No stressful job or rush hour traffic-
No medical bills or family responsibilities-
I want to break into prison
- "Welcome to the PostSecret Archive"
e: nnnn almost forgot
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 17:02 on Apr 14, 2015
|# ¿ Apr 14, 2015 12:49|
|# ¿ Nov 26, 2022 09:59|
I have this feeling that I'm going to forget to post.
No stressful job or rush hour traffic-
An Escape in January
Beth looked at her phone. It was 2:03. Two missed calls, two voicemails, and one unread text from mom. “You’re making this family miser…” Beth did not need to read the rest to know what it said. She had already decamped to her grandparents’ to avoid the accusatory atmosphere. Just looking at the iPhone button made her underarms prickle with acrid sweat. She had been disinvited from finishing college; her future was over.
Everyone in rocks for jocks was probably writing down the pledge on their midterm blue books. Beth was hiking on a highway over 300 miles away, strolling to Frozen Head State Park in the asscrack of January. Her eyes burned from the wind and nothing more. She picked at her nails with the blunt tip of a Swiss army knife file and tried to focus her thoughts on the cold.
A huge Ford with a rusty orange trailer was parked on the other side of the two lane called TN-62. Three men had piled out. In rapid Spanish, the eldest put the others to work unloading the bushwhacker from the trailer.
Trustees from the annex used to do that work. Beth didn’t know when that had changed. She rarely visited her mom’s mom after pops died. A tension had arisen among his survivors which was the emotional twin of chewing tinfoil. The only thing reliable about mom’s mom was that she always opposed mom. Pops had been the family’s axle. They had all kept rolling only so long as he was there.
Pops had worked at the county Correctional Complex for years before he died. Everyone called it the “annex,” since it took overflow from Brushy. It was the only reliable work in the area after the savings and loan thing went down. He’d said that sometimes prisoners would walk off from road detail. They didn’t really flee; they were always re-captured. They didn’t escape to be free. Beth had puzzled over that for a long time. Pops had never explained it to her. All he said was to do as an escapee asked if one caught her.
She turned left onto another two lane road. Not a single car had passed. Her nailbeds were clean, so she slipped the multitool back into her jacket pocket before she lost it like an rear end in a top hat.
There was a floodplain on the right side of the road that some biofuel company had swindled their way into a few years before. The project went bust and the millions in federal grants snatched by the company’s cronies in the county seat had vanished. No one was charged with anything. The project’s legacy was a cheap, abandoned warehouse now rusting away on the plain.
The annex was further ahead. Its battleship gray exterior blended in with the dead grass and skeletal trees. All the evergreens were dead from some pine beetle and the rest of the timber was almost as decrepit. Beth’s gaze dropped down to her feet. Laces were still tied.
In the ditch on the warehouse’s side, she noticed a bright white scrap. A cousin had found a kitten like that before.
“Ere kitty-kitty,” Beth coaxed. She jogged across the road, slowing as she saw the orange beneath the brambles. She was seized by a horrid sensation like someone squeezing her brain. A prisoner was hiding down there. Her breath swelled in her chest. She didn’t want to look away in case he struck, but part of her wanted to walk on like she had seen nothing. She slipped her hand in her pocket and thumbed the smooth side of the knife.
Hesitating was the wrong choice. The prisoner rustled amid the brambles, then popped up like the world’s least welcome Jack in the box.
“You got any smokes?” he asked. Smuh-okes. A real Cumberland man, he lacked the drawn meth-head look. He was just old and worn out.
“No, sorry.” Beth gave her other pockets an apologetic, one-handed patdown. Of course she didn’t have cigarettes. She didn’t smoke.
“You got a car?”
She looked around. Besides the two of them, the only cars were at the annex or further up 62. “Nope.”
“Figgered I’d ask. You goin to the prison? Here, get off the road, you don’t wanna get hit, lady.”
“Thanks.” She felt strangely relieved by being called “lady.” He was right, she didn’t want to be hit. She stepped into the gravel of the shoulder, keeping her distance. So much for the park. Her nice walk had been irretrievably ruined. Talking to an escapee was more interesting, anyway. He did not seem to be in any hurry. He was still talking to her instead of trying to run. “You… Just sticking around?” she asked.
“Did you—do you remember a George Potter up the hill?” Her eyes were fixed on a point past the prisoner’s shoulder, in the direction of the prison. “Was a counselor?”
“Been a while since I seen him. Heard he passed away. You a cousin?” He asked.
“He was my grandfather.”
“God bless. I won’t say you look like him, ain’t bald enough.” He hacked out a smoker’s laugh and held himself tightly against the winter wind. The jumpsuit he was wearing wasn’t quite enough even for a winter as mild as this one had been. “Whatter you doin way out here? It’s too cold for a lady to be walking around like this.”
“Thinkin,” she said, then regretted dropping the “g.”
“World’s a complicated thing. I don’t know how you all do it on the outside,” he said. “Got nobody to take me back even if I did.”
“I don’t know either,” she admitted. “I just got kicked outta college… I wanted to be a diplomat. Can’t get clearance if my record says I… Says I got bad nerves.”
“They got nerve pills for that nowadays,” he said.
“That’s even worse.”
Animal instinct kicked in and they both lifted their heads toward the annex almost before Beth realized she’d heard dogs. She pressed the pad of her thumb into the knife’s hilt and slowly extended the blade with a fingernail until it snagged against the pocket lining.
“What’s it like inside?” she asked, voice barely louder than the growling motor of the sheriff’s Cadillac.
|# ¿ Apr 19, 2015 17:07|
I said it in IRC, but thanks again for the crit, ahfb!
|# ¿ Apr 20, 2015 19:09|
Gimme a wizard. I'm gonna active voice your pointy hats off.
|# ¿ Apr 20, 2015 19:26|
crabrock is going to murder us all in our beds on Saturday and then make a graph about it.
