Styx came on the stereo and Doug and James started to sing along to "Come Sail Away," and Pete was downing two beers at once, letting excess run off onto his shirt, but Simone just watched Brad and Valerie.

They weren't exactly fighting. She could tell the couple was upset, but it wasn't big enough to call it one yet. Maybe he was just pissy that there weren’t enough beers in the cooler, or maybe she was about the mess she'd have to clean tomorrow. It didn't matter. He was out a few seconds later anyway and she was tossing cutlery and oven pans around carelessly. Who the hell knows.

Simone chugged the last of her beer and tossed the bottle aside. She wandered over to the pumpkin pile. The pile Brad specifically made to smash with his face. Simone looked up at Valerie again, who was looking out at her husband. She looked tired under all the makeup.

"Hey Brad," Simone said, grabbing a pumpkin. "How about round two?"

She juggled the pumpkin in her hands. Tight, round, small. An orange and green softball. She lobbed it over to him.

"Come on, you pussy." She said.

He grinned back at her and walked on over. The circle formed once again. Rain pattered all over them.

"Alright," Doug said, "I'm ready this time, let's do it."

Brad stared right at Simone, "Alright Princess, you got it. Here's how it's done."

He held the unripe thing in one hand and smacked it into his head with a dull crack. Brad groaned in pain. "It's too green, there's no give. It's a fuckin' rock."

Doug went to take his turn and reached beside him to grab the pumpkin, but Simone shot forward and snatched it before he had the chance. Everyone else just stared. Even Pete seemed interested.

Simone took it and waited a second, orienting it directly on its thick green belly. She struck her head with it. Then again. Then again, over and over, four, five, six times. She barely felt the pumpkin give at all.

"Hey, Simone," Darcy said.

She kept at it. Harder, as hard as she could. She felt the rain come down her face. Her arm quickly started to sore and her forehead was numbed with a warming pulse. Her biceps burned. She kept at it, taking little glimpses at Brad and the boys between each strike, even stopped to drag a deep breath before glancing at Valerie in her window, looking back out at her, eyes bugging out of her skull. She kept at it, hard as she could.

It didn't so much break open rather than a chunk snapping off. She threw it to the ground and raised her hands to cheer.

"Jesus," Pete said.

"Simone, you're bleeding," James said.

"Hold on a sec, I'll get a towel," Ken said, jogging towards the house.

Brad didn't say a goddamn thing.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


In. With a vengeance.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I'll take one too.

I'll also pay it forward and offer two crits for anyone that wants 'em.

Sure, I'd love a crit for the story on page 166. Thanks!

ceaselessfuture fucked around with this message at Nov 5, 2014 around 00:32

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Fantastic! Thank you very much.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Interference
1196 words (Prompt: Summer Water)

Summer sunlight bled into the darkened classroom, teasing the youths with what they already knew they were missing. It was hot and confining underneath the shadows of the projected wave machines and the sound of soft trickling water put them on edge. Mr. Kolowski said that the windows won't be opened either, since the breeze could disrupt their experiments. "Physics would continue even in the heat," he said, raising the papers in his hand. "And so will the test."

The other students grumbled, but Bryce knew what the old man was like. He had taken Physics 11 and failed, threatening his entry into the nearby community college. He was never good at thinking too hard and sometimes his mind failed him; words and thoughts often blended together. The last time it happened was when Bryce's parents told him and his sister why they were separating, so he knew it got worse with stress. Luckily though, the College’s September semester was far enough away that he could still enroll if he passed this class now. Bryce had studied the material, more than anything he previously had in high school, but he was less than certain in himself.

As Kolowski doled out the tests, each of the students in the class prepared for them like a prison sentence. Bryce had wriggled off his extra clothes and draped his hoodie over the back of his chair, but even in his thin T-shirt and board shorts he still sweat. He had even taken off his hat, resting it on the end of the white table he and Amy sat at. Amy had already bundled up her light coat next to him and set it down to her left, leaving a clear view between them. She looked up at Bryce and smiled in a "whatever happens, happens" kind of way. He smiled back. She always reminded him of someone, but he couldn't place it. He couldn't believe she was taking this class for fun.

When the test landed in front of him, he immediately scanned the first page. Wave Interference Test, the header announced. Multiple choice. True or False. Bryce wrote his name and the date on the top of the page and took a deep breath. When Kolowski told everyone to begin, he was ready.

