The first meeting of the THUNDERTOME BOOK CLUB will take place on Friday at 5 PM EST, continuing for as long as people show up and stick around. Come into #thunderdome on IRC and I'll link you the details. Please dress accordingly.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 00:43|
|# ? Sep 23, 2018 20:49|
Spooky thought: Totally just realized this week makes Rosa Flores fanfiction acceptable.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 04:23|
buddy crits pt2
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 05:16|
Spooky thought: Totally just realized this week makes Rosa Flores fanfiction acceptable.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 13:04|
well you know, I heard Djeser couldn't write a human character to save his life, unless it was an overly gregarious door A.I. or a bidet who just wants to find friendship in the buttholes it cleanses. Look at me im djeser I have an encyclopedic knowledge of tropes and plot devices but I'm only going to submit like 30% of the time hur hur hurrr also I'm a pokemon.
yea im gonna get that bitchmade fuckboy
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 13:13|
Spooky thought: Totally just realized this week makes Rosa Flores fanfiction acceptable.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 14:29|
Give me a domer w/you fucks.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 15:26|
Give me a domer w/you fucks.
Well Noah, as an OG, I think we can both agree you need to take down the once-venerated Sebmojo*. I mean, between you and me, you can do wobbly whimsical blither-blather Italo Calvino cracking a beer forever just as well as sheriff cyborg over there. All you need is to ramble on elaborately for a while, then juussssst when you've nearly illustrated some salient, human truth, you set the story down in front of the reader and walk away because you started writing 4 minutes from the deadline**. Oh and make sure your story features an unflappable stoner dad experiencing some sort of cog-in-the-machine ennui, or maybe an unflappable stoner dad in space. Either one will do.
*I'm sorry mojo don't set me on fire please
**I don't recommend emulating that last bit.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 18:07|
Sitting Here thinks she's the Blood Queen but Soggy Aunt is more accurate. She couldn't kayfabe her way out of a brawl against Baudolino without three layers of protective irony to soften the blow to her delicate heart. All the dreamlike situations in the word can't cover up the fact that her raw creative energy takes the form of monsters that are defeated by tweeting about them.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 18:54|
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 19:12|
Remember to like and subscribe, and follow @BloodQueenSA on Instagram.
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 23:17|
Remember to like and subscribe, and follow @BloodQueenSA on Instagram.
please don't use this thread to troll for followers on your various social media accounts
Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2016 around 01:21
|# ? Jun 30, 2016 23:23|
please don't use this thread to troll for followers on your various social media accounts
You should write about this.
|# ? Jul 1, 2016 02:23|
Mercedes you slutty piece of poo poo writing filth. Fucker. Always falling back on your Black Jesus weaksauce cause you ain't nothing but hoes and tricks, you unfunny cock smuggler.
|# ? Jul 1, 2016 04:59|
Truly, the only man who can own a man, is his self
|# ? Jul 1, 2016 05:09|
MEGABRAWL ROUND 2 RESULTS
I give goons a prompt about romance, and I get
2) abusive relationships
I did not get
Not from a single one of you. There were some good pieces in there, but not one of you even came remotely close to hitting the prompt. I don't know if that says something about the way the prompt was written, or a certain goony cynicism love showing through. Overall, a pretty disappointing round, both in terms of prompt and in terms of quality. That said, there's gotta be winners and losers:
Curlingiron v Entenzahn
Newtestleper v DMBoogie
Spectres of Autism v Morning Bell
Thranguy v Sparksbloom
Round 3 of 4 will be up within the next 24 hours.
|# ? Jul 1, 2016 05:33|
First meeting of the THUNDERTOME BOOK CLUB has gone fairly well, despite the book turning out to be on par with the TD Classics section.
Connected collection of short stories set in NYC. Much less style wankery than the last one.
Tentative date for the next meeting set at 7/15, Friday.
|# ? Jul 1, 2016 23:18|
First meeting of the THUNDERTOME BOOK CLUB has gone fairly well, despite the book turning out to be on par with the TD Classics section.
Yeah, in for this one as well
|# ? Jul 1, 2016 23:20|
doo doo da doo doo it's HATE WEEK doop doop doo doo
GOD OVER DJIN ... as Sitting Here
SITTING HERE ... as God Over Djinn
FLERP ... as spectres of autism
SPECTRES OF AUTISM .. as flerp
CARL KILLER MILLER ... as Chili
& CHILI ... as Carl Killer Miller
QUOPROQUID ... as kurona_bright
SEBMOJO ... as Chairchucker
SPARKSBLOOM ... as Ironic Twist
THRANGUY ... as SurreptitiousMuffin
SURREPTITIOUSMUFFIN ... as Baudolino
BLUE WHER ... as Benny the Snake
& ENTENZAHN ... as Grizzled Patriarch
BLACK GRIFFON ... as Djeser
& NOAH as Sebmojo
MERCEDES ... as himself
and with special guest
DJESER ... as both Tyrannosaurus AND Sitting Here
|# ? Jul 2, 2016 04:27|
gl fuckers. couple things real quick. if you submit before 2 pm est sunday you don't have a word count. so go hog wild if you think you can get it done.
Carl Killer Miller, you need to properly call out Chili or you're gonna eat a dq. I wanna know what you're planning on
|# ? Jul 2, 2016 04:35|
Something has gone horribly awry - newtestleper, though given a fine extension, has failed to submit. There must be a fight in each megabrawl: I will let nobody pass into the final unchallenged. All is not lost, however! Back in the dawn of time when the megabrawl was being conceived, I cut a deal with a well-known 'domer to be the SECRET BOSS LEVEL. That 'domer is called to stand now, to replace the coward newt.
MEGABRAWL ROUND 3: FRIENDLY FIRE
Due to the nature of the prompt, giving them the same would cause a massive amount of extra work for Thranguy and I don't think that's really fair considering he already put in the hard yards. So:
Newtestleper is disqualified
Sittinghere will now fight Thranguy for a place in the final. Thranguy, you get to choose the prompt. You have to run it past me to make sure it's reasonable, but otherwise you've got free reign.
SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2016 around 06:17
|# ? Jul 2, 2016 12:21|
We have a couple of retrospective recaps for you! Thunderdome as an institution has been around for about four years, and in that time, we've developed various tropes and traditions. For example, we have a celebrated tradition of being horrible at magical realism. Another example is, stories about dicks and poop. So with our shared and venerable history in mind, I bring you something of a quadruple feature!
Week 193/Magical Realism Retrospective
Tales from the dome's earlier, shoutier days, as well as a review of what did and didn't work in week 193! Featuring a lively reading of CarlKillerMiller's WWE magical realism piece.
Week 194/Eurovision Retrospective
Who knew the way to an all-powerful AI's heart was dubstep Dracula, jiggling heroic man boobs, and holograms? In any case, whatever makes Kaishai refrain from obliterating Earth is okay by me. Eurovision occupies a novel place in Thunderdome's heart. While it's not strictly fiction related, the Eurovision music contest is all about putting your glitziest, glammest, most avant garde self out there and...well, arguably, embarrassing yourself. Which gives it a lot in common with Thunderdome! As with the magical realism recap, we look back at Eurodomes of yore and discuss the best, worst, and most memorable moments. Featuring a dramatic reading of Quidnose's dialect dialectic.
Archive link x2
Thank you as always, recappers and listeners!
