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Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

Beans

Prompt: Jack and the Beanstalk

Words: 1550


"The rent's due, Mack." Jillian looked up at me from her half-eaten bowl of soup beans and sighed.

This again.

"I know." I put down the newspaper, disgusted with myself. No loving work, nobody needing help, loving nothing.

"We can't keep living like this," she said. She looked beautiful in the sunlight cascading from the kitchen window. The sheer hopelessness on her face broke my heart in two. She deserved better than this.

Than me.

"I know."

"Mack, I can't keep asking Momma for money. She's barely making ends meet with her VA." Jillian dropped her spoon in the bowl and leaned forward, hands running through her hair.

"I know."

"I can't work, sweetie. Not now. You gotta find something. Please. Please." She looked up at me with teary eyes.

"I know."

She stared at me. I said nothing. The light faded as clouds obscured the sun, mirroring her expression almost on cue. I wanted to reach out to her, to stroke her cheek, to get up and hold her and promise her everything would be all right, that I'd make it right. I'd find a job. I'd be the man she deserves.

And I didn't. I couldn't.

I'm already pathetic. I wouldn't lie to her as well.


***


"Mack, don't know what to tell you," Cecil said as we sat shivering on the icy curb, half-eaten tacos in our hands. Tacos he'd paid for. "We put in apps everywhere, but there's nothing around. Even McDonald's ain't hiring -- they got fifty-year-olds on the fuckin' grill, man."

"You sure? I know you, man. You're a hustler -- you always got money in your pocket." I took another bite. Guilt turned it to ashes in my mouth, but I ate anyway; Jillian didn't know it, but I'd let her have the last food in the house, and I was starving.

"I got nothing you'd wanna do, man. You don't touch drugs, you ain't up for stealing, and... gently caress, Mack, there's nothin' I can do!" Cecil paused, then let out a thoughtful belch. "Unless..."

"Unless...?" I gestured for him to continue.

"My... supplier, Big George Amoretti, spends a lot of time out and about, yeah? Leaves his wife by herself to do all the chores and keep the place clean. That's a lot of work for an older broad, especially since Big George is as big a slob as they come. He's loaded as gently caress, so you might be able to charm your way into her hiring you into some odd jobs for a little scratch to eke by."

"I need something long-term." I wiped my mouth with my napkin and tossed it away.

"Better than nothing. Lemme give you her number and you can see if you can work something out." Cecil grabbed his phone.

I felt a rumble in my stomach that didn't come from Mexican food.


***


I knocked at the door. I didn't tell Jillian where I was going -- no sense getting her hopes up, right? I looked at my outfit and made sure I looked presentable and work-ready.

The door opened and an attractive older woman peeked out. She looked at me and winced. My heart sank at the expression.

"Mrs. Amoretti, right?" I gave her my most charming smile and smoothed back my hair, cursing myself for its length.

"Mack, right?" She sounded defeated. "Hon, I'm sorry I had you come all the way out here. George changed his mind last night -- he said he didn't want strangers in his house. I'm sorry, hon, I really am."

She went to close the door, and I don't know what guided my actions then - desperation, probably. I stuck my foot in the door and stepped into her house, firmly gripping her shoulders.

"Ma'am, I need the work. My girlfriend is pregnant, nobody's hiring, and our rent is past due -- if I don't bring some money in soon, we're out! I'll do whatever you want -- I'm good with my hands. I used to work in my dad's garage before he passed away, and after that I was a carpenter for a while."

She looked at me, shaken, and carefully pulled away. "I'm sorry Mack, but-"

"Please," I pleaded, my voice softer than I intended.

She paused, letting out a soft sigh. "All right, all right. But we can't let George know. He'll be out until eight -- you do some stuff around the house and I'll pay you what we agreed on. Just for today, and you have to be out of here before six.

Better than nothing. I nodded, and she showed me what needed to be done. She watched me while I scrubbed floors and hammered nails, a suspicious expression on her face. By the time six had come around that expression had changed to something I couldn't identify, something wistful, maybe a little hungry.

"Here," she said as she handed me a wad of bills from her purse, a smile on her face. "What we agreed on, plus a little extra -- you're a regular workhorse, Mack."

I counted the money and my eyes widened. "Mrs. Amoretti... you sure? I didn't even get to finish-"

"Which is why I'd like you to come back tomorrow," she said. "Same time as today. And call me Irma."


***


Weeks passed. I worked at Irma's every other day, even though I could tell there was little that needed done. Big George was still a slob, but I usually finished cleaning up after him in the first hour after arriving. Irma soon gave up any pretense of giving me work afterward, instead just sitting and talking with me while we ate and watched TV. I think she was happy just to have company, although her glances lingered too long for comfort.

The money was good though. I managed to make rent, and there was even a little left over to treat Jillian to dinner a night or two a week after groceries and baby supplies were purchased. I tried to save back as much as I could, though -- the gravy train wasn't going to last.

When I brought my fears to Cecil, he agreed with me.

"Mack, I gotta tell you, you made one helluva impression on Mrs. Amoretti. But Big George is gettin' suspicious, and not just of her -- of everybody. He's cut off a lot of people lately, and that's hurt my business." Cecil smacked his lips. "I helped you, didn't I? I need you to do somethin' for me in return."

"I could loan you a few dollars-"

"Don't gimme that, you wouldn't have a bean to your name if it weren't for me," Cecil spat. "Mack, you clean Big George's room drat near every day. You got access to his house. You got wifey's trust. And I know where he keeps his stash hidden."

"Irma gave me and Jillian the help we needed to stay off the street." I stepped toward Cecil and towered over him, my expression showing exactly what I felt about his insinuation. "I won't do that to her."

"Do what? I didn't say anything." Suddenly Cecil was angelic. "Just, y'know... be careful. Don't let anything happen, okay? Big George is a dangerous man."


***


Irma and I sat on the couch, an old sitcom blaring from the wall-spanning flatscreen on the wall, and she smiled at me. I smiled back, and she rested a hand on my thigh.

I stopped smiling.

"What's wrong?" She sounded drunk, and I could smell faint alcohol on her breath. "Don't you like me?"

"I do," I sputtered, carefully removing her hand, "but as a friend. I don't-"

There was a slam. There was a shout. Irma went pale.

"IRMA, YOU CHEATING loving stinkyhole, WHERE IS HE? WHERE THE FEE-FI-gently caress IS HE?"

"Jesus," Irma gasped. "Mack, get up! Get out of here!"

I heard a rumbling crash. Furniture and tables were knocked to the ground followed by more screaming. I shot out of the den as George entered, and I heard his bellow as I hid in the pantry.

"I BUST MY rear end OUT THERE TO MAKE YOU COMFORTABLE AND YOU gently caress SOME KID BEHIND MY BACK? I'LL loving GRIND YOUR BONES!"

"Georgie-pie, I-I don't know what you're talking about-"

There was a fleshy crack, followed by a short scream, followed by a thud, followed by pained sobbing.

"CECIL TOLD ME EVERYTHING! TOLD ME HOW YOU'D BEEN loving HIM FOR WEEKS AND PAYING HIM WITH MY MONEY! IT ENDS TODAY! I'M GONNA FEE-FI-loving GRIND HIS BONES BENEATH MY FOOT!"

Irma didn't say anything else save for quiet, muffled sobs. I took a sharp breath. Irma deserved better -- her only crime was loneliness. I kicked open the door to the pantry and made my way back to the den where George loomed over the battered Irma.

"Come get me, prick," I said with more bravery than I felt.

Big George lived up to his name and then some -- the man was practically a giant. He roared and hurled himself after me, and I sprinted out the front door and down the icy steps.

He slipped. He landed. His neck jutted awkwardly.

I fell to my knees.

Now what do I do?

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ExtraNoise
Apr 11, 2007



Killing Kassim
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
1547 Words



“What’s your association with Morgiana Sasaki?” Detective Jensen asked. She set a styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee on the metal desk sitting in front of Ali and then took a seat herself. “She worked for you?”

Ali eyed the coffee and then took a hesitant sip. “No. She worked for my brother until his murder.”

Jensen leaned forward, her shirt catching on her shoulders. An undershirt or bra stood out in stark relief against the fabric, momentarily distracting Ali. “I need to ask this right now: Did you murder your brother Kassim, Mr. Baba?”

“No.”

“Did Miss Sasaki?”

“No.” Ali paused briefly and then added, “She avenged him.”

Jensen pawed her face and said, “Why don’t you just start at the beginning?”

