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The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The Mostly True Tale of John Bowman
(Pennysyltucky) 1463 Words


Margaret stood at the sink and as she passed Janet a dish to dry, she tried to avoid eye contact with the man who sat on a weathered lump of a headstone not fifty feet from the kitchen window. The stranger was known. John Bowman earned his whiskey money doing odd jobs around town and cutting the brush and weeds that separated the Clark property from the rest of town.

John Bowman stared into the window, watching the two teens perform their nightly chores as he trimmed his wiry beard with a lawn mower blade, one end wrapped in grimey duct tape as a makeshift handle. Margaret imagined the rusted hunk of metal was a huge chocolate bar with a sliver of foil stuck on one end. But there was no comfort nor hope that you might peel back that foil to reveal your golden ticket.

No, John Bowman barely maintained himself, but the edge of his blade gleamed under the sodium street lamp. A strap of leather hung from one beltloop of his oil-stained trenchcoat. Along with the pint of Old Grandfather bulging his left pocket, these comprised his earthly possessions.

High on the hill, overlooking a neglected demesne, stood Commandant House. A once colorful Italianate facade crumbled and flaked from its cast-iron bones, built with the hubris that the Clarks would rule this fiefdom from the family manor house for a hundred generations. Moses Clark fought for Lincoln, saw the start of World War Two, and in the interim made a fortune in coal and rail. But his only daughter, Ada, didn’t live to see the doughboys return home.

Ada arranged her own marriage to a childhood friend, then divorced with a prenup that allowed her full control of the company. The Clark inheritance went to her various foundations and charities in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, hundreds of miles away from where that wealth was created by the blood and sweat of men like John Bowman. He believed that money was rightfully his, that Ada was his mother and he was heir to the vast sums only a Gilded Age robber baron could accumulate.

Margaret broke the silence. “Do you think he’s ever kissed a girl?”

“I bet he kissed you. You’re probably his girlfriend,” said Janet, her gaze still firmly focused on the dishwater, but her smirk was brighter than the china.

Margaret nudged her, and Janet nudged back. In a matter of seconds it devolved into a full blown wrestling match that resulted in both girls on the floor, fingers lodged in strands of each others’ braids. Though Margaret straddled Janet and had the upper hand on her older sister, both froze when Pa yelled from the living room. When they heard the clatter of his belt buckle, Margaret leapt up and yanked Janet to her feet so they could finish the dishes.

As they dried the last of the silverware, they both noticed that John Bowman was no longer on his his usual perch. He was nowhere to be seen.

The next day, Margaret won the race home from school and slammed her pedals backwards leaving a streak of rubber on the sidewalk as she lurched forward on the banana seat. Janet did the same, only a second later. Pa, cigarette dangling from his lip, swung his lunchbox as he walked towards them and the house, a block away.

The girls chucked their bikes into the grass but when they saw John Bowman sitting on the porch swing with a glass of lemonade in his hand, neither could will their feet to touch the steps. They stood on the concrete and waited for Pa, the familiar cruelty preferable to the strange.

Pa stood at the bottom of the steps, flanked on both sides by his youngest daughters, and looked up at his wife half-hidden behind the screen door. “Goddammit, Peg,” he muttered as he stomped up the three stairs to the front porch. “You, get the hell off my property.”

John Bowman rocked himself to his feet and raised his unencumbered hand in defense. “I don’t want no trouble,” he said. Margaret focused on the rusted blade that hung from the coat she could smell from the yard while Pa drilled his concentration into the crevassed face of John Bowman.

Peg creaked the door open and stretched to deliver Pa’s scotch without crossing the door jamb. He took the glass and the only sound was the clink of the two ice cubes. Pa stared the man down and old John Bowman slunk past him and down the steps. As he passed, he half-whispered to the girls, “Don’t worry. I’m not here to hurt you.”

“Pa,” Janet yelled, and as she raced up the stairs to clutch her father’s waist, John Bowman leveraged his drunkard’s gait and high-tailed it towards Church Street, disappearing around the corner of the auto body yard. For the first time in a long time, Janet held her father back, and he allowed it.

Margaret woke as her mattress shook, and she stared John Bowman in the face as he pulled his blade from the cotton and springs. He raised one chapped index to his windburnt lips, but that perfunctory gesture meant little as she was frozen under the hand-made comforter.

“No offense,” he said as he turned and left the slim attic bedroom. She heard Pa’s strangled cry as that rusty hunk of metal chopped into his throat. Then everything was silent. Margaret huddled under her covers, waiting for John Bowman to return, but he never did.

Eventually, Margaret fell asleep, and when she woke the flash of blue and red lights bounced off David Cassidy’s laminated face. She was alone. Spared for a reason only a crazy person could justify.

Margaret told them: John Bowman lived on the hill, in the great abandoned mansion. And she told her own children the same. And before you know it, the senile old bird is feeding rancid chicken to her grandkids as they play Bucky O’Hare on Nintendo and cramp up while she flirts in the hallway with a Ben Affleck who is probably not her neighbor, and probably not even real.

And in a lucid moment, she gives you a copy of The Good Earth, inexplicably signed by Pearl S. Buck, then quips about how this guy once sowed the seeds of discord, some serial killer who killed your great-grandfather.

Everything is defracted and reflected as you realize people don’t deal with things like this, what the hell commercial would ever show the extreme close-up of the weeping monster of an eye that actually looks human.

But old Granny Peg still fucks around with you, and it doesn’t take much to believe she might be the victim of an axe-murderer.

And Christ, I’m still laughing when she pulls the old, rusty blade from between her goose-feather mattress and the box spring,then all the laughter catches in my throat. The old bird clacks the murder weapon down on the butcher-block island and I’m so sick from bad chicken that I can barely feel anything, let alone accept the explanation that Ben Affleck is ready to give me.

That goofus never worked in a coke oven nor a furnace and yet it’s the easiest way to let Grandma Peg pass on, believing the unusual truth that Ben Affleck in his Reindeer Games era is a real suitor, and Mark and I feel like we might axe-murder her ourselves.

Not because she’s in la-la-land, but because after all the dreamy monstrosity of what she claims is a surreal life of murder Dali would be excited about, she still cuts to the bone with simple statements like “Are you sure you’re my grandchildren? I didn’t think you would be so fat.”

“Who the hell spared you?” It’s the question we ask when all other avenues are exhausted.

And then you realize God never had an online-process, so none of it matters so you might as well be a pallette swap Scorpion. But you know what? None of the details matter. We’re wired for controversy. So maybe I killed Grandma, or maybe she killed me. Who gives a eff? Timeframe is the only difference.

I’m not worried about what she might do. Nor this guy who may or may not be my father slash grandfather. But what I feel is the longing. This weird pull from deep inside my chest that when it comes right down to it, forgets all manners and family traditions. All it cares about is snuffing the life out of anything holds a glimmer of hope. We all know that’s people. Young, youthful people.

Monsters beget monsters, and this small town is full of them. I’ve come to think every small town is full of them.

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llamaguccii
Sep 2, 2016

THUNDERDOME LOSER


What the Eyes Can't See
Word Count: 1076

Alison didn’t believe in demons, but she wished she did.

When the M.E. examined her he determined the raw ligature marks on her wrists and ankles were antemortem. The abrasions indicated she had been held captive for several days. Though the body was water logged from being submerged in the lake before eventually becoming caught in the algae overgrowth and surfacing, signs of surprise sex were still evident. The varying degrees of bruising reflected multiple occasions of trauma. Contents, or lack thereof, in her stomach confirmed she had been starved in the days preceding her death. Despite her injuries and evidence of extreme malnutrition, Alison’s cause of death was determined to be drowning.

She was not the first victim to be claimed by the murky waters of Clear Lake. Bodies were not uncommon, but most were attributed to accident, not malice. Boating mishaps accounted for a few a year. Drunk driving incidents with intoxicated teens swerving around the winding mountainside road and flying off into the water boasted the rest. There hadn’t been a confirmed case of murder in the lake for fifty years.

When the police officers came to tell Alison’s parents her body had been found, they clutched one another, sobbing incoherently. Her grandmother, blind and senile, pushed herself past the scene in the hallway, her tennis ball covered walker legs scuffing along. Her face was distant as she stared toward the officers, the corners of her mouth twitching up, as though she wanted to smile, but had forgotten how.

The devil did it¸ was all she said before she pushed onward, into the kitchen to await the preparation of her lunch.

Her brother had been the first. Probably not the first boy to ever be murdered in the lake, but the first to have his death recorded. He was 15, the same age as Alison, the day he went into the lake and never came back. He was boating with friends. None of them survived. They told her they were only going to go see Snake Island. Maybe just dare one another to take one step on the poisonous shore. Maybe carve their names in the closest tree. No one knew. The boys died and their bodies weren’t found for days despite search parties combing the water and shore. By then, it was impossible to tell what had truly taken their lives.

