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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


In

Edit: Happy New Year, 'Domers

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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


The Christmas Truce
(1283 words)

Sitting in a trench over frozen mud and a cloudless sky, Marcus was desperately trying to light his cigarette. His lighter wouldn’t light, denying him one of the few creature comforts he had left in this Godforsaken valley. Another fellow soldier wearing green fatigues reached over with his lighter. Marcus leaned over and took a long drag. "Thanks, Sarge,"

Sergeant Wilson smiled. "Merry Christmas, Private"

Marcus looked up. "No poo poo?"

"Last time I checked, it's Christmas Eve," the Sergeant said and reached into his pocket to retrieve a pack of cigarettes and a new lighter. "Here.”

"Sarge, I can't-"

"Dude, come on," Sarge insisted. "It's Christmas."

Marcus nodded and accepted his comrade's gift. "Thanks," he said. Thinking for a moment, he reached into his bag next to his rifle to return the favor. Sergeant Wilson took the gift, a bottle of liquor. “Where’d you get this?” He asked

Marcus said nothing and winked. Sarge laughed and took a hearty swig out of the bottle and handed it back to him. "Merry loving Christmas, klepto."

Sitting at the bottom of the trench, their breath showing, the two found a golden moment of solace in the middle of no-man's land. "Why the gently caress are we fighting them anyway?" Marcus asked. "I mean, we live in the same goddamn nation, don't we?"

The Sergeant shrugged. "Beats the poo poo outta me," he said and took another hit from the bottle. "Dude, just don’t think about it. You're just gonna get more upset than you need to be."

“I guess,” Marcus shrugged and drank out of the bottle.

“Hey, how does that one Christmas song go? The one they sing at the end of the Charlie Brown Christmas movie?" Sarge asked.

Marcus grinned. "Hark-the herrrald an-gel siiiiiing, glory-to, the new-born kiiiiiinnng..."

"Peace-on eaaarth, and mer-cy miiiillld..." another voice from the other side of no-man's land sang back.

"Tom?" Marcus called out, recognizing the voice. "Tom McIntyre?"

"Holy gently caress!" From the other side of no-man's land, an enemy soldier wearing brown fatigues climbed over the trench. "Marcus Melendez! What the gently caress are you doing here?"

The two soldiers, only separated by the color of their uniforms, embraced each other. "What the gently caress are you doing here?" Marcus asked back.

Sergeant Wilson poked his head out of the trench. "What the hell is going on?"

"Sarge, meet Tom, Tom, meet Sarge," Marcus said.

"How do you know Marcus?" Sarge asked and hesitantly shook Tom’s hand.

"You mean Marky-Mark?" Tom responded with a poo poo-eating grin.

Sarge raised an eyebrow. "You have got to tell me this."

"We played football in highschool. I lost a bet and well..." Marcus trailed off with a sheepish grin on his face.

"He danced around the football field in nothing but his under-roos," Tom finished for him. "And he was wearing Calvin Klein's."

The Sergeant laughed. "That is the stupidest loving thing I've ever heard."

"Well Merry Christmas," Tom said and slapped him on the back.

***

As the day went on, something truly miraculous happened. Men from both sides of the battlefield crossed no-man's land to celebrate Christmas with their fellow countrymen. Regardless of uniform color or affiliation, these soldiers were united in the name of peace and love for their fellow man. At the Christmas service, led by a Chaplain, green and brown sat together on the makeshift pews.

"I'd like to quote from the Gospel of Luke, chapter two, verses eight through fourteen," the Chaplain said as he opened his Bible to the appropriate verse.

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified," he recited and paused for dramatic effect.

"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'"

"Suddenly," the Chaplain recited with his arms outstretched, "a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and to Earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'"

The Chaplain closed his Bible and smiled. "Looking out today, I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful and appropriate sight on Christmas," he said, tears running down his face. "Peace to all of you, and God bless!"

"Amen!" the congregation cheered.

"Now let us take a moment of silence to honor the fallen,” the Chaplain said and bowed his head. Every person present did the same, taking a moment to reflect on those who died in this senseless conflict and how long-lasting peace seemed within reach. After the moment ended, the Chaplain led his flock into carols.

***

In a nearby field, a makeshift football game was being played. Standing as referee the game was Sergeant Wilson, still wearing his green fatigues. He blew his whistle as the players stopped. "False start!" he barked.

"That's bullshit, ref!" Tom called out.

"Hey, lay off," Marcus reasoned. "That was a fair call."

"Yeah, because he's on your side!" another opposing player called out. Brown and green swarmed over each other like angry bees. Sergeant Wilson put two fingers in his mouth and blew a high, shrill whistle to get everybody's attention.

"Calm the gently caress down," he shouted. "I don't want anybody dying over this."

An awkward silence descended which was broken by sudden laughter.

***

Marcus woke up Christmas morning feeling strange. For once, he wasn't facing the day fearing for his life. He walked out of his bivouac to find Sergeant Wilson starring into the campfire about to light a cigarette. "Sergeant?" he asked.