The beginning. What beginning? A competition of brothers from childhood into college and then into business? A long-standing rivalry of wit and financial success? Kassim had won those battles; both of them. But Ali was smart. Good with computers. And he had discovered something a few weeks ago.

Something that resulted in his brother’s death.

This would be delicate to explain. Saying too little might put Ali on the suspects list—if he wasn’t on it already—and saying too much would result in Morgiana’s possible conviction. He wished she hadn’t run.

“I found a file,” Ali said. “It was a backdoor into the National First Banking systems and it was on my brother’s company’s network. He didn’t know what it was, and once we realized how severe the crime was, it was too late.”

Jensen rolled a hand in the air, her elbow perched on the edge of the table, as if to urge Ali to move past this. “We know about the Sesame.exe program.” She pulled a manila folder full of papers from the desk. She opened the folder and flipped to a statement Ali made earlier that afternoon in another interview. “You stole thousands in a matter of hours.”

“By skimming from rounded fractions of a cent, yes,” Ali said. “All you had to do was open Sesame and put the routing number in. Like in that movie, Office Space.” He tried to laugh, but the laughter came out nervous and short. Apparently Jensen wasn’t a big fan of movies. Ali added, “I have the money still. I can return it! My brother’s as well.”

“If you tell us something we can use in the murder case, we’ll overlook the theft. We want to work with you, Mr. Baba.” Jensen sounded friendly and warm, but her tone froze Ali to the core.

Ali shifted in his seat. “I didn’t murder my brother! He was murdered on Reynolds orders for discovering the Sesame program; it was Reynolds’ program! Mr. Reynolds was in the mafia! He had Kassim killed in his own office right in the middle of the day.” Ali could see his reflection in the one-way mirror that faced into the room. He looked guilty as hell.

Jensen stood up and began to pace around the room. “So why invite Reynolds into your house? Why put you and your wife in danger with some mob boss?”

“It wasn’t like that,” Ali said, his heart racing. He could almost feel the Detective’s disbelief.

“Mr. Baba, tell me exactly how it is then. Cause where I am, it looks to me like you killed your brother, you killed Reynolds, and then you killed forty of Reynolds’ employees in what can only be described as a terrorist attack.”

Oh, God. Calling it terrorism? That kind of thing put people on death row.

Jensen said, quieter now, “Seems to be your word against Morgiana Sasaki’s.”

Ali turned to face Jensen. “You’ve spoken to her?”

“Sure did, partner.”

“What did she say?”

Jensen leaned against the doorframe, resting a hand thoughtlessly on her holster. “What if I told you she said that you killed them all?”

“She lies!” Ali said, standing up and throwing the empty cup of coffee at the wall. It rolled drunkenly across the floor, spilling only a handful of drops.

“Mr. Baba, I need you to sit down,” Jensen said, one arm outstretched and the other now firmly on her pistol. “Another outburst and you’ll be spending the night with us.”

Ali sat down again, now very aware of how that might have looked to a courtroom watching the security footage of this later. He avoided looking at the camera mounted in the corner.

“I didn’t know it was Reynolds,” Ali said after a time.

“Say that again?”

“When he came to our home. He was posing as a lawyer for my brother’s estate.” Ali shook his head, “I didn’t know what some mob guy looked like. I’m an honest man! A good person.” Tears began to well up in Ali’s eyes. He didn’t want some damned hypothetical courtroom to see him like this. He didn’t even want to see himself like this, but he couldn’t stop it. His emotions had tipped. “I just do business. I don’t know what Kassim got himself wrapped up in. I just found some file they must have put on his company’s network. I work on their systems, you know.” Ali wiped tears away from his eyes.

“Tell me about it,” Jensen said, sitting back down in her chair.

“Morgiana knew it was him though. After my brother’s death, she stayed with us until she found a new job and could move out on her own. I was just trying to do right by my brother, Detective. Kassim and Morgiana were very . . . close.”

“And Reynolds didn’t know it was her?”

“No, I don’t think so. She excused herself and went outside when he arrived. I guess she went down to the street while Reynolds and my wife and I discussed my brother’s estate. I don’t know who he was until we heard the explosions.”

Jensen flipped a few pages in her folder and said, “At eleven fourteen PM, two box trucks marked Reynolds Security were destroyed using an IED, killing forty men and women who were inside. All were security employees at Reynolds. And you suggest this was the work of Miss Sasaki?”

“It had to be. After the explosions, she came back in and,” Ali’s voice caught in his throat and he paused before continuing, “shot Reynolds. I couldn’t believe it. And then she told me he was a mafia guy that had killed my brother and that she knew he was going to kill all of us.”

“Tell me that part, Mr. Baba. Why did she shoot him?”

For the first time, Ali wondered if maybe he would walk out of this room a free man. “The explosion had blown out the windows in my house and every other house on the street and then Morgiana was standing in the doorway to the parlour with a pistol in her hand while my wife was on the phone with 9-1-1. And she said something like, ‘This is for Kassim, you son-of-a-bitch,’ and she shot him. She shot him over and over, even though he was already dead, until she was out of bullets in her pistol. My wife was screaming at that point and then Morgiana just looked at us and said, ‘He was a gangster sent here to kill you. His crew was outside, waiting for us.’ She had the strangest look on her face. And then she just ran out.”

Ali stared down at his hands.

Jensen leaned back in her chair and ran her fingers through her hair. “poo poo,” she swore. “Mr. Baba, I’d like to say thank you for what you’ve said tonight and offer you a cab ride home.”

“That’s it?” Ali asked, looking up.
Jensen was already putting the manila folder away. “That’s it. I have what I need. You’re free to go.” She walked over to the door and held it open for Ali.

“Ah, thank you, Detective,” Ali said lamely. He stepped out into the police department’s hallway and was immediately greeted with a woman’s scream.

“Ali! Ali!” It was Morgiana, in handcuffs, being dragged to or from an interrogation room herself. She looked hysterical, jumping and pulling against the restraint of two police officers on each side of her. “I told them everything! Everything! How I killed them all! I avenged him! I loved Kassim! I loved him!”

“Morgiana!” Ali shouted, reaching out to her. “Why did you do this thing?” His hand was diverted by Jensen and she pulled him a step back into the room. “There could have been another way!” he pleaded to Morgiana, but the woman was still screaming and now totally incoherent. Ali had never seen her like this and it left him heartbroken.

“Jesus, guys, get her out of here,” Jensen said, pushing past Ali and grabbing Morgiana by the shoulder and pulling her down the hallway. Detective Jensen, calling over Morgiana’s hysterics, said, “Go home, Mr. Baba, but don’t go anywhere else. We’ll be in touch.” The group disappeared around a corner.

As Ali left the precinct with cab voucher in hand, he began to think of the Sesame program.

It still existed.

He still had access to his brother’s company’s systems.

And with a little more effort to be careful, he had a lucrative future ahead of him.

SadisTech
Jun 26, 2013

Clem.


I'm piking. I apologise. I had all four wisdom teeth extracted on Friday and thought I would use the time spent sitting around to work on this piece. Instead I'm sitting here with an excessive amount of pain and a few good story ideas that I'm still mashing together like a ham-fisted toddler with spit-coated Duplo blocks.

I may still post up the story if I get it done in the next day or so but there is no chance in hell it will be coherent within two and three-quarter hours.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




Endless Numbered Days (580 words)
Mary's Child

She crouched naked in the dark womb of the earth, listening to the fluted stones drip and sing. Eyes cast upward toward the black vaulted dome, and farther still the ruins of a city ground to dust beneath the heel of passing centuries. After a time she raised her golden finger, pulsing with its soft, terrible light, and crept on her belly to the edge of a limestone pool.

Dipping her finger into the cool water, she watched the drifting blindfish by its glow, their glassy flesh and sightless moonmilk eyes. A flickering memory called to life, visions of pale, flaky meat sizzling over flame. For a moment she felt an urge to catch one, to feel it wriggle between her palms. The impulse passed. There was need for neither food, nor sleep, nor the counting of days.

The woman rose and moved unmindful of the darkness, ragged tresses trailing behind her like the train of a courtesan’s gown. Bones yellowed with age on a bed of lichen. Whose bones they were, she could not say. She knelt and touched each of them in turn. They were small, frail things. Perhaps those of a child. The back of the skull was split along its base. The jagged cleft bit into her passing fingers, and she felt something inexpressible gnawing like a worm at the corners of her mind.

A voice rippled through the sweating flowstone tunnels. “Will you not repent at last?”

