Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I'm in and also brand new, so your day's guaranteed to be extra lovely.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Cornflake, Word Count 1340

There isn’t anything inherently frightening about a person in a costume suit. Logically, they’re just that: people. They have identities and take the costumes off sometimes. I can’t explain it. They just freak me out. Ever since I was a kid. I never knew about it until my folks took me on a trip to Disneyland. I’ll never forget the first one I saw, it was Donald Duck, bouncing along right at me, swinging his elbows in this jolly gait, bulbous front swinging from side to side. I remember wrenching my hands out of my parents’ and bolting into the crowd. They found me an hour and a half later, sobbing behind a maintenance shack, the front of my shorts wet.

So I tend to avoid theme parks, conventions, costume parties, sporting events, and large holiday celebrations. If I have to go out on a big costume holiday, I stick to the backest of backstreets in abandoned neighborhoods. I’ve avoided direct confrontation with those suited bastards this way for fifteen years now. And I’ve kept myself together about it. My wife knew about it, and my son figured it out after a while, and of course my therapist. Other than that, I’ve managed to keep it mostly private. Most days, I barely think about it.

That’s probably why, when my granddaughter begged me to take her to the mall to see her favorite musical group perform, I didn’t bother to look them up. She’s seven, after all. Her father avoided Barney and the Tele-whatsits just to make my relationship with her easier. Whenever I was with her listening to her little tapes, it was always some young guy with a high voice and an acoustic guitar. Or children singing pop songs (which quite frankly sometimes I found a little inappropriate given some of the subject matter). More than likely, I thought, it would be a group of skinny Europeans in turtlenecks singing nonsense.

So I just hopped on the Ticketmaster and bought us two tickets, told Francis to take his wife out for dinner and a movie or what have you, and planned a little road trip with my granddaughter to the mall in Waukegan. I bought a couple of packs of lemon sours, the family-sized packs, since she and I go through them like pigs at the trough, and made us a sandwich to split. She showed up on my doorstep with her little backpack shaped like a cat’s face—that backpack always shakes me up a little, looks like a mascot head with those starey little eyes, but she loves it so I’ve learned to accept—and we loaded up into my truck and took off for the highway.

On the way there we had a listen to the group, The Cornflake Crubbs, via her little tape player. Not bad. The singers had some pleasant harmonies and they sang about things like puppy dogs on high adventures and bubbles that learn to sympathize with their fellows. Pretty mainstream kids’ stuff. One thing I couldn’t place, though, was a low warbling instrument in each of their songs, like someone with a huge cello bow stroking a bridge cable. Sometimes it would rocket up to a squeal, and wind back down to its low, wavering bass line. I figured it was some new kind of theremin or something. Those things have been making a comeback, I haven’t heard so many theremins since the age of the Beach Boys.

The parking lot was a raucous mess of kids and disheveled adults. More than once I saw a child latched on to a parents arm, dragging with all their might as the exhausted mother or father or family friend tried to get everything out of the car. I pulled into a handicapped spot and hung my little blue wheelchair guy on the rearview, turned to my Christie Lynn, and with maudlin deference asked, "Well my dear, shall we?" And she stuck the high bridge of her nose in the air and retorted "We shall, grand-papa," punctuating her airs with a smart giggle.

There was a banner hung up in the walkway featuring three lads in suits, each suit one of the primary colors. Looming over the top of the banner was half of a cartoon head, eyes wide and curious and yellow over the banner's edge. The thing was cute, in an impish sort of way. Its ears flapped in the wind, like a hare's or a basset hound's. It made me think of a pop-up book. As soon as Christie Lynn saw the thing she squealed and started dragging me towards the door. Normally I'd make her heel (she hates it when I give her dog commands), but it was kind of a special occasion, so instead I swept her up and made for the door.

I remember being glad to be inside. The sun was not feeling so friendly today and I had left my giant water bottle on the island counter in the kitchen and walked right out the door without it. Lara always used to poke fun in her way, always teasing me that if she didn’t have a list taped to my forehead I’d walk out without the clothes on my back. These days, I’ve come to realize she was probably right, and as much as I hated that little sardonic edge in her voice, it’ll always be the way her eyes twinkled as she said it that I’ll remember.

It took me a little extra time to find the stage because I kept having to check those map kiosks, and every time I approached one Christie Lynn would pipe up and ask, “Grandpa, did you lose us again?”

After the fifth time she, I found someone to guide us there. I followed behind the shiny-faced kid working security feeling only a little foolish.

The roar of children is not a low, rumbling sound like it is for adults. When children gather en masse, it is a tinny, railing sound that assaults your ears, like the sound of wind slipping through the crack of the window of a gargantuan car on the highway. That sound hit me full force when our guide opened the door to the balcony.

We were early, but obviously we had come far too late. The space was packed with wild hooligans and their keepers. Christie Lynn fed off their energy and immediately started bouncing and babbling, poking me in the belly and singing at the top of her voice. The migraine started grinding up its gears in the front of my skull.

