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Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Cinnamon Toast Crunch (aka Cini Minis, Curiously Cinnamon). 130 cal

Cereal Week Presents: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
996 words

They're tiny rectangular crackers with a rigid crunch, with a rough texture and swirls of cinnamon on both sides, coated in a sweetly, crunchy layer of sugar and cinnamon. Sugar and cinnamon and cracker, rough texture and a crispy mouthfeel. With cold milk. Cold, smooth milk and crunchy, sugary cinnamon. Milk and sugar and cinnamon and crisp. I could eat them all day. Crispy toast (rice) cracker and cinnamon and sugar.

I eat them all day.

By the spoon and by the heap, I eat them all day. Until my milk runs dry. Until my belly is full. I eat them and then when I’m done and I am bloated with sweetness and spice and crunchy bits, when my belly is filled with cinnamon and sugar and toast crunch and I can’t take anymore, I take more out of the box and and I put them on the table and then I get my pestle and mash them into a crunchy sugary powder and I inhale the Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder just snort it up my nose because I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I’m not there yet. I’m not full. I’m out of milk but that’s ok. The Cinnamon Challenge is when you take a teaspoon of cinnamon and swallow it, no drinking no water no milk just the teaspoon of cinnamon and if you can hold it in for sixty seconds you win but it dries up your throat and it makes you inhale cinnamon and if you don’t watch out the cinnamon gets into your lungs and it kills you. That’s right it loving kills you. A four year old tried it in Kentucky and he died, it’s no joke.

But me, cinnamon, gotta catch them all, that’s how I see it. No milk no problem, take a bag of ground cinnamon and put in in a bowl and eat the Cinnamon Toast Crunch out of the bowl with the ground cinnamon (the breakfast of gangsters). Some people say I go overboard with the cinnamon but I think I go underboard, just dig in, dig myself in, Cinnamon and Toast and Crunch, and cinnamon.

There are many boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my house, enough to fill a cupboard, or two, enough for a week of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, at least fifteen boxes, no wait, actually eight, I’ve already eaten the others. Actually, I think I got kind of ahead of myself. Let me check--

I’m out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I’ve run out of milk a long time ago but running out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is bad. I need the Crunch. I crave the Crunch. I toast myself some toast and then I dip it in the bowl with the cinnamon and then five things happen sequentially:

1. I smell the cinnamon toast (crisp, burnt, bready, lack of sweetness).

2. I put sugar on the toast; it sticks.

3. I bite into the toast (crunch, 10% crust and 90% soft spongy bread).

4. I chew (the toast gets soggy with saliva and the taste of cinnamon overpowers everything)

5. I spit.

Ok.

I drive to the grocery store and I hold on to the steering wheel because it’s the only thing that keeps my hands from shaking because I have to buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch and I look forward to buying Cinnamon Toast Crunch so much and I also haven’t eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch in over an hour and that makes me shake even more because I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I need to get more Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

The store is closed.

Closed.

C-L-O-S-E-D

It doesn’t say why. I throw a brick through the window.

Somewhere something noisy goes off but I already know where to go and I run down the aisle with the cereals in them and I rip the boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch off their shelves, rip them off and rip them open, just right here and now, because I need my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I dive head-first into the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A sea of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Crunchy little pockets of sugar and cinnamon, I dig right in, I go underground, I live in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I’m living the dream, all the Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the world.

Open, empty mouth
Awaits Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Heaped up in my hands

I hurry up with the eating because the sirens are coming but also because I really like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but also because the police is coming and they will take the Cinnamon Toast Crunch away from me, take me away and shove me in a prison where there is no Cinnamon Toast Crunch, only water and bread and no cinnamon on the bread, and I should really leave a fiver on the counter for all the boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch I am eating, but I am not sure, is that how much they cost? I throw my wallet down the aisle. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I don’t need milk or cinnamon, I just eat them as they are, rip the boxes up and shove the Cinnamon Toast Crunch down my mouth and then I lick my fingers because my fingers are sticky with the sugar and cinnamon and then inbetween all the crunchy, sweet goodness I get an extra kick of sweet and cinnamon and then I go back to the eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch. My stomach bulges under the load and heavy steps come through the door and someone shouts “Over here,” but most importantly I am starting to feel full, I am bloated, my stomach churns under the weight of many Daily Values’ worth of delicious sweet Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I am not done yet, I am not done, oh no there are so many boxes still so many boxes and the police is coming and I grind down the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and rip myself off a piece of cardboard and I get ready to snort--

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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Cereal: Cracklin' Oat Bran (197 calories)

Top Shelf
815 words

Jake sits across from Ian at the table, and to Jake it seems like they’re miles apart. Ian’s house feels oppressive and cavernous; all space feels like distance in a house this large. There is no intimacy in a house big enough for a spiral staircase.

They’re eating bowls of Cracklin’ Oat Bran, which, in Jake’s opinion, is the best cereal he’s ever tasted. It’s sweet and delicious, but like everything in this house, it’s ephemeral. Like it could be snatched away at any moment.

Between mouthfuls of cereal, Ian talks about his ambitions to run for office. He speaks with these forceful hand gestures, his eyes glinting, gushing about his favorite amendments to the Constitution, while Jake tries to convince himself that he’s interested. He strains to think of something to say. Because if he doesn’t think of the right words, Ian’s going to decide that Jake’s not worth the attention, not worth the invitation into this world.

When they’re finished eating, Ian walks over to Jake and kisses him again. He tastes like cinnamon, and that’s good enough for now. But Ian insists that Jake has to leave before Ian’s parents come home, and as Jake’s biking home, the last few hours refuse to coalesce. It’s some weird fever dream. It’s not reality.
---

Jake asks his mom if she can pick up some Cracklin’ Oat Bran at the store.

“No one needs to pay five dollars for a box of cereal,” she says.

“It’s what my friend’s family eats.”

She snorts. “Well, when we move into a three-story house, you can eat your expensive cereal. Until then, the Aldi Mini-Wheats are just fine.”

Jake’s disappointed, but he accepts it. Until a year or two ago, they were a Stop and Shop Cheerios kind of family. But then Jake’s mom had gotten the promotion, and they’d built a cheaper grocery market within driving distance, and now they were an Aldi Mini-Wheats kind of family. They were moving up in the world, and Jake, though he’s only fifteen, knows that sort of mobility is something you don’t take for granted.

He also knows that, barring a miracle, they’ll never be a brand-name family.

---

There is no miracle.

---

Ian doesn’t want to be seen with Jake in public. Jake resents it but doesn’t push it, because he understands. It’d only draw unwanted attention, Ian insists, and while Jake yearns to be noticed and seen, he’s aware that not all attention is good.

Instead they still have the spare hours after school. Ian tells his parents he’s studying with his brand-name friends at the library. But instead he picks up Jake in his Mercedes, drives a couple towns away, and they sit, talk, and touch in the parking lot of a state park.

When the sun starts dipping, it’s time to go home, and Ian drives Jake to a Subway just couple of blocks from Jake’s house. They don’t kiss goodbye, because someone might be watching.

---

They’re parked in front of the lake one April evening when Ian tells Jake that he heard a rumor. It turns out that Shane, on the lacrosse team, might be gay.

Jake doesn’t know Shane. But he’s on the lacrosse team. And you don’t play lacrosse unless you’re from a brand-name family.

Jake’s clothes feel uncomfortable and thin just then, and a stray whiff of Ian’s shampoo – which smells defiant, masculine, and rattles Jake’s nerves – reminds Jake of the Herbal Essences shampoo he shares with his mother.

“Cool,” Jake says, and leans over, with what he knows is the wrong kind of passion, to make out.

---

A week later Ian tells Jake it’s just not working out.

A week after that, Jake catches Ian and Shane holding hands in the school’s parking lot.

And a month later, Ian and Shane are going to prom together.

Jake can’t afford a ticket.

---

That summer Jake gets hired at Subway for minimum wage. He’d like to get his license, and he needs to fund his own lessons, fees, and travel expenses. And a month into his job he doesn’t even have half the money he needs.

Still, he stops at the Stop and Shop one day – the one Jake’s mom used to shop at before they built the Aldi. He goes to the cereal section, and buys a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran. As he’s biking home, he feels stupid for spending almost an hour’s wages on a box of cereal.

But at home, he pours the cereal into a plastic yogurt container, and when Jake smells the cinnamon, his nerves jangle once more.

Jake loves Cracklin’ Oat Bran. But he’ll never be good enough for Cracklin’ Oat Bran, and the hollowed-out feeling in his belly tells him that he’ll go mad trying to pursue Cracklin’ Oat Bran anyway. It’s only rational.

But still, he pours another bowl.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Prompt = Cocoa Puffs

833 words

Stale

flerp fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2016 around 16:55

artichoke
Sep 29, 2003

delirium tremens and caffeine

Gravy Boat 2k

Cheerios - 993 words

snip

artichoke fucked around with this message at Nov 11, 2016 around 02:44

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

Hank Armstrong II: Cereal Killer

Prompt: Special K Cereal

Words: 1170


"...and that, Hank, is why you will never, ever go near the stables again! You hear me?" The chief snarled and slammed his fist on the table, a cigar smoldering between clenched fingers. Two more jutted between his chapped lips, and he glared at the magnificently meaty figure of Hank Armstrong.

Hank snarled and chewed a piece of raw horsemeat. "Some of those horses was being used to smuggle cocaine, chief. They was being sold to horse cartels to make money to buy more horses and cocaine. But I ended it."

"Put down the horsemeat," the chief growled, eyes narrowed. "And your badge and gun! You're off the force!"

"Fine. I'll be back tomorrow. To get them back." He slammed his hands on the desk and leaned forward, the tip of his nose touching the chief's. "Because you'll need me."

"Okay," said the chief. "Now go home, you're off the force tonight."

"Actually, it's morning." Hank pointed to the window, and the dark sky was immediately lit by the rising sun. "And that means only one thing: it's Special K time."