The din of that echoing voice filled her with dread. She clutched at herself and made a pitiful mewling noise. Her foot sent the skull clattered across damp stone.

“Wretch. Have you forsaken your own blood?”

Memories bubbled up from the depths, seeping through the skein of a past life. Unreeling scraps of a dream: the palace; a daughter, sired by noble blood. Such a beautiful girl. The woman had been angry with her, and they argued. Over what? Over nothing. When she grabbed her daughter’s arm the girl lost her balance, stumbled, fell. She struck her head on the wall. Gone.

The woman had carried her through the siege tunnels, wild-eyed, gown slick with mud. Into that darkness, where no one would find them. The girl’s head lolled and a thin trickle of blood ran along the downy nape of her neck. It dripped onto her mother’s finger, gilding the flesh there. A cainite stain.

Now a wave of nausea swept over her, settling in her belly like a stone. She groped for the skull, cradled the small remnant in her lap.

The voice boomed once more from above. “Will you show penitence?”

She wept and tore at her matted hair. “Forgive me,” she whispered. “Forgive me.”

There was a sound like an enormous exhalation.

The woman buckled under the accumulated weight of forgone ages. She opened her mouth to scream, but what emerged instead was dry and soundless, a rasping wheeze. She held out her arms and stared dumbly as the flesh shriveled, stretched like parchment over her bones. Her hands grew knobby and skeletal. Her hair went the color of snow, then fell away.

The woman lay slumped against a fragile pillar of stone, her skin turned to leather like a thing left out in the sun. The flesh sloughed away in waxy clumps, exposing bones hollow as a bird’s, until even those dissolved into a film of coarse grey dust.

Only her golden finger remained, untarnished, sepulchered in the weeping dark.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

And all the Stars 1115 words. Aladdin.

When the Emperor first refused the Princess’ request to give her the moon for her birthday, she locked herself in her room and threw a tantrum. The Emperor crouched with his mouth to the keyhole, trying to cajole her out with words like “Hey sweetie, you know the moon is actually an incredibly long way away, right? And my wise dudes tell me that it’s also really, really big, like, obnoxiously large. Wouldn’t even fit in your room, probably.”

But the Princess continue to cry, and screamed that he didn’t love her, because if he did he’d get her the birthday present she wanted, which was the moon, and why did he have to ruin her life, she hated him and wanted to die.

The Emperor, of course, wanted to prove that he actually did love her, quite a lot really, and since material possessions were the accepted method of demonstrating this, he issued an edict, or a decree or something, whereby whosoever should assist him in granting the Princess her birthday wish, vis-à-vis the moon, would have whatsoever their heart most desired. Within reason, like, don’t push it, all right?

Hundreds of citizens lined up to take their turn at trying to help the Emperor procure the moon, but after the first few people got beheaded for being a bit too cute and trying to make a model of the moon, or paint a picture of her holding the moon, most of the people lined up outside the palace suddenly remembered they had somewhere else to be.

Days passed, and with only a week to go before his daughter’s birthday, the Emperor was still completely moonless. The Princess, while no longer locked in her room, was still sulking quite fiercely, and would often hold her breath while glaring at him, or sigh dramatically and say “I might as well just die, since no one here cares about me enough to get me what I want,” or pointedly not hear anything he said, while saying loudly to any nearby servants “Did any of you hear anything? I certainly didn’t!” The servants soon found it prudent not to be around during such an exchange, as disagreeing with the Princess regarding whether anyone had spoken tended to end in a severe whipping, whereas pretending they hadn’t heard the Emperor speak tended to result in being struck about the face and neck with a chair.

With two days left before the Princess’ birthday, a young tailor knocked on the palace doors. After the guards were severely beaten for dereliction of duty in allowing a commoner to approach and touch the palace doors, the tailor was brought before the Emperor. “Yeah, what?” asked the Emperor.

“If it pleases you, your Excellentness,” said the tailor.

“Skip to the point, or kiss your head goodbye,” said the Emperor.

“I hear you’re in the market for a moon,” said the tailor. “May I ask, would it be acceptable to her Radicalness if she had a means to visit the moon whenever she wanted? It could be like a holiday house.”

The Emperor motioned for one of his servants to go check if that would be all right, and while they waited for the servant to return, the executioner got busy sharpening his axe, while staring pointedly at the tailor. After a time, the servant came back and whispered into the Emperor’s ear.

“That is acceptable,” said the Emperor.

“If you give me a week,” said the tailor, “I will provide you with such a means.”

“You have one day,” said the Emperor.

“As it pleases your Excellentness,” said the tailor, and after he was shown out of the palace, he went to a nearby public restroom and threw up.

However, true to his word, the next day the tailor showed up at the palace. This time, the guards stopped him before he reached the door, and knocked on it themselves. The tailor was brought before the Emperor.

“Well?” said the Emperor.

The tailor reached into his pocket and brought out a small box. A servant took it from him and brought it to the Emperor, who opened it. “A ring?” asked the Emperor. “Did you not hear what happened to all those artsy types who tried to get cute with the request?”

“Your Excellentness,” said the tailor, “you have but to rub the moonstone on the ring while wearing it and thinking of either the moon or the palace, and you will be transported there.”

The Emperor handed the ring to a servant, who he ordered to test it. True to the tailor’s word, when the servant put the ring on and rubbed the moonstone, with a streak he disappeared towards the moon. After a few minutes, the servant reappeared in a flash.

“Did it work?” asked the Emperor. “Were you on the moon?”

The servant shrugged. “As far as I know. I’ve never been to the moon before. It looked pretty lunar, though.”

“Excellent,” said the Emperor, and he took the ring from the servant. Then he turned to the tailor. “Now, about your reward. I believe the edict specified whatever you want, within reason.”

The tailor bowed and said “If it pleases your Excellentness, the kingdom could really use a decent soccer league.”

“A soccer league,” said the Emperor.

“Yeah, like, fields, clubhouses, that kind of thing.”

“I mean, I expected you to ask for riches or my daughter’s hand in marriage or something. I get the impression those are popular requests.”

“I don’t mean to cause offence,” said the Tailor, “I just really like soccer, is all.”

“No, no, that’s cool,” said the Emperor. “It shall be done, and all that.”

And with that, the tailor was shown out of the Palace.

~

Almost a year later, the Emperor refused the Princess’ request for the Sun. “I don’t think you understand, sweetie,” he called through her keyhole. “Not only is it absurdly far away, much further even than the moon, and, like, ludicrously big – hundreds of times bigger than the moon even – I’m reliably informed that it is also hellishly hot, and would almost certainly kill anyone who got too close to it.”

An edict went out again, but the tailor consulted his djinn buddy, who said “Nuh uh, that’s just crazy talk man, you should stay the hell away from that palace and just enjoy playing soccer.”

So the tailor stayed the hell away from the palace, and the Princess never got to possess the Sun, and instead threw a tantrum that lasted for a month or so. Eventually the Emperor got sick of it and grounded her and took away her moon ring.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Hard Eatin'
591 words
The Princess and the Pea, 1) pea 2) test

Archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2016 around 03:16

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


A Fool's Errand (1219 words)
The Death of the Little Hen

It was time to see if those dance lessons paid off. Henry squinted across the barely-illuminated room, and began charting out a path between the slumbering bodies littering the floor and couches. He ran over his plan again as he pulled on his socks – get out of the hotel, get to the parking garage, escape using his hopefully-intact car – and then cautiously picked out a path across the repurposed ballroom. As he gingerly stepped over people's legs and arms, he held his arms out for balance, silently praying that he wouldn't fall. There would be a big fuss, Gerald and his cronies would correctly guess his intentions, and then he would be forced into one of the many empty rooms and put under guard for the "public safety". He would have snorted if he wasn't trying so hard to keep quiet. Paranoid asshats.

After an interminable time of tiptoeing around fingers and toes, he finally reached the large double doors that led to the hallways outside. In cheaper hotels, they'd probably squeak – but Henry knew this hotel inside and out, and these were much better maintained. That attention to general upkeep was why he always reserved rooms here whenever he stopped by here for business, despite the distinctly lacking aesthetic of the place. Pity that it literally became a war zone. But it was safe now. You could hear the loudspeakers, the announcements asking all survivors to come out for relocation.

After checking his jacket pockets to make sure he had everything needed for a jailbreak – a map, car keys, and a last resort – Henry pushed gently one of the doors and it swung outwards without a whisper. See? Quality. He quickly stepped through, and gently eased the door back into its original position. Stage One of his escape plan was completed, and he was that much closer to getting back home – back to that cozy apartment overlooking the northern bay, the one with the window that showed the moon rising every night.