By the time the music started blaring from the monitors, I was standing with CL’s hand in my left and holding the bridge of my nose with my right and squeezing my eyes shut. A chant rose from the crowd, ominous in its simplicity:

Cornflake

Cornflake

That theremin sound I heard on the tape rose from somewhere behind us, and I remember being dragged around to face away from the stage. The chant fell away around me to screaming. I opened my eyes.

Cornflake was bluish, with big floppy ears and wide, curious eyes. Its mouth looked something like a daffodil. It had wide clown feet and a pear-shaped torso that swung when it walked. And it walked directly towards me.

Mall employees found me about forty-five minutes into the concert sobbing in a bathroom stall, incoherently begging for someone to find my mother. They told me later I had pushed the beloved children’s performer down the stairs that led to the stage and bolted out the fire exit. Poor Christie Lynn, abandoned, was shuffled through the panicked throng, alone and screaming until someone eventually realized she had no adult and foisted her off on the mall staff.

When they had finally calmed me down, they took me to her. She gave me the silent treatment the whole way home. The last words she said to me for a year and a half were, “Please don’t come back to my house.”

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I hosed up and posted to the wrong place, yes go ahead and hate my dumb rear end for the lateness

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

imma give this sotry a motherfucker of a crit, k

Hoo boy, I'm boutta get murderized. I feel like I just rung the bell announcing fresh meat

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Friggin IN

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


140: Who do you think you are?

Word count: 1500 (right?)

Atlas Telamon

If you were born before 1965 and you happened to visit a small bar in Greektown, you might have had the chance to meet Heron. Heron tended bar at what called itself Headley Brewery but what really amounted to a greasy pub with some ill-functioning brewing equipment out back, and if you bought him a shot and a beer near close, he might call you brother and ask if you'd heard of Charles Soubret.

He might laugh and say of course not, typical. Then if he liked you well enough and you weren't going anywhere, he'd tell you about him.

He'd tell you how Charles Soubret was born to the Director of Operations at a paper mill and an extremely mentally overqualified typist. How the two had met, no one could say, but meet they did and made a child. That child was passed over to his grandmother, the typist’s mother. She visited often, especially at first to feed him. He saw the Director of Operations maybe once every few months in his early childhood. The final time he visited, he gave Charles a telescope, and it was this that first set him on the path to be the first man in space.

Here, Heron might pause, and he might look you in the eye, and he might take a long sip of the beer you bought him.

Some Smart Alec might pipe up and mention Yuri Gagarin. And Heron would swivel his neck and afix his russet gaze on said Alec, and he would almost certainly say, "That Ruski pee-oh-ess, brother, was a fraud and a Commie government prostitute." And that would be the end of it if Alec left it alone, and if he didn't the brothers would turn to buddies would turn to non-c om shitbuckets and he'd find himself on the sidewalk with maybe a bruise or two. And Heron would amble back through the door, the metal grille banging behind him, and you'd buy him another beer and another shot and he'd harrumph onto his stool behind the bar and lament the respect of real American heroes, and/or America in general.

Soubret, he'd continue, had chops. He wasn't just a pretty face and a pilot's license. He wasn't likely to blow himself up in a plane like some dumb Russian. He was what the folks back home might call true blue. He joined the Air Force sometime in the middle of his high school career when his grandmother died, just went home after the funeral, packed a duffel, and shipped off to BMT.

To say his flight record was flawless didn't cut it. If he had been white, he would have been a decorated officer. But then, if he had been white, we'd be looking at his face in history where Neil Armstrong's is now. In the eyes of the Air Force, he was a good pilot, never reckless, but absolutely fearless nonetheless.

That's what got him into space, in the end. It was an experimental aircraft, just one tier from the Mercury missions, called Atlas. He was one of seven training for the Project Atlas, and far from the favorite, flight record be damned. Still, he was 1A, better than, and he had a body and brain made for space. Every test, every conditioning exercise, he was first in line and first in marks. And he was damned likeable. Air Force guys, Heron could tell you, were assholes. They'd try to push you around and they'd find your disadvantage and pick at it just to make you look weak. And Soubret was the only non-white guy in a group competing to be distinguished worldwide. In 1960.

He was so well liked by five of the six other men, they elected to step down from Project Atlas to give Soubret the chance to be the first man in space.

The sixth pilot, a Rear Admiral, wasn't such a fan. He was old money, and his father had been in the navy during the World Wars. He was, Heron would say, a self-entitled prick with a silver spoon up his rear end. He liked to call Soubret ‘boy’.

This was the man NASA ended up choosing for the first attempt at an orbit around the earth. Of course. And so the Admiral flashed his teeth to the audience at home with his hands crossed behind his uniformed back and told America he'd be going to space, and the day came and he strapped himself in and prepared for launch and promptly pissed himself at the idea of being crushed to death by an endless vacuum and called off the whole thing on pretense of a technical issue.

And so Soubret was bumped to the position, and his training mates patted him on the back and wished him luck, and he sent a letter to his mother saying he loved her and he knew why she had to give him away, and that he hoped and prayed she was proud of him, and he stepped into that cockpit and took off. The mission was an absolute success.

And not one member of the American public knew about it.