Episode Recappers Week 156: LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser Week 157: BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 158: LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser Week 159: SINNERS ORGY Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 160: Spin the wheel! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 161: Negative Exponents Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 36: Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 162: The best of the worst and the worst of the best Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 163: YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 164: I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 165: Back to School Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 166: Comings and Goings Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 167: Black Sunshine Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 168: She Stole My Wallet and My Heart Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 169: Thunderdome o' Bedlam Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 170: Cities & Kaiju Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 171: The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 172: Thunderdome Startup Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 173: Pilgrim's Progress Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 174: Ladles and Jellyspoons Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 175: Speels of Magic Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 176: Florida Man and/or Woman Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 125: Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood Week 177: Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood Week 178: I'm not mad, just disappointed Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 179: Strange Logs Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 180: Maybe I'm a Maze Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 181: We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 182: Domegrassi Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood Week 183: Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock Week 184: The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 98: Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 185: Music of the Night, Vol. II Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 186: Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 187: Lost In Translation Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 188: Insomniac Olympics Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 189: knight time Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 190: Three-Course Tale Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 191: We Talk Good Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 192: Really Entertaining Minific Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
|# ? Jul 2, 2016 19:45|
poembrawl, God Over Djinn vs Broenheim or whatever he's going by these days, theme: counting
Amelia (524 words)
Amelia, on the windowsill, ponytail and size 7 tartan school skirt
that she cinches with a plastic belt with Hello! printed in yellow letters
on the buckle: Amelia, on the windowsill, by the rainstreaked window, by the patio, in the dark,
where one loose corner of the tarp that covers her dad's fishing boat
beats itself on the paving stones like a jungle drum. Amelia, and lightning:
the sky is a shattered Fiestaware bowl like the one she dropped last week and hid the pieces
in a whole roll of paper towels, in a trash can, in the playground parking lot.
Amelia, the lightning flashes, and she starts counting to twenty as fast as she can.
Holding the heart-shaped FRIENDS FOREVER necklace
that she's rubbed with so many dirty nervous fingers, all the color's come off.
Five seconds counts for one mile, which is one third of the furthest that Amelia ever roller-skated,
and also the distance
from her to the black husk of a distant neighbor's house, the one she asked about in the car,
the one that caught fire when lightning hit it,
and the chimney was black and half of it was on the lawn, which was black like soot around it.
And Amelia's mom told her that lightning hit it and caught it on fire, but don't worry,
lightning probably won't happen to you, yet just to be safe,
Amelia counts twenty-one from lightning to thunder
and that's four miles and then a little bit further away from Amelia,
lightning, and Amelia, counting.
And when she dropped that bowl, the one she hid in the trash can?
The day after, a Thursday, ten minutes into recess,
in the undersized toilet stall in the furthest corner of the girls' bathroom,
where she's never gone before without a hall pass,
she says to herself, since she's done something really bad, not the
cracking the bowl, which shattered on the black tile kitchen floor, with a sound like thunder,
but the terrible sin that was hiding it, because she did that, she says to herself:
God, if you're going to kill me, do it before I count to twenty
and then she counts twenty as fast as she can, then twenty-one for good measure
and does it again,
and nobody strikes her down.
And Amelia looks up, stunned and alive, and walks outside holding hands with her dad,
after the thunderstorm, holding a hand much larger than hers,
into the cold, heavy, damp, coldish nighttime after-thunderstorm air, just before bedtime,
where the frogs are starting to sing, where the puddles are soaking into the dirt,
and Amelia, she carries the newspaper back to the dining room table,
in her bare feet and school skirt,
with the last grumbles of thunder, lightningless, shuddering in the far dark,
far more than four miles from Amelia, who would've told you before, age eight, that
things tend to pass if you give them time,
but who wouldn't have really known it til now,
and who really won't know what it is that's passing by as she counts,
Amelia, counting to twenty as fast as she can, not quite sure whether God will kill her or not,
not knowing what's coming, not knowing what's passing,
not for a long time,
and maybe not ever.
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 00:28|
poem words vs djinn
Start at Zero (0)
flerp fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2016 around 16:55
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 02:44|
I'm calling out notorious Ideas Guy Grizzled Patriarch so I can huff paint all weekend and write a 300 word premise about some bizarre bullshit like the ghost girl living in my toilet brush or whatever the gently caress oh but the words are so PRETTY
I bet you thought you'd sneak this callout past me while I'm busy being stuck in a volcanic crater lake, but I saw it thanks to the power of fly-by-night wi-fi, and now there are only 3,000 miles between my foot and your rear end. (Brawl me when I get home in like a month)
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 03:48|
My earliest memory is of the first night I spent behind the Barrier, my poly/cotton pants stained with the residue of a week's worth of piss-stains of various sizes and darkness, like scum lines marking the tides on a polluted shore. The smell by then was almost comforting and pleasant against the stenches of the Zone in those days: all forms of bodily function and dysfunction, bleach and terror and death.
I don't remember the collapse itself, although there are a few frames of me, clinging tightly to my father's hand in most of the documentaries of the failed evacuation. It's a powerful image, father and son left behind at the end of a nation. But I don't remember a second of it, nor any of the journey North. We were lucky, had a car that lasted almost half the way. It was a family legend, told again and again, but I only remember it in that telling.
No, my memories are of the Zone and the Barrier, of those walls that cast shadows deep enough to make night of day, of father looking in vain for someone in authority. He did find a familiar face, a couple he'd gotten out as refugees a year earlier. They took us in to their shack for the night.
We slept. Inside, there were a few small lights, enough to break the deep-cavern darkness of the Zone streets. Enough to break that illusion of empty eternity and make sleep possible. My parents slept straight through until morning. I woke up when she came into the room.
She was near to my age, six or seven, with long, dark hair and eyes that were oversized and pure black circles, like a pair of eight-balls without the spots. She saw me, held finger to mouth to bid me stay quiet. I obeyed. We sat, silently, teaching each other finger games. When she got up as to leave, I gave her Brian Bear, a stuffed toy bear wearing a hat with flags and the embassy log stitched in. It had survived the trip, somewhat worse for wear. She tried to give it back but I silently insisted. She needed it more than I, I was sure, and I needed proof that she hadn't been a dream.
In the morning my parents found a guard, and convinced him that there was at least some chance he wasn't lying about having level 3 citizenship and valid passports. We were taken to their headquarters. They took the paperwork and subjected us to an endless stream of questions, all meaningless with the subtext of an open palm. Father had always handled what money and valuables we had, but it was Mother who went to the back room to negotiate and secure our passage. The implications of that did not occur to me until some years after both of my parents had passed.
The second time I went to the Temporary Resettlement Zone was more than a decade later, as a dumb college student going out slumming with other dumb college students. This was when the fad was to face down fears, no matter how rational the fear or how genuinely dangerous it would be to face. Doug and Finney found out that I'd had a traumatic experience there, and would not relent until I went along on a trip. We brought Hannah with us and arranged day trip.
The Zone had settled down considerably. Still awful, but now lit with LED and biochemical light, weak but omnipresent, like Vegas in permanent brown-out. No more danger of being stuck needing to pay of guards to leave when everyone has biochips to announce their citizenship level at all times. The smell, well, the zone now had a strong funk of cooking food and perfume and sex and smoke of every degree of legality, but the other smells were there, too, underneath.
We each withdrew the limit of Zone cash and started our night out. Cash was the strongest appeal, the chance to go drinking or whoring without telltale signs on the spouse or parent's credit statements. Hannah, studious and sober under the university's nigh-panopticon proved to have limitless appetites in a place where video couldn't be accessed for anything less than the murder of a level 5 or lower.
I was the least adventurous of us, drinking even less than I would have on the average Friday night. I took in the culture instead, listening to music and poetry in the languages of the drowned and scorched global South, looking for nuggets to use in my own work. Cultural appropriation or salvage anthropology? Six of one, I guess.
I had money left over. I gave it to the nines. Children, mostly, with those same huge black eyes. Not any of the five citizen classes, not permanent or temporary labor either, not refugees seeking resettlement. Children born in the Zone, without leave of the host, in spite of the contraceptive drugs in every drop of water and morsel of food delivered through the Barrier. Unauthorized persons.
Zoya!, advertised the poster. The most popular, most beloved artist in the Zone, previously known only by the name. The poster put a face to her. It was her face, unmistakably. Even if It hadn't been the same smile, the same cheeks and nose, right there on the left shoulder of her patchwork jacket was the patch from my teddy bear's hat. I knew it, recognized it down to the frayed thread of the flags. I talked my bosses into sending me to look for her, to make an offer.