He turned left and started sneaking down the hallway, reviewing his mental map of the hotel as he did so. He had an actual map of the place which also held information about the patrol schedules, but pulling it out at the moment was too much of a risk. If he was caught, that piece of paper would instantly condemn him, since he had to steal that information from Gerald's makeshift "security" office.

Actually, he should probably review it one more time. He turned around, since the bathroom was at the opposite end of the floor from the stairs down – and heard footsteps coming from around the corner at the far end of the hallway.

He froze. The schedule hadn't said anything about this! The footsteps weren't especially hurried, but they were relentless – and it was only the flashlight beam finally illuminating that far corner that spurred him into action. No bathroom trip – he'd just hope like hell his memory was good enough to remember the schedule.

When he arrived at the stairs that would take him down to the second floor, he paused for a moment, listening. If the schedule was still accurate and his memory hadn't failed him, 'Shawn' – whoever that was – would now be approaching from his left, where the laundry room was. And there was still the guy behind him He took a deep breath. This was the point of no return – if he was caught by anybody past this point, there'd be no way to escape suspicion. He probably would've stayed there for a little longer if it wasn't for the clearly audible footsteps from both sides – as it was, he panicked and almost slipped down the stairs. Fortunately, he made it far enough down that he was out of sight by the time Gerald's guards made it to the stairwell's entrance.

As they made small talk above his head, his face twisted into a sneer. It was frankly amazing how everybody here had fallen in line with Gerald's orders. It hadn't even been a week yet, but nobody challenged his crazy tales about government conspiracies. For gently caress's sake, they all went to those daily group meetings, where he preached about 'community goodwill' and poo poo.

Henry took small pride in never having gone to one.

He took the stairs all the way down to the lobby, but before setting foot on the plush carpet, hesitated. Was anybody there? Silence was the only things to greet his ears, but his nerves kicked into overdrive.

Ah, screw it. He took a trembling step onto the soft wool, and started walking towards where the side exit from the hotel would be. Just a little bit further–

"What do you think you're doing?"

It was a surprise that Henry didn't crash his head into the ceiling above. After a moment's silence, he responded, "What do you think?" Figures that he'd be caught by him.

"It looks like you're going to escape. Turn around." Gerald's voice was soft, but firm. It irritated Henry.

"Why would I do that?" Not really any point, anyways.

"Because if we talk about this like civilized adults and resolve our differences peaceably, I won't have to have Shawn and Eric come down."

Henry snorted, mind whirling. Does that mean he doesn't have guards at the moment? "Just let me go, and you won't have to do that."

Gerald's voice was low, serious. "You clearly haven't been coming to the meetings, or you would know why you can't leave." A pause. "You're… Henry, right?"

Now Henry whirled around. "Of course I haven't bother wasting my time with your blather! Have you listened to those tall tales coming out of your mouth? They sound like they've been ripped from a hack sci-fi apocalypse novel!"

Gerald's eyes were stone-gray and unfocused. "It's the truth. I can show the proof, if you just come with me." He gestured towards Henry with one hand, right hand holding a white cane.

Henry's eyes narrowed. Then he sighed, and started shuffling towards Gerald, reaching into his jacket. "Sure, fine. Whatever."

Gerald's eyebrows shot up, but he smiled. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could get any words out, Henry whipped up the arm holding his can of pepper spray and let loose.

Henry swallowed down any unease at the sight of Gerald clawing at his face and dashed for the side exit. It helped that Gerald's yells cut off when Henry slammed the side door behind him, making a beeline towards the garage.

Stage Two of his escape plan was complete, even if there were a couple bumps in the road. All he had to do now was remember where he parked the car – and then all those idiots in the hotel could go rot. He was going home.

In his excitement, he could be forgiven for not looking up and seeing that triangle-shaped shadow in the moonlight. But that triangle-shaped shadow certainly noticed him on its infrared cameras.

A couple radio calls later, and Henry met an ignoble fate by bullet wound. And then a troop of soldiers were sent to search through the building he had ran out of – and what happened then was a highly unpleasant mess.

In the end, everybody in the hotel was dead.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

The Leftover Girl
1543 words

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...e+Leftover+Girl

crabrock fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2015 around 14:18

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


The Appearance of Destiny
(1,539 words)

delete all stories always

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at Jun 26, 2015 around 08:17

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



A Jackal's Word

Djeser fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2016 around 05:25

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


The Clock has struck Midnight, and the Ball is closed.

All after this are mere wisps. Several were caught and have been turned into frogs--more than expected. You'll have the results when the spell is properly cast.

Nethilia fucked around with this message at Feb 2, 2015 around 08:08

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

FAST JUDGING GOOD JUDGING

December Octopodes
Dec 25, 2008

Christmas is coming
the squid is getting fat!


interprompt!

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Interprompt: The thing that wouldnt stop growing, 200 words, i will crit each one

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Feb 3, 2015 around 00:16

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Please no erotica

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


Here's my entry:

theblunderbuss
Jul 4, 2010

I find dead men rout
more easily.


Kaishai posted:

Critiques for Week 123: The Surreal Life

Thank you for this!

Also a belated Thank You to everyone else who's done crits lately (for my entries or for others'). I don't say that nearly often enough.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Growth 192 Words

There’s not much time left now. We should have done something sooner.

It took thirty hours from the first spotting until the duty officer woke me. In that time it had grown twenty times over. I went out with the first group of scientists. What we found was a gelatinous blob of white tissue. It was pebbled and folded like fat. A thick reek of sewage boiled from it.

We wasted days running tests. No one attributed the dying plants to the thing at first. Who knows what would have happened had we realized sooner? As it was, the soil grew brittle and dry, like there had been years of drought and searing sun. Not a plant within miles still lived.

When the strike finally happened, it was a fatty tumor twenty stories high. Napalm, incendiaries, irradiated munitions, nothing had an effect. It would just ripple and grow. Bombs blew writhing chunks for miles. They took root and grew.

The dead zone radius is hundreds of miles, maybe over a thousand. Rotting clumps of seaweed clog the shores. The coast recedes by the day.

And still it grows. And grows. And grows.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Big Business 195 Words

By the time people started cottoning on the garage the company started in was preserved as a museum and their campus in the States was the size of a city. We got an email. "Subject: Christchurch Layoffs". Janine and I, Janine's brother, her Mum. They employed drat near a third of the town.

There wasn't much bread left at the supermarket.

"They're moving South," said the kid packing our bananas and ham. "They said they just can't justify the risk of another quake. They own the insurance company and the underwriter, too. Better growth down there."

My phone rang. The company's logo embossed on the plastic as well as throbbing in the corner of the screen. Updates about the redundancies flashed on my screen for a fraction of a second before the auto-filters kicked in. It was my friend from the Council.

"We're shutting down too. Get out while you can."

On our way out my gaze followed the asphalt seams in the chipseal, left from the quake repairs. The service covers were brand new and brightly painted, stamped with the company logo. I swerved and felt the tyres judder as we ran over them.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Broenheim posted:

Please no erotica No title, no word count: come on man you're not even trying. I have no idea who this story is; there's a character (maybe?!) and they don't want erotica. And they're polite. Politeness can reveal a lot, but it needs a context to convey information. Also, what keeps growing? Tsk.

newtestleper posted:

Big Business 195 Words

By the time people started cottoning on the garage the company started in was preserved as a museum and their campus in the States was the size of a city. i think you need some punctuation here We got an email. "Subject: Christchurch Layoffs". Janine and I, Janine's brother, her Mum. They employed drat near a third of the town.

There wasn't much bread left at the supermarket. nice detail

"They're moving South," what, to humming bastion of civic vitality Invercargill? said the kid packing our bananas and ham. "They said they just can't justify the risk of another quake. They own the insurance company and the underwriter, too. Better growth down there."

My phone rang. The company's logo embossed on the plastic as well as throbbing in the corner of the screen. Updates about the redundancies flashed on my screen for a fraction of a second before the auto-filters kicked in. It was my friend from the Council. i'd give him a name (supermarket guy too) you're being abstract enough elsewhere contrasting that with the actual people affected is a good technique

"We're shutting down too. Get out while you can."

On our way out my gaze followed the asphalt seams in the chipseal, left from the quake repairs. The service covers were brand new and brightly painted, stamped with the company logo. I swerved and felt the tyres judder as we ran over them. nice elliptical negative space sort of yarnlet, good choice for 200 words.


