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
Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



jon joe posted:

Is your strategy to avoid being voted out by saying only nice things?

It's working.

Nah, I am just saving all my vitriol for Quidnose. Can't wait to rip that guy to shreds.

Do you hear me Quid? I'm coming for you!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Gotta say though, what the hell kind of name is Orzart?

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Ecco please come in here and criticize me

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Diqnol we still have that unbreakable alliance right?

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Little Mac your story better be either about your career training to fight Mike Tyson, or else it should be written in equation form. Anything else is unacceptable.

Jon Joe
Oct 19, 2011

GUESS WHO'S LYING


Grimey Drawer

Hal Incandenza's Novel in 5 Posts.

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



jon joe posted:

Hal Incandenza's Novel in 5 Posts.

I just want people to post more!

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010


POSTING
Champion
of
Something Awful


I've been unexpectedly called on for a lot of overtime. My submission will be short, but I promise I'll make up for it.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Hal Incandenza posted:

Gotta say though, what the hell kind of name is Orzart?

Orzart is a perfectly cromulent name!

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Meinberg posted:

Orzart is a perfectly cromulent name!

It's no Thistleton, that's got a nice nature feel to it.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Hal Incandenza posted:

It's no Thistleton, that's got a nice nature feel to it.

Names are hard, okay?

Jon Joe
Oct 19, 2011

GUESS WHO'S LYING


Grimey Drawer

Meinberg posted:

Names are hard, okay?

Just do what I do and steal names from authors better than yourself, maybe changing a letter or two.

George Kansas
Sep 1, 2008

preface all my posts with this


Reinborg

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Meinberg posted:

Names are hard, okay?

No I really liked Thistleton. It's like a name that would be in the Hunger Games. Or a town in some Earthbound-like RPG.

Orzart is fine too, just quirky and hard to say

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004




This is gonna be a Meinberg alias in votefinder soon

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010


POSTING
Champion
of
Something Awful


The Reverend stared into the cracked mirror resting on the table. Having served its usual purpose for a great many years, the mirror now sat transubstantiated in its own right.

Minutes passed, and still the Reverend sat, only looking up from his own broken reflection to glance momentarily at the door to his office, left slightly ajar. He had been expecting a visitor, which was not unusual for such a Monday afternoon. The lateness, however, proved somewhat less typical. Nobody dared disrespect the Reverend like that. He would, however, look past this venial transgression in this instance. As much as he would never admit it to anyone, much less himself, he waited on a young man who held some considerable importance in the Reverend’s life.

The Reverend began to run his fingers idly over the plane. As his digits neared the crack, he caressed the jagged edges with such delicacy that if there were any puncture, it would not show. He realized a small shard had broken loose as to become removable, and began to pry as his visitor pushed open the door with some hesitancy. Looking up at once, the Reverend started and involuntarily clutched the shard too tightly. He began to bleed.

“Oh, Martin. Please, close the door behind you.” The boy did, and with a sheepish look toward the Reverend began a clearly rehearsed apology.

“I’m sorry I’m late. I should have ran here.” Martin’s face was composed in what the Reverend could recognize as a veneer of false sincerity. For a moment, he looked to the mirror, thinking of the countless times he’d been able to study that same falseness in his own features.

“No, no, Martin. If you’re late, I’m sure you had a good reason. But I’ve actually had to postpone other appointments, so I don’t have time to speak. If you could just…” The way the Reverend found himself trailing off left him disgusted. Such an indecisive tone was beneath him, even if it was prudent in this case.

“Ah. Yes. Yes, absolutely.” Martin reached into his backpack and pulled out a small vial. He set it on the Reverend’s desk, next to the mirror. He gestured toward the Reverend’s withdrawn fist. “Sir, you’re bleeding. Is everything all right?”

“Oh, Martin, I’ll be fine. Run along, now.”

Clearly happy to have been given the excuse, the boy turned and sped out the door. Fortunately for all parties, the door swung shut. The Reverend released the shard of glass and looked at his palm. It wasn’t shredded, though the cuts were significant enough to justify attention. The vial, however, took precedence.

It was innocuous enough. The glass had been stained black in order to afford some sense of privacy as to its contents, but the Reverend, of course, knew exactly what lay within.
He poured out the entirety onto the broken mirror. It obscured his face, as though his eyes and nose had simply melted into white. The Reverend considered rooting through his desk for the straw he knew was there, buried under a mess of papers and office supplies, but in a moment of inspiration settled on another method. Raising again the shard with his bleeding hand, he began to cut with precision matching wounds on each of his wrists. Showing little sign of the monumental pain he felt with every passing moment, the Reverend took a moment to exhale.

Suddenly, in a furor, the terrible, awesome man slammed his wrists onto the mirror, and into the pile of the powder resting there. He began to slowly rub his wounds over the vial’s contents in a circular pattern, mumbling to himself first in a barely audible tone. As the cocaine started to enter his bloodstream, and the Reverend began to feel the rush, his whispers graduated rapidly into a great shout.