The waves wobbled on the ceiling, black and incandescent yellow, and floated across the paper in front of him. It was difficult writing when the page itself seemed to sway, but Bryce stuck with it. He knew the answers, unlike last semester. Interference is a phenomenon in which two waves: C) superpose. Interference effects can be observed with what types of waves: D) All types of waves. T/F Interference effects can bolster or diminish wave strength. T. Bryce wondered if the test was easier than before, or if he truly learned more. He wondered if Kolowski was taking it easy for the summer.

Then, in the corner of his vision, Bryce noticed Amy's blonde hair swaying constantly. He glanced over, seeing blue eyes staring directly down at his page.

He couldn't believe he saw it right. Bryce knew Amy was a good student, and she was a year younger than he was. The only reason she took this class was to have a head start for the next year. It didn't make sense to him that she would cheat. He turned his gaze towards Kolowski, hoping the old man didn't see whatever was going on, and pulled his test paper slightly away from Amy.

He felt her rustle. She nudged his arm with hers then wrote PLEASE faintly on the table and underlined it. Bryce glanced back at her, seeing her wet eyes. Her page had nothing on it and she shivered visibly even in the cloying heat of the room. Although he had only known her for a few months, he never imagined seeing her like this. She needed him, Bryce was certain now.

When he pushed his test back to where she could see it, she drew a small smiley-face underneath the previous message. Amy pushed her page towards his and their forearms touched, covering the messages.

Soon after, they both finished the first page and flipped in unison. The second page was more daunting: short answer questions. The previous year’s short answer questions were where Bryce lost the most points.

He found it was getting more and more difficult to concentrate. He was more prepared for this test, but the shadows waving across the page, the small black font and the thin answer areas all started to blend in his mind. He felt as if the words themselves would be carried off into the current on the ceiling. Give an everyday example of a wave interfering with another wave. He couldn't do it. All he could do was watch the lines dance across his paper.

Bryce figured he had no choice. He leaned over and glanced at Amy's page. The girl had already started writing down her responses, quickly filling out the answers. He thought that they must have been similar, in a way — affected by stress, because right now she looked focused. Each line of hers he read focused his mind back into place. He finished with her help, but regretted that he needed it.

Kolowski coughed and the two students shot their glances over. He still seemed absorbed in some kind of work, and didn't seem to notice them. When they were finished, Bryce went back to the first page and changed some of his answers. He used to cheat all the time, and he needed to make it look different to cover their tracks.

Amy rubbed his shoulder.

Soon after, everyone was finished. Kolowski gave them all a moment, then stood from his desk and collected the papers. The wave machines still hummed away, but when Bryce looked up, the network of lines looked chaotic and frantic, like a broken spider web. Kolowski walked back to his desk slowly, flipping through the tests, glancing back and forth at two in particular. He took a moment with them. A long moment.

"Amy and Bryce," Kolowski said. "Can I see you both in the hall please?"

Bryce and Amy shared a glance then followed the old teacher out into the hall. The harsh fluorescent light made them blink.

Kolowski brought out their tests, one in each hand. "These are identical," he said. "I'm not going to bother asking what happened. Neither of you are passing this test."

"What?" Bryce said.

"No, wait, please Mr. Kolowski, I don't know what happened!" Amy said, tears returning.

"Sure you do," the man said, walking back towards the class.

Without thinking, Bryce reached out and grabbed his arm. "Wait, Mr. Kolowski, it was me, I did it."

The teacher spun around and stared at the boy. Amy stared too.

"I did it, she didn't have anything to do with it."

"Amy," Kolowski said, gesturing back to class. "Back inside."

Amy nodded and mouthed a "thank you" behind the teacher's back. Bryce decided she looked a bit like his sister.

"Guess I'll see you next semester, Bryce." Kolowski said as he ripped up Bryce's test.

Bryce didn't understand why, but he felt fine. "Yeah, I guess so."

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


I find these assignments difficult, not for the prompts themselves, but the word count. I'm used to working on stories that go for around 3-5k words, giving me the time and space I need to flesh things out, so it's a very interesting and challenging experience for me to write things that are less than half of what I'm used to.

But I feel like it's focusing me on fundamentals that I need more work on anyway, so thanks, Thunderdome! I'm already stoked for next week.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


sebmojo posted:

i will die in a ditch over cute little writer talk in the dome. FA is the place for that. Here, you poo poo post, crit, or write.

Gotcha.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


In.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


J.A.B.C. posted:

The more crits I get, the better I can be. Please and thank you.

Definitely echo these sentiments, so I'd love one myself!