Guiness13 posted:

Growth 192 Words

There’s not much time left now. We should have done something sooner. good opener

It took thirty hours from the first spotting until the duty officer woke me. In that time it had grown twenty times over. I went out with the first group of scientists. What we found was a gelatinous blob of white tissue. It was pebbled and folded like fat. A thick reek of sewage boiled from it. I hate this sentence for some reason, though it's vivid enough I guess? maybe the mixed metaphor feeling of a thick reek that boils?

We wasted days running tests. No one attributed the dying plants to the thing at first. Who knows what would have happened had we realized sooner? As it was, the soil grew brittle and dry, like there had been years of drought and searing sun. Not a plant within miles still lived.

When the strike finally happened, it was a fatty tumor twenty stories high. Napalm, incendiaries, irradiated munitions, nothing had an effect. It would just ripple and grow. Bombs blew writhing chunks for miles. They took root and grew.

The dead zone radius is hundreds of miles, maybe over a thousand. Rotting clumps of seaweed clog the shores. The coast recedes by the day.

And still it grows. And grows. And grows. aww, I like this a lot tho it's a pretty rote sci fi concept


theblunderbuss posted:

Thank you for this! title, wordcount, come the gently caress on ppl it's not rocket science

Also a belated Thank You to everyone else who's done crits lately (for my entries or for others'). I don't say that nearly often enough. see earlier note about context free politeness! I have no idea what the point of this story is; a character wants something they can't have (to thank people more often? not sure) then acts to achieve it in the face of obstacles. This is barely a vignette

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


ty for the crit sebmojo

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Broenheim posted:

ty for the crit sebmojo

np

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Thanks for the crit!

December Octopodes
Dec 25, 2008

Christmas is coming
the squid is getting fat!


The Stache 200 Words

"Oh my God sir, it just keeps growing!"

"What did you say?" The commander's mustache bristled at the young man.

"They keep writing stories sir, and some of them are really bad." He quavered at the intimidating mustache.

"Why do they keep writing?" As he harrumphed his mustache shot out an inch. The young man stared, but kept silent.

"I asked you a question. Are there any prizes?" He shot an evil look at him and his mustache shot out another inch.

"No sir, you just make up the prompt for the next pile of stories. Umm... Sir?"

"What is it private?" As he frowned down on the young soldier his mustache grew at least a foot. Despite this it went unnoticed by the commander.

"Your mustache, sir." He said, averting his gaze as he heard the hairs bristle out to six feet in length.

"Do you envy it private? It takes hard work to grow a mustache like mine." The private raised his eyes to meet the commanders and stared as the mustache kept growing longer and longer.

It filled the small room, and the young man was consumed by the hairs.

"Can't handle a real mustache? Oh well."

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


Farmer Joe's Special
94 words

"To grow is just to shrink a diff'rent way,"
the pumpkin said and shriveled. Farmer Joe
did not agree and shoveled heaps of dung
atop the squash who retched from the odor.
"Enough," it said. "I get your point, you lout!"
"Do you agree to grow from here on out?"
The pumpkin did, and so it rose anew,
growing and inflating from the dirt,
until the farmer once woke up to find,
his farm squashed by the pumpkin's orange skirt.


The moral of this lesson simply be:
don't lose your poo poo because you disagree.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

December Octopodes posted:

The Stache 200 Words

"Oh my God sir, it just keeps growing!"

"What did you say?" The commander's mustache bristled at the young man.

"They keep writing stories sir, and some of them are really bad." He quavered at the intimidating mustache. this reads weird because of show/tell; i know quavering is a physical reaction, but it would be more interesting if his mo'-related trepidation was demonstrated more concretely

"Why do they keep writing?" As he harrumphed his mustache shot out an inch. The young man stared, but kept silent. ditto

"I asked you a question. Are there any prizes?" He shot an evil show/tell againlook at him and his mustache shot out another inch. haha

"No sir, you just make up the prompt for the next pile of stories. Umm... Sir?"

"What is it private?" As he frowned down on the young soldier his mustache grew at least a foot. Despite this it went unnoticed by the commander.

"Your mustache, sir." He dialogue is punctuated with a comma, quote, lower case like this ," he said, averting his gaze ditto, why not have him look at something? as he heard the hairs bristle out to six feet in length.

"Do you envy it private? It takes hard work to grow a mustache like mine." The private raised his eyes to meet the commanders and stared as the mustache kept growing longer and longer.

It filled the small room, and the young man was consumed by the hairs. this is a neat surreal image

"Can't handle a real mustache? Oh well." weak ending, but a clever and funny story with probs as above but hey 200 words.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Entenzahn posted:

Farmer Joe's Special
94 words

"To grow is just to shrink a diff'rent way," nice thought
the pumpkin said and shriveled. Farmer Joe
did not agree and shoveled heaps of dung
atop the squash who retched from the odor. <this bit doesn't work when you read it out loud b/c odor is stressed on the first syllable
"Enough," it said. "I get your point, you lout!"
"Do you agree to grow from here on out?"
The pumpkin did, and so it rose anew,
growing and inflating from the dirt,
until the farmer once woke up once woke up is v clunky to find,
his farm squashed by the pumpkin's orange skirt.


The moral of this lesson simply be:
don't lose your poo poo because you disagree. Those aside, this is great; slick, rude and funny

SadisTech
Jun 26, 2013

Clem.


IVF
199 words

When we found out we could never have a baby, Mary cried herself to sleep every night. I'd feel the bed shaking, just a little, and I'd reach over and put my hand on her thigh.

I found an ad asking for volunteers and we were both excited. We turned up in our best clothes and signed all the paperwork without questions. We danced outside when they said we'd been accepted, and a woman in a lab coat glanced at us like she thought we were crazy.

Today I held Mary's hand as she lay on the table, and I watched her smile, then wince, then smile. The equipment was shiny metal and I'm sure it was cold.

Now it's after midnight and I'm holding her hand as she sweats and moans in our bed. Her belly is bigger than full term and I can see things moving under the skin. I fumbled the card they gave us out of my wallet and called the number and they said they'd be here inside the hour. While I was waiting on the phone I heard a muffled voice from the bed but Mary's teeth were clenched.

I hope they hurry.

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Thunderdome Cee-Triple X Results

After sleeping for something akin to five hundred minutes, the three fairies have come together and doled out your results. Behold or something!

Winner: In a magnificent historical moment around these TD parts, the First Entry has made the win. Echo Cian, your tale of love and time The Deathless has taken the golden crown and the blessings (and curses) that come with winning.

Honorable Mentions:
Dr. Kloctopussy’s The Appearance of Destiny, a story of aiding someone’s pain at the cost of assumed professionalism that made me smile at the end;
HopperUK’s The Shepherd's Daughter, a fairy tale all its own with good twist on the original design;
Crabrock’s The Leftover Girl using a strange story to make a story of powerful neglect work--with even proper AAVE usage!;
And
Entenzahn’s Make a Wish, the kind of original cautionary “be careful what you wish for” story that works in three parts and makes for good story.

Dishonorable Mentions:
A Classy Ghost’s The Bre Men was about as exciting as sewing nettle shirts by hand for seven years and just as painful;
leekster’s El Toro Delgado went nowhere and did little for no story and a weak payoff;
December Octopodes’s Scarlet Dance of Death was not even a tenth as clever as likely thought, rife with clichés and bad plot ideas;
and
kurona_bright’s A Fool's Errand saw the everyone’s dead ending that the original and decided that was the element to chew--which was not only not a good choice, it was a terrible one.

Loser: Savagely_Random, with Black Projects. With unlikable characters, a premise so thin I coud turn it sideways and make it disappear, and an ending I saw coming from ten miles away, I have never been so pissed so soon into a story. Seven League Boot to the head.

Oh, but before I step off, lemme note that someone actually got disqualified for plagiarism. Yes, Mercedes, enjoy your call out. Don’t rewrite a webcomic as a story . I didn’t see it, but one judge did and once it was pointed it out I got extra angry. Seriously, the gently caress.

Step upon the throne, Echo, and sorry about the heads on pikes and the entrails on the armrests. I’ve been in a terrible mood lately.

Crits for this week and Week 122 (nah, I ain't forgot) down the path.

Nethilia fucked around with this message at Feb 3, 2015 around 20:29

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

Crits for week 129, #20-27: and then it goes back downhill again.