There were no television cameras for Soubret. His face wasn't on Time Magazine. There was no hometown celebration in his honor. When the Admiral dropped out, so did public interest, assisted pretty heavily by government intelligence. Atlas was marked as a "back to the drawing board" type failure, and any record of its success, including the remains of the Atlas aircraft, became property of Central Intelligence. An American wouldn't reach space until just after the Russians. And so the Cold War would drop into high gear, with public opinion strongly against the Russians.

Soubret didn't just sit and let it happen. He tried to fight, sent letters to newspapers and activist groups, tried to rally the other Atlas trainees; but they had all been sent to active duty, all five somewhere deep in a frozen wasteland. The letters he sent probably never reached them.

He never even tried the Admiral. It was pride, and he'd probably admit that, but he also knew he'd get a door in his face.

And here, Heron would get real low, because here’s where the astronaut first got acquainted with Heron's father.

The government had Soubret backed into a corner. There was just no proof of the mission any more. He had simply been in training, and everyone who knew about the real mission, had monitored the whole thing from ground control, seemed to have disappeared or forgotten it completely. And Soubret didn't even have the resources to find the names he needed. A few months after the mission, he was given an honorable discharge and a bag full of cash he found on his kitchen table coming home one night. All that remained was a memory that became a recurring dream as he slept, the feeling of his stomach slipping into his chest cavity, blood beating at his eardrums, the brightness of the Earth shining at him from one tiny porthole, and droplets of moisture, some sweat, some tears, hanging between his eyes and his view of the farthest from home anyone had ever been.

He became depressed, and he became manic, and he finally became schizoid, and that's when he met Dr. Lester P. Heron, psychiatrist. Doc was a consulting physician to the asylum in which a family friend of Soubret’s placed him.

Once, and only once, a young Heron came along with his father for one of these sessions. The asylum, Heron would say, gave him the jeepers. He'd avoid it if he could, but sometimes his mother wasn't home and he wasn't to be trusted in the house alone, wee hellion that he was. Sometimes he'd bring a yo-yo, and sometimes his father would make him read, but on this day for Soubret's session Doc made his son sit behind the desk in his office and listen.

Soubret entered, shoulders bunched on either side of his chest, eyes that had a habit of dropping to the floor, a soft but strong voice that sometimes trailed off into muttering. Immediately, he laid down on the long leather bench bisecting the room diagonally, and Doc sat next to his head in a wooden rocking chair. They counted breaths together, and Doc had him hum something, and Soubret's breaths became long and steady.

Heron would say that's how he heard this story, Soubret intoning it calmly, eyes closed, punctuated with a steady breath. He’d say his father had the military records to prove everything up to the training. He'd talk about how the image of the earth, lonely, heavy in the vacuum, haunted Soubret to insanity. How when this broken man described the sun peaking over the edge of the world, catching with golden fire the clouds marbling the sphere, he'd rub his thumb across a small metal placard, one with the NASA logo in the bottom right corner, a placard that said ATLAS.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


In like a motherfucker.

MINE

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER



But like, really tho

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


This lil gently caress's gonna have to :toxx: it next week too

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Jesus. Alright, yeah, I'm in. And call me Britney Spears cuz I'm :toxx:ic

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Tyrannosaurus posted:


Submit by Friday and I'll upgrade your crit to a line by line.

Ohhhhh you horrible oval office, you know how bad I want that line crit, why won't you just let me procrastinate

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

:siren: flash rule :siren: someone is horrible, wishes they weren't.

Hot drat, this week is a fine fine week

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


When He Sleeps

WC 756


"So, sometimes they get loose."

She held his hand as he talked, because he was shaking and unbalanced and she was afraid he might fall. She fought the impulse to wrap an arm around his back.

"Sometimes they get loose, sure enough, and mostly I find them and sometimes I don't and they stay loose."

It was warm, and she hadn't had anything to eat or drink since she left for the city this morning. She glanced around for a bench or a stoup or somewhere to rest. There was one of those mini-parks a half a block up, and she ushered him towards it.

"S'why I never had kids, myself. I mean, I'm a smart man. drat smart. And I know I'd marry myself a clever little thing. Who knows what kind of-"

He coughed for about seventy seconds into the hand that she was holding. She tried a couple of times to pull it away from his spittle-flecked mouth, but each new bout of whooping made him squeeze a little harder.

"Ah well. It doesn't matter."

She led him to the bench and eased him into it. His body cricked forward, his knees creaking into a ninety degree angle.

"Doesn't matter, anyhow."

****

"His name is Bungles, an' he's got magic powers, but he's not 'upposed to use them. An' he's always around, an' you can only see him when he lets you, an' his fingers light up when he does magic like pcheww!!! Wumwumwumwumwummmm..."

Lara grabbed her son's ankle and held his leg still. She scrubbed with a rough rag at the residue coating his thigh. "So where were you hanging out with Mister Bungles?"

"Bungles isn't a mister! He's just Bungles. He hates it when we call him mister."

Lara nodded slowly. "So where were you hanging out with Bungles?"

"He showed us a creek behind the animal shelter, an' he made the water all glowy and orange and yellow like lava, but it doesn't hurt when you fall in! An' he made the trees grow over it so you can't see in, an' there's birds an' a dog an' he says if Warren's really really good he can have a dinosaur! Samantha made a fairy nest, and Bungle filled it up with a fairy family, an' there's a mommy an' daddy an' an old lady gramma fairy, and a baby fairy that doesn't even have any wings! His name is Wendell, but I call him Poopy." He giggled, and Lara smiled along in spite of herself.

