I would like to write about a wizard, please.
|# ¿ Apr 24, 2015 08:57|
|# ¿ Jun 20, 2019 11:32|
Old Lady Carbuncle
Every town has a story like the one I'm about to tell you. I'm not talking about some clichéd old yarn like the hook handed dude, or the one where the girl wakes up with AIDS from a midnight needle pricking. Everyone around here knows the story, but my Grandaddy was a part of it and he always told it the best. I'm talking, of course, about Old Lady Carbuncle.
Grandaddy always started by tellin' people she lived at the end of a rough dirt road right on the edge of the Happy Acres Regional Centralized Waste Processing Facility. Believe it or not, this place used to be kinda nice in a nothing-much-happens-here sort of way, and all we had was a cute little landfill next to a ramshackle old shanty with a crazy woman livin' inside. Nowadays, “I'm going to Happy Acres” is what you tell people when you gotta take a real nasty poo poo.
You see, we used to have something of a cash-flow problem here in Happy Acres. After the mill shut down, there wasn't much in the way of work to be had for simple folk like you and me. And that meant there weren't nothin' in the way of tax revenue for fixin' roads and payin' for the Governor's steak dinners and the like. We needed some cash in a hurry, and about all we had to sell was open space. I mean, we could have turned this place into crops all the way to Waynesburg, or maybe some sort of naturalist's retreat. Instead, some pinhead brings up the bright idea of lettin' other towns with more money than us dump their trash in our backyard. Well, as the shithead Mayor himself put it when he was sellin' us all on the idea: “Desperate times call for even more desperate measures if we want to see Happy Acres feeling happy again. And that's really what we all want, isn' it?”
Yeah, I know; the guy was a complete dick and I'm glad he's gone. It's just the way he went that makes me cringe. But enough about him.
At first, it looked like the master plan was nothin' but a flash in the pan and we was gonna stay broke and garbage-free for just a spell longer. But then, as quick as day turns to night, a veritable tidal wave of filth crashed down on our heads. Our homes got turned into beachfront property on the shores of a trash sea. And don't even get me started on how it smelled or we'll be here all day and night. Let's just say that everyone south of Jucunda Street went to live with the in-laws. Everyone except Old Lady Carbuncle, that is.
Honestly, the fact that livin' right next to a volcano of stench didn't bother the old bag came as a surprise to no one. Grandaddy said she used to dodder around town in a grimy house-coat the color of old dishwater, cradling her scabby rat-dog in the crook of one withered arm. She liked to poke around through people's trash cans, stuffing her pockets with whatever she wanted to keep. Sometimes, someone who didn't know any better would ask her if she was alright, and if they caught her on a good day she'd mutter something about “realms beyond realms” and “Items of Power”. On a bad day, however, she'd throw handfuls of whatever corruption she found in her pockets while shrieking gibberish like “I am a loving wizard!” and “Darken my path no longer, lest I summon my MINIONS to me!” In any case, time moved on as it is wont to do, and the landfill swelled up like roadkill in the sun. One day, it finally flowed right up to the edges of Old Lady Carbuncle's house.
“Now she'll leave and move up here,” everyone said. “We'll be getting getting trash thrown at us all the time!” But Old Lady Carbuncle didn't budge. And when it became time for the Mayor to fulfill his contractual ob-lee-gations, there weren't nowhere else to put garbage except Old Lady Carbuncle's front porch.
“Something will have to be done!” fretted the Mayor. “She will have to move, and if she won't move we will make her! Get the Sheriff!” This right here is where Grandaddy came in. I mean, considerin' that he actually was the Sheriff back then, that also made him the town process server.
Now here's where things start to get a little weird. The mountains of trash had already consumed Old Lady Carbuncle's yard, and Grandaddy said he had to walk over or through it if he wanted to serve his papers. As he marched across drifts of used diapers and spent coffee grounds, he got this icy feeling like a thousand tiny little eyes was all pointed at him. Finally, he rapped at the door. After a lengthy and uncomfortable silence, it finally creaked open. Old Lady Carbuncle herself glowered at him from the darkness. “Well?” she suddenly snapped at him, making him jump and sending her neurotic pooch into a seizure of raspy barking.
“gr-gr-Grizelda Carbuncle?” stammered my Grandaddy. We always knew from the way he told that part how scared he felt, standing there in front of that crazy bat and her rank little familiar. “The Mayor sent me to serve you these papers, Ma'am.”
“Screw you. Screw the Mayor. I know what he wants. My MINIONS will end him if he tries to make me move.” Old Lady Carbuncle leaned in close and smiled. “They could certainly do away with you if you don't remove yourself from my property.”
Grandaddy said that at that point he couldn't help but take a step back. It wasn't the loveliness of her breath that did it, although it could have. It was the furtive movement he began to see out of the corners of his eyes, secret rustlings that made the hairs on the back of his neck twitch. “Right, Ma'am.” With that, Grandaddy turned smartly on his heel, marched back to his patrol vehicle, and got the flying gently caress out of there.
Needless to say, the Mayor had a fit. He made Grandaddy get a few of the boys together and go with him back to Old Lady Carbuncle's place. This time, she came right out on the porch and looked Grandaddy square in the eye. “I thought I told you to leave!” she screamed.
“I made that pussy come back!” shouted the Mayer, stepping right into her face. “Now you'd better leave or I'm gonna have you thrown into that dump over there like the garbage you are!”
Old Lady Carbuncle eyed Grandaddy for a minute then spat a stream of tobacco juice all over the Mayor's shoe. “Luckily for him you're telling the truth. He will be spared.”