The Zone looked much the same as it had last time, but there was something different underneath, angry suspicions directed everywhere. Especially at visitors. Too many outsiders were coming not for the culture or the last cash economy but for the nines, perfect victims with no recognized rights. Vigilante gangs kept order when they could by a threat of mutually assured destruction.
I weathered the suspicious glares, followed the news of Zoya's performances. It wasn't long before she found me, sent a pair of stocky tattooed men to bring me to her shack.
“Hello,” I said when she met me. “You may not remember me, but we've met before. I'm-”
“Adam, was it? The ambassador's son? Of course I remember.” She smiled her pixie smile at me.
We talked, about our parents mostly, all gone now. About our lives, our career triumphs and relationship disasters, about the strange place in our mental landscapes we each held the other. She kissed me first, I think. She was shrugging out of her loose clothing while I babbled something assine about inherent power imbalances. She put her finger to my mouth, silencing me.
“You would treat me like a neural, like a child?” she said. “No. I can choose who to lay with. Tonight, it will be you.”
I made my offer, my company's offer in the morning. “Not a level 7 long term worker pass. This would be full citizenship, a level 2 vital cultural asset-”
“You want to take me away from all this, yes?” She smiled and shook her head. “Are you the devil, trying to tempt me?”
“Are you Jesus then?”
“Maybe not,” she said. “But some lesser martyr then. You know I couldn't do what I do and be the kind of person who would leave her people behind.”
“Why not?” she said. “I'm one of the oldest among us. They listen to me. They need me. Things are only going to get worse.”
She was not wrong. The last time I went to the Zone was for the Barrier protest. There were more of us than ever, citizens supporting the nines against the roving gangs of bully-boys that raided the Zone. Their party had won power. “Zero Tolerance for the Useless Eaters” had carrier a slim majority to the executive and legislature, and the judiciary was not likely to stand in their way.
We found each other, the night before. Neither had taken any other lover, not anything meaningful. She could have had any man there and picked me for that final evening.
“Do you think it will work?” I asked her.
“Stop them, you mean?” she said. “No, of course not.”
“Then why even bother?”
“Why are you here? You don't think the miracle will happen, do you?”
“No,” I said. “But there are things a person has to do. To go on record, to tell the future that there were dissenters, that some of us could not stay complicit.”
“You still think that mankind will be better in the future?”
“Us or someone else, I guess. Maybe it'll be time for the raccoons next. Or octopuses, after the rising oceans take it all.”
They all came out, to the East Barrier, at dawn, just about every nine in the Zone along with us citizen protestors. We all had stencils and paint. We rushed the wall and took our positions, marking it with stories. Stories of the lives of every nine in the zone, the living and the long-dead alike. Honest stories of their struggles, of the terrors and compromises they had to make to survive, of their failures.
The drones came before the paint had dried. They struck with perfect precision, striking down nines with deliberation and eights with indifference, leaving the citizens alone when they could. A group of us tried to protect Zoya, forming a pile of human shields around her. The bullet that killed her ripped through my arm, piercing through fat and muscle, threading around bone and major blood vessels.
Robot cleaners came soon after and began to whitewash the Barrier. They were on the third coat, still not thick enough to blot out the words, before anyone came to move the bodies.
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 14:32|
approx 1700 words
Captain Rex Flopears dreams of clouds breaking over a ruby red sun. Tinged light falls on a girl standing alone on a battlefield.
Bodies are strewn around her, sometimes stacked. They’re not breathing, like they forgot how. Tattered flags wave and warp in a desolate wind.
His dream soul is behind her at ground level. Dark shadows mass on the horizon. An army, or a monster maybe, of murk or fog, black as space.
The clouds fissure, yawing out blood red, and a wail klaxxons out, God the inter-reality energy force dying screaming over his children. The universe itself is crashing, sun splitting, everything disintegrating, particles that explode into more particles and then he’s surf, crashing against the beach of waking life.
He’s on the Fetch, fifty starblips into Theta Quadrant. Code Gray. Blaring alarms. Mr. Fuzzynose yapping no nonsensically over his bedside comm.
The Watership has found them.
Mr. Fuzzynose greets him on the bridge with a crisp noserub. “Captain, their weapon signatures are active, but they’re bouncing a comm-wave signal off us.”
“Talk?” Flopears grits out. “After what they did to us?”
“It may be prudent,” Fuzzynose says. “The Watership outclasses us totally, weapons and shields.”
The whole bridge crew is watching him. Not a single tail wags.
“Onscreen,” he says.
The mermaid hangs suspended in water like a wire doll. Bubbles rush up past her, lifting sun bleached hair. Some collide against her scales, splashing them with a filmy vapour that’s gone as soon as it mists out. Gone but not forgotten to Rex Flopears as he tries to process the enemy.
“Am I addressing Captain Flopears?” the mermaid says. “My name is Mara. We have records of the crew of the Fetch that left Chewia but we don’t know if you’re all still alive.”
“We didn’t leave,” he says. “We escaped.”
“Right,” she says.
“Captain for five dog-years,” he says. “Five point seven percent casualties.” He flops his ears back, breathes out heavily.
“Captain Flopears,” she says. “Beam aboard or we’ll scuttle the Fetch. Our shields have been set to let teleporter particles permeate through. You have three hours. Goodbye.”
The transmission ends, the viewscreen a void. Like the Watership’s vanished, but that would be too easy.
As he tries to figure out what to do, he hears whines, stray ones at first, but soon the bridge is a susurrus of shivering, scared dogs, a tone of fear corroding the stale bridge air.
“It’s a hazard suit,” says Chief Engineer Stripeypaw. “We fitted it with aquatic attachments but it’s, y’know, multipurpose. Not especially made for this.”
“They’ll kill me anyway,” Flopears says.
They’ve lugged the suit onto the teleporter pad. It clanked the whole way, cardboard box shade padding, plated in chrome. Big plate over the helmet, transparent aluminum. He sees himself in it. Some gray fur. It’s space, he thinks. On Chewia, I was young.
He clambers into the suit. It’s stiff, like his favourite bone. “You’re in charge,” he tells Mr. Fuzzynose, who cocks an eyebrow. Then he pulls his helmet on and the transporter room is filtered by small streaks, like comets. Lines of worry on his friends’ faces.
As the light starts to rip through his cells he can hear the thoughts of the whole Fetch. The teleporter has pulled him to dream space, where thoughts and dreams swim unstuck from the matter of flesh. It’s cold out here, far from home, they’re thinking.
It gets colder still, he thinks back, and then he’s gone.
Joan of Arc
Exploded out of space and time, waved out by the wash of feeling. That’s the only way dog scientists could figure it out. Always dreaming while other species pushed. It caught up to them.
He’s back on the battlefield. Sun still bleeding through heavy clouds.
She’s a statue. The shadows have shapes now, heads and things that point, and they blot out the horizon like thick brush strokes on the low line. Getting closer. A creeping hell.
His dream soul floats closer, swirls around, so he can see her face. Stringy hair drapes past her eyes, clings to her cheeks. Her nose is small and bridged. She’s armoured, and in front of her grips a sword with both hands, blade pointed to earth.
“I feel you,” she says. The wind crosses hair over her face. “Say something.”
You’ll die, he thinks.
“They took my home,” she says. “Took everyone.” Her eyes glint. “When someone takes something from you, you take something from them. You make sure it’s something they need and you rip it out with your teeth.”
“You worry it.”
They are dark, spiked. Helmets cast shadows over their faces. They stamp their feet on stone and bone.
Then he’s torn away, the girl falling away from him as he climbs. Until the tableau is a painting, the artist throwing more and more black on it, trying to get rid of the white space between his vision of entropy and the solitary fleck of paint he began with. He sees this and then the clouds wrap around him and it’s all gray, a charcoal blur and the waves wash him away until he finds himself, choking and coughing, inside the Watership, on the sanded seabed, flecked with rocks.