"And what did Mr. Bungle make that got your legs-"

"He's not a mister, mom!"

"What did he make that got your legs so gross and sticky?"

His eyes didn't meet hers, and not for the first time in this conversation, he made her worry.

"Prescott?"

His cheeks were red, but he puffed them out a little and shook the tears out of his eyes. "I didn't want to tell. But I know that's like lying." His voice, already soprano, gained a hint of a squeak. Somehow, Prescott held himself together, through the shame of nearly lying to his mother. He shook.

"I rode a slug."

For just a moment, she was caught in full-fledged panic. Every possible meaning to that sentence terrified her. Just as she opened her mouth to ask the impossible question, whether he had been abused, he unleashed.

"I'm not allowed to ride horses, you said, and slugs ruin the garden, but Tanner wanted to be slug cowboys and I hate being on the other team as him. He cheats."

Lara was so relieved, she was furious. "Did I or did I not tell you not to lie to me? Making up stories is lying too, Prescott Lee."

His face scrunched in toward his nose. Now the tears would fall.

"I'm not lyiiiiiiinnnnnnng-"
"Alright, alright kiddo, jesus. Prescott, kid, you know I love you, but I'm you mother, and that means I worry. Now when you lie to me, I can't trust that you're safe. When you lie to me, I can't believe anything you say ever again. Even when you're telling me the truth. "

At that, the soul-shattering wail that had been churning and building within his chest burst through the floodgates of his mouth, and she hugged his convulsing body to her steady frame, rubbing his back between the shoulder blades. He was noisy, and he as a little bastard for sure, but she kissed his forehead and shushed into his ear until he passed out on her boney shoulder.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Djeser posted:


Groth want to say is tragic story of wizard mother and barbarian son but is not really story. GROTH LOVE CONFLICT and where is conflict? Mother does not believe son because she is bony wizard sympathizer. At end son does not make choice. What is important about beginning? Groth does not understand, which means story is probably written by wizard. Groth does not support wizard parents to gaslight barbarian children who just want to ride horse.

Truly Groth has a warrior's soul and an honorable heart. My INterprompt submission will be dedicated to you. I'll show you barbarian conflict the likes of which will make your hands itch for something stabby.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Prompt's so tasty, I can't help but be in. Also thanks to you lovely motherfuckers for the crits, I'm too lazy to go back and list y'all :butt:

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Entenzahn posted:

Attn wizard week toxxers: I promised you wizard week crits but since there's been a fuckton of them flying around already I'll instead give you the pick of any of your TD entries.

Can you be a peach and crit mine for this week?

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Gonna have to :toxx: for next week.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


IN with a :toxx:, doing Azerbaijan - Hour of the Wolf. As part of the toxx, I'm also tossing in my promised Barbarian Interprompt story. Anybody new who wants an easy practice crit is welcome. Or anyone in general, I guess.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

:siren: Mercasaurus Rex Brawl :siren:

Also sweet baby james I can't wait to watch this motherfucking brawl.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Benny the Snake posted:

You and me both, man. Kick his rear end, Mercedes

gently caress that noise, Tyranno gonna bring the pain!!

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Mr. War Criminal

Word Count: 1393

Country: Azerbaijan, "Hour of the wolf", Elnur Huseynov

~~~~


Coming back for the night shift, Tiff was escorted to her usual place in the hall by the bodyguard on duty. Her employer sat in his chromed easy chair in the living room, feet tangled on top of the ottoman, boots still on. The spotlights outside the window cast shadows from the hairs on his chest and produced the illusion of thick fur. The smell of the room pressed itself into her mouth and nostrils, thick like pudding, pungent like old soil. A pipe rested in his hand on the arm of the chair, just about to drop. Around the corner, against a wall Tiff couldn't see, the pianist was finishing his last piece for the night.

It was a slow song, ruinously slow, and it dragged so that it was almost impossible to count. His fingers lumbered over the keys, and she felt the drum inside her ear twitch at the dissonance. Kendra came with a cold glass, early as always, and filled it with strawberry. She kept her eyes down as she walked back to the kitchen, and that brought Tiff's eyes down.

The fingers on keys finished abruptly, with a plunk from the left hand. The stool scooted smoothly over the polished floor, and their employer released the cloud of smoke he had been holding through his nose. Shoes tapped toward her, quickly but not hurrying. The pianist was dressed in a white knit shirt and pressed pants. As he passed, he dropped something into Tiff's glass. He left without turning, his shift over.

Tiff stared at the door, trying to pull him back through it with her gaze. The air started sizzling, and her eyebrows came together. She looked at the glass, where bubbles had started pouring from the center of the surface of the pinky liquid. She looked quickly across to her counterpart with the whole, a new woman tonight: Nora took Thursday nights off. The new woman had short hair that flared away from her face, and she had noticed nothing.

The sizzling died off, and Tiff wondered if she should do something.

Her employer raised one booted foot from the ottoman, then the other, and let both drop to the floor. He rose from the chromed chair chest-first, as though someone had stuck a hook behind his ribcage, and walked directly and gracelessly toward his room. As he stuck out his left hand for the whole in the other woman's hands, Tiff opened her mouth to say something, and he raised a finger, anticipating her.

"Leave it," he murmured, and walked behind his door, kicking it closed.

The other girl looked perplexed, but didn't dare breach her contract by speaking. Kendra entered again, eyes flashing hotly at Tiff, and she refilled the whole and left. The new girl wouldn't take her eyes off the glass, and so Tiff lowered her own eyes to her own glass.