“I AM THE VOICE OF GOD! I AM THE VOICE OF GOD! HEAR ME NOW, I HAVE COME TO CLEANSE THEE!”

Cartridgeblowers
Jan 3, 2006

Super Mario Bros 3




When is deadline? I have company coming over tonight.

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!



Chapter 1

Bog’gdal had gotten stuck in the broom closet again.

In actuality, he stood halfway between hallway and broom closet in a perpetual state of closet entrance, a sort of Schroedinger’s Ogre of the janitorial staff. This morning’s instance was one of the unfortunate “rear” protrusions that Bog’gdal was least fond of. Since his initial predicament, he had pleaded for help fifteen times, and had received five bouts of furious laughter, six continuations of passerby footfall, two kicks in the rear, one moment of absolute silence in which he became convinced whatever evil spirit had knocked over a suit of armor in the hallway was about to murder him, and what he could only assume was the next great artistic masterpiece considering how long someone was painting his rear end. His emotional side imagined it to be a sweeping landscape of color, line, and tension; his rational side suspected it was most likely a series of penises.

Luckily the sixteenth passerby was Smebon, who promptly returned with the jaws of life and the Manor architect. A short snip and snap later and Bog’gdal was free and cleaning up the remains of the doorframe.

“SIDEWAYS, Bog’gdal,” Smebon exclaimed, scribbling furiously in the Manor ledger. “We’ve had this exact same conversation, what, twenty times now? Thirty?”

“I’m sorry, Boss.” Bog’gdal stuck a piece of doorframe in his mouth absentmindedly, chewing on it like a giant toothpick. “I’ve lost weight, but I just can’t seem to get it off my butt...”

“At this point I’m going to start billing you for the charges to remake the door.”

Bog’gdal put a finger to the one protruding tooth in his jaw, thinking. “I’m pretty sure my hiring contract is listed as Indentured Servitude, so any charges billed to me would just be added to my Remainder of Service and therefore would be paid by his Lo—“

“Yes, yes, I am FULLY aware of His Lordships business model.” Smebon made an angry calculation. “Can’t remember how to enter a janitorial closet but is suddenly an expert in economics. God damned union…”

Bog’gdal’s ears perked up. “What was that?”

“Nothing, nothing,” Smebon muttered, waving the issue away with his free hand. “The point stands that the budget will not allow for many more of these accidents this month, so please try to remember the proper way to enter the only place in the entire estate that I am unable to bar you from entering.”

Bog’gdal nodded. “Because my brooms are in there.”

“I could suggest a new place you could stick those,” Smebon muttered.

“But you’re not going to have any money problems pretty soon, right Smebon?” Bog’gdal grinned and patted the goblin on the back, hard. The ledger tumbled to the ground. “What with the Dukedom Examinations coming up again in three weeks!”

Smebon snorted and snatched the ledger from the ground. “Yes.”

“I mean, his Lordship is sure to pass this time. He’s taken it so many times before!”

Smebon did not reply.

“Besides, if he doesn’t, he can always take it a seventeenth time or whatever.”

Smebon coughed a little too loudly.

“…He can take it again if he fails, can’t he?”

Smebon paused, then made a hard pencil line in the ledger.

“Oh my Great Thunder Dragon of Junta.”

“It will be fine.” Smebon glared up at the large ogre. “His Lordship knows the importance of receiving a passing grade on this years examination, and has been preparing accordingly. He is currently sequestered in the Royal Study for the next two weeks to ensure he gives this final push the appropriate amount of dedication and dutifulness.”

“You know I fished his drunk rear end out of the fountain last night, right?”

“YES, I AM AWARE.” Smebon slapped the ledger closed. “Do not speak disrespectfully of our Lordship. Your status as janitor does not afford you the familiarity of stature to so blithely refer to such a man of honor in that fashion.”

Bog’gdal laughed.

Smebon narrowed his eyes. “He’s older than you.”

“I’m four hundred and fifty six.”

“Really?” Smebon’s eyes widened at that. “You look great.”

Bog’gdal smiled. “Thanks. I went gluten free a year ago.”

“Fantastic.” The architect finished his calculations and handed Smebon a cost projection. “Fantastic.”

“Lookin’ at about three fifty, Boss.”

“DUCATS?” Smebon looked at the scroll in horror. “Are we making the door out of solid gold?”

“New zoning codes, went into effect last month. You need all kinds of permits now.” The architect snurfed up a large globule of snot and spat heavily on the ground. Bog’gdal retrieved a rag from his belt and began polishing the spot. “We could go without, but I don’t know how much is left in the bribe fund…”

“Not much.” Smebon opened the ledger again and furrowed his brow at every page he turned to. “We can’t just, you know, put it in and not tell anyone?”

“I mean, if YOU want to face a torture squad, you are certainly welcome to do whatever you’d like. I, however, am obligated to follow the licensing laws which govern my—”

Smebon sighed. “I’ll move some money around.”

“You got it, Boss.” He put his hat back on his head. “See ya, Bog’gdal.”

Bog’gdal went to reply and choked on the doorframe piece in his mouth. It took him a moment to recover. “Huh, forgot I was chewing on that.”

