The Tiny Tyrant. Google Docs Wordcount: 1,261
Thyrork fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2016 around 20:43
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 18:58|
|# ? Jul 23, 2019 02:45|
I'm out this week, sorry
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 19:38|
I hear this week's 3rd judge is really cool and sexy, everyone is dying to know who it will be
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 21:16|
Easter craziness is greater than expected, so I too am going to have to drop out. Will next week!
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 21:26|
One Round in the Chamber 1203 words
I’m in the basement of the dry cleaner getting my side stitched up by some black market surgeon when I hear the news.
“Boss is alive,” I hear the fear in Tony’s voice over the phone, “We didn’t kill him.” And then the line dies. I’m not worried about Tony. He isn’t one for words and hanging up on someone is just his style. He’s two steps ahead of me, already out of the city and into the countryside to live a full life with a full wallet.
I’m not so lucky. I wince as the needle threads me. I pop a handful of aspirin, wash it down with a swig of vodka. The doctor gives me a dirty look. I wish I had the extra fifty bucks to pay him for some lidocaine.
And the news that Boss didn’t die…
I think of the miracle being pulled off by a team of doctors in an ICU somewhere to keep Boss alive. He survives a car bomb and meanwhile I’ll probably die of sepsis from this quack sewing me up. Life isn’t fair.
Doc wraps me up in so much gauze and tape that I can’t bend, which is for the best as I don’t want to pop my stitches. He recommends I take it easy, but he speaks without conviction. He knows taking it easy isn’t in the lifestyle of anyone who needs his services.
I need a plan. My face is probably all around the city, known to every cop and criminal alike. I step into the alley and put on a pair of sunglasses to hide my bruised face.
If I can get to the money, I’m golden. But my stash is half the city away. gently caress Tony for leaving. We were supposed to be a team. He nabs the cash, I take out Boss, we get out and nobody is the wiser. But Tony is gone and I’m still stuck here. I pull the revolver from my pants. One round left. The thing looks a little beat up from the blast that took out Boss’ car and sent that flying hunk of metal into my side. I’m not even sure if the thing will fire.
With Tony out of the picture, there’s only one person left in this town I can trust. I call Erica. She picks up on the first ring.
“Everyone’s looking for you.” She sounds worried. At least she’s still on my side.
“I know. Are you safe?”
“Good. I need you to do me a favor.”
I drive to the meeting spot in a cab. Blending into the sea of yellow is the only way to remain inconspicuous in a city with so many eyes. Nobody pays attention to yet another cab driving by.
Erica smokes on a park bench. She wears a pair of oversized sunglasses that I find both appealing and obnoxious. She doesn’t notice me yet, which is fine because I want to scope the place out. My head throbs along with my heart and my side with every breath I take. I force myself to count to a thousand. Erica finishes three cigarettes.
I get out the cab and her smile almost makes me forget the pain. She hands me a cigarette and lights her fourth.
“You’ve got the money with you?”
“Of course not. I’m not carrying that in public.”
“Where is it?”
She leans in as if to kiss me. Touches the tip of her cigarette to mine. I suck in air and smoke. I look over her shoulder and that’s when I see the men tailing her.
“I’m sorry,” is all she says.
I’m bleeding freely from my side again as they push me down on the chair. I know that’s the least of my worries. I’ve been in this sweat-stenched room in the abandoned tenement before. Normally I’m the one dragging some poor bastard here. Now I get a taste of my own medicine.
I hear footsteps on the stairs behind me. I know that’s part of the game. Not being able to see anything ramps up the terror. Well, it’s working. And when Charlie crosses in front of me he greets me with a right hook instead of an embrace.
The two men who brought me here hand Charlie my revolver, which he places on the fold-out table next to me. I eye it and know it’s a part of my torture. Having it just out of reach will torture my mind as Charlie tortures my body. The men leave me alone with him. I’m not going anywhere. This is Charlie’s show.
He doesn’t even ask questions. Just gets to work. The man is an artist with pain, but I’m not in a position to admire his work. He counts my bones as he breaks them. First to go is the bridge of my nose. My sinuses fill with blood and makes me feel like I’m drowning. The next blow breaks my zygomatic bone, which he explains to me is in my cheek.
Three bones later his cell phone rings. He answers, then holds it to my ear.
“Hello?” I spit blood onto the floor.
“I hope you now see the error of your ways,” Boss’ voice is weak and I can hear the beep of a heart monitor in the background. But he will end the day alive, so I guess he’s the big winner here.
“I hope you go gently caress yourself,” I say. It’s easy to say something brave when you know you’re going to die. Charlie takes the phone back and listens for a moment before he hangs up.
He grabs my revolver from the table.
“One round left. Very fitting,” he says. He spins the cylinder and points it at me.
“Let’s see how long your luck holds out.” He spins the cylinder again and takes aim. Next thing I know there’s a flash of light that drives all thought from my mind.
I can’t hear. I can’t see. But I’m still alive. My vision comes back slowly. My hearing doesn’t. There’s a ringing in my ears that feels like it will go on forever.
There’s a lot of smoke, but here’s what I see before me: Charlie twisting on the ground in pain. He clutches the charred, bloody stump of what’s left of his hand to his chest. He’s screaming, but I can’t hear it over the ringing.
The bullet exploded in the chamber. All because of the damage it took earlier when the car bomb went off. Saved by my previous gently caress up.
Nobody comes. Nobody can hear him. That’s the point of this place. I stagger to my feet and wish for the strength to kick him. He’ll survive, but I think he’ll remember this day for a long time to come. I step over him and make my way outside.
I’m alone. I was right about only having one person in this town I can trust and that person is me. Tony’s gone. Erica too. But the sun is shining. I take that to be a sign of good things on the horizon. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day, but today isn’t over yet.
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 21:41|
anime was right fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2015 around 05:53
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 22:27|
All I Think About Is Death
The patterns suddenly stopped coalescing, and he saw the pixellated doctor. The intent, he believed, was supposed to be charming, but all he could notice were the glasses, opaque white with the lack of detail. To him this made the doctor simply another code. There is no soul there, he thought, and no love either.
“Hi, Jack!”, the doctor said cheerily. “You’ve reached your bandwidth limit. This limit is placed in accordance with safety protocols designed to prevent overuse of the neuronet. Studies have shown that excessive neuronet use results in damage to the limbic system, resulting in an over-prioritization of emotional response. In order to stop your feelings from hurting you, you will be blocked from the neuronet until the end of the month.”
Already he could feel it, like someone cutting off his breathing. You were used to it, took it for granted, until it was taken away from you. They’re choking me, he thought angrily, and saying it’s for my own good.
He was already thinking, a cafe. In a cafe he could access the neuronet by ordering an overpriced caffeine injection.
He found his pair of plastic shades. Become a code yourself, he thought. The truth was that they were usually necessary for the glaring light of the outside world. When he stepped out, though, it was clouded over. The neuronet lives in the clouds, he thought, and felt hopeful.
He wasn’t outside long, anyway. There were cafes everywhere. Secretly, he believed, they were in on it. It was a scheme they and the health committee had figured out together. Cut them off and the junkies would do whatever it took.
But the need overcame whatever moral objections he had, and so when he entered the hotspot he went straight for the line, which moved quickly. He ordered his shot and sat down with all the artists and writers, there not for the neuronet, but to “create” something, some long form print story or hyperscreen script. Even if they weren’t using ugly external tablets, you would be able to tell by their bohemian affectations; they were clearly stuck in some disconnected counterculture. Archaic architects, he thought, unable to contain his judgement. Their meaning was in statis. But the neuronet was a million dimensions and its evolution was accelerated at the speed of birth. The true creators lived there and breathed deep the oxygen of fragmented, latticed truth.
He closed his eyes and accessed it. He saw the patterns, familiar, but they danced in new ways. This was a part of their familiarity. If they stood still he wouldn’t recognize them anymore.
The memescape, he thought. The gene blur. He needed a serious mood boost. The shifting images tended to stimulate him in all the right ways. The sublingual meaning, that the pixel doctor said was so dangerous, seemed to bypass his cerebrum and interface with his soul. Text, they had left behind long ago. That poo poo had been carvings in stone tablets and he had been relieved when it was gone. Deep down he had always known he needed something that was alive.
But he felt it when the recontextualized vintage anime was morphing his nostalgia receptors. Morphing was expected but this was wrong somehow. Instead of reworking the past these images seemed to be trapping him there. Can we never grow, he asked himself, horrified. I don’t want to be stuck here. He had never thought about disconnecting before and it took several moments before the thought even registered. Then he wasn’t sure how to do it. Shutting off meaning, he thought. Self-induced sensory deprivation. Who knew how to blind themselves in this age? Who even had the willpower for it?