Bethany was 10 the day her brother James died. She woke up to see him sneaking out their shared bedroom window, in the house, up the street from the lake. Don’t tell, dad, he told her, I’ll be back by dawn. She’d stayed awake all night. She imagined she saw him lying in his bed, like he’d never left, his chest heaving under the covers. She imagined she heard the soft exhalations of his breath, just across the room, in the shadows where the streetlight didn’t quite reach. Then at 3am she heard it. She heard him gasping, thrashing in the bed, and then there was nothing. She was too scared to get up. Too scared to see if James was still alive. So she laid there, shivering under her own covers until dawn and when her father asked her the next morning if she knew when James left, she didn’t say anything.

Bethany was 60 years old the day her eldest granddaughter died. Alison had been missing for six days, but teenagers do these things, or so they say. It must be hard, she thought, growing up in the Emerald Triangle. Their relatives always joked when they visited there was nothing in Lake County to do, but drink, do drugs and have sex. Alison had been caught doing all three in the same night. Her parents had been hard on her. Her father used a belt. It was an outdated method of punishment. Child abuse, the authorities would have called it, but Bethany didn’t bat even a blind eye at the desperate cries of her granddaughter. Alison went missing the following day.

Bethany woke up every night while Alison was being tortured by the men she wished were demons so she could believe she was in hell and not only five miles up the mountain in a house she’d once partied with the “older boys” who were now the men who tore her clothes and chained her limbs and came inside her. Bethany laid on her back, in the same room she and her brother had shared all those years ago and stared with blind eyes over to the corner where her brother once slept. She imagined she saw the devil on top of him, choking him beneath the sheets. She imagined she heard Alison’s screams behind her, in the neighboring room, through the wall they shared. She never got up to check on her either.

The cops didn’t pay her any mind. Bethany was going old sooner than most. She’d had several nervous break downs in her youth. She’d been admitted, released and readmitted more times to the local psyche ward than any officer cared to count. She’d even undergone a controversial exorcism from the church. She was mostly mild mannered though, content with the occasional demonic ravings under her breath. They watched her disappear into the kitchen and didn’t pay her a second thought.

Bethany stared forward, her hands folded over one another on the table cloth, oblivious to the grief in the living room. The chair opposite her was pulled out, slightly turned to the right, as though someone were sitting in it. Bethany’s eyes that couldn’t see met his darkness and he engaged her.

It’s nice to see you again, Bethany.


Quite. She smiled in the way she couldn’t quite manage.

Let’s talk about Alison. He said coolly, cradling Bethany’s eyes in his heinous hand.

Go on.

She’s a good match for James, yes?


As good as any. She just needed to be broken in.

They’re happy you know, The devil grinned his fanged teeth, She’s the perfect mate for the prince of darkness. I knew you’d breed one eventually. I was so disappointed when you only had that pitiful son. It’s important to keep out line pure, you understand.

Completely. She closed her eyes.

Do you see them?

Yes. She almost achieved a smile.

Very good. He stroked her face and dug his clawed finger into her heart. Hush now, it’s time you joined the family.

Bethany went home before her body hit the linoleum floor.


llamaguccii posted:

Thanks for the crit and fast judging. Also, in for whatever the prompt ends up being.

Edit: Lake County, CA Gothic

I added my initial in post because I didn't see my name on the participant list.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Hawaii 1968
1500 words

--see archive--

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2017 around 15:19

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


We've currently got one of the highest failure rates in TD history so imma leave it open for a while. If you're not in already, get on it: you're living on borrowed time.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

i am loving disgusted right now

WHERE IS THE BLOOD

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Sitting Here posted:

i am loving disgusted right now

WHERE IS THE BLOOD
I will eat your whole head, I swear to god. Just uncouple my jaw like a python, and fuckin crunch it down.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Electric Owl posted:

Toronto Gothic
1534 words

Fallen From Grace





Entries are closed, folks. Court is now in session.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


Bile Discharge
(1228 words)


The chain-link fence loomed over Emma, and gleamed a dull gray in the moonlight. A blue sign with white lettering proclaimed that beyond was the property of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and that no trespassing was allowed. She looked past it at the concrete ditch past the fence. Whenever it rained, water would flow through it and into the dark entrance to her left, underneath the road.

Emma checked her watch again. Ana should be arriving any minute now. In truth, they’d planned to meet at eight, but her friend had decided to do some last-minute review for thequiz tomorrow. Baffling, considering that she’d aced the last one about derivatives.

Emma had barely managed to scrape a B. In any other household, she might’ve even gotten praise for that.

“Hey!”

Em turned, and tried not to sound too accusatory. “Thought you’d never get here.”

Ana winced. “Yeah, sorry about that. It’s just that I thought I had it for the last quiz, but I got a-”

“It’s fine. You brought a flashlight, right?”

A second later, Emma whipped her hand up in front of her face. “Jesus!”

Ana giggled. “I stole it from my dad’s closet. Bright, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. Wow.” While Ana flicked it on and off, Emma turned and looked at the shadowy archway below. Then she reached into her own pocket and switched on her own flashlight. “Ready?”

“Yes!”

* * *

Scaling the fence had been easier than Emma expected it to be - the only scare she’d received was a car screeching by, moving at what was at least 20 miles-per-hour over the speed limit.

Glass crunched underneath their feet as the moonlit entrance behind them receded, but Emma couldn’t hear anybody other than Ana and her. Looks like heading in here a couple days before Halloween was a good idea, after all.

Ana lagged behind, shining her light over the wall and the words spray-painted there, letting out small exclamations over the flourishes, curves, and paint dribbles someone had left.

As Emma examined a small patch of silvery light coming from overhead, Ana jogged up to her and asked, “You said that there’s more graffiti up ahead, right?”

“Right. Just around that bend -” Emma gestured with her flashlight, casting the corner up ahead in stark shadow. “- the whole place opens up. You can tell that the artists needed a ladder for some of this stuff.”

“C’mon, then!” Ana grabbed Emma’s arm.

“Wait!” Emma pulled away, and when Ana turned back, she said, “You’ll make me trip.”

“Oh. Right.” Ana waved her flashlight over the ground, and winced when she saw the glittering shards of glass sprinkled across the damp concrete. “Sorry about that.”* * *One could just feel the change in atmosphere. Emma shone her light up at the ceiling, now at least ten feet over their heads instead of just five, while Ana let out a whoop at the sight of a stylized giraffe painted across the wall in front of them.

“Em, this is so cool! How come you never mentioned this place to me before?”

“I’d rather not say.” Thankfully, Ana didn’t press further - it would’ve been hard to frame “my parents got so pissed at me flunking the midterm last quarter that they threw me out of the house and I ran crying into here” in any way that didn’t scream ‘pathetic’.

Emma looked around, and flicked off her light. She called out to Ana, “Hey, help me find a good spot so we can start.”

It was a bit of effort to pry Ana away from the scowling monkey with sunglasses, but before too long, they’d managed to find a spot far enough from the entrance that was safe to sit cross-legged in.

At Emma’s gesture, Ana reluctantly turned off her light, and only the moonlight from an overhead grate kept them from being in complete darkness.

“Do you want to start?” Ana’s voice was soft, and Emma smirked.

“You scared?”

“No! No, I’m not. I just… can’t remember any good stories right now.”

Just like that, Emma’s good mood soured. “Are you serious? You had an entire week.”

Ana turned her head away. “I was busy, all right?”

“Doing what? Studying?” Emma spat out that last word.

“Yes!” Ana snapped back.

They sat there in silence for a little longer, then Emma finally swallowed her pride and relented. “Look, I’m sorry. I’ll start, and maybe you can think of a good story while I talk.”

“All right.” Ana’s reply was sullen, and Emma took a deep breath and dug her fingernails into her palms.

She pitched her voice low, and did her best to sound mysterious, and began.

Ana could’ve been a better audience, to be honest. She gasped at all the right moments, but it was obvious she was putting on a show.

Emma finished the story, and her shoulders sagged. This hadn’t been at all like she’d thought it would be.

* * *

A cloud passed over the moon, drenching them in darkness as she asked, “So, thought of a good story yet?”

“Er, no.”

“Well…” Did Ana even care about this? Emma forged on. “I’ll tell another story, then.”

“Em?” Ana’s voice was tentative.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think we could head back now?”

Emma couldn’t help the flare of irritation. “Why are you such in a hurry to get back? Isn’t your dad out on a business trip?”

“But I’m -” Ana paused, then started again. “I have to wake up before six tomorrow for swim team practice, remember?”

“It isn’t even nine.” They hadn’t even gotten to Bloody Mary.

Ana bit her lip and looked away. “Well, I-”

“You know what? It doesn’t matter. Just go.” It was lucky neither of their flashlights were on, because Em’s eyes began to sting.

“What?”

“I said go.” Emma ground out the last word, then yelped. “Jesus!”

“Em-” Ana paused as Emma brought up her hands to shield her eyes. Too late. “Em, are you alright?”

Ana stepped closer, despite Emma’s attempts to back away. “Look, Em, I’m sorry, but-”

Unable to stand another word out of that stupid mouth, Emma shoved her.

Ana gasped as she toppled backwards. Ana’s flashlight clattered to the ground, and it went out.

It was dead quiet for a couple seconds.

“Em?” Ana’s voice was shaking, and Emma found herself smirking again. “Are you still there?”