Smebon slammed the ledger shut for what he hoped was the final time in this hallway. “Clean this up. No more broken doors. No more broken anything.”

“Sure thing, Boss.”

“Where did you leave His Lordship?”

Bog’gdal thought for a moment. “Well, I tried to take him back to his Chambers, but he shouted something at me about the radiant transcendence of his current form being too much for mere mortals to handle, so I deposited him in the hammock by the courtyard.”

Smebon raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, because he snores real loud when he’s that hammered.”

“Yes he does.” Smebon turned to go. “HIs Lordship is hosting a meeting in the Royal Dining Hall this evening. See that everything is waxed.”

“Will do, Boss.” Bog’gdal watched him go, then bent over to begin picking up the door frame pieces. There was a large popping sound as his buttocks slide into the gaping hole in the wall and lodged themselves snugly between the drywall.

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Ernie if nothing else please make a recording where you pronounce the proper names from all the stories.

Chic Trombone
Jul 25, 2010



Orzart's kind of a weird name but I don't think it's that hard to pronounce tbh

Chic Trombone
Jul 25, 2010



Also I'm trying to also have Chapter 1 done by tonight but idk if that's happening

gonna try hard though!!

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Chic Trombone posted:

Orzart's kind of a weird name but I don't think it's that hard to pronounce tbh

Certainly easier than Bog'gdal.

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!



Bog'gdal has a name only a mother ogre can love

EccoRaven
Aug 15, 2004

there is only one hell:
the one we live in now


most of chapter 1 is finished but it is hot and boring garbage so

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


EccoRaven posted:

most of chapter 1 is finished but it is hot and boring garbage so

Look Under The Rock
Oct 20, 2007

you can't take the sky from me


I need to figure out a better system for recording because my new mic + lovely, abused pianos at school + acoustics of practice room made my demo of the first song come out incredibly hosed up and muddy. I will post relevant tracks that I already have recorded when they become relevant in the script (part of the point of this musical is to write something cohesive around some of the songs I've already got written -- the bulk of what I post here will be script, and I will make it clear when there's stuff that was written before this challenge.

What time is deadline? I wanna finish up the first bit and post.

George Kansas
Sep 1, 2008

preface all my posts with this


It's tonight, there's no point in posting an actual time. I'm not going to disqualify anyone. Just tonight!

Chic Trombone
Jul 25, 2010



EccoRaven posted:

most of chapter 1 is finished but it is hot and boring garbage so

I'm sure it's just fine, ecco. Post ya story!!

Look Under The Rock
Oct 20, 2007

you can't take the sky from me


PRE-SHOW SPEECH (to be given by venue host, after opening band, if there was one)
Hello! I’m (name and job performed at venue). Thank you all for coming out tonight. This is going to be a terrific show. I want to take a moment to welcome you to the very last show from one of my absolute favorite bands. Are you guys ready for Paradigm Ship?? Yeah, me too. We are so lucky to have these guys here for their final show. If you’ve never seen them before, you’re in for a treat, and if you have, you know what’s about to happen in here. You know the magic is coming. Welcome home. They’re about to take the stage, so I’ll get out of their way. Grab a drink, be good to each other. And give a big welcome to PARADIGM SHIP!

ALISON:
It’s been so long, I can’t stand still
I will come back, you know I will
And everything, everything is fine
Everything, everything is beautiful inside of my mind
I will come back

It’s been so long, I can’t keep straight
The songs you love, the ones I hate
And everyone, everyone is here
Everyone, everyone I’ve ever held so very dear
I will come back

And I tried to tell you it’s something I could do
And I tried to say it’s something that I could get through
And I tried, in my mind I will come back

It’s been so long, I’ve been away
Every hour of every day, every day, every day
And I miss you, I miss you all every single moment
I cannot let you go although I’ve tried
You always find a way to get me back inside of your mind

Yeah I tried, but you are my light
Yeah I tried, but you make me shine

I will come back…

(audience applauds, hopefully)

ALISON: Hey thanks, guys.
DAMIEN: We are so happy to be here tonight!
ALISON: For real. We love (CITY NAME).
(SMITTY is whispering to SCRAP)
DAMIEN: What’s going on? Problem?
SMITTY: Not really...there’s no beer up here -- hey Heidi! If you can hear me, run a peeber up here, okay?
ALISON: Well, now that that’s settled…
DAMIEN: You guys probably know this is our final show. And we’re so stoked you could be here for it. We have a lot of cool stuff planned tonight.
ALISON: We’ve been on hiatus for what now…
SCRAP: Three years.
ALISON: Three years. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.
SCRAP: I thought it felt longer.
ALISON: After we announced this tour, we got so many messages from fans showing just a ton of love, and they all had a lot of questions…
DAMIEN: Clearly there’s a lot of fans who have followed us for ages and know a lot about us, not just as a band, but as people. We’ve crashed on your couches and bummed your cigarettes--
SMITTY: --and other things.
(a moment of awkward silence)
DAMIEN: and we got all these questions, what inspired this song, what did you guys do during your time off, what’s next for all of you. And we’re gonna do our best to answer as many of those questions as we can tonight. We owe you so much -- through our whole career, you’ve always been there, when we were still touring in that broken-rear end van, back before we were ever played on the radio--
SCRAP: Wait, we got radio play?
ALISON: Kind of.
SMITTY: Damien’s niece has a college radio show, she’s spun us a couple times.
SCRAP: Karen has a radio show? She played us?
DAMIEN: Yeah, I guess she put “Never Say Goodbye” on air a good bit.
ALISON: Can we not? That was back when--
SCRAP: Got it. That was really good of her. I didn’t know that.
SMITTY: HOW ABOUT WE PLAY A SONG NOW. This one’s off our first album, “Leapin’ Lizards, It’s Paradigm Ship!” ONE TWO THREE FOUR --