Ironic Twist
First line: “33 looked across the surface of the 0 moon and felt something she couldn’t explain.” don’t know what a 0 moon is, slightly intrigued. but saying that somebody else felt something is rather boring. why not describe it for me, let me know kind of what it feels like, and then move on. that would be a better opening. telling me somebody can’t explain something is just that: telling. it doesn’t help me understand anything. Like is it that phantom vibration where you think your phone is buzzing but then it’s on the table? or like when you wake up from a nap and you feel like it should be noon but it’s actually 7pm? images, pictures, feelings. describe them!

“had plenty of that.” what? blood? ew. if it’s “weather” then describe a little bit of what that weather is. “plenty of hurricanes” or “plenty of tornados.” “plenty of weather” is dumb. wait, so when you say negatives, you mean negative kelvins? you should probably mention that, as most people will assume C/F. furthermore, i’m not sure if matter is “snow and ice” at negative kelvins? maybe you misspoke about the absolute 0 thing. (absolute 0 is like -273C and it’s hard to get poo poo past that). “empty spaces with confidence fascinated her.” show don’t tell. show a little bit of this interaction between the two, it’ll make it more lively. “as she lay in bed next to Royal,” did they bang or what? Do they have compatible anatomy? you don’t have to get erotic, but i’m seriously wondering if they are capable of boning down, and if they did. “and one of them fell” one of who? I’m assuming the aliens, since the humans are seeing them as a threat, and we like shootin’ stuff. “33 reached over to an adjoining endtable” wait, there’s an endtable in the escape pod? wtf… then she murders a legless human? when did he lose his legs? is it royal? ok, so i’m so confused here. “when the humans left their ship.” the aliens made a sign and the humans attacked, but earlier it said they’d been walking around the city and stuff, so i’m a bit fuzzy on the timeline here. Also Royal says he loves her, but also calls her racist poo poo? Confused on that front as well. As for the ending, I don’t understand what happened exactly. it seems like she snuck on board the mothership for…. what reason? then jettisoned in an escape pod with Royal, who had amputated legs? is royal the guy in the escape pod? did she try to leave with him? This is another one of your stories that are just plain unclear as to what exactly is happening. you have flashbacks inside “present time” which makes things even worse. My cojudge wanted this for the win, but I thought it was too much of a confusing mess to allow that, so we settled on a HM. You write pretty, and sometimes even very well, but you’re still having issues with writing something that others can understand. You really need to keep working on clarity. Don’t be afraid to be obvious sometimes. The things you want to hide deep are symbolism and themes, but the plot should always be easy to understand even on a casual read.


docbeard

First line: “Mikala opened her eyes.” zzzzz. I just closed mine. cause this is boring! at least put a semicolon and tell me she saw something interesting. Still, at least it’s an action, and clearly states who is doing what. Some people didn’t even that that far. But always do something exciting or weird or just grab your readers’ attention BY THE THROAT. Your second sentence doesn’t do the first any favors, because it is boring too (and passive to boot).

“She could smell plants.” show don’t tell. “stank of metal and medicine and something foul” what does medicine smell like? also show instead of saying “something foul.” use a simile or metaphor if you have to. “just a low hum.” what’s the hum from? “thought through” this is awkward and on first read I thought it was a typo. “But no, she’d miss the children, miss their expressions when she gathered them at feast time and fed them stories of the wild lands beyond the settlement.” good motivation here. not too forced, and realistic. And not just saying “she’d miss her kids! as people in TD are so apt to do. you explained WHY she’d miss them. PEOPLE TAKE NOTE. “She remembered the smell.” of? ““They” i’m not a fan of introducing “mysterious” characters who only get refered to by their pronouns. at least give them a name. it doesn’t ruin the important mysteries of why they’re after her, etc. But they could be anybody. a pack of dogs. a legion of space police. the miasma of cheese farts, etc. “Mikala opened her eyes” she already opened her eyes. what is it with you and eyes? this is the “boring” kind of show. like, it’s somebody blinking real slow. So i know a lot about her eye lubrication but nothing about who is chasing her or why. “Mikala opened her eyes, shook her head, indulged pain and dizziness and confusion, and then set it aside.” this is awkward because it’s in a “list” form and 3 of the things she does are like, physical actions, and then the last one is a metaphor. “and one long untended.” awkwardly phrased. “Grandfather said.” I just realized I have no idea how he’s speaking to her. It’s said it’s an “impossible voice” but i don’t know what that means. “impossible way” made me think like, ghost or memory or something, but he’s feeding “them” misinformation, so that sounds real. So to sum up your story so far: she’s being chased by unknown assailants, for an unknown reason, and her grandpa is telling her things in an unknown manner. Do you see why all these things add up to make a not-very-fun-to-read story? If you want to create a mystery, you still need to give some answers. like “man i dunno why these guys from alpha house are chasing me!” etc. “Her grandfather had died when she was a child.” DUN DUN DUN. not impressed by this “twist,” because i feel as if you’ve lied to me, the reader. why would a dead grandpa come out to lie to her? ugh, there’s just too much about this story that’s being hidden from me and it’s making me frustrated. All i know is somebody went out hunting and was on her way home and now she’s hurt. maybe people are chasing her, and maybe not, since only the liar grandpa has mentioned it. “This was the land of the dead. Grandfather was here to guide her.” all of your story has just been dumb up until this point, because you were trying to set this up to be this big reveal, but since i had no idea what was going on, its impact is negligible. plus “doesn’t know she’s dead, confused, etc.” has been done before, so it’s not even new. I’m glad there’s mold in the afterlife, because it warms my heart to think that even single-celled organisms get an afterlife. although I don’t know if they appreciate it. “had told her about in moments” awkward. Mikala hasn’t made any decisions for herself this whole time. she’s just a puppet being led by this voice she “knows” is her grandpa. this is a very boring character. “ bright light and she felt intense heat” these are kind of lazy descriptions. “her knife, it had followed her into death” how convenient. “had found its way to her hand” passive as gently caress. Then it’s a bunch of over described sensations and feelings, drawing out a plot that I can see coming a million miles away. This whole story feels like you had some ideas you really wanted to write about, but had no idea how to work them into a good plot, so instead you just wrote about the ideas. “Oh the girl is actually dead the whole time and she can control a ship…uh… so she does.” Furthermore, you set up some motivation/plot at the beginning “wanting to return home to see her children,” which she doesn’t get to do. So at the end of the day, what did she want? just to stay alive? this fails the most basic rules of storytelling in regards to “char wants something, can’t have it because ____, and then ends up getting it or not because ____.” All in all that makes for a boring story. She’s just running around trying to survive, doing what she’s told for the vast majority of the story. Reunion was weak, because it’s this dead grandpa who’s not really dead but she doesn’t react to it really, just some platitudes exchanged and then it’s like “ok see you later,” or whatever. the ship is… just kind of glossed over with some vagaries about traveling distances and technological advancement. This is WAY too long and filled with pointless, repetitive detail. Describing how much pain she’s in multiple times doesn’t make me think she’s in more pain or something.

El Diabolicol


Don’t waste my time with this poo poo. You chatted all week long in IRC, and then you can’t even be bothered to write a story for the loving group you’re trying to be a part of? I wanted to ban you from IRC until you submitted an actual story that you put effort into, but Kaishai wouldn’t do it. So consider yourself lucky. Try giving a poo poo next time you sign up to do something.

Grizzled Patriarch

First line: “Disaster Assessment calls at 6:22 a.m., and afterward Haru turns on the rainforest module again.” This isn’t terrible, sentence-wise, but it is a rather boring opening. It ALMOST has the makings of a good one, something is clearly out of the ordinary, and there’s a weird, almost blase reaction to “disaster,” but I’m left in the dark about what is actually happening. I don’t have any reason to care about this bureaucracy or if the rainforest is on or off. This would probably be a serviceable second line with a punchier opening. “I watched all the monkeys fly through the bulkhead into open space at 6:19.”