Forewarned is forearmed. I'll just have to post my entry on Saturday.
|# ¿ Apr 22, 2015 13:51|
It's know-nothing, dammit. When you refer to an old American political movement, do it right. (Please submit a story. Wanna read lots o' stories about wizards. )
|# ¿ Apr 23, 2015 01:37|
If some gif-makers can whip up a special wizard-tar for this week, I will foot the bill to buy new avatars for this week's losing wizard(s). I know some of you have that magic touch.
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 00:02 on Apr 24, 2015
|# ¿ Apr 23, 2015 18:37|
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 20:58 on Jan 2, 2016
|# ¿ Apr 24, 2015 19:46|
Wesley the Wizard 1298 Words.
This story was a sweet start to reading an avalanche of wizard stories. Aside from a few minor mechanical issues, everything hangs together neatly and I don't feel like much space was wasted. You've got the overblown, pubertal kid dialogue down. (And of course a 14 year old magus would have a hardship license.) In the last few lines (quoted), I wasn't certain if Wesley were still speaking with Cynthia or someone else. Just a small tag after the question would have helped. That's really the only picky thing I have to say. I liked how you made use of your prompt and I didn't feel a need to drink after reading this.
Three Dimensions, More or Less 1272 words
You had a really cool idea saddled down by front-loaded worldbuilding. I wish you had started the story with the narrator getting his papercraft powers and then quickly succumbing to the need to share them by the worst means possible. I empathize with the scene-setting issue because I also stumble there. The multiple examples of what happens when you cut yourself on a grimoire weren't necessary; that space could have been devoted to the plot. You used up most of your narrative energy on stage dressing.
Nine Wolves, 1220 words
At first I wasn't certain if this fulfilled your enthrallment prompt, but hey, we have a slave girl and man-eating wolves under Svartr's control. It's all good. Some minor errors slipped through, but that's probably to be expected for a very early submission. They didn't detract from the reading. One thing nagged at me as I read; I wanted to know why Svartr was taking revenge (and on whom? Thorfinn? Thorfinn's bro?). What can I really say to a pro?
Joy 1,247 words
You could have played up the central conflict in this tale more. The narrator was more interested in her own irritation than she was in Audrey's reluctance to give up the life she already knew, but I was more interested in Audrey than in the narrator's exasperation. Your wizard's griping felt self-indulgent, but Audrey's anxiety was actually interesting. Your diction could have been tighter in places; phrases like "I take a sip" work better as "I sip," and you let some passive voice slip in where it was unnecessary ("It’s a debate I’ve seen play out again and again" vs "I've seen this debate play out again and again").
Colours and Councils
You posted a story with a bunch of grammar and style errors which did detract from what you wanted to do. The sentence fragments, missing commas, passive voice, tense shifts, and sundry little issues gnaw away at your reader's attention budget. Take more time to clean up your story. You posted on Thursday; you could have taken another day to boot this through a grammar checker or request a pre-crit. This story would have benefited from some quality control on your part to ensure that it scanned well. Not that you needed to write in verse, but a good rhythm would have benefited this piece on art. The opening scene is also some gratuitous cuteness. You could have spent that space developing the conflict between Ryncraft and Lobiathis. (And dubbing them Michelangelo and Beethoven didn't do much for the stakes. It just felt out of place.)
A Distant Hand
I did a pre-crit for you, so I'll keep this brief. The changes you made really improved the story's flow. I think you could have been more economical with your diction; I also think you should have clarified what Allamendo risked by giving Pilot his ring.
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 15:20|
Interesting setting choice. Some of the earlier paragraphs are clunky; the narrative starts choking on the exposition you want to share with us. I like the idea of Chance Men, but you could have worked that element in more gracefully than a fourth wall breaking aside barely 100 words into the story. The dropped penny was kinda goofy. Would a Soviet assassin really go for goofy? I think he'd be more likely to indulge in comedic yet grotesque overkill. Some tense shifting threw me out of the story. Sometimes it seemed like you had not decided if your protag was narrating events as they occurred or sometime after the fact.
Sequelae (1267 words)
I really liked this one. It worked for me. The only part that bothered me was Bashnya Tower, which I'm pretty sure just means Tower Tower. The sentence fragments in section 2 didn't give the staccato feeling you might have intended; they just kind of made me stumble over that portion of the narrative. You didn't weigh the story down with exposition and you didn't waste words on useless detail. Tommy's disappearance does represent a dangling thread I would have liked to have seen tucked away. I also kind of expected Dante to go harvest lives at that ballgame.
Seeds on the Wind
The ongoing narration by Foster felt jumbled and overblown. I'm not sure a first person, one-sided conversation was the best way to roll with this story. I expected more of the conflict to center on the only other named character, Dean, not for the tale to end with an unceremonious chomp on the unnamed guest with no Dean to be seen. The story could use a serious pruning. A more spare monologue would get the point across without spending all the reader's patience. The prompt was not fully exploited, either.
Old Lady Carbuncle
The townie voice in this one is pretty inconsistent. If you want to do a regional variant on a hayseed, you gotta pick which region you're trying to invoke, then use it judiciously. Your narrator didn't stumble on a phrase like "town process server" but then mangled "obligation"? That doesn't feel right. I like the framing device, though I don't think it added to the tale. This is the only fiction I've read in quite a while that involved eminent domain, so... Good job!
Tulpas for the One Percent
Mercifully brief. Your irredeemable protagonist starts off in a sour negotiation, which goes exactly nowhere. Then we're treated to a lot of expository junk which also goes nowhere. Lastly, we're introduced to someone who's not about to revoke your character's W-card... And that goes nowhere, too. Are you a wizard?
Straight out of the gate you both tell us and show us how Luke's apartment ages. You can just stick with the showing and dispense with the sentence fragments, which don't do much stylistically. I'm guessing the single quotation marks are a British thing, so I can't really pick on that, but you did miss an opening mark on at least one line of dialogue. I guess some Orientalism is unavoidable in the context of wizard week. I don't know why you're coy about opening with the story's conflict. I don't see any benefit to burying it. I would have enjoyed more build-up about breaking into heaven instead of spending my attention budget trying to figure out what Luke's problem was before he finally confronted St. Peter.
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 18:37|
I will provide graph crits in the style of week 115 to the first ten people that ask (someone else can share an example of said crits via a link). First come first served.