A couple more seconds passed by, and Emma could hear movement. Probably Anna pushing herself to her feet.

“Em - I, I don’t know where my flashlight is, and the moon’s not out - Em!

Emma grinned - not that Ana could see it - and whispered, as if she were in a play, “Find your own way back. And mind the glass.”

Then she turned on her heel and walked out.

* * *

The next day, Emma looked over at Ana’s seat as Mr. Stark passed out the calculus quiz to the class. It was empty.

She smiled to herself as she scribbled her name and date down at the top of the paper.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


***PRAISES TO CRAIG - THE JUDGING IS BOTH FAST, AND GOOD***



PREPARE YOURSELVES.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Week CCXIX results: like I think in another life I was totally Robert Smith you guys



It was a rollercoaster of a week, and the judges had a lot to say in the privacy of our secret masonic clubhouse, but in the end we managed to come to something close to a consensus. Snapping up well-deserved HMs were Hawklad, a friendly penguin and Tyrannosaurus. We'd like to give a special award to llamagucci as well: while we couldn't quite give it an HM, it's definitely a strong step in the right direction and worth pinning a (small) ribbon on. Our winner should be, to nobody's massive surprise, reigning queen Sitting Here, who wrote a Cronenberg/Ito body-horror freakfest with surprising emotional depth.

Of course, lurking in the darkness of the DM swamps we have Hammer Bro, widespread and electric owl. Whether it was a slew of spelling mistakes, wonky pacing, or accidentally implying that black people aren't human, these stories just didn't make the cut. Below them of course, with an error smack-bang in the title of their story, with a grab-bag of mangled tenses and a story that made no sense, we welcome BeefSupreme with open arms; the only way is up, brave writers - take comfort in that.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


The final scorecard:

Purchase 2.6 [Win]
Hawaii 3 [HM]
Above/Below 4.3 [HM]
Coal Fire 4.6 [HM]
Long Shadows 4.7 [JUDGE FIAT]
This Old House 5.3
Eyes Can’t see 6.6
John Bowman 7.3
Forbidden Room 7.3
Eyes in Darkness 8.6
Another Country 10
Slow Death 11.3
Night Out 12.3
Graveyard King 15 [DM]
Thirst of Land 15.3 [DM]
Toronto 15.6 [DM]
Member’s 16 [Loser]

Low score are better, max score possible was 17.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Prooooompt!

Also, IN.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Alright here are my crits. I wrote them as I read them. There may be errors but that makes my crits more spooky and on theme.

The Graveyard King – I think it’s for the best that this story kind of lost my attention because by the time it gets around to making its point it seems to have firmly gone off the rails. The Jack Lives Matter thing felt like an odd stab at humor and it didn’t quite land. The commentary is super on the nose and the language didn’t do much to serve your story. Also, as a point of correction, and I still get comments on doing this wrong, stop saying your characters name so much. Consider using he, she, they, whatever. Especially with a weird name like Nezz that sticks out.

The Forbidden Room – This was good… kind of. What I liked a lot about this story was the mysterious element to it. I mould was characterized well and its unrelenting threatening presence was done perfectly. Where it fell apart was the room and nailing it down to something specific. I know you were going for some kind of commentary, and I’m glad you went for it, but I’m but I’m not sure what you were going for beyond a basic “skeleton in the closet” which is so immensely universal that it can be applied to just about anywhere. Though it may have lost some of its teeth, I would’ve liked this story a lot more if the derivation of the mould were a little more mysterious. It was already powerful and evocative. You could have really driven it home that way. I did like this though.

This Old House – I’m trying to not be as pedantic with my crits and judgements because lord knows I make stupid mistakes but it’s important to not make silly mistakes like missing words and doing “it’s” when you’re supposed to do “its”. I only mention it because it happens early in your story (missing “said” in your fourth paragraph, and the aforementioned mistake in the first) and you’re garnering ill-will off the bat. Moving on through the story there are just a bunch of messy sentences that, if read out loud, you probably would have caught. Like this one” We talked about school, Steven entering his last semester and already planning on moving with my sister to college to leave me to go through the rest of high school without them.” Read that out loud. Anyway, let’s talk about your story. I spent the first half of it just waiting for them to get to the house. I was expecting that once they got there poo poo would be whack. And then nothing really happened. I didn’t have much of a reason to care before they got to the house and once they got there, nothing interesting happened. The telling of the story was clear for the most part, but this was pretty dull.

The Thirst of the Land – Just like the last story, you’re quickly earning yourself some ill-will… “After a brief handshake, the two men shook hands.” Read your story out loud. Hell, you don’t need to read out loud to catch something that ridiculous, just edit your drat story. You convinced me very quickly that you didn’t care enough to clean this up and now I have to read it. I used to make stupid mistakes like that too, don’t be like old me. (Coming back from the end to let you know that this story is gonna get driveby crits because a lot problems cropped up as I read) Your narrators point of view is confusing, is it a specific person? When your characters just “look to be” a certain way, it suggests that your narrator is guessing and not all knowing. I’m hoping that comes through in the story. “Could be useful to burn some charcoal with”, he mumbled as he left the building.” Ewwwwww…. And then the paragraph with all the “hand” gets really confusing and gross to read. Why are these people murmuring and mumbling so much stuff to themselves? I think I get the idea of the story, and it’s a decent enough premise but its execution was flawed big time. I don’t like how your main character is just “the rugged man” why does that help us care about him? This didn’t work on multiple levels.

A Night Out – You know what’s not fun? Dealing with drunk people. Also, reading about drunk people and their exasperate attempts to preserver with their own non-sensical motivation. You do a good job with that in the first of the half but then…. It doesn’t matter. Really next to nothing in the first half of your story matters at all. It could have very easily started with your protagonist leaving his buddy to take a piss and lamenting the babysitting gig. Why do we have to deal with the frustration of him schlepping around a drunk? It’s pointless and it eats into your word count which you really needed because the back end of your story isn’t clear. I’m not sure what’s going on apart from *SACRIFICE*. I wish you just cut to the action here. Also, there’s a bunch of small proofreading things that distract a fair bit from the story. I’m not going to point them out, just read it again, you’ll see them.

Above and Below – Now this one, I liked. I liked it a lot actually. The scary elements were woven right into the setting and it made a ton of sense. Not only that, it was downright creepy. It actually weirded me out and I didn’t see it coming at all. A gripe I did have, however, was that as soon as Kenny goes crashes down he doesn’t try and shout for his friends. Also, you get into some exposition about how they avoid the pit and I just wanted you to get on with it because I was excited to see what happens next. Also, I don’t think you needed four characters. Get rid of two and maybe characterize the others better. Anyway, I was worried the story would end with Kenny getting royal hosed and that would’ve stung. I cared about him. I also thought his escape wasn’t cheap. It was clever and it made sense within the confines of the story. This was a good read. It was clear, it was creepy, it was smart, it was good.

Eyes in the Darkness – I know generally you’re not supposed to respond to crits and all but a question, was this a long winded reference to The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada? Anyway, I didn’t really get this. The ending seemed to have all of the meat but it was rushed like crazy. I didn’t care about anything that happened until the end, and only then out of the basic limbic system survival crap. I don’t know this was just fine, kind of unremarkable. I liked that you at least made a solid attempt to highlight the culture and the feel of your setting so you get points there. Overall, this was serviceable, but nothing much more.
Fallen From Grace (Because Kaishai Just Don’t Understand) – Oy. This was kind of a mess. It was a rambling bit of stuff that didn’t matter. Not much of this stirred me, the ending made me groan, and there are too many characters which results in no interesting ones. Your story kinda meanders around until the big matzoh ball and then I’m wondering why it really matters or why I care. Bleh, this didn’t do much at all for me.

Coal Fire – So far, this is the only hook of the week that immediately drew me in, so kudos for that. Right away, I’m digging your turn of phrase and the story has me drawn in. And holy poo poo, I read it all straight through and loved it. You missed a word in the old man’s final send off, which was a huge bummer, but I’ll ignore that. This was chilling and the sinking feeling of “oh poo poo” hit at just the right moment. This story was perfect for me. Easily my pick for the win for now.

Long Shadows – Oh, hey, another good hook. This, however, didn’t hold my attention. The language was a bit over indulgent. I always get paranoid when I read a story and I get lost and can’t follow it. I worry that it’s just my lovely reading comprehension. I don’t think that’s the case here, it was tough to follow the action and the frequent long spacing between character’s speaking kinda threw me for a loop. Upon a re-read it became a bit more clear, but that doesn’t leave this story in the happy pile for me.

Purchase – Your opening line is charming. I’m hoping Erin stays that way… and yikes. Ok, so this got a teensy bit heavy handed on its theme, but most stories this week haven’t really addressed the critique of place so that’s not necessarily a huge strike against the story. Boy, this one was sad. I do think, though, that the reaction to the problem got way more attention than the problem itself. We understand and see that Erin and Ansel are kinda bohemian, non-earners, but we only here that money is the problem one time and don’t really see how it got there. This is another story that it feels like the problem is somewhat universal and not necessarily tied down to the region. Of course, the water is certainly tied into the region but I don’t think the aim of the story was to satirize rain. Anyway, the story still managed to be powerful.