He moves his arm, tries to whoosh it in front of his face. It takes forever and by the time it’s crossed the viewplate it’s not even exciting anymore. He was alone, but Mara is swimming in now, brushing aside kelp. Her scales rainbow in light from anglerfish that float in and out of the room, drifting, lazy.
“Follow me,” she says.
He does. One paw ahead of the other, pushing each leg forward and then letting it sink to the floor, tethering him again. More fish are swimming in front of him. They all look dazed.
He’s exhausted already. She swims a handful of meters, covering them in seconds, waits for him to catch up. Then swims further. They’re moving through corridors of metal, dark and oblique. A slight shine that catches the fish moving by, like they’re traced by white chalk. In the wavering light of the anglerfish Mara seems to change shape, becoming at turns more slender, more zaftig. Fuller, more hollow.
Finally he’s clanked his way into her quarters. There’s nothing that marks this room as any different from the one he transported to, except coral arranged sparsely in the corners. Not garish, just a pale pink.
He stands unsure. He has shielding, but he can barely move. If she has any kind of weapon she can breach the suit in seconds.
Then he hears her voice in his head, concrete as his suit, rushing but harsh, like wind searching through cracks. Talking in dream thoughts is the only way we’ll get through to each other.
He stiffens. Feels something hard and cold move through him.
You flooded our planet, he thinks, almost not even believing it. Drowned everyone.
Our planet overheated, she thinks. Boiled over. We had to.
Has his heart stopped? Why did you hunt us? he thinks. Wasn’t it enough?
Mara is swimming in slow circles around him, tail flickering.
You can do more with dream space than teleport, he hears. You can pick through worlds. Shape them. Make life if you want. Do you want to?
With you? Though she can't hear it, he growls, long and deep, and the echo off his helmet scares him, anger all around.
You’ve seen her, haven't you? Joan? What did she tell you?
That when someone hurts you, you hurt them back, he thinks at her. She’s whipping ribbons of bubbles all around her, chasing light fractaling off rippling skin. The deep dark blue, rozen space above and below.
Joan saw God in herself. Her God was ending. I like cycles. Like currents and waves.
She descends. Thumps the seabed with her tail. Sand and grit plume out in the water like an open rose.
As he watches, tendrils of seaweed and brine snake up around her tail, wrap tight. She gasps. They’re pulling her into the cloud of spreading dust. Knotting and roping over her gills, the slits vanishing like stars going out.
Flopear sets his face in stone.
Her skin starts to pop. Vapours underneath boiling and bursting. Her head tilts back and she moans and her pupils shrink to dots. God dying all over again. She floats above the seabed, waving, a drowned paper doll.
Or, he hears, we can make something new, and none of this matters.
His dream soul far cast, the entity once called Rex Flopears feels, despite himself, what he once called his tail start to wag, and Mara thrum in response.
The sun shines brightly over 26 Peachtree Lane, a shale house with a thatched roof and fresh cut grass. Joshua Shefield stands outside the front door, hairs on the back of his neck raised, feeling the heat on his forehead through his tousle of dark hair.
The gray minivan pulls into the lot. He tenses. Already he can see it, something straining against the glass of the middle door. It slides open, thunking against the van side. A tangled mess of fur bounds out, his mom pulled out of the seat trying in vain to hold it back. His dad is outside the driver's side, head visible over the hood, shaking back and forth in amusement.
The beast is on him in seconds. Vision gone, fur tickling, bristling his nose, and spit run up and down his cheeks. Trying to wipe his face off. He’s laughing. Gentle tug on his chin. More spit. A flood.
Finally he just has to see and wrestles the dog back. Gets it in front of him. It’s a matted looking thing with big, floppy ears.
Its eyes are oceans.
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 17:48|
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 17:57|
I collide with every other seat on my way down the train aisle. Men with trucker caps startle awake and glare at me. I offer them my most sheepish smile, the one that says, I'm new here, don't hurt me. My three bags, repaired a dozen times with packing tape and dental floss, weigh only a little less than I do. They're full of everything I've managed to save from my last ten apartments: throw rugs, scarves, packs of playing cards.
I stuff one suitcase under my seat, and heave the other two into the overhead bins. My new home shudders, lurches, and rumbles out of the station.
Starting today, I'm done with stationary places for good. I've lived in eighteen apartments in the last three years. Bad roommates, bad boyfriends, bad landlords, bad decisions. Me and my suitcases keep chasing around from one place to the next, getting more and more ragged. Never again. Yesterday, sitting on a cot in the shelter as the firefighters failed to save my last apartment, I decided what I really needed was an unlimited train ticket. There's no rule that says you can't just stay on the train, you know? Now, it's one in the morning, and we're heading south. Later, who knows? I turn my overhead light off and let the rumble of wheels on tracks send me to sleep.
When I wake up, my suitcases are gone.
It's blindingly bright outside, and everyone else seems to have been awake for hours. They're chatting, tapping away at laptops, playing travel Scrabble. I don't recognize anybody I saw the night before. When I fell asleep, the seat beside me was empty; now, it's occupied by a fat woman with an enormous set of headphones. I contort myself to climb over her into the aisle, where I flag down a man in a tie and a conductor's cap.
"Uh, do you move the luggage somewhere overnight?"
"Pardon?" he says.
" I got on last night, and, um, now my bags aren't here?"
"Are you sure you're in the right car?" he says. "It's easy to get turned around. Everything looks alike around here. I'd go check the other cars." He sees the look on my face. "Don't panic, honey. There haven't been any stops since Seattle, so your things can't have walked away."
I make my way down the aisle, bobbing back and forth with the motion of the train. The next car is full of Japanese teenagers in matching t-shirts, who stop talking and stare at me as I enter. "Just passing through," I say. My bags aren't in the overhead bin in this car, or the next one, or the next one. I walk all the way to the front of the train, and then to the back, where I find a dining car selling orange juice and egg sandwiches.
"I think my bags were stolen," I say to the woman behind the counter.
"Sorry, baby, I'd help you, but I can't leave the counter," she says. "Rules." She waves vaguely at her complicated sandwich press, which is puffing out clouds of steam. "Ask the conductor, probably." She hands me a bottle of orange juice. "On the house."
I start to press forward again. One car, two cars, three cars. Where did the trainload of Japanese teenagers go? Did I miss them on my way back, somehow? A tour group of elderly Germans, each one with a fanny pack and ankle socks, is passing around a bottle of champagne. A man with a handlebar moustache forces a full glass into my free hand as I walk by. Seven. Eight. I scan around for where I was sitting, but every seat seems to be full. Did I miss my car? A conductor, this one a short man with a neat grey goatee, hurries towards me.
"Excuse me," I say. "Did the train, uh, split off? During the night? That sometimes happens, right, where one car goes to one place and the other one goes somewhere else?"
He peers at the glass I'm holding. "Did you buy that in the dining car?"
"No, well, sure," I say.
"No alcohol allowed onboard, unless you buy it in the dining car," he says. "Regulations."
I try to hand the glass of champagne to him, but he puts up his hands in protest. "I didn't see anything," he says. He gives me a lascivious wink. Then, before I can say anything else, he hurries past me and into the next car.
I'm suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion. I long to sit down. I spot an open seat towards the front of the car. This isn't where I fell asleep last night -- it's an aisle seat, next to a teenage girl who's blasting Led Zeppelin from her phone -- but it's something. Precariously, orange juice in one hand and champagne in the other, I teeter forwards.
Bang. The train jolts backwards. I find myself on the floor, in a jumble of luggage and other peoples' legs.
When I come to my senses, we're no longer moving. The car fills with the sound of panicked voices. The floor I'm lying on is slightly tilted, and I struggle to get back up. "Some idiot must've parked on the tracks," says a middle-aged man next to me. "Happens all the time. We'll probably be here for a while. Hey, what are you doing down there, anyways?" He offers me his hand. I realize that I've spilled the champagne and orange juice all over my jeans. A mimosa, I think, and I start to cry a little.
The man gives me a sidelong look. "Where are you from?" he says.