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


blue squares posted:

This was a really disappointing read, because at ties it showed real promise, but nothing happened. You have an interesting situation: The star-pupil breaks down out of nowhere and needs help. Then she is fine. Bryce takes the blame and Amy just lets him? Why does he do it? I don't know what else to say other than that it felt like you wrote this in one go without thinking of the characters at all, finished it, and never looked at it again. Do you understand your characters' motivations? Because I sure as hell don't.

Thanks a ton for this. You nailed it in one, I did it all Sunday afternoon, not by choice. Thanks a lot for your work, and with this and the other replies I've gotten, I already feel like next week will be better!

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


Under the Ice
780 Words

So it fell on him and no one knew what to do. An ice sculpture of the nearby waterfall Dory had carved for the wedding. It was nearly as big as a person, the largest she'd ever done. Tom writhed and yelled underneath it, firmly squished into the black sand of the tropical beach. It had taken five workers to move it here, out on a remote island about a one-hour boat ride from the mainland. All just to create her sister's perfect wedding. Money had been no object – Hank paid for it all to make Vanessa happy. Dory didn't know what to do, so she stood off to the side. She knew she'd just get in the way.

"Oh my god, Tom!" Vanessa yelled, throwing aside her bouquet and veil, running away from her husband-to-be towards the accident.

Dory wasn’t surprised when Vanessa told her about the affair. When Dory asked why she was marrying Hank she just replied, “well, I love him too.”

Hank immediately followed and the two tried to shove the sculpture off Tom, but it wasn't going anywhere. "Dory, get over here and help!"

The shout jogged her out of her placid state and Dory lumbered over as fast as she could. Sweat beaded profusely down her cheeks and her large blue dress was already stained. They all stood on one end of the sculpture, ready to push it off.

"I can't...can't breathe," Tom said, blowing sand out of his face constantly.

"Don't worry, Tom," Hank said, getting into position to heave. "We'll get this right off."

But when the three of them pushed Tom screamed louder and the slab of ice didn't move much. When Dory looked over, Tom's arm was twisted at an unnatural angle.

"His arm's broken," she said. "Stop pushing!"

They stopped and Tom coughed, sending a small cloud of sand into the air. Vanessa knelt down beside him and dug a small trench for his mouth to breathe into. Tom breathed deeply, his face turning redder and redder.

The sculpture came alive under the hot Caribbean sun, just like Vanessa wanted. It shimmered crystalline. As it melted, the water trickled down the middle of it, giving the illusion that it was actually a waterfall, of sorts. Dory was proud of herself. Her best work, by far.

Hank stood up and pulled Dory and Vanessa aside. "The crew said they were coming back in an hour to bring the food," he said. "I'm not sure if we can leave him here that long."

Vanessa's eyes were already wet with tears. "We can't just leave him like that, not for an hour."

Hank reached into his pocket and grabbed his cellphone, cursing when he saw that there wasn't any reception. He looked off into the small forest on the island that surrounded the waterfall. "I'm going to find a branch to pry this off him. Vanessa, try to get through and call the hotel." He tossed her the phone and made off for the tree line.

No one asked Dory to do anything. She stood off to the side, again, at a complete loss.

She could hear Vanessa and Tom muttering something, and when they both said, "I love you," Dory spoke up.

"I thought you were supposed to try to phone."

Vanessa looked up at her sister and glared. "Tom, honey, I'm going to go get some reception okay? We're going to get you out of here."

Tom groaned loudly, "No, no please, just stay with me okay? Just talk to me. Get Dory to go."

Vanessa immediately stood up and tossed the phone to Dory. "Climb up the rock over there and try to get a signal, hurry!"

"I can't do that! It's too hot and the rocks are too slippery!"

Vanessa rounded on Dory, eyes red, tears streaming down her face. "Do something for once in your life, you fat gently caress!"

She shoved the phone into Dory's hand and knelt back down next to Tom, holding his good hand. Dory scampered towards the rocks.

She tried to climb up the black rocks, but it was slow going. It was slick and she panted with every step. The phone in her hand was slick with her sweat and she sat down to wipe it on her dress.

Everything went the way it was supposed to and it still messed up. It was the best sculpture she ever made, crafted just for her sister's stupid wedding to a man she didn't give a poo poo about.

Dory was tired. She looked down at the phone and saw that it had a bar of reception, but she didn't do anything. She just stared at the sunlight reflecting off the ocean.

ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


In.

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ceaselessfuture
Apr 9, 2005

"I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."


I'm going to have to duck out this week. Exams are killing me.

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