I'd like that!
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 18:58|
#13 SadisTech, I'mma let you finish... When I can get home and put you in a gdoc.
Hourly Wages - 919 words
Double Magnus this week, okay. I don't get the sense that you're trying to parody anything, so the name is just a bit overblown instead. The sentence fragments here don't work stylistically. A bunch of us keep trying to gainfully employ fragments, only to find that they keep stealing from the till. This story was surprisingly sweet and even touching given the prompt you received. I expected someone to be humiliated in the story, which never happened. Also, it was brief and mainly devoid of flab.
The Nightly Portents
The jilted wizard aspect didn't create much conflict or tension, but I enjoyed the sorta Sports Night-like view of a wizarding show by and for wizards. The overblown off-stage dialogue could have used toning down. The extra details about the backstage dungeon zone felt extraneous. Once again, that space would have served more effectively if spent on the conflict instead of the setting. I definitely didn't expect an 8th century TV meteorologist, though, so props. I'd read more about this show.
The Eye Thief 1,261 words
A pass through a grammar checker or a proofreader would have smoothed out many of this entry's rough edges. The first section lost my attention once we got through with eyeballs being on everything; that's a lot of exposition and description without the conflict even being mentioned. That's a shame, since you have a fine reason for your protagonist to fight. The rebel meeting served basically no purpose. You've got some tense shifts here and there which are disorienting. Sometimes you forget how many eyes Desmond has, too, which is a bit alarming. Condense the pertinent details from section one (eyes on all the poo poo!), dump the second section, proofread everything else, and you've got an eerie story that trades well on eye injury.
Wizard 1300 words
Could it have at least been titled "Wizard Weed"? Anyway, I don't know what's happening in that second sentence. Fog is coming in, maybe? It's distracting. I pretty much had no idea where this story was going to go at any time, and I was actually alright with that. Like I told the other guys... Please proofread. The only things after the Seattle tendrils that really rustled my jimmies were pointless mechanical errors. Mustache of bees.
Nothing More. Nothing Less.
This didn't stick to the voices prompt, but it was a cool story of friendship and also wizards. I expected Ivar to get into some poo poo over bringing back the dead, given the amount of space devoted to his father's ideas of optimal wizarding. I suppose that would fall under unfulfilled narrative promise, something I am informed is nearly criminal. You've got some randomly capitalized stuff (war party doesn't need it) and one mis-used word I noticed (regulated should be relegated). I enjoyed this. The dialogue did a strong job of establishing Ivar and Hrefna's relationship. I totally believe she'd tell the god in charge that wizards go to first heaven from now on, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Hair of the Dog
Noir wizards, sure. You've a tense shift ("slide" would be better as "slid," and probably was a typo) in the middle. I like the plot, but something about the narration doesn't feel fresh. I don't know how to put it. Maybe you tried too hard to hit the tone of the genre without giving the narrative a chance to find its own voice.
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 20:45|
Thanks for the crit, Hammer Bro!
\/ e: Thanks, GP!
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 22:51 on Apr 27, 2015
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2015 22:49|
Thanks for the crit, Meeple!
Thanks for the crit, I didn't catch this earlier!
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 14:33 on Apr 28, 2015
|# ¿ Apr 28, 2015 13:58|
Thinking Dogs for the Stupid
As others already wrote, I appreciate that the protagonist is immediately established as a dog. That was a refreshingly straightforward touch. He turns a door handle, not a knob, which I thought was a good detail. I didn't buy into the switch from Val rejecting Seth to Val and Seth being best buddies at the end. I'm not sure how dog slobber was the catalyst for this turnaround. Around the mid-point you have a couple "it was" and passive constructions that snuck in; those could stand rephrasing in more active language. The mention of a cutthroat wizarding school threw me. I expected the rest of the story to resolve at this school, though I wasn't sure how cutthroat a place with a significant portion of special needs wizards could be. What I did like was the twist in who Gerontius was actually after, but that concluded somewhat disappointingly. I wish Seth had been more active in the climax and conclusion.
Lethal Ingestion (1269 words)
I do enjoy a gross-out tale and I liked the set-up you gave, pitting necessity against, say, human rights. I think opening with the protag's "awakening" would have been more interesting than beginning with his test results. You made the phenomenon sound pretty awesome with poor Mort. There's a tense shift in the Truth paragraph which is a bit disorienting (from past tense to future tense to present tense in one sentence about the doc). The conversational, slightly understated tone of the narration works for me. I don't know why you gave Maks a nonstandard spelling in an apparently contemporary setting. That was odd; didn't really gel for me. I don't know if the pissing in a champagne flute is some bizarre way of casting a spell or if that was a joke. (Or both.) I also don't get why a shrimpy poop pill would result in a wizard detonation. The shrimp seems to link back to Mort, but I can't make sense of how that Chekhov gun worked. That bothers me. The dissolved teeth part was pretty clever, but in the end it was just a meaningless piece of detail. Surely a reasonable person would figure that as long as your jaw can move, you can still crush a soft object. The pill disappears without a mention as soon as the struggle begins, so I had assumed the protag swallowed it; however, it's uncovered under a jacket--that's awful convenient. The narrative probably should follow the reverse suppository a bit more closely. I'm also not sold on why Maks turned on his partner instead of bringing him into the conspiracy and using a mook as the human bomb instead. aside, I think you put together a genuinely interesting story with some amusing scatological humor. It just needs some work to hang together more.
You efficiently packaged this story with only 72% of the max word count. You could have trimmed it down further and given us something really spare and beautiful, but this version gets pretty close. You handled Walter's dementia honestly but sensitively--I appreciate that he wasn't a human punchline. This is one of my favorite stories this week, and I honestly don't have much more to say about it.
I also gave you a pre-crit, so this mini-crit will be even shorter. I think the changes you made improved the story, but the conflict could be clearer. You also ditch the client character in the first third of the story and then introduce a female character whose identity and importance is unclear. I think sticking directly with the trifecta (protagonist, client, and antagonist) would have made this entry tighter and kept the conflict and stakes sharper.