"I don't really know," I say, sniffling.
"Fair enough," he says, in a tone that suggests I look even more pathetic than I feel. "Where are you going, then?"
"Here!" I sob. "This is where I was supposed to be going, anyways." I mean the train, but I realize that I'm not making sense. I'm about to explain my plan, but he's already waving towards the window.
"Somewhere around... eh, who knows," he says. "Pretty place, though. Good choice." I squint, and I make out an open field with mountains in the distance. "Suppose you must know better than me. Well, we're probably almost to the next stop, if you don't want to wait all day."
Well, it beats sitting here. In fact, getting off this train seems like a better idea than I've heard for years. I stand up, champagne soaking into my socks. The train door is already open, and the winking conductor is nowhere to be seen. I hop down onto wet, squishy grass.
"South," the man calls through his open window, pointing.
I take a couple of steps in that direction. Then, I look out towards the mountains. In the near distance, I see smoke rising from chimneys. I think to check out the car we hit, before I leave.
It isn't there. No car, no level-crossing. Not even any train tracks. "Obviously," I say to myself. The train has ploughed deep, muddy furroughs into the field behind it, as far as I can see.
"Wait!" someone shouts. It's so bright out here, I can't see into the train interior. But I do catch sight of a pair of hands, tossing one of my suitcases onto the grass. It's unmistakably the same, down to the lousy sewing job I did when one of the seams split open. It lands in the grass with a thump and a disturbing crunch. That must've been the one with the coffee mugs.
The other two suitcases arc through the air. One hits the first suitcase and bounces. The other lands, rolls over a few times, and stops, belly up, like a helpless turtle. I stare at them for a moment. "These are yours, right?" somebody calls.
For a moment, I think about grabbing them, I really do. But it's going to be a long walk to wherever I'll end up, and I could do with a little less weight to carry. I turn towards where I saw chimneys and I start to walk. It's hot, and gnats stick to my skin. Maybe I'll buy new things, later, if I find somewhere to stay put for a little while.
|# ? Jul 3, 2016 21:39|
I would never aspire to GoDhood
The day filming started, Christian’s parents told him he could do and eat whatever he wanted, because it was a special occasion. He slithered between the cameras and crew in the kitchen and ate the crumbles off the top of the apple cobbler his mom had picked up from Albertson’s that afternoon. With all the extra people and things in the house, they’d had to take some of the dishes and the boxes and papers and wrappers and keepsakes off the floor.
“The kitchen floor is actually brown,” Christian announced to his dad. Dad was sitting on the front porch holding little Caytlin. The old porch dipped way down in the middle, and dad’s butt was right in the nadir of that dip.
“It’s linoleum,” Dad said. “That color is called beige.” Caytlin sneezed three times--ah-CHEE! Ah-CHEE! Ah-CHEE!--and dad shushed her and jiggled her on his knee. The snot and the eye crusties, they were all just part of Caylee. Christian’s world was made of things that stayed the same, congealing over time, while he moved between them.
He was an expert at navigating the house. While the crew talked about how to run cable, what with all the obstacles, Christian perched on top of his Double-Decker Dresser Fort until a camera lady spotted him and told him get down, it’s dangerous.
The cameramen took a lot of shots of the inside and outside of the house, and even of Christian and his family. Christian was asked why he was smiling so much, and didn’t he understand how serious the situation was? And Christian told them, of course, that it was a special occasion. He grinned as much as he wanted and scampered over and under all the things in his house, and the producer and the doctors and the cleaners shook their heads and said, he really doesn’t know any better.
The crew went to work. They hauled out all of the squishy bags and boxes first, which, Christian was overjoyed, because furniture made for better perches anyway, and had better hand-holds, besides.
Then they came for the furniture. They took away the Double-Decker Dresser Fort and left nothing but emptiness behind.
The doctor lady knelt down in front of Christian and smiled. She smelled like a Macy’s department store. “This is your room, Christian. Do you remember what it’s like to have a room?”
A cold, clean breeze came in through the open window, and Christian started to cry.
“But, you know, I was a kid,” Christian said. He pressed down on the gas pedal, slow and persistent, and imagined his foot was his cock and the accelerator was the tight rear end of the man sitting beside him in the passenger seat. “I hadn’t developed what you’d call a discerning eye.” The broken white lines in the center of the road melted into a high-speed blur.
“M-m-m,” said the man in the passenger’s seat. He gripped his own kneecaps and the sweat on his forehead reflected the cool, digital colors from the dashboard.
“And, I mean, the really hosed up thing was. This wasn’t even real Hoarders. It was a Netflix original. Not even a proper network. Would you believe I don’t even remember what it was called? May as well have been Watch This to Feel Better About Your Own Dull Life.
“And you know what I think, Bret? I think that, like, as hosed up as that whole experience was--as much as I was maliciously characterized as a delinquent byproduct of a broken home for the amusement of an audience that largely consists of people drinking canned beer in their underwear--the whole thing ultimately made me better than the people who exploited me. I mean, look at me. I’m not being arrogant.”
Christian was referring to the hard, segmented plates that had formed over his well-toned muscles. They were mostly smooth and a little glossy, like fingernails. When he wore a suit, he cut a striking, comic book figure. His chest was broad and square as Superman’s. When he was naked, he was both statuesque and insectoid.
Bret wanted to see him naked. That was the whole thing. But every freak show had its entry fee. He only asked for a friendly ear now and then.
“Houses and bodies aren’t all that different. What’s on the inside, even if it’s not really part of you, controls you. Do you know how many separate varieties of microbe live in your guts, Bret? Do you know how stupidly basic we look, from a genetic standpoint, when you compare us to the mass of things wriggling around on and inside of our bodies?”
Christian was a hard-bodied utopia. The perfect democracy. He and his constituent flora swam in the same juices, spoonfed each other neurochemicals over a highly efficient neurological infrastructure. You only had to be willing to keep your own house in order.
They pulled into the motel parking lot, went to the room Christian had rented in advance.
“Bend over,” he told Bret as soon as the door clicked closed behind them.
The Ostentatious Wedding Dress With Elaborate Beading
Little Caylee was all grown up and about to get hitched. She’d come out of the whole childhood thing mostly unscathed. Her eyes and nose had cleared up, and her memories were mostly happy. Presently, she primped and turned and twisted and probed her reflection in the tall mirror in the church’s changing room.
Not totally unscathed, Christian thought. He lounged in a grey folding chair, stiff and immaculate in his tuxedo. Caylee’s wedding gown sported a bodice so heavily beaded it might’ve stopped a bullet. Which was good, because the rest of her was smooth and plump and conspicuously permeable.
Her friends were there, all twenty billion of them. Christian didn’t know most of them by name, but they clung to Caylee like sloppy paper mache. And that was her whole thing. Have a messy house, but have people to come in and clean it up for you.
“Ah, ah, ah,” Caylee howled. “Hair caught. Ow. Help.” One of her long, elegantly curled tresses had knotted itself in the beadwork on the back of her gown.
Christian snorted. Caylee’s friends rushed in like a team of surgeons and carefully extracted the hair from its snare. When she was freed, she rounded on her brother.
“You,” she said, “can at least help me put on the necklace. Since it was Mom’s, and all.”
“I’m not your gay makeover buddy,” Christian said. He got to his feet and retrieved the narrow box that held their mother’s heirloom pearl necklace. “I’m only in here because the groom’s side is worse.”
Caylee held her hair up while Christian fastened the pearls around her neck, under her chins. Her skin spilled out over the stiff edges of her bodice, and she smelled like a Macy’s.
It happened suddenly, awkwardly. One of those things. As Caylee turned to face her brother, he was lowering his hand, which was by this point covered in platelets. And so Caylee’s pearled torso and Christian’s segmented armor brushed against each other just so, just enough for Christian’s hard edges to snag the beading and send a spray of pearls tickety-tacking across the floor.
Christian held up his hand. There was a soft, pink patch of skin on the meat between his thumb and forefinger where a platelet had torn away.