~~~~

It was three-fifteen when they cut the spotlights shining at the window. There was no commotion, no word from the ground level guards. It was probably a malfunction, the way the bulbs had flickered. They checked the dimmer.

Segmented thumps, like a stack of boxes toppling to the carpeted ground, came from the other side of the door. The door opened, and Tiff saw all three hundred pounds of bodyguard collapsed at the foot of the framed painting adorning the entrance wall. A pair of white patent-leather loafers stepped over the guard's boots. The man casually coming through the threshold came to maybe five feet. His black polyester windbreaker rustled against his white khakis as he shoved his hands into the pockets. He looked first at the new girl, then to Tiff. Behind him followed Nora, Tiff's fellow employee, in a black knit cap.

"Extravagance. Wasteful." Tiff has never heard Nora speak. She realizes this now, because her voice commands, with a smoker's rasp, that attention be paid.

"I'll get the Big Boss, shall I?" The little man scooted away in the direction of the bedroom. Nora indicated that Tiff and the other woman convene with Kendra in the kitchen. Tiff took her tainted strawberry in with her. Kendra was backing away when she saw Nora, and reversed tack. "Nora, what the gently caress is going on? What are you doing here?" Nora held up a gloved hand, and something crackled and sparked in the center of her palm. For a second, the air was a razor's edge scraping across skin. Kendra backed away, eyebrows squeezing together and hands out as if she were still deciding whether to fling herself toward Nora or the door.

Mr. White Loafers pulled their employer into the kitchen by the arm. He didn't struggle. He allowed himself to be positioned by the refrigerator, next to his employees. Nora aimed her glove, which Tiff now noticed had wires running up the shirtsleeve, in the direction of their employer. She removed a device from a zippered pocket and held it near her jaw.

"Thursday, Nine April, two thousand fifteen, just past three hundred hours. Target Ruslan Canavar, codename Mitzi, has been apprehended without the use of excessive force or ballistic weaponry. Agents Kilpatrick and Middeke on point. No casualties. Transferring to vehicle." She clicked the device off and missed putting it in her pocket. As she turned slightly and fiddled, the new milk girl made a lunge, running for the door. The short man caught her about the waist and flung her to the ground. Unnoticed, Ruslan Canavar, codename Mitzi, quietly took the glass of strawberry from its place on the counter and poured it from Nora's knit cap down her back and onto her face. Smoke poured from her body, and a sound like train wheels grinding in full stop against the rusted tracks burst from her mouth. She stumbled across the room and rammed into the refrigerator. Her counterpart ran to her, pulling a metal tube from his jacket and extending it into a baton. "Cut that poo poo now, you fuckin-- lame-rear end! I'll come for you! There's a squad on the way?" He was shouting, but his voice broke upward on the last vowel. His baton drew uncertain lines in the air.

Ruslan pulled a gun from the drawer next to the sink and tilted it casually in Tiff's direction.

"Do you know how much I pay these people?"

White Loafers panted through his teeth in response.

"I mean, you must. I was paying Agent Kilpatrick." Nora appeared to have passed out from the pain. The air smelled like a meat packing plant.

"They warm my milk with their bodies. They stand all night so that I have something to put me to sleep when my paranoia wakes me up in fits every half hour. This one even seems to enjoy it." He met Tiff's eyes with his for the very first time, and she was warmed by the crinkles at the edges, in spite of the situation. "These people are my very favorite people in the world. You threatened them. You hurt them. And you destroyed my trust in them."

He leveled the gun at Agent Middeke's head.

"The two of you get out of here. Take Tiff here with you."

Middeke didn't move at first. He made a show of eying Ruslan down, then pulling Nora or whatever her real name was over his shoulder. This proved a little difficult for him, however, and Ruslan waved Tiff over with a look that made plain his disdain for ineptitude. Tiff took the rest of Nora's weight on her shoulder, and the three of them shuffled to the door.

Halfway down the hallway, Tiff made a decision. She dropped down a little, putting most of Nora's weight on him, and pulled at his windbreaker, wresting after a few seconds the baton from the side pocket. She gave Nora a huge shove, and drove the three of them through the metal door leading to the stairs. She extended the baton into the small man's stomach, and he tumbled down the stairs stiff as a two by four. She let Nora roll down after.

Tiff opened the door with her whole body, and stood mirroring her employer standing in the doorway.

Air escaped from her nose, and she looked out the window behind him at the city, her home since birth.

She asked, "Where are we running?"

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

I will do 5 crits this week. First come, first served. Quote this post if you want one. I'll try to have them done by the end of the day tomorrow.