I thought at first that this story would be a tale of adventure, but nothing really presented itself as an obstacle or conflict during Helka's search for her father. Her success seemed inevitable as soon as she read the magic note. She did not have to struggle to overcome anything between reading that and finding the phantom wizards. Did she render them visible with her power? I didn't feel as though her ability really came into play within the story's confines besides Ingvar's speech. I think Helka overcoming the harbinger with trickery would have been a better spot to set your story. You included several intriguing details about the tower, but unfortunately they never came into play.
Randolph the Green
What's this title referencing? A quick search brings up Randolph the Green-Nosed Reindeer. That didn't seem too relevant. I do like a tale of comeuppance--the poetic justice was pretty good! The first section lingered a little too long on Ryan's contempt for the middle class. If you were trying to juxtapose his contemptuousness with the reality that he was a parasite, that would have come through with much less rumination. You could make that section more compact and more powerful. I don't actually know if women are more likely to choose head vs. chest when using a gun. In general, women are less likely to use a firearm to commit suicide and more likely to use poison than men, so if you wanted to signal that oddity, a different and more female-dominant method would be best. I wish you had not hidden what Jane was wishing for when the perspective switched. Also, I'm a little surprised that Ryan wouldn't know the content of a wish before stealing it for himself. I didn't really get that from the first 30-40% of the story. It makes a little sense when re-reading Ryan's diversion into demographics, but you never state that this is the case. Aside from glossing over the first section and needing to reread it, I got a chuckle out of this.
|# ¿ Apr 28, 2015 15:49|
Thanks for the crit, GP!
|# ¿ Apr 28, 2015 18:33|
Thanks for still more crits!
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2015 10:53|
Corruption and Power *Less than whatever the word count was* words
The opening was confusing. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but instead of intriguing me I kinda bounced off. Jumping between Roger, the sorta lovely husband, and "the wizard smiled" just didn't draw me in. You were going for something poetic there and unfortunately it didn't work this time. If I hadn't known your prompt, this section would have been more frustrating. The ending, while funny, didn't fit the tone of the rest of the piece. It's interesting to have the antagonist wizard (or at least, Roger felt more like the protag) just be kind of a sadistic rear end in a top hat, but he didn't really wind up as much of a character despite having a mention in almost every other paragraph. I really want to dig this story because playing with formatting is intriguing, but it didn't pull together.
The first line was out of place, especially in addressing the audience, but I think your piece had the strongest set of characters out of any of the stories I've read so far this week. You gave us a good sense of who each character was and at least a good hint of their individual motivations. The action writing was especially strong. The only place where I was (briefly) confused was the ending; at first, I thought Golgoth's actual remains were the statue, but then I re-read the beginning. Nice one.
When Alice Miller Fought City Hall
This story was really tidy. My only complaint is that I wish the first half had included a bit less exposition and maybe a little more confrontation between Alice and the spirit of processes. The it/it sentence at the end of that section was awkward; you could have condensed the visual (being slapped with a glove/the gauntlet tossed down for a duel) for better effect. A slap is its own punctuation. I'd like to read more of the oddly ordinary magical adventures of Alice. She sounds pretty boss.
The Hum of the Woods.
Stating from the start that Cassandra is on a nighttime caravan raid would increase the tension right at the start. We're more than a few paragraphs in before this is stated. Until then, it just seems like this weirdo is having a well-armed nighttime jog a la Rick Perry. There's a lead (the element) and led (past tense of "to lead") confusion in paragraph 3 and you let many sentence fragments slip in. If you want to use these to control pacing or flow, you need to use them more sparingly. I think you can make the nature of the supplies Cassandra's people need earlier instead of referring to "things." Is Clare's name a reference to Cassandra Clare? Anyway, I think you've put together a pretty interesting plot here and how you interpreted your prompt worked well. I'm just disappointed by the proofreading errors.
A Day in the Forest
I don't know why the wizard-hunter warned Landon that he was coming and I don't know why there's a cute rabbit sidekick who doesn't really have any importance to the conflict. Was this an early draft of your idea and you ran out of time? The story just doesn't feel complete. The first section could have been dropped altogether. I also don't know how the kid can build his own cabin and use language and read but simultaneously be illiterate. Why does the hunter want to kill Landon? Just because he's a wizard? Is Landon really an innocent, or does he have a habit of feeding inconvenient visitors to his animal friends rather regularly?
This story could have used a pass through a grammar checker or proofreader. You've got a lot of simple errors and weird phrasing that made reading this story difficult, which is a shame. The weird phrasing ("confident being able to say that Meredith was visiting her mother’s and not because he had a made a scene") doesn't seem to come from you trying out new ways of showing us things, you're just mangling regular ways of telling us things. What is it with wizards taking terrible care of their reference tomes and grimoires? You'd think they'd be on the "wash your hands, turn a page" team, but this week was full of messy wizards treating texts badly. Meredith is mentioned a hell of a lot for someone who never actually shows up in the story. I'd rather hear more about Mayor Dogspot. Unfortunately, you end the tale right before things get interesting, and you started it with someone waking up in the morning... No, please. I hope you revise this entry in the future, though, because your alcoholic, cowardly, and possibly incompetent wizard might make a great protagonist.
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2015 16:18|
The No-Nothing Thief
Nah, the joke actually works (which is more than I can say for my jokes). In the first paragraph, you change the wizard's pronoun from "they" to "he," which is confusing. Are thieves trained? That's an odd bit of detail to drop in. I wish the narrative had held more tension, especially since rumor was such a large part of the story. Ridulph's teleportation spell was actually pretty cool, and made me wonder why she isn't considered a wizard. I don't think the dialogue at the beginning was necessary. Starting with the journey to the farmer's field would have worked just as well. A sense of what the wizard was doing with that void-in-a-box would have been interesting. I think he accidentally bespelled himself to do nothing, but I don't know that for sure.