The Mayor had about enough time for his face to shift from 'angry' to 'confused' to 'terrified' before the things came out of the dump and ate him. Someone else managed to draw steel and get a shot off before being ripped apart, but I don't know who it was. Grandaddy could never quite pin down exactly what the little demons looked like. All he saw were a hundred hungry, biting mouths as they leaped from the surface of the garbage, each taking a ragged bite before plunging back in. All they left were a couple splotches of blood and a gold tooth.
Old Lady Carbuncle left town that very night, taking her house and her trash with her. To this day, Happy Acres has neither a Regional Waste Processing Facility nor a Mayor, and we like it that way just fine.
|# ¿ Apr 25, 2015 21:11|
Thanks for the crit.
Radical and BADical! fucked around with this message at Apr 27, 2015 around 15:52
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 13:35|
If anyone wants to argue with their crits take it to the fiction farm where it can be ignored.
Not arguing, it was a genuine thanks. Not sure why you're so angry?
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 15:03|
There's a tradition in Thunderdome where you don't respond to crits in the thread with anything other than "thanks." It's largely because if everyone responded to their crits, there would be a bunch of noise and posts most people don't want to read in the thread. I think no one generally cares what your reasoning was for doing x or y thing, or why you made a certain mistake. Just fix it on your next story and try to improve. If you do have a response that is a question or you really do want additional feedback, are confused by the crit, etc., you can post the question in the fiction advice thread and people will be happy to answer it.
Ah, I see! Thanks for the heads up.
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 15:42|
Thanks for that!
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 19:52|
Thank you T-Rex and Hammer Bro for the awesome crits.
I need a wizard to cast time stop so I can get some crits down on paper for you people.
|# ¿ Apr 28, 2015 12:33|
I'm IN for writing about stink. Thanks judges for the crits.
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2015 12:53|
I know it is a little late but here are your crits. Blame the Court system for absorbing so much of my time if you don't like it. Though my knowledge of the intricacies of grammar is rudimentary, I am pretty good at identifying inconsistencies so that is what I will mainly focus on.
Wesley the Wizard by angel opportunity
I liked this story, mostly because Wesley reminds me of myself when I was a kid.
However, Wesley seems to have much more self-control than a socially awkward, horny little sperg would have. The one thing I don't get about it is...why didn't Wesly just ensorcel Cynthia and be done with it? Also, Janice is pretty much just shoehorned in to make your ending work. Was she with Cynthia's friends? Do her and Wesley have any backstory whatsoever? Describing how Janice always pined for him but Wesley never seemed to notice would have given your ending a bit more oomph, and also would help explain how Janice managed to spy on Wesley and Cynthia when she supposedly already left.
Honestly, I don't know how you did it. "Bye Wesley...I'm Janice" is a very innocuous phrase, but you somehow managed to convey the fact that Janice has a crush on Wesley, probably has for some time, and is ready to make her move. I am also glad that you had Wesley choose nonsense phrases to imbue with power. That tells me you put some thought into the actual mechanics of how Wesley uses his powers and approached it logically. All in all, I'm gonna say well done with this story.
Joy by Guiness13
I had luke-warm feelings about this story mostly because the writing seemed a bit heavy-handed, the same problem I admittedly faced when writing my story. However, the way that you turned such an abstract concept as "joy" into a tangible thing that can be manipulated was top-notch.
This story is obese. The narrative is just plain not rich enough to support the amount of words used, so you pretty much stuffed it with corn syrup and cheetos. Now, this is just a personal gripe and is based wholly on my own predilections but I find it hard to read a story when all of the characters are unlikeable. Despite the fact that Petunia makes 500 loving dollars an hour and works with purely distilled joy, she seems to have nothing but contempt for her client. I understand that Petunia is basically a magic psychiatrist and that the mundanity of her existence sucks the life right out of her just as it does to us all. If you intended to be as subtle as you did well then mission accomplished but some of your readers may have a hard time recognizing this. In that regard, I feel that you missed a chance to juxtapose the miraculous things Petunia is able to do with the dreary, grey 9-5 she so obviously sees when she looks at her own life. It would have humanized her a bit and explained why she sees her clients with such contempt. Maybe she is jealous that she can't do for herself what she can so easily do for them? Also, the ending makes no sense. Why not say hello to the person who fixed all the poo poo decisions you made? What was the point of Audrey snubbing Petunia? I just don't see the motivation.
Like I said, you had something of a difficult subject to nail down with words. Joy is very ephemeral but you did a great job turning it into a malleable substance. The way you described the ritual Petunia performed was also nice. I especially liked the idea of setting the whole shebang on fire and then blowing the ashes into Audrey's face. It evoked images of a bunch of shaman sitting around a fire, breathing in the smoke and going on vision quests, like "back in the frontier days, our joy masters had to do this in front of a camp fire. Now you can just come into an office and have it done like a colonoscopy." Basically, the underlying idea of how Petunia's magic works and what she has to do to sell her product is the biggest strength of this story.
Chance Man by Pham Nuwen
I really liked this story. Newbs that only suck a little instead of a lot UNITE! :fistbump:
I honestly don't have very much bad to say here. Another poster already touched on the fact that a KGB operative would be waaaaaaay too smart to drop a penny from the empire state building on someone's head with the intent to kill him. Better that he had hosed up and missed outright with a really outlandish thing like...oh say someone jumping to their death or a chunk of frozen waste from an airplane. I also like that you recognized the fact that your character could technically set himself up as king of the world with his powers if there weren't someone always watching him. However, who exactly would be powerful enough to stop him? All he would have to do is go "welp, today my monitor wasn't watching and I also found a document that proves I own all of Russia!" and then boom, dude is the Tsar. Who could stop that? How do you subjugate such a person?
You nix the idea that Chance Men could potentially just set themselves up as the kings of the world right away. I like the fact that you did that. Your character is likeable and charming, and the story flows a lot better than mine did. The fact that our hero is responsible for the U.S. entering the Vietnam war is a very interesting thing, and then jumping straight from that point of interest into an attempt on the protag's life definitely keeps one reading. The story was paced very well, and the ending neatly tied the whole thing up.