The Slow Death Of The Shadows – I liked this enough. Could have been stronger. Definitely lacked bit in the gothic feel but I appreciate its stab at commentary. The story worked and was clear, but I kinda wish we saw a bit more of the conflict and the dynamic play out between the protagonist and Olivia. The story wavered in its appeal once she left the scene. Overall though, I liked this, just not much else to say. There was a proofing error “I wasn’t sure what I found more fighting”. Little distracting, not a big deal though, just be more careful.

Member’s Only – Yo. Everything about the way this starts, from the title, onto the opening line is a total disaster. This is gonna be another driveby crit story, I can just feel it. I’ll tell you, no matter what your story ends up doing, this opening paragraph should be cut. It’s a mess and even if it weren’t it’s essentially a thesis statement and I don’t know why you would want such a thing for a story. Ok, what the Christ. Your writing instantly tightens up and at least becomes digestible right after that babble. What the hell was going on there? Oh, never mind, we’re off the rails again. You’re confusing who is talking, your descriptions are clunky and awkward, and your tenses are inconsistent… This is a big old ball of oy vey. “He couldn’t have known better; when you hear of it, you will think it absurd that anything at all could have come of it.” What in the name of gently caress is that sentence? OK, this only gets worse as I’m reading it, and the ending goes nowhere. This wasn’t good. If you want to chat about it at all, feel free to find me on IRC. I know my crits were disorganized. Stick around and read some of the good ones this week. Check out Coal Fire for a good example of someone getting themselves hosed.

Another Country, With Another Flag - This is heavy handed and I’m not sure what the hell happened or why it matters if your protagonist ultimately just magics his way out of the problem. On one hand though, this is one of the few stories this week that went to the trouble of properly characterizing your protagonist, so good on you for that. Otherwise, this was mostly flat. I do like that there multiple conflicts going on, macro and micro and such, so that was cool. Otherwise, meh.

The Mostly True Tale of John Bowman - This didn’t hold my interest. So much narrative voice explaining away stuff early made it a tougher read than it should have been. Hard for me to comment much on this as I kinda read it and couldn’t really focus on too much. Kind of a bummer, I know but that’s where it left me.

What the Eyes Can’t See – This is weird. I don’t know why you made the choice not to name Bethany until halfway through. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it was intentional and the intention went over my head. Fine. All that’s left though is just a terribly nasty torturous surprise sex filled list of events. If there’s an overarching point here, I’m missing it. On the other hand though, you do use language to decent effect in places, so that counts for something.

Hawaii 1968 – OK, so this was a strong as hell gut punch of a story with a strong opening line. Not quite sure how it addressed the prompt, but whatever. The characters were strong and the scenes read as candid and believable. The “shake off” especially could have felt very gron worthy, but the writing was delicate enough to sell it. I don’t know what the point of it was though, and that only matters because it felt like it was supposed to have one.


Coal Fire - I loved this. It was my favorite. I wanted it to win.
Above and Below - I also loved this.

Glad they both HM'd.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


Week 219 Crits – Part I

This week your setting had to matter. The stories that best fit the prompt tended to hone in on quintessential aspects of the author’s hometown in crafting the setting. It wasn’t enough to write a story that could happen just anywhere and merely shoehorn the plot into your hometown by dropping the city name.

I didn’t use judgemode this time. Since so many TD participants are readily identifiable by their place of origin, there wouldn’t be much point.

1. Hammer Bro. - The Graveyard King

-This feels somewhat gothic to me, but it doesn’t feel uniquely Silicon Valley. I’m guessing some of the locations you mention are real, but I was expecting a more stereotypically Silicon Valley atmosphere: Technically inclined zipperheads with autistic children, a too high men-to-women ratio, or maybe people coping with not being able to make ends meet due to an absurdly high cost of living (as opposed to just being whiny, like your gremlins seem to be). Sure, the gremlins are politically correct but I was looking for more than just that to encompass Silicone Valley.

-Humor in short stories is really difficult and I do respect the effort, but unfortunately the jokes fall flat (e.g. ding-dong, herald/Harold, Fright privilege, jack lives matter, etc).

-I recommend getting to the conflict much earlier. By the time I had made it to the first story break, I still wasn’t sure if the conflict would involve where to put the bats, or what specific job to give the gremlins. Later I find out that the conflict is the gremlins are politically correct.

-“Not everyone was suited to every task, that's true, but Nezz saw that as an opportunity.” Telly. I feel like this is a major point you are trying to drive home, but you aren’t going far enough to show us that Nezz’s perspective is correct, you’re mostly telling us instead.

-The ending feels too disjointed from the conflict to provide for good resolution.

-Your story is kind of a straw man against political correctness. If you want to argue that PC culture has gone too far, that’s fine, but such a story would be best served by a more encompassing and sophisticated look at the complexities of the issue. Alternatively, you could make your message more emotionally resonant with a highly sympathetic protag. Instead we have an unlikable, self-righteous, and somewhat entitled golem bickering with gremlins who show up for work and invent things to be offended about in an excuse not to do that work. Your story packs little emotional punch and is so reductive in characterizing political correctness that the satire fails to bite.

Vote: DM

2. Sailor Viy – The Forbidden Room

- The story could benefit from tighter pacing. With a better economy of language in your first section, you could bring the reader more quickly to the parts of your story that get interesting.

- I’m not clear on what Don’s company actually does, how it might be related to asylum seekers dying in a hospital, or why Don would want to cultivate a mold monster in his holiday mansion at all.

-The horror elements of your story do work. Air thick with mold spores such that it’s hard to breathe, oppressive dampness, a mold creature in pain growing out of control. Terrifying. Good job!

-If you’re going to have a sci-fi element like memory wiping, it’s best for you to find a subtle way to allude to it earlier in your story. It doesn’t work just to bring it out-of-the-blue at the ending.

-Okay, I’m sensing the under-the-radar social commentary applicable specifically to Australia. That’s good because being Australia Gothic needs to be more than namedropping Australian cities. Points for being purposeful in making your social commentary match the setting.

Vote: No mention

3. J.A.B.C. – This Old House

-The prose has a pretty nice flow to it.

-Good use of imagery and setting. You’ve succeeded in giving your story a Kansas feel. It’s nice the extent to which setting matters in your piece. It’s Kansas--there isn’t much else do to, so you might as well trespass. Several quintessential properties of small town Kansas make the story possible, like low population density, wide open spaces, and the presence of run down farm houses.

-You do well in characterizing your protag as an anxious nerd, which does create a nice fish-out-of-water effect given how ironic it is for someone like this to risk trespassing into a spooky farm house. What’s better, your protag’s motivation for stepping outside of his comfort zone is clear, since his only friend is about to move and the opportunity to hang out with him is about to be scarce. I could imagine readers disliking the protagonist for being kind of a pushover, but the story would be less interesting if he were assertive or brave instead (i.e., the break-in wouldn’t necessarily be as big a threat to someone like that).

-Even though the plot is pretty mundane, and the conflict in your story isn’t all that pronounced, you still impel the reader’s interest through mood and atmosphere. There is a well-crafted sense of foreboding and minor mystery here. Well done.

Vote: No mention

4. widespread - The Thirst of the Land

Okayyy, this one needs a line crit.

widespread posted:

The Thirst of the Land
(Carlsbad Gothic, 1334 words.)

“Are you sure you wish to go through with this?”

“Yes. I’ve come to terms with myself, if you must know. Plus money doesn’t come cheap for a man my age.”

“But of course. Though, once it happens… well… coming back would be like doing this a second time. You can’t come back to how it was before. Do you understand?”

“I understand fully. “

“Then prepare yourself. The sacrifice happens after complete sundown.”

After a brief handshake, the two men shook hands. Say what? The one that had spoken Didn’t they both speak? looked to be in his mid-20s, and in rather rough shape. Telly. Use imagery to show us he’s in rough shape, don’t just trust us to take your word for it. The attire on his body was supposed to convey an image of professionalism in this environment, consisting of a blue polo and black pants. His conversational partner was better groomed, even sporting a button-down shirt. The rugged man stared at the ground, letting a wave of depression wash over his structure. He felt as if he just signed his own death warrant, all in the name of having more than a few dollars to throw around. Not to mention the idea of sustaining the town’s energy for hopefully more than a year. With a sluggish pace, he walked to the lobby. A pamphlet caught his eye, with the title being “Why Carlsbad Needs Sacrifices”. Quietly, he picked one copy up, and began to read.

“I wouldn’t believe that pamphlet if I were you,a passing janitor spoke said. “Just saying.”

“Why’s that?” the man responded.

“It’ll try to convince you that your job’s all about keeping this city alive and prosperous. Most everyone here don’t care about that, deep down. “ The janitor walked away, continuing his routine of cleaning the floor and emptying the waste bins. “But you should still read it. Get an idea on what you just got yourself into.”

Moments passed. The rugged man eventually flipped through the pamphlet, skimming over the various categories. Only one caught his eye. The one that said, “How The Process Goes”. With a curious look, he began to read the category.