Hank turned and walked through the wall, which sealed itself with a sound like wet dough smacking concrete. The only sign of his passage was the statement "HANK WAS HERE. BE GRATEFUL." The chief sighed, and called for an exorcist.

***

Hank crashed through the kitchen's skylight and landed next to the kitchen table, absorbing the impact with one fist. He looked up at his loving wife Marla and daughter Caitlin, then at the kitchen table replete with a complete breakfast: toast, eggs, orange juice, bacon, grapefruit, and...

Hank's massive, beautifully unshaven jaw dropped in horror, and he went paler than a ghost who just received terrible news.

"My love, my darling, my dearest one," Hank blubbered, falling to his knees before his wife. "Where is our Special K?"

"Gone," she said sadly. "Before you got here we were robbed -- and the robber left a ransom note!"

Caitlin handed Hank a pink post-it note and sniffled. "Will you rescue our cereal, daddy?"

He took it, memorized the number, then ate the paper. He nodded to his little girl. "Yes, sweetie. Daddy will catch the bad man who stole our cereal."


***

"This is Hank Armstrong, former policeman." Hank growled into his cellphone as he power-walked to the Abandoned Warehouse District, the place where, by federal law, all kidnappers must hole up. "I got skills. Skills that are very scary for people like you. I'm gonna find you, and make you real sorry you stole my Special K."

"I think you have the wrong number, sir."

Hank cursed, then punched himself in the stomach. The soggy post-it flew from his mouth and into his hand. He quickly re-memorized the number, then re-digested the note.

"About time you called, I was beginning to think you'd moved on," said the voice of pure evil on the other end of the line, "to brunch."

"I want my Special K, criminal!" Hank's voice was hard, like angry iron that wanted its cereal back. "My daughter needs those essential vitamins and minerals!"

"Then come inside and we will... negotiate." The voice on the other line snickered, then hang up. Hank fumed, then looked at the warehouse directly before him. The door opened with an ominous creak. Elsewhere, a lonely wolf howled, and thunder cracked. A bird also chirped, and Hank glared at it for ruining the ambience. It twittered an apology.

When Hank entered the warehouse, he pointed a gnarled, manly finger at the loathsome criminal within. And Hank could tell it was a criminal -- he was a cop, he knew criminals, and this one wore a black-and-white striped shirt, leather gloves, a black eyemask, and was holding a large sack with the word "loot" scrawled on it in black marker. He fit the description.

"You got my Special K in that sack?" Hank snarled and spat.

"Oh, no," said the criminal, stepping aside to reveal the helpless box tied to a chair. "It's here, where I can keep a safe eye on it."

"What do you want for it?" Hank glared at the criminal. The audience gasped, rapt with tension. And, of course, one jerk talked loudly on his phone during the scene. He was later found beaten in an alley, with a pink post-it note shoved in his mouth.

"What do I want? Your life, of course." The criminal grinned with criminal intent. "You ruined my cocaine plans."

"My life? But I promised it to Marla when we got married! No deal!" Hank went to draw his gun, then realized he had no gun. So he pretended his hand was a gun and pointed it at the criminal. "Take off that mask, thief!"

The criminal dropped his bag and growled, raising his hands. "Fine! But don't say I didn't warn you."

"But you didn't warn..." Hank began, then gasped in shock and horror and surprise.

A horse stood before him, its eyes narrowed, teeth bared. "You ruined my plans, Armstrong! And now your beloved breakfast cereal is gonna get it!"

The horse turned to the chair where the Special K was bound, helpless. Hank leapt atop the horse's back and tore at its flowing mane, crying out in fury while the horse bucked and yelled. It finally dislodged Hank, and got up on its hind hooves and got into the standard boxer's stance.

"C'mon Hank, let's see if those arms are as strong as your name implies!"

Hank and the horse traded blows, but Hank knew he couldn't keep it up much longer; the horseshoes on the end of its hooves gave the horse an added advantage, like brass knuckles made of iron. Hank needed an advantage of his own.

He curled into a ball and rolled between the horse's legs to the chair where the Special K was bound, tore away the ropes, and he squeezed the box in one titanic hand. A fountain of delicious, nutritious cereal fountained from the box and into Hank's gaping maw, and he swallowed the dry flakes with gratitude. He flexed, and his shirt exploded into cloth shrapnel. The horse gaped and whinnied.

"No... no! Murderer! Fiend!" The horse's eyes were wild with fear and disgust. "You ate my hostage!"

Hank yelled an ancient Mesopotamian war cry and hammer-punched the horse into orbit where it thought about ants and died.

A pyrrhic victory. He had defeated the criminal horse, but at the cost of killing his beloved Special K. Then his phone rang.

"Hi, sweetie! Just calling to tell you we found another box, so you don't have to bother. Come back home for a bowl!" Marla's sweet voice drifted from the phone.

"This one's got red berries!" Caitlin's voice followed.

Hank smiled inwardly, then outwardly as well. With a strength born of Special K and the skill of many years as a policeman, he tunneled through the earth to home.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

Brawlpost: Screaming Idiot vs. Obliterati

Old Man of the Mountain

Prompt: Adventure!

Words: 1500


"Grandfather!" Khima bounced about her harness, her cheeks bright red from excitement and the biting cold. "Are we near, Grandfather?"

Azuni sighed. He'd asked the child to refer to him by name; he was not her grandfather -- merely her guardian. But as he glanced at the two beautifully painted jars packed carefully with the rest of their belongings, he decided not to correct her.

They rode onward up the mountain and their mount -- a large, thick-furred yak-like creature -- lowed plaintively. It smelled something it did not like on the biting wind, but was too well-trained to give in to instinct.

"I do not know. The snow is thick, the wind is strong. But the ghrak has found ample footing thus far. That is a good sign." Azuni forced a smile to his dark-skinned features. "We will soon be among your people."

The girl squealed and Azuni wished he could feel her optimism. It was true the ghrak easily navigated the inhospitable terrain, but it had been born to these lands, and it was nimble despite its bulk. But Azuni had lost the trail days before, during the blizzard that had claimed most of their supplies.

He looked at the cheerful little girl and his heart ached at how thin she had become. Azuni had given her his share of what remained whenever he could trick her into accepting it, but he was an old traveler, and wise enough to know how much it took for the body to stay warm. At least the ghrak ate well; it used its tusks to dig through snow and permafrost to feast off the hardy roots of sleeping mountain-weeds, and they still had many bags of feed, which Azuni sometimes used to supplement their own flagging supplies. They were old and musty-tasting, but the dried plant matter did much to thicken the watery stews they had come to rely upon. Azuni felt guilty taking food from the beast, but he would sacrifice it gladly to save Khima.

"Grandfather," Khima said, reaching up to tug at Azuni's thick robe. "Tell me a story!"

Azuni started at that, then calmed as he adjusted the thick hood about his face. "If it will keep you quiet, yes, I will tell you a story. What do you want to hear?"

"Tell me of the Old Man of the Mountain," she said, her eyes wide and bright in the dimming sunlight. "I like that one! It's scary!"

Azuni sighed. He disliked that story immensely, but Khima's father had told her that story every night before the sickness had taken him, before the village elders had asked Azuni, an explorer, to honor the father's wishes and take the dead man's daughter home.

"Atop the highest mountain in the land lived an old man," Azuni said, wishing for Khima's father's voice; he had been a singer of songs, and he and his wife had traveled the land to find new songs to bring to his people. She had been with child, and the birth had gone wrong; Khima survived, but her mother did not. "And he was very wise; men from all over the world would come to him and ask him of the meaning of the world. And because he was wise, he told them nothing, for that is an answer a man must learn on his own."

The wind howled like a forlorn animal, and with it came intense cold. It made Azuni's bones ache, made Khima cry out. Even the ghrak shuddered.

"But the old man was prideful. He thought himself wiser even than the gods, and because people revered him and because he lived so far above them, he thought himself a god." Azuni shuddered at another blast of immense cold, and he turned about to pack the furs more tightly about Khima, who was fighting back tears even as a few froze upon her cheek.

"Finish the story, Grandfather," she whimpered. "Please."

"After the old man fell prey to his pride, he began to kill all who came to him without tribute, and in his madness, he ate their flesh and wore their bones," Azuni went on, his few teeth chattering. The snow fell steadily; another blizzard would soon be upon them. Gods, he would have to stop the ghrak, set up the tent, light the fire, and do all the other things that must be done. But he was so old, and so tired. He was another old man too full of pride atop a mountain, and it was a cold comfort that he recognized his hubris. Why hadn't he given the task to a younger man? Why hadn't he asked for help? Foolish, foolish Azuni!

Gods above, he thought as the wind and the snow and the bitter, bitter cold shrieked and gibbered, I have been a fool, yes I have, but must the child die as well?

"The story, Grandfather," Khima said, sobbing.

"And the old man changed," Azuni said, his voice almost stolen by the hungry wind. "He became as monstrous outside as he was inside: hair, long and thick and white sprouted from his hide; his teeth and nails grew long and sharp; his howls could call the blizzards to hide him as he hunted. He was wise no longer; indeed, he had become a beast."

The ghrak reared, nearly dislodging its riders and cargo despite the tight harnesses and straps. Azuni hurried to unburden the beast, but as he freed Khima, the ghrak gave a deep and terrible roar. It pawed the ground, yellowed tusks gleaming.

And then he came.

A creature from stories, a beast from nightmare, warning and omen and legend and awful, terrible reality: the Old Man of the Mountain. It knuckled down the craggy slope, snow billowing about its matted fur like a cloak, old bloodstains marring white fur. It opened its jaws wide and revealed a mouth full of jagged teeth, and it howled with hunger.

To Azuni, it looked like one of the great apes of his homeland, but feral and full of hatred, not at all like those familiar, gentle herbivorous giants. To Khima, it was a punishment, and she buried her face in Azuni's shoulder as the old man stood frozen with fear.