I'll trade you a crit! I'll try and do a few this week since I slacked on Wizard Week

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Aaaaaand here's that barbarian story I promised. Free crit. I mean, if you want.

...

OH GOD SOMEBODY CRIT ME

Surrogate


WC: 300

Melthrop slams a hand on the trunk of the tree beside him and pulls his leg from beneath the bloody lioness pinning him. She still paws weakly towards his shin, claws aching to tear flesh. He kicks her paw away, and puts a hand on top of her head.

"For your death, for your meat, for your bones and teeth, I thank you," he chants in the clucking tongue of his mother tribe. He removes the stone knife from his predator's side and brings it hard through her eye socket. She stops pawing.

Melthrop leaves his blade for a moment- he will need it for skinning. For now, he replaces the wicker basket on his back and looks for the kittens.

"Ha-tchi tchiiiih, ha-tchi chiiiih," he coos to them, like he is calling his own child in the camp. He hears soft mew, and tracks it on bent legs.

The lion kittens are freshly born, and he touches each on the forehead with the pad of his finger, names them, and spits gently in their eyes, like they are his own freshly born children. "Karfid. Tcheka. Poschus." He pauses on the last, a runt. He remembers the many births he has watched. He remembers his son's, and the sound of his son's weak lungs sputtering to silence after his few days of life.

His voice, low, breaks as he says, "Groth," and spits gently in the little one's eyes. Groth gives a mew of surprise, and Melthrop laughs.

He goes about skinning the lioness and collecting as much of her as he can carry. Once finished, he puts Groth on his shoulder. "The hunt was good today," Melthrop tells him. "Let's return." And with a mewling bag of kittens, and a basket full of their mother, he makes for camp.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


JcDent posted:

In light of recent events I will be giving a crit in return for SH crit. So, you know, line up, start begging and groveling, etc.

CRIT ME GODDAMMIT

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

Full Circle

Chris had a big, blocky head and a face that hadn’t quite sorted itself out, which was probably why he felt more comfortable with power tools than conversation.
Love this description. Not too specific, just a hint of humor, give me a great sense of teenage awkwardness.

Chris taught her how to use a tablesaw, and admitted he liked to watch the sparrows bathe in the school fountain.
Another nice detail, something I find tough with teen characters is how easy they are to stereotype. This is a great example of showing sensitivity without saying something like "he was the basketball all-star, but his true passion... was dance."

But drat if didn’t keep all his bits tucked in, while leaving plenty of room for his guts to do their digestive contortions.
The voice for this sentence- hell, this whole paragraph- was spot on. You let the old man voice pop out a few more times, but I really wanted to see more of it. Not like a first person view, but sometimes your lovely descriptions clashed with these great outdated phrases.

Little kids waved blinding, crackling sparklers in the air, so that every time Chris blinked, the insides of his eyelids were covered in neon-green cursive afterimages.
Chris was a blind old eel in a sea of neon fish.
Chris saw neon grey-blue afterimages instead of outstretched legs and picnic baskets.
Easy on the neon there, slick. Twice and I wouldn't have noticed it, but three times is over the top. Although I will say that second one was my favorite sentence in the whole story.

His arms were as useless as two particularly al dente noodles.
This one bugged me, but so little I almost didn't mention it. I think it's that 'particularly' in there. If they're 'particularly' al dente, does that mean they're extra crunchy? Shouldn't they be overcooked if they're useless?

But then a slow, impish smile broadened her round, welcoming features, and a twinkle that had nothing to do with fireworks sparkled in her eyes.
Really sweet, clear imagery, but you have two sets of adjective, comma, adjective right next to each other. Think about paring down the first phrase of that sentence.



I enjoyed reading this. It feels like one of those tales of lost love from the fifties, only you've taken it just slightly into the future so that it's a character I could see myself being in a few decades. Even better, you set the time with fairly concise world-building and with just a few observations from the character. There were a couple of grammar fuckups, so tiny that I didn't even bother quoting them, but I just attributed that to the fact that you posted even after my constantly late rear end. It was sweet, straightforward, and I enjoyed your main character. And you didn't contrive it to be anything more than a story of a delayed last chance. I really can't wait to see what the judges think.

edit: Just watched your video and realized I think I must have picked the lamest one in the competition. I mean seriously, that dude's outfit. And where the gently caress is he running to all the time? Like is that how he looks chasing the bus? Does he wear those ears to work? And who stuck that loving chick in an hourglass with her violin and a snake? Clearly I have made poor choices.

skwidmonster fucked around with this message at 21:05 on May 11, 2015

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Sitting Here posted:

Crit for skwidmonster:


Thanks for the crit, yo!

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


LET THE GREAT EXPERIMENT BEGIN


gently caress everything, I regret it already

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Erogenous Beef posted:

I Hate Everyone: A Litany of Critique

gently caress yes, this is what I'm talking about. Thanks for the crit!!

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Untitled Opening
WC: 420 :sotw:

“I told you, honey, tickets for the Princess Ball were too much. I couldn’t do it for you this year.” Eli dragged the razor down his neck, feeling the blade roughen on his cheek and knowing he’d have to put some lotion or something on it later. He sighed. “I’m sorry.”