Cities fall but you know i don't care by Cache Cab
Everything. No I take that back; your use of voice was worse than even mine was, and I thought I took home the award. It took an otherwise pretty funny story and made it a complete slog to get through. Actually wait, did I say funny? I meant to say somewhat insulting and ignorant. F-
Well, it's not every day that your protag is a full blown autist who stims when he casts spells. I kind of chuckled at that.
I read more but lunch break is over.
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2015 18:54|
Newbie crits part 1:
Thanks for the crit. I am beginning to see a pattern re: my weaknesses as a writer.
|# ¿ May 1, 2015 19:40|
The Black Forest
Word Count: 807
It seemed like ages since John last felt Kara's lips curl into a smile against the hollow of his neck. They had stood together, hands intertwined, at the edge of their favorite spring, listening to the night sounds against the low burbling of the water. He let his chin rest on her shoulder and thought of all the wonderful possibilities young love can bring, his sightless eyes looking nowhere in particular as he ran his fingertips over her face and through her hair. Now Kara was gone, kidnapped, taken into the depths of the Black Woods, and all he had was a memory of soft skin under the pads of his fingers.
He hadn't been that far from the cabin. Short walks without someone to guide him weren't much trouble for John, and he had only been just over the hill and back to fetch a few of Kara's favorite mushrooms. He returned to find his front door gaping open, the frame shattered. He stood stunned in the ruined doorway, straining for any hint that someone might still be in the house. After a long while, he took a tentative step inside and fell over something in the doorway. There had been a struggle, and all of his and Kara's belongings lay strewn wherever they were thrown.
He was lost inside his own cabin.
Fear and anger flooded through John's body and he suddenly came to life. He ran, half mad, from room to room searching for his love, hurting himself many more times as he groped and stumbled through the perpetual blackness. Never before had it seemed like such a curse, but now he reached out and he didn't feel Kara's warm breath on the back of his hand, her soft lips and upturned, narrow nose. Now he reached out and the darkness was absolute and empty. All that remained of his lady love was a lingering hint of her perfume drifting through the empty rooms like a ghost.
Thirteen herbs to ward off evil. Thirteen herbs to find the path. The village wise man had been expecting him, standing out in the road with a cup of rich coffee to entice him in. You are lucky. Where you're going, your sight would only be a hindrance. They talked for a day and a night, breaking only to eat and sleep. I cannot tell you why Kara was taken. That is for her to tell. John clutched thirteen little bundles to his chest as he tapped his way home. He held each one to his nose and inhaled deeply, smelling their individual scents again and again until he knew them inside of his soul. The guardians of the paths are very dangerous and have no love for mortals poking around where they shouldn't. Your choices must be confident, or the Black Forest will swallow you whole.
John met the guardian of the first path behind a sturdy oaken door deep in the woods. Someone had nailed a wrought iron decoration to the front of the door, and John discerned the snarling visage of great wolf when he ran his fingers over it. Though he opened and shut the gate as quietly as he could, a mournful howl went up as soon as he stepped over the threshold. Panic gripped him, and he ran blindly into several trees as whatever it was forced its way through the undergrowth. Something heavy landed on top of him and his shoulder erupted into searing pain as sharp teeth tore into his flesh. Gasping, John managed to draw out his bundle of wolf's bane before the fangs found his throat, and the guardian melted soundlessly back into the night.
On the third path, John met a serpent whose venomous bite nearly stopped his heart, but once again he had the correct herb necessary to survive. He found a swarm of giant biting flies on the seventh path that threatened to drain him of blood, while an evil spirit on the tenth path would have torn out his soul had John not been armed with a sprig of goldenseal. For every apparition that materialized to bar his way, John had an appropriate counter-charm.
Eventually, John reached the final gate. As he had done twelve times before, he reached out and touched the wrought iron face of the guardian. He knew that face. He traced his fingers across the swell of familiar lips, the cold lines of a smooth cheek, a narrow, upturned nose he knew so well. “This cannot be,” he sobbed to himself. The oaken door slowly creaked open before him, and he caught Kara's scent on the wind.
The final bundle of herbs dropped from John's nerveless fingers as he fell to his knees. “Hello, lover,” gurgled the putrid, shambling thing as it lurched towards him, hands outstretched.
|# ¿ May 4, 2015 05:27|
I have to redeem myself from the lovely, boring and pointless story I submitted last week so IN mothafuckas.
Please also pick me a song, the stupider the better.
|# ¿ May 5, 2015 13:22|
In 2014, Switzerland posted:
No More Hunting Stars
Words: 1394 according to wordcountertool.com
Seb sucked in a long breath and held it thoughtfully for a moment. A cool breeze from off the bay stole in through the open window, and several fat rain drops splattered against his glasses. “Self confidence,” he said as he exhaled a steady stream of fragrant smoke, “is a fragile concept indeed. What do you think?”
“I am the hunter. He is the prey.”
“That means gently caress all.”
“Yeah. I learned it from this guy I know.” There was a click. Harsh fluorescent light bathed the apartment and gave everything a weird greenish hue.
“Hey! What'd you do that for?” Seb flicked his cigarette out into the night, watching the glowing cherry get caught by the wind and sucked up into the big nothing.
“I was enjoying the night, Walter.”
“Well I can't make dinner for the two of us in the dark.” Walt pulled off his blue silk shirt and tossed it carelessly into a corner. “Come on, Seb. Even the damned get a last meal.”
“Fine, Walt. Fine.” Seb cranked the window shut, grunting with the effort. The battered camber gave a last squeal of protest, and the casement finally wedged itself into the frame just as the rain started to pick up.