The Old Man of the Mountain screamed and knuckled toward the child and her protector, spittle freezing even as it dribbled down its cracked lips, its tiny eyes red and mad. Azuni had weapons, but they were strapped to his mount, and even if they were at hand he did not have strength enough to use them. All he could do was turn his back to the monster, hope his old flesh would suffice to shield her.

The ghrak's blood sang with the love of those who reared it and the hatred of the wild white apes of the frozen crags. It charge the Old Man of the Mountain, decorated horns and shovel-tusks gouging and tearing. But the Old Man of the Mountain was cunning and spiteful, mortal wounds or no, and he used the ghrak's own weight against it. Both beasts went over the cliff, howling and roaring, locked in a battle that ended upon the sharp, snow-covered rocks below.

"Grandfather," Khima sobbed. "I'm sorry. I don't want to hear that story anymore. I'm sorry. I'm sorry!"

Azuni clutched the child close, heart shuddering in his chest, and he fell to his knees in the snow. "Shh, it's over now. The Old Man is gone. We live."

"Momma and papa-"

"They wished for their ashes to be scattered; this place is as good as any." He coughed raggedly, wiped blood from his lips. He sat in the snow, too weak to stand, listening to Khima's increasingly desperate pleas.

"Old man! You, in the snow! Are you hurt?"

Azuni looked toward the source of the voice; a group of hunters armed with spears and knives; they wore white ape pelts over intricately-woven robes, and their skin was light, like Khima's.

"I bring you this child," Azuni croaked, consciousness threatening to abandon him. "She is named for her mother, Khima. Her father was a singer of songs." He coughed again, raggedly. "They died, and I was tasked to bring the child home. Please, take her in."

"Our village is near, old one," said the leader of the hunters. He had a sad smile on his face. "And I remember Khima. We mourn her and her man's passing, but we rejoice in her child's homecoming. Will you come with us?"

Light had left Azuni's eyes; life had left his body. But Khima never forgot the one she called Grandfather, and when she grew older she sang a tale of the new Old Man of the Mountain, with skin as dark as night and a spirit as warm as summer. She sang also of his mount, a loyal and courageous beast of burden.

And she, too, became a traveler.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Cereal: KELLOGG'S PRODUCT 19, 110 calories. I put two bananas on top for extra wordscalories.

The Cellar Beneath the Cabin
1275 words

Madisen knew about the cellar beneath the cabin in the mountains, but had never seen it with her own eyes. Now, she stood beside her dad, watching him fiddle with the padlock on the cellar door, her arms folded tightly across her chest.

“Just--there we--darnit--wasn’t like this last time,” he grunted in a staccato stream of frustrated dad consciousness. The padlock dropped from his hands and hit the wooden door with a solid thunk, key still lodged partially in the keyhole. “Well, shoot,” he said, taking a step back and putting his hands on his hips. “All the supplies for our trip are in there. Lock must’ve got gummed up with something.”

Madisen was seventeen, the age at which daughters become impervious to their dads' antics. She knew he wanted her to try the key herself; if he really thought the lock was busted, he’d already be trying to MacGyver the door open. She sighed and uncrossed her arms.

“Want me to give it a try, Dad?” Seeing cellar, finally, was the only reason she’d agreed to come on the trip, a fact her dad was aware of.

“I dunno, Maddy, it’s stuck pretty tight. We might need to go down to the general store by the highway to pick up some backup supplies,” Dad said, even as he stepped aside with a paternal grin.

The key turned with little effort. The cellar door swung open, exhaled a sigh of air that made Madisen think of a grocery store. She peered into the dark, hesitant. “Is there a light switch?”

“You can’t run electricity in from the outside,” Dad explained. He ducked into the cellar, fumbled with something just inside the door. There was the thwick of a matching being struck, and a moment later the cellar was full of limpid orange candle light.

The room was long and low-ceilinged and full of shelves. The walls were plastered with old ads, porn centerfolds, and crisp newspaper clippings featuring headlines full of cold war hysteria.

The shelves were full of food. Not cans or boxes, but bins of lettuce, gallons of milk, raw cuts of meat, and other perishables. All of it market fresh, despite the fact that no one had been to the cabin that season and the air was too warm for refrigeration.

“At least we’ll eat good while we’re here,” Madisen said, trying to conceal the disappointment in her voice. As a kid, she’d always imagined the cellar as a treasure trove, not an enchanted pantry.

“Someday,” her sad said. She looked at him inquisitively. He nodded toward the back of the cellar. Madisen followed his gaze, noticed what she hadn’t seen before: shelves upon shelves filled with orderly stacks of red cereal boxes labeled Kellogg’s Product 19.

.

Madisen sat at the old Formica table in the kitchen, surrounded by various woodsy kitsch. Her dad sat across from her. He looked very serious. Between them, on the table, were two bowls full of lightly sweetened cereal flakes and skim milk. The windows framed only black, and mountain wind rattled the glass.

“Say it. Before every bite.” Dad’s voice was quiet and raspy and didn’t match his balding hair or ponchy belly.

“I commit myself to austerity, until the time of final need.” Madisen raised a spoonful of cereal to her lips. After three days, her body was sick of it, her tongue soured by it.

“Come on. Eat it. Sweetie.”

Madisen swallowed the urge to gag and shoved the Product 19 into her mouth.

As she chewed her father reached over, patted her arm, and said, “I know. We all go through it. But remember, you’re doing this for your future, or your children’s future.”

It was approximately the four-hundred-millionth time he’d said those words, but he refused to explain himself beyond that. “Your grandpa made the rules for a reason,” was all he would say.

This time, Madisen didn’t ask for an explanation. She simply started to cry angry, frustrated tears. Her spoon clattered onto the table, and she buried her face in her hands. “This doesn’t make any loving sense,” she said through her fingers. “You’re being so weird, and I hate this stuff. I hate it.”

“Sweetie--”

Madisen looked up at him. “We have real life magic under this house, and we’re using it to store food we can’t eat.”

Dad scraped the last few soggy flakes of cereal out of his bowl and chewed thoughtfully. “Grandpa told me once that magic is a solemn thing. It’s not flashy or fanciful. That’s why it mostly only exists in little pockets anymore, because people tried to make it into something it’s not. This tradition--” he tapped his now-empty cereal bowl “--is our way of committing to responsible stewardship of the magic, so it’ll be there when we need it.”

Madisen glared at him and picked up her spoon.

.

She waited until Dad was asleep, then crept out into the windy night. It was darker than dark out in the forest, but she followed the sound of the padlock thwacking against the door in the wind. Her stomach rumbled loud enough to hear over the constant sigh of the trees. She’d purged a gut-full of mushy rice, wheat and corn before venturing out.

After a moment of fumbling with the lock, she was in. She closed the door behind her, finding the matchbox by touch and lighting a single candle to guide her pilfering. The early smell of veggies and the cool, organoid odor of raw meat triggered something primal and urgent in her after three days of nothing but mostly plain cereal flakes.

In the end, she settled for a sandwich, stacked so thick she could barely get her mouth around it. Salts. Fats. Tangy mayonnaise. Cheese. She could’ve cried again, this time with joy. The rows of austere red Product 19 boxes looked on disapprovingly.

While she ate, Madisen read the cold war era newspaper clippings her grandfather had stuck on the wall in decades past. They still smelled faintly of his cologne, and described a world on the brink of nuclear winter. It wasn’t so strange, she thought, that he’d made the cellar into a kind of bunker. She’d heard of old people being weird after the Great Depression; maybe the cereal-eating superstition was like that.

She swallowed the last bite of sandwich and went back to the door. It wouldn’t budge, at first. Her first panicked thought was that her dad had followed her outside and was holding the door closed to freak her out as some kind of penance for breaking from tradition. She pressed her ear against the gap between door and door frame, heard only silence where there should’ve been the sound of wind in the trees.

Panic-instinct took over, and she slammed her shoulder against the door with a ferocity that didn’t fit her lanky teenage build. Reluctantly, inch by inch, the door yielded to her assault. A shaft of sunlight slanted through the opening.

Madisen squeeze through the gap. Outside, in the uncanny sunlight, a dry mound of dead wood was piled up in front of the door like driftwood washed up against a seawall. She clamored over it, then turned around to see what state the cabin was in.

There was no cabin. There was a hump of earth, beneath which was the cellar. Beyond that was an empty sky, tinged with dust, and a wall of bone-white tree trunks and spindly bone-white tree fingers.

The air smelled dead.

Madisen looked back down into the cellar, and now the trove of food seemed very much like treasure indeed.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

THIS IS SPECTRES OF AUTISM'S STORY I AM POSTING FOR HIM

Indigo Rose
1085 words

Slow death, the tiger says. It’s been exercising.

Lonnie eats another bowl. Imagines the empty chemicals working their way through him. No offerings to his body but refuse, attracting unholy bacteria, carrion feeding in his temple. It’s another morning, he thinks, another sun’s bleeding ascent to cobwebbed clouds. Another grime streak on time’s short window.

Outside his actual window, which from his table he could touch if he felt like it, the city stretches to the edge of sight. This is the City, all cities are Cities, and he works for the City, which means no one, which means people that don’t say anything. Or they say a lot, by driving through streets filled with other people, and they don’t stop. They never stop.

Lonnie cleans the bodies from those streets, and when he gets home, his monochrome uniform is rust, all rust, dark like you could reach into him, and your fingers clasp nothing, just searching, never finding.

And he has seen in his dreams starlit fields, and on and on, bright green grass.

This is life and he has eaten of nothing to do it again until he has given enough to time. The City will thank him by standing, buildings row by row, silent, and watching, for nothing, waiting, for nothing. They will build until all Cities become one City and there are no empty fields.

They did that this morning, the tiger says. But you never watch the news.

And then he prays to the gods he knows, that he will see the indigo rose today.

***

The people are all gray, like corpses, corpses that walk back and forth to where they work, and what they do, if they are alive. They mass so that there’s no free space, and flow like a river of sludge, thick and solid.