He left a subcomment, a flash of semiotics work targeting anyone whose humour centers were overdriven by this nostalgic pandering. You should feel bad for limiting yourself like this. Then he tried to focus on his attention filters. He had always kept them fully permeable. He had never known anything else. So the interface felt awkward to him, but eventually he got it working. No anime, he told it explicitly. Not ever.
But eventually, he realized, it was his whole memosis process that was hosed. Nothing worked for him any more. The short motion captures self-recorded by splicewolves on the hunt for disconnected sheep. The hallucination ASMRs. The revulsion children. Furry freaks, he thought. Stoner idiots. Gore perverts.
He was growing out of it. Leaving it behind. It was death, in a sense. Everyone saw it in their future, everyone had to come to grips with it. The natural end result of evolving meaning was evolving past evolved meaning. You’d see it in the subcomments left by burnt out veterans too apathetic to bother using emotional tags. “loving losers. This poo poo is for literal children. Get a loving job and go outside.” You laughed it off but one day, you knew, it would happen to you.
Neurodeath. Seeing it drove you further into it. Shrug it off, go back to your memes. The only way to forget was to feed your addiction to the drug that was killing you. What was the afterlife like, he wondered. He had always wondered this, though he had tried to get away from it. The truth was that no one knew, because no one spoke from that other world. They’d say, the light outside. I’m entering it now and leaving you wretches on this side. And there would be nothing else from them. Pure silence. The only ghosts were what they left behind. No intercommunication there, only white noise.
He was already feeling the decay when the transmissions started. He had forgotten to preblock them and his tag traces were glaringly obvious. The denizens of the neuronet were sign masters; he had forgotten this somehow and would now pay the price. The trolls, the demons, the gargoyles, they had left their caves and now his serotonin waves were being drained like water spiralling out of a bathtub. It was something else he had always known. Through the neuronet you could do anything to anyone if you knew what you were doing. And if you didn’t you were vulnerable. Exposed. Naked. He was bleeding sweat. He was shivering. He could feel the frost in his bones and the ice shards under his skin.
He was pseudo as gently caress, looking down on culture art for aesthetic reasons. If he knew anything he’d see that the very form he was mocking subverted his shallow principles, dissipated like smoke in a field. He knew this at his core; could not argue with it. He was as casual as the skirts girls wore in the summer. Who could ever love someone so basic? His genes were toxic, he would never breed.
Desperately, he struck back. He used the alltag, the mark of someone who’d lost the plot, but he could not focus on individual voices. Each one seemed to lacerate him distinctly, many knives but all serrated. His skin would be in tatters soon. What allows one to lay on a bed of nails, he thought, is the diffusion of pain; isolate it and it becomes unbearable. He queued it, left it there to execute after he was out.
His concepts were simple: there is more to life than art.
Then he opened his eyes and the feed cut abruptly.
He looked at the shot; he had been clutching it this whole time. Without giving his brain a chance to register it he drove it deep until he felt the energy in his cells. Java blood. He gave the artists around him a sweeping, withering stare and went outside. The sun was shining, but he had his shades on, and the air was warm.
|# ? Apr 5, 2015 23:22|
Baby’s Day In
Gina swung one leg onto the wheeled magician’s table, then the other, while supporting her pregnant belly. The stage was bathed in bright light and the seats empty; the theater would fill up later, when the show was on.
“So I just lay down here?” she asked Alan.
“Yep, that’s all you gotta do. Thanks again for skipping your boxing class to help me practice, by the way.”
“No problem. Did you get a new how-to book?” Gina asked, pointing at the tome Alan was holding.
Alan looked at the book and blushed. “Yeah, I found it at that new shop down on String Avenue, I thought it looked neat.”
The book appeared to be authentic leather, with runes adoring its cover. The title’s script was so flowery that Gina could barely make out Thee Bigge Booke ofe Spelles ande Trickse.
“So you’re sure I don’t need to be flexible or anything?”
“Nah, the book says this is a new twist on the old sawing-someone-in-half trick.”
Gina lay back on the table and made herself comfortable. Alan lowered the top-half of the box onto her, leaving only her head and feet exposed at both ends.
“Okay just stay still, I promise I won’t hurt you.”
Alan produced an oversized saw and started cutting through the middle of the box, reading incantations from the book as he did so. Gina’s toes curled as the saw got closer and closer to her belly, but when she thought she’d feel the teeth biting into her flesh there was only a strong tingling sensation.
Alan rolled the two halves of the table apart and shouted, “Ta-dah!”
Gina smiled and said, “Well done!”
Alan looked at her and made his eyebrows jump once, “Oh, it’s not over yet!”
He covered the bottom half of the table with a silk cloth, muttered a few more unintelligible words, and lifted the cloth. Gina’s feet were no longer poking out of the box.
Her eyes widened and she burst out, “Wow! How’d you do that? It’s almost like I can’t feel them anymore!”
Alan shrugged and winked, “A good magician never reveals his tricks.”
He lifted the box from the bottom half of the table, Gina’s legs definitely no longer on it. His eyes bulged and his smile faltered as he lifted the box from the top half. Gina’s torso was still there, but it was undoubtedly cut off at the middle, with smooth skin showing where her legs would normally begin, under her belly.
Gina frowned when she saw his expression and looked down, running her hands over what would, under normal conditions, be her pelvis.
“What did you do? Where are my legs?!”
“I uh… I don’t…”
Alan fainted. Gina propped herself up on her elbows, staring at the other half of the table, trying to wrap her head around what just happened. When it became apparent her legs were not going to just reappear, she slid herself to the edge of the table and lowered her body to the floor, taking care not to jostle the baby. She felt like Humpty Dumpty.
She walked on her hands towards the book that Alan had dropped when he fainted. It had fallen face-down, on the page for the trick that Alan had just performed. Gina scanned the various steps but none of them were concerned with making the legs reappear again.
A sudden cramp struck her. Gina realized she was going into labor, at this very moment, of all possible times. But if her legs weren’t, where would the baby come out?
Panicked, she stuffed the book into her shirt and hopped backstage, screaming for help. No one answered her – she and Alan had been the only two in the building. Passing by the locker room on her way to the exit, she spotted a skateboard.
Gina rolled her way out of the building on the skateboard’s squeaky wheels. The street outside was deserted on this Sunday afternoon; most of the city’s inhabitants were at the park for the free show that was being put on this weekend. She looked uphill, towards the hospital, and downhill, where String Avenue was located. She opted to go for the store where Alan had picked up the book. The doctors at the hospital would most likely suggest a c-section. Gina was planning to be the best possible mother to her child and such an unnatural birth would go against this.
Another pang of pain in her stomach made her wince as she turned downhill. She pushed herself forward, letting the momentum build. Halfway down the hill, the squeak from one of the wheels began to get louder. The skateboard started wobbling. Gina realized she had no way to stop herself without scraping her hands on the pavement. A pick-up truck turned into the intersection at the bottom of the hill, directly in Gina’s path. On its side was written “McLure’s Manure – You plant ‘em, we turd ‘em.”
The wheel’s high-pitched squeaking stopped as the wheel broke with a snap, flying away to the side. Gina was catapulted towards the truck’s back, into the pile of warm manure it was carrying.
Gina scrambled out of the manure and came up for air, taking a deep breath. The driver stopped the truck and came out.
“You okay, lady? What the hell were you doing?”
“Please, I need you to take me to the magic store on String Avenue! I’m having a baby!”
“Jesus! Wouldn’t you rather go to the-“
“No! Please! My legs are gone and…”
The driver waved his hands to indicate he had heard enough. “Whatever, I don’t care, I’ll take you there as long as you don’t sue. But uh, you mind staying in the back? I just got the cab reupholstered.”
He drove her down String Avenue until she spotted the store and told him to stop. He wrapped her in a towel to help her down, being very careful not to get any manure on himself.
“You’re very prissy for a guy who drives a manure truck.”
“And you’re a legless lady giving birth in a pile of poo poo, who’s the weird one?”
Gina pursed her lips, contemplating this statement as he got back into his truck and drove away. She attempted the best possible shrug she could give under the circumstances and hopped towards the shop’s door. She knocked on the glass, unable to both open the door and go in.
Someone came and opened the door after a minute. It was a man in a long robe and pointy hat, both covered in arcane symbols. He stroked his beard, which was held by hooks around his ears, and gave her a questioning look.
“My friend bought a book from you and made my legs disappear and I need you to fix this right now.”