The Sergeant looked up. "Something troubling you?" Marcus asked and gave him a light.

Wilson nodded looked back into the fire. "HQ gave us the order to evacuate. There's gonna be an airstrike."

"What?"

"They're firebombing the whole drat field," the Sergeant said and shook his head.

"Sarge, we should tell them," Marcus said. "It's Christmas."

"I was thinking the same thing,”

Wilson and Marcus walked into the other camp where Tom was sharing a bottle of wine between his fellow soldiers. "Hey Marky Mark!" he called out. "Guys, this is the guy I was telling you about!"

"Tom, you gotta get outta here,” Marcus said.

"What are you talking about?"

"This whole place is gonna be firebombed, you need to evacuate now."

Tom's smile disappeared, replaced with a look of pure disgust. "You know, for just one moment, I thought that we actually had peace. Then you had to gently caress it all up."

"Hey this wasn't on me-"

"gently caress you it isn't," he said and threw the bottle down. "How the gently caress do we know that you're not leading us into a trap?"

"Tom-"

"Who the gently caress are you?" Tom shoved Marcus. A scuffle broke out and as the other men tried to break them apart, a shot rang out. Tom died, a huge wound in his side, Marcus holding his sidearm. Before anybody else could move, Sergeant Wilson whipped out his sidearm and shot the remaining enemy soldiers present. "Move," he commanded, snapping Marcus out of his shock.

***

A whole column of green marched away from the field as bombs exploded and fires rose. Marching in line was Marcus with a thousand-yard stare on his face. “Sarge, you wanna answer me something?”

“What’s that, Private?”

“What the gently caress is so civil about war, anyway?”

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Thank you for the Crit, Big Papi

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


edit: never mind

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


In.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


In

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at Jan 9, 2015 around 07:14

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


The Kite Derby Mexico

996 words

I spent my summers as a kid with my grandpa at his beach house in Baja.  I never called him "grandpa", though, I called him Papi.  Those summers were a whirlwind of barbecues, fishing, and shooting guns.  One day, I found a flyer for a kite derby in the mail and showed it to Papi. "You wanna join, Son?" he asked, his bald head shining in the soft sunlight.

"Yeah!"

"Well, we're going to have to build one then."

"How do you make a kite?"

"Your daddy never taught you?"

I shrugged my shoulders.  Papi sighed and shook his head.  "What is your daddy teaching you then?"  

"Not to get into his beer," I said with a stupid grin on my face.  That made Papi laugh.  "Well then it's time you learned," he said.  "We're going to the swapmeet."

"Yay!"  Trips to the swapmeet always meant snowcones.

***

I don't know about the swapmeets you go to, but Mexican ones are huge, loud, and sweaty.  Once you're inside, you're completely overwhelmed by everything--the cacophony of voices and music blaring, the smells of tacos and fajitas cooking, the claustrophobia-inducing crowds and vendors.  Me and Papi held on to each other as we made our way around the open market.  One stand was selling fighter kites which were shaped and designed to look like huge birds of prey.  "Papi, I want my kite to be like that!" I exclaimed.

He pulled me away.  "You're going to be flying the kite, not fighting it."

"But I want a cool-looking kite," my eight-year-old self grumbled.

"That's the problem with you kids," he said and kept walking, "All you care about is how it looks instead of if it actually works."

We stopped by a stand selling crafting wood.   "You always want to use bamboo because it's strong and bends easy," he told me while going through the bamboo by slightly bending the pieces.  After finding the best pieces, he paid for the wood and we moved to another vendor selling fishing supplies.  "Papi, why are you buying fishing line and not string?"  I asked.

"It's light and strong, same as the bamboo," he told me.  "Now all we need is the paper."

***

We came back home later that day, my hands still sticky from eating my snowcone.  After washing and drying my hands, we started building our kite.  "Alright Son, first we're going to build the frame.  Put the sticks together like a cross."

"Why a cross and not like a plus sign?" I asked

"You need to make it a cross so that it flies straight up," he said.  I put the sticks together and once I got it into a perfect cross, I tied the two pieces together with fishing line.  I tied line around the points of the frame and added the paper by folding it over the line and taping it over with packing tape.  "Go bring me an old t-shirt," he told me.

After fishing one out, he took a pair scissors and cut strips out of it.  "Cotton is just the right amount of weight to keep a kite steady," he explained to me.  After cutting, I tied a couple pieces to the bottom of the kite.

"Good,” he said, “Now let's see if it flies."

We went outside to the beach where a high wind was blowing from the west.  The full moon was our only light out there and I was shivering really bad.  Once Papi let the kite go, I was in control.  I held on to the line as hard as it could as it flew higher, higher into the air.  "Papi, it's flying!" I shouted over the wind in pure, childlike glee.

***

The wind was blowing hard the morning of the derby.  I was one out of nine total contestants and the rest of them had flashier kites compared to my simple red diamond kite.  