“The actual process has to remain a secret, as per city regulations. But at the end of the process, you’ll be a new person, ready to help ring in tourism for the city to prosper from!” the section read. “So be ready to help bring in those tourists. For more tourists equals more prosperity for Carlsbad!” You’ve worded this pamphlet in a pretty clunky and awkward way. A well written story ought to justify every sentence and word. You’ve got some extraneous parts here and throughout.

A grumble passed his lips. While the idea of chucking the pamphlet away crossed his mind, he slid it into his back pocket.

“Could be useful to burn some charcoal with”,<-The comma goes inside. he mumbled as he left the building.

-----

A few hours later, the rugged man Still calling him “the rugged man,” huh? Please name your characters. was face-to-face with the ocean. He stood upon a sandy platform, in the same outfit he had on during the interview process. It’s only been a few hours, why *wouldn’t* he be wearing the same outfit? Around him, the area was black as pitch, save for a full moon and a few torches blazing in the wind. So it was dark except for the light? Was it also silent except for the noise and empty except for the matter? Not trying to be a dick here, just encouraging you to spend more time thinking your language through. To his side was the man who interviewed him, now adorned in a black hooded robe. If the setting had more light at this time, they could see the small crowd of people with expensive cameras snapping photos from the sea wall.

“Remember. You can’t come back to this type of person after this is all done.” The hooded man said. “Are you positive you wish to do this?”

“Yes, I’m positive.” The man replied.

“Very well, then. I’ll start the ritual.”

The hooded figure stepped in front of the man, with his arms outstretched. He began to speak in what must have been an ancient dialect, complete with his hands taking on a sinister red glow. After a few seconds, the waters before them calmed. The full moon was suddenly obscured by passing clouds. Suddenly,<-repetition of “suddenly” the sound of something rising from the water could be heard. What does something rising from the water sound like? How is that sound so distinct from other watery sounds (like waves) that people can definitively tell it’s something rising? Yet, nothing could be seen coming from the water, even with the help of dozens of flash photography cameras going off. You’ve switched into the passive voice in the middle of this paragraph, and it’s not clear to me how that serves your story. The hooded man stepped back soon after the sound was heard.

“It’s time. Good luck,” [h]e said, stepping off the platform.

Just then, an ethereal hand emerged from the shadows of the ocean. It was white as bone, and featureless to boot. Rather than make a grab towards the sacrifice, the hand seemed to offer itself to the sacrifice before it. With a bit of hesitation, the man grasped the hand with his own hand. Fear had shot through his body, as the hand took a firmer grip and began to pull. His mind tried to resist the pull… yet he allowed himself to be taken by the hand. As he walked forward, the light of the torches shrank away into the horizon. Before he knew it, the hand he followed led him beneath the waves.

Meanwhile, the hooded figure watched as the sacrifice was taken away. All he could do was nod in approval, despite the sacrificed man’s fate being unknown to him.

“It… is done. Another sacrifice for the great good of our city.” He murmured to himself.

Once underwater, the man tried holding his breath. He knew he wouldn’t last. Around him was a void. A completely darkened area, with nothing but the glow of the hand to light the way.

“Breathe, child.” A voice called out.

Just like that, the man took a deep breath in. The breath felt like air to him. Among varied breaths, he looked around.

“You shall serve to help me draw the sustenance your city needs.”

Just then, a white face formed in front of him. He wanted to scream in surprise. But… nothing came forth. Just confused thoughts remained.

“Who are you…?” the man asked.

“Don’t worry about that. For now, worry about what will happen to you.” The face replied.

Just then, a second hand similar to the first formed. The palm of this hand pressed against the man’s chest, before pulling back. Between the man’s chest and the palm, strands of energy could be seen. It didn’t take long to realize that those strands of energy were really his soul. Telly. Show us how he arrived at this conclusion, don’t just insist that he did. He braced for his soul to be ripped from his flesh, ready to endure the pain it could bring. Yet, the soul was completely out of him before he fully braced for it. So…he braced for it, but didn’t brace for it?

“It is painless. You won’t even realize when we’re done.”

The second hand moved towards the man’s eyeballs, as if ready to pluck them out of their sockets. His vision caught a blinding white light as the hand closed in around his eye sockets.

--------

The man awoke with a startled yelp. Panicked breathing followed his sudden awakening. Before long, he looked around. He was at home. Everything was as it seemed. Except… something felt wrong. Something was just a bit off about what “home” is. The man remembered his home was just a one-story house in the suburbs with a mostly tan exterior and a basic roof. Despite this place being exactly as he envisioned his home to be, he couldn’t help but be suspicious. Slowly, he started to the bathroom. Along the way, his feet brushed against hard wood flooring, as the walls were but a basic white. This was indeed home. He must have dreamt the bits about the sacrifice. This isn’t entirely sensible, tbh.

As he washed his face inside the bathroom, the man looked into the mirror. He looked less rugged than before, even clean shaven for once. The man couldn’t help but notice he was actually pretty well groomed for the day. Suddenly, his hand reached for his back pocket. Fingers confirmed the presence of a pamphlet. Shock came over his body, as he slowly pulled the pamphlet forth. Unless you’re describing a specific reflex, please don’t write as if body parts just act on their own.

“Why Carlsbad Needs Sacrifices” was the title. As he opened the pamphlet, a small piece of folded paper fell out. He caught it before it touched the damp sink, quickly unfurling it.

“You start on Monday at the location listed below. Sacrificing yourself will go a long way to help preserve Carlsbad for years to come. From all of us here at City Hall, we thank you.” The paper said.

-It’s not clear what the rugged man sacrificed, how exactly he was changed apart from being temporarily better groomed, or what the ending really entails for him. It’s like you set up a mystery that you didn’t solve, and that makes for an unsatisfying read.

-Please review the punctuation and capitalization rules for dialogue.

-What about this story is unique to Carlsbad? It feels like “Coastal Gothic,” or something of that sort. It’s not clear why Carlsbad matters per se to your story.

-I really don’t like voting for a newcomer to get a loss or DM, but your mechanics are inconsistent and there are so many lines in your story that make no sense. I’d be remiss if I didn’t come down hard on this one. Please keep writing for us though; you can do better.

Vote: Loss

5. Guiness13 – A Night Out

-*Coarse* rope

-“Something scuttled through dried reeds.” Since your protag can’t see at this point, I’m not sure how he really knows that what’s being scuttled through are both reeds and dried.

-Got a couple typos here, like: “The stabbed up into the night as it edged through the reeds.”

-It’s not clear why the kidnappers unbind the protag and remove the sack that covered his head. For their own security, why not keep him bound and blindfolded? Seems like plot convenience.

-The biggest problem with your piece is that the characters are two-dimensional. You’ve got a drunk and a blank-slate protag. There isn’t much to endear them to the reader, and they don’t really develop or grow as characters. Your plot is simple, but adequate. Yet your story lacks punch overall since it’s hard to connect with or care much about its characters.

Vote: No Mention

6. a friendly penguin – Above and Below

- Full disclosure, my hometown is in the southern-tier NY section of Appalachia, so I’m knowledgeable about the region.

- Okay, the specifics of your setting actually matter to your story, and you do include social commentary. That’s a big plus.

- “Instead of working and dying in the darkness of these tunnels like their dads, the young men who still lived in this town sought out and died in the darkness of addiction.” Telly and too on-the-nose. What you’ve said here is completely true, but it would serve your story better to show it rather than just state it plainly. Might be better if, for example, Kenny went into the mine because while he and friends were nearby finding a secluded place to pop pills, smoke, or shoot up, he dropped his drugs in there.

- “Kenny and his friends did what they could to sidestep that pit. Looking for ways to escape the boredom of full time jobs at KFC or working part time and going to community college and all still living with their parents, they sought out small adventures…” See, this is frustrating because although you’re characterizing the area well, you’re just talking about it outright instead of showing us. It’s better to depict the awful, dead-end grind of working full time at KFC because your town has no jobs. But instead of depicting it, you simply mention it. Similarly, rather than telling us that they all live with their parents you could add in a line or two showing us why that’s bad. Maybe it creates conflict in the family, maybe it makes dating and romance near-impossible, etc. Showing these details rather than listing them off would make the story more intricate and emotionally resonant.

- The mysterious voice in the darkness is intriguing.

- Okay later in the story you more than make up for being telly earlier. The metaphor of mine monsters robbing a person of their skin, heart, and lungs works very well. The mine harms bodies when mining jobs are abundant; when the jobs are absent, that absence may harm bodies in surprisingly similar ways. Likewise the metaphor of black tracks on the arms works, the allusion to spiraling heroin abuse fit--what you're doing here wasn't lost on me.

- Cool way to use the saved tooth as a way to resolve the conflict, I have to admit I didn’t see that coming.

- The story is good. It’s entertaining and it nails the prompt. With a little revision, a little less telling and more showing, this story could be worthy of publication IMO.

Vote: Win

7. Your Sledgehammer – Eyes in the Darkness

- It’s nice that your narrator has a strong, expressive voice.

- Great use of setting and social commentary. You’ve satisfied the prompt well.