And the cars go through them, because they have no time, or that’s how it must be. And he and other men that look like him clean the bodies. They must work fast; the sea parts but must wash together again. They pick up one body each; bodies are heavy, and they are not strong. Not like the tiger, who he sees every morning, and is jealous of, because the tiger is orange, and he is gray.

Who is the indigo rose? She is who he wishes was in his dreams. Her hair is like a rose, but violet. He has never seen another violet thing. She is a violet thing, her hair covers her, and she moves around the City. He sees her, only sometimes, among the walking corpses.

But who is he to her, a cleaner, rust covered like old machinery, and never art?

Now he has to move. The cars are killing, and he has to be careful. He sees a body, arcing, in death an ascent, and catching the sun on its skin. There are many, they are raining, but this is close, this is the optimal angle. It is his alone, the others are far, or not at optimal angles. He almost catches it before it hits the ground, but is not fast enough. It splatters a little, blood on the ground. This will soak into the street. The streets have been blood for a long time.

And as he moves to pick it up, he sees her. The flow has opened slightly; conditioned, but they’re still reactive. Even the dead flinch from death. And she has come from them, like a flower on a mountain, blossoming from sharp stones.

Lonnie forgets the splayed body at his feet. He moves, instead, closer to her. Closer to her beauty. Accelerating in speed because he has to time this. The black car with black windows is close. He has to be faster. He dives, body stretched out on one plane. Briefly in flight. Like, he thinks, a leaping tiger.

He crashes into her. She is moving, not because she wanted to, but because he is making her. They both fall. He was going fast enough. They’re sprawling clear of the cars, which are still coming through, still killing. There are other cleaners for that. A lot of people that are just like him.

They both get up. Look into each other’s eyes. Hers are the colour of her hair. She’s from another planet, he thinks. Beyond our galaxy. Can you find it? Use nebulas as landmarks.

He takes her home.

***

It doesn’t matter, she says to him. She looks serious. Her hair has fallen to the sides of her face and he can see the colour. It’s gray. Still beautiful. The City can taint you but it can never touch you.

When I’m run over they send out another me. Hair is easy. Eyes are easy.

Life, she says, tugging her skin, is hard.

Everything matters, he says. I’ve seen starlit fields.

She sags. Her dress creases. I’ve heard, she says, bad things about that.

Dream with me, he says. You’ll see them too.

They are together on his mattress. It’s mass produced foam, hard-packed with no give. That doesn't matter now. They’re just lying down, their bodies enmeshed in the centre. She faces apart from him, so he can feel the small of her back.

Too much us, she says. They’re the last things he hears.

***

He’s in the starlit field. There are no cobweb clouds, or if there are the stars are breaking through them. The grass is green and bright. He looks for her, but she’s not there.

The field is empty. He is empty. He looks down and sees his veins, hollowed out. He feels the wind blow through him, cold like abandoning.

It’s cold on the field. He’s barefoot, can feel it. His feet arch, toes curl up.

Something is landing on his scalp. Pinpricks of cold, like tiny needles. Wet after, like blood bubbles. He reaches up but it’s not blood. Everywhere, the snow is falling.

He watches. The wind pushes and pulls it but already thin film covers the ground. Patches of green are becoming smaller and smaller still, streaks, threads, filaments, now gone. In the white he doesn’t see beginning but end. Erasure, he thinks, but no promise.

He stands in the empty field as the snow falls heavy.

***

When he wakes up she’s gone. He walks to the table. The tiger is waiting for him. Slow death, it says. The City filtered through the grimed window.

He eats. It’s another morning, he thinks. Another sun’s bleeding ascent to cobwebbed clouds.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning



Benny Profane posted:

In celebration of your non-breakfast-cereal-oriented morning repast traditions, your story need not feature literal Count Chocula cereal. However, your story should include a main character named Count Chocula.

Word allowance 1400 incl milk

---------------------------------------------------

E: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...yers+Left+Alive

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Dec 19, 2016 around 04:56

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Fuschia tude posted:

In with Weet-Bix (105 calories).

eat it kiwis

Flaked Wheat and Spilled Milk
509 words


“No, I won’t eat that muesli.” A small hand slams down on the table. Spoons rattle. “I want Weet-Bix.”

“OK, Robbie, but we’re out,” I explain. For the third time.

Robbie’s eight years old and a real hard case. Seems formed out of fish bones and scruffy hair. I don’t know what to do with a ten-year-old. I never really did, with him. But I have to make do now, after what happened.

I have plans for us for the weekend: museum (‘cause it’s free), beach (also free), play some footie. Something to get us to Monday and school again. But first things first.

He’s got to eat his muesli.

“I don’t want it.”

“Why not? You never had a problem eating it before, mate.”

“I want that.” His eyes snap up and he points to the box of Weet-Bix tucked into a corner above the fridge.

His mum had liked to eat Weet-Bix with peanut butter. She always kept a biscuit bagged up in her purse, no matter where she went. That’s the last box she bought. She took the first one from the box before she got in the car, that one morning.

I don’t say any of that.

“No, that one’s Dad’s. How about some eggs, yeah? You like scrambled eggs. And sausage, aye?”

“I don’t want eggs. I don’t want sausage. I want Weet-Bix.”

“No! It’s not an option, all right? There’s none left. It’s an empty box. Now let’s move on.” I look around the kitchen. “How about toast and jam?”

No response. He sits glumly in his chair, kicking the table leg.

“Right. Well, let me know when you want a feed. I’m going to relax in the music room. Then we’re going to the museum this afternoon, so you will be eating lunch. Give it a think, aye?” I need to go cool down.

Rob’s a good kid, I think. We’ve had it tough lately, trying to put food on the table, taking whatever odd jobs I can find. Shifts at Woolie’s have been drying up lately. I know it must be hard on the kid. I don’t want it like that but it is.

I switch off the music player and walk back into the kitchen. “Hey Robbo, sorry about earlier—”

He’s half-way through a bowl of Weet-Bix with milk. He looks up at me, then back down at the bowl.

“What’d I tell you about those??” I don’t think. I fling the bowl across the room. Milk splatters across the hardwood.

Robbie doesn’t respond. He just stares at the table.

“What did I tell you?” I’m in his face, now. The boy’s provoking me.

“You said it was empty!” He’s mad.

“That... was your mum’s! That was her last box! How could you do this?”

Robbie pushes away from the table and walks out. The door slams. I hardly notice.

I sit in his seat. Face down on the table. Nose first.

Robbie would be coming back. He always does. But for the first time I can remember—since the accident—I break down and cry.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

The Science of Honey
Cereal: Honeycomb
(1,269 words)

While Dr. Melles was alive and I was spending most of my weekends helping with her robotic experiments, I'd come in to her kitchen on Saturday mornings and find her daughter Brin scarfing down Honeycomb at the table. One time I picked up the cereal box and rattled it. "The doc says you're into bees. You think if you eat enough of this stuff you'll turn into a beekeeper?"

A weedy twelve to my brilliant, mature sixteen, Brin glowered. "I'm allergic, dillweed," she said through a mouthful of puffy hexagons.

"Brin!" Dr. Melles reproved.

"Sorry, Mom."

I figure that's one reason she never liked me.

Now, though, I need Brin's help, so I'm driving one more time to the country house I haven't seen since my mentor's funeral. It looks the same from the road--maybe a little brighter, the yellow paint fresh and new shingles on the roof. I worry for a second that Brin's rented out the property. But the mailbox still says Melles, and I turn my truck into the drive.

The changes pile up fast as I approach the garage. All the outdoor acreage used to be grass and flowerless shrubs, but tiny white blossoms cover the bushes on either side of the pavement now, and color runs riot past the chain-link fence dividing drive from yard. Those orange stars up front are lilies; foxglove stands beside them. Snapdragons grow under the young fruit trees that shade the shed Dr. Melles used for a lab. Stepping out of the truck, I listen for and hear a soft drone in the garden. A bee glitters on one of the rosebushes framing Brin's door.

No one answers my knock or the doorbell. The television's on, though: I hear the Food Network through an open window. I wander over to the fence and through it, telling myself she's probably somewhere outside, but the truth is the sight of the shed has made me miss being sixteen fiercely. I want to see the inside again--and the thumbprint lock is still in place, glowing red. The insectile hum vibrates in my ears. I press my thumb to the pad for old time's sake.

The door clicks; I step into a narrow hall between glass hives alive with golden bees.

Golden. Each is made of metal, thousands upon thousands of fine-spun legs tapping out music on the glass. They build upside-down wax cathedrals over the table where I learned to work a soldering iron. Real wax, for all I can tell. Some buzz by me to reach the open door, and I catch one to touch its delicate wing lightly, lightly.

"Jesse? What the hell are you doing in here? Get out!"

Brin's at the threshold, pruning shears in her hand. Her hair's the deep brown I remember, still curly, and she still has the freckles she must have gotten from her father. Ten years have made her less of a stick, but that glower is familiar too.

"Dr. Melles made these?" I ask.

"Drop that!" Brin lunges to slap my hand; I release the bee. It drifts away unharmed. "You have no right!"

"I didn't know the lock would still work."

"I should have found someone to reprogram it. Leave my bees alone."

I step forward and she steps back until we're both out in the garden. "I assumed you'd found a treatment for your allergy when I heard you were in the honey business," I say. "But that's not it, is it? Your mom--"

Brin pulls the door shut and encourages me away from it with a strong grip on my arm. "It's not your business."

"She built those bees for you."

Brin digs her fingers into my bicep. Then lets go. "Yes. All right? Yes, she did, and you need to never mention them to anyone if you don't want me calling the cops on you for trespassing. Mom pushed herself the last year of her life so I could do what I love to do. If you cared about her, Jesse, don't ruin that."

"Do they pollinate like the real thing?"

Brin waves an arm at the flowers all around us. "Take a guess."

"Can they travel?"

She narrows her eyes. "I wouldn't want them to."

"My grandfather keeps an orchard to stretch out his lovely disability payments. It's failing--not enough bees for the trees last year or this, and he won't take money from me. I hoped I could rent him some of your bees. Now I'm sure they're perfect."