“Ah, I see. Please, come in,” he said, holding the door open and gesturing towards the inside of the store.
He introduced himself as Horgor the Magnificient and led her to a back room adorned with dreamcatchers and various mystical decorations. In the middle was a table on which a crystal ball rested. Gina explained her situation as Horgor listened, chin resting in his hand. She finished and took the book out, offering it to him. He took the book and flipped through it, giving the pages a cursory glance.
“Alas, I know this tome well, and there are no incantations to bring back your legs.”
Crestfallen, Gina held back a sob. She clutched her belly as the cramps came harder and faster. “What can I do then? My child…”
“Fortunately, I am a real wizard! I just wear this stuff because it’s what people expect. Let’s take a look at the crystal ball.”
Horgor waved his hands over the ball and it lit up right away, showing Gina’s legs. With a few more wave of his hands the view expanded; the legs were stumbling around the deck of a cruise ship, surrounded by drunk, partying people. They were pointing and laughing at the pair of disembodied legs.
“Oh my god. Can you teleport me there or something?”
“Well, I can certainly try.”
Horgor rolled up his sleeves. He began waving his hands around, then stopped.
“Just so you know, I’ve never teleported anyone before, so…”
“I don’t care. Do it.”
He nodded and resumed his spell. As his incantations grew louder, Gina felt herself losing consciousness.
She woke up some time later, once again laying on a table. This one was cold steel.
“Oh, you’re up!” a voice said.
Gina’s eyes focused on a man wearing scrubs and a surgical mask.
“Hey, welcome to the party boat! I’m Dr. Shots!” he said, waving and spilling a glass of beer. “Don’t worry, I got a real steady hand, even when sloshed! We’re gonna have your baby out in no time! This c-section is gonna be a cinch!”
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 00:11|
little more then 6 hours to submit!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 00:39|
When life give you lemons...
Eat your loving lemons.
Prompt: The worst day ever.
Richard did everything right. He bought the ring, got a reservation for the fanciest restaurant in town, and he even arranged to have the band to play their song at just the right moment. As he carefully combed his hair in the bathroom mirror, he smiled and thought, This will be a night to remember.
Richard should have known better than think those words.
It was just after desert when Richard felt the time had come. He eyed the singer -- a professional Sinatra impersonator who did an absolutely marvelous job despite being Korean -- who nodded back with a broad, slightly gap-toothed grin.
"Richie," Melody looked across the table at him with a warm, but faintly uncomfortable smile, and she placed her hand on his arm, "sweetie, this has been a wonderful evening, but I'm getting tired. Could we head home?"
"Sure thing," he purred, eyes half-lidded. Oh yeah. "Tired." Something tells me you'll be just bursting with energy once we get to the bedroom... "Just one little detail before we leave..."
He ignored her quiet protests as he stood up, and he clinked his wine glass with his fork, calling for attention.
"Forgive me for interrupting your meal, everyone, but I have a few announcements! First of all, I'm next in line to receive a major promotion at Felix Capital. But hold your applause, ladies and gentlemen -- it gets better!"
He reached a hand into his jacket and removed a small, black velvet box, and knelt before Melody with closed eyes and a small, smug smile of affection.
"My love, my dear, my heart... will you grant me your hand in marriage? Will you bind your life to mine? Will our spirits intertwine? Will you love me forevermore, love me like you've never loved before?"
He popped open the box, and a gaudy gold ring practically gave off light of its own, its diamond a pulsing, glittering star that dazzled the other diners with its impossible radiance. One older woman fell to the ground clutching her eyes, raving about the blinding glare of an angry god.
"I wrote that myself, by the way." Richard looked up into the eyes of his love.
Silence reigned in the crowded restaurant.
"No," Melody murmured softly.
Richard looked up blankly. "Huh? I really did, though! It took hours."
"I don't want to marry you," she said.
Richard blinked. "I don't follow."
"There's... Richard, can we talk about this? In private?" She looked about, cheeks flushed with embarrassment, eyes glittering with unshed tears. "Please?"
Richard clapped the ring box shut with a deafening echo, and he got to his feet. Love and expectant joy had been replaced with shock, and growing anger. "No. No! You mean everything to me -- everything! How could you do this to me?"
"Please," she said, choking up. "Not here. Not here!"
"No! I deserve an explanation!" Richard crossed his arms like a petulant child.
"I'm gay, you loving rear end in a top hat!" Melody's voice rose to a desperate screech. "Every loving day of my life I had to hide who I was... no more! I met someone, Richard! I met someone who loves me, and who I can love back! Someone I can make love to without swallowing bile!"
She got to her feet, narrowed her eyes, stood on her tiptoes, and got in close to his face. "So you can take that overpriced piece of crap and give it to someone who can put up with your grandiose grandstanding. But if you're smart, next time you will tone it down."
With that, she turned on her heel and walked out of the restaurant, and out of his life.
"Hey, Richie?" Korean Sinatra awkwardly tapped Richard on the shoulder. He barely felt it. "We... we're still gonna get paid, right?"
"...and that's when I walked out of the place and called a cab, but not before throwing the ring to a homeless guy. I figured he'd get more use out of it than I would." Richard put down the phone for a moment to belch resoundingly and to take another drink of his beer.
"Whoa, wait, hold up." Bruce, Richard's best friend as well as the son of his boss, sputtered half-amused, half-bemused, and half-angry. "You spent thirty grand on a ring for her? You begged me to get you that promotion for a loving dyke?"
"I didn't know she was a lesbian," Richard said, prickles of anger seeping through his alcoholic haze. But it wasn't directed at Melody -- after thinking about it long enough, he realized he should have figured it out sooner -- the signs had been present. A part of him had probably known all along, but he'd crushed it down under the weight of his ego.
"You didn't know? You fuckin' kidding me? Maybe you just turned her into a dyke -- you're a limp-dicked cocksucker, always have been, even when we were in college, and maybe you soured her so bad on guys she went to the other side. Maybe I oughtta track her down -- a good man-dicking would straighten her out."
She humiliated him. She showed him up in front of an entire restaurant. But he realized he couldn't be angry at her -- he did it all to himself. And what's more, he still loved her. Maybe that's what caused him to fly off the handle, or maybe his wounded pride, or perhaps the alcohol, or all of it mixed together.
Or maybe he only just realized Bruce was an rear end in a top hat.
"...and that is why I think you're an rear end in a top hat," Richard finished, spittle flying from his mouth. "You understand me? You say one more loving word about Mel or me, and I will personally come to that awful McMansion your daddy bought you and feed you your yellow teeth you halitosis-ridden motherfucker!"
Bruce was silent for a long time, and Richard could almost hear his jowls quiver with rage over the phone.
"Y'know what, Dick? Maybe you ain't a pussy after all. But you chose the wrong time to grow a pair. You just lost that promotion-no, you just lost your loving job. Monday morning, you clear out your poo poo."
Bruce hung up with a curse, and Richard sighed and took another drink of his beer.
Savings gone. Job gone. Girlfriend gone. Only one thing left to do.
He got his keys, grabbed the rest of his case, and went for a drive.
"There he is," Melody said, pointing to the solitary shirtless figure sitting on the edge of the bridge in the rain. "Stop here, Pepper."
"You sure about this?" Pepper ran a calloused, dark-skinned hand through short-cropped brown hair, frowning. "He sounded like an rear end in a top hat."
"Yeah," Melody admitted. "But I still feel bad. I shouldn't have hidden what I am."
"You were Catholic, hon," Pepper said with a sympathetic grin. She leaned over and kissed Melody on a fair-skinned cheek. "That kinda programming's hard to erase. Go check on him -- I'll wait here."
Melody nodded, then went to Richard. He was staring down into the murky water, beer in hand, ignorant of the freezing late-fall rain.
"Richie? Step back... it's not worth it." She saw his car out of the side of her eye. It was parked against a tree, its front bumped crumpled, but otherwise undamaged.
Richard looked at her, then let out a little laugh. "Huh? Oh. No, I wasn't gonna jump. Just remembering. This is where we met, remember?"
"I'm sorry," he said softly. "I'm really, really sorry. About everything."
"Me too," she said lamely but relieved, unsure of what to say.
"I'd like for us to be friends, if possible." He tossed back the rest of his can. "Can we be friends? We've been through too much."
She nodded, then smiled. "I'd like that."
"Good." He reached into his pocket and handed her the ring. "Keep it. Give it to whomever you fall for. Make her as happy as you made me."
Her breath caught in her throat. "But..."
Richard grinned. "Homeless guy tracked me down, gave it back. Said he'd be happy with a hot meal and twenty bucks for some rotgut. It was a good deal."