-Your story is entertaining. Jeffers is reasonably interesting, and you do well early on setting up the mystery of “The Eyes.” I was motivated to read in order to determine how The Eyes would express their dismay.

- I like that as a Border Patrol agent, Jeffers embodies white privilege in the racial caste system of the area.

- I’m assuming the gun isn’t enough and that Jeffers dies at the end, but it would’ve been nice to have a more definitive ending.

Vote: No Mention

8. Electric Owl - Fallen From Grace

- Personal pet peeve, but please don’t split your infinitives. My OCD goes into overdrive.

- The phrase “To fall from grace” is a bit cliché. It’s better to come up with a completely original means of verbalizing that idea.

- The story is dialogue heavy for my tastes.

- You needlessly went over the word count. A couple hundred words at least could have been cut from this piece without leaving surgical scars.

- The story reads like meandering gobbledygook. A good portion of the language comes across as pretentious. In addition, there isn’t much to hook the reader in terms of compelling plot or characters.

Vote: DQ/DM

9. Hawklad - Coal Fire

-You succeed at hooking the reader’s interest by teasing, “But coal wasn't the worst danger in those mines.”

- Not an earth scientist, but if the walls of this underground cavern were lit by a raging coal fire, and there was enough oxygen to keep it going, wouldn’t there also be an overabundance of coal smoke?

- The line “And whiskeys. Lots of whiskeys” contradicts the line “"Now you, on the other hand. It didn't very many [whiskeys] at all."

-Harlan is an interesting character with a strong, well-written voice. Your protagonist, however is nowhere near as interesting, and seems marginally dimwitted even accounting for his having been drinking.

-This story was well done and you hit the prompt expertly. The atmosphere was properly gothic and had a distinctly Rocky Mountain feel to it. Also, the specifics of the setting mattered to the plot and to the social commentary embedded therein.

Vote: Possible HM candidate?

10. Kaishai – Long Shadows

- Present tense works for me.

- Prose is excellent.

- The mystery of why Al wanted the girl to witness his suicide succeeds at keeping the reader’s attention and impelling further reading.

- Keeping the girl mysterious was the right move. Since the question of her origin/identity is exogenous to the point of the story, it doesn’t feel like a loose end not to know. Instead it keeps the story focus where it should be.

- Hmm. You’ve got morbid atmosphere, elements of romanticism, and social commentary about suicide. Your story is undeniably gothic, but what makes it characteristically Indiana Gothic? You mention a Route 1, but I have to imagine most states have a Route 1. Couldn’t this story have been set almost anywhere and still proceed in the same way? You hit gothic on the nose but if your story conveyed anything quintessentially Indiana it was lost on me. The story is still good, but you short-changed the part of the prompt that emphasized the importance of your hometown setting.

Vote: Possible HM candidate?

(remaining crits will be up in a day or two)

Armack fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2016 around 19:07

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Week 220: Enter the Voidmart



Hello Friends It's time for work.

This week, we are returning to Voidmart! Voidmart is America's most beloved super-duper store, no matter what the class action lawsuits would have you believe. Voidmart is a place where dreams come true, or, barring that, we will happily take your dream and exchange it for a new dream of equal or lesser value.

A little over a year ago, I challenged goons to write stories set in a shared world, the world of Voidmart. It was my most favorite week to judge ever. This week will work much the same, with a couple differences.


What is Voidmart?

Voidmart is an improbably large superstore that sells goods ranging from diapers to guns to exotic lifeforms. The average customer will, in their lifetime, only explore a fraction of Voidmart's extensive sales floor. It's known for having the most loyal and happy employees, or else


A bit about the setting

This is pretty much the same as last year:

quote:

Voidmart is huge. It puts all other megastores to shame in both size and range of products offered.

For a big-box store, it's not actually very boxy. In fact, its roof is oddly dome-shaped. Fluorescent lights hang from beams that criss-cross above the many, many aisles.

There are cameras everywhere, and security is top-notch. Still, there are spots where even the all-seeing eye of loss prevention cannot look.

Management lurks in a foreboding office at the top of a dark flight of stairs. I'm not too fussed about where in particular those stairs are located in the store.

Voidmart's in-house coffee brand is called Golden Bean. A Golden Bean cafe is located near the front of the store, so customers can energize themselves and shop longer.

CUSTOMERS SUCK!!!!!


Exciting new features!

This time around, you, lucky writer, get to choose one(1) of the following perspectives when you sign up:

EMPLOYEE: AKA the original Voidmart flavor. If you choose to write about Voidmart's cherished employees, you will be assigned to a department within the store. Voidmart is an improbably huge and well-stocked store, so some examples might be: women's undergarments, the deli, the fitting rooms, pet-sitting, religious artifacts, automobile repair, and so on. Your protagonist must work in the department I assign you, though you're free to include supporting characters from other departments.

CUSTOMER: Ah, the noble customer. Without these majestic and occasionally ornery beasts, Voidmart wouldn't be the gleaming bastion of capitalism that it is. If you choose to write about Voidmart's wonderful customers, you will be assigned a service or product. Why does your customer need it? What happens if they get it? How deep into Voidmart's labyrinthine aisles do they need to go to find it, and what would they give up to obtain it? The product I assign you must be important to your plot.

INVESTIGATOR: Boo. Hiss. These nosy cretins are pretty sure there's something amiss behind the scenes at Voidmart, but they're not quite sure what. If you choose to write about one of these interlopers, you will be assigned a suspicious in-store event to investigate. This could mean a missing person or a space-time anomaly. Investigators need not all come from the same agency; your character could be with the police, the CIA, a rival superstore, etc.


Other stuff

I will not count you as 'in' unless you choose one of the above perspectives.

Collaboration is highly encouraged! But not required.

At least part of your story must take place in/around Voidmart, but otherwise it's totally open-ended, assuming you somehow incorporate the department/product/event I assign you.

You can write about things/characters from last year, but please be aware that I'm not going to go back and reread week 152, so I'll probably miss any clever references. Also, I would like to make this week friendly to people who weren't around for the first iteration, so don't feel like you need to reference anything from the last prompt.

Genre is completely open. Voidmart is a huge store full of weird poo poo, so there's room for everything from slice of life to space opera.

Thunderdome best practices apply. No fanfic, no erotica, etc etc etc


Signup deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Friday, October 21st
Submission deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, October 23rd
Word count: 1300 words UNLESS you . Toxxes get up to 2000 words.

Fair and dutiful managers:
CEOing Here
COO Twist
???

Cogs in the great machine:

Moxie posted:

In, Employee.

My first Thunderdome. I enter of my own free will and unafraid!

We love voluntary compliance Looks like you'd be a great fit for our blades and cutlery department. No running

The Cut of Your Jib posted:

IN with Customer perspective.

and thanks for fjgj and quick prompt

You are searching for a communication device that will let you speak across the veils of time, space, and dimension. Voidmart has just the thing (probably)

J.A.B.C. posted:

Wow. Fast judging IS good judging. Perish the thought.

I flipped my Voidmart 3-sided non-euclidean token and got INvestigator

You've heard nasty rumors of a gang of feral youths living in the ducts and vents of the superstore. Voidmart declines to comment at this time.

Chairchucker posted:

Oh OK Employee then.

We thank you for years of great service in our cardboard standee section. You've got two-dimensional, life-size cardboard cutouts for every occasion!

contagonist posted:

IN dealing with the weirdos as an Employee.

You are one of our elite maintenance engineers (aka janitor). You keep mess, malfunction, and other things at bay...

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Speediest judges in all the land...thanks for the crits, folks!

In as a Customer,

You, precious piglet, are looking for a piece of clothing that will grant you some self-esteem. If it can't be found in Voidmart's aisles, where the hell else could it be?

llamaguccii posted:

<b> IN </b> as an employee.

Also, thank you for the super fast judging and crits.

You get to show off your green thumb in the plants (non-carnivorous and carnivorous) department.

Guiness13 posted:

In with Investigator

Your sources tell you there's some sort of sinister power source that keeps Voidmart's lights on. Voidmart declines to comment at this time.

Thranguy posted:

In, Investigator,

You've heard rumors that Voidmart is a front for some sort of alien takeover. We will neither confirm nor deny this accusation, and hopefully, neither will you, if you know what's good for you

dylguy90 posted:

In with Customer. This is my first thunderdome so I'll try to make my death entertaining at least.

You are looking for a pet that can never die. Voidmart understands the pain of letting go. We, too, would prefer if our thralls could stay healthy and productive forever

flerp posted:

ughhhhh i have to be in but im prob gonna fail again but ok w/e employee me

According to the roster, you'll be working in Meats and other proteins (aka the deli). Please make sure the product is fully deceased before selling it to customers.


widespread posted:

Wow, that was a speedy crit. Thought it'd take a day or so.

Anyways, IN with CUSTOMER.

Because who would voluntarily pick Investigator.

You are looking for a blade that can cut through lies. Voidmart also hates deception, so I'm sure we have just the thing

kurona_bright posted:

I'll be in as an employee.