He thought Caylee might scream and howl and demand that someone else make it all better. Instead, she knelt down in her white skirts and gingerly plucked a thin, translucent thing off the floor. It was the size of the quarter and vaguely iridescent, like a fly’s wing. She held it up toward the open window, tilted it back and forth so that faint colors played across its surface.
Then she pinched it between her fingers. It snapped into two smaller segments, which fluttered to the floor.
“You know, I always thought they were thicker than that,” Caylee said. And now her friends were on their knees, collecting the beads, saying, it’s ok, honey, we’ve got a sewing kit right here. It’s okay.
Christian clenched his fist against the sting of the cold air on his naked skin. He thrust his hand into his pocket and didn’t think about all the invisible things passing through and into him.
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 00:24|
Grizzled Patriarch, consider this the acceptance speech of your brawl challenge
The Madman's Portfolio
I didn’t imagine a portal to the bizarro-sphere to look like this: a prune of a man, folded in on himself in a fetal curl, clinging on to his sanity the same way his skin hung on to his neck, loosely and barely. He spoke to himself in the gibberish of the mad, reciting a bottomless laundry list of blank statements. They were molecular poetic instances. Nothings.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Barry said.
“Want’s got nothing to do with it. Someone’s gotta rescue the ideas.”
“Oh man, tell me about it. I didn’t have a good dream in forever.”
“Used to dream so nice I bust a nut just thinking about it.”
I pulled the interdimensional incubator out of my pocket, a slender hilt with blinking lights all over like it had been modeled after a children’s drawing of what a telephone would look like in 2100. The incubator extended, additional segments popping up on top of each other like a recursive sequence of car antennas. Barry turned the old man on his back and--
Actually I don’t want to go into detail about how this thing works. It’s kinda gross.
The incubator sucked me in. That’s what it feels like. You hook yourself up and it tickles a bit and suddenly you’re an electric impulse riding along inside a glass fiber cable, a rat racing through an endless tube, going forward as fast as you can because getting stuck must be infinitely worse.
The room on the other end was full of cobwebs. There was this fat man sitting on top of a cot straight out of World War 1, looking like someone had dissected soldiers from all sides of the Great War and stuffed their various parts back together into the world’s most inappropriate Mr. Potatohead. Emblems from at least three different armies waged a fashion war on his outfit. He probably didn’t know. Where most people had eyes, he had a landscape of scars, the topographical map of Iraq plastered across the upper half of his face.
“Hi,” he said. He grabbed a flock of cockroaches off the floor and stuffed them into his mouth. They crunched.
“These are pretty fresh, huh?”
“You want some?”
“Actually, I’m looking for a bunch of good ideas that might have gotten lost in here.”
The man started huffing and puffing, wiggling sideways on top of the cot as if he was slowly dying while desperately trying to poo poo himself. It was such a ghastly sight that I almost followed suit. Then I realized he was just trying to stand up.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m coming along. You were looking for good ideas.”
“Uh, that’s fine. No really, sit. Please.”
He fell in on himself like a hot air balloon that got too close to the sun. The aura of disappointment that he emanated was thick enough to cut it into slices and serve it to teenagers after prom night. “Nobody ever comes to visit me. What’s the point of me being here?”
I didn’t think there was one, so I left. Luckily, there was a door at the other end of the room. It led into what looked like the inside of a passenger plane. Two pilots sat at the hallway, lustlessly rolling an empty soda can back and forth between them.
“Are you from the outside?” one of the pilots said. They both stopped what they were doing and looked at me, trying hard not to seem excited as they laboured a foul odor through their open mouths.
“I’m-- Yeah. I’m looking for some good ideas. I think they got stuck in here. We need them on the outside.”
“Hey, that sounds like us.”
“Yeah, we got stuck in here,” the other pilot said. “Just been flying around like that for years.”
It sounded much better than the fat guy already: two friends on a grand voyage, yet stuck on a lonely island, forever living with the fear of sinking, every night’s sleep an opportunity to never wake up again. “And what happened?” I said. “And why can’t you just land?”
They both shrugged.
“So that’s it?”
“But we’re up here. And we’re stuck. That’s good, right?”
There was a long pause. They looked at me like children that had just presented crudely drawn stick figure portraits of their families to me, fully expecting me to pin their answer to a fridge and say “Good job.” They had been in that situation so long, it was all they had. I had to let them down gently.
“This sucks. Is anyone else here?”
The pilot that hadn’t started crying pointed towards the cabin, a solid door at the end of a long trail of sugar-scented, dried-out soda stains. For as long as these numbnuts had been stuck here, nobody had ever felt responsible to clean the drat carpet. I tried my best not to get stuck in the sticky spillage. The cabin door wasn’t locked.
A tiger sat at the steering wheel.
“Hello, I am a tiger,” he roared, flailing around erratically, steering wheel between his paws. The plane’s course never changed, no matter how irresponsibly he tore on the controls. He seemed very enthusiastic about his job.
“Are you the pilot?” I said.
“Yes! Captain Tiger. How can I help you?”
“It’s just, this plane. I was wondering where you were going with this.”
The tiger mulled the question over, staring ahead into the endless blue in front of us until I was sure that he had fallen asleep with his eyes open, or maybe died, but somehow still retained his ability to cheerfully tear the steering wheel into all kinds of directions, flipping switches and pulling levers in a bizarre sequence of unfortunate gaseous discharges.
Finally, he jolted awake: “Did you try checking in with the two humans back in the--”
“Yeah and they also have no idea and they also don’t care. I’m beginning to think that nobody cares. It’s pretty stupid.”
“Can’t you just like enjoy the ride or something?”
“I’m here on a mission.”
He leaned back into his chair. “I’m a talking tiger flying a plane. Isn’t that good enough for you?”
“No,” I said. “There’s no point. It’s just a bunch of random bullshit. You can’t just sit here and be all like ‘Oh I’m a tiger, look at me, I’m flying a plane’ if you don’t even know where you’re loving going with it. There’s no point in just being weird. You are getting nowhere. It’s just stupid. What’s your point? What’s your loving point? Why are you here? Where are you going with this plane? What’s your loving point?”
“I dunno man.” He shrugged. “Whatever.”
I jerked the steering wheel around and crashed the plane.
“Guess that was a bust, huh?” Barry said.
I reached down and unhooked myself from the incubator. “These ideas were terrible. What the gently caress were you thinking with this guy?”
“Barry, I’ve seen bad. This wasn’t bad. It was worse.”
“I dunno, some of my friends seemed to really liked his stuff, so--”
“They’re idiots. And so are you. Remind me to never do this again.”
“Aw man.” Barry sighed, then took out a towel and began to clean the old man, who was by now aggressively ad-libbing twitter memes and exchanging random words with ‘poo poo’ and ‘dick’ as if attempting to get inside the Message of the Day of some degenerate IRC channel that only existed inside his head. “So what now?”
“We’re going home,” I said. “And we’re taking the loving train.”
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 01:41|
flerp fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2016 around 16:50
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 02:09|
sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2017 around 21:59
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 02:26|
I Lived There Once
The greygreen clouds of detritus, pollution and ash surrounding Earth made Armand want to smoke a joint more than ever. Why there was a viewing window at all baffled him. The window was built for someone else, for him, maybe, but him in 100 years, when the Earth would be okay again. He felt taunted, and agitated, but he stared out nonetheless. A smirk crept across his face, Earth was probably really high right now.
“Oh Armand, there you are, I’d like to introduce you to your trainee, Jim,” Armand’s manager said. Armand turned, having forgotten why he was even here to begin with. The kid didn’t look much younger than his own son, probably wasn’t even born on Earth. He had that gaunt look about him, but it would have been rude to ask. In another 5 years, it would have been assured, but Armand didn’t want to make any presumptions.
“Jim’s on the rotational program, and will be spending the next couple of days here. I’ve already given him stuff to work on, how about you show him around.”