She laughed, then threw her arms about him.
Drunk as he was, Richard remembered that night.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 00:59|
this has nothing to do with this week but my crits for Curling Iron Doctor Idle and Pete Zah are here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 01:04|
Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at Dec 30, 2015 around 19:14
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 02:30|
Thanks for the crit, Jitzu!
Lance's Last Chance
“No, man, I gotta loving say something, ‘cause if I don’t then she’ll never know how I really felt all this time!” Lance was losing it and the tailor was getting pissed. The old dude sighed, picked a few pins out of the carpet and wondered why his son didn’t go into the family business. Lance pushed back his ginger locks and stared wide-eyed at Dustin through the multi-paneled mirror. “I mean - right??”
“But like…” Dustin poked at a mannequin in a fancy cummerbund; he hadn’t gotten Carly’s save-the-date. “If you really cared this much, shouldn’t you have said something like, forever ago?”
“Yes, dude! I know! Trust me, I know, it’s all I can loving think about right now. ‘Cause it’s my last chance! I mean poo poo, Carson loving Punth? She’s marrying that guy??”
“He’s a hundred percent marriage material, bro. Like, she’s honestly lucky.”
“Dude what the gently caress, you’re supposed to be on my side!”
“I mean - no, like, not like she wouldn’t be like, way more lucky to have you, dude."
“No, dude. Of course, yeah. But like, seriously. If you do say something? She’ll probably just, A, get super pissed and B, kick you out like a bitch and C, resulting in everyone thinking you’re a total douche.”
Lance turned around suddenly and knocked a bunch of pins out of the old dude’s hand.“But--”
“Seriously. Dude,” Dustin cut him off again, cap pushed up and eyebrows riding high. “You don’t gently caress with a lady’s special day.”
Lance sighed. “I know, bro. I know.” He could never say it, but he was nervous, and he’d be way more pumped if Dustin was coming too, ‘cause Dustin’s one of his closest bros of all time. But he could never just say that.
For being in someone's backyard, the event itself was actually pretty sick, like the cover of a ladies magazine or something. All different colors, folded paper things, open bar - that part was nice. Lance was looking sharp for sure, but some of these dudes had on their grandad’s suit from the 30’s and poo poo. Old money, probably Punth’s boys from whatever secret society he crawled out of. “Scumbag,” said Lance to himself.
“Umm, is that Lance Meyer??!” The shriek came from over by the punchbowl. Lance didn’t even have to turn around, he knew who it was. That dork Glory Fellowes from freshman year in the dorms. Dustin had a thing with her, but Lance knew he could've had it if he wanted. He downed his punch and swiped another cup.
"Yo, Glory. Sup." He decided to keep it low-key so he focus on getting back with Carly. But still, Glory had definitely stepped up her game, looks-and-body-wise. Still on the chubby side by Lance's standards, but she had that pale-busty-redhead thing going on, and it worked. Lance almost lost it when he saw the hipster chump trailing her, but he went for a slap-bump instead. "Bro, sup, I'm Lance. You know Carson?"
"N-no," he started, before Glory cut in. "Lance, this is Jan. We live together."
"That's tight." It wasn't tight, but whatever. Lance looked around at the party crowd, spotting Punth and Carly cheesing it up by the DJ booth. So when's the, like, marriage part?" That shitbird Jan smirked for some reason. Glory's face dropped.
"You're not serious, right? Lance, they got married like two hours ago. This is the reception." She scoffed. "Figures I didn't see you at the service."
Lance snorted to himself. He felt like a moron, but he had to front. "Nah, I was there. In the back. I meant, uh," He had nothing. "Oh poo poo, there they are. Gotta go say what's up to the bride and groom." He broke away smooth, grabbed another punch cup on his way across the dancefloor. He had to wait behind someone's grandma for a while, which made him wish he'd grabbed a second.
When he got to Punth, the slightly-taller man put his hand out for a firm shake and said, "Thanks for coming."
"For sure, man. Congrats, bro, for real."
Punth narrowed his eyes, searching Lance's face. "You're...?"
"Lance Meyer. Old flame- I mean old friend of Carly's." Power move, bitch. And Punth clearly caught it, his eyebrow jumped up a mile. Lance let go of his hand as Carly turned towards him.
"Laaaance," she said. "I didn't know you were here."
"Yeah, uh, I been around, you know."
"You weren't at the ceremony," Punth interrupted, trying to flex. "I have a photogenic memory."
"Alright, dude. I mean, I was there, it was fuckin' beautiful, so relax." They didn't say anything for a second. "Um, but like Carly, I was wondering if I could talk to you for a second? Alone?" She eyed Punth. He chuckled like he could care less. A sure sign Lance had gotten under his skin.
Lance and Carly moved a few feet away, near the gazebo. "So, what's up, Lance? It's been a while."
"Listen. You know that part of the wedding where the guy says 'If anyone thinks this sucks, speak up'?"
She crossed her arms. "Yeah, the priest, yeah?"
"Yeah, well, back when he said that, at the church, right... I meant to say, 'Me, I think it sucks'. Like, stand up and say it out loud. Because I do, babe. This whole marriage, Carson loving Punth, babe, this sucks. We should be together. Let me finish, I know it's been a minute since we texted but what we had was real."
"Are you making GBS threads me?" She wasn't feeling it. "You loving left me and told me I was a loving prude because I wouldn't let you gently caress me in the rear end, you son of a bitch. I sent you a courtesy invite because a lot of our mutual friends are here, and you bring this poo poo?"
Suddenly Punth was at her side. "Everything okay here, honey?"
"It's fine. Thanks for coming, Lance." She and Punth walked off, muttering. Lance swallowed hard. Everything got really far away and he put his hand on a gazebo beam for a sec. Everyone was looking at him, he could feel it. He had to rally. He put his head down and headed for the punchbowl.
Lance came to in a bed not his own and he felt a surge of pride. But then he noticed that weird beeping sound, and realized it felt like he was on benzos.
"You're awake." Dustin turned off the TV. "Dude, you're lucky to be alive, you realize that, right?"
"The gently caress's..." Talking was hard, and Lance could feel himself drooling.
"You don't remember? poo poo bro, you got hosed up at the reception. They had to call an ambulance and poo poo."
"gently caress.... Wha'd I do?"
"Well first of all you did exactly what I said not to do. I heard from Glory you tried to tell Carly you're in love with her. After the fuckin' wedding, too."
"Yeah..." He remembered that part.
"And when she surprisingly didn't kick you out on your rear end, you proceeded to get blackout and jump off the roof into the pool."
"F-gently caress." Part of it came back to him. But what came back was mostly pain.
"Only, there wasn't a pool, there was a chalk drawing of a pool on the driveway. You broke both your legs. Doc says it'll be six to eight months of P.T. before you're walking again."
"Jesus gently caress."
"Yeah. You're a loving moron, Lance. And by the way, Glory said you made a pass at her before your little Almost Famous moment, too. She said you tried to sock her date, but he tripped you into some chairs. A moron and a loving scumbag, too."
"Look, bro... We been bros a long time. Since we rushed, but like... You need help. Seriously. You're... hosed up right now, man. Get help. But don't call me." He shook his head one last time, and walked away.
"Wait. gently caress." Lance let his head sink back into the pillow, wincing as he tried to move his legs in the giant casts they were strung up in. He'd managed to lose everything at once. He hosed it all up. But at least he was finally alone. He could finally let it out. Lance cried, and cried, and cried, and didn't stop until a good while after a nurse had come by and closed the door to his room, so nobody else had to listen to his poo poo.
Something Else fucked around with this message at Apr 6, 2015 around 06:35
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 02:33|
Mercy (1499 words)
He's already sitting at a table in your favorite coffee shop when you get there. He's here at the coffee shop where that barista who works on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the one with the pierced lip and the blonde undercut, now after seven months of meticulous tipping writes your name on your twenty-ounce to-go cup without even asking, and even goes so far as to sometimes ask you if you want 'the regular' this morning, on hearing which comment you always have to fight the urge to glance at the hipsters behind you in line (you're a little stodgy for the place, in your dress-code-compliant chinos) to check whether they've noticed that you're a regular, and then fight the subsequent urge to totally go off the rails at yourself for caring whether any dread-head recognizes your propriety over a coffee shop that used to be called Thanks A Latte and now goes by the presumably heavily ironic Brew Ha Ha. What he's drinking, the man in the corner, looks a lot like your own beloved caramel mocha, and the name your barista has inscribed in the cup in her loopy grade-eight handwriting is none other than your own. You think something like huh and you let your eyes be drawn over and up: up to the neckline of the man's own robin's-egg-blue button-down, a hair better-fitting than yours; up to his narrow jaw, neatly shaven. You refocus like a cheap camera. The man in the corner, he's got the same face as you.