"No way. Anyone who sees Mom's work is bound to want to take them, or go to the news, or--you know how amazing they are."

"I promise you that won't be a problem," I say. "I'll swear it on anything you want. My father's soul, my hope of a doctorate--"

"The horrible, hopeless, humiliating crush you had on my mom?"

My ears and neck are hotter than the sun. "If you insist. It was obvious?"

"Definitely." Brin's voice softens a fraction after I look away. "She liked you too much to bring it up. Not that way, mind. She'd want me to help you, probably. So swear, and I guess you can help me box some hives."

One dignity-crushing vow and six cratings later, she and I are headed south in my truck, because naturally I couldn't drive off alone with such precious cargo. There aren't many words exchanged. We reach my grandfather's land in the late afternoon, and I drive into the orchard proper, then check in with Granddad before going back to help Brin set the hives up on the grass.

Inert, the bees gleam in the soft light. Brin taps one hive, then another. "Wake up, bees," she says, and at the sound of her voice, they do. They pour from the glass to seek nectar in the apple and cherry trees, the peach trees and the pear. Their hum fills the boughs.

Footsteps beside us: Brin hears them and turns to get her first look at my grandfather. He's using his white cane on this uneven ground. At the sight of that and his dark glasses, Brin's breath catches, then escapes in a soft sigh of understanding. Only she sees my grin. "We're set, Granddad," I say, taking brief hold of his shoulder.

Brin chips in. "They're yours until the end of August, sir. I'll come by to check on them twice a week, and you don't need to do anything but leave them be and make sure they aren't disturbed."

"Shouldn't be hard." Granddad is silent for a minute. Listening. He relaxes as he does, a smile creasing his face. "It's been too long since I've heard this kind of beesong. It's the sound of life... now, how much do I owe?"

Before I can answer, Brin says, "A bucket of cherries if my bees do their job. I'll collect when they're ripe." She's smiling too, the first smile of hers I've ever seen.

"That's not much to ask, considering," I tell her when we're back in the truck.

"Considering Mom's patents, I don't need more." Brin looks at me for a while. "I have her notes on the bees," she finally says. "They're Greek to me. Maybe you could make something out of them--for your grandfather."

When we stop for gas, I duck into the convenience store to buy a box of Honeycomb. Brin rolls her eyes when I rattle it at her, but she laughs, and we both scarf down dry cereal on the way back to her garden.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Calvary
Cereal: Lucky Charms (147 calories)
1327 words


They were on the road to Calvary, less pilgrims than refugees. Daniel’s car rocketed down the interstate, weaving between abandoned minivans and the many-wheeled angels whose corpses littered the freeway. As lion-headed horses fell upon the city, spitting out fire and sulfur, the Frozen soundtrack hit repeat. There was a brief whirr before the speakers blurted out into song again.

Daniel peeked at his daughter in the rearview mirror. She sat jammed between open boxes and tangled webs of laundry, the remains of his townhouse. Margot had gotten hold of an old box of Lucky Charms and was shoveling marshmallows into her face. Her car seat, mercifully, still seemed to be fastened in place.

“Hey, there, baby-girl,” he said with an unconvincing smile. Blood splattered across the windshield. “You doing alright back there?”

Margot, squeezed into a bright-pink cardigan, gave him a vacant, unknowable stare and shoveled another cereal-filled fist into her mouth. Hearts, stars, and horseshoes rained down onto the car floor. Old snot and tears smeared across her face.

“Yeah,” she said after chewing. Margot looked out the window. “Daddy, I don’t think we’re gonna get to go to the zoo.”

The car roared out a duet that seemed more manic than happy. He had bought the CD, along with other dollar-store toys and trinkets, from a suburban shopping centre near his ex-wife’s house in Calvary. Charlotte’s new husband had a yard and a pool.

”This is what kids listen to, right?” He had asked the greasy-haired cashier. ”Do you know if, like, a lot of parents buy this stuff?”

Now he was on the road, apocalypse overhead, and he still wasn’t sure if he had picked the right CD. He wondered if that reflected bad parenting or if Charlotte’s lawyers would bring that up when they talked about custody.

The car vibrated as something exploded behind them. The air was rank with gasoline.

Daniel swallowed and turned. “No, Maggie. I think we’re going to have to cut your visit short. Your mom’s probably really worried–.”

“Daddy!” Margot squealed, pointing a cereal-flaked finger at the front window.

A semi, its front half wreathed with flame, barreled over the grassy median and into their lane. Margot screamed as Daniel pumped the brakes. If he swerved the car, he might avoid a direct impact. If he turned the wheel, the truck might hit the back passenger seats instead of his windshield. But Margot–.

The truck wooshed past them, its metal frame groaning under intense heat. Daniel and Margot watched as the truck skidded down a hill, its cargo bouncing up and down before it smashed against a concrete barrier. Smoke wafted up towards them. They sat in silence for a moment.

“Daddy, you can listen to something else if you want.” Margot said in a small voice, as though she knew what he had been thinking.

Daniel nodded. He tried not to think about the truck or what he might have done to save himself. Instead, he flicked on the radio. Sirens and emergency broadcasts filled the space between them.

***

Daniel relaxed as they moved into the suburbs. Though black clouds streaked across the sky and the rumbling of angelic choirs could be heard far away, armageddon had not yet arrived in Calvary. Instead, the streets were abandoned like hurricane country before a storm. Boarded-up McMansions loomed around them. A hardness welled up in his throat and, for the first time in years, he worried about Charlotte. God, I hope she’s still around, he thought.

He coughed to break the quiet.

“You must really like that cereal.” He said, turning to look at the half-empty box. It was difficult to tell whether she had gotten more in her mouth or on the floor.

Margot said nothing and instead looked down at her light-up, velcro sneakers.

“Which part do you like the best?” He asked.

Margot looked up at him with dead seriousness. “Shooting stars. Space is my favourite.”

“Oh wow,” he said, tapping his fingers against the steering wheel as they turned down a side road. Charlotte’s house, with its pool and its big yard, was just around the curve. “You must like space a lot.”

She nodded and a smile spread across her face.

“You know what I like,” He said, turning around to smile. “I like the little brown bits. The little fishes and triangles.”

“Nooooo!” She laughed, clapping her hands to her face as though it were the most ridiculous thing she had heard in her life. “That’s gross!”

Daniel beamed as he pulled into his ex-wife’s driveway, almost forgetting the carnage behind them. The house loomed, dark and heavy, across the sunlit street. The open front door rattled in the breeze but Daniel could see nothing beyond the foyer. After gathering his thoughts, he unbuckled and lifted Margot from her seat. The cereal box dug into his flesh as he carried and set her down on the grass.

“Stay here,” he said. “I’m gonna go see if your mom is around. Do you understand?”

Margot nodded and he pushed his way through the darkness of the front door. A few moments later, he wished he hadn’t. The sound of leathery wings echoed through the house. Something was outside.

Armageddon had come to Calvary.

***

A terrible thing touched down on the lawn. Its dark wings scraped against the house, plunging the neighborhood into a premature night. Its countless eyes rolled in their sockets until they found Margot, tiny and delicate, still clutching the box of Lucky Charms. The thing twisted its impossible neck downward.

Daniel stepped back further into the foyer.

“This one is called Abaddon,” it said with a deep boom that shook the windows. Daniel knew this voice. It was the tone that children used before stamping on anthills or ripping the wings off of flies. It was the voice of a third-grader who had trapped a butterfly between his hands. It was innocence without comprehension. Power without pity. “This one comes to bring judgement to the earth. Is the little one worthy?”

Margot gaped at the enormous thing, unable to comprehend what she was seeing. She hugged the box closer. Then, after a moment, the tears came. Margot screamed, her face contorting into a pink and white mass. Saliva splattered out onto her cardigan. Mucus streamed from her nose.

“Is the little one worthy?” The angel said again with its full weight now pressed against the earth. The earth trembled. The car alarm blared to life.

Daniel’s head raced. If he stayed in the house, it might not see him. If he just closed his eyes and ignored the screaming, the thing might eventually go away. It might leave. But Margot–.

Daniel stepped out into the darkness of the lawn, without weapon, without defense. “Leave her alone!”

The thing swivelled its enormous eyes towards him. Its expression changed. Confusion replaced boredom. “Why does this one hurl itself at heaven’s gate?” It asked.

He had no idea what he was doing. Every biological impulse screamed for him to stop and run but he pressed forward. Margot dropped the box of cereal. She ran for him and grabbed hold of his knee. Daniel pushed her behind him.

The angel stared. “The big one sacrifices itself.” It paused. “An interesting deviation.”

Daniel said nothing. The angel scooped up the tattered cereal box in its mammoth hand and ran a finger across the box. Tiny shooting stars spilled out into its palm. The angel nodded and closed its hand into a fist.

“The sacrifice is accepted. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

With a flap of its many wings, the thing pushed itself off the earth and into the heavens. When the sounds of its wings finally disappeared, Margot removed her tear-stained face from Daniel’s leg. She stared up at him with wide, unknowable eyes.

“Daddy, can we go inside now?”

Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



The cereal box is now empty.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Benny Profane posted:

The cereal box is now empty.

Was there a decoder ring in the box, or did someone choke on it?

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Thranguy posted:

This offer still stands, by the way. C'mon, those stories deserve some love. Or hate. Or something.

I'll take a crit of my first megabrawl entry.

Crit for Fuschia tude’s week 197 story, “The Road to Riches”

I think there’s an underlying cinematic vision for this story, but “cinematic” isn’t usually a great idea for flash fiction. There’s just too much packed in here. There’s far too many named characters, for example. So when there’s Jack (or not Jack, or something), I have no idea who he’s supposed to be. I guess for that section of the story, you’ve changed perspectives to Enrico’s crew, which just doesn’t work in such a limited space. The structure of this story requires that we invest in Dale, Frank, and Nic -- so this diversion into what Enrico and Jack are doing isn’t only confusing, but it’s a major derail of the stakes of the story.