“Yeah, sure,” Armand nodded and shook Jim’s outstretched hand. Jim’s handshake was firm, almost robotic, but lacked the muscle of Armand or his manager. He was a space baby.
Armand led them down several sterile, template hallways, into an office layout with far too many desks for how many staff were actually there. Armand had pushed 4 desks together into one large block of workspace that had papers, appliances and reformable plastic office supplies scattered about.
“Is that a CD player? I’ve only seen photos,” Jim asked.
“Oh yeah, one of the things I got to bring up, still good as new,” Armand said. He clicked it on and a cacophony of music came blaring out of portable speakers. Jim winced in shock, but the staffers down the hall paid no attention to the din.
“Well you know, a lot of hardcore punk composed after 1990 contains a series of problems concerning transitions understood in the subconscious and their necessary involvement in the mechanics of modulation. Now, this applies to many dimensions of the music scene for example there is the inclusion of ‘Noise’ as opposed to other forms of sound. But the participation of the 1990s was indeed more brutal to the sights and sounds of current musicality, and it was refined into what critics had dubbed Smashism, but at the same time Smashism was also heavily predicated on unusual audience reactions to what people would call noise, but now call Noise,” Armand said over the din.
“Exactly,” Armand said. Jim had the same reaction to the music that his own son had several years prior. Even had the same response after Armand had explained the entire why of its being.
“Anyway, whatever, hey, you like to get high?” Armand asked.
So they cruised. Armand was already a little high and now was as good as any to stay that way. Door by door they cruised and for the longest time Armand had wondered why they had made the door latches so short, short enough that he’d stoop slightly to reach them. When he had come to grips with the fact that his son would never crack 5’4” at best, he realized this was how it was going to be.
The hallways were barren and sparse, but he imagined they’d be crowded within the next several years. Jim wasn’t the first Prime Crop he’d met, but one of them. He wondered if Jim’s kids, his own son’s kids maybe, would be the first to leave this place. Would they be the first people to meet the first person born again on Earth.
“Let me show you something,” Armand said, stopping at the copier room.
“Are you going to show me your penis?”
“No, HR said I can’t do that anymore.”
Armand opened up the copier room door, took one unnecessary glance in the empty hall, and led them in.
“I call it the ‘Event Horizon.’”
“Here, hit this,” Armand said, producing the vaporizer from his pocket. Jim hesitated but still took it.
They sat there on the hard copier room floor passing the vaporizer back and forth in silence. The warmth of the blue-green apparatus, no larger than a tube of lipstick, was a ruse. He knew there was no need for the added heat. The oven fed on synthetic oil cubes that sublimated much lower than a real combustion oven. A salt lick for ungulate bourgeoisie. He pictured them, they had made reservations to the copy room on their phone apps. They had reservations but they were still okay to wait, it was their favorite copy room after all, and they always had good service and they would be seen by all those who needed to be seeing. They had great drinks, sure, but fifteen loving dollars for one cocktail?
“Is this it?” Jim asked.
Armand shook his head. “No, sorry. Stay right there.”
He scooted out a step stool from behind the copier and placed in the middle of the room. He grabbed a heavy heat-stapler from the desk and ascended toward the fluorescent fixtures on the ceiling. In a single, steady motion he undid the latch of the fixture and smashed the light into tiny pieces of Valhalla.
“Jesus,” Jim said, but he didn’t move. The poo poo was good poo poo.
“Wait,” Armand said. He climbed down unseen with routine grace. He opened the lid of the copy machine and left it agape. His fingers moved over the keypad, each mandated braille bump familiar. He punched in 4,000 and mashed ‘Copy’.
In the sliding light of the machine he made his way back to where Jim was sitting, his slippers crunching the plastic shattered lights. Light. The sound as plastic gears slid the scanner across 11 inches of glass. The familiar and artificial squirt of a piece of paper coming out hot. They sat there in the darkness, taking hits off the vaporizer and watching in the blackness for that moment of crawling, awful light before darkness took them again.
Armand wasn’t sure if he had fallen asleep or just wasn’t paying attention when the copier finally ran out of paper. He wasn’t sure how long the machine had withheld the light from them, or if it had just this moment stopped.
“Whoa,” Jim said.
“We’re not done yet.”
After opening the copy room door for light, Armand grabbed the massive stack of paper, it extended from his crotch to his chin, and he waddled ungainly down the hallways to the elevator.
“Punch in code 324,” Armand said.
They found themselves in a sterile loading bay of sorts.
“I found this a couple of years back, I think it’s for when they can start sending supply crews back down to the surface. Anyway, there’s this thing.”
In front of them was a clear, hutched chamber with a hood vent, something out of a chemist’s short-order kitchen. Armand placed the stack of papers in the chamber and slid the hutch closed. Without needing to look, Armand reached low with his right arm and pulled the plane throttle-like handle slightly.
There was no sound, but Armand could see when the vacuum began to form as the first white sheet started to rustle. In an instant the paper was sucked out through the vent, the blank white sheets first. The speed increased and the stack of papers started to grow darker and darker as the pages with the dregs of the toner surfaced. Finally, the darkest pages began to zip out of the airlock, a flipbook of blackness rocketing away, and then just as quickly they were all gone. Everything was gone.
After a moment, Jim spoke.
“Trippy. Where does it go? To the recycling center?”
“Hmm? No, it just gets shot out the airlock. I think it’s venting gas and filtering it or something.”
“It just gets shot into space?”
“Yeah. Pretty sure. This probably won’t be up and running for another 30 or 40 years.”
“You’re messing with me right?”
“No. It gets shot into space, why do you think I named it the ‘Event Horizon’?”
“You’re wasting it.”
“That’s really hosed up, I gotta go back to work. I have poo poo to do.”
Armand didn’t watch him leave. He agreed, it was hosed up. It was all hosed up.
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 03:11|
Someday, this poo poo may be included in a volume of bad stories.
Chili fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 07:15
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 03:35|
I know what time it is.
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 04:01|
Djeser fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2016 around 19:10
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 04:02|
That's it. Judgement and crits will be up in... I dunno... 20 minutes or so? FJGJ and all that
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 04:04|
SurreptitiousMuffin as Baudolino
“Every story you write is a glimpse into your weird sex-starved-and-crazed psyche and there's not even the humour of a golden bean in it. It's 2016teen and it's about time somebody kicked your rear end.”
This was funny, and it was crude, and it was touching, and it was poetic in that wonderful way you can write that I can’t seem to emulate. There was a splattering of elegant, obscene one-liners (pagan pillar of steam, a snake that eats itself every night, trust a Scotsman) that I enjoyed; the kind of descriptors a moody twenty-something might pinterest or retweet or repost because the words reach them on a level they’re not able to fully articulate for while they want to be some kind of intellectual person they spend most of their time drinking and playing grabass at the bar with strangers and I don’t really know where I’m going with this metaphor but I guess I should just say that this was pretty much exactly what I wanted the week to be. You grabbed Baudolino’s style by the balls and you wrangled it into a form familiar yet improved. Well done. Also, there is some light editing you could do. You missed some stuff in your triple post extravaganza but whatever. This was a solid start for me. I liked it.
Thranguy as SurreptitiousMuffin
“1st, for writing intense, well-crafted, nigh-poetic prose and then wasting it on silly premises or boring quasi-confessional bits and the like.
2nd, because 'Surreptitious' is a word that looks wrong even when spelled correctly,
and most importantly, 3rd, for willfully and deliberately ignoring the proper rules for the use of capital letters in story titles. Case in point, see above.”
Aw, come on, you point out Muffin never capitalizes his titles (which he didn’t do this week either btw) and then you just call your story “9”? Missed opportunity there, bruh. Missed opportunity.
You didn’t manage to catch the voice you were shooting for. And I think that hurt your story because, especially in the beginning, you got bogged down trying to elaborate on descriptions and metaphors. And while my eyes kind of glazed over at parts I appreciate the attempt. There was something interesting here. Boil it down. I like the world. Good use of jargon. Easy to understand yet noticeably foreign to our current society.