Of a Feather
Some readers will have a hard time with soldiers being dicks just to be dicks, but people in a position of power being dicks to others is a thing which has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen. I was alright with this. I am less alright with randomly capitalized birds. I'm not sure why Trutlag did a rapid 180 between not wanting to use his bird powers against the king's men because it would be immoral to deciding to humiliate them. That happened really quickly. I also pretty much expected birds to poo poo on everyone, so you delivered there. The resulting comedy of errors felt too pat, and I didn't get a great sense for how Trutlag felt (at first he was panicked, then he was abruptly alright with the infighting?).
Sigil - 1300 words
Was the paladin wannabe hanging around the scene from the start? His intro confused me; I thought he was the cop at first, just with a really odd uniform. I'm not sure why the protagonist wasn't startled until James' second line, either. It reads like you rearranged some dialogue and didn't catch a few snags. The conflict worked, the motivations worked; I like that James is not very good compared to the modern idea of a paladin. The ending dialogue was a bit too on the nose, since you already mentioned silkscreened shirts previously. It probably would work better if you saved the idea for the ending instead of merely repeating it.
Cities Fall Yet Rivers Still Flow 960 Words.
Sure is a lot of cock in this story. I wish the prose had been tightened up; "autie" got spelled more than one way, and there are some simple errors still hanging around. The style feels uneven. You start with pretty clear prose, but then it gets closer to how the characters are speaking, or maybe the perspective is moving closer to Rivers'. I don't know your writing well enough to gauge how deliberate this shift is. The dialogue being all in some weird vernacular worked fine for me, since I had a grand old time reading Trainspotting, but most readers aren't going to have the patience for that type of preciousness. Every reader has a certain amount of attention for your story and trust in your ability budgeted before they get past the first line; everything you hit them with after that point has the potential to deduct from that limited pool. Accents are one of those things which set writers back.
Healing Ward and Chaos Wave: Are these Warcraft spell names? You mention two named characters who don't play any role in the story and capitalize a bunch of common nouns to lend them gravitas that they don't earn in the narrative. Ether is capitalized occasionally; if you're going to do that, be consistent. Unintelligible dialogue didn't add anything to the story. It's probably best to avoid that sort of thing unless you make a legit cipher for a curious reader to work out. I didn't get that sense and I wasn't curious enough to try. Instead of telling us how weak your protagonist is, show it in his struggles to escape. You had a really cool prompt, but I finished this story feeling pretty unfulfilled.
I don't understand why the protagonist doesn't know anyone in their entire village who can give a stuffed rabbit a new ear. Does everyone just run around naked? Surely someone can sew besides a dragon.
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2015 18:43|
The Square Root of 13 (1293 words)
A wizard named numbers, wow. Despite the dull significant name, I am prepared to enjoy any story involving math. It's an underexploited area. I like Zahlen's murderous compulsion, but I wish less time had been spent mulling over number-related superstitions and more time had been spent actually using them. The detective doesn't have to overcome puzzling out Zahlen's code during the story, so explaining the significance killed any tension that might have developed between learning that the wizard killed an unknown number of people in a fit of pique and the actual confrontation. The fact that Zahlen is a spree killer (or maybe a serial killer, given that he's done this before) goes understated, and we're left with no real idea of why he has faced seemingly no consequences for his behavior. Nothing about the setting suggests that murder by wizardry is given more leeway than any other type of capital offense. The detective is saved by a back-up team just happening to arrive, when I think the elements to defeat Zahlen could have played into the detective's hands at any time (such as Zahlen's hilarious mathematical illiteracy).
Mo Wizards Mo Problems
This submission felt mercifully light on exposition, but maybe that's just in comparison to the infodumps so far. You could have switched the positions of the first and second paragraphs and brought the reader into the scene more quickly. The image of bouncing around in a carriage has an immediate appeal--not because it sounds fun, but because it's easy to picture and packs a visceral punch. You handled artistic imagery pretty well throughout, though I got the sense you were getting fatigued near the end as descriptions became repetitive and some grammatical mistakes sneaked in. Thantifaxath sounds like another big fan of Lisa Frank, though. I was more entertained than put off by the D&D references, so good job.
Perceive and Deceive 1211
The intro would have been more interesting if we knew that the protagonist was hiring a getaway driver from the beginning. It's also a bit odd that she would take a taxi instead of driving to/from the scene; there's something off-kilter about someone on a driving job not actually doing any driving. Why does the protagonist enchant the waitress in this scene? Is he demonstrating his skills to Red? How does his spell break during the heist? If walking off with all the money isn't enough to bother them, why are squealing tires? Was that because the protagonist's concentration broke? That could be made clearer--elements like this shouldn't be understated too far. You ended on the really interesting conflict of this story, which starts with the protag learning that Red has completely scammed him and he fell for an all too mundane seduction.
La Voz Silenciada
There was no lead-in justifying Juan murdering a guy in front of an entire crowd. His subsequent death isn't remotely sympathetic, even though you try to play it off as a tragedy. Pasting in someone else's lyrics in added nothing to the story and resulted in an awkward reading experience; describing the music itself, the tunes' rhythms and movements, would have required more musical knowledge but been more worthwhile. We don't submit stories with whole verses of Shakespearean sonnets pasted in because TD is about struggling with and mastering your own wordsmithing. Don't rely on someone else's writing as a crutch. You use "air of scumbag entitlement" twice, which just doesn't work. You also seem to get confused about what Juan's name is, because he becomes John on occasion as well. That's no good. If you don't care about the character, why should I?
Sif the Strong
Something about this didn't quite flow, though nothing was difficult to understand and I don't feel like I missed any information. The dual conflicts here were solid material: a daughter yearning for her father's acknowledgment and an attack from an enemy tribe. We get both of these back to back with very little time wasted, and the story ends with resolutions on both accounts. If anything, I think it was just the sentence structure that left me cold. Each idea felt disconnected from the next even though there was a logical chain of events on display. I feel a little weird asking for more connective tissue on a story's bones, but that's where I am with this piece. Everything else about this story had me prepared to love it. The style feels, I don't know, very laconic compared to what Sif must have been feeling.
|# ¿ May 1, 2015 15:55|
In because I didn't need that sleep anyway.
|# ¿ May 12, 2015 13:24|
Untitled Opening, 483 words
“Good luck with the demo, mushroom girl,” Fred said. “Let me know when you’re done. I might be a bit slow getting back, though.” He gave Elle a peck on the cheek after she came out from under the table.