Your character works in The Back, taking in freight and stocking shelves. A shopping facility the size of Voidmart requires a stock room the size of a small city. Don't think too hard about what else might be back there. Statistically, you're not likely to encounter it/them.

Crab Destroyer posted:

In as a customer. Also,

Your character is probably a very nice person, but they hunger for human flesh and/or blood. Unfortunate, really. Voidmart understands. As the CEO's proverb goes, demand begets supply.

Sarkimedes posted:

IN with Employee.

Your enthusiastic IN makes us think your character has the energy and enthusiasm for quality assurance! It's their job to walk the store, tidy racks, straighten displays, and execute the requisite customer protection protocols in the event of a redacted

Entenzahn posted:

In. Investigator.

I'm toxxing because I failed. I don't need your pity words.

But I'll take them anyway.

Certain prominent theorists theorize that Voidmart's internal space is not consistent with its external mass, perhaps owing to some secret tesseract-based technology. Your character doesn't care about the details, but is dead set on making sure Voidmart is paying its full share in property taxes.

newtestleper posted:

In and Customer and

Your character thought they were in for a nice, relaxing shopping expedition, but that was before their spouse wandered off to some far, unknown reach of the store. It's been three weeks. Luckily, Voidmart stocks state-of-the-art search and rescue gear!

Boaz-Jachim posted:

I always regretted joining too late for the first Voidmart.

Employee.

Your character is the time-keeper! That is, they run the clock and timepiece department. Sometimes time does fly, but it's not because your character is having fun...

Beige posted:

Thanks for the answers.

I lost my first Thunderdome attempt two weeks ago and I backed out of last week's round. Therefore I'm in as a customer with a self-imposed for redemption.

Your character is looking for a friend Voidmart has a number of products that are rated for human companionship, though they tend to come with minds of their own...

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I, a customer, am in.

Your customer wants to make the screaming stop. They have tried everything short of lobotomy. Let Voidmart help.

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

I am an investigator.

....INvestigator you might say.

Edit: especially if you were J.A.B.C. who made this joke in the very first investigator sign up........

Some experts assert that there are a number of unspeakable living horrors who are integral to the continuing operations at Voidmart. Your character has reason to believe that these creatures are not being fairly compensated for their labor. Voidmart is an equal opportunity employer and offers competitive pay and benefits

Chili posted:

I am a... customerian.... erm... in as a customer, throw a little toxx on there. Gotta get this done before fiction war so be ready fit an early sub.

Your customer's Voidmart brand smartphone has been exhibiting some strange symptoms, including glitches, lags, frags, and violent weeping. They should probably take it to the Tech Sage counter, though the wisdom of the wise ones tends to come at a price...

Blastinus posted:

In as an Employee. I already work retail, so how hard can it be?

Your character also works in The Back, taking in freight and stocking shelves. A shopping facility the size of Voidmart requires a stock room the size of a small city. Don't think too hard about what else might be back there. Statistically, you're not likely to encounter it/them.

Pity Party Animal posted:

I'm IN as a customer. This prompt seems like a friendly jumping off point into the shark tank.

Your character is looking for an unforgettable birthday present for a very eccentric friend. Voidmart has gifts for every occasion, no matter how mirthful, melancholy, or macabre.

Blood Spookydude posted:

I'm in, but have long since left the world of retail behind. Today I'm just a customer.

Every time you think you're out, they drag you back in. Your character is a secret shopper. They may look like they're having a care-free retail experience, but their contented smile conceals hawk-like attention to detail. They will be reporting every speck of dust, every lackadaisical employee, every space-time anomaly back to Voidmart Corporate.

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

IN: With A Confession & Apology:
My original application for employment was a ruse designed to gain executive level access to Voidmart™ in an attempt to steal the secrets of its absurdly high employee and customer satisfaction rates. I'm not saying I was wrong to do so, I'm saying I could never betray this wonderful place to talentless poachers.

As recompense I present the foundation of the 2016 VOIDMART™ EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK: Which I've deliberately created an incorrect hyperlink for, as it can only be obtained on our secure company chat line.

I am willing to step down from whatever my position in this store was in penance. But if I was sent to steal our secrets there will doubtlessly be more behind me. I wish to retain my employment at the mercy of the C.E.O. and will accept whatever department she finds to be a most fitting punishment or best suited for my skills.

I included a copy of the document with which I have so throughly dishonored myself as an open sign of honesty.

Sincerely,
Clive

An enemy is simply a friend over whom you have leverage
~A CEO proverb

There is a more dire betrayal than yours in our midst. You believed yourself to be a tool of our enemies; in reality, you were being honed into into a glorious instrument of the Void. Go forth, noble traitor, and unearth the deception within our ranks.

steeltoedsneakers posted:

I'm in.

Hit me with some employee flavour.

Your character may or may not be a tech wiz. Either way, they work in the electronics department. Maybe humanity isn't entirely ready for some of the gadgets your character sells, but considering they barely make minimum wage, they're not inclined to think too hard about it.

BeefSupreme posted:

Well, it literally can't get worse as far as results go, so with that out of the way

In as a customer.

The song. Your character heard it in their dreams, a haunting cascade of unearthly arpeggios. They long to recreate the preternatural beauty of that ephemeral melody. Voidmart has something for even the most discerning audiophile, and features the latest in blessed and cursed instruments.

Fuubi posted:

In as a customer, and, since I failed to deliver last week,

Your character is a voracious consumer of entertainment. They are looking for an entertainment that they cannot get bored of. Voidmart would be honored to try and sate their need.

Erogenous Beef posted:

In because I promised Mojo while drunk that it was time for a return to the Dome. And because I said I'd do it "next week" three weeks ago, add a .

Present a dilemma for my investigatrix to decipher.

Your character is a deeply pious person, but after a life of flawless adherence to their faith, they long to look into the face of their god/gods. They surmise that Voidmart could only offer such a wide range of products if their supply line went directly to the source of all creation. They're going to have to infiltrate the highest echelons of VoidCorp to find god.

Vinny Possum posted:

In as an investigator

Your character heard a rumor that a percentage of Voidmart's staff never takes meals or breaks, and in fact don't seem to ever leave the store. They decide to go undercover to uncover labor violations. Voidmart would like to remind readers that it is an equal opportunity employer and provides competitive pay and benefits

Hawklad posted:

In as employee, and I'll for the bonus words

Your character works in the Boxes (cardboard boxes, wooden boxes, treasure boxes, snuff boxes, jewelry boxes, puzzle boxes, music boxes, false books, stash boxes, Pandora's box, box-storage boxes, and more!) section.

a new study bible! posted:

In as a Customer

Your character desperately needs to pick up their prescription, but it's prohibitively expensive. Luckily, Voidmart is now offering generic versions of most common medications, manufactured in-house so we can pass the savings on to YOU

Morning Bell posted:

In as an investigator


There's a terrifying new drug on the rise, and your character believes it's being synthesized from ingredients specific to Voidmart's line of generic medications. One way or another, they want to blow the whistle on Voidmart's poorly-regulated manufacturing process.

QuoProQuid posted:

i am choosing to ignore my real-world responsibilities to be in. only fair that i be an employee though.

force me to write something different this week, sh

After the last on-site employee therapist suffered a traumatic breakdown, your character was promoted to head of staff mental health services! It's their job to keep morale high among the low-clearance employees.

sebmojo posted:

Guess that makes me in too, customer. This and the next three entries are

Your character has lost something, but can't remember what. They seek that which was perhaps never found to begin with. Voidmart is your one-stop-shop for yearnings effable and ineffable.

curlingiron posted:

I'm in the market for some niche product. Tell me, what can Voidmart do for this loyal customer?

Your character has acquired a very strange pet, but they have no idea what to feed it. None of the local pet stores have a clue, so your character has turned to Voidmart to feed your new friend's inscrutable appetite.

Jay W. Friks posted:

I'm in need of money and voidmart sounds like a fun place to be an employee .

Your character works in Voidmart's menagerie, AKA the pet department. Strange, adorable, majestic, and terrifying things abound there, and it's your character's job to keep them fed, groomed, and safe from grabby customers (and vise-versa).

bringmyfishback posted:

In, employee. This is my first Thunderdome and I'm a little scared .

Voidmart believes no one has one true face, so we're happy to offer disguises year-round! Your character works in the Costume department. Among their other duties, it's their job to make sure those idiots who stock the shelves don't accidentally put something "real" in with the costumes. Voidmart does carry some products that could fall under the technical definition of "dangerous" so it's best to be diligent.

vintagepurple posted:

In, customer

Your character is hoping to find a very robust plant. Their house/garden is terribly afflicted by a number of pests, so they want to find something that can fend for itself a little better...

God Over Djinn posted:

in as employee

Your character works in Books, tomes, pamphlets, scrolls, and tablets (stone and other). Mostly, their job involves pointing people toward the romance or thriller sections, but in a store like Voidmart, there are sure to be more intriguing stories lurking between the shelves...

ThirdEmperor posted:

In as a customer.

Your character is attending a wedding for some dubious and perhaps dangerous people. What do you get the nefarious ne'er-do-well who has everything? Voidmart believes that all of us, even the most accomplished, still have a yawning, voracious hole in our souls. We're your one-stop-shop for gifts savory and decidedly not-savory.