It’s so much so that I forgot who Frank was by the time I reached that part of the story. And that last scene is almost good, because you’re pretty successful at building up some tension, but then it turns into a total anticlimax, where Frank isn’t involved, no one gets shot, and Dale isn’t emotional anymore. It’s really disappointing.

The constant perspective shifts are really confusing. Dale’s the central character who appears in all these scenes, but only once is a scene told from Dale’s perspective. I’m not sure why that choice was necessary for this story, but it always threw me off, because I kept expecting we were viewing things from Dale’s perspective but then we’re let into the head of some other character. And it’s never especially insightful. Especially with the last scene, I’d rather get this told from Dale’s rage and grief instead of Frank’s nonplussed confusion.

If you’re reworking this story, I’d suggest trimming down the dialogue significantly. It really slows down the pace of this story, and it doesn’t reveal a lot about the characters. Honestly, the dialogue should do more to show us that Dale and Nic care for each other, and less to tell us that Dale can’t find the keys.

There’s mechanical issues, too.

quote:

The chainlink fence and gate was easy enough to get around, he just rammed straight through.

This is a comma splice. It’s not the only one in the story. These are two independent clauses. They should be separated by a period, not a comma.

quote:

Would stop you from this hell-dumb thing your set on.

It’s “you’re.”

There’s a cinematic pulp caper spin to this story, and I think the story’s workable. It just needs to focus on the core dynamic here, especially at this length. The story doesn’t work right now because its structure makes it very hard to invest in what’s going to happen. Narrowing the focus and including more descriptive blocking (and tightening up the mechanical issues) would do a lot to make this story work.

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jun 20, 2016 around 16:09

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


To make up for no sub this week, I'm happy to do four crits if anybody's up for it.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


magnificent7 posted:

To make up for no sub this week, I'm happy to do four crits if anybody's up for it.

I'm stealing this, but I'm just going to do four completely unsolicited crits whether you want them or not.

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

If either of you end up doing week 197 crits I'll still return/pay forward at least the first one.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I did this crit and realized later that it wasn't a cereal submission. I already did the work, so I'm posting it. Suck it.

Chili posted:

Count Chocula's Lament
1200 Words

You're a newbie and I'm an old-time loser, which means it's my duty to cut you down early so you stop being so drat furtive and nice all the time.

This feels like a stab in the dark at Being Human and The Nightmare before Christmas. And man, it must be real dark where you are.

Your character's voice sounds to me like a crier at a circus. It's so fake and exaggerated that I can't even glean anything from him except for a trope of a storyteller. "Gather 'round, children, and listen to my tale!" Speaking of which, luring a child with candy into the woods definitely estranges your readers with images of a pedophile, and highlighting its triteness doesn't save that stereotype.

Chili posted:

"oh I'm going to sit in the back, and nobody will bother me business,"

I'm not usually going to bust balls for editing, but I read this like he was quoting a leprechaun and that's hilarious to me. Hilarious.

Look, if we're going to do a story about "monsters trying to make it in the human's world," can we at least have some fun with it? I like the idea of your story basically being a monologue, but I have to believe that there's a reason this person is telling this story. A good example of what you're looking for is the Group Leader from Breaking Bad. If you haven't watched this series and you have no idea what I'm talking about, stop your constant masturbating and do some loving binge watching. poo poo's a master class in story telling, don't be an rear end in a top hat. There's no consequences for Count Chocula in his story, so if he didn't learn anything, why should any of the other monsters learn anything?

Chili posted:

"You got it, Count Chocula!"

You've already taken me out of it through shear lack of interest, but if your entire story has been from a single viewpoint with no quotes. Please, please don't end on one. I feel like i just watched a cohost toss on an informercial.

You don't have to try to think beyond the hackneyed monster-real-world story. If that's the most compelling path for you to take, take it in a direction I haven't seen. Take it in a direction I care about.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

To make up for no sub this week, I'm happy to do four crits if anybody's up for it.

Yeah go on. You pick the story.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


First of all. I like that this is written by Shel Silverstein as Jonathan Doe from SE7EN.

Entenzahn posted:

Cinnamon Toast Crunch (aka Cini Minis, Curiously Cinnamon). 130 cal

Cereal Week Presents: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
996 words

They're tiny rectangular crackers with a rigid crunch, with a rough texture and swirls of cinnamon on both sides, coated in a sweetly, crunchy layer of sugar and cinnamon. Sugar and cinnamon and cracker, rough texture and a crispy mouthfeel. With cold milk. Cold, smooth milk and crunchy, sugary cinnamon. Milk and sugar and cinnamon and crisp. I could eat them all day. Crispy toast (rice) cracker and cinnamon and sugar.

I eat them all day.

By the spoon and by the heap, I eat them all day. Until my milk runs dry. Until my belly is full. I eat them and then when I’m done and I am bloated with sweetness and spice and crunchy bits, when my belly is filled with cinnamon and sugar and toast crunch and I can’t take anymore, I take more out of the box and and TOO MANY ANDS BUT THEN AGAIN IT FITS I put them on the table and then I get my pestle and mash them into a crunchy sugary powder and I inhale the Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder just snort it up my nose because I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I’m not there yet. I’m not full. I’m out of milk but that’s ok. The Cinnamon Challenge is when you take a teaspoon of cinnamon and swallow it, no drinking no water no milk just the teaspoon of cinnamon and if you can hold it in for sixty seconds you win but it dries up your throat and it makes you inhale cinnamon and if you don’t watch out the cinnamon gets into your lungs and it kills you. That’s right it loving kills you. A four year old tried it in Kentucky and he died, it’s no joke.

But me, cinnamon, gotta catch them all, that’s how I see it. No milk no problem, take a bag of ground cinnamon and put in in a bowl and eat the Cinnamon Toast Crunch out of the bowl with the ground cinnamon (the breakfast of gangsters). Some people say I go overboard with the cinnamon but I think I go underboard, just dig in, dig myself in, Cinnamon and Toast and Crunch, and cinnamon.

There are many boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my house, enough to fill a cupboard, or two, enough for a week of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, at least fifteen boxes, no wait, actually eight, I’ve already eaten the others. Actually, I think I got kind of ahead of myself. Let me check--

I’m out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I’ve run out of milk a long time ago but running out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is bad. I need the Crunch. I crave the Crunch. I toast myself some toast and then I dip it in the bowl with the cinnamon and then five things happen sequentially:

1. I smell the cinnamon toast (crisp, burnt, bready, lack of sweetness).

2. I put sugar on the toast; it sticks.

3. I bite into the toast (crunch, 10% crust and 90% soft spongy bread).

4. I chew (the toast gets soggy with saliva and the taste of cinnamon overpowers everything)

5. I spit.

Ok.

I drive to the grocery store and I hold on to the steering wheel because it’s the only thing that keeps my hands from shaking because I have to buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch and I look forward to buying Cinnamon Toast Crunch so much and I also haven’t eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch in over an hour and that makes me shake even more because I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I need to get more Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

The store is closed.

Closed.

C-L-O-S-E-D

It doesn’t say why. I throw a brick through the window.

Somewhere something noisy goes off but I already know where to go and I run down the aisle with the cereals in them and I rip the boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch off their shelves, rip them off and rip them open, just right here and now, because I need my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I dive head-first into the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A sea of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Crunchy little pockets of sugar and cinnamon, I dig right in, I go underground, I live in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I’m living the dream, all the Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the world.

Open, empty mouth
Awaits Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Heaped up in my hands

I hurry up with the eating because the sirens are coming but also because I really like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but also because the police is coming and they will take the Cinnamon Toast Crunch away from me, take me away and shove me in a prison where there is no Cinnamon Toast Crunch, only water and bread and no cinnamon on the bread, and I should really leave a fiver on the counter for all the boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch I am eating, but I am not sure, is that how much they cost? I throw my wallet down the aisle. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I don’t need milk or cinnamon, I just eat them as they are, rip the boxes up and shove the Cinnamon Toast Crunch down my mouth and then I lick my fingers because my fingers are sticky with the sugar and cinnamon and then inbetween YOU NEED A SPACE IN BETWEEN INBETWEEN but then again, it fits. all the crunchy, sweet goodness I get an extra kick of sweet and cinnamon and then I go back to the eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch. My stomach bulges under the load and heavy steps come through the door and someone shouts “Over here,” but most importantly I am starting to feel full, I am bloated, my stomach churns under the weight of many Daily Values’ worth of delicious sweet Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I am not done yet, I am not done, oh no there are so many boxes still so many boxes and the police is coming and I grind down the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and rip myself off a piece of cardboard and I get ready to snort--

So. Sure, the writing is crazy sloppy by design, so any errors can be disregarded as "totally meant to do that." except that reading all this starts to get a little exhausting. So I'm glad it's less than 1,000 words. I like the oddity of the story, your writing never really took me out of the story, but then again, that's probably because your writing WAS part of the story. Kind of like saying punk rock isn't slickly produced on purpose.

And it's definitely a story about cereal. So as far as following the rules, you nailed it; write a story about a cereal in less words than 10X the calories. Because the narrator is batshit insane, you get to slide on the necessities like the elements of style. Good job, I liked it.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Cereal: Cracklin' Oat Bran (197 calories)

Top Shelf
815 words

Jake sits across from Ian at the table, and to Jake it seems like they’re miles apart. Ian’s house feels oppressive and cavernous; all space feels like distance in a house this large. There is no intimacy in a house big enough for a spiral staircase. ----- NICE WAY TO SET THE SETTING AS WELL AS MC’s POV

They’re eating bowls of Cracklin’ Oat Bran, which, in Jake’s opinion, is the best cereal he’s ever tasted. It’s sweet and delicious, but like everything in this house, it’s ephemeral. Like it could be snatched away at any moment. ------ NOT ENTIRELY SURE ABOUT ‘EPHEMERAL’ for this, but I’ll keep reading, maybe the entire house is on top of a tightrope. And drat you for making me look up ephemeral.