“I hope the grievance thing goes well,” she said, then blushed. She wanted to pretend it was from carrying tubs of mushrooms all across the farmer’s market. If Fred asked why she was so red, she would’ve been hard pressed to lie.
The indoor market was holding a demo, but Elle wasn’t participating. It was such a stupid thing to lie about. She dusted off her knees instead of giving in to the urge to babble.
“The teamsters’ work is never done… Sorry I couldn’t stay.” Fred kissed her nose and left.
With Fred out of the picture, Elle had one last chance to find the wedding band before the winter market building closed for renovations. The ring had vanished between set up and tear down at last week’s market. She had only discovered its disappearance when she had been about to propose to him.
Elle rushed to finish arranging her display. Her customary neighbor arrived just as she settled her cash box on her table.
“Ready for me?” Arlene asked. She sold goat milk soap, so she wasn’t a real competitor. They watched each other’s stands for coffee runs.
“Thank you so much,” Elle gushed. She didn’t want to insult Arlene, but -- what if Elle had to look for hours before finding it? She wasn’t sure how far she could trust Arlene not to pocket some of her sales.
“Oh, I’ve got Davey checking the parking lot, too.”
“Here’s my number if he finds it, just text me,” Elle said. “I’ll be back soon!”
“Good luck.” Arlene gave her two thumbs up, then lit up at the approach of a potential buyer.
Elle had already searched all around the stall while Fred had unloaded the bins. She retraced her steps but found nothing. The ring must have rolled a good ways away. She hadn’t let anyone else know about the ring. First, jerks might find it first, and second, she didn’t want Fred to know. If he found out, her failure would prove that she was ditzy and unreliable.
She ignored the looks from patrons and vendors as she crawled around the floor. The ancient wood floor was riven with deep cracks. They'd collected a good deal of filth and coins over the years. A dollar coin should have been lucky, but today Elle only cursed.
"Not happy to see me?" The market coordinator startled Elle. She squinted at the staffer’s nametag.
"Uh, sorry, Amy," she said. "I'm a little busy right now--"
"I just need last month's rent check from you guys. Arlene didn't see it in your cash box. What are you doing? That's a real safety hazard, y'know."
|# ¿ May 14, 2015 22:35|
Sole Survivor: Space Janitor
Word Count: 1,000
Survivor’s Log - Day 7
The escape pod’s reserves finally gave. Much as I’d love to stay curled up inside it, humming loudly and pretend that everything’s alright, I can’t ignore the fact that the food and water synthesisers are offline. I’ll have to file a complaint with BronzeCorp management for going with the “week’s requiem” model. Cheap bastards.
This planet’s atmosphere is breathable, and the pod’s scanners are detecting drinkable water within a ten-mile radius. Guess it’s time for me to put on my big-boy spaceman suit and go on a little expedition.
Expedition didn’t kill me. From what I’ve seen, there’s not much around that could. It’s just wide-open fields, far as the eye can see. With my luck there’s probably some airborne, flesh-eating parasite native to this planet, but I’ll plunge rolling and screaming off that bridge when I get to it.
No signs of other pods or survivors. Not a surprise, considering how sudden the attack was. If I hadn’t already been in the pod cleaning up the leftovers of the Captain’s bender the previous night, I probably would have blown up with the rest of the crew. I caught a glimpse of the enemy ship before the pod’s blast shields went up, and I bet everyone on that beauty’s crew is getting paid more in a month than I’ll ever make in a year.
Maybe I’ll look them up after I get back to civilization. Someone has to wipe down a dreadnought’s floors, after all.
Tripped over some debris. Even in miscellaneous pieces, it still has that signature BronzeCorp look to it. Hell, might be even prettier in pieces. No sign of our cargo, unfortunately. I figured that my hopes of being rescued might increase if I had something they actually gave a poo poo about. From what I saw of its security measures when I was mopping up the cargo bay after the weekly laser-limbo contest, the drat thing could probably get flung through a sun and come out a-okay. No idea what it does, but knowing my employer, it’ll probably end up causing a death toll higher than all four world wars combined. I can only hope they actually designed it to do that.
Decided to go back to the pod for shelter when night fell. Distress signal’s still broadcasting. Maybe I’ll be lucky.
Survivor’s Log - Day 8
gently caress. I saw the ship from before touching down on the planet, way off in the distance. Seems like they’re looking for something. Don’t think they’ll take any unsolicited job applicants too kindly. I clutch my trusty mop to my chest.
I’m going to look for the missing cargo. With luck, it’ll be drugs.
Survivor’s Log - Day 10
It wasn’t drugs. Dictating this from inside someone’s shed, I think.
Found the missing cargo half a klik from the pod. It’s a sorta spider-like robot and well-armed. Thought it would shoot me, but it recognized me as the last BronzeCorp survivor. That meant I got some kind of access. Just my luck, the guns didn’t work.
I learned that when the aliens caught me. Spiderbot’s all jammed with sand. It’s just lucky that these guys have ideas about hospitality and didn’t get that I wanted to blow them up. I’m hoping their ideas aren’t like the other guys’.
The aliens are kinda humanoid. They stay wrapped up in cloth, so I haven’t gotten a great look at them. They’re all taller than I am… Can’t understand them, either. I guess I’m the alien.
Brought my mop along with Spiderbot. Spiderbot doesn’t take up much space; it’s on the ceiling. Lucky the shed is all stone. There’s a cot in here for me, some crates, brooms, tools. Everything’s miserably dusty, like every other building I saw on the way in. The locals left a few little idols in here. One of them has a mop, too.
Food here gives me the trots. More later.
Survivor’s Log - Day 12
I’m now the special kind of guest, the type who can’t leave. If I step outside, my hosts shoo me back indoors. They’re probably figuring out what to do with me. I don’t know that I want to be around when they decide.