DAMIEN:
I wanna hear you scream your heart out
I wanna know you feel something
You wanted to be Beauty
I couldn’t be the Beast
I wanna hear you sigh at least

In the summer air the night is calling
I feel a million miles away
I wanna tell you how I’m feeling
But I can’t find the words to say

That I’m lost without you
Relentlessly yours
I’m lost without you and I’m drowning, drowning
And I’m drowning, drowning

I wanna hear you scream your heart out
I wanna know I make you feel something
Inside on the carpet, outside on the ground, oh
I wanna hear you make a sound

And I’m lost without you
Relentlessly yours
I’m lost without you and I’m drowning, drowning
And I’m drowning, drowning

I’m lying next to you and
I don’t know what I’m doing
But you said I’m the only one
I taste your sugar sweetness
You are my only weakness
The rain is kneeling to the sun

I hear you breathing in your pillow
All alone in your crowded room
I almost told you that I loved you
I guess you fell asleep too soon

And I’m lost without you
Relentlessly yours
I’m lost without you and I’m drowning, drowning

(applause…?)

DAMIEN: Thanks.
SMITTY: In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to inform all present that I loving despise that song.
ALISON: This is not the first time you’ve informed all present of your loving...despisal of that song.
SMITTY: Look, most people do not have to repeatedly listen to some dude sing about boning your sister. I mean, I guess anyone whose sister dates rock stars does. But most of those guys don’t have to play (instrument Smitty plays) for the dude who is singing about boning your sister.
DAMIEN and ALISON: WE KNOW.
SMITTY: It’s uncomfortable, is all I’m saying.
ALISON: If I remember correctly, you’re the one who was originally like (imitates Smitty) “whoa, your new boyfriend plays (instrument DAMIEN PLAYS)??? We should ask him to be in the band!”
SMITTY: You remember incorrectly. We didn’t have a band back then.
(whoever is playing drums begins a slow, driving beat)
DAMIEN: That song isn’t even about sex.
SMITTY: How the gently caress is that song not about sex?
DAMIEN: It’s about connection...wanting to know that the other person feels the way you want them to feel.
SMITTY: You’d know all about that, I’m sure.
(drums become heavier, but not faster)
ALISON: You guys all know this next one -- we’re gonna split the room right down the middle, you guys on this side are gonna sing with me like ooooooo (solfege do re mi do ti do) and you, on the other side, you’re gonna be with Damien -- ooooooo (la ti do mi do), let’s try that a couple times.
(Leads audience in singing, is broken off by HEIDI entering with a beer)
HEIDI: Oh hey, sorry. Smits wanted a beer. I didn’t think you’d stop.
ALISON: Oh yeah, that’s fine. Hey everyone, this is Heidi, our merch girl. Say hi to Heidi, everyone.
AUDIENCE: (led by band) HI, HEIDI!
ALISON: She’s got t-shirts, posters, CDs, stickers, hoodies, you name it -- stop by the back and grab something, we’ll be signing afterwards.
HEIDI: Oh, uh, actually we’re out of hoodies.
ALISON: Everything but hoodies can be yours tonight. Go see Heidi. Ask her about her dog.
HEIDI: I’ll get out of your way now.
ALISON: Say bye to Heidi, everyone.
AUDIENCE: (led by band) BYE, HEIDI!

Look Under The Rock
Oct 20, 2007

you can't take the sky from me


I have decided not to do script formatting because it's going to be a bear if I do it in bbcode. I trust y'all can figure out the difference between stage directions and lines.

Also, if at any point during a production of this show, an audience member shouts FREEBIRD, the band must drop whatever they're doing and immediately play Freebird, unless it's a dramatic moment, in which case whichever band member was interrupted by FREEBIRD should offer to fight the person who shouted it.

imgay
May 12, 2014

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


And then the dinosaur said,

"Blegrh"

Chic Trombone
Jul 25, 2010



Prologue
Chapter 1:

Thursday, August 27th
3:17 PM

“C’mon, Anna! Pick up the pace, girl!” crows Maggie, as she laps Anna for the second time. Anna takes a deep breath, pushing herself forward - only to barely speed up at all. gently caress, but does she hate running. She’s so not built for this. Not like Maggie, who had been Captain of the track and field team back in high school. Sure, Anna was a boxer, but running? Hell no. Her steps begin to falter, annnnnd there goes the last of her energy, too. Great. Maggie’s gonna laugh about her not even getting more than a mile in before quitting, she just knows it.