“Okay!” he heard from the bedroom across the hall. “No Princess Ball, that’s okay. I’m just going to wear my dress, just in case though. Okay?”

Eli dropped his hand to the sink and squeezed his eyes shut, just for a second. He wondered how long it would take her to realize he wasn’t trying to surprise her.

“I really need you to change, honey. We’re going to dinner. I got you a present. I’ll give it to you when we get there. That’s all I have planned, I promise…” He left the last word in the air like a frustrated insect, unsure whether to keep buzzing or to land.

The bedroom was quiet.

He finished up his neck, wiped down his face, checked his teeth in the mirror, and tried on a face that was apologetic but with that hint of worn out frustration. It looked good. It looked serious. It looked exactly how he felt. He turned to the bedroom.

“Seriously, honey, you need to change out of that dress. I’m pretty sure they won’t have room in the cab for me, you, and the petticoats.”

“I’m not going unprepared, Eli,” his girlfriend shot back. The glitter on her cheeks made her eyes glow. “You promised me you’d take me to the ball for my twenty-fifth birthday. You’re not a great liar, you know.” She was still smiling a little, which was good. It was when she started smirking and clucking between those perfect teeth that he was in trouble. He could still swing this.

“Don’t you think I’m a little underdressed for a ball? I mean, it’s fine if you want to wear that out to the place, but I’m not going to put on riding pants or epaulets just to make you feel less ridiculous.” She huffed, eyebrows raised like warning flags but her tone still playful. “Did you just say I look ridiculous in my dress? The dress I stitched lovingly, with my own two hands—” “For three whole months, I know, I know,” he laughed. “You look gorgeous,” he said, and he put a hand on her twinkling cheek. “But you really should save it for when I can actually take you.”

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


crabrock posted:

you really need to work on your phrasing!

Lollll

Real smooth, crabrock, go full on crit mode, that'll save face

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


'Round Sundown
WC: 1000

Artie walked into a flower shop for the first time in his life. He hustled from his pickup to the door quicker than he’d moved in decades, worried that somebody driving by on Old Main Street might see him. The bell above the door chimed like a siren and Artie flinched.

“Can I help you, sir?” the gray-haired woman behind the counter asked and pushed her bifocals up her nose.

“I need some flowers,” Artie told her. “They’re for my wife,” he was quick to add.

The storekeeper, whose nametag on her green apron said Sally, gestured around the store, indicating the abundance and variety of flowers. “What does she like?”

Artie took off his trucker hat and held it over his chest as if the national anthem were playing at a ballgame. “I sure don’t know. But she’s upset like I ain’t never seen.”

Sally walked around to the front of the counter and leaned against it. She crossed her arms and tilted her head. “Let me guess. Something you did. And you think a few flowers are going to make up for it?”

Artie just about dropped his hat. “That how you plan to make a sale?”

Sally’s stern expression didn’t waver. “Don’t change the subject on me. Go on now, tell me what you’ve done.”

“Well,” Artie said and began to fold the brim of his hat. He looked down, feeling like his mother was back from the dead and scolding him over something he did at school. “I made a promise I didn’t keep. A big one.”

“And?”

“And now she’s mad. Breaking things. I didn’t get no sleep last night.”

“Any sleep,” Sally said.

“Any sleep,” Artie corrected, feeling again like he was five instead of fifty-five. “I’ve got until sundown to get things right. Then she’ll be up again. I already got most of what I think’ll make her happy out in the truck, but I feel like some proper flowers will really be the finishing touch I need.”

Sally glanced out the front window of the shop and could see the antlers of a deer sticking up from Artie’s truck’s bed. A nice buck.

“Mmhmm,” Sally hummed. “Well, let’s see.” She began to show Artie some of her best flowers: beautiful arrangements that smelled wonderful. But he soon stopped her.

“What about those?” Artie asked, pointing to a bouquet in the corner.

“Those? You don’t want those. They’re nearly dead. And they are starting to smell… funny.”

Artie gave the dying flowers a sniff and winced at the stench. “They’re perfect. She’ll love them.”

Sally shrugged. “If you say so.”

Artie paid for the flowers and got back in his truck with them. The deer in the back was hooked up to a drainage system, steadily filling a big bottle with red, viscous blood. He headed home, praying he’d be able to calm his wife down when she woke up.

The sunset glinted off his rearview for a second drat near blinding him as he pulled into the driveway. He didn't have a whole lot of time left if he wanted to catch her off guard. Artie popped the parking brake, went back to unhook the bottle, and took it in through the front door with the flowers.

He came back and gingerly pulled something wrapped in a blanket from the bed of his truck. This he took to the sunroom in the back.

He had everything set up by the time the last bits of grey light sunk into the horizon. Artie sat on the chair in the corner of the bedroom and watched his wife awaken.

She squeezed her eyes, then opened them, seeing first the crimson-maroon bottle on the end table, then Artie, sitting meekly, twisting his hat in his hands.

"Did that come from what I think it came from?"

Artie twisted his hat the other way. "Now, don't you get too excited, it's quality deer's blood, fresh bottled just for you. And I got these, too." He got up and brought the flowers to her. "See? I put 'em in your old urn we never got to use. And I have a surprise for you-- come on now-- Helen..."