“I can hear it” not a fan of a forced sense of “mystery” by putting the pronoun first and the antecedent second. It’s really annoying to read in story after story after story. Especially since this “suspense” is resolved in the same sentence. You stand way more to lose than to gain by using this style. The main thing so far is you haven’t told me who/what you are. I’m going to guess it’s an AI and/or the spaceship itself. This is a really short story, and I’d place it as more of vignette. The narrator’s voice is strange and mysterious, but seems to lack goals/motivation/personality. He’s helpful and caring, sure, but there’s nothing in the story that makes him tick. Even when he tells me about his father it feels… ancillary to the story. Haru of course is just this depressed guy on a spaceship (deja vu to my own story!) and kind of wanders around not doing much. He’s pretty passive, and everything is just kind of handed to him. The interactions between the narrator and Haru seem wooden and forced. Anyway, overall this is just kind of a… so what? piece. It’s not long enough for us to really get to know Haru, and we’re always viewing him from this distance. It’s somebody else telling us about what he’s doing. Kind of like a science report or something. I never really engaged. That’s actually a problem I have with your writing in general: I feel detached from it. I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in. You write beautiful lines, and you have pathos, but something about it just doesn’t resonate with me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, and maybe I’ll think of something better to tell you later, or somebody else can back me up on this, but it’s what I feel. I WANT to like your writing, but something is holding me back. Maybe most telling is I took a break after I read your story, and then when I came back I read the whole thing again, because I had forgotten that I read it. While reading it, I kept going “oh yeah, I read that. Oh yeah, this too.” then i got to the end and said “oh, whoops, I guess I read this whole thing.”

Capntastic

First line: “Two glittering trails of shuttles were ascending towards the rest of the stars.” A little unclear what is happening here. Glittering trails OF shuttles? so what i’m imagining here is like, something is racing through the air and leaving little tiny shuttles behind, kind of like lucky charms or something. It reads a little weird. I’m assuming you meant the trails are from the shuttles racing through some sort of unmentioned media? “the rest of the stars” is a little ambiguous. I can assume that means you’re coming from some star, singular i’m guessing, but why it’s important or why leaving it is important? who knows? Establish some sort of rock solid fact in your opening for me to latch onto, not this vague bullshit that just makes me go “huh?” Pretty nothingness that leaves me unsure of what you mean is worse than a boring fact like “mika opened her eyes.”

“At that gleaming convoy's bottom,” lol what? You mean like, under them? “Adair's handwriting fought against turbulence” have no idea what you’re trying to convey here. He’s trying to write but it’s coming out too sloppy? “towards space” awkward. “The third was stained with tears” A bit early in the story for this melodrama. You haven’t established WHY they have to be apart. It better not be some stupid twist or I’ll yell. I don’t like you being withholding like this. “tubes of concrete” this is the second story this week to just describe a ship as being a tube of concrete. Concrete would be hella heavy to launch into space, unless they made it from moon dust or something. “cargo:;” what the gently caress is this? A colon and a half? “ the ships themselves; rough” a semicolon is not appropriate here, because the sentence starting with “rough” is not independent. “stripped down machines that glided along on luminous wings that approached magic.” I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. They made ships and then stripped them down? i can’t imagine “luminous wings” in my head, so i have no idea what you want me to picture. “Adair woke,” is this day 2? you lost your narrative to go full space-exposition boner on me. “the pain of its impossibility” irl laughing at this goth motherfucker. “gauged his emotions” this dude is loving weird. “writing a four” am i supposed to give a poo poo? “The nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six” wait, this dude just wrote “4” 9,996 times? wtf. “amenities provided by the electronically- controlled habitat” holy jeeze, i’m just looking down at my penis and it’s like, so soft it’s retreating up into my body. this story is so loving boring I don’t think I’ll ever get hard again. you owe my wife an apology. “simply procreate and survive” oh yeah, that’s real loving easy was this mission designed by complete loving morons? You do realize that you’ve just had like a billion paragraphs of exposition and absolutely no interesting story, right? like why is this dude writing these letters. how will the other guy ever see them? this is dumb. “As the generations slipped onwards through space” I hate this line. “early days about the Mystic” did you mean aboard? “strictly dedicated” unneeded adverb. uh gently caress i am so bored now learning how this dude is the new jesus or whatever. what is the loving point of all this? you just killed your only “character” (lovely as he was) and now you’re just droning on about poo poo I have no reason to care about. Ok honestly, once they reached the blue planet I stopped reading. This poo poo is too boring. I can’t do it. characterization is poo poo/almost non-existent for the first half. all i know about the guy is he loved some other dude. the way i know that isn’t from you showing me, but from you telling me, over and over and over AND OVER AND OVER with increasingly dumb displays of “not getting the gently caress over it.” plot is… cliche with a side of yawn. Multi-generation mission into the stars to seed life. got it. move on. reunion… well, i think i stopped reading before that. spaceship? boring tube. length: WAY TOO loving LONG! this story is absolutely atrocious and boring. If i hadn’t already expended so much rage on the early submitters, i’d yell a lot more and more loudly, and probably give you a DM. right now I just don’t care to finish, so maybe you have something that redeems this story. who knows? not me!

kurona_bright

First line: “"Hey, Jane. I'm settling down for the long nap now.” Starting a story with dialogue is a risky choice, which doesn’t really pay off here. I have no idea who is saying this. A lover? mother? father? sister? who the gently caress knows. It’s hard to care when we don’t know anything. That’s why you gotta do something crazy interesting to grab our attention and make us WANT to know more. If somebody came up to you on the street and said “hey, i’m settling down for a long nap” you’d be like “get away from me, you smell like pee.” don’t smell like pee, smell like awesome. also wear deodorant i guess.

Oh, and that first sentence wasn’t even the main character talking. just some dude she doesn’t really know. really week opening. "Yeah, I'll be fine.” dialogue is utilitarian and boring. drop niceties in conversations. just say something interesting. don’t only say exactly what is happening. that’s exposition through dialogue, and it’s just as boring as putting it in a huge paragraph. “made her restless.” show don’t tell. “began walking in the direction that Louis.” A. don’t say “began walking.” just say walked. you only “begin walking” for a split second, and then you’re walking. B. did you forget to finish this sentence? “he had already turned in” wait, i thought he was prepping to do some sort of suspended animation or something? Wait, so let me get this straight. Louis is like “ok i’m going into the stasis pod now, you should totally run that program” and then she goes “ok” and he leaves, she follows in after some time, and doesn’t see him and shrugs and goes “ok i guess he went into the pod” and then goes to the computer, assumes that Louis ran the program himself anyway, and then starts to gently caress around on the internet? This is a really loving dumb plot/character. “for the email website she used” you sound like my grandma explaining the internet to my grandpa. “an amused huff,” you keep telling me exactly what her emotions are. “@lolmail” jesus christ. “TA: it's on the NASA website, moron.” is he PUAing her? omg this reunion is killing me out of boredome. the only thing worse than having to make small talk yourself is watching OTHER PEOPLE make small talk. furthermore, there’s no subtext to this, it’s just banal. “icy hostility” is this any different from normal hostility? stop dropping adjectives and adverbs whenever you feel like it, and only do it when it matters. “Jane decided to give Clint the benefit of the doubt.” cliche and boring. “icy-cold arguments” there is a lot of icy emotions in this piece. ok, this piece is really pointless. it’s just two people talking back and forth for a while. it seems contrived, because she’s like “hey look at louis, i’m totally thinking of Clint right now.” and thne 5 minutes later she’s talking to clint. it’s a lovely introduction/setup. then we just watch them talk, they decide to meet up when she gets back, and it’s the end. we never know wtf she’s doing on that mission or what REALLY went down between them. it’s all just very surface poo poo you do when you talk to somebody you don’t really care enough about to keep in contact with. But she doesn’t really have motivation to reconnect with him, it just sort of happens to her after she thinks about it. It’s passive. and then he’s the one to suggest they meet up, not her, and not because she did anything remarkable, just “hey lol heard you were in space.” at the end of this story i don’t feel like much really changed for her and I don’t know why you wanted me to read all of those words. This “letters” style of writing is pretty annoying unless done really well, and it wasn’t done well here. I’m just glad it didn’t drag on for much longer, so thank you for that.

Bad Ideas Good

First line: “The Bluebird, moving at Mach 15 and two-thirds, is playing host to a reunion of sorts between a man, the woman he loved, and her husband (postmortem).” Ok, this sentence is a little too long, and is a little too “on the nose,” but it succeeds in the end because of your last word. That makes me go “whaaaaaaat?” and makes me want to know more. Furthermore I know who the story will probably be about. However, do I really care specifically how fast this thing is going? I’d be much better served knowing WHAT the bluebird was or what it was moving through so quickly. or even where it was going. I mean, a normal reader who didn’t know this was gonna be about SPACESHIPS could be confused thinking that was an actual bluebird at first, or a boat, or a plane, or whatever. Spaceship isn’t the first thing that leaps into mind. “a reunion of sorts” is the bit that’s a bit too on the nose for my tastes. Think of a subtler way of saying it. Still, overall not terrible, considering some of the others this week.