I think the meeting between the boy and the girl in the beginning needs to be more significant. “Of course I remember you.” Why? Because they played one time together? This introduction is a lynchpin to your story. Make it uphold up to the scrutiny you bring down upon it.
spectres of autism as flerp
“im calling out flerp because yr actually p good prose goes to waste on stories about dogs and other breezy calorie lite stuff that hit w the impact of someone slowly whooshing air in front of yr face”
I’m not “super familiar” with flerp’s writing so it’s hard for me to tell how much you are or aren’t taking from him. This was breakdown instead: Did this story have good prose? Kinda. Did this story have dogs? Yes. Did this story have “impact.” Not really. And that summarizes my feelings if you don’t want to read anymore.
I didn’t like the double spaces between paragraphs. That’s a silly, easy to fix issue that you should have… you know... fixed. You also have way too many commas. I know why you have too many commas. It’s because you’re writing like how you would say this story outloud. But cut down on that poo poo. It’s unpleasant to read. Also, at one point you had back to back metaphors. That’s also unpleasant to read.
I like dogs and dog stories. I also like futuristic sci-fi stuff. Those were pluses for you. I was (mostly) charmed by your voice. Somehow you managed to pull of stupid names and a serious tone. I read the whole thing without getting bored. There was an underlying feeling of “something more” that permeated throughout the piece. I wanted that feeling to burst through the cracks but it never did. The ending didn’t hit.
*** after the fact note: flerp self identified his work as “little kid/single dad is sad.” doesn’t affect my judgement. Just making a note of it.
God Over Djinn as Sitting Here
“sitting here i am so absolutely sick of your candy rear end, namby pamby, floaty clouds-and-cuckoos dreamy fantasy-land bullshit. write me something that actually makes me feel things, rather than just making me faintly nostalgic for the things i used to doodle on the covers of my notebooks in grade 7. Please.”
You did your homework. Evocative, appropriate emulation. Was the conclusion a stylistic decision? Or is it a place for improvement? Perhaps both. I would liked for something a little crunchier there at the end. As is, she travels on a bizarre, whimsical, possibly time-traveling dreamtrain and gets off and continues walking towards a vague destination she hasn’t defined in her heart yet. Interesting read.
Sitting Here as God Over Djinn
“I'm calling djinn out. I am so absolutely sick of your namby pamby misunderstood I'm-too-smart-for-the-dome bullshit. David Foster Wallace is dead dumbass, and guess what, he didn't reincarnate into your lovely fiction.”
I read this several times. Bizarre and wonderful. Win contender.
Entenzahn as Grizzled Patriarch
“I'm calling out notorious Ideas Guy Grizzled Patriarch so I can huff paint all weekend and write a 300 word premise about some bizarre bullshit like the ghost girl living in my toilet brush or whatever the gently caress oh but the words are so PRETTY”
Introducing Barry after telling me that the crazy guy was ranting made me think Barry was the crazy guy. Nitpicky thing there.
“Actually I don’t want to go into detail about how this thing works. It’s kinda gross.” This is the begining of a jarring tone shift.
“Yes! Captain Tiger. How can I help you?” This made me laugh pretty hard
Aww this got super self-aware didn’t it?
Honestly, I liked the idea but I feel like you just kinda puked all over the page and never bother to sort out the good from gross, chunky bits.
flerp as spectres of autism
“alright spectres youre poo poo always makes 0 loving sense with a nice little splattering of random weeaboo crap. every one of your story feels like an in joke that we're not a part of but it's a perfect representation for the joke you call your writing.”
Interesting, futuristic suicide vignette. Reminds me a bit of Yukio Mishima’s “Patriotism” except not as good. You should read Yukio Mishima’s “Patriotism” and compare what he did to what you did. I think that would serve you far better than any critique from me.
sebmojo as Chairchucker
“Chairchucker your cutesy low affect poo poo is a rusted bike you've pedalled for years until people are all ohhhh look he can pedal isn't he clever even though his bike is retarded.”
This was Chairchucker as gently caress. It made me laugh for two reasons a) because it was funny and b) because you so eloquently nailed CC’s style. I think you pretty much accomplished what you set out to do here.
Noah as sebmojo
“Well Noah, as an OG, I think we can both agree you need to take down the once-venerated Sebmojo*. I mean, between you and me, you can do wobbly whimsical blither-blather Italo Calvino cracking a beer forever just as well as sheriff cyborg over there. All you need is to ramble on elaborately for a while, then juussssst when you've nearly illustrated some salient, human truth, you set the story down in front of the reader and walk away because you started writing 4 minutes from the deadline**. Oh and make sure your story features an unflappable stoner dad experiencing some sort of cog-in-the-machine ennui, or maybe an unflappable stoner dad in space. Either one will do.”
“The window was built for someone else, for him, maybe, but him in 100 years, when the Earth would be okay again.” That’s drat lovely.
Space? Check. Sad dad? Check. Drugs? Check. Story about futility? Check. Good opening. Good ending. The middle seemed to drag on, though. Maybe I’m just not that crazy about reading about a dude getting high. But, hey, you fulfilled the prompt. Pat yourself on the back for that.
Chili as Carl Killer Miller
“CarlKillerMiller, your dysgraphic dumpster fire of pronoun confusing diatribulous babble is an abomination to the dome. Watch and marvel as I, a man with just four total submissions, only one of which avoided DM'ing/Losing, shows you how it's done with a fresh idea that's easy to follow and hits like a sack of bricks.”
First off, your poo poo talking game was A+. Haven’t even read your story yet.
Opening line is a great hook. Immediately intrigued.
TIL what a barcalounger is.
I read the rest in one go without stopping. Well hell’s bells Chili you did exactly what you said you’d do. That was a fresh idea, easy to follow, and it hit. Note of improvement -- you have two characters and one is male and the other is female. You don’t need to use Luther (35 times) or Sloan (25 times) so often. “He” or “she” will suffice. I’ll know who you mean. It’s not like there’s a lot of other mouthpieces. Also, I think this might have worked better in first person. We never get into Sloan’s head like we do Luther’s and it would have made reading his thoughts easier and less jarring and possibly made the whole thing a little more personal rather than leaving me feeling like I’m one of the “folks at home” voting away at their fights. Also, I don’t know if they should break the rules there at the end. Maybe reference a privacy clause or something. That feels more appropriate. Anyway, I’m just being nitpicky. I liked this a lot.
Djeser as Tyrannosaurus & Sitting Here
“Tyrannosaurus thinks that because he can whisk through dialogue and rush out some Emotional Teen Issues a half-hour before the deadline it means he doesn't have to actually try.”
“Sitting Here thinks she's the Blood Queen but Soggy Aunt is more accurate. She couldn't kayfabe her way out of a brawl against Baudolino without three layers of protective irony to soften the blow to her delicate heart. All the dreamlike situations in the word can't cover up the fact that her raw creative energy takes the form of monsters that are defeated by tweeting about them.”
I really, really, really wanted this to actually be a good story so I could gleefully rip it apart but it’s just mediocre and those are always the hardest stories to say anything about-- good or bad. Not a lot of dialogue. I appreciate that your main character was a teenage female athlete. I guess that’s a lot of me tropes all rolled into one character, huh? I’m not super sure where Sitting Here comes into play. I think maybe you ran your mouth too much and bit off more than you could chew. Is the Black Mark, like, a regular thing in this world? Kinda weird. Are there other pirate-y sounding injuries that stem from regular injuries?
I think the Black Mark needed to become its own character. Especially since it’s the only thing that stops Zoe/y from achieving your goal. Just… not being able to do something is kind of a boring reason not to do so something. Also, you hosed up Zoe and Zoey.
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 04:32|
|# ? Sep 23, 2018 20:49|
loser: Djeser (sorry m8)
hms: God Over Djinn, Sitting Here, Chili, Sebmojo
|# ? Jul 4, 2016 04:33|