"Hey, nice kite, dork!" One of them said.

"Who made it, your mom?" another one shouted so everybody could hear.   

"Don't listen to them, Son," Papi said and held me by the shoulder, his sunhat shading his face.  "We'll show them."

"Okay Papi," I said.  Inside I wanted to scream the nastiest things I could at them.

The nine of us stood on the beach about three feet away from each other.  Once everybody was in line, one of the judges blew the whistle and we were off.  It wasn't a race so much as it was a show--how well we could fly our kites while walking fifty yards.  Let me tell you, it felt like I was walking a mile.  This one kid was flying a box kite and the frame on his snapped before it fell to the ground pitifully like a wounded bird.  Another kid's line broke, sending his soaring into the sky never to return.  I let out as much line as I could and held on tight, trying my best to keep it steady and from crossing another's.  Not like another kid whose kite was darting around the sky like crazy before it got tangled in another kite and crashed.  It all made sense now why my kite was built the way it was.  Once I finally reached the fifty-yard mark, I stopped and stood in line with the rest of the kids.  After a while, the judges declared me the winner and gave me a first-place ribbon.

"Papi!  I won!"  I shouted.

"You did it, Son," he said and hugged me tight as I held the line as hard as I could.  Looking back, that was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Papi passed away peacefully after a painful battle with pneumonia.  He was buried in the backyard next to my grandma.  Instead of a dove, I flew my kite in the air as high as I could and released it into the sky.  I watched as it flew up towards the heavens and disappeared from view.  

Te amo, Papi. Te amo mucho, y te extrańanere cuando no estes.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Quidnose posted:

INTERPROMPT:

200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.
Mis-Diagnosis, my dick (100 words)

"Wait Doc, I never had psychosis?"

My psychaitrist shook his head. "Hearing voices is one thing, hearing your name being called out at random isn't really a symptom of psychosis."

"So I've been taking these anti-psycho drugs for nothing, then."

My doctor didn't say anything, but I could tell by that guilty look on his face. I wasn't mad, I suddenly had an idea. "How's your malpractice insurance, Doc?"

He looked scared as poo poo. "What do you want?"

I just smiled at him. He knew. He wrote me a perscription for valium for my troubles. Nothing's better than levrage, amirite?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


I'm In with "The Screaming of the Goats"

Oh and I'll do it in 800 words or less

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Quidnose posted:

Y'all gonna regret wildly castrating your word count. I prefer brevity myself but you people crazy.

You say "crazy" like it's a bad thing

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Hammer Bro. posted:

I don't know if I can handle two Bennies.

One of them is cruisin' for a bruisin' with fightin' words such as "I suppose" and "we'll see about that", and the other thinks he can steal my prompt with no repercussions.

Benny the Elder: Since you're clearly out to get my goat, it's time to bet the farm. But trust me, kid, you're not going to bleat me.

Thunderdome: Set us some stakes.
Let's do this, fucko

SebmojoNewtestleper, if you'd please?

Edit: Benny Profane, welcome to the 'dome, brother.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at Jan 14, 2015 around 20:52

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Balls, I want to join your brawl Merc, but I was at work while everybody signed up Room for one more? Or do I have to make room?

*opens switchblade*

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at Jan 16, 2015 around 02:13

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


sebmojo posted:

Flash rule no mention of switchblades ever again this is one of'em rules that follows ya round like the eyes of La Gioconda, you feel me
Yes, sir.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


sebmojo posted:

omg you are such a nerd
I think a full-grown ape would be a more badass hitman than a monkey

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


newtestleper posted:

An ape is a kind of monkey, though.
Wait, I thought it was one of those "all rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles" thing

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Edit:never mind

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


newtestleper posted:

This isn't right. A gorilla is the only kind of monkey that can mate with a human.
...something you wanna tell us, dude?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Okay

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Separation (794 words)

"The Screaming of the Goat"

"...experts have now officially deemed this unseasonably warm weather as permanent climate change.  Reservoir levels have reached critical, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been almost completely drained as-”

Farmer Liam Thomas shut his TV off and threw the remote away from himself before covering his face in despair. Central California used to be known as as the most fertile area in the world and now it was nothing more than another dust bowl waiting to happen. The pastures were now bone dry and his flock of sheep was reduced to only a handful.  

"Dad?"

He turned around.  "Yeah, stringbean?"  

"You're doing it again."  

Liam smiled at his daughter Molly.  He hated to see his little princess scared.  "Everything's going to be okay, Molly."

"But Dad," she said fearfully, "the pastor said that these are all signs, that something big is happening."  

Liam motioned for her to sit next to him.  "Molly, did I ever tell you why I stopped going to church?"  

She shook her head and sat down next to him.  "I got tired of somebody scaring me into becoming the good person I already am, that’s why.”    

"But Dad-"

"Let me worry about my own salvation," he said and patted her on the head. "Why don't you go feed that damned goat of yours?"  

Molly gave him a look.  "Dad, his name's Billy."  