Between mouthfuls of cereal, Ian talks about his ambitions to run for office. He speaks with these forceful hand gestures, his eyes glinting, gushing about his favorite amendments to the Constitution, while Jake tries to convince himself that he’s interested. He strains to think of something to say. Because if he doesn’t think of the right words, Ian’s going to decide that Jake’s not worth the attention, not worth the invitation into this world. --- GOOD, you show me that one guy is sucking up to the other, hope you show or tell me why.

When they’re finished eating, Ian walks over to Jake and kisses him again. He tastes like cinnamon, and that’s good enough for now.Your POV doesn’t shift, but because you don’t name who tastes like cinnamon, I wasn’t entirely clued in that Jake was thinking this. But Ian insists that Jake has to leave before Ian’s parents come home, and as Jake’s biking home, the last few hours refuse to coalesce. It’s some weird fever dream. It’s not reality. --- that’s a big rear end time jump in mid sentence but okay keep going.

---

Jake asks his mom if she can pick up some Cracklin’ Oat Bran at the store.

“No one needs to pay five dollars for a box of cereal,” she says.

“It’s what my friend’s family eats.”

She snorts. “Well, when we move into a three-story house, you can eat your expensive cereal. Until then, the Aldi Mini-Wheats are just fine.”

Jake’s disappointed, but he accepts it. Until a year or two ago, they were a Stop and Shop Cheerios kind of family. But then Jake’s mom had gotten GOT the promotion, and they’d built a cheaper grocery market within driving distance, and now they were an Aldi Mini-Wheats kind of family. They were moving up in the world, and Jake, though he’s only fifteen, knows that sort of mobility is something you don’t take for granted.

He also knows that, barring a miracle, they’ll never be a brand-name family.

---

There is no miracle.

---

Ian doesn’t want to be seen with Jake in public. Jake resents it but doesn’t push it, because he understands. It’d only draw unwanted attention, Ian insists, and while Jake yearns to be noticed and seen, he’s aware that not all attention is good.

Instead they still have the spare hours after school. Ian tells his parents he’s studying with his brand-name friends at the library. But instead he picks up Jake in his Mercedes, drives a couple towns away, and they sit, talk, and touch in the parking lot of a state park.

When the sun starts dipping, it’s time to go home, and Ian drives Jake to a Subway just A couple of blocks from Jake’s house. They don’t kiss goodbye, because someone might be watching.

---

They’re parked in front of the lake one April evening when Ian tells Jake that he heard a rumor. It turns out that Shane, on the lacrosse team, might be gay.

Jake doesn’t know Shane. But he’s on the lacrosse team. And you don’t play lacrosse unless you’re from a brand-name family.

Jake’s clothes feel uncomfortable and thin just then, this is one of those oddball present/past-tense things that are honestly who could care less I get it. and a stray whiff of Ian’s shampoo – which smells defiant, masculine, and rattles Jake’s nerves – reminds Jake of the Herbal Essences shampoo he shares with his mother. okay. I get what you’re saying, name brands and all that, but Herbal Essence IS a brand name, albeit not Gucci…

“Cool,” Jake says, and leans over, with what he knows is the wrong kind of passion, to make out.

---

A week later Ian tells Jake it’s just not working out.

A week after that, Jake catches Ian and Shane holding hands in the school’s parking lot.

And a month later, Ian and Shane are going to prom together.

Jake can’t afford a ticket.

---

That summer Jake gets hired at Subway for minimum wage. He’d like to get his license, and he needs to fund his own lessons, fees, and travel expenses. And a month into his job he doesn’t even have half the money he needs. lessons and fees and travel expenses wait what? This is why line-by-line crits are a fool’s game.

Still, he stops at the Stop and Shop one day – the one Jake’s mom used to shop at before they built the Aldi. He goes to the cereal section, and buys a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran. As he’s biking home, he feels stupid for spending almost an hour’s wages on a box of cereal.

But at home, he pours the cereal into a plastic yogurt container, and when Jake smells the cinnamon, his nerves jangle once more.

Jake loves Cracklin’ Oat Bran. But he’ll never be good enough for Cracklin’ Oat Bran, and the hollowed-out feeling in his belly tells him that he’ll go mad trying to pursue Cracklin’ Oat Bran anyway. It’s only rational.

But still, he pours another bowl.

Hmmmmm.
It’s a good story, it’s obvious where you’re going, but there’s a real petty thing in tying it to brand names, especially a cereal that makes you crap and fart a lot. I do not like line-crits because of some of the oddball crap I bring up in this story – so focused on checking each line that I’m not focusing on the bigger story, Jake knowing that he’s not good enough for Ian. It’s a lot too predictable by the time you bring Shane into the story, and that’s a shame; I think you could’ve brought Shane into the story because Ian really likes the cereal Shane eats or some crap like that. But that’s another story. Haha I kill myself.
Okay. Lastly. Jake and Ian could be the exact same person, and I wouldn’t know. With the exception of knowing that Jake feels less than Ian, I know nothing about either one, they’re both generic teen boys, who look identical because I don’t know what they look like or what they ARE like, except that Ian talks about politics. And in the end, you’ve basically told me a tale of a kid who dates out of his league, the end. He doesn’t really do anything about it, except whine a lot that he knows his lot in life. Not a whole lot of reasons for me to care about the story.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Thranguy posted:

If either of you end up doing week 197 crits I'll still return/pay forward at least the first one.
Tell me a tale to crit that hasn't been crit already from 197 and I'll crit the crit out of it.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

magnificent7 posted:

Tell me a tale to crit that hasn't been crit already from 197 and I'll crit the crit out of it.

Every story from Week 197 has a crit from Thranguy, but most of them never got another. This page shows the entries most in need--but to make a long story shorter, pick anything not written by Ceighk or Fuschia tude. Scroll up from the results post to find crit fodder.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Kaishai posted:

Every story from Week 197 has a crit from Thranguy, but most of them never got another. This page shows the entries most in need--but to make a long story shorter, pick anything not written by Ceighk or Fuschia tude. Scroll up from the results post to find crit fodder.
Thanks. I shall do this.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


magnificent7 posted:

To make up for no sub this week, I'm happy to do four crits if anybody's up for it.

Pick one at random!

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

So re: brawl, boy am I bad at scheduling

any chance of twelve hours, flerp?

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Obliterati posted:

So re: brawl, boy am I bad at scheduling

any chance of twelve hours, flerp?

12:00pm (noon) PST tomorrow, a second over and i call in the toxx.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



sparksbloom posted:

There’s a cinematic pulp caper spin to this story, and I think the story’s workable. It just needs to focus on the core dynamic here, especially at this length. The story doesn’t work right now because its structure makes it very hard to invest in what’s going to happen. Narrowing the focus and including more descriptive blocking (and tightening up the mechanical issues) would do a lot to make this story work.

Thanks! Huh, I didn't even remember this story at first, I had it mixed up with my next one.

Paying it forward for ... kurona_bright:

quote:

Letters!

Eh. I'm left without much more understanding after reading the story than I did before. Nothing is really given any weight: what did Tom do? Why does it matter that his name is cleared? Who is Ray and what is this place and why is he protecting it? Municipal something? Why are both characters immortal, and unable to recognize each other or this fact, except actually they can and they do?

Not to mention the fact that the protagonist is immortal takes all stakes away because what's the worst that can happen?

You have some nice turns of phrase sometimes, but this really needs a restructuring, focusing on making all the facts clear. Right now it's just muddled.

Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



CEREAL WEEK JUDGMENT


After a solid two hours of discussion, in which Thranguy and I came to the table with diametrically opposed opinions on almost every single story, our spoons have risen from our cereal bowls bearing an odd and mushy assortment.

Let's begin on the high notes, those crispy flakes doused with just the right amount of cold, creamy milk:

Carl Killer Miller brought, at least in my opinion (one that was not shared in full by my esteemed co-judge), some well-timed and confidently seasoned comedy chops to the table. Entenzahn gave us a wild-eyed ride through the gnarled underbelly of Cinnamon Toast Crunch addiction and, while I wanted to give this the win, that was the one result my co-judge expressly forbade. My co-judge strongly favored flerp's entry this week, which merited only an echoing brrrr in my own emotionally stunted ears. These three entries have received Honorable Mentions this week.

But not all bowls of cereal can be Corn Flakes steeped in ice cold whole milk. While many dishonorable mentions were proposed, many stories this week were saved by the wildly differing opinions held by Thranguy and I. In the end, we were only able to agree on a single Dishonorable Mention, for a smugly tone-deaf and drawn-out character study by newcomer artichoke. The unsalvageable-even-by-a-technically-disqualifying-edit early submission from repeat offender Fuubi takes the loss.

Which brings us to the winner of this week. While neither Thranguy nor I had picked this piece for the win individually, we both found the lyricism and opaque themes of Indigo Rose by Spectres of Autism gorgeous and compelling, and we are pleased to call you a bowl of muesli with Greek yogurt. Congratulations, Spectres!

Benny Profane fucked around with this message at Jun 21, 2016 around 04:35

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



GoD vs. Dog Brawl

flerp. djinn.

Write me a poem where someone is counting something. Counting as in “one, two, three…”, you get the idea.