“This calamari is probably the best I've ever had,” said Seb, wiping sauce from his chin. “I appreciate the effort and all, but you don't have to feel guilty. It was my idea.”
“I know. That's the part that hurts.” Walt gazed at the man he thought he loved, letting just a taste of his emotions leak in around the edges of his eyes.
“Excellent.” Seb smiled and kicked his feet up onto the table. “I almost feel sorry for this guy. Who could say 'no' to a face like that?”
Walt poured himself another glass of wine, casting his gaze downward. You can't even see what this is doing to me he thought, wiping a lone tear on his sleeve. Hiding his pain in the dim candlelight was easy. Then again, Seb hadn't been doing much looking into his eyes as of late.
“Well, would you look at the time!” Seb tapped his watch crystal and rocked forward in his chair, drawing his dusty work boots off the table and onto the floor with a thump. Lighting a cigarette, he began pacing around the room. “Why don't we run through it once more?”
“Actually, why don't I throw my cute little blue shirt back on and you kick me out of here? We've been through this so many drat times already. We don't need to again.” Walt stood up and stepped closer to his lover, draping his arms over Seb's shoulders. “Or are you having second thoughts?”
“My heart has been well trained,” answered Seb. “Don't worry; tonight I'm gonna eat you up like I did that calamari.”
“Try not to let it get that far.”
Rain pounded down on the slick flagstones, and Walt nearly broke an ankle just trying to walk up the path, though the whiskey might also have had something to do with it. Seb insisted that he needed to reek like booze for authenticity, so Walt had gotten a small bottle of Black Velvet. Half of it ended up splashed on his left pant leg. The other half was in his belly.
It took several moments of banging on the front door before the light came on, but Walt knew as soon as he saw Mark's face that he had him in his pocket. “I...didn't think I'd see you again, Walter.” The older man let a shy smile cross his lips.
“Seb threw me out,” slurred Walt. He took another swig of liquid fire, throwing his head back and almost falling into the bushes. “A new religion that'll bring you to your kne-eeees!” He winged the empty little bottle out into the street. “I'm so...wet.”
“And dirty,” said Mark fondly.
“They threw me into the gutter, last place I left. Said I was 'being faggy'. The gently caress does that even mean?”
“Why don't you come in?”
“Yeah. Why don't I come in?” laughed Walt, putting his arm around Mark's shoulder. “Let's sit by the fire and drink tea, and you can tell me how foolish I was to pick Seb.”
“I thought it was my age,” chuckled Mark as he helped Walter out of his wet clothes. “I wanted to roar my feelings for you like a lion but – but I feared judgment. I feared your judgment. Of me. And my imperfections.”
“What's a little thing like age? What's imperfection?” Walt sat, naked, on a divan next to the hearth and poured himself a steaming cup of orange pekoe. “We live in a...in a society without love! The world is an angst ridden teen, mad and moody and full of lust!”
Then Mark was on him, knocking the cup from his hands and onto floor, touching him all over. “I, for one, love how philosophical you can be when you've had too much to drink,” he whispered into Walt's ear. “It really switches me the gently caress on.”
Walt kissed him, grabbing hungrily at his well muscled shoulders, breathing deeply of his victim's scent as he buried his face in the folds of Mark's robe. “And I love how slutty you become when you're sober. It really makes me want to do something...impulsive.”
“You'll wear it for me, won't you?”
Mark suddenly sat back, looking into Walt's astonished eyes. “I want you to wear it for our first time.”
“Of course. You've told me a hundred times how beautiful I look in it. There is one condition, however.”
“What is it, kumquat?”
“I get to wear them also.”
The eagerness left Mark's face. “You know I never remove them from the safe. They were my late wife's.”
“Mark, you're gay. Your late wife never meant anything to you.”
“Don't say that! I might not have wanted to bed her but I still loved her!” Mark leaped up angrily and stalked over to the sideboard to pour another cup of tea.
“Well, I love you.” Walt slid off the divan and wrapped his arms around Mark's barrel chest. “There, I've said it.”
“You've said it, yes. Do you mean it?”
Walt let his arms drop. “Want me to go?” He moved to pick up his wet clothes. “Want me to go? 'Cause you think I'm lying?”
Mark sucked in a breath and held it for a long time, reminding Walter of Seb. “Honestly, I've been wanting to see them on you for some time. I would have done it sooner but I just had this strange feeling that – that you were twisting the truth.”
“I wouldn't leave you alone.” Walt kissed the unfortunate man once on the lips, a light peck. “Why don't you get them out while I change?”
Walt lay next to Mark and thought of what he was going to say. I had to do it, Seb. You can't just say that to someone and leave them cold. Walt shook his head, anger at his own cowardice flaring inside him. gently caress it. He doesn't deserve this. None of us do.
“Did you get them?”
“Yeah.” Walt threw a thousand dollars down on the table.
“Where are they?”
“Back in Mark's safe.” Another stack of hundreds joined the first. “Pay off our debt and don't come looking for me.”
Seb's face crinkled up. “We're through?”
Walt laughed bitterly. “The gently caress did you think? That you could keep pimping me out to rich men so I could steal their lives away?”
“No!” Seb cleaved to Walt and grasped him by the shoulders. “This doesn't work without you!”
“Mark knows everything.” Walt pushed Seb away hard enough to make him stumble into the wall. “He still chose me over the police.”
“Are you loving stupid?” Seb swung his fist blindly at Walt, splitting his lip. “He was god-drat lying! We're gonna go to jail!”
“You might, Seb. You might end up in there because you refuse to think. But I won't.” Walt elbowed past Seb and out the door. “Find someone else.”