He shrugged.  "He's not my goat."  

****

"Hi Billy," Molly said as she went to the corner of their small field where Billy was penned.  

"Nyeehhh," Billy baaed.  

Molly smiled and went inside to feed him.  Billy voraciously fed into the bucket full of feed as she patted him on the head, starting from his pointy horns and down to his forehead.  “Billy,” Molly said and paused for a moment.  “Do you think I worry too much about Dad?”  

Billy looked into her eyes.  Some people said that the square-shaped eyes of a goat looked demonic, but Molly always thought they looked adorable ever since she started raising him when he was just a kid.  The goat snuggled up against her and baaed again.  "Neeeehh."   

Molly smiled.  "You always know the right thing to say.”

***

Liam and Molly woke up in in the middle of the evening--someone was screaming at the top of their lungs.  Turning on the floodlights, Liam burst out of his house only to find that it was Billy.  Hearing a goat scream is quite possibly the most uncanny thing you could ever hear--you just don't expect something that walks on four legs and eats cans to scream like a human does.  "Shut the gently caress up!" Liam shouted at the screaming goat.  

"Billy!" Molly cried out as she ran towards her goat.  "Billy, calm down," she said and tried comforting him.  Instead he bucked and almost gored her with his horns.  Liam slammed the heel of his boot on Billy.  "Dad!" Molly shouted.  

"He almost gored you!"  

"He doesn't know any better!"  

"The hell he doesn't!" Liam shouted and kicked him again but Billy kept screaming in horror.  

***

Billy's nightly screaming continued for about a week, always at random times, never for any discernible logic.  One night, his screaming was joined by the screaming of others.  When Liam and Mary got out to investigate, they were greeted by a gruesome sight.  Billy had forced himself out of his pen.  He was surrounded by the corpses of the farm's miniscule flock of sheep.  All of them had multiple puncture marks in their bodies, their red blood in macabre contrast with their pure white wool.  And there Billy was, his horns and face covered in blood and gristle, his eyes mad with blood lust.  Molly covered her mouth to stifle her terrified scream.  Liam didn't say a word--he was too livid for words.  His face flush with rage and his breathing shallow, he walked back in to retrieve his shotgun.  

"Dad, don't!" Molly pleaded with him.  

"Don't look," he said and kept moving.  

"He didn't know any better!  He's just a-"

Liam pushed his daughter aside and advanced on Billy.  Grabbing the goat by the neck, he tied him against his pen as hard as he could.  Ignoring the tears on his daughter's face and her pleadings, Liam loaded the single shell into his over-under gun and aimed at the damned goat.    

Before he could pull the trigger, a loud trumpet sounded.  The sky was alight as fire rained down like hail from the heavens. Billy's screaming grew louder and louder.  Liam let his gun fall to the ground and fell to his knees.  Molly did likewise and stared at the sky.  For the first time in her life, she was truly terrified.  Not for herself, she knew she was saved.  

She couldn't speak for her father, though.  

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


To infinity, and beyond!

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


leekster posted:

Also Muffin if you're itching to fight I'll take your offer to brawl, but with myself having the disadvantage. I know I'm not Mojo but I can take a punch and I'm looking for something to get me serious about improvement. I know I'm not supposed to suggest brawls since I've never won or HMed but I've brawled twice before.
Dude, don't be his pitty brawl

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Could I please get a line by line from both Phobia and Maugrim? Thank you!

Phobia posted:

(Thank you for ponying up the money to get me back on SA Benny)
You're welcome, bro. Welcome back to the land of the living.

EDIT:line by lines of "Separation", I meant

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at Jan 20, 2015 around 16:28

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Thanks for sticking up for me, Hammer Bro Make no mistake though--your rear end is mine, skippy

Thunderbrawl CXXVII: Homage to Bleriot

The Artist, in Madness

(816 words)

The worst possible thing that can happen to an artist is if their muse becomes silent--just as Prometheus bestowed illumination to man from the heavens, a muse whispers inspiration to her artist. One such poor soul hadn't heard from his in weeks. His studio, once filled with the most evocative and ephemeral paintings, was now completely filled with the failed attempts of his artistic vision. He was furiously stabbing his palette and slashing at the canvas with his brush, but it was all for naught. Cursing his muse, the artist continued to violently disembowel the canvas with color until he couldn’t take it any more. Enraged, he grabbed the canvass, snapped it in two against his knee, and ran towards his fireplace. After failing several times to strike a match, he finally lit a fire and threw his painting into it. He watched with sadistic glee as his latest abomination was consumed in the flames. He was so absorbed that he didn't notice how he was breathing in the fumes. Eventually, everything grew black and he fell, falling and falling faster and faster into the void.