Slowing to a halt, Anna bends over and clutches her knees, gasping for air. “Mags…. I know you wanna do this 5k with me and all but…..*gasp* I’m not so sure I can do this,” she says, falling to her side and rolling on her back. Anna lets out an exaggerated groan, making Maggie chuckle a bit, running back to where Anna’s collapsed.

Offering a hand to help her friend up, Maggie says “Hey, it’s cool man. This is just training day one, the 5k isn’t for another two months. You can so make it by then!” Aw, hell. As much as Anna’s screaming leg muscles really wanted her to hate Maggie right now, the girl was just too nice for her to even summon up a smidge of resentment. She takes the hand, hauling herself to her feet and brushing off what grass stuck to her shorts.

“Tell you what, Anna, if you stick it out for another half mile I’ll buy you one of those gross almond milk lattes you like.” Maggie shoots her a smirk.

“Make it a latte and a cake pop.”

“Deal. Let’s go!” They take off running.


They’d been friends as long as either of them could remember- their mothers had put them in the same daycare center at around age three. Maggie had been shy as a kid, and as such was quickly singled out as a target for bullying by two of the older boys in the center. Anna, the more boisterous of the two girls, had seen this happening and gone up and punched the taller of the two boys in the face, and of course was instantly sent to time-out with a scolding for her troubles. Maggie thought her decking the kid was the coolest thing ever, though, and they’d been friends ever since. High school, love troubles, college applications, they’d done it all together, even making sure they both went to the same college and roomed together on campus. Everyone knew that Anna Watkins and Margaret Harvey were joined at the hip.


Monday, September 21st
9:01 AM

“Nnngh, what..?” Anna starts to sit up, head pounding and vision blurry. She feels heavy all over, like she’d been sleeping for a long time. She hopes with all her heart that it means that seeing Maggie like…. like that was only a dream.

“She’s coming around!” People come into view around her, helping her sit up. Taking stock of her surroundings, it looks like she’s in one of the patient rooms in the health services center. She catches sight of two cops, and a cold, sinking feeling curls in her gut. Guess that means it wasn’t a dream, then, she thinks. A nurse hands her a cup of water and leaves the room.

The cops barely wait for her to drink some before approaching her. “My name is Detective Hills, and this is my partner Detective Milligan. Miss, I understand you’ve received a shock, but we need you to tell us everything you remember about what you saw.”

Anna looks up, “What I saw?”

“No detail is too small.”

She begins to shake. No. No this can’t be real, she can’t do this. “What I *saw* was my best friend lying in a pool of her own blood with her, her guts everywhere and I don’t understand why she was even there. She’s not even CompSci! She’s a bio major! There’s no, no reason..,” Breath comes too quick, the room is spinning and she can’t slow down, can’t stop rambling, her best friend is lying dead in the bathroom and nothing makes sense.

“Ma’am, I understand this is hard but we need you to calm down and tell us what you saw. Your statement is important and I don’t think you understand-” Detective Hills’ stern, heavy voice is cut off by his partner touching his elbow.

“Jeff. Let’s let this young lady have a minute, here. She can give us her statement down at the station later, huh?” Detective Milligan shoots a small, consoling smile at her. It does nothing to make her feel better. Hills sighs, apparently disgusted with having to wait.

“Fine, fine. Here,” he hands Anna a card with small, official-looking script, “Contact us at this number as soon as you can. We need your statement as soon as possible, do you understand?” Anna manages a nod, hugging herself and rubbing her shaking arms. Apparently satisfied, Hills marches out of the room, on to do whatever it was cops did when they weren’t harassing shaken up twenty-somethings. gently caress, she can’t stop shaking.

After an awkward pause, Detective Milligan speaks up. “Look, I’m sorry about him. He’s just a bit-”

“Of an rear end in a top hat, yeah, I got it,” Anna bites. Normally she’d give the man the benefit of the doubt but with the day she’s having she’s feeling less than charitable. Milligan sighs.

“Well, be that as it may we do need your statement. Please call us as soon as you feel able. I’ll go tell the nurses we’re done here.” And with that, Anna’s left alone and shivering in the small room.

She’s never felt so alone in her life.

((Ch. 2 to come))

Chic Trombone
Jul 25, 2010



got it done

Cartridgeblowers
Jan 3, 2006

Super Mario Bros 3




Chapter One: The Dream

The dream always starts the same. It's an old, unorganized office with a mahogany desk in the middle of it. A coat rack holds an old fedora and a trench full of cigarettes, matchbooks, and souvenirs. I am sitting in the desk chair. The sounds outside the window are muddled together in a dull roar; a parade, maybe? I'm miles above them in an old, smoky room and I am content in the solace that is silence.