Due Saturday 7/2, 2359 PST, howeverthefuckmany words. Do your best, or worst, but preferably best.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



THUNDERDOME CCIII : MYSTERY SOLVING TEENS



ok so the theme for this week ive decided is teen adventure. these books got big in the 1920s and 30s because nobody wanted to really think about what they just did to germany. its suburban america and teens need stories to inspire them to ask out betsy to the prom already.

im going to quickly breakdown relevant subgenres, all of which feature teens having adventures.

the most famous is mystery stories. examples would include the hardy boys and nancy drew. kids are usually related to law enforcement figures somehow so they have resources to call on when poo poo gets real. usually tho they do the hard part themselves. bad guys are criminals who break laws to make fast cash.

teens can also be brilliant inventors. tom swift is an example of this. usually any adventure they have is related to the pursuit of knowledge and discovery. usually they use their own inventions to outwit the bad guys, who are usually foreign powers.

teens can play sports. this is fairly str8forward. bad guys are the opposing team, which usually enjoys cheating. or there is some sort of conspiracy to rig these important high school games to also make fast cash.

teens can also be cowboys. in 20s/30s america cowboys were still real. usually these teens help out on their parents ranch. bad guys are usually rustlers. at this point natives are good guys and one will be hanging around to be the cowboy teens pal maybe.

there are other genres probably which idk anything about specifically but i hope that breakdown helps out anyone who doesnt know that teens can do things.

here are some quick ground rules:

no death. the cool thing about being a teen is that you dont have to worry about death for a while. no one dies, not teens, not bad guys, not anyone.

no profanity. yeah.

no sex. relationships are sweet and wholesome and percentage wise mostly (!) platonic.

laws are good. this is important. laws are there for a reason and if someone breaks them its a bad thing. breaking laws makes you evil and i cant stress this enough.

break any of those important rules and youre dqed.

ok i think thats it. signups end friday june 24 at midnite est. the deadline is sunday june 26 at midnite est.

i picked the word count by opening my copy of hardy boys #2 the house on the cliff and seeing how long it was. its 180 pages so you all get up to 1800 words lol im gonna kill my self.

if you ask for a flash i start grabbing books at random and assigning obscure macguffins. these are the new editions which have flashlights in the designs so that seems funny. this nets you a neat 200 words to make it 2000 words in total. i will see how i feel about reading extra td words so take yr chances.

potential judges hmu everyone else sign up pls

judges
me
Ironic Twist
Quid Pro Quid

signups
flerp
Carl Killer Miller (flash: japanese silk)
Thranguy (flash: a dinosaur bone)
anime was right
Tyrannosaurus
Fuubi (flash: a sacred stone with strange carvings)
Chairchucker (flash: a destroyed sign that looks like it says something but when it was intact it said something else)
Black Griffon (flash: a black spaceship)
skwidmonster
Mr. Gentleman
Hammer Bro.

attn

quote:

it can be set at any time

take the moon fucked around with this message at Jun 26, 2016 around 19:35

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


in post

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007


I'm in. Give me a flash rule if you wouldn't mind. I'm not going to torture you with 2000 words.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Carl Killer Miller posted:

I'm in. Give me a flash rule if you wouldn't mind. I'm not going to torture you with 2000 words.

yr flash is japanese silk

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 and I'll take a flash rule too.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Thranguy posted:

In and I'll take a flash rule too.

yr flash is a dinosaur bone

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

Dad Cereal Week Crits

This week, everyone gets a toy in their cereal box in the form of a possibly cryptic cereal-themed microcrit, in addition to their main crit.

Fuubi: Grandpa's Cereals

Past the Expiration Date

The opening is a bit awkward prose-wise, but it is establishing some characters and complex well enough.

But then this conflict, this dread-inducing mother, never goes anywhere. Instead we a pointless blow-by-blow about eating ancient expired cereal (cereal that would have been ancient when grandpa died, which makes one wonder why he was keeping it. And we have some odd pacing in which the narration is withholding the cereal name for some reason, to the point of having the kids pretend not to notice, but at the same time sort of relying on the reader's extra-textual knowledge of said prompt for the ending (and, to a lesser extent, the sequence involving the kilt) to work, well, don't do that.

Not good at all. Likely to DM, plausible loss candidate depending on the field.

Chili: Good Kid

Kid-tested

So, I tend to go on a lot about the general inappropriateness of semicolons in narrative prose. I can forgive them a bit more in first-person narration, where drawing attention to the voice is something you want to do than in third-person, where it isn't. That said, the third one (in a 370 word piece, for the love of God), in the part about Grandfather's cooking history. is just plain wrong, grammatically speaking.

The ending is a bit clunky, but all told this is probably going to land right in the middle.

Carl Killer Miller: Doctor Kellogg's Prescription

In dire need of sliced fruit

The opening paragraph is juggling too many characters with just their names to identify them. Luckily the story corrects this fairly quickly.

Getting silly quickly. Strange bit where the dialog doesn't get quotation marks in the middle. Starting to feel like a one-joke routine that's overstaying its welcome. Much like that kind of bad sketch it doesn't reach much of an ending. Low middle, I'd say.

Pippin: Soft Centre

Cookie Crook

Fairly strong opening. Callum seems more nervous than he ought to be if he's a well-established member of this shoplifter's club, though. Also not sure about the tactical choice to yoink candybars while holding more serious stolen goods, doesn't look like he has much grounds to make much of Neil's cereal choice. Or is the WH Smith the video game store, in which case why should he care about the candy bars more than the game? If he's stealing them both from the same place, seems even stupider.

So this is not unpleasant, but it's also not really that much of a story. As a vignette or character sketch, I guess it works. Middle, hopefully, could do well if the field stays weak.


Entenzahn: Cereal Week Presents: Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Deeply Disturbing Mascot

Odd opening, let's see if this goes well or badly from here. Um. That was a thing. I had Look up: are cini minis a variety of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or did the author actually deliberately write this directly about a different cereal as an extratextual joke? Turns out, according to Wikipedia, Cini-Minis are a foreign version of the same cereal except that they taste completely different, which is an odd thing for Wikipedia to say. I honestly have no idea if I love this or hate it. Probably both.

sparksbloom: Top Shelf

Store-brand lookalike

Strong opening, although I'm not sure I buy brand name cereal as a marker for upper-class. I think when you're talking lacrosse and three-story houses you're also talking hot breakfast every morning. But apart from that odd conceit, the story works well enough. (Although, when you consider that a box of cereal represents about 10 meals, it's probably not nearly so much of an indulgence as all that, especially for a bachelor without children to support.)

In my High group, but mostly because of the week's slow start.

flerp: Stale

Magically Delicious

Another strong piece, with some good character work early on. And it follows through on it. We've got a lot of kid protagonists this week, and they're of course not really masters of their own fate, but this one turns that into a tool rather than an obstacle.

This was my pick for the week's win

artichoke: Cheerios

Silly Rabbit, Trix are for the Elect

Interesting opening, not as dynamic as some but does establish character and conflict. But this turns out to be another non-story, a character sketch that goes on a bit too long and is, ironically enough, too preachy. (If there were a bit more hints of the author being aware of that irony it might have done better.) The prose itself is good enough, at least.

Lowish-middle group.

Screaming Idiot: Hank Armstrong 2: Cereal Killer

Makes its own gravy. (More dry dog food than cereal)

First and only Cereal/Serial pun of the week. Sequel to a story I haven't read? No, just action movie parody. 'some of those horses were' Lots of sight gags falling flat; things that barely work any more in film and don't have a chance in prose. Lots of 'oh, isn't this wacky'.

My pick for the week's loss.

Sittinghere: The Cellar Beneath the Cabin

Part of Adjacent to this nutritious breakfast

The opening is a bit flat, sort of redundant with the title. We've got some good characterization going on in the first section, but no conflict likely to drive a story yet, which is a problem. We also have a character more interested in old cereal than a literal enchanted pantry, which is...odd.
Second section fixes those problems, which is good, but is there words enough to reach a satisfying ending? No. An ending, but not remotely satisfying. One that doesn't make any kind of sense. (What's the point of having a supply of fresh food after the Earth is clearly too dead to rebuild no matter how many people had taken shelter in the cellar? Why in the world wouldn't you explain the rules explicitly given this obvious failure mode? (Also, the narrator is being silly talking about the depression. People her age have great-grandparents with depression memories, not grandparents, and both the cereal and the entire concept dates this as cold war rather than depression-era...)

Low-middle from the ending mainly.

spectres of autism: Indigo Rose

Watching the Mailbox for the Decoder Ring

At the opening, I'm not sure what's going on, but the prose is compelling. Okay, by the end I think that I understand the surface level of what's going on, but if there's some riddle-key that unlocks it all into a more comprehensible logic I don't have it. I liked the prose and the levels of the story that I was able to grok, though. Went into judgechat thinking I might have to fight to keep this from a negative result and wound up being talked into having it win.

The Saddest Rhino: Only Cosplayers Left Alive

Ill-advised cereal spin-off

May have avoided a fanfic ding due to the fact that while I at least recognized the name 'Sookie Stackhouse' from True Blood (and or the source novels) via cultural osmosis, neither one of us had actually seen or read enough to be sure. This isn't quite as bad as Armstrong, but it's in the same 'trying to be bananapants crazy' sort of situation. A lot of exposition, and the humor doesn't quite land. Reminded me of my cojudge's Hungry Hungry Hippos story, but not nearly as good.

Low-Middle, possible DM I guess but probably not.

Fuschia Tude: Flaked Wheat and Spilled Milk

Drawer Full of Box-tops

More kids raising kids, I see. Competent opening and prose in general. Do people in the real world hoard the last box of a dead relative's favorite cereal? Is that a thing? This is at least the second example in this week of that. This was fairly bland, and escaped Dming because a lot of why we didn't care for it had to do with what we'd already read in earlier stories, and that wouldn't have been fair.

Low-Middle Group


Kaishai: The Science of Honey

Nut -n- Honey

The opening works, although it's sacrificing plot for establishing character by going into the early flashback/backstory bit. And, ultimately, there's not that much plot there. There's barely any resistance at all between the narrator and everything she wants to have happen. The prose and character work are good, and I guess there's just barely enough story to call it a story rather than another character sketch, but there's not all that much substance to it.

Middle-High, maybe borderline HM if we're being generous.

Quo Pro Quid: Calvary

Listening intently to the bowl

Okay, a father-daughter apocalypse (biblical). Interesting. I both do and don't like the contrast between mundanity and the extreme supernatural (worrying about music-choice-related custody decisions in the face of Revalations and Daniel is a bit too far, pushing beyond natural human denial to absurdism. But the CD itself, and the cereal work on that level. The ending doesn't really work for me though.

Middle-High

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Thanks for the crit! I'll look into some semicolon stuff.

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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


in because i like this prompt and for no other reason

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