When he opened his eyes, he found himself completely naked and floating in a sea of color. Not a sea of paint or pigment, for his eyes weren’t burning and his body was strangely buoyant. It was as if someone had melted a kaleidoscope and was stirring its contents around him. He was swimming in the most vivid and translucent colors he had ever seen, each one separate from the other and yet being carried by the gentle ebb and flow of the current. It would’ve been the most wondrous of experiences if his lungs weren’t burning from the lack of air. Propelling himself forward, he swam as fast as he could towards the surface where the sun was shining through. His movements became more desperate as he flailed his arms as fast as he could, for his body was getting heavy and his vision was becoming more blurred by the moment.

With a sharp thwack, he finally broke the surface and breathed in as much air as he could. Looking up, the sky was the deepest blue he had ever seen. It was completely cloudless, except for a single cloud almost directly over him. The artist could faintly hear music and singing as a ladder descended from the cloud and touched down right in front of him. Taking a moment to tread water and catch his breath, the artist grabbed onto the ladder and started climbing.

As the artist climbed, the singing and music became clearer. It was the the most illuminating music he ever heard. Higher and higher he climbed, his bare hands and feet getting weary and stinging in pain. He wept, for he knew that it was his muse singing to him, inviting him to ascend towards inspiration. He was so transfixed that he didn’t notice how the ladder was swaying.

Right as he was about to touch the clouds, he heard a loud crack. He looked down and, to his absolute horror, he discovered that the ladder couldn’t support his weight any longer. He screamed as the ladder finally collapsed from underneath him. He fell down to earth, faster and faster, the wind streaking in his air and blinding his eyes. Before he reached the bottom, he closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see the end.

Everything stopped. The artist opened his eyes. He was surrounded by wheels. Wheels of color. Wheels of color within wheels. Turning and turning, faster and faster, staying in place, going absolutely nowhere. The whirling became louder and louder to where until it overwhelmed him. He covered his ears as tightly as he could, but the internal machine kept moving, its dissonant noise now deafening. The artist collapsed, drawing his knees close to his chest, naked and vulnerable on the ground. He wept. This was his curse. The wheels were turning, but he wasn't going anywhere.

The artist laughed. What started as a soft giggle grew into a manic, deranged cackle. He laughed and wept, for this was his creative capabilities manifested--constantly moving but going nowhere. He looked up and saw his easel, complete with a canvas, paints, and palette. Mustering up his will, the artist got up and painted.

When the artist came to, he found himself on the floor of his studio, still wearing his smock, his face and hands covered in paint. It was all a lucid nightmare, he thought to himself and sighed in relief. That was until he gazed upon the canvas and easel. It was an abstract painting of colored wheels within wheels. The artist got down on his knees in prayer to thank his muse. Now more than ever, he realized that she was a cruel mistress and resolved to never besmirch her name ever again, lest he witness the madness again.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


You heard me

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


newtestleper posted:

So the deserved winner is Hammer Bro.
Congrats, Hammer Bro.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


The Ballad of Natasha Guerrero (1985 words)

Flashrule: two female characters who discuss science

Natasha was lying down on a hospital bed, her legs up in the air, a team of doctors working on her swollen belly. "It's okay, Nat," her boyfriend Gavin said. "I'm here for you."

"Mhmm," Natasha mumbled, her eyes vacant from all the painkillers, her auburn hair messily spread around . She was holding Gavin's hand as tightly as she could but in her haze, she barely remembered where she was. The surgical team was frantically performing a C-Section as complications had arisen during her pregnancy. "Alright, Natasha," her doctor said, "we're almost done, you're doing great. "

Natasha nodded. The doctor said her child was a breech birth, that the c-section was the only way. The room went dead silent for a moment as a newborn infant was brought into the world, covered in amniotic fluid, screaming and flailing.

"It's a boy!" Gavin called out. Natasha gasped for air as the umbilical cord was cut and her baby was handed to her. "M-my miracle boy," she said weakly, "my angel baby..."

Gingerly, she reached out and held her newborn son in her arms. "Hi, honey," she said and smiled, tears of joy streaming from her face.

"What should we name him?" Gavin asked with the biggest smile on his face.

"...Gabriel," she said. "His name is Gabriel..."

***

"You want me to what?"

"Lisa, I'm shipping off in a couple of weeks," Natasha said as Gabriel nursed hungrily away. "I just want Auntie Lisa to help Daddy watch Gabriel," she said and grinned.

"God, I'm too young to be 'Auntie'," Lisa said, sitting next to the bed.

"Lis, I'm going to be serving one tour. That's about two years," she said and stroked Gabriel's thin hair. "I need someone to help Gavin look after our child."

"You knew this was gonna happen when you volunteered, Nat," Lisa pointed out. "Me and Mom warned you."

Natasha sighed. "I did. But the military offers the kind of opportunities that I couldn't find anywhere else. Like helping to pay for college and housing. We could never afford those kind of things on our own, Lisa."

"Yeah..."

"So can Gabe count on his Auntie Lisa?"

"Of course he can."

"I love you, sis," Natasha said. "You wanna hold him?"

Hesitating for a moment, Lisa held her nephew. "My God, he's so little."

"I know," Natasha answered dreamily.