The driving rain hammered against Walt's face all the way back to Mark's but he didn't care. He didn't need to hunt stars anymore, to steal people's memories. He was free.
|# ¿ May 10, 2015 00:10|
|# ¿ May 11, 2015 13:36|
Here are a bunch of short crits for everyone this week. I read these in judgemode, but ended up doing a fair bit of skimming.
Thanks man! I appreciate it.
|# ¿ May 12, 2015 12:46|
I Hate Everyone: A Litany of Critique
Ha ha ha ha, I love you man. Thanks.
|# ¿ May 13, 2015 20:00|
I was too busy with work to get in this week. Trust me, I'll have a nice pointless story with no character motivation for you all next week.
|# ¿ May 15, 2015 11:57|
|# ¿ May 19, 2015 11:15|
BREAKING NEWS, THIS IS ME IRL UPON LOOKING AT THE FAILURE LIST THIS WEEK:
I'm really sorry. Honestly, I just got waaaaay too drunk and forgot to submit. Also while I was drunkenly trying to finish story I passed out. I'm bad. Also, IN
|# ¿ May 26, 2015 19:13|
Mrs. Pinkerton Smith shifted uncomfortably in her chair for maybe the thousandth time and screwed up her eyes against the glare. The waiting room was almost too white, especially for her particular tastes. Looking at anything made her head hurt, but when she closed her eyes she fancied she could feel her skin beginning to tighten and burn under that relentless, almost accusatory glow. It felt like the passing of several lifetimes since the desk clerk had gone to find her husband. He never did come back, of course. No one ever came back so she ended up explaining herself and what she wanted again and again, and she had to wait and wait while her skin crawled and her eyes slowly went blind. Mrs. Pinkerton Smith steeled herself to tell her entire story from the beginning for the sixth time without jamming one of her hatpins through the unsuspecting office drone's eye.
“Who are you?” asked the new clerk without looking up from her magazine.
“Do you not know?” Mrs. Pinkerton Smith folded her arms under her breasts and stamped her foot in annoyance. “Young lady, you are the fifth person I have spoken to about his matter and I fear I am losing my patience. I am the only one in this waiting room, I have been the only one in this waiting room for what feels like decades, and I will be the only one in this waiting room for several decades more, I assume, and yet you cannot produce one scrap of information about who I am and what I want? No note in a ledger, not even a quick message dashed off on a napkin?”
“Yeah.” The clerk snapped her gum and flipped open a trashy celebrity magazine. “Says something here about some Pinky Smythe lady come to fetch her husband. We told you several times, ma'am, that once someone gets through them big doors over there they in for good. There ain't nothing we can do to make them leave. I mean, this is supposed to be a reward for having lived a good life!”
“And that's what I keep trying to tell you! I have proof that my husband has not earned the right to be here.” Mrs. Pinkerton Smith opened her voluminous purse and removed a thick, almost overstuffed file from the depths. Crumpled sticky notes and bent paperclips fell from it like a shower of dead leaves, and it made a satisfying, hollow thump when it hit the surface of the desk “I showed all of this to some gentleman named Pete when I first got here.”
“And he told me the same story you did. Once someone has been approved for residency, there is nothing much that can be done to remove them. I asked him to reconsider his position in light of this new information, but he said that all information available had already been considered.”
“Lady, we ain't usually prone to making mistakes here. If Pete says they had all the info they needed then that's the truth.”
Mrs. Pinkerton Smith opened her mouth to call the young lady a liar of the basest breeding but then thought better of it. Those employed in this particular place didn't do much lying, after all, but perhaps they could still be tempted. “Are you enjoying that magazine, young lady?” Mrs. Pinkerton Smith shaped her mouth into what she hoped was an easy-going, friendly grin rather than the predatory one she usually found fixed to her face.
“It's alright. I've had this same one for a while now, and I only look at it because of it reminding me of home and all.”
“Why don't you take a look at my file? My husband's led quite the life, after all, and there's enough sex and intrigue in it to keep you busy for quite some time.” The desk clerk looked up with suspicion clouding her eyes, but Mrs. Pinkerton Smith had already gone and sat back down in her old seat.
An hour passed by, then another. Mrs. Pinkerton Smith stared at the wall and tried not to think about a billion eyes all focused on her. The only sound in the stark waiting room was the turning of pages punctuated by sharp gasps of surprise and disgust. Eventually, the clerk came out from behind her desk. “D'you swear that you ain't making this up? It'd be pretty bad for you if you were, what with the whole bearing false witness thing and all. I mean, you have to have given up something big to even come here, and our rules apply to you when you up here. I wouldn't want to think about what would happen if you were lying.”
“Every word is true. Now be a dear and fetch my husband. It is time for him to keep his promise.”
Mrs. Pinkerton Smith couldn't help but let her normal avaricious smile stretch over her fangs when she saw her husband stumble through the big, opalescent doors at the end of the room. “Did you enjoy your stay here, honey?” Fire danced along her fingertips as she reached back into her purse and pulled forth a contract signed in blood and emblazoned with the name of Pinkerton Smith. “Let me remind you that our agreement was only for a lifetime of heaven on earth. Not an eternity of the real thing.”
“You...bitch!” Pinkerton Smith tried to push his way back through the big doors but they wouldn't open for him anymore.
“And to think you almost got away with it.” A gout of fire burst forth from the contract, eliciting a shriek from the unfortunate Mr. Smith. The shriek was followed by a more panicked yelling, then hoarse, unceasing screaming as the smell of burning fat permeated the room. The wide-eyed desk clerk bolted through the big doors, leaving Mrs. Pinkerton Smith alone with the charred remains of her husband.