Then the door opens and she walks in. It's all so cliche', but it has to be real. Her lips match her red dress, and her hair matches her pale skin. She is color-coded and manufactured to be desirable to me. She seems fictional and if she wasn't walking right toward me I would rub my eyes. Her legs move in perfect motion, swaying back and forth as she almost floats toward the desk. She finally sits and crosses her legs, sending me a wry smile.

I can't talk. I move my mouth and words don't come out. The world exists in sepia tone and we're relics of a bygone age. I'm a Raymond Chandler character lying dead on the page. She continues smiling and her lips part. For the first time I hear the real sounds of the world I am in. Her words slur slowly and as she speaks, she cocks her head to the side.

"Solve me," she says. Her words echo around the room but come back as a million other sounds. Trucks, trains, guns; a cacophony of bangs and whizzes. I look at her and then behind me. The window is gone. I am on the tracks and the train is coming for me. I cannot move.



It's normally around that part that I wake up. Sometimes I feel the train brush against my skin and sometimes I'm sweating so bad I wake up just as the train comes into view. That version's the most frightening, by far. I don't even get a chance to figure out why the train's coming or what I can do to get away. I don't get the opportunity to solve my own murder.

The walls in my bedroom are cracked and peeling, green floral print hanging over my musty mattress. The sink is filled with dishes and the stench is fairly appalling. I can afford better, but I've told myself I don't need it. A life of grime is how someone like me is supposed to live. I am not supposed to live in a mansion, attending balls and regaling the ladies with my legendary wit. I am supposed to live in squalor and, by day, I am supposed to work in the trenches. I have convinced myself of this and to others it seems yet another unsolvable mystery.

My name is James Black and I like to say I've been a detective since I was ten years old. That's about the time I solved my first case, though it was certainly nothing to put to paper. It involved stolen pies and a rotten dog with a taste for cinnamon. Me, of course, I knew everything there was to know about the whole deal: the dog’s history, what old lady Applebaum put in her pies (hint: it was apples), and even how long it would take a Siberian Husky weighing 48 pounds to get across a three block neighborhood.

Nowadays, of course, being a detective is a lot different. It’s a lot less about knowing things than it is finding out things, though the knowing things can help. Most of the other guys I know in the city who still do this are your average sleazeballs and they’re always asking “why do you do this poo poo job if you don’t want any money?” I don’t really like to answer them. It’s better to just leave them hanging, wondering about the unshaven genius who works pro bono. Helps drive clients my way, anyway.

The television’s still on from the night before. Game Show Network, playing another re-run of that Millionaire show. The answer is “Paula Abdul,” and the answer after that’s going to be “neutron.” I remember the night I said those answers the first time. I reach over and grab the red plastic cup that was full of whiskey, now spilled onto the carpet - probably from the tumbling in my sleep. The sun is piercing through my window like a switchblade and I roll out of harm’s way, searching for another bottle under the bed.

The phone rings, drowned out by the television host’s loud cajoling. I run my hand blindly over the nightstand, reaching for an old flip phone - I know I should use a landline, but it’s just so inconvenient these days. The name on the screen flashes: “HATTIE.” A name I haven’t thought of in years. My eyes finally adjust to the dim light, dust mites flying across the haze, mixing in with visions of a better time: a smiling girl, twenty young hands held tightly together, a thick book of memories bound in old brown leather.

The ringing stops.

I call her back.

“Harriet?” I ask. My voice slurs and I sip in some wayward drool before repeating her name again, this time less like a question and more like a fond statement. “It’s been awhile. What’s-?”

“Jimmy, can we meet?” Her voice has changed since I last saw her. Did she take up smoking? No, the voice is too wet. It’s shock. There’s a long pause before I answer her.

“I’m in the city, Harriet. Can’t get down to D.C. in any quick fashion.”

“I can be there. Can we meet?”

She’s desperate. Her voice is quicker than usual. Harriet Adams usually speaks in deliberate, hushed tones. She can make a man say the right thing when she wants him to say it. There’s nothing hidden here, though. She wants what she says.

“Harriet, what’s wrong?” I’m genuine. A year apart and now it’s like we just saw each other last night. She’s shaken and now I think I’m shaken, too. I’ve never heard this Harriet Adams before.

“Zach’s dead,” she replies. Her voice cracks. “And Jimmy, he had the Crime Diary.”

I flinch. The phone pulls itself away from my ear.

“Did you hear what I said, James?”

I did.

“I'm coming to you.”

We make arrangements and I have tickets within the hour. One of my oldest friends is dead and this entire time he has apparently had that damned book. I think back to the dream, the leggy blonde walking in and asking me to solve her. How do you solve a person? Who is she? I talked to a shrink once. He said she was the mystery I need to get me going, to keep me from falling too deep into the bottle. The mystery I've always needed ever since I got famous from solving who stole a cinnamon pie, ever since I won enough money from solving games to do whatever the hell I wanted, ever since I lost that book. I'm looking for that one, final mystery.

And that’s where this plane’s taking me.