The barista says something huffy. Same eyebrows trending towards bushiness (his a bit more recently waxed), same pianist's fingers, same ice-blue, long-lashed eyes, the only feature of yours you've ever liked. He stands and you startle but he's not looking at you but instead over your shoulder at the barista, who you glance at just as she gives him a thousand-watt smile (lip-ring clacking on teeth), waves girlishly, and says: "Same time tomorrow, Gary?"
"You bet," he says, in your voice.
You're a perfect simulacrum to his original. You hustle onto the street behind him. He introduces himself, mad as you must seem: your name, your tiny hint of a lisp on the hissier syllable codas. That might be recognition in his eyes. "What the hell is going on here?" you ask and he says "Hey, man, I could talk about that all day, but I've really got to get to work." He gestures towards your own bus. Warmly greets your driver. Gets off at your own stop. Walks into the foyer at Walker & Wellbert Insurance, inc, with a stride a touch more confident than your own. Baffles the receptionist into refusing you entry - Gary already signed in, I have no idea what you're trying to pull here. "Is this a prank?" you ask the receptionist, whose name is Marlene, and she adjusts her tortoiseshell glasses before responding Is what a prank, sir? but now you've strongarmed your way through the security door - you do have your own keycard - and now he's got his arm around your boss's shoulders in a way more fraternal than you've been towards anyone, up to and including your own actual brother. He's logging in at your terminal. He's wearing your headset, the one that you don't even lend to the most conscientious of your fresh-out-of-school coworkers. You're clenching your fists. You think about going to the hospital. You think about going home and going back to bed. The word confidant bubbles into your head. He casually puts one hand on the tricep of the female recent hire who does triathlons and smells like vanilla extract and whose name you do not know. You watch him stand and walk across the room, a beatific smile on his face. You jerk out of the way as someone says "hey, watch it" and half-tumbles over you with a box of paper. You take a breath. You do something that liberally might be called storming across the room. He isn't looking at you, even though a few other people now are, in a look-at-that-rear end in a top hat sort of way.
You plant your feet and say "Look, buddy." You've never called anybody buddy in your life without at least four and a half beers in you, and at this moment the word seems to bounce buddy buddy buddy off of the industrial-beige carpet, and industrial-grey modular cubical walls. You dredge up the word galvanized from some old SAT flashcard and soldier on. "Look," you say again, "I don't know what the gently caress exactly is going on here." He hasn't looked at you yet. Does the picked-at cystic acne under your own jawline really have that same raw-hamburger look to it? "But you've got ten seconds to explain to me who the gently caress you are and what you think you're doing, showing up out of nowhere and trying to take my life right out from under me -" You try to decide if the little squeak at the end there, the echo of a postadolescent voice-crack's echo, was audible to you alone or to you as well. He just stands there for a full ten seconds - an epochial length of time, three entire breaths, eighteen and a half heartbeats, enough time for you to be gearing up for a real red-faced throttling meltdown when he finally looks up from the table where he's now filling out what appears to be a get-well-soon card for a coworker regarding whose name you can only dredge up vague shame-memory-type associations (last year's Christmas party, a meaty-palmed fumble behind the buffet table) and says "Aw, I'm sorry. You weren't using it, were you?" with a smile whose warmth could melt Nurse Ratched's heart.
And you know what? When you calm down and think about it for a second, he's actually got a point, this man who wants your life. Are you still the boy, say his (your) blue eyes, who spent your own tenth ice-skating birthday party sobbing quietly in the handicapped stall because your grandmother gave you a Transformers action figure that you already had one of and your mama turned around and gave it away to William Dickert, who wore the same World Wrestling Federation t-shirt every day and had a raw eczematous rash around his mouth that made it look as if he'd always been eating red popsicles, sobbing not because you'd ever begrudge William Dickert a Transformers action figure, but actually because as soon as your mama said 'you don't mind, do you Gary?' you began to feel the self-righteous fury sizzling biliously up your throat and the devil of need inside of you wanted to actually rend her with its claws, wanted to rend its own breast at the heartbreaking loss of a plaything that was rightfully yours, and moreso even because you knew even at age ten that to even have entertained such a hateful feeling towards poor William Dickert and towards your kind, long-suffering, narrow-faced and lank-haired mama, a mama whose Job-like suffering in the raising of you is elevated to martyrdom in your personal mythology, whose aureole shines from her (Cleveland. Six years back. Anal cancer, just like Farrah Fawcett) deathbed, whose memory in your heart is a pulsing cyst that can't be touched for fear of popping it - and the thing that made you cry the most wretchedly (handicapped stall, tenth birthday party, Transformers action figure, William Dickert) was knowing that to even entertain that feeling for a moment tattooed you as a piggish, lustful thing better suited for the trough or the killing pens than for a picket-fence adulthood. You start to take the next step in the good old game of Who are you, anyways? which is to recall that your lifelong obsession with your own greed and filthiness is in itself a reflection of a nasty self-indulgent self-absorbedness that doesn't even begin to manifest itself in other people, with your face, who are busier thinking about girls and insurance policies and vaccinating Guatemalan orphans -- no, that last bit is you being snide, and you almost start all over but the man with your face winks at you as if he can read your thoughts and is trying to say, knock it off with the ouroboric bullshit and do something useful already. "Fine," you say. That face of yours. It's not like you really loved it, anyways. "Fine. Keep it, buddy." He's still sincerely smiling. You used to want to be better than you were. These days you just want to want to want to want to, and so on down the recursive plughole. If you remember correctly, you used to want to buy a good pair of shoes, head on out the door, and not stop walking until you saw the sunset over the Pacific. And you're still young. The sun still sets every evening. So maybe you will.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 02:34|
Penny For Your Life
It was the two-year-and-three-day anniversary of his divorce, and Raymond Tisdale had celebrated by finishing his taxes for the year. Now that the celebration was over, Tisdale sat at his kitchen table, putting off the hard work of breathing fresh air.
Tisdale lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side that he paid for every month with half of his Social Security check. He always paid his rent two days early, in cash, calculated twice over. Every thirtieth, he made sure to look the landlord—who was at least thirty years younger than him—in the eye as he handed over the envelope, as if to say: You drat well better trust me.
Tisdale’s fingers moved independently over the table in front of him, fingertips skating across the varnished surface on shiny and rusty pennies, nickels, dimes. He shuffled and stacked them while he ordered his thoughts, in the same sort of way a professional poker player would. He’d never played poker in his life, of course. Real life was enough of a gamble, enough of an unbalanced account.
Further across the surface of the table were more stacks of coins, polished, blemished, verdant. Bronze and silver towers he’d built upon a flat earth. They came from all corners of Manhattan, from as far downtown as Coney Island to a solitary nickel from the 110th street subway station, now lost in the middle of a nameless stack. It was a habit he’d had since childhood, picking up spare change wherever he found it. His ex-wife used to joke that he was the only homeless man in New York City to own a home.
With an unshaking hand, Tisdale swept twenty-one pennies into his cupped right palm and began to stack. His eyes narrowed behind his glasses as he carefully placed each round copper coin on top of the last, thinking to himself as he did so.
Electricity. Gas. Heat. Water. Washer. Dryer. Life Insurance. Life. Wealth. Health. Clothing. Shelter. Drink. Food. Air. Happiness. Sadness. Stephanie. Alicia. Mother. Father.
Clink, clink, clink.
He hated it when Alicia looked at him like that. He never knew how to respond.
They were sitting across from each other at a sidewalk table at his daughter’s favorite sandwich place. She had ordered the roast beef, cheddar, and horseradish on ciabatta, while he had ordered the tuna melt on rye. The two sandwiches, plus two Diet Pepsis, tax and tip, came out to roughly seventeen dollars and fifty cents, which would take Tisdale four or five seconds to extract from his wallet and slap onto the wobbly marble table before Alicia could protest.
His hand was in his front pocket, curled around his leather billfold, as Alicia talked to him about her mother, Stephanie.
“What did she say to you?”
Alicia moved to take a bite of her sandwich, then set it back down on her plate. “She says she’s worried about you living by yourself. You know how you get lightheaded—“
“Of course I know how I get lightheaded, I’m constantly reminded by you, Stephanie, and Doc Jamesburg.” Tisdale leaned in close. “Believe me. Your old man doesn’t need any outside help. I’m doing just fine on my own. Always have, always will.”
Alicia made her disappointed face again. “Stop calling her Stephanie.”