“The fact that it almost worked is what excites me the most.” The demoness drew a crude pentagram from the ashes of her ex-husband's body. “I couldn't even imagine telling God that the life I bought from a demon with my immortal soul is the life I actually led. And then to get away with it! Things are really going to Hell around here.” The former Mrs. Pinkerton Smith couldn't help but laugh at her own terrible joke as stepped onto the ashes and headed home.
|# ¿ Jun 1, 2015 06:10|
Goddamn this sounds like a fun one. Curse ye, gigantic workload!
|# ¿ Jun 26, 2015 21:48|
|# ¿ Jul 14, 2015 22:37|
Dear Claven: your story could have kicked rear end but your effort was medicore, therefore you suck.
Agreed. Agreed so hard. Thanks for the crit.
Can't believe I missed fantasy fight week. My story would have owned faces.
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2015 20:56|
The minute hand crept forward one more increment behind its wire mesh cage. Someone once told him that they put the clocks behind bars to remind the patients of their lot in life; all locked up with nothing but time. Daquan had smirked at that; he knew the real reason boiled down to the staff not wanting people getting stabbed in the neck with broken clocks.
The voice sounded annoyed, but he didn't bother to look up from his cleaning. The ragged old mop slurped across the floor of his immaculate room one last time. He'd promised to tell them everything today. When he finished his story, they'd no doubt move him to an even more secure facility where he would be watched until he earned enough trust and privacy to kill himself. Unless he wasn't just crazy...
“We just want to know what happened to Cesar, Mark and Cassidy.”
Daquan wrung his mop out in the shower and switched on the electric kettle. The look on the investigator's face was hungry, almost predatory, but Daquan paid him no mind. He'd talk once he had a nice cup of earl gray to soothe his nerves, and if the cop got a little nasty for being made to wait then so be it.
“It's funny how everyone cares so much about Cesar and Mark,” said Daquan in between sips of steaming tea.
“It's hard not to care when two promising young men from good families go missing.”
“There's a lot you don't know about them.” Daquan set his tea aside and moved over to the open window. He closed his eyes and felt the warm sun play over his skin, bringing him back to the memory of that summer. “They used to feed her drugs, you know.”
“Yeah. They used to feed her drugs and take turns loving her. Sometimes they'd let me--”
Daquan smirked. “I forgot. You just want to know what happened to them. You don't particularly care whether or not they deserved it.”
A whisper of a smile touched the edges of the investigator's lips as he scribbled something down on his legal pad. “Fine, Daquan. I'll bite. What is it that they deserved?”
“The people that took them. The people that came out the wall.”
“They deserved the...people that came out of the wall?”
“I don't know. But they're coming back today.”
“Daquan! Glad you could make it! Waddle your lumpy rear end back here!” Mark and Cesar burst into laughter. They loved to needle him about his weight, but he'd put up with it for what they were paying him.
“Just show me this thing you've built and give me my money.”
“Not until you get it working.”
“Cassidy said all I had to do was take a look at it. So I'm going to look--”
“And then you're gonna fix,” interjected Cesar. “Or I'm gonna punch.”
“Fine.” Daquan pushed through the clutter, crawling over stacks of dusty chairs and under leaning towers of moldy boxes. “So, how exactly did you come across these plans?”
“Well, we're out of beer money so we were looking through my grandfather's garage for poo poo to sell, like jewelry and poo poo.” Cesar led him over to a low work bench with some machinery on it. “We came across this book. There's no title, no author, no nothing. I think my grandfather, like, wrote it or something.”
Daquan picked up a slim, leather bound journal. Inside were wiring diagrams, hand-drawn sketches and pages and pages of instructions. Without thinking he slumped down into the chair, examining the parts they'd acquired and comparing what they had to what was needed. “You've actually gotten off to a pretty decent start,” said Daquan finally. “I have to ask though; why me? I hate you guys.”
“This is just business,” said Cesar. “Pop-pop was an engineer. Whatever this is, it could be huge!”
“I know you know about this stuff,” continued Mark. “I know you can make this poo poo work.”
“So,” said the investigator after a few minutes of re-reading his notes. “If you hated them so much, why did you help them?”
“I was curious. I also believe I mentioned the payment.”
“And did the device work?”
“What do you think?”
The investigator sighed and dropped his pen onto the table. “I'm having a hard time with this whole concept of the people coming out of the wall.”
“You can ask them yourself in about five minutes.”
“No one went into the wall.”
“Mark, Cassidy and Cesar did.”
“That should do it.” Daquan straightened from where he'd attached the last of the wires. They made the rough outline of a door before looping back into the control box. “Ready?”
“Yeah, if you wanna get the gently caress back behind us instead of standing right in front of it like a moron!”
Cassidy caressed the switch with her finger for a second before pushing it home. The garage instantly flooded with blinding light.
“So, they just took them into the wall? Why didn't they take you?”
“They only said that the others deserved it. They needed to pay.”
“So, the people from the wall left those three charred corpses in that garage? Not you?”
“They were angels from the wall. God burnt them where they stood. They're coming to take me to heaven.”
“And there it is, folks. I think we're done here.”
Daquan disappeared from his room that night. When the orderlies came to take him to the maximum security facility, all they found was a charred mark on the wall and a slim, leather bound volume filled with wiring diagrams, hand-drawn sketches and pages and pages of instructions.
|# ¿ Jul 20, 2015 05:44|
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2015 13:53|
Dear Honorable Judge Presiding:
In. My client would also like to share some equities with you in the form of a courtroom gambit.
I thank you for your courtesy and for this assignment.
(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)
|# ¿ Nov 10, 2015 23:18|
In the interest of fairness, I toxxed myself to submit a story last week and then lost my weekend to an illness so I was not able to complete my story. I should eat a ban for that if I ever want to try and compete in Thunderdome again.
|# ¿ Nov 17, 2015 13:19|
The PM has been sent, I believe, so the bans will go through as the mods will. I like your sense of fair play. Hurry back, you hear?