EccoRaven
Aug 15, 2004

there is only one hell:
the one we live in now


It was only 7:23 and she had already finished the bottle. Erzsa stared at it, first in confusion, since she very much wanted more wine and genuinely thought there was more, but then with the kind of melancholy that accompanies the realization that you’ve drunk more than you expected. She sat back on her couch and swirled what little she had left in her Yellow Foxes Vineyard wineglass, enjoying how the wine made strange geometric shapes and obscure reflections in her hands. She shook her glass a little too forcefully and accidentally spilled a dollop on her pants.

She yelled, quickly downed the remaining gulp, and ran to the kitchen to soak out the stain, trying hastily to remember what it was you’re supposed to do for these things – soap and cold water? Lemon juice? A Tide patch? She figured a patch would work and then after opening the appropriate drawer remembered she was out. She could order new ones. They wouldn’t get there for like an hour. Where was her phone? On her couch. She cursed again and ran back into the living room, pulled her phone out from under a small pile of blankets and pillows, and was about to open Google when she saw the page was already on “Wine Stain Removals: How to get your clothes clean again in four easy steps!”. She didn’t think she had the IAI turned on at home, but that was a concern for Future Erzsa. Right now she needed a classic remedy for her classic problem: club soda and a paper towel.

Who has club soda anymore?

=-=-=

Erzsa got the wine in the first place because she was having a rough day at work and needed to relax. She is a newspaper editor, which in another time and place would carry a great deal of prestige, but with automated reporting being what it is these days her main job is correcting the nonsense that computers spit out. For Pressing Publishing it’s ultimately cheaper to have robots scanning the internet and pay for a half dozen editors fixing their plentiful mistakes than a dedicated human news team that can get things right the first time. The job is intentionally demanding, since, for Pressing Publishing, it’s also cheaper to grind English masters to dust and replace them every so often than to groom them for non-existent careers. Erzsa had been with PP for two years now and she was starting to break under the pressure, right on schedule.

She eventually found an unopened bottle of club soda in the back of her liquor cabinet, an echo from when Amy lived there. She took off her pants and draping them on the kitchen counter slowly poured club soda onto the stain. She patted it down with a paper towel and in a few minutes it was like there wasn’t a stain at all anymore. She put her pants back on and immediately regretted it, as the formerly-stained-now-just-wet-with-soda spot on her lap was unpleasantly cold. She took them off again and went to her bedroom to change into her lounge clothes.

Today hadn’t been particularly worse than any other day. She got up in the morning like normal, washed and dressed like normal, skipped breakfast like normal. It was raining, and her umbrella was just a little too small to prevent the bottom of her pants from getting wet as she walked to her bus stop. The bus was crowded as it always is, but she managed to snag a window seat next to a middle-aged man who looked forward so intently and so fiercely that at first Erzsa thought he didn’t have eyelids. He was soon turning his intense attention towards her though, looking at her up and down from the corner of his eye as men occasionally do. Erzsa tried to use her involuntary squirming to escape as far into her coat as possible.

Erzsa came back to the living room in baggy sweatpants and a flannel nightshirt. She recycled the empty bottle and went to her liquor cabinet, wanting to just have something to sip quietly as she took stock of her life and her choices. She settled on brandy and Cointreau and made a rough sidecar in her Yellow Foxes glass, returning to her couch.

Work today wasn’t unusually terrible either, aside from how it’s generally pretty terrible, you know, just as a baseline. There was a fashion photoshoot in Tashkent that the roborters thought was a mass shooting, and Erzsa spent most of her morning reading poorly-translated webpages in Uzbek making sure nobody actually died before rejecting the article. She eventually found a bot that wrote a fluff piece about a local woman who turned 110 yesterday, and Erzsa went with that for the front page. In the afternoon the Jaydens down the hall kept asking her for help with really simple tasks like how to reject a batch submission and how to alter the grammar filters to fit their personal style – Jayden J. hates split infinitives while Jayden P. thinks language is fluid and supports it whenever possible. Erzsa couldn’t care less and regrets picking them as her interns, let alone putting them in the same office. She thought it would be funny, and it was for a few weeks at least, but now she just sighs heavily whenever she hears their four-legged stomps towards her door.

When the day ended she took the bus back home to her apartment, stopping at the Trader Joe’s on the ground floor to grab a bottle of six-buck Chuck. The elevator vaguely smelled of urine, as it normally does. Sixteen floors and a few turns down the hall and she was home: a dark one-bedroom apartment filled with IKEA furniture and her ex-boyfriends’ artwork. She took off her shoes and her bra and immediately opened the bottle of wine, plopping on her couch in silence.

Today wasn’t unusual. It was actually fairly ordinary, no more exceptional than the day before or almost assuredly the day after. It was just another day. If the day ends like the rest do, then this day will be soon forgotten like the hundreds and thousands of days before it. But Erzsa wasn’t sure this day would end like the rest, and the more she drank the more worried she was right.