“That’s her name, isn’t it?” Tisdale took another bite, words spilling out of his mouth between tuna crumbs. “I’d love to know what she calls me. If she ever called me to begin with.”
“She calls you every weekend. You know that,” said Alicia.
“Is that what that sound is on Saturday mornings? Thought they hid an alarm clock in the walls.”
“Look, Lisha, I’m kidding you.” Tisdale smiled and wiped the corners of his mouth. “Fact is, I’ll talk to her when I’m ready to talk to her. Seems odd, anyway. Two years I don’t hear from her, and now she’s trying to mend fences? I don’t do that. You know I don’t do that. I fix things the second they break.”
A tight smile crept over Alicia's face. “You do.”
“drat right I do.” Tisdale paused for a second, then looked to his right, like he was expecting to catch someone looking over his shoulder. Then he turned back to his plate. “I don’t owe her anything anyway,” he said to what was left of his tuna melt.
The bill came to seventeen dollars and thirty-seven cents. Tisdale quickly dropped a twenty on the table and fished out a quarter, a dime, and two pennies from his back pocket, his daughter’s objections mingling with the muffled car horns and flapping pigeon wings on 27th street.
While waiting for the uptown train on the subway platform, Tisdale was still thinking about his daughter, how she had grown up without him noticing. The wavy brunette hair, the long arms that would have no problem changing a light bulb or reaching a high shelf, the thin, piercing eyes—it was important to keep tabs on these types of things. Keep your mental photo album up-to-date, pictures sectioned off by age, from cute to pretty to beautiful to stunning to elderly. That last gap was a bitch, wasn’t it.
Tisdale kept updating and retouching his mental picture of stunning Alicia even as he bent over to pick up the penny by the edge of the subway platform, fingers scrabbling at the coin’s rounded edges, and then all of a sudden his picture of Alicia grew blurry and faded, sunspots darkening the edges of her chin as his head began to pound, and he put his foot back and his hand forward in the old college three point stance to steady himself, hut hut hike, and his hand brushed against the dirty cement but his foot plunged through empty air until his chest slammed against the yellow DO NOT CROSS line and his crotch was straddling the edge of the platform, left leg splayed out to the side like he was ride-em-cowboy’ing the edge, right leg dangling like a stirrup, and he was trying to breathe but he could only look at the air in front of him and wish it into his lungs, wish it into his lungs as he felt more air rumbling, rushing against the back of his neck.
Someone screamed. He tried to turn his head to see who it was, but he couldn’t tell where it was coming from as the rumbling grew louder and louder. He shut his eyes tight and felt his whole body jerk violently upward by the neck, choking the life back into him.
He opened his eyes.
The subway doors hissed open.
He felt someone standing over him.
It was a man in his thirties with a shaved head. He was round and broad, sweat stains coming from underneath a grey T-shirt with MONTAUK written on it in big block letters. The man’s hands were grabbing each other tightly as he looked down at Tisdale, sitting on the platform.
“Jesus Christ,” the man whispered to himself. “Jesus loving Christ—“
Tisdale immediately jumped up, staggered backwards. His face was a mask of terror, eyes sunken back into pits of agony as he stared at the man who had just saved his life. The man moved towards him. “You need—“
Without a word, Tisdale turned and ran, shoved his way through the turnstile on unsteady legs, ran up flight after flight of stairs until he got to the last grungy few that opened up to the downtown street. Then he kept running, then he jogged, then he walked, until he was sure there was no one behind him. Only then did he stop moving, only then did he let out a scream, one that would have made noise if he weren’t still gasping for air.
Tisdale sat at the kitchen table, a pile of pennies in his trembling right hand. The shutters on the windows were closed, and the only light in the room came from a desk lamp perched on the kitchen table.
He began to stack.
Clink, clink, clink.
Electricity. Gas. Heat.
Clink, clink, clink.
Washer. Dryer. Life insurance. L—
The stack fell in a great sloughing of copper. Tisdale cursed, swept it off the table, then kept sweeping, moving his hands in wide stabbing swaths, uncontrolled and crazed. The towers flew and shattered against the kitchen walls, raining down spare change onto the linoleum as Tisdale kept swiping. He grabbed the edge of the wooden table with both hands and flipped it over.
The lamp crashed to the floor and went out, leaving him in darkness.
There was silence, and then Tisdale exhaled. Here, there was nothing. Here, he could only wait for the knock on the door that would inevitably come, from the man who would want everything from him that he could possibly pay back, along with everything he couldn’t.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 05:43|
1 hour left! Get your stories in!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:00|
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Dec 30, 2015 around 16:58
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:08|
New Year, new thread!
Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2016 around 17:49
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:37|
Eventually you have to admit that you are no longer asleep. Your sheets are tangled around you, stuck to your skin with sweat. The air is already stifling and thick with a bitter, gastric stink.
Your eyelids part like Velcro straps on a pair of old sneakers. You sit on the edge of your bed while the room swings around you.
The source of the stench is obvious. The cat's nowhere to be seen but it's left a clotted trail of vomit stretching down the arm of the couch and across the carpet.
"Oh, you poo poo," you whisper, and you pull on yesterday's underwear and go to forage for cleaning supplies in the cupboard under the sink.
There's a fat, glossy roach sitting on the roll of paper towel, too arrogant or stupid to run away. You bash the roll against the lip of the sink until the roach falls onto your dirty plates and then spin the hot tap on full blast. The bug goes down the plughole with a spasm of wiry legs, and the cloud of steam rising from the sink carries the faint chemical reek of roach poo poo.
Cleaning up the cat puke leaves light spots on the carpet and couch where ingrained dirt gets scrubbed away. The clumps of vomit separate out into frothy tangles of fur and some liquid soaks through the cheap absorbent paper onto your fingers.
There's no chance you'll be tackling breakfast this morning. Even the thought of coffee causes a bilious taste to rise at the back of your throat. You're going to need to take a sick day.
You need air on your face and you have to call in sick before it gets any later. You open your only window, leading out onto the rickety fire escape, and you lean on the sill and let the city sounds and the city smells wash across you.
You call the office. Your team leader expresses complete indifference to your wellbeing and cold disapproval of your absence with a word-perfect delivery of the official corporate sick leave script. "I need to remind you that company policy now requires a valid medical certificate signed by a GP or equivalent medical practioner to receive paid sick leave. Your sick leave balance is currently fifteen point four hours. Is there any other support we can provide for you? OK, see you tomorrow, thanks for calling in."
You lean on the sill for a moment longer. A wavering golden thread catches your eye, swaying back and forth just off the edge of the fire escape. It takes you a few seconds to work it out and by then it's swung too close, hit the railing and splashed. You get the window closed too late, droplets of a stranger's piss trickling down your arms.
A long, hot shower gives you just enough energy to pull on some clothes. You grab your tight blue jeans off the floor and pull a t-shirt out of the basket of laundry you haven't got around to putting away since you washed it last week. Slip into some comfortable walking shoes, because the doctor's office is a few blocks down, and out the door you go. You haven't fed the cat this morning, but honestly, gently caress that cat.
After half a block you're regretting walking. The morning is warm rather than hot, but you're sweating right through your t-shirt. Your head is swimming and your legs are shaking and you look like a junkie in dire need of a fix.
After a block and a half you have to stop and lean against a wall for a while. The bricks are hot against your back, and your intestines twist inside you. You think about the air-conditioned waiting room at the doctor's office with the free cold water dispenser and getting there in the near future becomes your number one priority. You come up off the wall and take three steps to the curb and you stumble off the edge and crash down on the road.
People watch you out of the corners of your eyes and no-one offers to help you up. You slowly find your feet and mutter something apologetic and force out a small, insincere laugh. You've taken a patch of skin off an elbow and turned your ankle on the way down. Slowly and carefully, you hobble the rest of the way.
The air conditioning at the doctor's office is not working and the doors are propped open with orange vinyl chairs, the ghosts of many thousand buttocks pressed into their cushions. The receptionist barely glances at you as you explain that you just need a certificate. She taps a glossy turquoise fingernail on a sheet of paper taped to the counter.
"Office policy is now minimum twenty dollar copay up front for all walk-in appointments," she clicks at you. You proffer your key card. "Charge system's out." The nail moves across to indicate a different piece of paper, black letters drowning in a clinical pale blue pool. "Cash only today. ATM's halfway down the block."
Your gut twists again. "I need the bathroom first," you plead.
"Paid patients only," the fingernail tells you, glittering green as it points to yet another piece of paper, this one on the wall, a shade of pink that makes you want to commit an act of violence.