Sweet, C U at the crossroads.
|# ¿ Nov 17, 2015 18:24|
Much like the Protoss Dragoon or whatever that thing was, I have returned
|# ¿ Nov 17, 2015 20:34|
Word Count: 1212
“So, what's it called again?”
Willard caught his best friend and business partner Kelsey's wry look and rolled his eyes at her. The corporate rodent in charge of this jumped-up software sweatshop hadn't even turned to face them as he cunningly revealed he didn't know the name of the app his analysts had advised him to buy. After a moment of silence, the bombastic wing-backed behemoth keeping his narrow rear end off the ground slowly swiveled around. When he put his glittering little rat's eyes on Kelsey and tried to look serious even as he was dwarfed by the sweeping leather pinions arching over his shoulders, she couldn't help but burst into great guffaws. “It's called SLapp, Mr. Cudgins,” broke in Willard as Kelsey got herself under control.
“What's with her?” asked Cudgins, pointing his thumb in Kelsey's direction.
“She's simply overjoyed about all of the profit we will make with this venture.”
Cudgins frowned. “I am given to understand that SLapp stands for--” Cudgins dropped his gaze to the executive abstract sheet in front of him. “--Sybernetic Lash app. With a goddam 's'.”
Willard blinked and looked at Kelsey again, who nodded solemnly. “The form you signed at our previous meeting mandates installation of our software,” he said in a flat tone. He focused his thoughts on his installed apps folder and willed SLapp to open.
Cudgins suddenly grinned and shook his head, fixing each of them in turn with his beady stare. “That's the worst loving name I've ever heard for a project.”
“Why don't you glance back down at that sheet of paper, read the estimated ROI, and put our software in your head like we told you to,” said Kelsey in a voice as dry as champagne, “or we leave and you watch your closest competitor spank your earnings projections for the foreseeable future. I didn't spend five years coding SLapp with loving Willard as my only company just to come in here and listen to some spoiled chihuahua bark and poo poo himself.”
There was a tense pause. “I like her,” Cudgins finally said to Willard; then, to Kelsey, “Thanks for showing a little fight!” The room fell silent while Cudgins requested their app from the neural network, learned it, and thought about his profile. “Ok, I'm ready.”
“Just a short time ago, you seemed nonplussed by how we choose to spell the name of our product. More specifically, you called us 'morons'.” Willard brought SLapp back foremost in his thoughts and found Cudgins' profile. “Well, in the words of the immortal Samuel L. Jackson: 'Allow me to retort'.” Cudgins abruptly let out a yell and snapped his head to the left. “Please be advised that you've just been SLapped, Mr. Cudgins.”
The afflicted man rubbed his reddening cheek with bony but surprisingly hairy fingers. “You made me think some prick just hit me in the face?”
“Yes. But before I did that, I had to sit through a thirty second advertisement for a pizza place of which I am quite fond. I am now craving said pizza and will likely feel compelled to order one in the near future.”
“He also gave himself a dollar for the privilege,” gushed Kelsey with a wide, excited grin. “You get money each time an advertiser makes an impression while a custy queues up a SLapp for some rear end in a top hat.”
“In addition, we charge partners a monthly subscription fee to--” Willard lost his train of thought with a gasp as a sharp blow to the jaw nearly threw him from his chair. Cudgins' SLapp had rocked him in a way he he'd never been rocked before, and he glowered as Kelsey and Cudgins laughed. “You do realize you just paid me one thousand dollars for that, correct?”
Kelsey wiped tears from her eyes. “You know what? I like you too, Cudgins. How'd that platinum package suit your needs?”
Cudgins smiled once more, a predatory curling of the lips that spoke of hunting cat rather than quivering rat. “Before we start making the market our bitch, we gotta do something about that stupid name.” He paused for a moment, looking out once more across the vast tangle of streets and buildings. “We're gonna call it Synaptic Lash app. No arguments.”
Willard and Kelsey exchanged yet another surprised glance and firmly reevaluated their first impressions of Cudgins. Then they commenced two equally ridiculous but equally silent touch down dances. Soon, everything would be all right.
Kelsey uncorked her third prosecco with a loud pop. Willard sipped his customary entire bottle of pinot noir in a giant glass while Cudgins layed the needle down on Herbie Hancock's Secrets album and grabbed a liter of Powers off the bar. The Annual Shareholders Meeting had commenced.
“SLapp immunity alone made us over 600 million last year!” crowed Kelsey. “You are loving brilliant, Jack Cudgins!” The squirrely little man toasted her and grooved to the music.
“I spoke at MIT last week,” said Willard. “It was quite dull, but--”
“Hold on, guys,” interrupted Cudgins. “Someone's calling.”
Kelsey's blood turned to ice when she saw the expression that slowly suffused his face. “What is it?” she whispered.
“A plane just went down.” Cudgins' voice was stunned. “Someone killed the pilot with a SLapp.” He went over to his window and began pacing anxiously.
“That's loving impossible!” Kelsey grabbed Willard's flabby bicep. “Tell me you fixed it!”
Willard looked into her eyes for a moment, then dropped his gaze to the floor. “Pilots are forbidden by law to have SLapp installed.”
Cudgins stopped in mid-pace. The look in his eyes was of such utter loathing that Willard recoiled from him. “One hundred dead souls and all you can think to do is make excuses.” He blinked, and the printer started spitting out e-mails. “Make excuses to these people.”
“What are we going to do?” Kelsey's voice had dried up into a little squeak.
“We're all guilty of criminal negligence at the very, very least.” Cudgins sighed. “I'm calling the police.”
“No.” Willard lumbered to his feet and squared off against his friend.
“If you try to force me, I will hurt you.”
“Well, guess what! They're already on their way!” replied Cudgins. Then he stepped under the expected clumsy hay-maker and sank his left fist into the bigger man's squishy gut. Willard crumpled to the floor, bawling.