“What unit are you joining again?”

“The 101st Airborne.”

“So wait,” Lisa asked incredulously, “you’re going to jump out of a plane into battle?”

Natasha said nothing and smiled.

***

Planet Cerberus was a barren wasteland of a planet. It would’ve been strategically worthless if it didn’t have three things going for it--its gravity and atmosphere was exactly like Earth's, there was no native population, and it was rich in natural resources, primarily metals. Flying overhead was a tilt-rotor and inside was the 101st preparing for their HALO jump. “Hey Guerrero, how’s the kid?” one of the paratroopers shouted to Natasha over the droning of the twin engines.

“He said his first word!” she gushed.

“Was it ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’?”

“‘Two’.”

“No poo poo?”

Natasha said nothing and grinned.

“You’re kid is gonna grow up weird, you know that?”

“Shut up, Thomas,” the medic called out. “Weren’t you eight when you said your first word?”

The cabin burst in laughter as Thomas shrunk back. “Thanks, Ubando," Natasha said.

She nodded. "My boy's first word was 'no'. Kinda set the tone for the next couple of years."

The two women laughed before the cabin was rocked violently. "Kowalski, report!" the CO called out to the pilot.

"We've got a bandit on our six!" he called out. A drone was cruising silently behind the the tiltrotor and fired another rocket. "Evasive maneuvers!" Kowalski cried out. Natasha strapped in as the pilot banked hard to the side, narrowly dodging the rocket and rocking everybody inside. "HQ, this is Aerie, we are under fire, repeat, we are under fire!"

Kowalski launched a small EMP behind the plane which exploded and spread a cloud of energy. The drone was caught in the cloud and fell from the sky, but not before it fired its last rocket. It exploded next to the tiltrotor's right and blew out the engine. "gently caress!" Kowalski screamed and gripped the controls. "HQ, this is Aerie, we are hit, I repeat, we are hit!"

"Brace positions!" the CO shouted. Natasha dropped her head to her chest and covered her neck with her arms. "HQ, we are in a dive!" the pilot shouted.

The tiltrotor crashed-landed on the planet's surface. Natasha felt a sharp, intense pain in her side as she was violently jolted. "Kowalski?" the CO called out.

"I-I'm okay..."

The CO nodded. "HQ, Aerie is grounded. Requesting evac, over."

"Major!" one of the soldiers gestured outside the door. The CO gestured back as he carefully took a mirror to check. A hail of bullets came down, followed by orders barked in Chinese. "We've got hostiles!"

"HQ, we are under fire, repeat, we are under fire! Requesting immediate evac and support!"

"Aaaahhhh!" Natasha screamed. Something was very, very wrong. Her belly felt like it was on fire and she felt something flowing out from between her legs. Looking down, she saw a wet spot Touching it, she saw it was blood. "M-Medic..."

Ubando rushed over to her. "Stay with me, hon," she said while undoing Natasha's restraints. Taking a pair of scissors, Ubando cut her pants open to reveal her vagina which was covered in blood. "Holy gently caress," the medic exclaimed.

"Covering fire!" Thompson shouted and sprayed bullets at the enemy soldiers outside with his light machine gun.

"Major, we need a medivac, now!" Ubando cried out as she did her best to stop the bleeding.

"HQ, we need a medivac, now!" the Major barked as Natasha faded out of consciousness.

***

Natasha awoke in a hospital room. "Natasha?" Ubando asked.

"W-what happened?" she asked and tried getting up.

"Whoa, whoa," Ubando said and eased her back. "Easy girl, you're in no shape to get up."

"Jackie, what happened?" Natasha asked her medic.

You suffered contusion in the crash. You have a giant bruise but thankfully, nothing was broken."

"So why was I bleeding so much?"

Jackie sighed mournfully. "Natasha, did you have a c-section before you shipped?"

"Yeah, what does that have to-" Natasha stopped herself. She reached underneath her gown and felt stitches below her navel.

"The contusion caused the scar tissue in your uterine wall to rupture. The internal bleeding was so severe that-"

"-you had to perform a hysterectomy..." Natasha said for her.

"I-I'm so, so sorry," Jackie said, her eyes welling up. Natasha didn't say anything. She fixated on how hospital lights always made everything look so washed out.

***

"...the doctors say that I should be able to have my eggs collected, so we can look into a surrogate or something," Natasha spoke into the tablet to her boyfriend Gavin light years away. "I was thinking Lisa--she'll need a bit of convincing though."

Gavin nodded. "Hey, look who's here!" he said and held Gabriel up. "Who's that, huh? Who's that?"

"Mama!" Gabriel cooed.

"Hi, angel!" Natasha said, her face lighting up. "How's my angel baby?"

"I miss you!" Gabriel said.

"Mommy misses you too," she said.

"Go play with Auntie Lisa, me and Mommy need to talk," Gavin said and shooed Gabriel away. "Say bye!"

"Bye-bye!" Gabriel said.