Erzsa regarded her living room and its varied mementos of times and people long gone from her life. The inordinately expensive diplomas for which she worked so hard on the wall in inordinately elegant frames. The family portrait with her sisters and parents from a few years before Dad died. A collage of colors and light from George, a brass sculpture of a tree trunk transforming into a flock of birds from Josh, a small, rough portrait of Erzsa drawn with pastels and framed near the door. Erzsa liked that one the most, not because she was vain (though she was, a little, who doesn’t admire themselves in a mirror from time to time), but because it reminded her of its artist. Anthony was so deep and so brooding and felt emotions so powerfully and being with him was like being alive, so very very alive all the time, like a cold breeze blowing through her, shivers from fingers to toes. There was no way it could have lasted the winter, and it ended right when she said it would, but Erzsa still thinks Tony was something special. An experience, a story, a memory to remind herself of what being alive feels like. Felt like.

As her night progressed from wine to sidecar and from sidecar to press Erzsa felt her usual emotional cycles coming into full force. For all her pride and vanity there she was, drunk and alone in an empty apartment with a tedious and thankless job far from her family and friends. Lulled into the empty promises of power and prestige she took her job expecting it to be her big break, the culmination of her lifetime of reading and editing. Oh Past Erzsa, what a fool you were! The world has passed your profession by in an instagram and twitter feed, your life’s work will amount to maintaining machines until soon you, too, become automated and tossed aside into history’s dustbin. That’s how the story goes, doesn’t it? Ecce Femina, see the Modern Woman, how she spends her time chasing a brass ring and leaning in and grinding her stones all for nothing. Erzsa is just another hopeless case like so many others, a statistic, an anecdote, and ultimately a memory to be forgotten.

She rolled her eyes at how dramatic she was being. But still, this definitely wasn’t what she had hoped for herself. Who would want this life? It is a wretched one. She could quit her job, but then do what? Go back to school? A waste of money she doesn’t have. Crawl back home and live with Anya? Life may have broken her but she still has her pride. The thought of her pride pricked her, its thorny vine slowly wrapping itself around her throat. What does she have of which to be proud? Some paper on a wall, a lovely apartment in a city of hipsters and addicts, a family she spurns and friends she’s abandoned? She’s witty, but where has being clever gotten her? Here. Being clever is all she has. The only thing she’s ever had, really, the only thing that’s been with her all her life, which can never leave her, and has been her respite through every storm. How she loathes her cleverness.

And then it happened, the moment she had worried would happen and she had been protecting herself from happening for as long as she could remember. It only took a moment, but in that moment everything was as bright and clear as the summer sun. It was obvious. It’s been there the whole time. Why had she feared it so?

Erzsa stood up clumsily, nearly tripping on the coffee table. She gently placed the Yellow Foxes glass on the kitchen counter and staggered to her bathroom in brutish, mechanical motions. She opened a bottom drawer, pulled out a small orange bottle, and closed the drawer. She opened the bottle and poured the whole thing into her cupped palm, shrugging as a half dozen of the white pills slipped onto the floor. She shoved as many into her mouth as she could and, with water from the tap, swallowed them down in choking gulps.

She went back to her couch and sat down, closing her eyes. She started to drool, and a dollop landed on her pants, just above the knee.

EccoRaven
Aug 15, 2004

there is only one hell:
the one we live in now




also this isn't a cry for help please do not interpret it as such thank you and goodnight!

EccoRaven
Aug 15, 2004

there is only one hell:
the one we live in now


I will now read and rate all of your works out of five stars and vote for the lowest scoring person, if there is a tie I will vote for the person who posted latest. I will use the following objective scale:

- Everyone starts with 3 stars as a baseline. I will not count negative scores, so if at some point your score dips to <0 I will stop counting and freeze your score at 0.

- If the author is EccoRaven, you gain +5 stars.

- If your story is told from the perspective of a female character, +3 stars
--- ...Told from a male perspective but has a named female character who isn't a plot device, +1 star.
--- ...Has no female characters, -3 stars

- If your story has characters with stupid name(s), -2 stars

- If your story has really obvious typos and grammatical errors, -1 star for each obvious error. I will not be reading your stories that closely so the errors will have to be pretty egregious don't worry.

- If I actually found your story genuinely interesting and compelling, +2 stars

- If your story is a boring yawn snoozefest, -1 star.

- If your story has a lot of "filling," that is it feels like you were just shoving words down to make space, -1 star. Your story can still be compelling even if you have a lot of fluff so this isn't mutually exclusive with that above part.

- If your story had a twist or development I wasn't expecting, +2 stars. It can still be boring so this isn't mutually exclusive with that other above part.


Okay I think that's good! grading begins now.

Jon Joe
Oct 19, 2011

GUESS WHO'S LYING


Grimey Drawer

Funny, I also came up with a rating system.

I read your first two paragraphs. I rate how much I care on a scale of 1 to 10.
I read your last two paragraphs. You get a binary of: Do I care what happened in-between? If yes, I'll read and rate that in-between on a scale of 1 to 10. Otherwise you get a 0 in this section.

Thus 1 to 20 points are possible. Lowest score gets my vote, of course. I automatically get a 21.

Hal Incandenza
Feb 12, 2004



Diqnol didn't submit anything, does he just get modkilled or what?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

its up to us to vote him out i guess

  • Locked thread