“She is currently attempting to sleep” a few sentences in and I’m unsure of the voice here. who is telling this story? are you going for third person omniscient? Not usually a wise choice. The tangent from the story to make the jokes about the spaceship (and the paretheticals) is annoying me a bit. Like the narrator thinks he’s so loving clever. And I’m thinking that narrator is just you. “The woman shifts” break this long-rear end sentence up. “how are you’s, and you look great’s” why are these possessive? “filling in’s” also this. stop trying to make nouns out of everything. it’s awkward. “*PISHHH*” just italicize an onomatopoeia. Her long speech… is that really for harold? or is it for us? because it seems like telling exposition to me through a long as monologue and i’m bored as poo poo here. “away, soft, soundless.” punctuation sucks here, and soundless is unnecessary since they are on the moon. then ends with… oh we should go get that. what. Ok, the overall characterization is butts. i don’t really know anything about these people other than ~*they love each other*~. I only know that because you told me, not because they do anything in-love people do. You spend more time telling me about safety regulations and funeral arrangements than anything about the characters, which is a huge mistake. mmmmmmm (lizard feedback). Your plot is…. i don’t know. There’s no motivation or conflict here. Everything you talk about happened in the past. all there is now is a ride out to the moon to dump some ashes, but everything has already been settled. i assume they’re just gonna go get the urn, get back on the bluebird, and then go to bang town. that’s not interesting. luckily you have the foresight to make this story super short. You do talk about your spaceship a little bit, but in a cold, owner’s-manual way that really is not fun to read about. keep trying i guess.

Fuschia tude

First line: “They told her stop doing that don't play with those, you'll hurt yourself.” this is kind of a bunch of thoughts all smushed together. 3 thoughts in fact, with only one comma. Also like many others this week, you start with pronouns (3 of them!) and i have no idea who they or her or those are. that’s bad form. don’t do that! It’s super confusing and dumb. The sentence isn’t any worse for saying “Mary’s parents told her not to play with the ducks, or she’d hurt herself.” furthermore, if they’re telling her something like that, you should put it in quotes. “They told her: “stop doing that. don’t play with those, you’ll hurt yourself.” that said, I’m a little curious as to what comes next, and since she’s female i’m feeling safe that it’s not her balls.

Ok now you’re just jerking me around, not telling what those are, and what the project is. don’t do this poo poo. just be honest with me. if your story relies on cheap tricks and withholding info, then it sucks. “She's just going through a phase Uncle said.” then use loving quotation marks. “The world was cracked and broken and ugly.” you shouldn’t be waxing poetic when i still have no idea what this story is about. plus that’s just kind of meaningless and dumb without context. “ At least until the red happened.” this sounds dumb and isn’t as ~*mysterious*~ as you want to believe. You list almost every single color in the world in your story, so none of them mean anything. you’re just trying to TV this story into my brain. God, your sentences are just a flow of ideas that all come out at once and attack me in the face and there’s no respite just the onslaught and if you had punctuation it’d be easier but instead you’re trying to do some cormac mccarthy thing and leaving it out and its exhausting and youre not a good enough writer to get away with this. K, i’m not reading this anymore. It’s 2000 words of this chaotic crap. You submitted it right at the end, so I’m assuming you didn’t have any time to proof or edit it. This needs a LOT of work on it. I’m tired of not knowing who or what is going on, and I’m not going to keep reading to find out. Nor will anybody else except maybe your mom. Earn my attention next time.

sebmojo

First line: “Zakary Jain, Captain-in-presence of the Yearning Voidship Dandelion, popped another beer and gestured with his offhand.” first part is good, but “gestured” is so ambiguous it really tells me nothing at all. maybe fine in the middle of the story, but for the opening i know there’s a dude sitting around acting like a captain and “gesturing.” bleh.

I like this a bit, but it’s a little too short imo. You have this strange concept which I kind of got the grasp of, but could use a few more examples to really get. They found some sort of alien on Mars that wants to be with its twin, so it zooms through some sort of lightspeed subspace sort of deal? but it has to be primed? how did they prime the first one? how does this dude dumping his brain into this alien prime it? those are the sort of things i’m still totally lost on. also you played a little fast and loose with the reunion, since he’d technically never met the hologram before, and vice versa. anyway, i’ll give that a pass. your ship actually felt like, alive and useful somehow. more than most others this week. i think it was cause of how the dude just used it and knew what was happening and didn’t stop to explain everything to me in stupid scifi detail. I think the characterization was a little weak in this too. You told me that they loved each other a lot, and there were a few moments, but I didn’t get to learn too much about either of them in the course of the disaster. A few more lines scattered here and there about their lives together on Earth would have been grand.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

Also, if you're wondering how you stacked up last week and the rough guidelines of where you placed in the stack, but don't like reading, go ahead and look at the purty colors

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...dit?usp=sharing

You may have had a higher/lower score than somebody else, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you did better or worse than them. some whole stories were a little weaker on an area but were overall a much more complete package than some that excelled in most areas but just didn't work as well. so no loving bitching about "scores" or "rank" because they don't exist.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


bye

anime was right fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2015 around 05:49

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Nethilia posted:



Oh, but before I step off, lemme note that someone actually got disqualified for plagiarism. Yes, Mercedes, enjoy your call out. Don’t rewrite a webcomic as a story . I didn’t see it, but one judge did and once it was pointed it out I got extra angry. Seriously, the gently caress.


I remember I punchline I read from a webcomic a year ago, build a story around said punchline and I'm crucified for it. I don't have enough middle fingers.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


bye

anime was right fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2015 around 05:49

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Mercedes posted:

I remember I punchline I read from a webcomic a year ago, build a story around said punchline and I'm crucified for it. I don't have enough middle fingers.

yeah yeah talk it up cartoon boy what was that are you gonna cry are yPROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE posted:

its not legal plagiarism but dude like every note is the same. that just seems like a lovely accident idk.

It's tragic, it sucks anPROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMPT

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011



shush you ingrates the throne needed a lot of cleaning and I think I just noticed another fingerbone I missed ffs


Thunderdome CXXXI: At the Crossroads

A stranger waits at the crossroads. They'll change everything. What do they want, and why can't your protagonist seem to avoid them - or even want to?

There's your conflict. Characters, setting, genre, all that is up to you - but considering how many of you fucks can't seem to get the basics of storytelling right, I thought I'd make that part easy on you.

I'll be handing out flash rules if I feel like it. And now that I've claimed the first first-entry win crown you can actually bother to proofread your stories. If I see something as drat simple as a missing period at the end of a first paragraph there will be blood and insta-DQs.

1000 words
No fanfic, erotica, webcomic punchlines, or devil-at-the-crossroads - at least try to be creative here. (Yes, Satan counts as the devil, smartasses.)

Signups close Friday at midnight EST, submissions close Sunday same time

Judges: Echo Cian, Schneider Heim, docbeard

Entrants:
-Entenzahn -- petrified | Deadeye, Deadbeat Blues
-Sitting Here -- defeated, vicious rivalry | Uphill Rivers
-Screaming Idiot -- enthusiastic | Fate, Inescapable
-Fuschia tude -- grateful | Dark Thoughts
-Quidnose -- inspired | Hippodermic Oath
-SadisTech -- timid | Hitching Home
-Capntastic -- indignant | Leading Projecting Developing Managing
-Grizzled Patriarch -- insecure | Until We Meet Again
-Benny Profane -- accepting | Right of Way
-leekster -- understanding | Good Luck in All Your Future Endeavors
-A Classy Ghost -- stubborn | The Path from Pitios
-Sebmojo -- dependent, vicious rivalry | City of Delirium
-LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE -- apprehensive | Friends Forever
-contagonist -- independent | What are you going to do now?
-Tayacan -- hesitant | Those Left Behind
-ZeBourgeoisie -- honest Westbound
-Savagely_Random -- humiliated | Coming of Age
-Megazver -- intrigued | An Interrupted Meal
-starr -- helpless | The Hunt
-Dr. Kloctopussy -- cruel | Paper Crown
-Benny the Snake -- ignorant | Providence
-newtestleper -- proud | But wait, there's more!
-crabrock -- humble | The Wizard

Failures:
-Obliterati -- despairing
-kurona_bright -- provoked
-Jeep -- suspicious
-Phobia -- impulsive
-tenniseveryone -- irate
-Arm_Fruit -- earnest
-bukkits -- brave
-hotsoupdinner -- ecstatic

Echo Cian fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2015 around 05:30

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Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


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