You drag your feet behind you, your head feeling so light that it might detach and float away into the clouds. The bank logo looms overhead far sooner than you expected and you slump on the ATM. The screen says something cheerful and suggests that you borrow money you can't afford to repay to buy a car you can't park anywhere or a holiday you couldn't get the time off to take. You get your card in the slot after three attempts, fumble your PIN on the keypad. Tell the machine you just want twenty dollars.
INSUFFICIENT FUNDS, the machine opines.
You check your balance. There's money missing. You have a grand total of seventeen dollars and eighty-five cents to your name. Sweat stings your eyes. Some deduction has gone through late, or early, or some company you deal with has charged you extra or double billed. It doesn't matter why, right now.
You fumble in your pocket and bring out a handful of change and a crumpled bill. Count it up. Car tyres squeal to a halt behind you and people hurry past and you lose track and have to count again. There's two dollars and twenty cents there. Just enough to bring your balance up over the twenty dollar mark. With difficulty, you formulate your next steps. You need to go into the bank and line up. You need to deposit this money into your account. Then you can get out twenty dollars. Then you can go to the doctor's office, and use the toilet, and get your appointment to get your certificate to get your sick pay for today, even though it seems less and less worth it with every lurching step you take.
The automatic doors hiss open and the cold air-conditioning hits you, and it seems for a moment that today is finally back under control. You stride into the bank and join the back of the queue, wiping the sweat off your face as you look around. You wonder why everyone's lying on the ground, except the man standing on the counter, with a plastic party mask on and a gun in his hands.
You turn around and look at the only other person standing up, who is also wearing a mask and holding a gun, a big gun, and he's looking back at you and the gun is pointed right at your face.
You stare into the dark eye at the end of the gun as it twitches toward the floor, a clear direction, and your bowels lurch with a force there is no fighting. You hunch forward, moaning, arms wrapped around your belly, and with a series of wet tearing sounds you deliver three immense bursts of hot liquid poo poo into the seat of your tight blue jeans.
You stay bent over for a moment. Someone curses and you grunt as you emit one final spurt. It emerges with a hollow gurgle that makes you picture the moment when the dregs spiral into the plughole of a draining basin. The image pulls you down with it, just like the roach from this morning, and you gracefully, peacefully sink to the floor, ignoring the man with the gun and the mask and the stupefied, aghast expression visible in his eyes, ignoring the sick heat sliding down the backs of your thighs.
You rest your head upon your knees and ignore the stench like a brick to your face. All you can feel is relief, relief and the sweet victory of surrender; there is nowhere further down that you can go from here.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:45|
No amphetamine can match the driving force behind the realization that you need to leave exactly six minutes ago. Each screech of the alarm clock is another strike of the chisel into my corpus callosum. I fumble to find the off-switch on the dust encrusted clock, take three aspirin with a swig of flat beer, and force my body to carry my desiccated brain. Mismatched socks? Whatever. Tie in half-Windsor or full-Windsor? gently caress the tie. I go to splash water on my face to wash away the shame of a drunken night, but the faucet just made a pitiful croak. I must not have paid the water bill.
I somehow manage to put together a professional looking outfit and leave in just under five minutes. I could probably make it on time if I lead-foot a bit. I start compulsively picking my nose. A bad habit, but it’s a small comfort and besides, I need to look well-groomed and nobody likes a glimpse of a nasal passage that looks like a forgotten cave system.
Then I hit a pothole, probably large enough to bury a family dog. My fingernail rocketed to the edge of my sinus and tore a gash along the cartilage on the bridge of my nose. Tears instantly welled up in my eyes and the searing pain radiates across my face until my ears are throbbing. The warmth of blood consumed my hand and flowed down my arm. I slammed on the brakes and pulled to the shoulder. The blood was out of control, I dug around frantically trying to find anything to shut the floodgates. I found some restaurant napkins in the glove box and packed half of one into my nostril like I was loading a musket. I put the rest of the napkins in my jacket pocket, then got out of the car.
I had a blown out tire. After a bout of cursing and rock kicking, I popped the trunk, fetched a spare, a jack, and a lug wrench and got to work. I had to switch out my impromptu nose tourniquet four times before I finished changing out the tire. I didn’t bother checking the clock, I figured I was running fifteen minutes late at that point, but what was I going to do, go back to my shithole of a home and twiddle my thumbs? No, I was going to make the interview, out of spite if nothing else.
For the rest of the trip I tried to figure out what the hell else I was going to do if I couldn’t get a job within the next month. Every time I had to change out a napkin, I felt my chances of a good impression drain away.
Upon arriving, I spent a minute in my car doing what I could to clear the blood stains away from my face and hands, but spit can only take you so far. I walked into an empty waiting room, voices could be heard from a nearby hallway. I sat down for a moment in case anybody saw my entrance from a window, but after a few minutes it was clear that nobody was going to fetch me. They'd probably given up on my showing. I decided to find a bathroom to clean up in before finding the interviewers and apologizing like hell.
I found the bathroom around the hallway where the voices echoed. A man was pissing in a urinal. I tried to wash my bloodied hands before he could take notice, but the sink was still stained red by time he was finished. I didn't glance his way, but saw his shocked expression reflected off of the mirror before he left. I changed out the napkin in my nose, only to break apart the coagulation and find that the blood continued to flow in contest with the faucet. I had to say my piece, maybe beg for a reschedule, and bid adieu as soon as possible or risk passing out.
I cleaned up nicely in the bathroom. As long as I kept my head down to hide the bloody rag, I looked like an honest-to-God professional citizen. When I walked out of the bathroom, I saw two men giving farewells and handshakes to a woman, one of the men was the one from the bathroom. I waited for the woman to part ways and caught the attention of the two men.
"Hi, I had an interview at 10 a.m. today," I said sheepishly.
The man from the bathroom greeted me, "Mark was it? I'm Jim and this is Ted. You're pretty early."
My stomach churned. Were they screwing with me? His face didn't betray any sarcasm. "Early?" I asked.
"Oh no, did you forget about daylight savings time last night? We gained an hour, 'fall back' you know?"
I decided to lie, "Well I didn't know I was quite that early! I was in the waiting room wondering if I'd gotten the times mixed up." It was a gamble, but if it worked my morning might not have been as pointless as I thought.
"That's a shame, hopefully you didn't lose any good hours of sleep over it." He glanced at his watch, "Give us another ten or fifteen minutes and we'll be right with you. Sorry to make you wait any more, but we like to discuss the previous applicant and reacquaint ourselves with the next one’s qualifications," he paused, “Are you feeling alright today?” His tone was certainly referential to what he saw in the bathroom.
“I’ve been better, but I’m ready whenever you two are.”
I sat back in the waiting room confused about whether I should be frustrated or relieved about the situation. I touched my nose rag with the tip of my finger, it was already moist with blood. I'd changed it only a few minutes ago and that had only made things worse. I tipped my head back and let the accumulated blood slide down my throat.
When Jim and Ted came to retrieve me, I felt a little nausea and lightheadedness. I couldn't tell if it was nerves or blood loss, but it seemed paltry compared to how the rest of my morning had gone. We shook hands and they led me to the interview room.
The interview was going surprisingly smoothly. Whenever they'd ask a question I would tilt my head back slightly and cover my bleeding nostril with the second knuckle of my forefinger—allowing me a chance to dispose of the blood in my stomach and check for any leaks. The nausea grew.
"What's something special you can bring to the table for us? This question isn't about your qualifications per se, but more about when you as a person are at your best. What is it that sets Mark Cormack apart from everybody else?"
What a stupid question. They want me to sit here and tell them I'm better than everybody else? Maybe I should cum all over the table while I'm at it? I feign my "thinking deeply" pose to swallow more blood.
"Well, I would say I'm great at—hooeh."
They look up from their papers with wide eyes.
"Ahem, excuse me. I would say that I'm a great-."
Nothing could stop it. My stomach called it quits and ejected a fountain of bloody vomit across the table before I could as much as turn my head to the side. Their curses were drowned out by my guttural wretches.
With my stomach finally appeased, I was able to look up from the floor and at the massacre I'd created. I glanced at the pools of carmine vomit that their papers stewed in, and then at Jim and Ted standing mouth agape with horror in the corner. Maybe it was the lightheadedness, but some great cosmic joke had possessed me and refused to let go. Not as they fruitlessly tried to salvage their papers, nor as they aggressively asked me to leave, nor as they dialed 911. It just got funnier and funnier.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:46|
My wordcount is wrong. Should be 1343 if MS Word is to be trusted. I AM SORRY.