“It's been a long time since I had to do that,” muttered Cudgins, “and I don't like to have done it. But his is how it has to be.”
“You two bear no fault,” sobbed Willard.
Kelsey smiled bitterly. “We know you.”
“We should have double checked,” growled Cudgins.
“That's...what you really think of me?”
“Well?” Kelsey threw open the curtains, revealing flashing lights slowly gliding down the long drive leading up to Cudgins' condo. “Look where we're at right now!”
Willard's face fell. A faucet dripped somewhere in the room, marking out the last few fleeting seconds of his freedom. “I killed that man,” he said quietly after a time.
“We all killed him,” said Kelsey gently.
“That's why we gotta go face the music together, son,” continued Cudgins.
Willard dragged a sleeve across his tear streaked cheeks. Soon, everything would be all right.
|# ¿ Nov 23, 2015 04:32|
|# ¿ Nov 23, 2015 04:54|
|# ¿ Nov 24, 2015 02:22|
Startup Week Crits
Man, I really need to learn how to write. Thanks for the crit.
|# ¿ Nov 25, 2015 14:56|
Word Count: 965
The Unpainted Land stretched out both before and behind us, its drab uniformity unbroken except where our path meandered through the monotonous nothing beyond the Edge of the Real. The history of our journey wended its way back across the featureless waste behind us as a single, unbroken green thread, for life sprung up in our Pilgrim's very footsteps. I often watched, mesmerized, as tender shoots and vines curled around its toes even as it lifted its rag-swaddled foot for another shuffling step. Seeing us achieving our goal of bringing life to the Unpainted Lands happening like that right before my very eyes often helped me forget the clanking of my chains as I walked, or the cruel manacles we all wore around our necks.
I tried not to look in anyone's eyes as we made camp, instead preferring to watch the fireflies dancing in the lush, fragrant grass that sprung up in our wake. I knew I did not have time for this dalliance, but a part of me wondered what was even the use of trying to divine the mysteries of the Pilgrim's book. One of those delicate old pages contained our freedom, but I could not for the life of me puzzle it out no matter how long I looked. Still, I opened that hateful volume and pored over the forgotten sigils and illustrations inside, each one described by a language lost to time.
The moon hung heavy in the nights sky, and as the hours wore on my companions' faces fell. My task weighed upon me, but the burden fell to them as well, for they would be punished even though I gave the inevitable wrong answer. The Pilgrim simply reclined easily by the fire and smoked its pipe, its glittering eyes never leaving my face.
“Charles,” it finally said. I swallowed a hard lump in my throat and closed the book. “Tell me. Upon which page is written the salvation of your people?”
“Why--” my mouth went dry and my words died in my throat. The Pilgrim waited patiently as I fetched a cup of water. One of the others lunged at me as I dipped out some of the water, but the Pilgrim pulled hard on her chain and fell back. “Why are you making me do this?” I asked when I was able.
“You do want to save your people, correct?” I caught a waft of something rotten from under its deeply shadowed cowl, and I had the sense it smiled at me. “You summoned me. It was with you that I struck our bargain. Thus it falls to you to answer my question and lay me to rest.”
I opened the book once more to a random page and showed it to the Pilgrim without meeting its eyes. It was obvious what I'd done. “Fraud,” someone muttered at me under their breath. Something hot and sticky landed on my cheek, but I didn't see who had spit on me because I knew what happened next and I needed to keep my eyes shut. I'd seen the Pilgrim feed twice before and was not interested in seeing it for a third time. The snapping of bone, the rending of flesh and the warm red droplets that stippled my bare skin were more than enough for me.
Every day is the same. The rough manacle clasped around my neck pulls me forward and I stumble about on legs made of lead. The Pilgrim hums a weird tune or sometimes sings softly to itself as it drags us through the Unpainted Lands. Then, the sun sinks low behind the hills, the moon rises and the Pilgrim asks its question. Upon which page is written the salvation of my people? I couldn't answer the question the first time it asked, nor could I answer the hundred and first time it asked. Once, I marched shoulder to shoulder with my people. Our multitudes spread out behind the Pilgrim, a trailing cloak of humanity. But each night the Pilgrim asked its question, and each night it feasted. Now there are very few sets of eyes looking back at me over the fire, pleading with me to find the answer.
“Tell me.” The Pilgrims smooth bass rumble shook apart my reverie. I had almost fallen asleep staring at the book, and the eldritch symbol sketched out on the page writhed and twisted beneath my gaze. “Upon which page is written the salvation of your people?”
I looked into the faces of my companions, the last of us. I had killed my people, and I saw the blame I felt reflected back at me. I shut my eyes against the tears I felt welling up and rolling down my cheeks. It was time to end it. “None of these pages will save us.”
A deep chortle rolled out from under the Pilgrim's hood. “Go on.”
“You have eaten everyone. There is no one left to save. Therefore, none of those pages contain the salvation of my people. My people are gone.”
The Pilgrim stayed silent for some time. “I can find no fault with that answer,” it finally said. It took the book from me and stepped into the fire, making no sound as the flames whittled its body into ash. Trees, grass, plants, animals, all of life itself swelled into being around us as the Pilgrim burned. The smoke drifted into my face, and through it I saw my people, all those souls consumed by the Pilgrim, coming forth from the land of the dead to join me in our new home. The Pilgrim had made good on its bargain, though I would bear the shame of having ever known it until it comes back to take me into the Unpainted Lands once more.
|# ¿ Nov 30, 2015 05:04|
ha ha ha thanks for the crit motherfucker.
|# ¿ Nov 30, 2015 16:43|
|# ¿ Jun 20, 2019 11:32|
|# ¿ Dec 1, 2015 17:21|