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

Mom says I need gainful employment or it's the streets. I'm in as an employee.

You are one of our elite maintenance engineers (aka janitor). You keep mess, malfunction, and other things at bay...

ghost crow posted:

in with a as an investigator

Your character believes Voidmart may stand on top of the ancient burial ground of a forgotten people. They would very much like to learn more. For safety reasons, Voidmart doesn't permit non-employees in the restricted areas beneath the sales floor.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

ok give me a customer, my week is packed af but i'll try

Idea shamelessly stolen from Newt: Your customer wants to return a Voidmark product, claiming it is defective. Voidmart puts all of its retail items through rigorous quality assurance testing, so your character will have to prove the defectiveness in order to get their refund and/or exchange.

Alternatively: newt|work> "SaddestRhino, your customer is a demanding jerk who is trying to return a piece of faulty Voidmart™ branded clothing. He gets nothing"

sparksbloom posted:

In as a customer.

Your character is looking for a second set of eyes. Whether they're in need of surveillance, reconnaissance, or simply a new pair of ocular orbs, Voidmart is happy to help them fulfil their vision.

Kaishai posted:

In, seeking employment.

Your character works in Jewelry, trinkets, baubles, and artifacts! Whether shoppers are looking for an engagement ring or a long-lost family heirloom, Voidmart's carefully curated collection of decorative and/or functional accessories has something for every occasion.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Oct 22, 2016 around 06:48

Moxie
Aug 2, 2003



In, Employee.

My first Thunderdome. I enter of my own free will and unafraid!

Moxie fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2016 around 13:27

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

IN with Customer perspective.

and thanks for fjgj and quick prompt

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.


Wow. Fast judging IS good judging. Perish the thought.

I flipped my Voidmart 3-sided non-euclidean token and got INvestigator

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Oh OK Employee then.

contagonist
Jul 21, 2014

You shouldn't be doing anything with fluorine.

IN dealing with the weirdos as an Employee.

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

by Nyc_Tattoo


Speediest judges in all the land...thanks for the crits, folks!

In as a Customer,

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

llamaguccii
Sep 2, 2016

THUNDERDOME LOSER


<b> IN </b> as an employee.

Also, thank you for the super fast judging and crits.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

In with Investigator

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

In, Investigator,

dylguy90
Mar 19, 2007

Nude Tayne.


In with Customer. This is my first thunderdome so I'll try to make my death entertaining at least.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


ughhhhh i have to be in but im prob gonna fail again but ok w/e employee me

widespread
Aug 5, 2013

I believe I am now no longer in the presence of nice people.


Wow, that was a speedy crit. Thought it'd take a day or so.

Anyways, IN with CUSTOMER.

Because who would voluntarily pick Investigator.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Moxie posted:

In, Employee.

My first Thunderdome. I enter of my own free will and unafraid!

We love voluntary compliance Looks like you'd be a great fit for our blades and cutlery department. No running

The Cut of Your Jib posted:

IN with Customer perspective.

and thanks for fjgj and quick prompt

You are searching for a communication device that will let you speak across the veils of time, space, and dimension. Voidmart has just the thing (probably)

J.A.B.C. posted:

Wow. Fast judging IS good judging. Perish the thought.

I flipped my Voidmart 3-sided non-euclidean token and got INvestigator

You've heard nasty rumors of a gang of feral youths living in the ducts and vents of the superstore. Voidmart declines to comment at this time.

Chairchucker posted:

Oh OK Employee then.

We thank you for years of great service in our cardboard standee section. You've got two-dimensional, life-size cardboard cutouts for every occasion!

contagonist posted:

IN dealing with the weirdos as an Employee.

You are one of our elite maintenance engineers (aka janitor). You keep mess, malfunction, and other things at bay...

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Speediest judges in all the land...thanks for the crits, folks!

In as a Customer,

You, precious piglet, are looking for a piece of clothing that will grant you some self-esteem. If it can't be found in Voidmart's aisles, where the hell else could it be?

llamaguccii posted:

<b> IN </b> as an employee.

Also, thank you for the super fast judging and crits.

You get to show off your green thumb in the plants (non-carnivorous and carnivorous) department.

Guiness13 posted:

In with Investigator

Your sources tell you there's some sort of sinister power source that keeps Voidmart's lights on. Voidmart declines to comment at this time.

Thranguy posted:

In, Investigator,

You've heard rumors that Voidmart is a front for some sort of alien takeover. We will neither confirm nor deny this accusation, and hopefully, neither will you, if you know what's good for you

dylguy90 posted:

In with Customer. This is my first thunderdome so I'll try to make my death entertaining at least.

You are looking for a pet that can never die. Voidmart understands the pain of letting go. We, too, would prefer if our thralls could stay healthy and productive forever

flerp posted:

ughhhhh i have to be in but im prob gonna fail again but ok w/e employee me

According to the roster, you'll be working in Meats and other proteins (aka the deli). Please make sure the product is fully deceased before selling it to customers.


widespread posted:

Wow, that was a speedy crit. Thought it'd take a day or so.

Anyways, IN with CUSTOMER.

Because who would voluntarily pick Investigator.

You are looking for a blade that can cut through lies. Voidmart also hates deception, so I'm sure we have just the thing

Moxie
Aug 2, 2003



Sitting Here posted:

We love voluntary compliance Looks like you'd be a great fit for our blades and cutlery department. No running

Thus anointed, I embark on this contest of words. Onward to victory!

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


I'll be in as an employee.

Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011


In as a customer. Also,

Sarkimedes
Jul 2, 2012


IN with Employee.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


In. Investigator.

I'm toxxing because I failed. I don't need your pity words.

But I'll take them anyway.

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


What's a Toxx?

edit: I get the idea it's a punishment if you fail to follow through with something. But what's the punishment in Thunderdome?

Beige fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2016 around 21:08

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Beige posted:

What's a Toxx?

edit: I get the idea it's a punishment if you fail to follow through with something. But what's the punishment in Thunderdome?

dont submit get banned

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

The long-ish explanation is here.

The short-ish explanation: if you toxx, usually by means of using the smiley in a post, you are promising to do a thing or else be banned. This week you have the option of staking your account in exchange for extra words, but the toxx is more often a self-chosen incentive. Anyone who fails a can expect someone in the thread to report it to the mods.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


In and Customer and

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


I always regretted joining too late for the first Voidmart.

Employee.

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


Thanks for the answers.

I lost my first Thunderdome attempt two weeks ago and I backed out of last week's round. Therefore I'm in as a customer with a self-imposed for redemption.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Recap!

You'd better avoid airport security, TD, because things get friggin' metal--or in some cases, friggin' plastic--in Week 217: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS, ATTACK! The challenges inherent in the prompt come up for debate, as does the widespread decision to kill or enslave everyone with a Y chromosome. You do know women can shine without all the men being dead? Yes? All right, then. Maigius's "An Ordinary Day" gets a ride on the Dramatic Reading Express, so join Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and myself as we delve into the intricacies of Valkyrie Quality Control.

I road up the main path as well, on my unicorn, Weiss.


Episodes past:

pre:
Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 178:  I'm not mad, just disappointed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 179:  Strange Logs						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 180:  Maybe I'm a Maze					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 181:  We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 182:  Domegrassi						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood
Week 183:  Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots			Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock
Week 184:  The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 98:  Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 185:  Music of the Night, Vol. II				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 186:  Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 187:  Lost In Translation					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 188:  Insomniac Olympics					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 189:  knight time						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 190:  Three-Course Tale					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 191:  We Talk Good						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 192:  Really Entertaining Minific				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 30:  We're 30 / Time to get dirty -- A magical time	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 193:  the worst week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 40:  Poor Richard's Thundervision -- Let the ESC begin!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 144:  Doming Lasha Tumbai -- Classic performances		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 194:  Only Mr. God Knows Why				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 195:  Inverse World					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 196:  Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 197: Stories of Powerful Ambition & Poor Impulse Control	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 198:  Buddy Stuff						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 199:  EVERYBODY KNOWS poo poo'S hosed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 1:  Man Agonizes over Potatoes				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo
Week 200:  Taters Gonna Tate Fuckers				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo
Week 201:  Old Russian Joke					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 202:  THUNDER-O-S!						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 203:  MYSTERY SOLVING TEENS				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 204:  Hate Week						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 205:  the book of forgotten names				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 206:  WHIZZ! Bang! POW! Thunderdome!			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 207:  Bottle Your Rage					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 208:  Upper-Class Tweet of the Year			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 209:  WHAT DO YOU GET A DOME THAT HAS EVERYTHING??		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 210:  Crit Ketchup Week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 211:  Next-Best Friend Week				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 212:  Vice Week						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 213:  Punked Out						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 214:  THUNDERDOME ALL-STAR TRIBUTE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 215:  El sueño de la razón produce el Thunderdome		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 216:  Historical Redemption (or:  Sin, Lizzie)		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai


Special Features!

The Top Ten poo poo Scenes of Thunderdome				Sitting Here, Kaishai, Ironic Twist, and Djeser

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