Thanks a ton for the line crit Broenheim!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:50|
OMG 10 MINUTES TO SUBMIT!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:52|
Five Minutes on the Powerline
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2016 around 03:18
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 06:58|
and with that submissions close!
please speculate on the speed and/or quality of the judging
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 07:00|
A medium speed judge is a kinda ok judge.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 07:04|
slow judging is meticulous and painstaking judging
and also very bad
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 07:07|
Cornflake, Word Count 1340
There isn’t anything inherently frightening about a person in a costume suit. Logically, they’re just that: people. They have identities and take the costumes off sometimes. I can’t explain it. They just freak me out. Ever since I was a kid. I never knew about it until my folks took me on a trip to Disneyland. I’ll never forget the first one I saw, it was Donald Duck, bouncing along right at me, swinging his elbows in this jolly gait, bulbous front swinging from side to side. I remember wrenching my hands out of my parents’ and bolting into the crowd. They found me an hour and a half later, sobbing behind a maintenance shack, the front of my shorts wet.
So I tend to avoid theme parks, conventions, costume parties, sporting events, and large holiday celebrations. If I have to go out on a big costume holiday, I stick to the backest of backstreets in abandoned neighborhoods. I’ve avoided direct confrontation with those suited bastards this way for fifteen years now. And I’ve kept myself together about it. My wife knew about it, and my son figured it out after a while, and of course my therapist. Other than that, I’ve managed to keep it mostly private. Most days, I barely think about it.
That’s probably why, when my granddaughter begged me to take her to the mall to see her favorite musical group perform, I didn’t bother to look them up. She’s seven, after all. Her father avoided Barney and the Tele-whatsits just to make my relationship with her easier. Whenever I was with her listening to her little tapes, it was always some young guy with a high voice and an acoustic guitar. Or children singing pop songs (which quite frankly sometimes I found a little inappropriate given some of the subject matter). More than likely, I thought, it would be a group of skinny Europeans in turtlenecks singing nonsense.
So I just hopped on the Ticketmaster and bought us two tickets, told Francis to take his wife out for dinner and a movie or what have you, and planned a little road trip with my granddaughter to the mall in Waukegan. I bought a couple of packs of lemon sours, the family-sized packs, since she and I go through them like pigs at the trough, and made us a sandwich to split. She showed up on my doorstep with her little backpack shaped like a cat’s face—that backpack always shakes me up a little, looks like a mascot head with those starey little eyes, but she loves it so I’ve learned to accept—and we loaded up into my truck and took off for the highway.
On the way there we had a listen to the group, The Cornflake Crubbs, via her little tape player. Not bad. The singers had some pleasant harmonies and they sang about things like puppy dogs on high adventures and bubbles that learn to sympathize with their fellows. Pretty mainstream kids’ stuff. One thing I couldn’t place, though, was a low warbling instrument in each of their songs, like someone with a huge cello bow stroking a bridge cable. Sometimes it would rocket up to a squeal, and wind back down to its low, wavering bass line. I figured it was some new kind of theremin or something. Those things have been making a comeback, I haven’t heard so many theremins since the age of the Beach Boys.
The parking lot was a raucous mess of kids and disheveled adults. More than once I saw a child latched on to a parents arm, dragging with all their might as the exhausted mother or father or family friend tried to get everything out of the car. I pulled into a handicapped spot and hung my little blue wheelchair guy on the rearview, turned to my Christie Lynn, and with maudlin deference asked, "Well my dear, shall we?" And she stuck the high bridge of her nose in the air and retorted "We shall, grand-papa," punctuating her airs with a smart giggle.
There was a banner hung up in the walkway featuring three lads in suits, each suit one of the primary colors. Looming over the top of the banner was half of a cartoon head, eyes wide and curious and yellow over the banner's edge. The thing was cute, in an impish sort of way. Its ears flapped in the wind, like a hare's or a basset hound's. It made me think of a pop-up book. As soon as Christie Lynn saw the thing she squealed and started dragging me towards the door. Normally I'd make her heel (she hates it when I give her dog commands), but it was kind of a special occasion, so instead I swept her up and made for the door.
I remember being glad to be inside. The sun was not feeling so friendly today and I had left my giant water bottle on the island counter in the kitchen and walked right out the door without it. Lara always used to poke fun in her way, always teasing me that if she didn’t have a list taped to my forehead I’d walk out without the clothes on my back. These days, I’ve come to realize she was probably right, and as much as I hated that little sardonic edge in her voice, it’ll always be the way her eyes twinkled as she said it that I’ll remember.
It took me a little extra time to find the stage because I kept having to check those map kiosks, and every time I approached one Christie Lynn would pipe up and ask, “Grandpa, did you lose us again?”
After the fifth time she, I found someone to guide us there. I followed behind the shiny-faced kid working security feeling only a little foolish.
The roar of children is not a low, rumbling sound like it is for adults. When children gather en masse, it is a tinny, railing sound that assaults your ears, like the sound of wind slipping through the crack of the window of a gargantuan car on the highway. That sound hit me full force when our guide opened the door to the balcony.
We were early, but obviously we had come far too late. The space was packed with wild hooligans and their keepers. Christie Lynn fed off their energy and immediately started bouncing and babbling, poking me in the belly and singing at the top of her voice. The migraine started grinding up its gears in the front of my skull.
By the time the music started blaring from the monitors, I was standing with CL’s hand in my left and holding the bridge of my nose with my right and squeezing my eyes shut. A chant rose from the crowd, ominous in its simplicity:
That theremin sound I heard on the tape rose from somewhere behind us, and I remember being dragged around to face away from the stage. The chant fell away around me to screaming. I opened my eyes.
Cornflake was bluish, with big floppy ears and wide, curious eyes. Its mouth looked something like a daffodil. It had wide clown feet and a pear-shaped torso that swung when it walked. And it walked directly towards me.
Mall employees found me about forty-five minutes into the concert sobbing in a bathroom stall, incoherently begging for someone to find my mother. They told me later I had pushed the beloved children’s performer down the stairs that led to the stage and bolted out the fire exit. Poor Christie Lynn, abandoned, was shuffled through the panicked throng, alone and screaming until someone eventually realized she had no adult and foisted her off on the mall staff.
When they had finally calmed me down, they took me to her. She gave me the silent treatment the whole way home. The last words she said to me for a year and a half were, “Please don’t come back to my house.”
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 07:11|
I hosed up and posted to the wrong place, yes go ahead and hate my dumb rear end for the lateness
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 07:11|
All 387.44 million miles of hate to you for your faux pas.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 08:17|
I hosed up and posted to the wrong place, yes go ahead and hate my dumb rear end for the lateness
Hello friend, welcome to Thunderdome
Posting foibles such as this result in a disqualification. Luckily, you'll still get critiques and, if the judges think it's a very special story, it's still eligible to lose. Good luck!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 08:19|
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 08:23|
Hello friend, welcome to Thunderdome
imma give this sotry a motherfucker of a crit, k
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 08:54|
imma give this sotry a motherfucker of a crit, k
Hoo boy, I'm boutta get murderized. I feel like I just rung the bell announcing fresh meat
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 13:24|
Hoo boy, I'm boutta get murderized. I feel like I just rung the bell announcing fresh meat
Learn to love that feeling, for its the only way to get better.
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 13:37|
did i win?
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 13:49|
did i win?
at the idiot olympics!!!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 14:03|
the idiot olympics!!!
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 14:13|
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 14:29|
poo poo Week Results
This week was rough. A lot of stories just weren’t there, and most of them were plagued with a unlikable characters which hurts a lot of stories.
The loser for this week has to go to Killer-of-Lawyers, who wrote a boring story about talking heads that didn’t make sense. It also confirmed its lose by reminding me off a creepy manga I read once so gently caress you for that.
The Dishonorable Mentions go to A Classy Ghost, for writing an attempt at humor that I didn’t realize was funny until I was almost finished with the story and still wasn’t funny, and Something Else, which I personally though was O.K., but my other judges hated the dude bro humor and gently caress-up that is Lance which I don’t object to.
Honorable mentions go to Ironic Twist for writing a story with a strong character that the judges tired (and failed) to completely understand, but is still good and strong nonetheless. The other honorable mention is SadisTech for writing a gritty and strong story about how I poo poo my own pants
Winner this week easily goes to God Over Djinn for writing a fantastic story that used second-person to make a poignant story with very strong themes. A very good story in a week of meh.
Good luck Djinn! Crits will be up tomorrow or whatever idk
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 20:37|
|# ? Jul 23, 2019 02:45|
oh yeah i forgot, hotsoupdinner is DQed. He knows what he did
|# ? Apr 6, 2015 20:40|