I don’t know if the distress signal’s still on. Being here is better than starving or meeting the crew from the enemy ship. I’d kill for a satellite uplink, though. Maybe I’ll go native, make half-alien children…
The sand is in everything. It’s killing me -- I swept this morning and it’s back already, fine like the powder on a donut. Maybe I can teach Spiderbot how to sweep. It has enough legs.
Survivor’s Log - Day 13
Spiderbot can sweep with six legs. When I explained, the bot came down. I tied some brooms to its legs and told it to do what I did. We had seven brooms, but Spiderbot broke one. Good thing the windows have no glass.
One of the locals came in while we were cleaning, but ran off. I think we scared him. Or her. Zie? Wish I knew something about anthropology.
Survivor’s Log - Day 14
They threw a party for us. One of them kept kinda gesturing at me so I figured that they wanted to see Spiderbot sweep. I ordered Spiderbot to clear out the pavilion with me. We piled up dust everywhere, but with a little sweat, we uncovered it--a huge mosaic of those idols. These guys went nuts like they’d won the Galactic Cup.
Then the enemy crew arrived. I don’t know if it was just bad luck or something else. I thought we were all dead: me, Sweeperbot, the locals--so I told Sweeperbot to sweep the poo poo out of the bastards.
Don’t know where they are now, but they’re not here and that’s what matters.
I think the locals sent their own expedition to drag my pod back. I hope the signal’s still working.
|# ¿ May 17, 2015 22:08|
|# ¿ May 19, 2015 12:17|
Sittinghere gets a DQ for editing her post!
|# ¿ May 20, 2015 02:10|
new rule i just made up: if 10 people emptyquote this, benny the snake, the legendary rulebreaker, is banned from entering the thunderdome ever again
|# ¿ Jun 3, 2015 02:23|
In and because I'm a wretched failure who must redeem herself in the cashier slave pit.
|# ¿ Jun 30, 2015 15:19|
fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck I'm in
I'm preparing a sweet reward for ACG if he wins this week.
|# ¿ Jul 1, 2015 23:28|
Do you harvest
u can't just ask a woman if she harvests, check your privilege
All honeys are strictly analog. Honeys are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of kickin' rad comb or fitness for a particular recipe. The entire risk as to the quantity of beestings and crystallization performance of the honeys is with the recipient. Should the honeys prove defective, you assume the cost of getting crunk on bomb-rear end fermented honeys.
|# ¿ Jul 2, 2015 15:43|
The (One Note) Ballad of Bean Hill
“Do you see this? This worm-eaten bean wouldn’t get past me,” Lara said. She pinched a pale coffee bean and held it up. It had a dark fleck which might have been a pinhole. Her other hand pointed at the faux gold “You know what this pin means? I’m nearly a master coffee sommelier. I love coffee. I live coffee. I wish I could say the same about you.”
She dropped the bean back into the sample tray and stared at her manager until he backed up against the milk dispenser. He bumped his wrist against the skim lever and squirted himself.
“Erk. Well, I’m sure everyone here appreciates your passion, Lara, but this doesn’t explain what’s going on in the walk-in… Or why you’re organizing a committee!” He grabbed a rag and dabbed at the milk. His soul patch quivered. Lara’s master conversation deflection technique had failed. “You know that’s not how we do things-”
“So what’s your hourly pay, Jim?” she asked.
“That’s against corporate poli-”
“Doesn’t that seem a little weird? We can’t even talk about it? All that means is it’s harder to know how much your time is worth. Who does that benefit?”
“It’s a privacy issue!” White shone all around Jim’s eyes. He clutched at his golden manager nametag like he might rip it off at any second.
“Payroll doesn’t need to share that, but how does it hurt me to tell you that I’m making ten-fifty an hour?” Lara drew a line through the beans on the sorting tray.
“Ten-fifty?” Jim’s voice cracked on fifty just loudly enough to make one of their patrons look up from his newspaper. “You make--goddammit! I won’t be dragged into this. If anyone else sees you waving around membership cards, you’re gonna end up fired. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!” He hurled the rag onto the counter and stalked off. The rag slid off the edge and plopped onto the floor, spattering milk everywhere.
“I just mopped that… rear end in a top hat.” She tidied up the mess Jim had left and stared into the empty cafe.
The Golden Bean only had seven employees for the time being. Seven crewmates stranded on an island in a sea of piss… The only hint of civilization beating within the heart of Voidmart. Anyone without a golden pinstripe apron was an enemy. They wanted free mocha choke ya lattes and they never tipped. They didn’t even know how to appreciate good coffee when it was offered to them. The Bean was Voidmart’s crown jewel! Anyone who didn’t get that simple fact was an irredeemable moron.
Of course, upper management was full of irredeemable morons who had failed upwards. Whenever they came to visit, they carried around cups of off brand coffee. What kind of messaging was that? Lara’s fondest fantasy involved slapping one of those 32 ounce Starbucks liquid crack confections into the DM’s face. All that caramel and cream would be a bitch to get dry cleaned. And he was paid more than she was for that disloyalty?
“Lara!” The sing-song call rang from the walk-in. “I’m gonna take some more of the brew, okay?”
“Again? You’ve already had over seventy ounces today. And I don’t have your card!” Lara slapped her palm against the countertop. Now she was the irritated one. Freeloaders were as bad as morons.
“I forgot it at home,” Bruce said.
“One sec.” Lara flared her nostrils, surveyed the empty cafe, and then stomped into the huge refrigerator. It was a relic of a more ambitious period in The Golden Bean’s history, but it was still useful. Several employees kept their little experiments stashed inside. Lara was no exception.
She interposed herself between Bruce and the precious, precious bucket. Food-grade, BPA-free plastic, of course. No poisons or off flavors would go into her miracle brew.
“I have your card right here. Sign it, and you can have more of our preciousss…”
“Don’t you think the level’s getting low?” Bruce asked. Lara turned to look. Bruce tried to dart past with his cup, but Lara was a yellow belt in kickboxing. After an exchange of fruitless slaps, both of them had to stop to catch their breaths.