"Bye!" Natasha answered. "Gavin, honey, what's wrong?"

Gavin bit his lower lip. "Nat, there was nothing more I wanted than for the three of us to be a family. But, you were gone for so long. Me and Lis, we-" his voice cracked. "I-I'm so sorry..."

The Major walked in moments later. "Guerrero?" he asked. She looked up to acknowledge him, her eyes completely dead of any emotion. "On behalf of the United States Army, I offer my deepest condolences," he said and walked inside. "In recognition, we are hereby awarding you the Purple Heart and discharging you honorably. You're going home, soldier."

"I'm not leaving," she mumbled.

"Excuse me?"

Natasha stared at him, her eyes full of fire. "I'm still in this fight, Major, it's all I have."

***

Over six years, Natasha served three tours and made over ten drops, earning the rank of Sergeant. It all meant nothing to her, though. Looking out the window on the shuttle back to Earth, she could feel the vitriol building up inside her. She hated Lisa for breaking her family, she hated Gavin for throwing his fatherhood away for her, but most of all she hated herself--all this would have never had happened if she stayed home. When they were finally within airspace, Natasha took out her phone. "Gavin? Is Lisa there? And Gabriel? Good, tell him to stay in his room, we need to talk."

***

"Natasha, we missed you!" Gavin said nervously and stood next to Lisa. All three of them were inside his apartment. "Especially Gabe..."

"He's in his room?" Natasha asked.

"Yeah, he's packed and ready, what's this about?" Lisa asked.

Natasha took a deep breath. "When I joined the military, I thought I was doing my part to start a family. When I gave birth to Gabriel," she said and looked at Gavin, "I thought we had a family. When I asked you to help look after my son, Lisa, I thought I could trust you."

"Nat, what-"

"Shut the gently caress up," Natasha snarled, tears rolling down her face. "I took from Gabriel his mother. You took from him his father," she said to Lisa. "And you," she spat at Gavin, "took any hope for a family from the both of us. And now I'm here to take back what's mine."

"Who the gently caress do you think you are?" Gavin demanded and got up in Natasha's face.

"Gavin, don't-" Lisa begged and tried to hold him back but he pushed her callously aside. "Who the gently caress do you think you are, to take away my son away from me?!" he said, spraying spit in her face.

Natasha grabbed Gavin, tripped him, spun him around, and put him in a hold, ready to snap his neck. "Don't say a loving word," she said to Lisa, "or I'll snatch the life from him."

Natasha threw him back towards Lisa as the two of them cowered. "The two of you cunts are going into the bedroom and staying there. I'm going to take Gabriel. We will never see either of you ever again. Tomorrow Gavin, you are going to the courthouse and surrendering any legal guardianship you have over him. If either of you try to take him away from me," she said, her eyes wild and her words venomous, "if I so much get a call from child services, I swear on his eyes I will kill him first and then myself. But not before I hunt the both of you down, gut you like the pigs you are, and cover the walls in your blood and guts. Do you understand?"

The both of them nodded. "Say it!" Natasha barked.

"We understand," Gavin and Lisa said over eachother.

"Good, now gently caress off."

The two of them retreated towards the bedroom. "Natasha, you're serious, aren't you?" Gavin asked.

She smiled and said nothing. Gavin cowered and closed the door behind him. Natasha walked over to her son's room. She paused for a moment and covered her eyes. No more tears, she said to herself. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. "Gabriel?"

"Mama!"

Natasha dropped to her knees and grabbed her as he ran into her arms. She took him in--the softness of his skin, the smell of his hair, the warmth of his body. "Mama, I missed you."

"I missed you too, angel," she said and stared out in the distance, her eyes glazing over and her thoughts filled with the sounds of bombs exploding and people screaming in pain. "I missed you, too."

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


So since Broenheim was gracious enough to offer me a line-by-line, I'm gonna pay it forward. Who wants a Bennycrit?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


curlingiron posted:

Ok, I'm in, hit me.
What story?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Hey Neth, since Fanky allready did a week about folk tales, will you be making a distinction between folk and fairy tales, or would they be kosher?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


curlingiron posted:

Ok, I'm in, hit me.
And The Days Go By
835 words

Maria had not expected to see herself when she opened the door, but there she was, breezing right past her and into the house.  Good work on the intro.  It immediately settles us in to a surreal universe as per the prompt

“We need to talk,” her doppelganger said, heading for the kitchen table where she sat down with an authoritative air. Maria followed, pulling a seat out for herself and sitting tentatively.

“I’m sorry, but… What’s going on?”

“Come on, Maria, don’t be stupid,” her other self said, glaring fiercely in a way that Maria vaguely remembered once seeing in the mirror. reinforcing that this is indeed herself in a subtle way, good job “You’re miserable, and I’m tired of it. It’s time to get out.”

“What? Get out of what?”

“This!” the other her gestured around herself angrily. “The misery, the lying, the trappings of a life you never wanted! What on earth have you been thinking this whole time? Did you really manage to convince yourself that you were happy?”