Helen had swiped the bottle and was storming for the door. He scrambled after her.

"Come on now, sugar, just let me show you what I got waiting in the sunroom. I promise you'll like it. I know I'm a big old coward, but give me a chance here."

She gave a small long-suffering sigh and took a couple of gulps from the buck's blood.

"Kinda like diet pop or something," she muttered. "But it's not terrible."

Artie ever so gently put his hand on her back and led her to the sunroom. "Now I want you to take a look underneath that blanket."

Helen stepped to the table on the far wall and raised her hand to the blanket on top, pulling it off. Underneath, a pair of sleepy eyes blinked open, shining beneath long lashes.

Helen couldn't keep her face from falling.

"Now, honey, sugar, I know you wanted me to find a baby girl, but I- I just couldn't nab that poor little thing from her mama. But this has got to be the next best thing."

The faun underneath the blanket tried to stand on top of the table, but her legs noodled out from under her. "She's a youngun. I got her with a tranq, so maybe wait just a little bit to taste."

With that Artie plopped his hat on the table and offered her the flowers once more. "What do you say?"

Helen heaved a sigh and took the bouquet, curling her mouth into a smile. "I say you're a sweet, foolish man." And she kissed him on the neck, leaving a bloody little lipstick mark behind his jaw.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


blue squares posted:

if you come back in here you better brawl me immediately. Whoever judges will write a beginning and we will both finish it

Let's go, babycakes. Judge?

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Drunk prompt is best prompt. In, :toxx:, and flash rule me, please.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Appreciate the crit, Kaishai!

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Like A Lemming Off A Cliff
WC: 469

He basically had my balls in his hand, and he could squeeze whenever he wanted.

"I'm taking your Binky of Blood with me, High Admiral Sharpniss," he snarked with his snarky little snark-face, "and if you set off a single one of those drones, I'm dousing this fucker in gasoline and tossing it into a volcano, you hear me?"

He held my baby blanket in one triumphant fist, taunting me. I could do nothing but not solemnly, with just an under-menace of the hate burning in my darkest soul. What a loving rear end-hat.

Everything was set to go off. I had drones over every branch of world government, little specters of floating invisible death hanging, ready to send the world into leaderless chaos. Ships and ships of my loyal troops waited to land in New York, LA, Beijing, Tokyo, ready to whip the panicking crowds into an even more frenzy with tear gas and bullets.

"You may have found my Binky, Agent Callaster, but believe me when I say it will be returned to me by our next bout. Of that, have NO FEAR." It tried to give my eyes a little threatening smolder, like 'Hey gently caress you, but I respect you.' I don't really know how well it came off. That volcano thing really threw me.

My Binky flapped a little in the breeze that scampered off the Bikini islands and over my command ship. Even in the dying light of early evening, it looked like the softest little patch of fabric you'd ever seen. I swear I remember when my grandmother, the old Dread Queen of Philly, first wrapped me in her Binky of Blood. I was only a baby, but I swear I remember the smell of her hands wrapping the hand-stitched fabric around me.

"High Admiral Sharpniss, I bid you farewell... Until we meet again." And with that, the infamous Agent Maxwell Callaster sprinted to the edge of my ship and leapt off the side and into the water.

This was it. Either I chased him down, snagged my Binky, slew the ugly bastard, and went ahead with my plan, or I gave up now.

In retrospect, it was a heat-of-the-moment kind of deal when I decided to throw myself off the ship after him. I mean really just class-A henchman behavior. Where Callaster had carefully planned his trajectory and landed safely in the water next to his getaway boat, I haphazardly directed my body right for the boat itself.

I may be paralyzed from the neck down now, and I may be locked in this high-security super jail, but the one thing I can savor is the memory of Callaster's face as I crushed his body with mine right before he could get away. If I can't have the world, I'll take that.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Ohhhhh King Lizard, you mother fucker, you. Of course I'm in. And you know what, for you, I might even turn in something good.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


blue squares posted:



Skwidmonster
— Like A Lemming Off A Cliff
This is a fun little piece, but if you really wanted to be in the top today, you should have used more of the word count to flesh out the story a bit. Explaining who this Callister is, for one. I really like the idea of a supervillain being defeated because his childhood blanket is held hostage, but I wish you’d done more with the idea.

Thanks for the crit squares!

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Tyrannosaurus posted:

pfffft i doubt it

"Rome’s best general feels slighted, so he switches sides."

Throwing in a :toxx: again too

I know like loving nothing about Coriolanus

Don't know if that's great or terrible for me

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Submissions: Sunday at midnight (HAST)

Wait no, I forgot, I really do love you

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


guts and bolts posted:

You ever been on a ladder? Ain't nobody can climb side by side. Call it Fate, call it God. We're enemies now.



Aww poo poo, pointless gauntlet throwing

What is this, a playground? At least say something lovely about each other, it's way more fun

Like how squares is going to be making GBS threads bricks when he reads my rad-rear end story. Poor dude's not going to know what to do with himself.

skwidmonster fucked around with this message at 16:01 on May 26, 2015

  • Locked thread