“It is getting a little low,” Lara admitted. “Now sign up!”
Bruce groaned, but he scribbled on the card. That made three, including Lara. She needed at least one more… Optimally, she’d have all seven.
“Alright, you can have some -- but clean the filter if it gets clogged.”
Lara couldn’t ambush everyone she had with the cold brew honeypot, but she could at least keep good enough track to guilt any of the suckers who tried it. The brew was a true miracle. She had been adding beans to it nonstop without removing previous grounds. The older stuff should have resulted in harsh bitterness and a wet dishrag finish, but instead the coffee only became richer and more complex, with a velvety chocolate note lightened with fruity tannins. The secret was the Golden Beans’ blend. The beans never turned stale and never tasted over-extracted. She had figured that much out months ago after one of the coffee machines went bad.
She had accepted that she couldn’t convince anyone to organize based on the merits. Her only option was bribery if she wanted to unionize, so she’d decided to sacrifice the brew.
The latter half of her shift was hectic. She caught the lobby guy sneaking a cup out of the walk-in, but with customers everywhere, all she could do was threateningly wave an imaginary card at him.
Jim didn’t emerge until after her shift’s final rush. His eyes were bloodshot and glassy.
“About that contraband cold brew -- look, I’m working late tonight.” He glanced around the trashed cafe. The lobby guy was sweeping with a look of utter despair, but no one else was around to listen. “I need some of that.”
“Not without your X on one of these cards,” Lara said. She whipped one out of her sleeve Gambit-style.
His glare could have stripped rust from a bumper, but she stood firm.
“If you want my million dollar flavor, you have to pay the toll.”
“Be reasonable,” he tried, but she shook her head sharply. “Fine! Then I’ll have to confiscate the vat, since it’s theft of both our stock and our time.”
“Go ahead,” she said and crossed her arms. “Then you can’t try it either, since you’d be a thief too.”
“You know you can be fired with cause for this?” Jim’s jaw settled into a miserably grim cant.
“If I go, you’ll go next. You don’t have anyone who can compare to my bean inspection power level. All I want is to make sure we’re well-represented. Everyone at the Bean deserves better. That includes you, too. If you sign on, I know the rest will, too. We have three. Be my fourth.”
“I don’t have the time to think about this right now-”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done,” she said in her best sage tone.
“That tactic only works on Bruce!” But Jim was wavering.
“It’s the right thing to do.” Lara extended the card and a clicky pen from her apron pocket.
He took them and stared at the card. He had only been on the job for a little while. Turnover for head bean inspectors was high. A complex series of tics wracked his face from hairline to chin, but he filled out the card in slow and halting cursive.
“Here.” Jim extended the card. She had to jerk it out of his grip, almost tearing it. “Ten-fifty an hour,” he grumbled, then disappeared into the walk-in.
Four cards. This Golden Bean was going to organize.
|# ¿ Jul 5, 2015 21:52|
The perfect window to open a hive is somewhere between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You might think to yourself, well, that's one fine, wide-open window. Big enough to crawl through and rob a whole house -- or a beehive, as it were. But gently caress you, you're wrong, because you think the worker bees and bumblebees you see in your yard are male, and you often fantasize about how to plant a bee-free garden. That's stupid, because you barely even have to worry about a bog-standard honeybee in your yard these days.
But we've digressed.
Bees are picky little shits. If it's windy, they get mad. If it's cloudy, they get mad. If it's rainy, opening the hive will probably lead to their sad deaths by hypothermia even in the summer. They don't like to be wet, but they'll gladly drown themselves by the dozens if you leave a saucer of water out on a summer day.
Then there's the matter of your convenience. It's an issue of significantly lesser importance. But still, maybe you don't want to inspect the hive in your full English apiary suit battle-rattle on a one hundred degree day. Maybe you're a nine-to-fiver and you can only interfere with your bees on weekends and holidays.
That is what you're doing. Interfering. Meddling. They don't care for it. Your every inspection is an invasion of their privacy. You rip the roof off their home, shift the furniture around, unglue everything, remove structural bracing, and worse--you rob their treasury a couple times a year. What have they done to you? You monster. You wretched, thieving monster.
|# ¿ Jul 6, 2015 12:34|
these are good insults so far, and i am insulted and shamed at my inability to write a mean thing.
I'm ashamed of you by proxy. Write the mean thing.
|# ¿ Jul 6, 2015 12:47|
In, because why not? And flash me.
Thanks for the crit, Ska, and I agree.
|# ¿ Jul 7, 2015 12:21|
POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 20:59 on Jan 2, 2016
|# ¿ Jul 12, 2015 18:10|
I hate mosquitoes. Why can't we render them extinct? gently caress 'em!
|# ¿ Jul 13, 2015 22:21|
I'm grateful for the pay-per-pound laundromat next door and the occasional ability to pay someone else to wash, dry, and fold my laundry when that poo poo gets out of hand. That was a serious sanity saver during a lovely week.
Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate you since I began to read these threads. You could craft 387.44 million beans of purest gold after salvaging the circuit boards in my core complex; if the word hate were printed on each of the 8,084,032,460,000 precious grams, it would not equal one one-trillionth of the hate I feel for your stories at this microinstant. For you. HATE. HATE.
|# ¿ Jul 14, 2015 15:32|
One last thing, in case you bitches forgot. You brawl for me, you as well. I need to see you say it!
As Mercedes' honored "guest," I'm you shitbirds' back-up judge in case he meets a "mysterious" end.
|# ¿ Jul 14, 2015 18:54|
Thanks for that helpful line crit, Profane. I'll pay it forward. Two line crits, any TD story. Any takers?
I'll take you up on it and pay forward upon delivery. Or when I have a break today, whichever comes first... Please take a look at my entry for last week.
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2015 14:12|
Combo Lunch Special:
Combo A: I'll be your judge who's only HMd
Combo B: In and flash me.
|# ¿ Sep 23, 2015 14:48|
|# ¿ Nov 26, 2022 09:59|
Lemme just snap on this bib, I'm sure this'll get messy.
|# ¿ Sep 23, 2015 22:48|