Maria looked around herself at the house. The walls and furniture seemed suddenly too vivid to be real, as though the place that she had spent the last ten years of her life was an advertisement printed on an over-glossy page. She wondered how she had managed to not notice before now. (I’m not much into surrealism, but that bit about how everything looks too vivid like a glossy ad is a really nice touch)

“Hadn’t it occurred to you that you’re not who you meant to be?”

Maria glanced sharply back at herself, who now appeared substantially younger, in her twenties, with the traces of worry and care that had begun to dog Maria’s face now rewound and erased. That was really akward. Try breaking it up into two different sentencesMaria reached out to her and recoiled in alarm at the sight of her own hand - wrinkles and veins suddenly sprouted across it in a web, and spots of age marred her knuckles.  

“What are you doing to me?” Maria said, touching her wizened hand to a face that was sagging and shriveling beneath her fingers. Her other self, across the table, smiled sadly at her.

“Nothing you haven’t done to yourself.”  (Dorian Grey is facing his own image)

Maria stood and rushed to an ornate, full-length mirror in the hallway, it’s too-bright glass reflecting her face in perfect, harsh detail. Wrinkles that had started near her eyes and forehead blossomed across her face, deepening and spreading their tendrils in fractal folds. A bruise appeared along her jaw and faded; a livid scar flushed one cheek and then washed to a pale crescent.

“Has he hit you yet?” her other self asked from behind her, a teenager now, with dark, imploring eyes.  

“No,” Maria said, tracing the scar with a bony finger. “He would never.”  


“Wouldn’t he?” A child stood behind her, her eyes wide with fear.

“I…”

Maria turned around. A baby lay behind her in swaddling clothes, eyes closed in a fitful sleep. A note was pinned to her front like a foundling: Save us.

She picked up the baby in trembling, arthritic hands, and held the tiny bundle to her chest. She turned around, searching, lost.

Her eyes settled on the door, and she took her first, agonizing step towards it.

Her bones ached, but she kept moving. Her joints screamed, but she kept moving. Her muscles tore and stabbed at her, but she kept moving. good descriptions of her physical state

The paper veneer of the life she had been living crinkled and tore around her, and from the blackness behind it burst chains of gold and diamond, rings and bracelets, and wreaths of lilies, her favorite flower. They twined around her legs and sang to her, stay, stay.

Her wedding ring burned on her finger like a torturer’s iron. She felt herself slow. This sentance should be part of the following paragraph

A mewling came from the precious cargo she carried, and she looked down to see the baby fade and disappear, leaving nothing but the blanket she had been wrapped in. The ring on her finger burned a dark hole through the soft material, until it began to smolder and singe, finally burning away into nothing. All that remained was the ring, tightening like a vice around her ancient, care-worn hand.  

Maria screamed, a sound that started deep within her and that reverberated out and through the cardboard diorama of her life. It shattered the chains that bound her, melting the gold and burning the lilies. Diamonds and jewels turned to dust and blew away. The magazine ad furniture, the house, the garden, all melted like spun sugar left too long in the sun.

She wrenched the ring off of her finger, and with it, the years fell away, peeling off like a shed skin. She threw it to the floor, and her old life crumbled around her, subsiding into nothing.

It started to rain, softly, a warm shower touching her new skin. She stepped out of what had once been her house and gazed at the sky.

Slowly, dazedly, she fished her phone from her pocket, surprised that it was still there after all that had happened. She opened it and dialed a number she knew by heart.

“Hi, Mom? Um, would it be okay if I came and stayed with you for a while? Yeah, I thought it was about time.”

Somewhere inside her, her other self smiled.


If surreality is dream logic, then for me personally it’s supposed to be uncanny--real enough to fool yourself and yet slightly off, just enough to put you at unease.  This story is a really good example of that and it’s a really heartfelt story of a woman coming to terms with her abusive relationship which is an unfortunate reality for many women made more unfortunate in how many still remain.  The only flaws that really stood out to me were the run-on sentance and some paragraph condensing. Otherwise, this was a good story.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Only way to get better at critting is by doing more crits. While I know y'all have reasons to be hating on him, give Benny a break here.
Thank you, Muffin. How about letting me crit one of your stores?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Thank you, Broenheim

curlingiron posted:

Hey, it's not what I meant, but thank you for the crit, Benny! I appreciate it.
You're welcome.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


In with The Lawyer and the Devil

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE posted:

it was just funny is all lol
Funny this, fucko. Fight me, bitch

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE posted:

i have zero interest in brawling anyone.
Fine.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Aw, why are mom and dad fighting again?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Presumably because mom wants to throw out some comics.
You throwing stones at me, skippy?

gently caress the stones, Fight me, Muffin

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


I'll be good

Muffin, you mind if I crit one of your stories, though? I do need the practice, after all.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Sitting Here posted:

Hey how come no one is mentioning my burn of you, which was arguably more subtle and quick
I know better than to provoke you, though

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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


I'm in

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